Arnold's Press Pause and Rewind: January 14th
2007 is only two weeks in, and we're already
getting pummeled with some pretty exciting news. The gaming week
of January 8th through the 12th has left us all pretty damn
confused. The NPD released their sales numbers for the month of
December and numbers for both the Wii and PS3 were far too low
considering the announcements made by each respective company.
Sony said they shipped a total of 1-million PS3s, and so the
expected sales were 850-900k. But the numbers displayed were 692k
sold. Nintendo said they shipped a total of 2-million Wiis, but
their numbers came out to be 1.1-million. We then found out that
NPD doesn't cover Wal-Mart, and only embeds a rough estimate of
their sales into their sales charts (hardly accurate). Likewise,
a good chunk of other retailers -- including online and
mom-and-pop shops -- don't get accounted for, leaving out a huge
portion of sales from the numbers.
Miss Cleo Redux: Videogaming Electric Boogaloo
Analysts continued to interpret and use their magic 8-balls to predict the future of the console race. Quite frankly, these analysts are beginning to wear thin. Despite what they may say about their studies being extensively researched, any analyst who thinks that Nintendo's Wii is suddenly going to tank in sales is in need of a reality check. While to some it may be considered a "novelty" that'll wear thin over time, it's still a "novelty" that a lot of people are going to want to check out. And for a price of only $250, the Wii will continue to sell hordes. The Nintendo DS was once considered a "gimmick" and "novelty" too...and there's no stopping that little unit from flying off the shelves across the world.
Microsoft Says They'll Kidnap Sony's Girlfriend
And then we have the war of the worlds...first it was Donald Trump vs. Rosie ODonnell, and now it's Microsoft vs. Sony. Earlier in the week, MS called Sony's online efforts a "disaster", and that the company doesn't have the "DNA" to create a proper online infrastructure. Sony came back by stating that the people have already chosen who they feel has the proper DNA, as the PlayStation brand has sold over 200 million units. Sony continued the war by also denouncing MS' selling of 10.4 million X360's, citing that to Microsoft "sold" equates to sold and "shipped" to a retailer, not a customer. Where as to Sony, "sold" is just that, sold to a customer. Bill Gates then went on record with Tokyo TV to state that he doesn't consider Sony to be prime competition, but instead Nintendo.
Who's wrong? Who's right? It's hard for me
to sound level-headed here, but starting a dispute for no
apparent reason makes Microsoft sound really childish. Especially
when the PlayStation Network continues to offer so many game
demos, and within the first 45 days granted PS3 owners a first
playable glimpse at Gran Turismo 5 via GT:HD. Not having a
download cap allows developers to develop full-fledged
downloadable games like GripShift, and even allow for
high-definition porting of other games such as Tekken: Dark
Resurrection. Additionally, with 32 player online support for
games like Resistance, it proves that Sony's more than capable of
creating a robust online network.
Would anybody shed a tear if the rumors of the Chrono series being sold off to Mistwalker end up true? I sure would. That would mean the probability of seeing a PS3 Chrono iteration would become slim-to-none. Why, you ask? Final Fantasy creator and Mistwalker founder, Hironobu Sakaguchi, is solely committed to working on Microsoft's platform of the three available consoles. Kingdom Hearts is rumored to being sold off to Buena Vista, which would go down in history as one of the dumbest corporate moves ever. But seeing as how Kingdom Hearts is one of Square-Enix's biggest franchises, it's pretty doubtful that this would happen...at least, we hope so.
Better than a New York City cabbie...
I'm pretty happy with the announcement of Crazy Taxi heading over to the PSP. While the screenshots suggest the game is still early, I still can't wait to have this in the palm of my hands. Crazy Taxi is probably the epitome of pick up and play videogaming and thankfully we have a handheld as strong as the PSP to maintain a port. Sega says that the game should look on-par, if not better, then the Dreamcast version. Let's hope so, because I'm pretty stoked, Crazy Taxi was the reason I got a Dreamcast.
Living the 12th Fantasy
After proclaiming it our 2006 Game of the Year, Final Fantasy XII still continues to take up all of my spare time. I've spent 10 hours side-questing and leveling up. I have to say, it sure feels good to have that entire license-board lit-up, with every character possessing their maximum of three quickenings. I've come to realize that ultimately, espers are pretty damn pointless. In fact, Ben and I both agree on this. They seem to be more fan service, than anything else and there's only one time in the game when you actually need to utilize an esper, and it's not even a battle; it's to open a door. Either way, it doesn't change the fact that FFXII is role-playing perfection. I'm not quite sure what I'll do next in the game...I think I'll continue to level up some more, because it's really nice having all six characters at levels 60 and up. Attempting to get the game's best weapons is a bit of a hassle, though, if you don't have the patience for it. A lot of the required rare items are a bit too rare, and the hunt for them becomes discouraging after a while. Regardless, I think I'm going to go trek through the map some more and just fight for the sake of fighting, the battle system is absolute gold.
1/14/2007 Arnold Katayev