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XBox (Games)

Halo 3 Almost Done 73

The word from Bungie is that they consider the final chapter in the Halo story 99.9% complete. They're now in the home stretch, with time to polish. Says Luke Smith, "That last .1% percent is pretty important, however. Right now, some testing is being done in a controlled retail environment via our Halo 3 Epsilon. You've probably seen reports online or even folks on your friends' list playing it, so here's the scoop: The Epsilon is a closed, final phase testing for Halo 3. We won't be making the Epsilon available for public consumption, so while that's immensely disappointing for folks hoping that Friends and Family invites would be extended for the Epsilon, just know that each day you wait in agony is another day closer to September 25." Wired has a huge blowout feature on the title, with lots of screenshots, discussion of how the game was made, and more.
XBox (Games)

Halo 3 Preorders Top 1 Million, Marketing Begins 111

Gamespot reports that Halo 3 has broken the all-time record for videogame preorders in North America. There are now more than 1 million copies of the title reserved across the continent. "The figure means that the Halo 3 launch could potentially be bigger than that of Halo 2. The then-Xbox-exclusive sold 2.38 million units in the US and Canada in the 24 hours after went on sale on November 16, 2004, generating an estimated $125 million. Halo 3 preorder customers' passion for the game is such that cost is apparently no object. As part of today's announcement, Microsoft warned that, despite its premium price point, the collectible Halo 3: Legendary Edition is on track to sell out before the game launches. The bundle, which includes a miniaturized version of the Master Chief's helmet, retails for $129.99 in the US, but is already sold out at several online retailers in the UK."

Gamers Don't Know Their Own Consoles 303

deadmantyping writes "Ars Technica reports on a survey of 6,260 responses which indicates that only 40 percent of PS3 owners knew that their console included Bluray. Apparently a large portion of gamers aren't aware of the non-gaming capabilities of their systems. Ars speculates that this might help explain Nintendo's apparent dominance in the console market since their introduction of the Wii."

Condemned 2 Trying to Avoid Manhunt 2's Fate 108

CVG is reporting that Monolith, makers of the upcoming Condemned 2, are working with the ESRB to avoid an AO rating. As we've discussed previously, an AO ban in the states is effectively a ban on retail sales. From the article: "When asked for examples of what we might now never see in a game again, we were told, 'An example of what we cut would be putting someone's head in a vice. That was too much, you know. There are also some decapitations we've lost. But this is more Sin City than it is real world and we want people to know that this is not a real world.'"

Nielsen's First PlayMetrics Results Announced 49

June was the first month that Nielsen's new approach to tracking game play was fully implemented, and the statistics from last month are now out. Some sample numbers: "The company determined that 68.1 million individuals used a videogame console in June, playing an average of 7.5 days during the month. The PlayStation 2 was the most-played console, accounting for 42 per cent of the total console usage ... The Xbox 360 accounted for eight per cent of console playing time. Its users logged in an average of 2.2 sessions per day, with an average session length of 61 minutes. The PS3 accounted for 1.5 per cent of console usage. Its users logged in an average of 1.9 sessions per day with an average session length of 83 minutes-the longest playing session of all consoles studied. The Wii, by comparison, accounted for four per cent of overall console playing time. Its users logged in an average of 1.78 sessions per day with an average session length of 57 minutes." GameDaily has further demographics from the results.
The Almighty Buck

$60 Games Are Here To Stay 361

Next Generation explores the price jump for 'next generation' titles, looking into the success of the $60 price point for videogames. They have a copious number of graphs and charts to support their findings: "Even without Guitar Hero II, prices in 2007 are still at historically high levels. In January, fully four of the top 10 games sold for $60 or more. In February, that jumped to five $60 games, and the average rose accordingly. While there were four $60 games in March, they shared the top 10 with two Nintendo DS games which brought the average down sharply. This happened again in March -- the month of Pokemon -- and also in May."

Study Proves Having Fat Friends Makes You Fat 693

Xemu writes "Having fat friends makes you fat, researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of California says after after examining 12,067 individuals and 38,611 of their relatives and friends. In same-sex friendships, people were 71 per cent more likely to put on weight if a friend of theirs became obese. "It's not that obese or non-obese people simply find other similar people to hang out with. Rather, there is a direct, causal relationship," says Harvard professor Nicholas Christakis."
PlayStation (Games)

Price Cut Leads To PS3, PSP Sales Boost 154

Klaidas writes "The BBC reports that sales of Sony's PlayStation 3 console in the US rose by 21% in June, though the machine still trails the Wii and Xbox 360. NPD numbers show 98,500 PS3s were sold, compared to 198,400 Xbox 360s (up 28%) and 381,800 Wiis (up 13%). Sony said that the $100 price cut to the 60GB PS3 led to a 135% sales rise over the last two weeks, though independent confirmation of that jump is not yet available. 'Nintendo's DS handheld sold 561,900 units , while Sony's PSP, which has been boosted by an April price cut, sold 230,100 units, NPD reported. Software sales in the US are 31% higher than the same time last year, the market research showed, buoyed by new consoles from all three firms.'"

Where the Wii Fits In 371

AGFlamey writes "On Angry Gamer is an interesting and lengthy article about the new direction Nintendo are taking with the Wii and in particular "non-games" like Wii Fit and Big Brain Academy. From the article: "Hardcore folks don't like to admit it, but Mario and Zelda are relics of the past. It's become quite clear that Nintendo is losing interest in remaking the same old games over and over. They want to pull us into something new, if only we can give them the chance." Is it such a bad thing that Nintendo are neglecting their roots?"

Project Sylpheed Review 155

Space shooters are beyond a dying breed. They're dead. When a member of this now-rarefied genre comes lurching at you from the darkness, it's always a good idea to be wary. And a shooter with an anime flavour, evoking the memory of the Macross and Robotech series? It has to be bad, right? Yet, somehow, Square/Enix has delivered a thrill-ride of a space plane game; Ace Combat with blue hair. The frighteningly titled Project Sylpheed has a clunky menu system, an overly complicated HUD, mediocre voice acting, and an easily-skippable story. Thankfully, none of that matters. When you're in your fighter, it's so ... so good. Read on for my impressions of this quirkily appealing arcade-style shooter.
XBox (Games)

Xbox Division Posts Loss of $1.9 Billion 150

Just when reduced manufacturing costs were beginning to turn Microsoft's Xbox division around, the weight of the warranty guarantee came crashing down on the company. The Xbox division of Microsoft Entertainment posted a loss of $1.89 billion for the fiscal year. Overall the Entertainment division did well, as sales of the Zune, consoles, and Xbox titles helped push revenues higher. Just the same, as Next Generation reports: "The fourth quarter in the EDD was down, with operating losses increasing 183 percent to $1.2 billion, again due to the billion-dollar-plus warranty charge. Revenues dropped 10 percent from a year ago to $1.16 billion due specifically to 'decreased Xbox 360 console sales.' Microsoft shipped 700,000 consoles during the quarter compared to 1.8 million for the same period a year prior."
XBox (Games)

X07 Not Happening This Year 47

For the first time since 2004, there won't be an XO event in Europe this year. Gamespot suggests that Microsoft's annual press event is superfluous this year, as last year it fell directly within the timeframe of the Halo 3 launch. "Speaking on the E3 podcast of Microsoft fan site Squad XP, Xbox Live marketing manager Aaron Greenberg flatly said that 'There's not a real X07 this year.' And while Microsoft's official spokespersons refrained from comment, last night Xbox Live director of programming Larry 'Major Nelson' Hyrb posted a small note (pictured) on his heavily trafficked blog morosely confirming X07's demise."

Too Human's Absence From E3, Silicon Knights Suit 23

GameDaily points out something I didn't even notice: Too Human wasn't at E3 this year. Denis Dyack's histrionics in the year since the game's terrible E3 2006 showing may have had something to do with that. According to the site, Dyack said: "We made the decision not to show Too Human at the press conference some time ago. The reason for this decision was that we have another event planned in the future for Too Human that we thought would be more appropriate ... Not attending the show and setting appointments with the press was due to Silicon Knights being extremely busy finalizing the game and we simply could not spare the time." Of course, today's announcement of a pending lawsuit between Silicon Knights and Epic may have something to do with it as well. Too Human is using Epic's Unreal engine to get the job done ... perhaps they've run into a snag?
XBox (Games)

No Online Co-Op For Halo 3 At Launch 128

CVG has the disappointing news, originally reported in the pages of EGM, that online co-op play will not be available when Halo 3 launches this September. In the game the second player would play the part of the Arbiter character, but fans will only be able to complete the campaign cooperatively via LAN or split-screen. Bungie stated the possibility still exists online co-op could be patched in at a later date, but significant hurdles stand in the way of the feature: "'We're not dumb,' says Bungie's Frank O'Conner. 'We know that people want it and we're trying to make it happen. I think the biggest problem for us for online co-op is that we have a situation where you can be in a Warthog with five troops, almost a mile away from the other player. That's a significant challenge. And there's lots of design things you could do to prevent that from happening, but they would make it not feel like Halo anymore. If we can make it happen in a way that works well, we will - and if it works badly, we won't.'"

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