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Adam Creighton, Computer and Video Gaming (Subscribe)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Nintendo brings the Revolution; Current Xbox seeing a lotta love

  1. Yet More Xbox 360 details
  2. Nintendo Revolution revealed
  3. Who's winning the next-gen console game?
  4. Current Xbox still looking good ...


  1. Yet More Xbox 360 details

    • Konami Castlevania: Curse of Darkness is coming to Xbox, marking the first time the franchise will see Microsoft hardware.
    • Xbox Media Center Extender: Currently a separate (and unbelievably sucky) add-on for the Xbox and Windows, Microsoft said they will be releasing a free download later this year for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, and the Xbox 360 will ship with Xbox extender capabilities out of the box. This'll allow access to digital music/video/picts and standard (and high-def!) TV and movies on Media Center Edition 2005-based PCs through a networked Xbox 360 game console. Besides the integrated functionality, the support for high-def is an improvement over the current offering. Bill Gates makes some astute comments in this month's Time magazine: "You can't just sell it as a convergence device. You gotta get in there because certain members of the family [i.e., teenage boys] think it's a must-have type thing. But the way to cement it is as a family experience."
    • Win an Xbox 360 before you can buy it. Starting August 28, Pepsi-Cola, and Xbox will select a winner of an Xbox 360 console every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for nine weeks straight in the "Every 10 Minutes" promotion. Codes are under participating beverage caps, and details and code entry can be found at

  2. Nintendo Revolution revealed

    • Nintendo revealed their next-gen console today at their pre-E3 press conference.
    • Controllers: Nintendo president Satoru Iwata confirmed the controllers (not displayed at the event) will be wireless, putting at least that on par with the other two competitors. No word on the rumored touch-screen capabilities.
    • Power: The Revolution will be "2-3 times as powerful" as the current GameCube (as opposed to the PS3's alleged 12-times increase over the PS2).
    • Online Support: Continuing their online flipflop, the Revolution will support an Xbox Live-like online service. As I mentioned yesterday, the online connectivity is via Wi-Fi.
    • Media: Besides supporting the current GameCube 8cm discs and new Revolution 12cm discs, the Revolution will support DVD movie play, though it will require an "internal attachment" to do so -- What? Oh, and it'll have SD readers.
    • Games: First-party support is Nintendo's strong suit (they developed/published 8 of the GameCube's top-ten titles). Not a lot of details here, but they did say they have "big plans" for the Metroid franchise, Mario and Zelda games are already underway (the Zelda trailer looks good -- Link can evidently turn into a werewolf), as is a Wi-Fi version of Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. The real silver bullet (sorry)? The Revolution's online service will allow for downloadable puzzlers and "the potential" for downloadables from Nintendo's 20-year game library -- NES through N64.
    • For those keeping score, Microsoft revealed the Xbox 360 last week; Sony let the PlayStation 3 out of the bag yesterday, and Nintendo was last to showcase their new console today. This also mirrors the supposed release schedules for the consoles, with the Xbox 360 shipping November 2005; the PlayStation 3 in "spring 2006"; and the Revolution in "2006".
    • In other Nintendo news, the Nintendo DS is going online, connecting through Wi-Fi hot spots. Also, the company will be releasing a new version of the Game Boy -- the "Game Boy micro", the same funtionality in an even smaller, almost credit-card form factor (no, not thickness, ya greedy bastards).

  3. Who's winning the next-gen console game?

    • I'll be doing something a little more analytical in a day or two, but here's my 30-thousand foot assesment of how the three console competitors are doing:

      • Microsoft wins with first blood (both in announcing and alleged ship date), marketing, and new partnerships.
      • Sony wins with raw power, leading-edge technology (i.e., BlueTooth), and leveraging of long-time Sony development and publishing partners.
      • Nintendo wins purely on sexiness -- the thing's roughly the size of an external slimline optical drive. Seriously. Sexy -- check out the picts.

    • You know who's really winning the console war, though, right? IBM and Epic (Makers of the Unreal Engine 3, which is being picked up left and right by developer and publishers), is supported on PC, PS3, and is the development engine of choice for the Xbox 360. Though I hear at least one local Austin game studio isn't all that enamored with it ...

  4. Current Xbox still looking good ...

    • OK, all of the Xbox 360 announcements are amazing and exciting -- but the sun isn't setting on the current-gen Xbox. By the end of 2005, more than 200 games will ship for the big black box, including heavy-hitters like Half-Life 2 (which'll have even better lighting effects on the Xbox than the PC), Rare’s Xbox-only Conker: Live & Reloaded, and Star Wars: Battlefront II (from LucasArts; get ready to battle on the Death Star, baby!).

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