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Adam Creighton, Computer and Video Gaming (Subscribe)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

360 and PS3 go (commercially) head-to-head

(Or maybe it's toe-to-toe.)

Regardless, while a lot of GDC Europe and Gamescom did not float my boat (and Microsoft's presser certainly didn't), I am excited by the recent Sony / Microsoft tête-à-tête.

What tête-à-tête, you may ask?

Why, the $299 PS3 "Don't - call - me - 'Slim' - 'cause - Sony - says - it's - just - the - new - PS3", and the $299 Xbox 360 Elite.

So, now, both consoles have a 120Gb hard drive, both have HDMI, both are at the same price.

Now things are getting interesting.

The new Ps3 "not-slim" is smaller than the original PS3. But it doesn't have backwards compatability (which the 360 does for a boatload of titles, along with full game downloads). Online play is free for Sony-ites via its online service (PSN), whereas Xbox 360 charges $50 a year for access to Xbox Live (but you get a lot more content for that fifty bucks, so arguably you get what you pay for).

The PS3 has built-in Blu-ray support, and the 360's HD-DVD add-on is a dead goat (or something). But Xbox has streaming Netflix exclusivity, which is huge for me (and it has Netflix party, but in it's current state, I call a negative).

Microsoft has (for me) way more compelling arcade titles, and I like their indie games marketplace (though the crap to more-like-gold ratio is high). Sony is getting ready to launch "minis", which sound like cheap(ish), polished short-attention-span-theater-style games (which sounds great). But those are likely just PSP.

Sony looks like they're offering just the $299 version as a single SKU offering; Microsoft has both the Elite at $299, and the Arcade at $199 (which is cheaper than the Wii).

So ... does this change anything for you? Sway you one way or another? PS3 because of the new, smaller (not slimmer) form factor? Xbox 360 because the Elite is now $299?

Let me know in the comments. Though things could get more interesting. Microsoft's got more levers (what if they made Xbox Live cheaper? Free?). Sony could actually do something on their box (media wise) with all of the film, audio, and distribution studios and companies they own.


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SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman: Arkham Asylum ships Tuesday (tomorrow), and since it looks like the best Batman video game since …*, it feels like I should call it out, and in particular, this deal from Toys “R” Us.

While buying the title at TRU gets common folk a $20 gift card, Rewards “R” Us Members get a $30 gift card instead -- if you are a member and pick up the game between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. tomorrow (which is also Tuesday). The program is free, and you can enroll here.

TRU is also doing “buy one, get one half off” on Wii and DS titles this week. So, if you’re a mixed household, you could get Batman, then 6 hours later use your $30 for Imaginz Paramedics and Imaginz Emergency Intubation (caveat: these are not really games; yet).

As an FYI, if you buy Batman at Best Buy, you get a DVD two pack of Batman the Animated Series movies (Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero and Mask of the Phantasm). I … may already own these.

If you go this route, check the videos carefully. It's probably fine, but I've done these DVD offers in the past, and passed on them because the two-pack versions didn't have the special features (interviews with Bruce Timm, voice sessions, etc.) that really made the purchases valuable for me.

* To be fair, 1989’s Batman: The Caped Crusader on the Atari ST and Amiga was really good. It was probably published by Ocean Software and/or Data East, depending on the platform. It's been a long time.

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SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gamescon 2009


The toy job has got me wicked behind, so despite working in the game industry, I haven't been able to do my normal pre-event post.

This week is GDC Europe and Gamescon 2009 -- check to the left for industry links (in the case of; blogger trope from Kotaku and Joystiq).

The skinny is Gamescon was Leipzig, and looks to be a big ol' show.

From a gamer perspective, expect a ton of new videos, announcements, and demos on the various console download services.

From a biz perspective, I expect some new partnerships, hopefully more info about Natal and other tech, and maaaybe some disruptive announcements. Maybe.

Emergent will be there in force (but not me; sorry). Check us out, and let me know if you need to set up a meeting.

More later.

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