According to Kotaku via Gamespot, the Wii U launch date has been announced! Problem is, no one was supposed to know about it. Oops. During a meeting with GameStop Managers in Texas, accessory maker PDP was making their fall lineup pitch and at the end, concluded to the managers that the Wii U accessories will be out before the Wii U launch date of November 18th. It didn’t take long for that to go viral. According to a couple of anonymous people (people who don’t want to get fired naturally, like the PDP representative guy I’m sure), they have confirmed this statement that someone dropped this bomb. Naturally, as with anyone realizing that they just gave away confidential information, they quickly changed the subject once they crapped their pants (that’s my assumption). The Kotaku article has a great he said/she said deal going on but I won’t bore you with those details as we dissect the true intent of this article in the next paragraph. Does anyone really care? For a new system launching, and perhaps it’s my old and outdated self because I haven’t been hip to the buzz in the video game world as much as I used to be, but it seems that there is a lack of excitement for this console. Don’t get me wrong, I want it like how a fat kid wants cake, but it is almost just out of loyalty to Nintendo. In my mind, there is no real killer app. Yeah, I’m going to enjoy Lego Undercover, the New Super Mario Bros. U, and Rayman Legends games but none of this is revolutionary. In fact, the last revolutionary game Nintendo has had a launch was Super Mario 64. I think the problem is that there is such a clamor for new technology that Nintendo has gotten away from the real charm of it’s brand: the first party games and innovation. It has gotten way too gimmicky, and while I love the potential of the tablet screen, I have yet to find a game that tells me this is why you need to buy this system. Especially since most of the launch gamesare just ‘upgraded’ versions of PS3 or Xbox 360 games I’ve beaten a year ago.
Seriously, why the hell is this game NOT a launch title. Look how pretty…
Time will tell, I will still always have faith in Nintendo and what they do but I do believe this is a critical crossroads for them. I guess we’ll find out what they are made of on November 18th. Which also sucks because I’ll be in the Philippines during launch. You’ve no idea how disappointed I am to miss the opportunity to brag about the Wii U during the first week of launch only to never be mentioned again after the novelty wears off.
What’s double the number 360? That’s right, it’s 720. If you couldn’t get that, you should probably review your multiplication tables. Why is 720 so important here? Because that’s the newest version of Xbox that the Internet is buzzing about since last week’s E3.
Many online reputable sources, including IGN and PC Magazine, have reported that Microsoft has plans to release their Xbox 720 sometime in 2013. This discovery should not be surprising since Sony has announced a Playstation 4 and Nintendo Wii U; naturally, Microsoft would want to compete by releasing a new version of their beloved console.
These Xbox 720 plans stemmed from a leaked document on Scribd that is no longer available, since one of the legal companies advising Microsoft recommended the company remove it. If this document was indeed legitimate, we Xbox-ers can all rejoice and start toasting to this new platform and the slough of games that will entertain us for several more years.
Or should we?
Despite the obvious success of Xbox 360 since its release, I am cautious to immediately line up behind what I’m sure will be thousands of others to throw in a pre-order for the new console. Why? Here are the main reasons that are rolling around in my head:
As is the case with technology, sometimes the first version contains faulty hardware or software. We all remember the Red Ring of Death with many early (and sadly, I’m sure, even recent) models of the Xbox 360, and though I know Microsoft was very good about upholding their warranty, I for one would prefer to avoid having to send in my new 720 within the first year of owning it. I rely on my console to be the one thing that distracts me from the daily demands of life, and I’d prefer that it do that as I’m playing it rather than as I’m packing it up and shipping it off.
The price… ah, the price. Rumors say that Microsoft wants to sell the Xbox 720 in a bundle with the second generation Kinect for a total of $299 (plus tax, ‘cause that’s the way life goes). While that’s a very reasonable price considering my husband and I bought our Xbox 360 for $199 without a Kinect, that’s still a lot of money for someone like me who still has a crapload of student loans under her belt and is also working a part-time job. Now, this isn’t a deal-breaker, but it does mean I will have to save up to purchase the 720, and should my car break down again, might mean I don’t get the new console right on release day.
Will the 720 be backwards-compatible? The 360 worked with many original Xbox games, but not all of them. I can only hope the 720 will work with these original games as well, but there’s no guarantee. The developers would be frankly idiotic if the 720 was not backwards-compatible with the 360 games, but any games older than that console may have to consider retiring for good.
You may be thinking that I have a very cynical attitude towards the 720 when it hasn’t even been released yet. Don’t judge just yet; I am an Xbox addict through-and-through, so much so that I worked at GameStop in high school just so I could get free promotional items I’d otherwise have to purchase on eBay. So here is everything I’m stoked for when I read the reports about the 720’s rumored hardware and software capabilities:
Blu-ray: I never quite understood the phenomenon of this digital format until I went to my friends’ house and watched Planet Earth on Blu-ray through their Playstation 3. Then I went home and glared at my 360. If the 720 is actually going to have a Blu-ray player, I will start buying Blu-ray discs for the first time in my life. It will be like I have my own high-quality cinema in my home, except not really, because I don’t have surround sound or a screen bigger than 60 inches. Those are on my list of items to purchase, after the 720, of course.
Virtual-reality goggles: There’s not a lot of information out about these right now, except that they are currently being labeled as the Fortaleza project and could possibly receive cell radio and 4G and could be mini-hubs integrated with the 720. This is fascinating because I will FINALLY be able to look like a dork but not care at all because I’ll be wearing frakkin’ virtual reality glasses.
Kinect improvement: Despite loving the option of having voice and motion-activated games at my fingertips, I hesitated to buy the Kinect solely for the reason I mentioned in #1 above in “bad stuff the 720 could offer.” What I saw my friends doing on the Kinect looked fun and promising, but there were still a few glitches here and there with its sensor range and ability to correctly communicate your commands to the Xbox. With the release of the 720, Microsoft is looking to release a Kinect accessory called Kinect V2, which should improve voice recognition, add a four-player tracking system, a more in-depth 3D playing space, and more. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I’d prefer to spend my money on.
There are of course lots of other aspects to take into consideration regarding the Xbox 720, such as the rumors that claim the 720 will not be able to play used games (don’t even get me started on this one; I may need to save this topic for another post). You also have your gamers who would for some reason prefer to purchase the upcoming Playstation 4 or Wii U, or even those really open-minded gamers who want to own all three. At this point you’d have to bring in a comparison chart for which console might be best for what reasons. For me, though, the thought of an Xbox 720 is enough to tide me over for quite a while. Especially those virtual reality goggles. ‘Cause that’s going to be awesome.
We’ll have more on the rumored PS4 for you later in the week!
Some of you who are old enough will remember going to a friend’s house when you were a kid and sitting down to play N64 or the original Playstation. If so, there’s a good chance you were stuck with the ‘other’ controller. You know the one – it was bulkier, the triggers felt weird and for some reason it was pea-green. Third-party controllers have been around for as long as consoles and their bizarre designs have always tried to give players a more ergonomic or responsive interface, but more often than not they end up looking impossible to use for human hands. I introduce to you, for illustrative effect, the Avenger N-Control:
This piece of hardware, that appears to have gained sentience and a few too many tentacles, is supposed to make button-mashing faster and easier for our primitive arm-stumps; an appealing concept for thousands of hardcore gamers, if they can figure out where to put their fingers on the damn thing. I’m saying the third-party controller racket is a weird place to find arrogant businessmen, but that’s what one customer, Dave, got when he ordered his Avenger N-Control from Ocean Marketing and found his shipment inexplicably delayed. Receiving no personal notice or public updates from the company at all, Dave sent an e-mail asking about his purchase, and what followed was an ugly exchange that Dave was kind enough to link to Penny Arcade. Some highlights:
“From: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 10:14 AM
Yes it can be used with xtend play if you remove the stand and no one is allowed to cancel and re order if we catch anyone doing it we will simply just cancel your order all together and you can buy it retail somewhere else.
Things happen in manufacturing if your unhappy you have 7 days from the day your item ships for a refund. You placed a pre order just like any software title the gets a date moved due to the tweaks and bugs not being worked out and GameStop or any other place holds your cash and im sure you don’t complain to activision or epic games so put on your big boy hat and wait it out like everyone else. The benefit is a token of our appreaciation for everyone no one is special including you or any first time buyer . Feel free to cancel we need the units were back ordered 11,000 units so your 2 will be gone fast. Maybe I’ll put them on eBay for 150.00 myself. Have a good day Dan.”