Microsoft has hired Final Fantasy creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi, to produce two exclusive games for its next generation console, Xbox 2/360°. The Final Fantasy series has been highly successful in the Sony Playstation world, and an Xbox exclusive might give Microsoft the edge it needs to topple the number one company in gaming. It is also no secret that Microsoft has had a tough time penetrating the Japanese video game market. Having Sakaguchi on board can definitely help in that respect. The two games are said to be released shortly after the launch of the console on a worldwide basis. We eagerly anticipate what creations Sakaguchi will have in store for us.
Read More | The Inquirer
New trademarks are always great fodder for the old rumor mill, and this one is no different. Nintendo has trademarked the name “Nintendo V-Pocket”, with an emphasis on the “V” as you can se in the logo. Now, what exactly is it? Some think it may be related to the plan Nintendo may have to put the Palm OS on the Nintendo DS. Others believe it may have to do with the much talked about Nintendo DS wireless network that the Big N is supposedly cooking up. It could simply be the name of the GBA/Nintendo DS video player add-on. Whatever it is, I am 99% sure it is DS related, as the logo uses the DS style font. Of course, being that it is now February, prepare to hear the words “we’ll see at E3” quite a bit.
A couple of days ago, TRUSTe made it known to the internet community that for the first time in two years they were going to suspend a sites status as a TRUSTe sealbearer. Gratis Network was to be the one to garner that dubious acheivement, but today the companies announced they have come to an agreement. If you read the release, you basically see that Gratis has decided to comply and go through corporate training. This basically tells us that they are admitting to wrongdoing. Regardless of what kind of training they go through and compliance they follow from here forward, what about all the damage already done? Multitudes of Gratis members have complained about all the spam they get just from signing up to any Gratis Internet site looking to gain free electronics. Check out the full press release after the jump.
Big news out of the STI camp today, as they finally took the wraps off of the Cell processor that we have heard so much about over the past year as it relates to the Playstation 3. However, what you may not have known is that the Cell will have a major impact on much more than just the videogame industry. You see, the Cell is a major evolution in processor technology, and companies like Intel, AMD, nVidia, ATI are all taking watch. STI just one upped them all in a major way. I have taken the liberty of rounding up some of the more interesting articles from all over the interweb that will help you understand just what the Cell is all about:
Alright all you Playstation fanboys - you will not have to wait until E3 to catch a glimpse of Sony’s highly anticipated next generation console. Sony’s Playstation 3 will be unveiled at an unspecified event sometime before May 18, 2005. Sony representatives confirmed that they will have an event planned where they will premier the PS3, but haven’t given the specifics. The race between next generation gaming systems is beginning to heat up and will only continue to do so as we approach E3.
Read More | GameSpot
This one is for all you Nintendo fans out there - it looks like the company is planning to open up a Nintendo branded concept store at Rockeffeller Center, NY. A quick look at Nintendo’s jobs page at their corporate website confirms this, as they are seeking a Retail Store Manager to oversee the new project. Obviously, if this goes well, we may see more NIntendo Stores open across the country similar to the way Apple Stores caught on. This is a bold move by Nintendo, as the company has certainly lost some ground in the United States videogame arena to Microsoft and Sony.
Read More | Nintendo Careers
Two big announcements from Sony in just as many days, cool! Sony’s much-anticipated new handheld, the PSP, is coming to the US on March 24th. It’s coming in Value Pack form only, which includes a 32 MB Memory Stick Duo, headphones with remote control, battery pack, AC adaptor, soft case and cleaning cloth, movie/music/game video sampler UMD disc. Those who have already pre-ordered are getting an extra treat: The first one million PSP Value Packs will include a special UMD video release of the feature film Spider-Man 2 from Sony Pictures Entertainment. Now, ready for the bummer? The price of the Value Pack is going to be $249.99, almost $50-100 more than many expected it to retail for.
Read More | Yahoo Finance
It took them long enough, but TiVo has finally released an SDK which will allow developers to program web services and other applications for TiVo DVR’s over a network. The basic JavaHMO is an example of a program that is written to give the TiVo more functionality, but was a labor intensive project since there was no SDK at the time of its development. The first kit available to developers includes three applications - a weather module, an RSS reader, and some sort of game. Time will tell if this will be another one of those “too little, too late” deals, as Microsoft’s Windows Media Center 2005, Comcast, and others have been gaining on TiVo with much success.
Read More | The Motley Fool
It was only a matter of time before one of the nation’s largest internet service providers began to offer Mozilla Firefox as an alternative to Internet Explorer. Speakeasy, which offers DSL and VOIP service, announced today that they will begin to recommend its users install Mozilla Firefox 1.0, the latest browser from Mozilla, and customize it with plugins and helpful bookmarks for their customers. While they won’t be installing the software for their customers, they do offer the links to download Firefox and the plugin from an easy location on their homepage. The last time an ISP offered an alternative browser with installation was back in the days of dial-up, when many companies offered Netscape Communicator, also a Mozilla browser. If this business practice continues, Firefox will continue to gain market share against IE, and hopefully help many users with virus and spyware problems, as well.
Read More | Speakeasy
Back atcha, EA! In light of recent developments in the game industry, many thought that Electronic Arts was going to have the whole world of sports gaming locked down. Take Two decided not to let that happen, as they just signed a deal with Major League Baseball granting them exclusive third party rights to make games based on the franchise. What this means is that first parties (Microsoft, Sony’s 989 Sports, and Nintendo) may still makes games based on MLB, but no other third parties - including Electronic Arts - may do so. The deal begins in 2006, and lasts for seven years. Just hours after the news was announced, Take Two announced the purchase of Visual Concepts, Sega’s sports dev house. This is just getting nasty.
Read More | IGN
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