Ever hear the term "Barriers of Entry?" We all knew Microsoft had an uphill battle by trying to take on software giant, Electronics Arts. The result: Microsoft recently shut down its Sports Game Studio in Redmond, Wash., signalling an end to the "NFL Fever", "NBA Inside Drive" basketball and "NHL Rivals" franchises. You may have seen this coming by the way, since EA and Microsoft had already reached agreements to allow EA's sports franchises to be playable on the XBox Live online gaming experience. In related news, Microsoft's separate studio in Utah that develops individual sports games, such as the "Amped" snowboarding title, is not affected by the staff cuts.
Read More | CNet
Listening to the requests of Madden fans, EA pumped this years version full of new features including user-created leagues, a free EA Sports Premium Pass, and the coup de grace - XBOX Live compatibility.
On a related note, retailers EB Games and Gamestop have started taking preorders for Madden 2006, which coincidentally, has yet to be announced by Electronic Arts.
Read More | USA Today
By now you've heard about JAKKS TVGames line of interactive entertainment products. You'll even find a review of their excellent Ms. Pac-Man TVGame right on our front page. Recently, Gear Live had a chance to speak with the great folks at the company for an inside scoop at how this product line came about, and what can we expect in the future. Click below to read the interview!
Read More | CNET News
Despite loving both the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP, many people had a complaint about one galring difference between the systems - the design. The PSP was the sleek, ultra-hip console while the Nintendo DS looked blocky, chunky, and uncool. Nintendo stated they were close to the final design, but the E3 version was still going to be tweaked.
Wait no longer - the finalized Nintendo DS design has been release by Nintendo, and it almost bring a tear to my eye. This is definately something that can compete with the Sony PSP if you wanted to base it on looks alone. Nintendo also made it known that the final name of the machine is, in fact, Nintendo DS...so no more trying to sound like you are "in the know" by referring to it as the Nitro.
The console has a scheduled release date of November 4th in Japan, followed by a United States launch the week after.
At the same press conference, it was also revealed that the PlayStation 3 (PS3) will be on display in full working, playable form at E3 in May 2005.
Read More | Reuters
XboxMediaCenter is a free open source (GPL) multimedia player for the Xbox from Microsoft. Currently XboxMediaCenter can be used to play/view most popular video/audio/picture formats such as MPEG-1/2/4, DivX, XviD, MP3, AAC, JPG, GIF plus many more less known formats directly from a CD/DVD in Xbox DVD-ROM drive or of the Xbox harddrive, XBMC can also play files from a PC over a local network and even stream media streams directly from the internet. XBMC has playlist and slideshow functions, a weather forecast and many audio visualizations. All these features enable the Xbox running XboxMediaCenter to fully function as a multimedia jukebox.
Download Here | XBOX Media Center
Microsoft has begun making noise about launching the successor to the XBOX sometime in 2005 as well, though no specific date has been set. Meanwhile, Nintendo has sworn up and down that they will not be the last one's out of the gate this time, and are reportedly hard at work on the "Revolution", which is the follow up to the Gamecube.
Read More | Seattle PI