On Playfeed: Super Smash Bros. comes to 3DS this summer, Wii U in winter

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Nintendo DS Launch Date and PriceNintendo has finally let the cat out of the bag, and announced the official Nintendo DS price and launch date, and as Gear Live had reported previously, you will be able to play this thing at the Thanksgiving family get-together (if it isn't sold out). Yup, the Nintendo DS will be in stores on November 21, 2004 at a price of $149.99. To avoid what will certainly be a sellout, preorder yours today. Oh, and we hate to say we told you so, but we told you so!

From Nintendo:

Consumers immediately will be able to pick up and play the new system, as it comes with a free software feature, PictoChat, embedded in the system hardware. PictoChat allows DS owners to write messages with an on-screen keyboard or the stylus and send them wirelessly to other DS users nearby. Users can text chat, draw artistic messages or share secrets, all without saying a word. And a Nintendo DS in sleep mode will spring to life if it senses another DS in transmitting range, alerting users to each other's presence and setting the stage for an impromptu conversation or game session.

More than 100 companies have signed on to create games for Nintendo DS, while Nintendo itself is already developing its first 20 titles. Electronic Arts, the world's largest independent software developer and publisher, already has announced that its powerhouse franchises of Madden NFL, The URBZ: Sims in the City, Need for Speed Underground, Tiger Woods and GoldenEye will support Nintendo DS.


The DS will also include a Metroid Prime: Hunters demo as a pack-in. Prime Hunters is a multiplayer-capable FPS, while PictoChat is a communications software that lets players send messages and drawings to each other. For Nintendo, this will mark the first time since The SNES where a fully functional game is packed in at a system's launch. Industry insiders will notice how this announcement coincides with today's PSP-extravaganza at the Sony TGS event. This will be an interesting war.

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Nintendo DS Design Finalized

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Napster

I can remember when Napster was the only game in town. These days, thanks to Roxio's aquisition, it's relaunching itself as a subscription-based music service, in the face of some very stiff competition. Here's the deal: For $10 a month you get unlimited access to more than 750,000 songs that you can play only on your computer. This model provides a better profit margin for Napster, which doesn't have proprietary music players to support its business, ala Apple. That's looking to change soon however, with this Fall's upcoming launch of Napster To Go, which will allow users to transfer their songs to other compatible music players, for an additional $5 a month.

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Read More | Wired News
Sony PStwo Launch October 26 2004At least that is the buzz in the game world right now. I have noticed the decline of PlayStation 2 stock at my local retail outlets, and wondered if people were buying them up in anticipation of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. However, now it is a bit more clear. Apparently, Sony has been clearing the stock of the current PS2 so that they can launch the next iteration of the console - the Sony PStwo. Confused? You shouldn't be.

A few years ago, in anticipation of the PlayStation 2 launch, Sony released the PSone. It was a regular Playstation, just mini-sized. It was a great move, as it allowed Sony to continue selling the old hardware while early adopters opted to pick up the newer, sleeker PlayStation 2. So what exactly is the PStwo? Well, it is just a much smaller version of the current PlayStation 2. About 30% smaller. Despite it's size, don't expect a price drop. All signs point to the console remaining at $149.99 USD. Oh, and the GTA: San Andreas delay? That was so that the game would launch on the same day as the PStwo. Good thinking on Rockstar's part.

Now if only Microsoft could think of a way to shrink down the enormous XBOX.

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Airbus Allow Cell Phones

Looks like plane companies are doing all they can to distinguish themselves and draw in new customers. Can you imagine sending SMS messages and making phone calls with your own cell phone while in flight? Using a small onboard base station, European planemaker Airbus has been able to route calls via a satellite to the ground and its terrestrial telephone networks. We wonder if this explains those weird plane designs we've seen: Check out the Airbus Swan Maxi, and also the Super Transporter.

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Read More | CNN
Nintendo DS Launch Date and PriceWal-Mart, Gamestop, EB Games and other retail sites currently have the Nintendo DS for sale on their respective websites via preorder. While this is nothing out of the ordinary, many are wondering if the launch date and price furnished at these sites are legitimate, especially since Nintendo has yet to make an official announcement on either. All sites have the DS listed as being available on November 30, 2004 (my birthday, send a DS) at a price of $199.99 (or if you're Wal-Mart, $199.82!). This is not the first time retailers have listed pricing and launch dates before the manufacturer, and it isn't always spot on. My sources are telling me that the date is a safe one. I believe the Nintendo DS will be availble in retail stores before Thanksgiving - and for $50 less.
Get Firefox!We are all well acquainted with the fact that Microsoft Internet Explorer is going downhill fast. The U.S. government has recommended we stop using it, and top executives at Microsoft have admitted to switching to Firefox on their home PC's. This is all with good reason. Internet Explorer is full of holes which are exploited constantly. With everyone getting behind Mozilla Firefox, the trend is very apparent. In fact, over 20% of Gear Live readers connect using Firefox, with about 71% using Internet Explorer. Let's up this number. Click on the image above, or click here and download the best browser available. Use of the link will add to the tally at Spread Firefox, so help us reach 1 Million, and take back the web in the process.
Save Betamax Call In DayThe folks at Downhill Battle have launched the Save Betamax campaign, which included a National Call In Day on September 14. While the official Call In Day is over, we can still make a difference with phone calls, letters, and emails to our local state representatives. What is the deal with Betamax? It's like this:

Many years ago, the entertainment industry tried to do away with VCR's citing that it was illegal to make unauthorized copies of their material. Courts decided that there were many legal advantages to the technology, despite the fact that few might abuse it. They let it stick. Betamax gaded away because the VHS standard beat it out, however, the court decision stands to this day. The Betamax ruling is the only thing that protects your right to own a VCR, tape recorder, CD-burner, DVD-burner, iPod, or TiVo.

With the recent Induce Act, lobbyists are trying to get the Betamax decision overturned, which would create a huge liability for any business that makes products which can copy sound or video. It would give the entertainment industry the power to essentially veto new technology. Want to help keep our precious tech moving forward? Check out savebetamax.org.
ICO Sequel Playstation 2Give a warm welcome to the newest member of the Gear Live team, Dorian Lake! Dorian will be reporting on videogame industry news and happenings, along with in-depth game reviews.

Two exciting PlayStation 2 games were revealed by Sony of Japan last week. The first was what a lot of Sony fans have been waiting for: a semi-direct sequel to ICO. While previous news stories had christened the game NICO, the actual name of the game will be Wanda and the Colossus. At this point not much has been revealed about the title, besides the fact that the same development team behind ICO is making the game and it will share much of the same style as a result. You can go to the website devoted to the game here. (caution: the site is in Japanese)

The second game is titled Genji, which is being developed by the former Capcom developer of Street Fighter 2 fame, Yoshiki Okamoto. He left Capcom to create a separate company (named Game Republic) and this game is the result. Set in an alternative Japanese history in the year 1159, very little has been revealed as far as gameplay. You can go the website devoted to this game here.

Hopefully in the near future (the Tokyo Game Show, perhaps?), more will be revealed about these Sony-published games.
Gear Live Playlist Music ReviewsApparently we are flying the Union Jack in this edition of Gear Live Playlist. Four of the five artists are UK acts, including a few rock bands and a couple of British rappers. Yes, I said British rappers, no longer an oxymoron. Both Dizzee Rascal and The Streets are considered rappers, but both artists bend the definition of that word to its limits. The Libertines and Muse both have released solid efforts, and finally, Johnny Cash's "At San Quentin" is a record that everyone needs to own. So, enjoy our trip that begins in the British Isles and ends in maximum security prison, here's Playlist.

Click to continue reading Gear Live Playlist: Libertines, Dizzee Rascal, Muse, The Streets, Johnny Cash


Thumboard Application

There's a new shareware application that will display a full-screen thumboard in lieu of the standard system keyboard on your T3. Considering how the T3 screen is expandable, this should be a pretty comfortable option. Thumboard is compatible with all Palm OS applications which use a standard text field. It also provides visual and audio feedback for every key press, along with automatic repetition and "hold" for the keys that use it most frequently (such as backspace, delete, directional pad). The keyboard can be accessed or hidden with just a hardware button press. You can download Thumboard here. The shareware application costs $14.95 USD to register and includes free updates for a year.

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