Toshiba has announced that, as early as March, their new Super Charge ion Batteries will be launching for industrial use. The new SCiB batteries have roughly the same capacity as current generation Lithium Ion batteries, but are able to reach 90% charge in under 5 minutes. Once these filter down to consumer gadgets it will mean laptops and cell phones able to charge in mere minutes rather than the hours that both devices currently take.
The new batteries can be charged 5,000 times without damage (about 10 years of average use) and don’t have any weight or heat disadvantages that existing Lithium Ion batteries. While the new SCiB will be available in March their initial use will be industrial or automotive. It’s currently unknown how long it will be before Toshiba releases smaller form factors aimed at consumer electronics.
Midway announced today in a press release that the PlayStation 3 version of Unreal Tournament 3, originally scheduled to release with the PC version this November as a timed console exclusive, isn’t expected to be released until the first quarter of 2008. David F. Zucker, president and CEO of Midway, said he regretted having to lose the holiday sales from the delays but said, “[W]e remain confident that our technology strategy and product plan position us to grow both revenue and market share as we move into the heart of this console cycle.”
Developer Epic Games’ Mark Rein said in a forum post that the press release included UT3 as an obligation to investors and said that he was still optimistic about a 2007 release, but that they wouldn’t ship until the game was ready and “the best game (they could) deliver.” He also confirmed that the PC version, due out in November, was still on schedule to ship as planned.
THQ announced that sequel to the GTA-style next gen game Saints Row is in the works. Saints Row was an Xbox 360 exclusive that followed the criminal underworld/open world model of Rockstar‘s key franchise pretty closely but included a character generator and several minor improvements that made it a hit with early 360 adopters.
Saints Row 2 takes place years after the original in the same city (Stillwater), but things have changed with the passage of time. As described in the press release, “Saints Row 2 has a much darker and more sinister story that leads your character down a path of betrayal, revenge and redemption against the city that has left him for dead.”
Unlike the original, which was a 360 exclusive, Saints Row 2 will be released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 sometime in 2008.
Nintendo of America today confirmed the information leaked last night via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer via press release: Nintendo’s Wii will be available November 19 at an MSRP of $249.99.
In addition to shipping with Wii Sports as previously noted, the console will also ship with one Wii Remote and Nunchuck attachment. Nintendo also confirmed that Excite Truck and Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess would be launch titles. All Wii first-party titles will be $49.99, but third-parties are allowed to set their own prices. While Gamecube backward compatibility has been an announced feature for quite some time, Nintendo also verified that the full library of 530 Gamecube titles would be playable on the console from launch day, in contrast to Microsoft’s approach on the Xbox 360.
High profile software publishers are also confirming their continued support today. Larry Probst, Chairman and CEO of Electronic Arts was quoted as saying that at EA, “we are putting more support behind the Wii than any Nintendo hardware launch since the Super NES.”
Nintendo’s press release did not announce specific pricing for Virtual Console games, or the availability of Wii points, but expect that information to be confirmed soon.
Update: Go Nintendo has coverage of the Nintendo announcement in New York. Other launch titles include Trauma Center, Madden 07, Need For Speed: Carbon, Red Steel, Metal Slug: Anthology. Metroid Prime will ship in 2007.
Virtual Console prices for Nintendo games are basically a direct dollar conversion from Yen: $5.00 for NES, $8 for SNES, and $10 for Nintendo 64 games. Virtual Console launch titles include Super Mario World, Legend of Zelda and Super Mario 64 and 2000 Wii points will sell for $20.00 in retail stores.
Nintendo also confirmed that additional Wii remotes will sell for $39.99, additional Nunchucks sell for $19.99.
Nintendo’s Press Release continues below.
Read More | Go Nintendo
Microsoft today reported that their Xbox Live Marketplace service has served over 50 million downloads to consumers since Marketplace launched. In three months since Microsoft last reported download statistics, the number of total files downloaded has doubled. In addition, according to reports on Gamasutra, Xbox Live users have logged 2 billion hours online since the original Xbox Live service launched on the Xbox. Microsoft’s recent Texas Hold ‘Em offering also averaged 100 downloads per minute during the first 24 hours of its initial free period. 65% of Xbox 360 users have downloaded Xbox Live Arcade titles, and over 2 billion Marketplace points have been purchased; this translates to roughly $25 million US spent on the service. Microsoft did not clarify how many of these downloads were re-purchases of content when a gamer’s Xbox 360 died and had to be replaced.
Read More | Gamasutra
In a statement today on Konami’s Japanese website, Konami apparently denied the exclusivity of their Pro Evolution Soccer 6 release, declaring:
It has been falsely reported on some websites that KONAMI will release its “Pro Evolution Soccer 6” exclusively for Microsoft’s Xbox 360. These reports are not true. KONAMI is currently proceeding with the production of a multi-platform release of “Pro Evolution Soccer 6” so that as many people as possible can enjoy the game.
Gamespot has dug into the statement a little further, but this has only muddied the waters. The actual text of the statement would seem to be refuting any websites that claim that the game will be exclusive to the Xbox 360, and not “next generation” exclusivity as claimed by Microsoft. However, Gamespot’s source at Konami indicated that the release was aimed at Microsoft’s release specifically. This whole thing very well could come down to a semantic issue, where the marketing-speak that Microsoft chose for their press release conflicted with Konami’s understanding, and should be clarified soon.
Update: 1up was able to talk to the series creator, Shingo Takatsuka, and he stated that the exclusivity window would be through the end of the year only, and that a PS3 version of the game was already in development.