IGN is reporting that Nintendo of Japan has revealed the Wii lineup for the rest of 2007. Japanese Wii owners can breath a little sigh of relief – high profile titles Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption are slated for release in 2007. North American gamers will have to wait for confirmation on these titles, but a Japan release in 2007 would seem to be a good indication that the same games are on their way to the US as well, particularly Metroid. Nintendo, more than any other hardware manufacturer, relies heavily on their first party line up to carry the console, so getting 13 first party releases, albeit with non-games like Wii Health and Wii Music will help drive demand during the holiday season. Of course, this might be moot if Nintendo can’t increase their hardware supply as they have been promising. With third parties still seemingly adjusting to developing for the Wii, Nintendo is going to be the prime software supplier for 2007.
Read More | IGN
February’s NPD data has been released, and things look good for Nintendo. 1up has the details on video game sales for last month, and the Nintendo DS sold 485,000 units, the Wii 335,000. For the rest of the next-generation hardware, Microsoft maintained its sales pace by moving around 228,000 consoles, while the Playstation 3 saw a significant drop to 127,000. The PSP didn’t do much better against the DS, moving 176,000 handhelds.
The only bright spot for Sony would be that in the non-handheld category, the PS2 took second behind the Wii, selling 295,000 units, showing that their now last-generation technology still has plenty of legs at retail. Still, having their PS3 sales drop by nearly half over last month’s sales is a significant change; if new software from Sony can’t change course, the company may have to do something drastic to turn things around.
Microsoft should be pretty happy; while they didn’t lead the pack, the company will surely trumpet their increase in year-over-year sales. That, and having the number one game at retail for the month of February, Crackdown will also help. 1up’s article also further details the rest of the software charts for the month.
Read More | 1up
What do you get if you combine DDR and a Piano? Piano Wizard! The Piano Wizard teaches basic music notation and piano playing skills in a somewhat childish interface. Don’t get me wrong - it sounds like a great idea for kids, but the company seems to be marketing it at ages 4-40, and I’m not so so sure if it will succeed in the teen and up market.
Check out the video for it’s DDR-tastic interface, and some hot MIDI love.
We met with Dan Shapiro from Ontela here at CES and learned more about their coming mobile photography technology. The average consumer takes more than 150 pictures with their cell phone each year, and does nothing with them - they sit on the phone, unprinted, unsent, and unappreciated. Ontela’s technology automatically transfers photos from your phone to your home computer using your phone’s internet connection.
The Ontela technology is brain dead simple: the trigger for the transfer is as simple as clicking the shutter button. Once you have taken your photo it’s sent to the computer, effectively giving you a computer hard drive sized memory card. You can also choose to have the Ontela service transfer the photos to Flickr, Kodak, or other services for you automatically.
The technology is being sold to carriers and is not available yet, but will be appearing in phones soon - stay tuned for more information on this fantastically simple way to get your photos off your phone, and in to your life.
At the Showstoppers event here at CES, we stopped by and chatted it up with Dave Mathews of SlingBox, where he gave us a look at the new Windows Vista SlingPlayer. Check out the walkthrough in this episode.
Jake Ludington and Sparky take a close look at Pinnacle Mobile Media Organizer in this episode. The software aims to make your life super simple as it pertains to getting your video content onto your PSP and iPod, as well as managing that content.
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Microsoft’s Xbox Team has offered up a little insight into the development effort that went behind the launch of the HD DVD player. 4.7 million lines of code seems a bit much, but knowing that all of the audio and video codecs had to be developed in software puts this complexity into context. According the the Xbox Team, all of the following had to be implemented in software for the HD DVD to play back discs.
- Video Codecs: H.264, MPEG-2, VC1
- Audio Codecs: Dolby Digital+, DTS, TrueHD, LPCM, MPEG
- HDi: The HD DVD runtime engine.
- GDI: Drawing stuff like menus
- AACS: Cryptography/DRM stuff
- MF: Audio/Video pipeline
According to the team, the HD DVD decoding software utilizes all six Xbox 360 hardware threads to play back video, possibly pushing the console harder than any other software title besides Gears of War. While one can appreciate the effort that Microsoft has made in bringing the HD DVD player to market, one also has to note the all of the additional complications that next generation video formats seem to hold for the average consumer.
Read More | Xbox Team
11:30: TypePad is a hosted blogging service that gives you a 30-day free trial. Keywords are very important. What words do people use when they try to find your product or service? This aids in choosing a TypePad subdomain for your blog address.
11:35: Dave takes everything through the basic TypePad setup process. Filling in fields, choosing a domain, Terms of Service, etc.
11:38: Question - Are you giving traffic to Six Apart rather than to yourself when going with a hosted blogging service? The blog should be subset of your domain. You can redirect your domain from TypePad through their interface, forwarding your TypePad blog to your personal site.
11:43: Focusing on title of the blog - again, focus on keywords here. Then moves to choosing a TypePad layout template. The further down content is on a page, the less relevant to Google. As for sidebar, 2 column right is much better than 2 column left as far as ranking.
11:49: Password-protected blogs are an option, which is great for private communication or corporate blogs.
11:56: Dave goes on to show the TypePad interface and posts a blog post right from the stage.
According to a Reuters report, Sony will not be lowering the price of the PSP in 2006. The news agency talked with John Koller, product manager for the PSP. Koller also promised 110 titles for the PSP by the end of the year, nearly doubling the amount of software available for the handheld.
IGN’s PSP release list currently shows about 70 titles due to hit before the end of the year; the additional 40 would be a huge change to that list. Koller could possibly be talking about the PSP download service, but Sony hasn’t really made any announcements about this service in the United States. Gamers have complained about the lack of compelling releases on the PSP; adding 110 titles might help in that regard. Though every title released this holiday season won’t be a winner, there are a number of high profile games scheduled to hit Sony’s handheld by the end of the year, including Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, Lumines II, SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 2, and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops.
Read More | Reuters
Famitsu recently released the pricing and availability information for a bunch of the Playstation 3 launch window titles in Japan, and Game|Life has a translation. The price list shows information for six of the launch day titles, and three launch window titles, ranging from 5040 Yen ($43) for budget titles to the high end of 8190 Yen ($70) for Armored Core 4. The other titles fall somewhere between the two, with first party titles like Resistance: Fall of Man and Genji 2 priced at 5980 Yen, about $50, and third-party titles like Ridge Racer 7 and Sonic The Hedgehog falling between 7140 Yen ($61) to 7329 Yen ($62). So, at least for right now, it looks like gamers in Japan can expect pretty standard next generation game pricing with only the occasional wallet buster.
Read More | Game|Life