A research paper from Electronic Entertainment Design and Research has been released that suggests that games with online support can be crucial to a game’s retail success. Not surprisingly, another way to boost sales is to create a quality game (defined as those with a 90+ score on Metacritic), with these well-reviewed titles outselling the average release well above 5-to-1.
While making good games typically means making good money, naturally, it is a bit surprising to see the report indicate that sales can be doubled by dropping in an online mode. With online games selling twice the number copies that offline titles do, it’s curious to note that over half of games released don’t offer even basic online support.
Read More | Ars Technica
It looks like the Wii is turning the corner as far as compelling third-party content goes. Joining Zach & Wiki, Manhunt 2, and Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles at the cool kids table in the not-too-distant future is Trauma Center: New Blood, the sequel to the popular medical/supernatural/arm-flailing/impossible-to-categorize DS and Wii game. Hot from the Atlus oven is this premiere trailer, which shows off more of that cool anime-inspired character design, a brand new co-op mode, as well as some pretty stilted voice acting. Looks like a must-buy. What other game lets you draw five-pointed stars on an unconscious patient’s gaping wound to keep him from flatlining?
The Wii-exclusive Trauma Center: New Blood is slated to come out this holiday season.
Read More | IGN
Nintendo‘s popular arcadey racing game, Mario Kart is inevitably coming to the Wii. When it does, a blurb clipped from the Official Nintendo Magazine UK says it will support 16 players in the popular battle mode.
Mario Kart DS solidified the WiFi features of the handheld unit and it’s quite possible that the Wii version is being positioned to do the same.
As with earlier versions the Wii Mario Kart will include updated versions of older tracks (in this case Wii translations of DS tracks) as well as all new racing locations. Mario Kart for the Wii is scheduled to be released next spring.
There are six new games to choose from this week on Xbox Live Arcade and Virtual Console, though none of them are original games (which you expect from VC but even XBLA is arcade ports this week). Plus, most of this week’s games are relatively inexpensive with one exception.
Games this week include Bonk 3: Bonk’s Big Adventure, Adventure Island, Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole, Donkey Kong Jr. Math, Cyberball 2072 and Fatal Fury Special. Details for the releases are below.
Read More | Nintendo Press Release
In what has become a regular occurrence, Nintendo’s Wii handily outsold its closest console competition three-to-one in Japan for the month of August. However, it is interesting to note that the gap between the Wii and PS3 has lessened. In June, Nintendo’s console outsold the PS3 six-to-one and four-to-one in June and July, respectively.
Bloomberg reported the final August numbers as follows: Wii at 245,653, PS3 at 81,541, and the Xbox 360 lagging behind at around 11,000. The Wii’s August numbers bring the console to a whopping 3.4 million units sold in that country since its launch last year.
Read More | Next Generation
Despite Nintendo packaging the Wii as an internet-ready and capable device, they seem to still drag their feet whenever it comes to online gaming. The latest evidence of this is the eerie quiet surrounding the online features of the upcoming Guitar Hero III, broken by The Bits Bytes Pixels and Sprites when they contacted a Red Octane PR specialist, Bryan Lam about what Guitar Hero III will be like online with the Wii. He distressingly told BBPS, “We’re working closely with Nintendo for an online solution, though at the moment we’re unable to confirm the status of the online multi-player.”
Considering the other GHIII versions are all set to have online modes and there ought not to be any technical hurdles, this can really only mean Nintendo is having a hard time letting go of the secret to their ultimate online strategy which is so secret not even the consumers can figure out what it is. Online versus and co-op modes may be bad enough as possible omissions from the Wii version, but a follow-up from BBPS suggests that the same hurdles exist for downloadable content as well. While it’s difficult to determine why Nintendo would want to feature-deprive third party developers from online action, it’s even less comprehensible why they would cut off money-making endeavors like song packs as well.
What’s this now? A third-party Wii game that (a) isn’t a lazy PS2 port and (b) actually looks pretty cool? Yes, it looks like Zach and Wiki will have some company on the Wii in the near future. Backbone, the developers of Death Jr. for the PSP, are cooking up a brand new IP exclusively for Nintendo’s Wii. Monster Lab is a story-driven Action RPG that’s all about customization. Indeed, the object of the game is to build, enhance, and accesorize monsters to fight against each other in turn-based combat. The Wii’s motion control comes into play in the creation process through minigames, where players will throw brains into empty heads, hoping to maximize their monster’s power. On hand to make sure that it all doesn’t devolve into complete minigame aimlessness is comic book writer Adam Beechen, who is scripting the game.
The very promising Monster Lab will be published by Eidos and is being groomed for a Summer 2008 release.
Read More | NeoGAF
This week on XBox Live Arcade comes the anticipated and graphically enhanced arcade cult classic Super Street Fighter Puzzle HD Remix. In addition to upping the graphical fidelity on the game, Capcom has also rebalanced the game with the new X’ mode, although the original version will also be available. The game will cost 800 Microsoft Points.
On Wii‘s Virtual Console this week seems to be sequel week, with the Contra sequel Super C (previously available on XBox Live Arcade) for 500 Wii Points, the SNES role-playing classic Breath of Fire II for 800 Wii Points and the Sega Genesis version of Ghouls n’ Ghosts, the follow-up to Ghosts n’ Goblins for another 800 Wii Points.
Game Informer has an interview up with Valve‘s Gabe Newell where he discusses the upcoming Orange Box which will include Half-Life 2 plus Episodes 1 and 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2. From the interview:
Episode Two was really helped by Episode One, believe it or not. I think that we’ll continue to get the hang of it. It’s a pretty big deal to throw a bunch of wrenches into your development process and say, “We’re going to try to do this differently now.” We’ve learned a lot. If we’re right, the fans we’ll let us know, and if we’re wrong, they’ll let us know. (laughs) I think they’re going to be pretty happy. I think they’re going to be really, really happy with the Orange Box in what we’ve been able to pull off, and a lot of it is based on their feedback from what we did with Episode One.
Newell also briefly weighs in on the Wii, casually dismissing the lesser hardware specs compared with the other next gen consoles saying, “I think it’s more interesting than just graphics chip – CPU combination. It’s the machine I have at home.”
Read More | Game Informer
According to the latest NPD report, the video game industry generated almost a billion dollars of sales in the month of July. Nintendo’s Wii led the charge with an absolutely astounding 425,000 units sold. The Wii was followed by the PS2, which sold 220,000 units. The Xbox 360 sold 170,000 units, once again beating the PS3, which sold 159,000 units. On the portable side of things, the Nintendo DS sold a whopping 405,000 units, while the PSP moved 214,000 units. Overall console sales are up almost 43% from this period last year.
All of this begs the question: Where are people finding the Wii in such great numbers? I haven’t seen one in a store since the beginning of the year, but somehow Nintendo keeps selling hundreds of thousands of them every month.
Read More | Next Generation