Friday, March 21, 2008

PSP takes top spot in Japanese hardware charts again

This is becoming a trend, isn't it? Once again, PSP manages to climb its way to the top of the Japanese hardware sales charts, besting even Nintendo's almighty DS and Wii consoles. With 57,651 units sold last week, Sony's handheld is already inching towards selling one million units in Japan this year. The sales spike is surprising, considering the most major release this week was echochrome.

  1. PSP - 57,651

  2. WII - 55,845

  3. NDS - 53,266

  4. PS3 - 14,934

  5. PS2 - 9,930

  6. 360 - 1,744
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Disgaea gets boxart, limited multiplayer

With the Disgaea franchises finally hitting the DS, we were wondering how the look of the new game would compare to other entries in the series. We solved that mystery. Now, we're solving another mystery, courtesy of the information available from Siliconera pertaining to the boxart for the Japanese release of the game.

That is nowhere near the only item of note, however. Aside from the boxart, Siliconera managed to confirm that multiplayer functionality will be making its way into the DS game (along with the other confirmed extras). The only feature known as of right now is the ability to go 1-on-1 over wireless and the odds of Wi-Fi implementation making its way into the title are slim at best. Sad, but hey, at least there's some multiplayer.

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U.S. boxart for Wii Fit celebrates diversity

The final package design for Nintendo's Wii Fit bundle (game and the Balance Board) does, in fact, feature diversity through not only the ethnic backgrounds of each individual on the cover, but also through their age, and even down to the different play styles one can enjoy Wii Fit with. It's a celebration of individuality and, also, a smart way to market a product.

It just shows people, predominantly displayed as they participate in the activities the bundle offers. Nothing to read, nothing to think about, just a visual representation of what you're in for should you sign up. It's a good way to sell it to the mass-market crowd that the Wii has been such a success with.

[Via NeoGAF] Thanks!
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Wii Exercise tries to outwit Wii Fit

It's not exactly like Wii Fit; there's no balance board, and it seems there's a lack of minigames. Instead, Wii Exercise focuses on a nutrition program and a set of boxing moves to help gamers get fit. So, balance board or nutrition program? It's hard to argue with Nintendo on their own turf, but both titles may be worth looking at for those really interested in using their consoles to get into shape.

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Social networks: popular not profitable

Is it possible that major media companies have spent billions developing, buying and selling something that isn't really a business? The answer is yes, according to a recent article in The Economist, which argues that one should not confuse the popularity of social networks like MySpace and Facebook with a business model.

Comparing social networks to free email programs like Gmail and Hotmail, The Economist rejected high valuations that seem to have become the norm in the space. No doubt the article comes in the wake of AOL's recent decision to spend $850 million on Bebo, a social network that isn't all that popular globally and hardly rates at all in the U.S.

While social networks have been able to sell ads on sites that boast massive page views, even industry insiders like Google co-founder Sergey Brin have confessed that monetizing the space hasn't exactly panned out.

But according to The Economist, a lack of a revenue model likely won't slow down social networks as a phenomenon, given the eagerness of users to find and join new social networks. 

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Metal Gear Solid Hits Japanese Archives

The latest update to the growing lineup of games in the Japanese Game Archive service could be the biggest yet just because of one title: Metal Gear Solid.

Sony Japan announced today the next batch of titles for the service, and the original PlayStation entry in Hideo Kojima's mega series is the headliner. Joining it are Crash Bandicoot Carnival, Atelier Erie Zarlburg Alchemist 2, Pro Mahjong Goku Plus II, Master of Monsters, and Desiemon Kids.

All titles are 600 yen and are playable on both the PlayStation 3 and PSP.

©2008-03-21, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Summon Night: Twin Age Headed For North America

Atlus U.S.A., Inc. has announced that the latest entry in the Summon Night saga is headed to the shores of North America. Summon Night: Twin Age will be released for the Nintendo DS on May 20, and will be an action RPG controlled by the stylus.

Summon Night: Twin Age will feature multiple story paths, and endings, additional New Game+ content, and a fully functional stylus-based interface. Also available will be a wide variety of items, weapons, skills and the ability to build relationships with party members.

The story will follow the human girl Reiha, a prodigy of summon magic, and the Summon Beast Aldo, who was pulled into the human world during a summoning accident caused by the budding powers of Reiha. After growing up as brother and sister, the two investigate reports of strange spirit behavior, which will lead them to where they were first brought together.

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Counting Rupees: The year of the PS3

Apparently, 2008 is the year of the PS3. After what most consider a very shaky first year, the media is abuzz with a comeback for the company that was once king of consoles. EGM's March issue proudly proclaims on its cover that it's "The Revenge of the PS3". EDGE's December issue was entitled "The Empire Strikes Back" and even Joystiq's PS3 Fanboy has given us 10 reasons why the PS3 is back in the swing of things. Some analysts have proclaimed that the PS3 will do at least as well as the 360 in 2008, and others have the PS3 edging out the 360 by 2010 or even the Wii by 2011. Clearly, everyone is pointing to 2008 being a turning point of sorts for the Cell-powered beast. But is it actually true?

Let's focus on, at least initially, Sony's battle against the 360. Certainly, the PS3 has a lot of things going for it. Blu-ray has officially won the next-gen DVD war; upcoming games, such as Metal Gear Solid 4, Killzone 2, and LittleBigPlanet show tremendous potential; and it has seemingly found a price point that people are willing to pay (as they did originally for the 360). In the US, at least so far this year, Sony has managed to outsell the 360 according to January and February NPD figures. But will it be enough?

Continue reading Counting Rupees: The year of the PS

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Jesus Mii invites us to Easter services

Filed under: ,

The fad of creating everyone's favorite non-secular celebrity in Nintendo's Mii Channel is far from new. What is new, however, is using the holy caricature in an advertisement for Easter services.

In a (successful [and adorable]) attempt to capitalize on the continued popularity of the Nintendo Wii, the Mission Bay Community Church in San Francisco has adorned their ads for holy week with the pint-sized Jesus Mii.

Christened with the tagline "Come and Follow Mii," and including a very confused bunny, the ad is surprisingly well put-together, and definitely gives the impression that the church knows their audience. Kudos to them for the slick design.

[Via Eurogamer]

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Rock Band Store launches, is awesome

The much-improved Rock Band store announced to the world yesterday is now available on Xbox Live and PSN. A 30-second download and installation gives players access to the streamlined song-buying interface, which features audio previews and individual instrument difficulties for each song, as well as a much simpler way to sort and browse through the growing selection of music.

Besides the cool new store, we're also extremely gratified by the much-needed faster loading of DLC provided by the patch. After a one-time file creation upon the first post-patch load, the annoying little "loading additional content" animation was reduced from roughly ten seconds to about one second in our tests on Xbox Live. The physical "download data file" that actually speeds up the process takes up a paltry 112KB on our system, meaning there's no reason not to rock out faster!
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Gibson Sues Guitar Hero Retailers "Reluctantly" [Guitar Hero]

The feud between Guitar Hero publisher Activision and guitar manufacturer Gibson raged on today, with Gibson responding to Activision's statement from earlier today. Activision implied that Gibson cried patent violation only after the marketing agreement between the two fully dissolved, and that it believes "Gibson's claims are disingenuous and lack any justification."

Gibson publicly fired back this afternoon, saying that it filed suit reluctantly and "is required to protect its intellectual property and will continue to do so against any other person in accordance with the law and its rights." The full statement about all this hubbub, from Gibson's perspective is after the jump.

Press Statement from Gibson Guitar in Regards to Guitar Hero Retailer Lawsuit

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On Monday, March 17th, Gibson Guitar Corp. brought a lawsuit against various retailers, which are selling Guitar Hero products that are infringing on one of Gibson Guitar's U.S. patents. Gibson Guitar took this action reluctantly, but is required to protect its intellectual property and will continue to do so against any other person in accordance with the law and its rights.

Gibson had tried to settle this issue by negotiating directly with Activision as soon as the patent filed through one of Gibson's divisions was discovered and validated by outside counsel. Activision chose to initiate litigation without notice to Gibson. Now Gibson must pursue enforcement of its patent which predates the launch of the Guitar Hero game by several years.

Gibson is known worldwide for producing classic models in every major style of fretted instrument, including acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins, and banjos. Gibson's HD.6X-PRO Digital Guitar and the Gibson Robot Guitar represent the biggest advances in electric guitar design in over 70 years. Founded in 1894 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and headquartered in Nashville since 1984, Gibson Guitar Corp.'s family of brands now includes Epiphone, Dobro, Maestro, Kramer, Steinberger, Tobias, Echoplex, Electar, Flatiron, Gibson Baldwin Music Education, Slingerland, Valley Arts, Maestro, Oberheim, Sunshine Piano, Take Anywhere Technology, Baldwin, J&C Fischer, Chickering, Hamilton, and Wurlitzer. Gibson's website is

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Ikaruga Rumored To Hit XBLA By April [Xbox Live Arcade]

When Microsoft announced the HD remake of Ikaruga last September, it said it was "coming soon." Then nothin'. Then, back in January, we thought that the Xbox Live Arcade release of Treasure's vertically scrolling shooter was just around the bend, time-wise. We haven't heard a peep from it since, just the sound of tears hitting the floor.

But thanks to the newest issue of the Official Xbox Magazine (UK), we know that Ikaruga is already "Out Now." Obviously, it's not, but since it's from the April issue of the mag, we can certainly hope that it really, genuinely, totally is coming very, very soon. It didn't show up in a recent list of upcoming XBLA releases, but let's just hope MS is being coy.

OXM hints at imminent Ikaruga [Xbox 360 Fanboy]

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