sporeI’ll be here the rest of the week filling in for Ian. Don’t worry, he’ll be back next week.

Here’s what has been going on the past few days in the gaming world:

Spore is not coming out until 2008. Not much else to say.

In more positive news, the new 360 system update should be waiting when you crank up "old reliable" this evening. Included in the update package are revolutionary advances like a display of what disc is in the tray and now you get a message describing which specific achievement you’ve unlocked while ruining my online experience. Thanks, jerk.

As it’s pretty much a "meh" update, I’m just hoping this doesn’t cause smoke to come out of my 360’s ears, which of course is demonstrated by two red lights.

With it being graduation time around this fine land, many site are pointing out that Microsoft Interactive Entertainment head Peter Moore just received his doctorate from the Sony Institute of Public Relations.

In a recent interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Moore responded to reader questions including one asking if he’d admit the 360’s failure rate was greater than claimed. Moore responded:

I can’t comment on failure rates, because it’s just not something – it’s a moving target. What this consumer should worry about is the way that we’ve treated him. Y’know, things break, and if we’ve treated him well and fixed his problem, that’s something that we’re focused on right now. I’m not going to comment on individual failure rates because I’m shipping in 36 countries and it’s a complex business.

Why would he say that when everyone knows gamers have a heightened bullshit meter, especially after Phil Harrison personally calibrated every one in the past 5 months? Why does Moore instead point out how much better “Henry” has gotten at reading the MS Help site and saying “sorry” over and over again.

The reason is that he has no reason to admit the failure rates.

While I wish he would have given the Bartlett “Yeah, I screwed you on that one” response, saying something like “yes, our failure rates have sucked, but as we’ve shown we’re committed to improving our production and keeping those consumers," but come on. Microsoft has been handing out 360 failure rate bullshit since day one and it’s been working out fine for them. So while its important to point out their garbage statements they put out there, I just don’t see a shift in PR policy anything soon.

And yes, I oversimplifying everything, there is more to the 360 and you’ll read about that in the next Bit Players Roundtable. Synergy!

A teaser site has popped up for a new Final Fantasy title on PSP, Final Fantasy: Dissidia. And you thought you getting out of here without a Final Fantasy story. While details will be revealed at this weekend’s Square Enix Party in Japan, fan speculation has already cause a little Oh Don Piano to break out on the networks.

The teaser site says that game is part of Final Fantasy’s 20th anniversary,* which means of course that is just has to be the long rumored compilation game that was originally devised as Final Fantasy Gaiden, which then became Final Fantasy IX. Also because the site describes the game as “dramatic progressive action” rather than a RPG, this has been deemed to mean “action game.” I’ll wait for this weekend and some details, but hopefully this will being an interesting diversion rather than the further bastardization of one of the world’s biggest (and respected) franchises.

Finally, Final Fight landed on the Virtual Console yesterday and Double Dragon drops on XBLA today. Pit Fighter hits never. Here’s the rest of the releases this week:

(Nothing. Way to keep that momentum!)

Wii (VC)
Final Fight
Mighty Bomb Jack

Xbox 360
Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars

Double Dragon

Driver 76
Winx Club: Join the Club

Classic Action: Devilish

Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam

That’s it for today.

*20th anniversary, really? I’m getting up there.