While not the most important news in the gaming world, here are some stories from the past week:
For awhile now there have been rumors about the potential release of a thinner PSP model, but no real details had cometo light. Last Friday, however, details began to spill out about the new model, its obvious streamline design, longer battery life, and potential colors (oh make it white just so I can see those ads again). As speculation ran rampant about the release date, Sony on its new Playstation.Blog whose motto is “we can makes ourselves look just as bad as anyone else,” came out with a very lawyer-ly explanation: “[w]e haven’t announced anything about a new PSP . . . these reports floating around fall into the rumors/speculation category,” which translates to, “come on, just let us have this one. Things haven’t been great over here lately and we could really use the win.”
Despite Sony’s attempts to steer the community the other way, “PSP, Slim” is filed under “inevitable” right next to “PS3, Price Drop” at Sony HQ. Over the past ten years, Nintendo has demonstrated that handheld console double-dipping is a very lucrative enterprise.
As the PSP is the most popular game machine right behind the DS*, is there any reason why Sony wouldn’t want to boost sales of its only winner? So sure Sony, I believe you when you say you don’t have a new PSP in the hopper, because international corporations with decreasing sales just love leaving easy money on the table.
The 360 Strikes Back
It’s been quite a strategic week at the old Xbox HQ. Late last week, Microsoft in its cool calculated Destro sort of way, hinted at price drops just in time for Christmas. While many see this as a response to the Sony rumors of price reductions (how very high school of everyone), Microsoft denies the report citing the excellent sales of the newly released Elite and its “insanely great portfolio of games.” Apparently, having a catalogue which consists of 90% shooters, 5% sports simulators, 4% mind-numbing RPGs that each last 1000-hours and 1% “miscellaneous” (aka those silly critically acclaimed games no one buys) is “insanely great.” Also insanely great is a console that is 50% unreliable and 100% overpriced.
Enough business week, onto politics.
Yesterday there was an interesting story coming out of the only newspaper that Rupert Murdoch or Rev. Moon doesn’t own, Star and Stripes. The military-based newspaper recounts how the Wii has played in the rehabilitation efforts of American soldiers wounded while on duty. The article cites to soldiers being able to change “long and boring” rehab sessions into enjoyable experiences using the Wii. While it’s a cute story that makes you feel encouraged about the troops, a few minutes after reading it I thought, “that’s the best the U.S. Government can come up with, someone else’s video game machine?”
For all the money the U.S. Government has sunk into the military, especially during War on Terror, they haven’t come up with a better rehab solution than the fucking Wii? Hell, maybe this the foundation of our storied armed forces. What’s next, “well we would have found Bin Laden by now, but they keep delaying Metroid Prime 3. How the hell else are we supposed to train? But if Iran ever challenges us to a cook-off, we’ll be ready.” Fuck.
In wet-dream news, a few blogs went erect over a story that media friendly Congressman Robert Wexler proposed a bill to exempt “games of skill” from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The idea was to exempt games based on “skill” like poker and chess (nerds), but still bar online games of “chance” like slots, blackjack and dating. Of course, bloggers went overboard and heralded the amendment as the first step toward gambling on console games like Halo.
Two comments. First, console gambling is never going to happen. How are hardcore gamers supposed to have money to gamble when they live in their parents’ basement? Second, anyone who likes the idea of gambling on console shooters should punch themselves in the cock. No better yet, I’ll do it for you.
I’ll suck your controller
Every time I go to bed after a marathon gaming session, I wake up my wife. It’s like they installed some sort of detection device while she was picking up the marriage license. Usually, I hear the same speech about it being 2 or 3 in the morning and it always ends with “I think your addicted to those things.” This of course, from a woman who has to play Tetris every night or she can’t sleep. Despite my claims that she sounds as crazy as a Protestant, the American Medical Association will soon make the decision on whether gaming addiction exists. And how will they make the decision, through the very scientific process of voting, of course.
I know, that’s how these things are done, but shouldn’t there be a more definitive process to determine whether a medical condition exists? One vote determines whether something is a serious psychological condition or hocus-pocus?
As for the what actual constitutes videogame addiction, I’ll let you read for yourself, but trust me, you’re a junkie.
That’s all for now.
*Some reports put it past the Wii in sales and some don’t. I’ll take the one that helps my argument.