Here’s a look back at the week that was in the world of gaming:
Seems Like Old Times
When it came to PR and marketing leading up to the “Next-Gen” launch, Microsoft and Sony had only one goal, destroy the enemy.
A day couldn’t pass without some “rumor” popping-up about how the PS3 would be delayed until the next ice age or that a 360 had kidnapped JonBenet. Eventually (probably because Sony decided to go Peter Weller on its foot), there was some semblance of a détente between the two and Microsoft and Sony focused their negative energy on why the Wii was inferior, unreliable and would ultimately fail.
This era of mild feelings between Microsoft and Sony even lasted through launch. This, of course, was because the two companies were too occupied dealing with their own misteps, including adjusting to a market neither had predicted. But in the E3 aftermath, it looks like old foes Microsoft and Sony are beginning, once again, to set their sights on each other.
Last week Sony VP of marketing Peter Dille and Microsoft’s former Corporate VP of Interactive Entertainment, Peter Moore, both threw some haymakers at the other’s console. Dille, when asked about the 360’s long term success, answered “[i]s this a 10 year product? And by the way, it doesn’t even work. Do they want to be selling it for 10 years and refurbishing them all for 10 more years? I don’t think that’s a 10 year product.”
Moore when asked about 360’s lackluster performance in Japan, instead of answering, decided to take a shot at Sony claiming “[t]hat’s probably a better question for Sony who’s getting outsold by what, 6-to-1? You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling.”
I’m not sure if this is a random occurrence or the reheating of a bitter feud. My immediate guess is that after eight months, Microsoft and Sony, realizing the Wii is bulletproof and in a different genus than their consoles, have decided that the other is the true competition. I just can’t wait for the “rumor” that one of these consoles gives you Lyme’s Disease.
Executive Comment of the Week
You have to feel for Mr. Personality, Jack Trenton. From all accounts he’s an alright guy, but last week he pulled a Harrison during an interview with GamePro. When asked to make an analogy between the consoles and food he said:
[t]he PS3 is the Surf ‘n Turf. You want the lobster and steak and you’re going to give yourself the treat of getting the best thing on the menu. The PS2 is your favorite burger restaurant — you go there for comfort food and it’s just always good and is a good value.
[As for the Wii and 360] one is a lollipop, and I’m too old for lollipops. The other one I get sick from once in a while because the cook isn’t always reliable.
It’s a functional analogy, but I imagine Sony investors would much rather be in the “lollipop” business. I know they wish that their executives would get out the PR business.
When You Turn It On, Aeris Is Still Dead
Earlier this week, Sony announced in honor of Final Fantasy VII’s tenth anniversary that they were releasing 77,777 Special Edition Final Fantasy VII PSPs.
Something I’ve will never understand is the special edition console. They usually offer nothing beyond the standard edition and in two or three years you’re stuck with a console you can’t pawn off because its got a giant fucking logo that no one wants.
What I really hate though is that this is the Final Fantasy title that gets the Special Edition treatment. Final Fantasy VII is, without a doubt, the most overrated entry into the series. Beyond the 3D elements, this game is a massive step down from the previous entry and is more dated than Mortal Kombat on Genesis. Instead, people for the last ten years have had a massive hard-on for the game, while earlier and superior editions go unnoticed. If someone wants to praise Final Fantasy VII’s impact because of its fiscal success, fine. But if you think it’s a top-level entry, then you need to stop breathing, immediately.
The Name Game
On Tuesday, EA unleashed NCAA Football ’08, leading sports gamers to make their yearly visit to PSXSports.com. Because of NCAA regulations, instead of using the real players names, the game only uses positions and jersey numbers (i.e. Michigan’s Michael Hart is listed as “RB #20”). Seeing how incredibly lame it is to have QB #7 throwing touchdown passes to WR #80, the game allows the player to manually change the names of the athletes.
For the past few years, PSX Sports has been posting on its website complete rosters for all the teams featured the game. PSXSports, additionally, offers to upload the information onto a memory card for the suggested donation of $4.
I understand EA’s anger toward a guy who’s making money off of their IP, but frankly, I couldn’t care less. What does piss me off is that NCAA allows EA to rip-off the identities of these athletes (the game includes RB #20’s height, weight, race and hometown), and instead of paying them, bitches about other people making money off “their” product.
All in the name of the student-athlete.
That’s all for now.