We learned last week that Sony was dropping the 20GB SKU of the PS3 in North America, citing poor comparative sales to the 60GB version. GamesIndustry.biz now reports that, according to a patent filed with the FCC, it appears Sony is considering bringing a new, 80GB model to North American shores. A Sony rep mentions that their business strategy all along has been to respond to consumer demands. The problem with that is the discontinuation of the 20GB model doesn’t exactly line up with consumer demands, given the lopsided supply of the two SKUs. This move makes sense, though, as a riposte to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Elite announcement; I just hope we don’t get suckered into participating in a pissing match over storage space, when there are much better things to be urinating about.
In other Sony news, GamaSutra links us to a story about Sony Europe, which is considering cutting staff by 10%. An internal memo chooses its words carefully, and suggests that in order to maintain a numble business, there must be some reduction in staffing. The e-mail also lets us know that first meetings between employees and upper management will commence shortly after the 20th of this month. A cynical mind can’t help but wonder if this action is partially motivated by the relatively weak sales the PS3 has thus far scored in Europe.
Carcassonne, one of the finest gateway drugs into the world of tabletop gaming, will be appearing on the Xbox Live Arcade sometime in June, according to Gamespot. This, along with Settlers of Catan, represents a conspiracy to keep me rooted to my couch for days upon days. What are they planning? Will they be going through my fridge while I’m glued to the screen? What will happen to my wife? Someone has to stop these madmen before it’s too late.
Carcassonne is fun; I’m anxious to see how well the camaraderie of the tabletop community (which doesn’t even have a word for "noob") survives being ported to the asshole-populous realm of Live.
It’s Arcade Wednesday tomorrow, and Microsoft is gifting us with two new titles on the service. First up is 3D Ultra Minigolf Adventures, which will go for 800 MS points, and let you enjoy simple golf mechanics on 36 colorful holes. The other game is a resurrection of Konami’s old shoot-em-up Gyruss, which will go for 400 MS points. 1up has the details.
This is a long article, and difficult to summarize, but it’s worth your investment if you’re at all interested in candid, low-key interviews with prominent Japanese game developers, such as Suda 51, Hideo Kojima, Fumito Ueda, and Tetsuya Mizuguchi. The biggest nugget of good news comes in the final line: "So what is this thing about Snatcher? Expect to hear Kojima and Suda 51 talk about their secret project in a few days." There’s a game that deserves a sequel if ever there was one.