Today's News (Tuesday, September 5, 2000)
MATSUSHITA'S GAMECUBE COMPATIBLE THING
The rumors going around the Japan media last weekend were more than a little harsh for Nintendo -
Matsushita, the electro-giant that created the media and copy protection bits for Nintendo's next-gen Gamecube
console, were supposedly cancelling development on their own DVD-compatible version of the unit (codename X21).
It got to the point where Matsushita had to hold a press conference yesterday to officially deny the
reports and give out some details on their machine.
|Cube, from Live a
Live, is doing well.|
Will we soon be able to
play DVDs with him, too?
The given reason for development cancellation was the fact that Nintendo switched from DVD technology
to the proprietary eight-cm optical discs shown off at Spaceworld a while back. If Matsushita were to make
a DVD-compatible Gamecube, then, it'd have to include compatibility for both regular DVDs and GC discs,
sending the price skywards. Matsushita rep Fumio Ohtsubo, while recognizing this in the press conference,
emphasized that their relationship with Nintendo was rock-solid and that they hope to absorb the extra
cost during the development phase. The DVD-compatible Gamecube is slated to go on sale in July of 2001,
right with Nintendo's own machine.
All Matsushita needs to do to make X21 remotely popular is to take a Gamecube, put some cheap DVD playing
technology inside it, and sell it for less than the PlayStation 2 (still at 39,000 or so yen in Japan but undoubtedly
going down in price before next July). Oh, and a remote control would be lovely.
If the X21 does find a release
right alongside the Gamecube, then the two systems combined could become a viable response to the PS2's
marketable advantages. But then there are Microsoft's things to worry about...
TGS FALL 2000 PRELIMINARIES ANNOUNCED
CESA (Computer Entertainment Software Association) announced some preliminary info on the fall 2000
Tokyo Game Show. So far eighteen game companies
have announced the general contents of their booths, and it looks like the show will be even more boring
than previously expected with Sega's and Square's absence.
|Not even an army of robot|
cats with boingy mallets could make me go
to Japan for this one
As far as games go, TGS might as well not happen - the most interesting thing to Western audiences
announced so far is Onimusha, and you've been able to play that elsewhere before, I think. Tecmo's
got Dead or Alive 2 out, Taito's featuring some power-shovel-driving-sim, and Sony is showing
unspecified fall/winter-release games. (Jaleco's got a couple things too - maybe I was a little hasty in
calling them totally deceased. They've got a PS2 port of horror action jobbie Carrier and a game called
Dream Audition 2 where you test out your singing abilities with a Seaman-type mike.)
In this lull, the only fun is undoubtedly going to be whatever
announcements Microsoft sees fit to release concerning Xbox. That, and being able once again to buy
exclusive Tokimeki Memorial junk from Konami...
In the late summer doldrums, most of the action (such as it is) is happening over at the 2000 ECTS in
London. There is all sorts of information on the show, including screenies of Zone of the Enders and Sega's new
Daytona game, at C&VG and other
Psikyo, a tiny company mostly specializing in 2D arcade shootemups that help fill in empty spaces in Japanese
arcades, announced their first PS2 title, and [disinterested voice] it's a Ping-Pong game [groans from audience].
Tentatively titled Iku ze! Onsen Takkyu, the game will get its first tryout at TGS. The only real feature I know about
it right now is that it'll feature Ai Fukuhara,
11-year-old Japanese table tennis phenom, as a character. Man, the US Ping-Pong team must really suck if they're
being beaten by little girls. [Apologies to any US Table Tennis Team members reading. -ed]
|Super Puzzle Bobble for PS2.|
Not especially PS2-y
Taito launched a site for their new PS2 game Super Puzzle Bobble.
Looking nice and.... samey to me. It's coming out on the 28th for 5800 yen ($55).
And finally, some network news. Dwango, net-game system developer, scared up some more money from SCE and Sega's Isao network section by
selling some more stock to them (about two and a half million bucks' worth), and Bandai created a subsidiary for
their net operations. This is beginning to become a fad... is network gaming going to take over in console-land the way it
did in Computerworld? I hope not, either.
I woke up at 3pm today and I need to get up at 8pm tomorrow. A somewhat concerned
fen signs off...