New Xbox Next Year?
Just a few weeks ago, I mentioned a rumor that Sony and Microsoft wouldn't release new consoles until 2014. That seemed plausible to me at the time, and, to be honest, it still does. However, Billy Pidgeon, an analyst at M3 Research, says that Microsoft may move more quickly than that.
Specifically, Pidgeon argues that if Xbox 360 sales slow by the beginning of the next year or so, the company will feel pressured to show its successor (and possibly a Kinect successor as well) at E3 2012. If that happens, we could see an Xbox 3 (or whatever) in stores as early as Christmas that year.
This wouldn't be entirely shocking. After all, we gamers tend to abandon consoles by the five-year mark, and the 360 has already passed that. If the Kinect can't recapture our interest—and I, for one, have not been inspired to buy one yet—Microsoft's Xbox people will have to choose between sitting around not making money (not something they're good at) and taking a risk with a new machine.
Personally, I'm in no hurry to drop hundreds of dollars on another console—especially considering that, as I've mentioned before, most current games don't even max out the console power we already have. I wouldn't mind an Xbox with Blu-Ray capability, though.
Better Late Than Never
We saw two examples of this cliché this week.
First, Nintendo announced that Chrono Trigger—one of the most popular, time-tested, and well-made RPGs ever to appear on a Nintendo system—is coming to the Wii's Virtual Console on Monday for $8. Maybe I should just be happy, but my first reaction was: what took them so long? I understand the desire to spread out the major releases, and maybe there were technical or legal issues along the way, but how could almost five years go by between the introduction of the Virtual Console and the debut of Chrono Trigger? Did they just want to give the DS version time to snag some suckers at its higher $20 price tag?
Also, remember Civilization V? It's a great game; I gave it a 4.7/5 when I reviewed it here at Cheat Code Central. Here's one sentence from that review: "The developers have promised PitBoss, play-by-mail, hot seat, modding, and matchmaking modes will be added in the near future."
That was almost eight months ago, and only now have the developers gotten around to adding a hot seat mode. Seriously, how difficult is it to make it possible for different players to take turns at the same computer? I'm not a programmer myself, but I imagine that would be a walk in the park for people who can make a game as gloriously complex and polished as Civ 5.
3DS eShop Delayed?
The reaction to Nintendo's 3DS has been pretty positive so far, but some people have expressed frustration that the eShop wasn't available at launch. Well, they'll have to wait even longer than they planned; the store has been delayed from late May to June 6, right around the time of Nintendo's E3 conference. It's not the worst thing that could happen, but it certainly doesn't make the company look very good.
Remembering the Arcade
Like the Atari Jaguar and the SEGA 32X, the video game arcade is a thing of the past. Though these quarter-sucking businesses still thrive in some areas of the world, they're nearly impossible to find in the U.S. One of the last great ones, the half-century-old Chinatown Fair in New York, closed in February. Some of the best gamers made a habit of hanging out there, and, judging by the photos, the place had a lot of character. I regret to say that I'd lived in the Big Apple for three years by the time it closed, and yet I never got to check it out. (I mean, who goes to arcades in this country?)
Fortunately, however, some documentary filmmakers are working on a project called Arcade: The Last Night at Chinatown Fair. The creative funding group Kickstarter is raising money for the film. They've already passed their goal of $20,000, so hopefully that means a finished product will hit the market reasonably soon.
PSN to Return by May 31?
Our long national nightmare might be over soon; Sony hopes to have PSN services "fully" restored by the end of the month. Obviously, this has been an incredibly frustrating experience for PlayStation owners, but it's even more so for Sony itself. Especially if new Nintendo and Microsoft consoles are on the way as early as next year. The company desperately needs to get back on the right foot with its customers. Hopefully, Sony will take more care with its security in the future.
By Robert VerBruggen
CCC Senior Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*