Slave to the Game

Filling you in on the oddball gaming news

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The maker of exploding batteries and expensive entertainment consoles that few wanted, Sony has finally cut the price of its PS3 - sort of.

The firm has released a new version of the PS3 which is only $399 but cannot play PS2 games, lacks a memory card reader and reduces the number of USB ports from four to two. Its hard-drive is shrunk from 60GB to 40GB.

According to Associated Press the machine will still run Blu-ray Disc movies.

It is hoped that the cut down player will attract more attention than the earlier model which was taking a canning from Microsoft's Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii.

However even at that price and spec, the PS3 is still the most expensive console on the market.

Sony thinks the biggest problem it will have is not playing the PS2 games, however its research discovered that PS3 owners were not using the console to play PS2 games anyway


Nintendo will be offering up nothing but disappointment to tens of thousands of kids this holiday season.

The red-hot video game company, whose stock has more than doubled this year on the runaway strength of the Wii game console, said it cannot keep up with demand and that U.S. consumers should expect shortages this holiday season.

Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo of America, didn't give any precise reasons for the snafu, and George Harrison, the company's marketing chief, said Nintendo was making the Wii consoles as fast as they can.

"The challenge is in demand, not supply," he told The Post.

The $250 Wii, introduced Nov. 19, 2006, also was in short supply last holiday season.

Since then, U.S. consumers have bought five million of the 11 million Wii consoles sold worldwide.

"I think there is a real possibility [the shortages] started as good marketing but turned into an ugly reality," said Ricardo Torres, editorial director of

That ugly reality could cost the company millions.

The typical Wii user buys about three games at about $40 a pop, according to the statistical site GameMetrics. That means for every 20,000 Wiis not sold because of the shortage, Nintendo is losing about $7.4 million in revenue.

Just last month the Wii became the best-selling console over Microsoft's popular XBox 360 and Sony's ailing PlayStation 3, pulling a virtual hat trick by making the Wii the must-have device in North America, Europe and Japan.

In July, Sony slashed the price of its lower-tier PlayStation 3 to $499 but it wasn't enough to gain ground on the Wii. And Microsoft's XBox 360 is scrambling to have a proper encore to its best-selling "Halo 3." "Microsoft appears to have an edge with 'Halo,' but who's not going to have it by Christmas?" Torres said.


The Xbox 360 DVD-ROM drive has been a big issue for Xbox 360 owners, certain versions of the drives were reportedly making scratches on Xbox 360 discs and Microsoft has admitted that some drives did, but said it was a minor issue.

Lite-On can now make up for it and produce some great drives for the console as it has landed an order from Microsoft to manufacture DVD-ROM drives for the Xbox360. And when Microsoft is ordering, Lite-On threats them well, as it has given top priority to Microsoft's orders in allocating its total production capacity, according to sources from the ODD components industry in Taiwan.

These sources also talk about nearly one million drives that Microsoft has orderded and which it expects to ship due to the coming holiday season when the company will heavily promote the Xbox 360.

And according to Digitimes, the company had to shift capacity which conflicted with Lite-On IT's production of PC-use ODDs


Hot on the heels of a price reduction for all Xbox 360 consoles, Microsoft is now giving holiday buyers even more value by including two great games with every Xbox 360 console and Xbox 360 Elite, a retail savings of $90 for consumers. The acclaimed “Forza Motorsport 2” (Microsoft Game Studios) and “Marvel Ultimate Alliance” (Activision) will both be included for the recently reduced prices of $349.99 (U.S.) for Xbox 360 and $449.99 (U.S.) for Xbox 360 Elite. Both bundles will be available retail-wide by the end of October.
Xbox 360 offers the best value this holiday and is the only place you can play all the titles in the greatest holiday line-up of video game in history. This line-up includes “Halo 3” (MGS), which became the fastest-selling video game ever and is making history as one of the biggest entertainment launches of all time.

“Halo 3” (MGS) is just one title in an incredible holiday line-up that are all only available on one game platform, Xbox 360. Starting with "Madden NFL 08" (EA Sports), Xbox 360 has an unprecedented string of no less than seven blockbuster titles, each of which we expect to sell at least a million units, including "BioShock" (2K Games), the record breaking "Halo 3" (GS) "Project Gotham Racing 4" (MGS), "Mass Effect" (MGS), "Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock" (Activision) and "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare" (Activision).

Xbox 360 is home to the most critically acclaimed next generation games according to, the leading aggregator of game reviews from more than 100 publications. Of the top 30 next generation game titles on, 21 are on Xbox 360 and five games exclusive to Xbox 360 score above 90 out of 100. In fact, “Forza Motorsport 2” (MGS) has received an aggregate review score of 90, producing a “Universal Acclaim” rating.

The most-respected game reviewers have spoken and according to them, Xbox 360 has more than double the games of the Playstation 3 and Wii receiving a score of 90 or higher.


A University of Calgary fine arts professor has created a video game designed to tackle the problem of drinking and driving.

Dr. James Parker developed the game "Booze Cruise," which was developed with the help of students, challenges players to get their cars home within a certain period of time without hitting anyone.

"This game is not like any other racing game you've played," student Nathan Sorenson told CTV News, "It's extremely difficult to achieve your objectives. You'll notice that you're hitting everything (and) you're losing a lot of points."

In the game, the player's key functions are delayed, much like a drunk driver's reaction time. Objects appear from nowhere, allowing the player to experience a type of tunnel vision.

"Somewhere in your mind, you're getting a tangible experience of how difficult it is to drive, even with a few drinks," said Sorenson.

Even those normally opposed to racing games are embracing the realism of "Booze Cruise." The Calgary Police Service provided input at the game's research stage.

"I think they've captured quite a bit of... what stage you'd be at if you drove at three times the legal (alcohol) limit," said Constable Rob Haffner.

With original art, music and design, "Booze Cruise" has been entered in the Future Play Game Contest in Toronto.

Lori Shyba, a digital media artist at the university, was one of those who developed the project. Her hope is that, when players discover how bad they are at the game, they won't try it in real life.

"I hope that one life gets saved for our efforts," she said.