No worldwide Revolution launch?
Will Europe be last on the list again?
Games Digest A slew of new revelations about Nintendo's next console, the Revolution, have not so much set the games world alight as poured cold water over it. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata last week said: "We don't think it's necessary to do the simultaneous worldwide launch simply because others are doing this."
Some have spun Iwata's statement to mean a global launch, but not just as a 'me too' gimmick. But most have taken it to mean the more obvious implication: European gamers are unlikely to see the Revolution - or whatever it ends up being called; the name's still provisional, says Nintendo - before 2007. And once again we'll play third fiddle for a company that just doesn't seem to get European gaming.
Nintendo consistently releases games and systems months, even years, late in Europe – after it's got Japan and the US out of the way. In this case though, there is some sense to a staggered roll-out – just look at how well a simultaneous launch of the Xbox 360 went for Microsoft. While Japanese stores were overflowing with unwanted new consoles, US and European gamers were still having their pre-Christmas orders filled well into this year.
But despite the sense, when both Microsoft and now Sony have opted for a global roll-out - Sony even dropping region-encoding from games on the PS3 - Nintendo's latest statements deliver yet another stinging slap to European gamers. Another slap is the apparently puny machine specs.
The spin Nintendo is putting on it, is that unique, unusual games and the controller the Revolution sports will attract new gamers who don't care about flashy graphics and the latest in volumetric fogging. It's a big gamble – while cute, weird games seem to be working well for the Nintendo DS, particularly in Japan, though it remains to be seen whether it will work on home consoles in the same way. And don't forget, last time round, the GameCube was home for a whole range of innovative, unusual and great games, none of which stopped it from being trampled in sales terms by Sony, then crushed a bit further by Microsoft. Let's hope Nintendo's cheap, cheerful console plans work out well. And let's hope that the Revolution arrives sooner, rather than later.
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion hacks way to top of sales chart
Good news in the gaming charts is rare these days. The charts are usually dominated by the established franchises and movie tie-ins that gamers gobble up without thought to quality, originality, or depth. But for once, a David has bested the Goliaths to rise to the top. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for the PC and Xbox 360 has beaten out The Godfather, FIFA Street 2 and 24: The Game to the number one sales spot of the "all formats" ELSPA chart.
Oblivion is as close to a life-stealing massively multi-player online game as you can get, without the monthly subscription fees, broadband bandwidth hogging, or having to socialise with socially-maladjusted Nebraskan nerds. It features deep, rewarding gameplay, prettied up with stunning visuals and spread over hundreds of hours of adventuring.
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