February 13 – February 17

This week the PlayStation Vita takes its place on the podium in the U.S, Canada, Europe and just about everywhere that isn't Japan. It launches with a satisfying enough number of titles, though it's hard to pick any one particular standout, must-have game from the list. All things considered, it's a sleek piece of high-tech machinery that I essentially have no interest in whatsoever.

I'm not sure that I'm a Sony customer anymore. That's not a venomous declaration of unrepentant disdain, but rather a passionless analysis of what seems like my general purchasing trends. I still haven't agreed to their post-hack EULA, which means I've basically been separated from their online content for quite a while now, and to be honest there's been nothing enticing me to return to the fold. Maybe we've just gone our fundamentally different ways, in which case I wish Sony the best of luck on their losing-billions-of-dollars strategy, which seems questionable to me but I don't have an MBA so what do I know? The long and short is that I don't hate Sony or my PlayStation, I just don't really have any interest in them.

I'm not saying they couldn't win me back. Who knows, maybe in six months I'll be talking about what an ass I was not buying the Vita at the first opportunity. Things change pretty damn quick in this business, and I'm no longer in the game of assuming that the past has any real bearing on the future in this biz.

While we're briefly dancing around the topic of hacks, it's interesting to me the difference in reaction to Steam's ongoing and still developing November hacking as compared with Sony's. Is it that Steam has earned more of our goodwill in advance of leaving the backdoor open? Is it that we've realized that maybe the hackers are a lot better than we'd first suspected? Is it that we just lost interest in businesses that drop the ball on protecting our private info? A topic, perhaps, for a later date.

Anyway, Vita launch! Hooray?

PC
- Crusader Kings II
- Alan Wake (Steam)
- Dear Esther (Steam)

Xbox 360
- BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend
- Grand Slam Tennis 2
- UFC Undisputed 3
- Warp (XBLA)

PS3
- Grand Slam Tennis 2
- Twisted Metal
- UFC Undisputed 3
- BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend and Twisted Metal
- Worms Ultimate Mayhem (PSN)

Wii
- Rhythm Heaven Fever

PlayStation Vita
- PlayStation Vita First Edition Bundle
- Asphalt: Injection
- Ben 10 Galactic Racing
- BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend
- EA Sports FIFA Soccer
- F1 2011
- Little Deviants
- Lumines: Electronic Symphony
- Michael Jackson: The Experience HD
- Lumines: Electronic Symphony and Little Deviants
- Rayman Origins
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Nintendo 3DS
- Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games
- Tales of the Abyss
- Tekken 3D Prime Edition
- iSpot Japan (eShop)

PSP
- Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom

Nintendo DS
- iSpot Japan (DSiWare)

Comments

Kerned wrote:

I couldn't be less interested in the Vita. The whole thing just seems gimmicky and the memory pricing is insulting. I have nothing against Sony (I enjoy my PS3 and my Sony television) but I really don't see the appeal of this handheld.

What I AM interested in is Crusader Kings 2, but alas there is no Mac version. We Mac owners are a terribly oppressed group sometimes.

Boot camp?

mrtomaytohead wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

3DS software sales are abysmal though.. so while Hardware is moving (but not exactly at a stellar rate) software hasnt been reflective of the units sold..

I would be SUPER concerned about that if I was Nintendo.

Not all software performance is abysmal. In fact, their big holiday titles seemed to do quite well for themselves, selling mutliple millions worldwide by the new year:

More than five million copies of 3DS platformer Super Mario 3D Land have been sold worldwide since its launch in November, Nintendo has announced.

It means Mario's 3DS debut is the first game to cross the five million barrier, though figures released alongside Nintendo's latest financial results show Mario Kart 7 isn't far behind. The kart racer, which has been number one in Japan for five of the last six weeks, ended the year on 4.5 million.

I'd say January wasn't bad for Nintendo's software in Japan, either:

Leading the pack was Mario Kart 7, with sales of 388,760 units between December 26 and January 29, according to Enterbrain data passed along by Andriasang.

In second was Capcom's Monster Hunter Tri G, with sales of 319,037, ahead of Super Mario 3D Land, which sold 298,529 units during the month. All three have now sold in excess of a million copies in Japan alone.

01. Mario Kart 7 (Nintendo, 3DS)
02. Monster Hunter Tri G (Capcom, 3DS)
03. Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo, 3DS)
04. Armored Core V (From Software, PS3)
05. Resident Evil Revelations (Capcom, 3DS)
06. Musou Orochi 2 (Tecmo Koei, PS3)
07. Inazuma Eleven Go (Level-5, 3DS)

How is holding the top 3 slots and 5 of the top 7 (no more in 10) slots in a month abysmal? Yes, in NA, only Mario Kart 7 made the npd top 10 in January, which probably puts it at selling .5 million in Japan and NA alone. Then again, January in NA, everything performed abysmally.

People typically spell doom and gloom based on 3rd party sales these days, otherwise Nintendo would never be "in danger" like they've been every generation since the Super Nintendo.

That said, I think this month, February, is the one to watch in terms of third party sales. Resident Evil: Revelations and Tales of the Abyss (it's Abyss, right?) release for two different kinds of hardcore gamer crowd, both big AAA franchises. So far, Revelations is getting positive press, so I'd expect the game to get some decent sales. It is a game that sort of proves the 3DS is capable of more console-like gaming experiences on a handheld, especially visually.

But, it could also be that people will ignore anything not Nintendo and claim the only good games on the 3DS are the first party ones simply because the launch line-up sucked. That has a tendency to haunt Nintendo despite evidence to the contrary.

Chumpy_McChump wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

But I believe there are plenty of hardcore gamers like me who also enjoy experiences with depth and complexity while not on the couch or in front of the PC.

The really interesting assumption there is that one cannot "enjoy experiences with depth and complexity" on an iOS/android device, which only serves to remind me that you don't have one. That's not meant as nose-up snobbery; the fact of the matter is that there are few things you can do on a console handheld that you can't also do on a smartphone (twitch games with lots of inputs being that one significant thing that I can think of).

I think the more interesting assumption is that the capability of smartphones to play games with depth and complexity is enough. I don't care what potential my smartphone has because there aren't many games available to support those claims. This is coming from the one person around these parts that enjoyed the Final Fantasy Tactics iOS port.

I've spent at least a couple hundred dollars on the app store, but getting my hands on a 3DS last year and playing some of the great DS games I had been missing out on was more fulfilling than all my iOS gaming time combined. Until iOS games start making good on the promise to offer similarly deep, complex, and rewarding gaming experiences, I'll be keeping a dedicated handheld close by. One Ghost Trick port or Swords and Sworcery every six months doesn't cut it.

Alien13z wrote:

What's the Game of the Week? How am I supposed to make a purchasing decision without your guidance?

Who needs purchasing guidance when you have the Mass Effect 3 demo for free?

Chumpy_McChump wrote:

The really interesting assumption there is that one cannot "enjoy experiences with depth and complexity" on an iOS/android device, which only serves to remind me that you don't have one. That's not meant as nose-up snobbery; the fact of the matter is that there are few things you can do on a console handheld that you can't also do on a smartphone (twitch games with lots of inputs being that one significant thing that I can think of).

I never said you can't enjoy deep and complex experiences on a smart phone. What I said was that those experiences are few and far between and few if any developers seem to be aiming for that. Every time I hear iOS games being discussed on podcasts (which is all the time), they're always talking about games that fit into the disposable timewaster category. The few experiences I have heard called "deep and complex" like Sword & Sworcery I have tried for myself and I just don't see it. Believe me, if a game like Super Mario 3D Land or Uncharted: Golden Abyss existed on iOS, I'd be very interested. But that's not what people are going for when they design games for that platform. There's nothing wrong with that (in fact I may buy into iOS to get access to more of those types of experiences), I'm just saying that I've not found more involved titles on the platform and whenever people talk about it, that type of experience isn't mentioned.

Kerned wrote:

I couldn't be less interested in the Vita. The whole thing just seems gimmicky and the memory pricing is insulting. I have nothing against Sony (I enjoy my PS3 and my Sony television) but I really don't see the appeal of this handheld.

I completely agree the memory pricing is stupid but just to put this in perspective, if you buy a 32GB iOS device, you're paying a substantially greater premium ($100 for an extra 16GB). Many people I've seen complain about Vita pricing don't seem to bat an eye at that which perplexes me because it's a gargantuan ripoff in both cases and at least you can upgrade the Vita and eventually there will be cheaper 3rd party memory options. That said, what Sony should have done is just supported SD cards and said "the card must be this speed class to properly work with the Vita." Any SD card worth a damn has the class clearly printed on it and it would be dead easy. Sony's insistence on proprietary formats has never worked out well for them and they need to understand the world doesn't want that. I'm hoping this is something that might change on Kaz Hirai's watch.

Tanglebones wrote:

Boot camp?

I know, I know. It's just an extra step and an added expense (buying Windows) that I wish weren't necessary. I'll probably never install Windows on my Mac unless I have a professional reason for doing so (which will likely never be the case).

I have considered buying an inexpensive PC just for gaming, but that basically excludes me from any newer, processor-intensive games (though there are plenty of older games I would be happy to catch up on). I suppose I'll just stick to the tiny little Mac section on Steam for my non-console gaming needs.

edit: what am I doing wrong with the quote tags?

Kerned wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:

Boot camp?

I know, I know. It's just an extra step and an added expense (buying Windows) that I wish weren't necessary. I'll probably never install Windows on my Mac unless I have a professional reason for doing so (which will likely never be the case).

I have considered buying an inexpensive PC just for gaming, but that basically excludes me from any newer, processor-intensive games (though there are plenty of older games I would be happy to catch up on). I suppose I'll just stick to the tiny little Mac section on Steam for my non-console gaming needs.

edit: what am I doing wrong with the quote tags?

Nothing - you just can't use the tags until you're no longer a coffee grinder; it's a safety feature to reduce the damage spambots can do.

And to get back to the point above - I understand where you're coming from. When I was mac primarily, I did use boot camp, but it was a PITA.

Tanglebones: thanks.

Parallax Abstraction: Apple's price hikes for memory are equally absurd, I couldn't agree more.

garion333 wrote:
tboon wrote:

PC
- Crusader Kings II

So psyched! There will be medieval mayhem on the morrow, oh yes there will! I cannot wait to see what a crop of in-bred lecherous drunkard imbeciles I get to run the family kingdom!

This is what yall should be discussing. Vita shmita.

We'll be sure to discuss it after an expansion or two.

Tanglebones wrote:
Kerned wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:

Boot camp?

I know, I know. It's just an extra step and an added expense (buying Windows) that I wish weren't necessary. I'll probably never install Windows on my Mac unless I have a professional reason for doing so (which will likely never be the case).

I have considered buying an inexpensive PC just for gaming, but that basically excludes me from any newer, processor-intensive games (though there are plenty of older games I would be happy to catch up on). I suppose I'll just stick to the tiny little Mac section on Steam for my non-console gaming needs.

edit: what am I doing wrong with the quote tags?

Nothing - you just can't use the tags until you're no longer a coffee grinder; it's a safety feature to reduce the damage spambots can do.

And to get back to the point above - I understand where you're coming from. When I was mac primarily, I did use boot camp, but it was a PITA.

An inexpensive PC might have its performance hindered by its inexpensive parts, but I'd be wary that Mac ports of recent games might be hindered by your Mac's video card. The 9400M in my 2009 iMac means I can't really play anything newer than 2008 with any degree of enjoyment. YMMV of course.

As for Boot Camp, I use that or Parallels, depending on the need. But between BootChamp and now Lion's Resume feature, booting between Windows and OS X isn't anywhere near the PITA it originally was.

The PS3 is my favorite console of this generation, but I was decidedly uninterested when it came out. I too am taking a wait and see approach with the Vita.

Kerned, I feel your pain in regards to Mac gaming. I console myself by reflecting on the fact that I have saved so much money on Steam sales since most of it doesn't work on a Mac without Windows.

I've been asking for a duel stick handheld for years. They made it so I will buy it and hope I get games I want some time this year. Unit 13 next month is promising but Zipper ruined Socom 4 so we will see. All Sony has to do is remake all the PS2 shooters I loved over the last 10 years and I'll be happy like a pig rolling in warm mud!

Kerned wrote:

I have considered buying an inexpensive PC just for gaming, but that basically excludes me from any newer, processor-intensive games (though there are plenty of older games I would be happy to catch up on). I suppose I'll just stick to the tiny little Mac section on Steam for my non-console gaming needs.

You might do better than you expect with a cheap PC - a lot of games are designed to be released on both PCs and consoles, so work fine on PCs that are way behind the cutting edge. I bought a comp that was decent-but-not-great a couple of years ago (3.2 GHz dual core, ATI 4850, 4gb of RAM) and it still runs Skyrim et al. perfectly well on reasonable settings.

wordsmythe wrote:
garion333 wrote:
tboon wrote:

PC
- Crusader Kings II

So psyched! There will be medieval mayhem on the morrow, oh yes there will! I cannot wait to see what a crop of in-bred lecherous drunkard imbeciles I get to run the family kingdom!

This is what yall should be discussing. Vita shmita.

We'll be sure to discuss it after an expansion or two. ;)

Ah, good assumption to make for past Paradox games but CK2 is polished to a nice sheen. Couple more patches are needed but it's probably their best launch yet.

ccesarano wrote:
mrtomaytohead wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

3DS software sales are abysmal though.. so while Hardware is moving (but not exactly at a stellar rate) software hasnt been reflective of the units sold..

I would be SUPER concerned about that if I was Nintendo.

Not all software performance is abysmal. In fact, their big holiday titles seemed to do quite well for themselves, selling mutliple millions worldwide by the new year:

More than five million copies of 3DS platformer Super Mario 3D Land have been sold worldwide since its launch in November, Nintendo has announced.

It means Mario's 3DS debut is the first game to cross the five million barrier, though figures released alongside Nintendo's latest financial results show Mario Kart 7 isn't far behind. The kart racer, which has been number one in Japan for five of the last six weeks, ended the year on 4.5 million.

I'd say January wasn't bad for Nintendo's software in Japan, either:

Leading the pack was Mario Kart 7, with sales of 388,760 units between December 26 and January 29, according to Enterbrain data passed along by Andriasang.

In second was Capcom's Monster Hunter Tri G, with sales of 319,037, ahead of Super Mario 3D Land, which sold 298,529 units during the month. All three have now sold in excess of a million copies in Japan alone.

01. Mario Kart 7 (Nintendo, 3DS)
02. Monster Hunter Tri G (Capcom, 3DS)
03. Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo, 3DS)
04. Armored Core V (From Software, PS3)
05. Resident Evil Revelations (Capcom, 3DS)
06. Musou Orochi 2 (Tecmo Koei, PS3)
07. Inazuma Eleven Go (Level-5, 3DS)

How is holding the top 3 slots and 5 of the top 7 (no more in 10) slots in a month abysmal? Yes, in NA, only Mario Kart 7 made the npd top 10 in January, which probably puts it at selling .5 million in Japan and NA alone. Then again, January in NA, everything performed abysmally.

People typically spell doom and gloom based on 3rd party sales these days, otherwise Nintendo would never be "in danger" like they've been every generation since the Super Nintendo.

That said, I think this month, February, is the one to watch in terms of third party sales. Resident Evil: Revelations and Tales of the Abyss (it's Abyss, right?) release for two different kinds of hardcore gamer crowd, both big AAA franchises. So far, Revelations is getting positive press, so I'd expect the game to get some decent sales. It is a game that sort of proves the 3DS is capable of more console-like gaming experiences on a handheld, especially visually.

But, it could also be that people will ignore anything not Nintendo and claim the only good games on the 3DS are the first party ones simply because the launch line-up sucked. That has a tendency to haunt Nintendo despite evidence to the contrary.

Only evidence that counts is financial performance.. if 2012 bounces back and Nintendo posts strong numbers then I and others were 100% wrong.. and Nintendo faithful would be once again proven right.. I'll admit 100% that I guessed Nintendo wrong and that their current strategy is a winning one.