For your viewing pleasure

There are not words to describe this video, other than it’s a hit with the folks on AGI. Feel the power.

Kaz Hirai discusses PS3 game prices

Gamasutra has an entry about Sony Computer Entertainment America president Kaz Hirai tackling the touchy subject of game pricing in an interview with Official PlayStation Magazine.

Feel the power of the excerpt:

When asked whether PlayStation 3 games would be priced in the same range as Xbox 360 titles (currently $59.99 for most high budget titles), Hirai suggested that: Generally speaking, over the past twelve years or so, there has been a consumer expectation that disc based games are maybe $59 on the high end to $39 on the low end. So, what I can say now is, I think it would be a bit of a stretch to think that we could suddenly turn around and say PS3 games now $99.99.”

Here’s more from the Sony headman:

I don’t think consumers expect software pricing to suddenly double. So, the quick answer is that we want to make it as affordable as possible, knowing that there is a set consumer expectation for what software has cost for the past twelve years. That’s kind of the best answer I can give you. So, if it becomes a bit higher than $59, don’t ding me, but, again, I don’t expect it to be $100.?

Take out Zarqawi yourself

Kuma Reality Games, which crafts titles around current events, has released the open beta of “The Death of Zarqawi,” an interactive simulation of, you guessed it, the attack that ended up killing the al-Qaida leader of Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Players can either call in the airstrike (which is what really happened) or attempt a ground assault and try to take Zarqawi alive. The game is a free download.

More pirate games. Arr.

I’ll say this so far about “The Legend of Jack Sparrow” for the PS2: It looks great if you don’t move around too much. Yes, having Johnny Depp’s voice is a plus, but not if that voice and character is weighted down with herky-jerky gameplay and a frame rate that’s not quite, uh, ship shape. I’ll elaborate more in the review and on AGI tomorrow if we get to it.

Just got TWO MORE “Pirates” related games (PSP and DS), this time dealing with the actual “Dead Man’s Chest” movie that’s coming out on the 7th. They’re both action games, but each of them has unique features. The PSP one sounds fun, in addition to controlling Jack Sparrow and fight the bad guys — but there’s also a nifty-sounding multiplayer mode where you get to pick a variety of pirate ships and spend time blasting other ship into oblivion. You can unlock the Black Pearl, which I imagine would be the equivalent of the battlecruiser in “Star Control” for the Genesis, and I guess you can unlock the Flying Dutchman as well. Interesting — moreso than the PS2 version, at least so far.

The DS version gives you control of three characters (Jack, Will and Elizabeth) and features some cute pirate minigames like Walk the Plank. It’s also got some playable enemy characters as well.

Looks like it’s going to be all pirates, all the time this week. Then of course, come “Prey,” the game with the throbbing valves that spew out body parts. Aw yeah.

Online soccer + Korean gamers + World Cup = BOOM

Electronic Arts has announced more than 100,000 peak concurrent users for “FIFA Online” in its first month of launch in Korea. If you don’t know what “peck concurrent users” are, it just means that 100,000 people are playing the game at the same time. The announcement says the number is a new record, putting FIFA Online ahead of racing and fantasy titles.

EA also announced that the largest number of people who have played FIFA Online (a PC game only available in Korea) is 600,000 people. The game was released on May 25.

‘Prey’ and Captain Jack

Since AGI turned into an virtual odyssey on Friday, I wanted to spill a little more thoughts on the 360 demo of “Prey” I got to check out earlier that day.

We touched on how disgusting the game can be (spouts covered in mucus were throbbing and vomiting out body parts — outstanding), as well as the biological nature of the weapons. What I think could separate the game from being just another gooey FPS is the Native American angle. Other than “Turok,” I can’t think of any other character off the top of my head that approaches anyone like Tommy, “Prey’s” hero.

One thing I was fascinated with was the “deathwalk,” which basically allows you to fight your way back to life after you get taken out. You’re in a barren field, your body is floating in the middle of it, and you have to use the spirit bow to shoot phantom birds that are swirling around. Shooting a red bird gives you health; a blue one boosts your spirit. Deathwalk is timed, so if you’re a crappy shot, you could end up with nil health when you come back — or you just perish altogether.

There’s also a spirit bird that follows you around, and it grants you certain abilities, like reading and understanding alien text and speech. The bird also does typical companion stuff, like distract the enemy.

Also interesting were some of the mechanics of spirit walking. It’s not timed, but range-based, were a well-placed door or wall subtly indicates to the player that they can’t go any farther. This’ll be a big hit in multiplayer, where people are already stashing their bodies and spirit walking all over the place.

But before we get to all the on the 10th, its more movie game time. Morale is not high after “X-Men: The Official Game” and “Da Vinci Code,” but given the timeliness of the movie, I’m tackling “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow” from Bethesda Softworks, who put out “Oblivion.”

The last “Pirates of the Caribbean” game was a simulator, while this one’s an action hack-and-slash title. I come in with no expectations, but I’ve head early reports that it’s actually not bad. At least they managed to get Johnny Depp in it, so that’ll bring in some cred.

Of course, “X-Men” had actors’ voices, too. Argh. Or in this case, arrrrgh. Check the pic below and draw your own conclusions.


Gaming for the incarcerated

Check out the Game Politics entry on the concept of video game systems being used to entertain prisoners. As the piece points out, there’s two schools of thought — those who don’t think inmates deserve the chance to play on the PS2, and those who think it helps maintain/improve jail safety by giving those on lockdown something to do other than lift and walk around in the yard.

The St. Petersburg Times in Florida ran a story Sunday about a privately run jail that allows its inmates a few hours of PS2 time.

According to the story, the games they play are rated no worse than T for Teen, and the equipment wasn’t bought with tax dollars. The story also notes a similar games-in-prison movement in Missouri, which was banned by that state’s governor last year.

iPods put on hold?

CNNMoney reports that an analyst believes the next wave of Apple’s world-dominating iPods could be held back. The main questions regard Apple using a chip from a new supplier, and ways to increase the machine’s battery life.

The analyst, Shaw Wu of American Technology Research, thinks the nano might be pushed back to December, while the next video iPods could be on hold all the way until early next year.

ESA and lawmakers party on

Seriously — the Entertainment Software Association and Cali politicians hung out and played some games.

Before anyone says anything about “dogs and cats living together,” check out Game Politics for the full story.

About 150 people reportedly attended the event, and family-friendly games like DDR were on hand for the partiers to enjoy.

Interesting … most of the time we hear about how at odds the game industry and lawmakers are, so it’s could be shocking to see them chilling out and enjoying each others company.

Part of me wonders why little events like this haven’t happened sooner — surely all would benefit by exposing these lawmakers (some of whom don’t play, I imagine) to other bodies of work that don’t include sex and violence.

However, could something also have been accomplished by showcasing stuff OTHER than E-rated titles? True, ESA numbers show that those kinds of games are top sellers, but what about something like “God of War,” or “Shadow of the Colossus.” Perhaps even the controversial titles could have been on hand, so some of these lawmakers could see that there’s more to the M-games than just the capacity for blood.

Or, am I being naive in thinking the lawmakers would see that? Are they not ready for the “games as art form” viewpoint? Maybe not, since such a stance could cost a few of them some votes. As a source of mine told be about the game violence issue, it’s the “newest political football for people to play with.”