Snackbar Speculator: The pulse of the industry

July 25, 2010

This week we’re taking the pulse of the game industry with Nintendo’s Vitality Sensor, Respawn’s first title, and another revision of the PS3.

Current score

Andrew Passafiume: +270

Graham Russell: +174

Eric Schabel: +70

Shawn Vermette: +245


Respawn’s first title to be a sci-fi shooter

Little, if anything, is known regarding the project that Respawn pitched to EA when they signed up with the EA Partner program; however, at least one analyst believes that rather than directly take on their own creation, Call of Duty, Respawn will take on the other 800 lb gorilla- Halo.

Andrew: We’ve been hearing rumors about Infinity Ward tackling some kind of sci-fi shooter for a couple of years now. There were rumors about the next Call of Duty game being a futuristic shooter, among other things. But those rumors were all forgotten about as soon as Modern Warfare 2 was announced early last year. Since then, Respawn Entertainment has formed and it is safe to assume that whatever their next project is, it will be something they’ve wanted to work on for a while now.  85%

Graham: I’m punting on this one. Would a sci-fi shooter be a good idea? Sure. EA has a few similar titles in its lineup, though, so they may be wary. Then again, it’s Respawn, and EA would probably take whatever they offered. It certainly won’t be a Call of Duty-like game, since Medal of Honor is on EA’s plate, but if they wanted to make a similar game, that would have made the defection less likely. Could they be going away from the FPS genre completely? But…then why would they name the company Respawn? See, I’m really wishy-washy on this one.   50%

Eric: I think this rumor has a fairly high probability of being true, given the people involved. Sure, there is already a glut of sci-fi shooters on the market, but that certainly hasn’t stopped the genre from continuing to be a best seller. Respawn is a new studio but the talents behind it are proven hit-makers and they are undoubtedly willing to dive into sci-fi if they so choose. 75%

Shawn: As amazing as the talent is at Respawn, I think that, given the current market’s penchant for ignoring new titles in favor of familiar ones, Respawn would be smart to stay away from Call of Duty style games for the time being, until they make themselves a household name yet again. However, with the distinct lack of a really good sci-fi shooter series on the PS3 (No, I don’t consider Killzone to be a great sci-fi series), I think the time is ripe for a company with Respawn’s talents to fill the void with their own sci-fi shooter.  80%

Sony prepping a 500GB PlayStation 3 next

Sony has already gone through 7 hardware revisions in 4 years with the PlayStation 3, but rumor has it that with the release of the Xbox 360 Slim, Sony started work on yet another revision. This time, they plan on releasing a 500GB PlayStation 3 Slim in order to once again claim the title of largest hard drive in a console.

Andrew: We do know about the bundle that is happening with the PS3 console and the Move, but another bundle in the same timeframe? I suppose I see it happening, but I think consumers have been plenty confused by the many, many bundles Sony has put out over the years for the PS3. It’s just difficult to say putting out a new system with a bigger hard drive will really be that advantageous for Sony, but it could still happen. 50%

Graham: That’s a big hard drive for a console. Only the most hardcore power users would need that much space…is there even 500GB worth of downloadable content on PSN? (And is the movie service really that popular?) The kicker here: next. If they announce some other console variation first, this one’s dead. Knowing how schizophrenic their SKU strategy has been, I’ll take my chances.  20%

Eric: As this rumor states, the PS3 has already gone through numerous hardware revisions since its release, so we know Sony is anything but shy about doing it again. I question the necessity of having a 500GB drive at this point in the game, but I suppose if Sony and Microsoft are truly planning to extend the lifetimes of their systems for another four or five years as they say, this upgrade is probably inevitable—it just might take some time. 80%

Shawn: This one is a little tough, just because of the specifics of the size involved. Will Sony release more revisions of the PS3? Absolutely, they’ve averaged 2 changed per year since releasing it! Will the very next change introduce a 500GB hard drive? That, I’m not as sure about. It is the next logical amount to put in a system (other than 320GB, which doesn’t seem worth the change), but when has Sony ever been logical? 55%


Nintendo to reveal fate of Vitality Sensor by end of 2010

Nintendo announced the Vitality Sensor to much surprise and confusion at E3 2009, yet it was absent from Nintendo’s E3 2010 conference and booth. Nintendo said at the time that it wasn’t the right time or place to discuss the Vitality Sensor, so now rumor has it they will announce just what the heck they plan to do with it sometime before the end of 2010.

Andrew: I would definitely expect to see something official about it from Nintendo later this year. I believe they do hold another press event sometime around TGS, so then (or at a similar time) would be a good way to confirm or deny whether or not the Vitality Sensor is actually dead or not. But at the same time, I do think Nintendo wouldn’t actually reveal anything about it again until they know they have some software to back it up with.  65%

Graham:  If it’s dead, we won’t hear about it for a while. That’s how Nintendo does things. But Cammie said it’s still in the works at E3, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they hold some silly normal-person event like they’ve done with Wii Fit in Central Park and such. It needs a killer app, though, and if they don’t have one, they need to keep it under wraps. 55% 

Eric: This is a tough one to gauge. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, no one represents unpredictability better in this industry than Nintendo does. If E3 was not the right time to unveil what the Vitality Sensor will actually be used for, I can’t imagine when they do plan to discuss it. In other words, it’s a crap shoot. 55%

Shawn: Didn’t Nintendo sell this to Ubisoft? I could swear I saw it at Ubisoft’s press conference…truthfully, I think Nintendo realizes this hardware is a little far off the beaten path, even for them. I wouldn’t be surprised if they buried it and never spoke of it again, unless Ubisoft’s version somehow takes off. 35%