Week in Review – 07/14/03

July 28, 2003

If you come to the site often enough then you know that I am a news hog. I typically post anything that I see online that is gaming related that I deem worthy to sit on the front page. The only problem with that is that if I don’t find it interesting and you do, then you won’t hear it from me. Now that may or may not be a problem as I highly doubt we are the only gaming site you read. So what I am going to do from now on is try to utilize my Week in Review to cover a lot of the stories that I didn’t get to during the week. That doesn’t mean exclusively cover things I didn’t touch on, but I will try to get to some of the things that I know will interest you.

To start things off is the fact that the N-Gage is now available for preorder from EB for a whopping $299. I think I could leave it at that and you would know how I feel about that topic.

One of the major stories to hit this week was the Half Life 2 Anti-Aliasing fiasco. It appears that the multisample antialiasing settings used by the most recent cards from both ATI and Nvidia, which the cards use to smooth polygon edges, cause odd texture artifacts along the polygon boundaries in Half Life 2. This was confirmed by Gabe Newell of Valve on the Half Life 2 forum. The problem is apparently easier to fix for ATI based cards and seems to only affect DirectX 9 based cards. If Nvidia users have artifacts on HL2, I would expect to see a mass migration of gamers to ATI based cards as HL2 will be the Christmas blockbuster on PC. We will get more details to you as they become available.

An interesting but disturbing story this week was showing a decline in the video game market in Japan over the last year. The decline was in hardware as well as software sales. The decline was in the 1-3% range and I expect that hardware sales will stay low or even decline as we build up to the next generation of consoles.

Sammy also announced this week that we would see a new Guilty Gear in arcades soon. The game will be on their new Atomiswave hardware which is a broadband enabled arcade machine that takes memory cards. We can’t be sure if it will come to the US or not at this point, but my initial feeling is that arcade hardware like that is geared toward an audience that doesn’t exist in the US.

In more financial news, Sony reported an overall 18.2% decline in sales for the Q1 of this fiscal year. While I want things to even out between the consoles, I don’t want to see drops like this cuz they hurt the industry as a whole.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic went on to set a new sales record for the Xbox this week. The release of KotOR marked a new era where games based on the Star Wars license don’t suck. 😉 At any rate, it sold 250,000 copies in the first 4 days. While that is a tremendous feat, I have a feeling a little game called Halo 2 could just shatter that record yet again.

Several weeks ago I mentioned Tenchu on the Xbox and this week Activision officially announced Tenchu: Return from Darkness on the Xbox. The game will feature 3 playable characters, 11 levels, and 6 multiplayer maps. This release will also mark the first time a Tenchu title will feature on
line gameplay which will be a form of Live enabled co-op. I am highly anticipating this game and it should be out in the Spring of 2004.

In an odd move, Discreet has announced that Sega of all companies has been assisting in the development of the popular 3d rendering tool 3D Studio Max. The new software which is slated for release this fall will feature many new tools of particular interest to game developers. Wonderful news if you are in the development world.

I am going to end this weeks review with a “Bonehead of the Month” award. It goes to none other than the ex-wrestler Maxx Payne. The wrestler has filed a lawsuit against Rockstar for the theft of his persona. The lawsuit carries a hefty $10 Million tag. “I left wrestling to come home to Utah and be with my family and I find myself in the biggest battle of my life–to save my identity. They stole something from me that I’m not going to give up. I’ll fight until there’s no fight left.” I think that story can speak for itself.