NPD Confusion

2007 is only two weeks in, and we're already
getting pummeled with some pretty exciting news. The gaming week
of January 8th through the 12th has left us all pretty damn
confused. The NPD released their sales numbers for the month of
December and numbers for both the Wii and PS3 were far too low
considering the announcements made by each respective company.
Sony said they shipped a total of 1-million PS3s, and so the
expected sales were 850-900k. But the numbers displayed were 692k
sold. Nintendo said they shipped a total of 2-million Wiis, but
their numbers came out to be 1.1-million. We then found out that
NPD doesn't cover Wal-Mart, and only embeds a rough estimate of
their sales into their sales charts (hardly accurate). Likewise,
a good chunk of other retailers — including online and
mom-and-pop shops — don't get accounted for, leaving out a huge
portion of sales from the numbers.

Miss Cleo Redux : Videogaming Electric
Boogaloo

Analysts continued to interpret and use their magic 8-balls to
predict the future of the console race. Quite frankly, these
analysts are beginning to wear thin. Despite what they may say
about their studies being extensively researched, any analyst who
thinks that Nintendo's Wii is suddenly going to tank in sales is
in need of a reality check. While to some it may be considered a
"novelty" that'll wear thin over time, it's still a
"novelty" that a lot of people are going to want to
check out. And for a price of only $250, the Wii will continue to
sell hordes. The Nintendo DS was once considered a
"gimmick" and "novelty" too…and there's no
stopping that little unit from flying off the shelves across the
world.

Microsoft Says They'll Kidnap Sony's Girlfriend

And then we have the war of the worlds…first it was Donald
Trump vs. Rosie O’Donnell, and now it's Microsoft vs. Sony.
Earlier in the week, MS called Sony's online efforts a
"disaster", and that the company doesn't have the
"DNA" to create a proper online infrastructure. Sony
came back by stating that the people have already chosen who they
feel has the proper DNA, as the PlayStation brand has sold over
200 million units. Sony continued the war by also denouncing MS'
selling of 10.4 million X360's, citing that to Microsoft
"sold" equates to sold and "shipped" to a
retailer, not a customer. Where as to Sony, "sold" is
just that, sold to a customer. Bill Gates then went on record
with Tokyo TV to state that he doesn't consider Sony to be prime
competition, but instead Nintendo.

Who's wrong? Who's right? It's hard for me
to sound level-headed here, but starting a dispute for no
apparent reason makes Microsoft sound really childish. Especially
when the PlayStation Network continues to offer so many game
demos, and within the first 45 days granted PS3 owners a first
playable glimpse at Gran Turismo 5 via GT:HD. Not having a
download cap allows developers to develop full-fledged
downloadable games like GripShift, and even allow for
high-definition porting of other games such as Tekken: Dark
Resurrection. Additionally, with 32 player online support for
games like Resistance, it proves that Sony's more than capable of
creating a robust online network.

Kingdom Gone?

Would anybody shed a tear if the rumors of the Chrono series
being sold off to Mistwalker end up true? I sure would. That
would mean the probability of seeing a PS3 Chrono iteration would
become slim-to-none. Why, you ask? Final Fantasy creator and
Mistwalker founder, Hironobu Sakaguchi, is solely committed to
working on Microsoft's platform of the three available consoles.
Kingdom Hearts is rumored to being sold off to Buena Vista, which
would go down in history as one of the dumbest corporate moves
ever. But seeing as how Kingdom Hearts is one of Square-Enix's
biggest franchises, it's pretty doubtful that this would
happen…at least, we hope so.

Better than a New York City cabbie…

I'm pretty happy with the announcement of Crazy Taxi heading over
to the PSP. While the screenshots suggest the game is still
early, I still can't wait to have this in the palm of my hands.
Crazy Taxi is probably the epitome of pick up and play
videogaming and thankfully we have a handheld as strong as the
PSP to maintain a port. Sega says that the game should look
on-par, if not better, then the Dreamcast version. Let's hope so,
because I'm pretty stoked, Crazy Taxi was the reason I got a
Dreamcast.

Living the 12th Fantasy

After proclaiming it our 2006 Game of the Year, Final Fantasy XII
still continues to take up all of my spare time. I've spent 10
hours side-questing and leveling up. I have to say, it sure feels
good to have that entire license-board lit-up, with every
character possessing their maximum of three quickenings. I've
come to realize that ultimately, espers are pretty damn
pointless. In fact, Ben and I both agree on this. They seem to be
more fan service, than anything else and there's only one time in
the game when you actually need to utilize an esper, and it's not
even a battle; it's to open a door. Either way, it doesn't change
the fact that FFXII is role-playing perfection. I'm not quite
sure what I'll do next in the game…I think I'll continue to
level up some more, because it's really nice having all six
characters at levels 60 and up. Attempting to get the game's best
weapons is a bit of a hassle, though, if you don't have the
patience for it. A lot of the required rare items are a bit too
rare, and the hunt for them becomes discouraging after a while.
Regardless, I think I'm going to go trek through the map some
more and just fight for the sake of fighting, the battle system
is absolute gold.

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