Saturday, December 31, 2005

Japanese Xbox 360 Games with English Text/Voice/Menus, and Compatible Xbox1 Titles

UPDATED MAY 25, 2006 ^_^

This is a list of Xbox 360 games whose Japanese version has english text/voice support.
Below is also a list of region-free xbox1 games. This not only includes the known games but also the newer ones. This blog post will be constantly updated as new information arrives.

These japanese games will have english text/voice when you set your XBOX360 language setting to ENGLISH.

(Note: "Confirmed" means that the game is already out in the market and already proven to have english text/voice)

Here's the list:

Perfect Dark Zero JP *confirmed*
Ridge Racer 6 JP *confirmed*
Project Gotham Racing 3 JP *confirmed*
Dead or Alive 4 JP *confirmed*
King Kong JP *confirmed*
Kameo JP *confirmed*
Over G Fighters

For more information/confirmations, this thread at lik-sang is constantly updated about the same topic.




The Asian Xbox 360 went on sale in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan last March 16. It has been stated by many (retailers and fans alike) that the Asian Xbox 360 games will be compatible with the Japanese Xbox 360 and will have English text/voice/menus. Here's the Asian Xbox 360 Launch List:

Burnout Revenge
Battlefield2:Modern Combat
Call of Duty 2
Dead or Alive 4
Dynasty Warriors 5
Fight Night Round 3
FIFA Soccer 06: Road to FIFA World Cup
Kameo: Elements of Power
NBA Live 06
Need for Speed: Most Wanted
Peter Jackson's King Kong
Perfect Dark Zero + Perfect Dark Zero [Limited Edition Tin Box]
Project Gotham Racing 3
Ridge Racer 6
Quake 4
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
Tony Hawk's American Wasteland

Most Asian Version games are on sale for US$39.90! They're much much more inexpensive compared to US and Japanese releases!

Asian Version games are also available in the Philippines from Data Blitz and from some stores in Greenhills.

On March 23 I bought the ASIAN VERSION of EA SPORTS FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 3 and I can confirm that it worked on my JAPANESE XBOX 360. Based on reports from various forums, the JAPANESE XBOX 360 is the most versatile of the two 360s in ASIA, because it is compatible with ASIAN VERSION GAMES, JAPANESE VERSION GAMES, AND REGION FREE US GAMES. The ASIAN XBOX 360 Has compatibility issues with some REGION FREE GAMES and JAPANESE GAMES (COD2 US, DW5 JPN are not compatible)

As of this time, the Japanese Xbox 360 is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED if you want to game inexpensively and reside in the Asian Region.


They usually have CHINESE font on the cover and in the back portion. Some other Asian version games don't have any CHINESE font on the cover and the back portion, but you can identify them from the back of the box. Look for the words 'MADE IN SINGAPORE' near the UPC barcode. Also, you can identify what version a game is via the sticker on the side of the box:

For Asian Versions: X11-40711
For Japan
Versions: X11-40709
For North American
Versions: X11-40710

The bolded font is the identification code that tells you if it is a north american game, a japanese game or an asian game.


Here are a list of US 360 games that are confirmed to work on a Japanese Xbox 360 (fully in English also):

Updated July 23, 2006!

Call of Duty 2
Condemned: Criminal Origins
Quake 4
Tony Hawks : American Wasteland
Full Auto
Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter
Rumble Roses XX (confirmed here)
Blazing Angels
Tomb Raider: Legend
Far Cry
Hitman: Blood Money (PAL version is also region free)
Chrome Hounds
Dead Rising (According to play-asia's compatibility list)

This page from a Japanese site also keeps track of US releases which have no region locking.

Additional info:
Play-Asia has created a comprehensive REGIONAL COMPATIBILITY GUIDE. Click HERE


From my post at

I just tried Forza Motorsport NTSC-U and Splinter Cell CT NTSC-U on my Japanese 360. They both worked!

As for NBA Live 04 NTSC-U, that one did not work...i think if a game was region locked before for the Japanese xbox 1, it most likely wont work on the 360, while games that are really not region locked will still remain region free.

That said, I found this big list of games for the xbox1 that are region free:

List of confirmed Region Free Xbox Games:

American McGee's Scrapland
Cabela's Deer Hunt 2005
Call of Duty: Finest Hour
Capcom Fighting Evolution
Delta Force Black Hawk Down
Far Cry Instincts
Forza MotorSport
Ghost Recon 2
Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike
Greg Hastings' Tournament Paintball
Halo 2
Half Life 2
Iron Phoenix
Jade Empire
Mech Assault
Mech Assault 2
Midway Arcade Treasures
Moto GP Ultimate Racing 3
Prince of Persia 2 : Warrior Within
Prince of Persia : Two Thrones
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Rainbow Six 3
Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow
Splinter Cell : Chaos Theory
Splinter Cell : Pandora Tomorrow
Star Wars Battlefront
Steel Batallion: LOC
Street Fighter Anniversary Collection
Tron 2.0 Killer App
Unreal Championship
Unreal Championship 2
Vietcong: Purple Haze
X-Men Legends

Since these games are region free, most likely they will be compatible with the Japanese Xbox 360.

Watch this page for more updates!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Need help on surfing Japanese websites?

If you guys are Scytherage and I, who own a Japanese XBOX 360, and would like to learn more about the NTSC/J games coming out from Japan or would like to communicate with the Japanese through BBS (forums) but don't know how, do not fret! Below are some interesting websites desgined to help translate Japanese to English and vice versa.
  • Babelfish:

    This is perhaps the most popular translation site in the net. It works fine but you have to read between the lines to get the real meaning of what you are translating. The translations are quite loose at times.

  • Rikai.Com:

    This doesn't offer a direct translation. Instead you have to highligh certain 'words' in Japanese and a dictionary translation pops up below. Consider it your Kana/Kanji dictionary for the web. You will still need to know basic Japanese grammar in order to make sense of the whole thing.

  • Jim Breen's WWWJDIC Japanese-English Dictionary Server

    If you're already good at Japanese but just need a little help with some of the Kana/Kanji you can use this site. It's pretty much like the Rikai site, although more extensive.

And last but not the least

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Greatest Online Ridge Racer 6 Race, Ever.

I just had. The. Greatest. Online. Ridge Racer 6. Race. Ever.


Rave City Riverfront R, class 4. I'm driving a meltfire in 10th place at the starting grid. I was the last car so I thought I had no chance in hell of winning.

Three laps into it, I manage to get to sixth place. I apparently saved up enough nitrous for a triple down the final stretch. In the distance can be seen five cars, all switching positions rapidly and boosting for the finish line. Little did I know that a car behind me launches a triple nitrous in an attempt to improve his position. Unfortunately for him, he hits my car as it goes down the final tunnel. The impact causes my car to nearly spin out; I struggled to maintain control of the car and ensure that it does not scrape into the wall.

In the distance, the race looks decided. One car emerges from the pack and can be seen to have taken a commanding lead over the other four, who are still bumping and scraping for second place. I thought the race was over.

Looking at my speedometer, I noticed something I have never seen before.

My speed was 455 KPH, even without boost. Note that the maximum for a Class 4 car is about 385 KPH.

And the speedometer was still increasing in speed, gradually.




Holy crap, how is that possible?, I thought in bewilderment.

Apparently, the impact from the car that hit me earlier on was so strong that my car was still reeling from his triple boost. Time literally slowed at this point, because I realized I had a triple nitrous boost ready to launch.

The final ramp was approaching rapidly. The four other cars were still far enough from me, so i could boost without hitting them, since the ramp will definitely launch my car into the air. There is a very small gap between the end of the tunnel and the finish line.

I hit the triple nitrous.


My car goes well beyond 450+ kph, but i couldnt keep track of it anymore. I had to make sure that I didnt hit the other four cars blocking the road before my car launches into the air. Before I knew it, I was airborne.

I had no idea how this race would turn out. My position reading said I was still in sixth place.


At this moment I was still airborne.

It takes half a second more, before my position reading changes from 2nd, to 1st.

I won the race in mid air, by a nose.

My car landed eventually, right in front of the lead car.

This victory resulted in a lot of adrenaline rushing through my entire body. I was jumping up and down in my room; I couldn't believe that I won that race! I couldn't believe the chain of events that led to my victory! It was one of the most satisfying online game matches I've ever played. Ever.

Normally i don't wear a headset while racing, because what is there to be said anyway while you're playing a racing game? Trash talking isnt my thing. But I was sooo thrilled by the result of the race that I grabbed my headset and started hooting and hollering, thanking everyone else for playing a great race. I knew everyone in the room was japanese so i could have used my really bad japanese training to tell them that I had an incredible time. But I didnt want to make a fool of myself, so I just said in english: "Good game, guys! Good game!!!!"

To which, two japanese guys wearing headsets calmly replied:


I gave everyone involved in that race positive feedback, for racing with me and letting me experience an incredible online victory.

Great Japanese XBOX / XBOX 360 resource sites

Considering I now have a Japanese XBOX 360, I’ve begun to check out if there are any other XBOX sites for Japanese gamers! Lo and behold! I actually found some! (I was thinking that there might be none since all the gaming publications keep on saying that the Japanese HATE this console…whatever really…)

YK’s XBOX/XBOX 360 Site

YK’s site is a great site containing a region free list of XBOX / XBOX 360 games playable in the Japanese units. It turns out a lot of the Japanese XBOX fans do some importing of North American titles as well! The site is pretty easy to understand since the webmaster has written down the menus in English.

XBOX 360 Next Community

While its entirely in Japanese, the site is a very informative news site for the XBOX 360. If you want to learn more about the Japanese XBOX 360 games even before they get reported, go here!

Friday, December 23, 2005

PDI posts the state of the XBOX 360's in the Philippines

Interestingly enough, the Philippine Daily Inquierers posted a news report on the state of the Philippine XBOX 360's. While the report it not entirely accurate, it gives you some idea at how these things are selling here in our country.

As expected PDI has some glaring errors, saying that none of those stores had sold their units! Heck, I BOUGHT ONE from one of the stores he mentioned!

Price of Xbox 360 in RP skyrocketing
By Alexander Villafania

Almost a month after the launch of the Microsoft Xbox 360 in the United States, malls, small shops and online resellers have begun selling the US and Japanese versions of the new game console at startling prices.

Topping all of the other resellers is a Filipino seller in with the handle “buying_usa” who has two different Xbox 36 packages; a core system for 89,000 pesos and an Xbox 360 Limited Premium package for a whopping 109,000 pesos.

In an interview with, a representative of “buying_usa” said the packages were bought straight from the US. She explained that the prices included the shipping and handling of the items to the buyer.

In particular, the 109,000-peso package comes with nearly all of the available accessories, including a wireless controller, a 20-Gigabyte hard disk, a high-definition TV cable, headset and a DVD remote control.

The buyer_usa representative also said that the Limited Premium package comes with two games of the buyer’s choice. She added that the prices are negotiable.

Relatively less expensive to say the least are prices in malls that are offering Xbox 360 packages. Kidzone in EDSA Shangri-La Mall is selling the core package of the Japanese version for 35,000 pesos.

The core package includes the console and one wired controller. Aside from the Japanese version, the shop is also offering the core package of the US version priced at a whopping 58,000 pesos.

At SM Megamall’s Toy Kingdom, the same US version core package sells at 58,000 pesos.

EYO in Shopsville Arcade in Greenhills, San Juan is selling the core Japanese version for about 40,000 pesos.

Another shop at the Theater Mall in Greenhills sells the Japanese core version at 28,000 pesos.

In some of the core packages, particularly the Japanese versions, a video title is included, though the choices are limited based on the availability of each of the titles.

The units are all parallel imported since there is no Microsoft Xbox representative distributor in the Philippines.

Not surprisingly, most of the shops visited for this story said none of their units have been sold so far, particularly due to the jaw-dropping tag price and also due to complaints from first-batch Xbox 360 buyers in the US who complained of various defects in the units they bought.

The Japanese XBOX 360 Review

I’m writing this review in hope to dispel some of the misconceptions regarding the Japanese XBOX 360. While I know there is demand for the XBOX 360, the staggering price that has been set by some retailers (such as Toy Kingdom) for the North American Core unit has turned off a lot of people. I also read the Inquirer news reports that had several glaring errors regarding the console that I wish to clarify those things.


First of all. There is no such thing as the Japanese CORE Xbox 360. Microsoft has only released premium units in Japan that contains the same things as the North American Premium units. The Japanese XBOX 360 is also known as the Commemorative Unit in Japan. The Japanese XBOX 360, just like the North American one, runs on 110 Volts. By March 2006, Microsoft will release the Asian XBOX 360 in China, Taiwan, Korea and Singapore which will have a voltage of 220.

The ones included in the Japanese XBOX 360 package are:

  • 1 XBOX 360 NTSC/J Console
  • 1 XBOX 360 20GB Hard Disk (but the usable portions is around 11GB or so due to system part1t1ons)
  • 1 XBOX 360 Wireless Controller
  • 1 XBOX 360 Power Supply Unit
  • 1 XBOX 360 Video Cables with the Japanese HD Video Connection (different from the North American one)
  • 1 XBOX 360 Limited Edition Remote Control (Japanese font)
  • 1 XBOX 360 Head set
  • 1 standard LAN cable (sorry I don't know the length)
  • 1 Bonus disk of Final Fantasy XI demo for the XBOX 360 (in Japanese)

For picture reference I would like to show the difference in package between the North American CORE Unit and the Japanese XBOX 360 Commemorative Unit.

North American Core Unit: Commonly found in local retail stores such as Toy Kingdom and Astrovision selling for around P58,000 --- the actual price of this unit in North America is $299, relatively P16,000.

Japanese XBOX 360 Commemorative Unit: Commonly found in stores such as Kid Station and EYO in Greenhills. This unit retails for around P28,000 - P35,000 (The Inquirer report is incorrect) --- the actual price of this unit is $350, relatively P18000.



The XBOX 360 (at least for the Japanese one), in anticipation for a world wide audience has set several language options to choose from. When you first turn on your Japanese console you will see the XBOX 360 launch screen which looks absolutely gorgeous! So much better than those videos I've seen on the Internet. Once the dash loads for the first time, this is what you will see....

And there you have it, the language options!!! The console will ask you to select the language of your console. And from then on the whole dashboard and console options will be set to English.

When I say everything will be English, I’m talking about the system menus and some of the games (I will go into detail about the games later). The only hint of Japanese in the console is the “Rating Information” for Hexic, one of the free games that come with the console and the Japanese subtitles on some of the XBOX 360 videos.

I would also like to remind you folks about another region coding that is not normally shown here in the Philippines. Most of the time stores like Datablitz and Toy Kingdom sell NTSC/U games which they imported from America. The Philippines, while not officially, falls under the Asian territory that exists in Singapore. That means we also get the same English games but not from North America but from our Asian distributors.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the Halo 2 theme XBOX console (the one colored Blue) and the Crystal XBOX. Those two consoles are considered as an Asian XBOX commonly distributed in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore but they bear the NTSC/J signature. What this means is that the Japanese XBOX 360 console and the Asian XBOX 360 console (which will launch in March 06) is essentially the same thing. The main difference between the two will be on the voltage and the DVD region coding playback (the DVD region coding will not affect the game).

Where to buy Asian games? As I mentioned earlier Datablitz imports games from the United States, they normally don’t carry Japanese/Asian games. However, there are some stores in Greenhills, such as EYO, that sell these games for a pretty good price. I for one got the Limited Edition Perfect Dark Zero there for P3500 while Datablitz sold the same US version for around P4000(?).

Microsoft has ‘promised’ stronger Japanese/Asian support for the XBOX 360. If the multi-lingual and the automatic language options in the video games will be counted as signs…they certainly are taking this Asian thing seriously.


XBOX Live Language and Content options is dependent on what region of the world you signed up in XBOX.COM. If you signed up under the Japan region, you will get a Japanese XBOX Live Menu once you go online. If you signed up for North America or Singapore (like I did), you will get the English XBOX Live Menu once you go online. Regardless of where you signed up you can still play with the whole XBOX Live community. It doesn't mean that if you sign up in Japan, you'll end up with Japanese players only.

It is also interesting to note that the content for each region is different. Currently XBOX Live North American has the most content.

EVERYTIME you make a new account in XBOX.COM, once you use that account on a valid XBOX 360 and log on to XBOX Live, you are automatically given a 1 month trial of the XBOX Live Gold features.


* THE BOX IS VERY HEAVY!!! A while back I was planning on getting the console through eBay or having one of my friends buy it in the US and ship it here...bad idea. The shipping cost alone will be very high and the box (while very very very cool looking) needs proper handling to make sure that the console is ok.

* Heat issues. Yes the XBOX 360 disk gets hot and so does the console but none like the stories in some messageboards. It is not THAT hot. The heat is common if you have a high speed disk drive like the XBOX 360. The console itself was hot but it wasn't burning hot. Surprisingly, my powersupply remained gut tells me because I used an AVR to plug the XBOX 360 and it helped distribute the heat or something. Bottomline, yes the console gets hot just like the PS2 does. I am playing in a non-airconditioned room with just one electric fan and its not burning up like some forum reports.

* The Japanese XBOX 360 is the COMPLETE package! It even comes with Energizer batteries for the controller and the remote control! And nothing beats the wireless controller! All the manuals are in Japanese.

* If you don't have XBOX Live / DSL connection but you wish to update the Backwards compatibility emulator in your Japanese XBOX 360 you can download the one posted in the Microsoft site. I used a CDRW and the console read it. After patching the console will reboot...I panicked this happened I thought the machine died! After the reboot just wait for a while and it will load again but you may have to resync your controllers since which is kinda confusing.

* As suggested, I turned my console on and off with the wireless controller. I didn't use the ring of light to power the console since in some cases that may cause hardware failure daw. But I kept the console and the super power supply in a well ventilated area.

* My console's manufacturing date is Nov 21, 2005! Hopefully it has less bugs than the launch consoles in the US which were manufactured around September...


While I know some of you will be shaking your heads thinking that I should have just waited for the North American XBOX 360 and laughing at my impatience, let me say that I AM VERY VERY VERY HAPPY WITH THIS PURCHASE! Before I bought the unit, I did extensive research on the compatibility issues between the games coming out. And from what I've seen most of the best titles come are region free. As for those that aren't there are several stores that sell the Asian english versions of the games for roughly the same price as the North America ones.

I am no longer optimistic that Datablitz will get the North American consoles and sell them at a relatively reasonable price. The last time I went there, they told me they will most likely price the console around P30000, now they say its around P40000. While I understand that the shipping costs alone for this product will be very high, I don't think the current price range of the console will go down since it is the first of the next gen platforms and it won't have any compet1t1on until late 2006 when the PS3 debuts in North America.

All in all, I consider having made an informed decision to buy the Japanese console. And if in the end, it proves that I cannot play the English games that I want I can always have the console modified (the hackers are now hard at work for the bragging rights to do this) and sell it at a lower price and just buy the cheaper XBOX 360 CORE unit which is rumored to have a price slash by the time the PS3 comes in.

If you are interested in getting the Japanese version do a lot of research. I am not a rich kid and I saved money for this for a long time. I understand that risks that I am taking and so far everything has been worth it.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Finally an online victory in Ridge Racer 6!

Man, that game is tough online. But when you win, it's very satisfying. Let this blog post commemorate my first two 1st place victories in online ridge racer 6 battle! w00t w00t!

I posted this in teamxbox...the community of players in RR6 seems to be very friendly, though mostly japanese:

"Finally earned 2 consecutive first place online victories today! Every other victory I've had is second, third, etc...Winning in this game is extremely satisfying. If you play well enough you can gain a good lead (seems to me that there is absolutely no rubberbanding effect).

After my 2 victories, my japanese opponent sent me a message. With my rough japanese skills, he told me "yoroshiku--*something something*---imasu" which essentially translates to "Nice to meet you!". I messaged him back, "sumimasen watashi wa nihongo o wakarimasen. nice to meet you as well, great game!". He understood and messaged me again in english with a compliment. I sent him good feedback for being a good sport."

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Here's my Japanese Xbox 360 :)

Haven't updated the blog recently because of lots of work and....because I've been enjoying my brand-spanking-new XBOX360 Gaming Console!!!

Me and wuffy also picked up PDZ Limited Edition NTSC-J and Ridge Racer 6. Both of those games have been excellent thus far!

The copies of PDZ and PGR3 which we picked up days ago didnt work because of region locking. Luckily our copy of COD2 did work :) Man, that is another awesome game.

My favorite game right now is Ridge Racer 6:

The arcade style racing is just so addicting!

And the new xbox live on this thing is amazing...lots of content!

Will post more impressions soon... there's just so much to see and do on this thing!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I'm getting my XBOX 360 eight hours from now!!!

Wow! I'm getting my xbox 360 in a few hours! Freakin' awesome! Wuffy is also getting hers as well :) Will post photos and impressions soon!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Xbox 360 Spotted in the Third World

This week, me and wuffy spotted a U.S. Xbox 360 Core unit being sold at the local Toy Kingdom store. The store was also selling various other xbox 360 titles which we haven't spotted anywhere else, such as Need for Speed Most Wanted and Kameo. The biggest shocker was the price tag that the store attached to the item: They were charging an insane price of Php 57,999.75 for the CORE console. Just to put that into perspective for our international viewers, the toy store was charging over $966.66 for a CORE unit, with NO BUNDLED GAMES. NO HARD DISK DRIVE.

Since when did Department Stores consult EBAY to determine their item pricing???!?

Sure, there are problems to having such a difficult-to-acquire item and selling it here in the Philippines...but the price that Toy Kingdom is selling the console at, is mind-bogglingly ridiculous. Thats over THREE TIMES the proper suggested retail price. And it comes with no memory cards, no games, no hard other options at all. Couple that with the fact that the boxes that the 360s were in looked like they were in BAD shape, as if the console's been kicked around the back office or has already been used by the management staff, or the boss's kids.

It's a really sad sight to see those two, poor core 360s, relegated to a fate behind that glass window, unsold, already raped, and ridiculously overpriced. Every so often a person strolls by the two 360s, looks at the price, then shakes their head in disbelief. No gaming console should be priced THAT much. Even if it IS rare, and unofficially supported locally.

And don't even get me started on the prices that they're charging for games and wireless controllers. Here's a clue...the hard disk, according to their staff, will retail for Php 13,000.00. That's over $216.67 for a 20GB drive.

But, alas, that's gaming in the third world for ya. The search for the 360, continues...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Xbox 360: The Long Wait Begins

As reported previously we were able to acquire some xbox 360 games ahead of the console itself:

1. Perfect Dark Zero
2. Project Gotham Racing 3
3. Call of Duty 2

We got those games at pretty decent prices. The only problem now is the console itself. Because of the horrendous shortage that is occuring worldwide, we are unable to find a console from the games importer that sells units here. Normally the games importer is able to get consoles/units easily, but with the 360 it has been quite a challenge because of the high demand...or the possibly orchestrated shortage by Microsoft. (Who knows, right? Microsoft is still a business, and they want to make money...and having a shortage is a great way to generate buzz, as shown by Sony with their PS2 in the past.). Whichever of the two things it is, one thing is certain. It's gonna be a long time before I even get to play the games that I got for the 360. So all I get to do is stare at the box and imagine what it must be like to go next-gen....

I made this post at , it summarizes what I think is the real cause of this current shortage of 360s: EBAY scalpers. Here's my full post:

"In my humble opinion, it's Ebay that's causing the problem. You have people who aren't gamers who are able to acquire units faster than the average consumer. Some of the people on Ebay are taking advantage of the fact that they work at a retail chain and buy from the store as soon as the console is shipped --and THEN sell it on Ebay for a hefty profit! How does the average gamer COMPETE with that???

There are guys on Ebay with more stocks than the retail stores, it's unbelievable. I just saw one guy selling over 25 PREMIUM units. Walking into a store, you can barely see that many...the most I've seen is five or six premiums and several cores; and then you have a guy on ebay selling 25 PREMIUMS?! How is that even possible?!!

And now the EBAY people are controlling YOUR prices. They set the price to nearly double or triple what the price should be, and that makes it much harder to get a console.

I know we live in an age where things like Ebay (internet auctions etc) are a part of our everyday lives but to me i find it ridiculous that Microsoft can't ask Ebay nicely to disallow the selling of Xbox 360s there until the holidays end. I mean, if Microsoft can stop the selling of pirated software or any other merchandise, I can't see why Microsoft can't put a stop to the listing of xbox 360s by scalpers who are a large part of the shortage problem that exists in the market today. This trend is seriously detrimental to your business and I can imagine Sony must be observing how you guys are having a hard time dealing with this and may take advantage of it later.

Perhaps there are some on your team that consider the whole Ebay thing to actually be a positive trend because it gives the impression that the 360 is very popular at this time. In my humble opinion, i disagree with that notion because the window of opportunity for microsoft to capture gamers is getting smaller and smaller as the holiday season goes by. Right now it seems to me that Microsoft is capturing Ebay retailers/entrepreneurs/opportunists/scalpers more than gamers! And those guys will only end up returning the consoles to the retailers when the holidays end and when they are unable to sell them anymore on Ebay. When that happens, interest will have died down, because the holidays have ended and people will have put their money somewhere else.

When the holiday season ends and people are still unable to get a 360 because of the high price, people will simply look to the future and wait for there to be choices. And that's NOT a situation that Microsoft would like to be in if they want to dominate the market. They have to get units to gamers THIS SEASON; January 2006 isn't going to cut it, and if Ebay is not stopped, MS *will* be in second place to Sony.

Anyway, good luck to you guys. Although I am a patient person and I CAN wait for the 360 to become more available, I am very worried about how Ebay is going to affect the ability of gamers to acquire a console during the holiday season. It also saddens me that none of the feedback from MS really addresses the whole 360 scalping situation; you guys are just letting this sort of activity go unchecked. Once again, this is a big factor that is one of the causes of the current shortage and I suggest that other than getting boxes to the USA quickly, that something be done about Ebay or online auctions in general that are basically hurting your business."

That's my post. Pretty much summarizes how I feel about the whole 360 shortage and how Microsoft is basically letting it happen.

* * *

Whatever happened to the value of 'The Golden Rule'?

Confucianism: One word which sums up the basis for all good conduct...loving kindness. Do not do to others what you would not want done to yourself.
-- Confucius Analects 15:23

In almost every xbox forum that I've been to, xbox gamers themselves defend the practice of selling consoles on Ebay, saying that it's capitalism, there's nothing wrong with profiteering from the current 360 craze. IMHO all that matters to people nowadays is making money and getting one over someone about those who are unable to get a console? They're simply forced to accept the fact that they have to pay so much for something whose value is not that high to begin with? Not everyone has the patience to wait at 5am at the stores every day to get a console. And how do you compete with those who have such an incredible advantage (store employees, people who are dedicated Ebayers, etc.)? Just bite the bullet and pay over a thousand dollars for something that isn't really worth that much?

What saddens me is that Microsoft seems to be okay with this...they care more about buzz and less about the ethics of this scalping practice...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Is the Philippines ready for the Next-Gen?

Whether Sony likes it or not, the next generation of video gaming has arrived with the XBOX 360. The XBOX 360 officialy launched in the United States last Nov 22 and what a week it was.

It was a week marred with exceedingly high demand, shortages, eBay price gauging, harrowing reports of system defects fueled by some fanboy trolls, sarcastic media and so much more. But is it stopping the XBOX 360? Not at all! In fact the demand appears to be greater than what it used to be given some negative publicity that the console has been receiving.

But going back to the original question, is the Philippines ready for Next-Gen?

For the majority of the Filipinos, my answer is no. I’ll be honest, much of the Philippine gaming market thrives on cheap pre-paid schemes as popularized by localized Korean MMORPGs and the ever-so-popular piracy problem that has been plaguing the country ever since the dawn of gaming.

A local game store in Greenhills, when asked when they would be stocking the XBOX 360, the default answer is next year. How can that be considering it’s the best time to sell these mean machines on the onset of the most popular spending season, Christmas? The most obvious answer will be due to the actual console shortages in the United States. Personally, I feel that most retailers won’t bother carrying the console if doesn’t have a mod-chip and have pirated games since majority of Filipino game retailers only carry pirated software. Of course, most retailers are still stuck trying to sell their overstocked PSPs to the point that ‘installing PSP games on your memory chip’ has been the new lucrative business to many game shops.

If those reasons are true it’s disappointing to a small group of people who are very much interested in the console. But then there is an oddity in the Philippine gaming market that manages to survive by carrying only original games and unmodified systems, despite the overwhelming competition of pirated games.

And just 4 days after the North American launch, the first batch of XBOX 360 titles, fresh from Mexico, has arrived in the Philippines!

The store carried nearly all of the XBOX 360 launch games. But please note, as of writing most of the games are already out-of-stock and has been purchased by overzealous gamers such as myself and scytherage.

This store has guaranteed those who are interested that they will be getting the console sometime soon. Of course, supplies will be severely limited but to the early adopters like me, we are certainly ready to purchase the console. Of course, it helps that I saved money for this thing ever since it was announced in E3.

So is the Philippines ready for the Next-Gen?

Many will still be stuck playing on their modded consoles or hoping that the PS3 will come here and sell for something less than P10,000 (of course to some people that may still be expensive). But for those who are lucky and those who have truly waited…THE NEXT GENERATION OF CONSOLE GAMING SHALL COME TO THIS COUNTRY PRETTY SOON! Hopefully before Christmas, as it serves as the best gift to gamers!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Xbox 360 now available in the USA

The Xbox 360 just got released in the United States last November 22. I've not been able to post here because I've been following how the launch over at the US is going. So far, here's what I've been reading about:

1. Microsoft hasn't been meeting the demand for 360s...the demand is so high
2. There are claims of defects on the consoles, but lately I've noticed that the claims feel like they're fabricated for some motive (some of them are complaining about the simplest of issues, or don't even know what they're talking about)
3. The ones who should be happy about having a 360 are too busy complaining about the slightest jaggy. Sheesh, mankind should have been obliterated ages ago if we would just end up THIS whiny.

What do I think about the launch? For starters, because of the *shortage* over at the US, the local gaming outlet here isn't able to guarantee anything with regard to when and how they'll get the 360. That said, I've got money saved up and am prepared to get it as soon as it becomes available.

The launch has actually been very good for Microsoft despite the problems I've mentioned above. Generally people seem to be very happy with the 360 and the high number of launch titles (the largest in the history of console gaming!). The review scores for the games have been very good, and even a site as jaded as Gamespot awarded great scores to first party titles like Kameo and PD0!

Congratulations to Microsoft for a job well done.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Next Gen: Hilarity by degrees

After the controversial New York Post article, which openly advised people not to purchase an XBOX 360, another publication has aired a similar opinion.

(The above image is a parody...but 50 Cent: Bulletproof?!?)

“If you still haven't been swayed and are actually thinking about buying an Xbox 360, you should know it has severe limitations which could put you and your family at risk. In the event of an emergency, the Xbox 360 can NOT be used as a flotation device and has not been approved to put out grease fires due to its shoddy design and Microsoft's willingness to cut corners. The console does indeed play dvds, but fast-forwards through scenes it doesn't like and flat out refuses to play any movie starring a now-deceased actor.”

Got your curiosity piqued, click HERE to read the rest of the article!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Next Gen: Sony has won...

Sony has delivered its strongest blow to its competitors, particularly the XBOX 360, months before the launch of the Microsoft console. They have done it by once again implanting the seeds of doubt in the minds of people. A sneaky but effective strategy, that they had used before hand when they squashed the Sega Dreamcast.

What have they done? Comments from the SCE head, Ken Kutaragi from month’s back were like a virus slowly trying to kill and disillusion its host. Particularly, Kutaragi’s comments of the following were the strongest:

  • XBOX 1.5
  • Xbox 360’s true competition is the PS2
  • Not Next-Gen
  • PS3 will come with true superior Next-Gen hardware

To the unkeen eye and to people who really don’t know what gaming is all about, it’s so easy to believe Ken Kutaragi’s statements.

  • The XBOX 360 is coming out 4-6 months earlier than the PS3. Let us remember that the hardware that will come out in Japan in Spring 06 will be the SAME hardware that will come out to North America in Winter 06 and for the rest of the world in 2007.

  • The hardware, the disk drive in particular, is just a regular DVD drive not the future Blu-Ray drive that will come with the PS3
  • The current console winner, hands down, is the Sony PS2.

  • It’s a Sony product and the Sony brand name is a treasured one compared to Microsoft, who has been topic of numerous anti-trust lawsuits, and everyone and their grandmother thinks Bill Gates has too much money, Sony is a little angel.

If journalist all over the world are the same ones as it is here in my country, then you can bet that the these journalist don’t really bother with extensive research and they just go on to deliver the most sensationalist bit of news. But of course, objectivity has never really been something to sell print media and boost television ratings. Had the media been doing their research they will come up with the following.

a) The actual research and development for the XBOX 360 started around the same time the original XBOX was released.

They enlisted the help of IBM, the same guys that Sony went to for their Cell Processor. While in theory the cell processor is indeed a new approach to computing, the multi-core architecture of the XBOX 360 is just as new considering it is only reaching mainstream support from Intel and AMD with their new PC dual core PC processors. To top it all off, the Graphics Processing Unit of the XBOX 360 is one of the first that will add EDRAM, something that current PC video cards do not have.

b) People keep on forgetting that a totally new thing may not exactly be a good thing.

This whole debacle on Blu-Ray and HD-DVD is useless since neither one of them are even out yet. With talks of newer formats being developed by other companies that may even surpass the capacity of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, I don’t see how there is a clear winner on these formats as of the meantime. Also tech-heads might also be able to throw additional life to the cheaper DVD format by introducing more sophisticated data compression methods, something that Microsoft has been rumored to be delving into.

c) The whole Microsoft thing.

(Image courtesy of the wonderful folks at the 1UP gaming site)

A couple of days ago, I read an interview with Bill Gates and why he is giving away his money to help in the world health situation. In my opinion, the interviewer is being rather snide will Bill Gates despite the content what he is actually saying. It is as if he can’t believe Bill Gates, one of the richest man in this planet, was capable of doing something good. Sadly, the XBOX 360 is marred by the reputation of Microsoft as a big-bad bully from the early nineties. It is an image that most people have stuck in their minds even if the XBOX console product is completely different from the software services. If these journalists actually bothered, they will realize that Sony has a couple of skeletons in its closets as well, like the whole fiasco with publishing ‘fake’ reviews to boost their movie ratings and the Digital Rights Management issues wherein Sony installs an unknown program in your computer to prevent you from making copies of the music. Sometimes, I feel that if the XBOX 360 was a product of a company like Apple, people would be a lot warmer to it. This whole perception thing is quite sad really…

d) The Playstation 2 argument.

The PS2 won in the last generation because it has the strongest third party support and it NEVER was because it was technically superior compared to its competitors namely, Nintendo Gamecube, Sega Dreamcast and Microsoft XBOX. In the current generation, no doubt the XBOX is the most technically superior console of its time but it took a mere 20% market share with Sony dominating everything else. In the console generation before the current one, the superior hardware can be awarded to the Sega Saturn, a console that met an untimely death due to the difficulty of developing for such new hardware. However people are touting the PS3 as the clear winner, while discrediting other consoles such as the XBOX 360 (a major improvement of its product and services) and the Nintendo Revolution (with its out-of-the-box wand controller) simply because the PS3 can churn out more muscle than the other two. But history dictates that it was never really the strongest hardware that won the console race but the most well rounded platform. Sony’s winnings came from the support of third party developers. People seem to forget that the XBOX 360 has signed on a lot more developer than they used to and they forget the strongest innovation in current day gaming that Sony will not bother with at all, online gaming!

So has Sony won?

By giving us videos (yes videos and not actual game play) such as the one below, Sony has played it safe. It played it the perception game very well keeping actual progress mum and promising a world of innovation at the same time.

Of course comparing it to current graphics of today…such as this…

Not much innovation on the side of videos. But clearly I hope, that I will be playing more of the one above rather than the actual game play shots of the one below.

While Sony might be stomping off its competitors with unfulfilled promises, they in effect setting a bar for themselves as well. And if they can’t meet that next-generation bar…let see if people will still be as forgiving as they had used to be. But hey…its’ a Sony!

Sony may have won the battle for perception. But the next-generation console war rages on!

Post I made on - Contribute ideas!

I posted the following on the forums...If you have any ideas, feel free to post them in the comments section


Let's help Microsoft - What to you is NEXT-GENERATION?

Alright, you know what guys, I'm so sick of all of these gaming journalists telling us what is and what is NOT NEXT GENERATION. To tell you the truth I don't think these journalists care about gaming anymore. They rush through Kameo and say that it's too short (when they themselves didn't even bother to enjoy the ride), they say that Perfect Dark Zero is just another shooter (when another shooter, entirely comprised of CG, is what they claim to be 'next-gen'--KILLZONE 2 for the PS3), and they say that Project Gotham Racing 3 is just another racing game with good graphics (and they were DROOLING over a movie of Gran Turismo running supposedly on the PS3).

They claim that 'graphics arent everything' but can't help but say that Gears of War will be GOTY simply because it looks cool. I have NOTHING against GOW -- i think that game is going to be good too -- my only point being that, why do journalists 'flip flop' like that, whining about how they want some kind of gameplay dynamic that's totally new, but they go all ga-ga over great graphics.

People, there is seriously something wrong with the gaming industry today.

So, how do we define what is truly the next-generation of gaming? Is it simply great graphics? Is it having some kind of gameplay dynamic that's never been done before? Is it having a control interface that is radically different from what is available today?

What about other ideas applied to old ones? How does one make a better first-person-shooter? How does one make a racing game interesting again? How about action-adventure games?

I think a better way to think of how to improve FPS/Racing/Action games is, what about those games did you always hate? Stupid AI? Too few enemies? The quest/mission doesn't feel EPIC enough? The racing gets boring after a while?

I offer this thread so that everyone can share their ideas--maybe somehow we can help Microsoft create better games that are truly TRULY NEXT-GENERATION. Yeah, yeah, I know that MS probably has so many people already working on this very problem 24/7, but you know what, it's time that we gamers help build and define what is truly NEXT GENERATION. What do we want to play tomorrow? Say it here.

(As for me, I'm still thinking about what qualifies as my 'dream game', and will post it here soon. And no, I will not sue MS if they consider my idea(s). I have no plans to work in the gaming industry anyway; and judging from where I live I wouldn't be able to sue them if I wanted to!)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Next Gen: Getting Real?

Depending on what side of the gaming fence you are, lets admit it, the next generation of videogames are coming and it starts with the XBOX 360. At least it does for me.

Now there is one thing odd that I have been noticing about people’s standards when it comes to the next generation. First, they the next gen perception is heavily influenced by traditional CG cut scenes. Second, next gen expectations always fall somewhere along the lines of being “realistic”.

With regard to the XBOX 360 games, I have seen a lot of people throw praises at realistic looking games such as Call of Duty 2 or Project Gotham Racing 3. While I have no problems with these things and no doubt the praises are well deserved by those games, the idea behind realism affects the way other ‘unrealistic’ games are perceived.

Take a look at the first party game called Kameo. Simply enough the character is a female fairy elf that can transform into a variety of cute looking characters as she walks through a fantastical looking environment. But despite the graphical achievements in this game, some people simply discount it as a kiddie game unworthy of their attention. Since when has a game where the character is not wearing a military combat suit a kiddie game? While in the end it’s a matter of preference, the perception of realism appears as a hindrance for some people into trying out a different genre.

Next stop, Perfect Dark Zero. A lot of people have voiced displeasure at the ‘unique’ art style of the game which look like the ones you see in comic books rather than the default facial features you will see in your default military games. Not only is the art style the thing that is being critiqued the character physics and environment interaction as well, everything from rag doll physics to blood splatters.

I guess with all this next gen thing, people are expecting too much realism. With realism, the expect games that look like the way the ‘real world’ does. While this is good, not all games that do not fall within the realistic category should be scrapped as a lesser game. Personally, I appreciate games that are non-realistic. I have considered games to be as a means of escaping real life woes. I would much rather be transported to a magical colorful world like Kameo’s rather than be sent to some war torn desert. I hope more gamers realize that next-gen offers more than realistic facial features and environments, it also pushes the limits of the developers imagination to create new immersive worlds that are totally unlike the ones we live in today.

A Local Company Here is Going to Give Away 10 Xbox360s!

This offers a little bit of hope that one day the Xbox360 will be offered here in my country locally. A contest is being sponsored by Canon Philippines wherein they're giving away 10 Xbox360s! Here's a screenie of their flyer:

Xbox360 Games Reviewed by Various Sites...Quick Thoughts from Me

Just read some reviews on Kameo, Project Gotham Racing 3, NBA 2K6 and Madden 06. I'm noticing a pattern when it comes to game reviews which is quite distressing. In summary here's what I've noticed:

1. Game reviewers on console launch are intent to be MUCH MORE CYNICAL than usual. This is because they want to impress their wives/girlfriends/office mates that "they're not fanboys".

2. There is this horrible slant towards games that look ultra realistic ("like-real-life"). Granted there's nothing wrong with having such high expectations for next-gen games, but what would gaming be like if --every-- game had characters and settings that looked like the real world that we live in now? Where would the creativity be?

Oddly enough, my comment comes from reading 1UP's review of PGR3, which essentially gave the game a 10 simply because it looks BEAUTIFUL. Granted I made another blog post where I share that same sentiment, and I still think the game looks beautiful...but if realism becomes the ONLY STANDARD for games, these types of reviews will set a horrible precedent for expectations of games in the future.

So hard to believe that the same audience that loved Pixar films like FINDING NEMO and THE INCREDIBLES can find a game like KAMEO to be too 'kiddie' for them. The odd thing is, if a game had Super Mario in it, it automatically raises the value of a game even if it's essentially just having that same character in a different gameplay scenario (Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, Mario Dance Dance Revolution....etcetera etcetera).

This same reason is what threatens to cause Perfect Dark Zero to get a lower score than usual. I don't know if PD0 is a good game or not, but judging from every article and gamer 'opinion' that i've read, the game's main 'crutch' right now is that Joanna Dark looks like a cartoon.

Let's hope that the arrival of the next-generation of gaming doesn't herald the end of creativity in art and game conceptualization. There's only so much SWAT team/Counterstrike simulation/World War II type gameplay that gamers can take....if the market saturates with these types of games, we're looking at another Video Game Crash, people. I guarantee it.

3. On console launch, the SCOOP is much more valued by the reviewers than the actual dissemination of proper information. It's obvious that the reviews of 1UP and IGN were written after the writers horribly RUSHED THROUGH THE LAUNCH TITLES. So their opinions, in *my* humble opinion, are not really well-informed and really just written quick enough in the interest of being able to release a review ASAP. Sad, because games that look to me to be well-crafted for FIRST GEN titles are getting the shaft.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Getting an XBOX 360 on Launch!

Yes, me and wuffy are going to get one XBOX360 each!

No, our country is not included in the launch list for that console. Heck, our country isn't even on the list for XBOX LIVE! (though i got a subscription anyway...A SINCERE THANK YOU TO MICROSOFT SINGAPORE FOR YOUR KINDNESS IN ACCEPTING MY XBOX LIVE SUBSCRIPTION!). Microsoft Philippines does not officially support the Xbox and the Xbox 360 in our country because the piracy rate is so high that they think it will not be profitable for them. Boo hoo for me.

But we are going to get the xbox 360, when our 'supplier' manages to get them all the way from the 'States (or however they get it...i have no idea how they manage to do it).

It's funny though. I visit message boards every day related to the xbox 360. And these days a lot of the people in the 'first world' are whining about xbox 360 shortages. Every manner of curse and four-letter word is being hurled by consumers at their retailers for not being able to supply them with the console.

Apparently thinks it's such a huge issue that they even made a comic strip about it. Wow. It's such a disaster of epic proportions. [/sarcasm]

"Oh noes I have to wait *gasp* TWO WEEKS to a MONTH to get my time-wasting device."
-->The brats--oops, guys at penny arcade.

Where I live, well, they're going to sell that new console at a much more expensive price. Possibly 100% of the price of the 'box will be added to its selling price. Ouch. They probably won't have all the launch games. There will probably be only FOUR xbox 360s in the store--and that would be all of the supply in the entire country. They COULD ALL BE CORE BOXES (Good LORD that would be disastrous! [/NO SARCASM]).

So if your ebgames or gamestop or whatever doesn't manage to get you your xbox360 on November 22, take comfort in the thought that there are places far far worse when it comes to the supplication of gaming needs.

Project Gotham Racing 3 is INCREDIBLE

Nuff said....

For more incredible screenies click HERE!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

How Could I Be A Gamer If I Live All The Way Out Here?

Exactly. That might be the question on your mind right now. The Philippines isn't exactly the greatest country in the world. It has serious issues with poverty and government corruption. Our exchange rate with the US dollar is at an all time low and the threat of the government collapsing on the weight of its own sins can happen any day.
That, my friends, is a Philippine flag.

So why the hell am I a gamer? I ask myself that question a lot. Maybe I should have picked a more inexpensive hobby.

How'd I get introduced to the wonderful world of video and computer games? Maybe that's a good place to start.

Have you ever heard of a device called a "Game and Watch"? I think Nintendo produced that thing sometime in the 80s'. If memory serves me right, that's where I got introduced into video games. I played this game where you're controlling this monkey that's supposed to be catching coconuts being dropped from a high place. If you miss, you lose a turn...and eventually it's game over. The idea was that the monkey dropping the coconuts from the high place would get faster and faster over time, and that's where the game provided endless amounts of challenge for my then feeble mind.

I also got introduced to the wonderful world of video gaming thanks to a little device known as the COLECO VISION video game console.

At this point some of you may be wondering--why the hell are they shipping COLECO consoles all the way out there in Asia?

Actually, my parents got it for me as a present after a visit to the United States. If memory serves me right, they got me the console along with three other games. The only game I have any recollection of is DONKEY KONG. At this point in time I can't recall the other two titles that they got for me.

The Coleco Vision game console provided hours of fun...the only problem I had was that I could never ever find games for it in the local department store. I recall that store clerks had no clue what I was talking about whenever I asked them about Coleco Vision cartridges.

Oddly enough, they did sell Atari game console cartridges--and boy, did that piss me off. This was how I discovered, early on in life, the number one rule of console gaming (and this rule still applies to this very day):

Game software designed for one console will not work with another console.

So it began. For me, at least.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Hello World! :)

Hi! Trying out blogging for the first bear with my n00biness...

Welcome to Who am I and what is this blog all about?

I'm a gamer...a guy who likes video games of various types. This blog will be about my thoughts on the gaming industry, computer and video gaming in general, and sometimes---about gaming in the third world.

That's right. The THIRD WORLD.

Okay, to be fair, it's about gaming in MY PART OF THE WORLD. I have no idea how gaming is like in the deserts of Africa....

But I didn't want to name my blog or or anything obvious like that that just gives away my nationality. If you follow this blog for the next few months (and hopefully years if i never get lazy on updating this) you'll be able to piece together why that is. I don't want to come on too strong on my first blog post (is that what people call a post on a blog? Sheesh I'm such a n00b!)

I'm writing this from way out here in the Republic of the Philippines. A country which many of you have probably never heard of. Or, if you've already heard of this place, you probably think it's some kind of haven for Al Quaida terrorists (given the wonderful coverage the press has given to one of the more famous terrorist groups that have taken 'refuge' here, the Abu Sayyaf).

Anyway I hope that my insights on the gaming industry and my anecdotes on gaming in my part of the world will bring endless entertainment to other gamers around the world.

See you around!