Friday, December 28, 2007

PINOYXBOX - PINOY-N Christmas Party Grand EB Pics and Video

The PinoyXBOX / Pinoy-N Grand EB and Christmas party was held recently on December 28, 2007 at the LPL Condominium in Greenhills, with many of the members of the Pinoyxbox community in attendance. Pinoyxbox setup several 360 gaming areas and provided food and drinks for members of the community. Staff from the PINOY GAMERS show were also in attendance to cover the event for one of their episodes next year.

Here's pics from the party and a video of Pinoyxbox members enjoying ROCK BAND on the Xbox 360!



Video Coverage from the PINOY GAMERS TV SHOW, Makisig Network Channel 76:




Here's the reception desk at the venue, with yahoosoda assisting with registration. Notice the stuff in front of her? Those were all the prizes that were given away at the Grand EB to lucky attendees! A lot of people walked away with some great loot, including the HALO 3 LEGENDARY EDITION, GUITAR HERO 3, and CALL OF DUTY 4, along with other prizes like Xbox 360 Vision Cameras, controllers, and various original Xbox 360 and Xbox games donated by members and moderators in the Pinoyxbox Community. Thanks to GAMEHOPPER for donating the Halo 3 Legendary Edition and Guitar Hero 3, and to the rest of the members of PXB for making the event an amazing extravaganza of prizes :D





Around 6:00PM some members arrived early to play Rock Band on the Xbox 360. GM, the administrator of Pinoyxbox, is pictured on the right holding the Fender Stratocaster guitar for the game, with his son playing on the drums. Pictured as well from left to right are twix, poleng, wuffy, boddah, and kantoboy watching on and probably thinking, "Damn, where's the asian version of this game??" In front of kantoboy is LeoMarley, providing vocals :D


Here's a another photo from a different angle, with PXBers playing on a big-screen Sony TV.

PINOYXBOX members and moderators helped setup over 8 Xbox 360s at the gaming area. The common favorites were NBA2K8, Guitar Hero III, Virtua Fighter 5, Halo 3, and Call of Duty 4. Six of the Xbox 360s were from members who willingly volunteered to bring their consoles to make the venue more festive and give an opportunity to other attendees to enjoy various games. Two of the Xbox 360s used at the event were donations from MICROSOFT PHILIPPINES to the PinoyXBOX community. The community is very thankful to Microsoft Philippines for their support for this major event, especially to Mr. Jojo Ayson, Product Manager for Microsoft Philippines, who attended the event later in the evening.

The other equipment, like LCD monitors, speakers, etc., were also items from PXB Volunteers.




(Note: A Nintendo Wii was also brought to the event by the representatives of Pinoy-N...unfortunately I wasn't able to take a picture of it, but it was there. It took its place on the big-screen Sony TV later on when PXB moved the Xbox 360 to the HD Projector)

Later on, the community moved one Xbox 360 from the big-screen TV to an HD Projector, after setting up a white canvas screen in one area. More ROCK BAND fun to be had for all!




Here are other pics at the venue...there were lots of attendees who arrived at around 8 to 9PM.




































Here's a nice pic of GM with his son...GM is the BIG BOSS of Pinoyxbox.com. He came all the way from the USA just to join us for this big party! He was also nice enough to bring along his copy of ROCK BAND and the instruments, too :D Thanks GM!!!


As I mentioned earlier, the party was held at a function room which was at the top of the LPL Condominium in Greenhills. It had a spectacular view of the Greenhills mall below (thanks Fafa Roland for this really awesome pic!)


Later on in the night there was a ROCK BAND Major Tournament...the winners walked away with various prizes like an Xbox 360 vision cam and some other gaming related accessories.


The winner of the band tournament was a group who called themselves the "PinoyXBand"! Pictured below from left to right are band members Daizzy, Richsen, LeoMarley and Boddah:




There was also a HALO3 Major Tournament at the Grand EB where over 28 contestants vied for a major prize, a System Selector Pro. After a few hours of intense 8 player Rumble Pit action, Wuffy (Rafael) emerged victorious!


That's Wuffy before he prepares for a big Halo 3 match :D


Now we know what Master Chief looks like without his helmet.


Here's GM handing out the prize for the Halo 3 tournament to the TWO TIME PXB Halo 3 Champion. The battle was really heated and intense; I would hate to meet any of the finalists as my opponents in a Halo 3 match. Maybe if GM will put up the replay of the final match for this tournament on Xbox Live, I'll record it and upload it here soon.

Later on in the night, Guitar Hero III was given away to one lucky PXB member. That member turned out to be PXB moderator rdperalta, who won in the raffle. Check out the photo below, which perfectly captures rdperalta in his moment of glory:


Overall a lot of fun was had by everyone that attended this incredible event. Towards the end of the party (which went on well beyond 12 midnight because of all the gaming!), this group picture was taken:



Note: Why are they holding up San Miguel Sexy Calendar pictures? What's a gaming event without booth babes??? Hehehehe :D

Special thanks goes out to SpecialK and Fafa Roland from Pinoyxbox for many of the pictures used in this article.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

NEWS FLASH: NAMCO'S TALES OF VESPERIA XBOX 360 EXCLUSIVE (UPDATE - More evidence revealed)




Yet ANOTHER Japanese RPG goes XBOX 360 Exclusive in Japan: TALES OF VESPERIA!

http://namco-ch.net/talesofvesperia/index.php

Apparently the confirmation of this was found on the SOURCE CODE of the website. Since the source was found by some forumgoers on http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=220822, the information has recently been removed by Namco. However, some people were astute enough to take screenshots of the source code, which obviously reveals that the game will come out exclusively for the Xbox 360.

The above screenshot was taken by neogaf forum poster kassatsu. Click on the image to enlarge.

This screenshot was taken by the neogaf forum poster cress2000. Click to enlarge.


The news was also verified by neogaf poster toypop, who simply copy pasted the meta tags from the web page source code to the thread. These were done before Namco removed the meta tags from the source code of the page.

The game's Xbox 360 exclusivity has been discussed on the Japanese forum 2ch well before the game's title was ever announced. Bandai Namco confirmed with IGN that Kousuke Fujishima and Production I.G. were involved in this project, along with Yoshito Higuchi, who is well known for his stellar work on Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Abyss. Higuchi serves as the producer and chief director on the Vesperia Project.

Here's a link to the video over at gametrailers:
http://www.gametrailers.com/player/usermovies/151196.html

UPDATE: More evidence has surfaced that this game is truly XBOX 360 EXCLUSIVE. Check this page on neogaf:

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=9115569&postcount=562

And check this link for the evidence: http://sakuraba.cocoebiz.com/discography/

UPDATE 2: The reference from the site http://sakuraba.cocoebiz.com/discography/ was removed. To see the original page, click here

UPDATE 3: Apparently the XBOX 360 reference is STILL IN THE SOURCE CODE of http://sakuraba.cocoebiz.com/discography/ . Right click the page and view the source code. Search for the string "Tales of Vesperia". This will come out:

Tales of Vesperia<-- (XB360)-->¹

Here's the first ever footage from the game, from youtube:



Here's a link to the HD version of the video, from GAMERSYDE:
http://www.gamersyde.com/news_5692_en.html

Tales of Vesperia features beautiful cell-shaded graphics...it looks like Namco is capitalizing on all the experience they've had in developing games for the Xbox 360. They've released Eternal Sonata, Ace Combat 6, Idolmaster/Idolmaster Live for You, Beautiful Katamari and Ridge Racer 6 on the Xbox 360 platform. Despite the sales challenges faced by the Xbox 360 platform in Japan, Namco has continued to support the Xbox 360 because they know that that platform is the most successful the world over, and with the console game market continuing to shrink in Japan, Namco clearly understands that releasing their next few games on the Xbox 360 is the best choice.

It's therefore quite clear that it's the worldwide sales which really counts for these game companies, regardless of their country of origin. With the Xbox 360 getting so many games selling in the millions, it's clearly more profitable for Namco to make more of their games Xbox 360 exclusive.

DEVIL MAY CRY 4 BUNDLES for the XBOX 360 and the PS3 in Japan!

It looks like both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 are getting bundled with Devil May Cry 4 in Japan:




Source Links:
http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/843/843147p1.html
http://kotaku.com/336060/japan-gets-devil-may-cry-4-ps3-bundle

Capcom's expecting huge sales worldwide for this release. Thus far, they've done very well with their next generation titles. Both of their recent releases Dead Rising and Lost Planet did well over 1 million copies sold worldwide, which is far better than their other Japanese counterparts Konami, Namco or Sega. Perhaps its thanks to their stellar work in next-generation graphics and gameplay ideas that gamers the world over have been very supportive of them.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Merry Christmas to gamers the world over!!! :D Get any games under the tree today? Hehehe

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Virtua Fighter 5 Live Arena (Xbox 360) Early Impressions!


I just got Virtua Fighter 5 Live Arena for the Xbox 360....here's some of my early impressions:

Virtua Fighter 5 = extremely satisfying fighting game.

I tried playing it on Xbox Live today, and despite my location [and relatively slow connection] here in the Philippines there's little to no lag in online play! I did get some hitches but the controls were still manageable.

The gameplay in VF5 is slower than Dead or Alive 4 but it feels much more strategic. Doing special moves is a bit easier since it's easier to remember the button combinations to do special moves...they require less arrow presses (and it helps that there are button shortcuts on the 360 controller for those tricky P+K+G combos). There are moves that are really hard to pull off but you only really need a few of them, and it's quite easy to string different moves together. Winning in matches feels less 'random' compared to DOA4 since button mashing won't help you in this game.

Overall my early impression of VF5 is extremely positive. Maybe it helps that I played VF2 to death on ye olde Sega Saturn. Highly recommended for fighting game fans. If you're looking for an overreaching plot to go with your fighting game (ala Tekken series), VF doesn't have that. It's really all about the fighting, and the satisfaction comes with pulling off great combos and fighting moves.
I recommend the Xbox 360 version over the Playstation 3 version, considering that the 360 version comes with better graphics, online play and is based on VERSION C of the arcade game, which includes the latest tweaks and balances to the characters.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

MASS EFFECT. Go. Buy it.

Amazing. Incredible. Unbelievable. Game.

Great Ending. Very satisfying. No, EXTREMELY satisfying. There's just that feeling that you saved the known galaxy when you reach the end. And there's also that feeling that there's a lot more coming, there's a whole lot more to explore in the near future!

I'm at a loss for words here.

It has its faults din but the whole package is just superb, definitely a game I'm keeping on my shelf; I'm never selling this one!

Absolutely looking forward to the upcoming DLC and to the sequel. I hope they release it next year.

GOTY material, right up there with Bioshock! Those two games deserve every possible praise and award.....Mass Effect == best RPG from Bioware in YEARS. Best since BALDUR'S GATE II + expansions. Yes, they've finally topped that!!!!!!

For the ones who just HAVE to balance out this commentary with what I found wrong with the game:

1. The inventory system....needs work! I wish it was easier to sort my stuff (like, deleting items or keeping track of what I've picked up already)

2. AI Pathing occassionally gets confused. But on my end I haven't had any major issues with them. I guess I don't use the command system, i just let them do their thing and it seems its much better that way.

3. This game *NEEDS* a multiplayer mode! Not in the sense of a VERSUS mode, but more of a mode which lets other players play the single player mode with you. It would really be fun to let other players control your 2 other party members. Maybe in a future sequel, you can also have more than 2 characters in your party.

4. A few framerate jitters here and there. But it never gets in the way of playability anyway, so it is practically a non-issue unless you're the type who just HAS to have perfect 30 FPS in your game.

5. The Mako vehicular combat needs a bit more 'oomph'. Can't quite put my finger on it....I just wish the gun shots left more smoke trails/plasma trails to make it more entertaining.

Positives:

1. The dialogue system is awesome. It makes you want to play the game over again so you can find out what happens if you picked the options that you didn't pick! And I can't imagine how many hours of dialogue are in this game....

2. Multiple ways of finishing quests.

3. I like how this game lets you pause the action with RB then you can choose special attacks for you and your party. You can then set up interesting strategies, combining biotic attacks with tech attacks or protecting or boosting your teammates with barrier or with health packs.

4. I like the gun ammo upgrade system. I like how you can change the type of ammo that you are using, and it's interesting how they can affect combat (the Cryo shots are really cool hehehe)

5. BIOTIC powers are really nice. LIFT can be really cool when you use it in proximity to many other items in the level (you can lift crates and other random objects!)

6. All the characters in your party seem to have interesting backstories and personalities! It was really nice to visit them every so often and talk to them about their previous adventures. I thought Wrex (the Krogan) was the most interesting character. Putting character into side-characters is rare these days; there seems to be a lot more focus on the main character. Mass Effect does NOT follow this trend. The other characters that join your party have their own agenda, disposition, etc. At some point in the game this even affects the main quest. It looked like one of the characters in my party was going to fight against me. Luckily because I had such a high CHARM rating I was able to calm the character down.

It's also interesting if you mix up the characters that you bring along with you. Sometimes you'll hear them talk to each other and sometimes they don't seem to like each other. I can't imagine how much work went into Mass Effect's world and characters. Bioware must have some super secret design technique for creating interesting RPG situations for the player to get involved in.

7. Some of the decisions you have to make seem to have a major impact on what happens to the overall story. It will be interesting to play the game over again and see what would happen if I did some other things...how will my actions affect other characters, etc.

8. The love angle was interesting; it's rare to see that in a video game. Usually games already set your character up with a specific other character; it seems in this game you have a bit more freedom on who your character ends up with, and how that happens (and what happens after that, hehe)

9. The art work and the design of the worlds in the main quest arc are really interesting and beautiful. The side quests areas are not as well designed but that's an arguable point....since the worlds that you visit are not all inhabited, and some of them have inhospitable conditions, it would be logical that some of them would be barren or devoid of plant or animal life.

10. Lots of other nice little touches along the way....traveling from planet to planet, you get transmissions which lead you to more sidequests....your party have individual reactions to your past missions...your actions have repercussions (you'll hear news reports of how things turned out in some planets, from the elevators; you'll get some quests only if you play renegade, etc etc etc)

11. The game also comes with this lengthy, lengthy, LENGTHY codex section with a rich, deep background on the universe of the game. I haven't personally listened to everything in there. There's TONS of information.

Overall, Mass Effect is a UNIVERSE of a game! Highly recommended! Even if you're the type of player who doesn't like Western RPGs because they usually have a 'faceless hero'---this game manages to create an interesting lead character with a personality that you can choose and mold to your liking. A game like Mass Effect very rarely comes along...every gamer out there owes it to themselves to experience what a true next-generation role-playing game should be like. This, is the one.

Friday, December 14, 2007

November 2007 NPD US Sales are in!

The sales figures for the month of November are in (courtesy of the NPD Group and this post at Neogaf). Here they are:

**************************************

Many thanks to NPD

Hardware Unit Sales

PlayStation 2 496K
PlayStation 3 466K
PSP 567K
Xbox 360 770K
Wii 981K
Nintendo DS 1.53 million

November 2007 Top 10 Video Games Rank # Units
360 CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE ACTIVISION (CORP) NOV 2007 MATURE (M) 1 1.57 million
WII SUPER MARIO GALAXY NINTENDO OF AMERICA NOV 2007 EVERYONE (E) 2 1.12 million
360 ASSASSIN'S CREED UBISOFT NOV 2007 MATURE (M) 3 980K
PS2 GUITAR HERO III: LEGENDS OF ROCK ACTIVISION (CORP) OCT 2007 TEEN (T) 4 967K
WII PLAY W/ REMOTE NINTENDO OF AMERICA FEB 2007 EVERYONE (E) 5 564K
360 MASS EFFECT MICROSOFT (CORP) NOV 2007 MATURE (M) 6 473K
PS3 CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE ACTIVISION (CORP) NOV 2007 MATURE (M) 7 444K
WII GUITAR HERO III: LEGENDS OF ROCK ACTIVISION (CORP) OCT 2007 TEEN (T) 8 426K
360 HALO 3 MICROSOFT (CORP) SEP 2007 MATURE (M) 9 387K
PS3 ASSASSIN'S CREED UBISOFT NOV 2007 MATURE (M) 10 377K

U.S. Video Games Market - November 2007

Dollar Sales November 2006 November 2007
Video Games $1.74 billion $2.63 billion 52%
Video Games Hardware $772 million $1.1 billion 41%
Console Hardware $519 million $771 million 49%
Portable Game Hardware $253 million $319 million 26%
Video Games Software $804 million $1.3 billion 62%
Console Software $617 million $1.1 billion 75%
Portable Game Software $187 million $218 million 16%
Video Game Accessories $160 million $243 million 52%


**************************************

It can be seen from the figures that Nintendo and Microsoft are once again the clear winners; despite Sony's price drop their hardware and software sales have not improved. Also, this time the "Playstation family" of products as a whole is trailing behind the competition in both hardware and software. Sony had two big games that came out for November: Ratchet and Clank and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Both games are nowhere to be found on the top 10.

It will be very difficult for Sony to catch up by this point. The lead of their rivals (in terms of installed base and software sales) is simply overwhelming. They will have to content themselves with third place, or at the very least improve their software sales with the base of users that they currently have. Strong software drives console sales; this is what Sony should focus on, if they plan on continuing to be relevant for this generation of consoles.

Sony's number one problem right now is losing that all-important third party support. By this point, third parties have figured out that if they really want to invest their development efforts to turn out the most profits, the best choice for them is either the Wii, DS or the Xbox 360. In fact, the Xbox 360 is the most profitable platform for game software right now, with over 3 million in software sales (if you combine all the sales of all the 360 games in the top ten). That means that if you develop a game on the 360, so long as you do an excellent job and market the game right, you've got a chance to sell over a million copies.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

360 not doing so bad in Japan.

This may seem as a big shock to some people who think that the 360 is dead in Japan. It's not. Far from it, in fact it has already performed much better than the XBOX.


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何ですか?!


Now before we get some violent reactions take a look at the figures below:

http://www.n4g.com/News-91672.aspx

Nintendo Wii: Hardware = 3,945,429 through Dec 2/07 (MC)
Tie Ratio = 2.60

Sony PS3: Hardware = 1,440,642 Through Nov 25/07
Tie Ratio = 1.95

Microsoft X360: Hardware = 509,314 through Nov 25/07
Tie Ratio = 3.93

Note that the 360 is practially 1/8th of the Nintendo Wii's installed base and just 1/3rd of the PS3's installed base. Yet despite all that, it remains to have the HIGHEST SOFTWARE ATTACH RATE! Now this is a very big thing for Microsoft Japan. The the hardware may not be selling well, game developers and Microsoft themselves are making money by selling more software than their competitors. Now Microsoft has announced that they are planning on increasing the number of games that get to the Japanese 360 owners in hope to reach 1 million hardware consoles sold. Even if the Wii and the PS3 move up to 5 million or more, by 1 million consoles given the software attach rate for the 360, Microsoft Japan will become even more profitable.
It's interesting to note at the performance of the 360 games in Japan. The top selling games of all time are the following:
  • 202,294 Blue Dragon (Microsoft) (12/7/06) – through Oct 14/07
  • 106,200 Dead or Alive 4 (+Xbox 360 Platinum) (Tecmo) (12/29/05) / (11/1/07) – rounded off through Jan 14/07 / Nov 4/07 (105,331 + 900) 85,000 Dead Rising(+ Platinum + Dead Rising/Gears of War Plat)(Capcom)(9/28/06)/(6/14/07)/(11/1/07)–rnd off through May 13/07 / Oct 14/07 / Nov 4/07 (65,908+16,950+2,100)
  • 81,642 Halo 3 (Microsoft) (9/27/07) – through Nov 18/07
  • 79,069 Ace Combat 6: Kaihou e no Senka (Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation) (Namco) (11/1/07) – through Nov 18/07
  • 76,000 Gears of War (+Platinum+ Dead Rising/Gears of War Plat)(Microsoft)(1/18/07)/(11/1/07)/(11/1/07) - rnd off through Aug 12/07 / Nov 18/07 / Nov 4/07 (67,718+6,211+2,100)
  • 72,129 Ridge Racer 6 (Namco) (12/10/05) - through Dec 31/06 71,257 The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Spike) (7/26/07) – through Oct 14/07 67,671 Trusty Bell: Chopin no Yume (Eternal Sonata) (Namco) (6/14/07) – through Oct 14/07
  • 61,600 Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (+Xbox 360 Platinum) (Capcom) (12/21/06) / (11/1/07) – rounded off through Mar 11/07 / Nov 4/07 (60,861 + 700)

Now 2008 looks like it may be another good year for the 360 in Japan with these games in the horizon...

  • Devil May Cry 4
  • Ninja Gaiden 2
  • Soul Calibur 4
  • The Last Renmant
  • Infinite Undiscovery
  • Cry On
  • Blue Dragon 2

If you want to see the complete list of games for the 360 and the other consoles check out this link... http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=128989

Now why should gamers who do not live in Japan care about this? Compared to the sales of the western territories the Japan sales are dismal. While Japan isn't the gaming power house that it used to be, the high software attach ratio for the 360 in Japan is something that may attract even more Japanese developers to the console. The more Japanese developers on board, the more diverse games will be available to the XBOX 360.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On this day, two years ago...

Two years ago, I made a post on this blog stating “Next Gen: Sony has won...”. And what a difference two years can make!

In two years time, its quite interesting to note that Ken Kutaragi has 'resigned' from Sony altogether. The father of the Playstation and the man who vowed that he shall crush Microsoft, Ken Kutaragi has finally entered a life of retirements. Although chances are this has more than enough retirement pay to live quite well for the rest of his days.

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Do you need to have a degree to be a videogame analyst?

Now if we are going to follow some analyst predictions from 2 years ago, the 360 should be lagging behind the console race as of this time. Ironically, those analysts modified their statements just recently stating that by 2011 the PS3 shall reign supreme. That's fine and dandy should the XBOX 360 and the Wii have no good games coming out but sadly for the PS3, they do have some interesting titles coming out. More notably, the new XBOX 360 franchise trilogies shall be nearing their second installment release with Gears of War and Mass Effect. Too Human is slated for a 2008 release and Hironobu Sakaguchi ain't calling it quits either with the pre-eminent release of Cry On, most likely for the holidays 2008 season in Japan, and the rumored Blue Dragon 2.

After two years, we have seen a lot of once exclusive Playstation titles shift and began supporting multi platform support with the XBOX 360. The most popular of these titles is Devil May Cry 4, which was stated to be a new game for a new audience' and Virtua Fighter 5. Ahhh...I remember those days when the die hard Playstation fanboys bombarded XBOX sites gloating about the exclusivity of VF5 which will guarantee their success worldwide and in Japan. Well, at the same time the Sega developers were pleading to their executives to let them port this game on the XBOX 360 so it will be capable of utilizing the XBOX Live online code.

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Don't Panic loyal Sony fans for Solid Snake will save the day in 2008...provided you all go out and buy 1 million copies of his game.

After two years, the biggest titles Sony has left is Metal Gear Solid 4 and Final Fantasy 13. However, strangely enough, while continuing to pledge allegiance to Sony, Hideo Kojima's team stated that the game needs to sell 1 million copies on day one just to break even!!! Wow talk about an extremely hard objective. Should this game fail to sell the said number of copies on day 1, chances are the Konami executives will force Kojima and his team to screw allegiances and just port this game to the XBOX 360. Square Enix on the other hand, continues to show CG trailers of FF13, with no particular release date in sight, while continuing to milk the Nintendo DS with old and newer titles.

After two years, the laughing stock of the earlier E3 events, Nintendo turned out on top with the worldwide console sales. The Wii was a hit with kids, parents and grand parents everywhere. In Japan, its clearly a Nintendo country bolstered by the success of both the DS and the Wii. The Wii continue to sell out across the world and makes an easy gift for anyone to enjoy. And finally, the next generation of Super Mario has come out with Super Mario Galaxy.

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In Master Chief we trust.


But despite all that, after two years, we are still gaming solely on the XBOX 360.

Of course, it wasn't all smooth sailing for an XBOX 360 gamer living in an unsupported territory. As we have mentioned before, our first Japanese launch XBOX 360 has succumbed to the 3 red lights of death after one year of service. This prompted us to get an Asian XBOX 360 with a full 1 year replacement warranty in case of failure. Although, I am happy to say that our original Japanese launch console has been revived completely. While its current state is not as appealing, the additional internal fans and the 'bare' look has ensured that this unit shall not be over heating anymore.

Apart from continuing to improve the console and XBOX Live with the dashboard updates, the continuous stream of great games available to the XBOX 360 is the main reason why we continue to be sole 360 gamers. Of course, the exclusives like Halo 3, Mass Effect and the upcoming Lost Odyssey bolster the sales of the console. It's interesting to note that a good number of multi platform titles perform and look better on the XBOX 360 compared to the PS3. While we were quite aware of this years ago, many people who bought into Sony's Blu-Ray / Cell Processor hype are scratching their heads as to why this is so.

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Modern Computing 101: The more RAM, the better.

The answer is relatively simple. While Blu-Ray can store tons of data, the data has to filtered to the system bus and fed to the PS3's 256 MB memory. Now before anyone calls foul here, the PS3 has two different kinds of memory. The first 256 MB is applicable for video memory only while the other 256 MB is used for the rest of the system computations. This is in contrast with the 360 which has 512 MB that can be allocated to whatever the developer pleases and an additional 10MB embedded ram on the GPU to provide simple anti-aliasing techniques. Of course, lets not forget the software development tools, which is what Microsoft is really known for in the industry.

But in the end, we stay on the XBOX 360 simply because that's where all the games are at. Yes, I understand that the PS3 has its own share of relatively good titles. In fact, we were considering purchasing a PS3 this Christmas season just for the heck of it. But as we stood in the store looking at the PS3 game selection, we remembered our XBOX 360 library and the backlog of titles that we wanted to play but simply can't because there are waaaaay too many games to play already.

I won't say that the PS3 has no games. It does. The more notable PS3 titles are all those that came from Sony based game studios like Resistance: Fall of Man, Warhawk. Motostorm, Lair, Heavenly Sword and Uncharted: Drakes Fortune. If you line them all up together like that, its quite impressive....IF you don't have anything else to play. Unfortunately for Sony, Microsoft has made it a point to bombard 360 owners with tons of games. In fact, among all 3 next generation consoles the XBOX 360 has the biggest software attach rate per console user...even in Japan where the console hardware sales has bombed compared to its Japanese based competitors. Now that's really something. Microsoft is dominating in the area that they want to dominate and that is software.

Should we buy a PS3 now its going to be wasted investment. Why? If we buy it now, we will most likely turn back to our 'older' XBOX 360 games just to finish Mass Effect, Naruto, Eternal Sonata before the next round of 360 game spending should come up by February 2008. I'm all for getting a PS3 one day, just not now. And who knows perhaps another year down the the line, the PS3 might 25% cheaper than what it is today.

As for the Wii, while it remains to be a worldwide seller...the platform doesn't have the impressive software attach rate. The only game that sell well is Wii Sports, which is already bundled with the Wii hardware by default, and the rest of the Nintendo made titles. For us, the Wii remains to be an interesting gadget but once again, we don't see ourselves spending so much time with it when Mass Effect is looming on our entertainment display.

To sum things up, in two years so many things has happened in the gaming industry. 2008 will prove to be yet another interesting year in gaming. I laugh at all of those 'PAID' analyst who predicted that the 360 will be the next 'Dreamcast' of the console wars by this point in time. It certainly makes you wonder where the heck do these people get their supporting figures? From the trends 7 years ago? Hmmm...come to think of it, I should go check up on my fund managers to make sure they aren't making the same boneheaded mistake into thinking that data from 7 years ago is valid without looking at the current trends in the industry.