By Amanda Kondolojy
February 2008 - The Game Developers Conference has always been a great but somewhat under-appreciated conference. It was always seen as a smaller event, and although it has featured some pretty awesome developers in the past, it could never live up to the hype surrounding the E3 conference or the Tokyo Game Show. But this year the Game Developers Conference saw some pretty amazing announcements, featured some really hot titles, dated a few high-profile releases, and even revealed some very interesting technological news.
Gears of War 2
Probably the biggest announcement from this year's GDC was the confirmation of Gears of War 2. Many had been suspecting this one for some time, but I don't think anyone expected CliffyB to come tearing in with a chainsaw and reveal a teaser trailer featuring good ol' Fenix using his trusty chainsaw on some poor unfortunate locust that never saw him coming. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out at the bottom of this page! The game will see a tentative release in November. No other information was made available, but I'm sure that will change as we get closer to this much-anticipated follow-up's release date!
Xbox Live Community Games
The Microsoft crew had everyone buzzing before their big event. They promised to reveal something really big, and we were not let down. Microsoft announced that games created using their XNA Game Studio will soon be available for download over Xbox Live Arcade. Of course you can't just blast anything up there; there will be a peer reviewing process to ensure quality. But this is great news for those who love creating their own games. Now gamers will be able to share their creations with the Xbox community. In fact, several XNA games are already available on Xbox Live Arcade. As for the future of XNA titles? Microsoft has said that these titles will eventually be available for Microsoft's Zune MP3 player, although we'll have to wait for more information about how that will work in the future.
Wii Pay and Play
Although the Wii's online interface has been the subject of much debate among fans, it is pretty easy to see that the Wii's online capabilities are vastly inferior to the online services provided by Sony and Microsoft. But an announcement at this year's GDC could be a signal of things to come. Nintendo's Takashi Aoyama announced "Wii Pay and Play," which will be an expansion of the Wii's pre-existing online capabilities. This new program is touted as a way for Nintendo to subsidize premium services and explore new options. No word on how this service will work or what games will feature Pay and Play content, but hopefully this is a step in the right direction for Nintendo's currently weak online service.
Wi-Fi PSP Store Confirmed
Although it seems to have been a long time coming, the Wi-Fi PSP store was mentioned again at GDC 08. Currently PSP owners need a PC and a special USB cable to access downloadable content for their PSP. But soon PSP owners will be able to access a native PlayStation store on their PSPs via any Wi-Fi hotspot. While most fans were pretty sure that the Wi-Fi store was in the works, it was nice to hear it confirmed as under construction.
Confirmed to be in planning. Enough said.