The Weekly Dish is back after a short hiatus caused by a nasty case of the flu. Don't worry, all we've caught this week is our usual video game industry news and gossip fever. After all, we've got a new console launch to cover, not to mention the return of Reggie and video games in space.
PlayStation Vita Invades North America
The PlayStation Vita has landed in North America. Though it fails to have generated news footage of crazy midnight launch lineups, (let's face it, neither did the 3DS) there's a reasonable interest level out there for the slick little machine. Die-hard fans who pre-ordered certain bundles were able to pick up their Vitas a week early, explaining at least some of the low-key nature of the launch. Sony claims that the pre-order numbers for the Vita were healthy, and we're sure to track down some actual launch sales numbers within the next few weeks.
Over in Japan, the Vita isn't exactly burning up the charts. Although the hardware sales of every system except the 3DS have dropped over January and February, the Vita has seen a particularly large drop in sales numbers since its late December launch. There have even been rumors that some Japanese companies are dropping Vita projects in favor of developing for the 3DS instead, but these are so far unsubstantiated.
One of the biggest problems the Vita faces in Japan is that the PSP is still quite popular there—not a problem the device will face in North America. Most likely the Vita simply needs a few killer apps to get off the ground in Japan, especially with the 3DS having claimed some wildly popular third party titles like Monster Hunter. Whether the Vita will be viable in North America is the big question now, and Sony has put out a major advertising campaign to push the device. The company has thus far resisted the urge to pull out Sony ad personalities like Kevin Butler and the late, unlamented Marcus, instead focusing on the portability of the device and its online features. Stay tuned to The Weekly Dish to see how well the Vita fares!
Reggie Says Hello
Famous (or infamous, depending on one's point of view) Nintendo pitchman Reggie Fils-Aime has been uncharacteristically quiet lately. He broke that silence this week by hosting the North American version of the Nintendo Direct online conference. Announced cheekily over the 3DS Swapnote application by Reggie himself, Nintendo Direct focused on the Big N's near-future releases. On this continent, the focus was on Kid Icarus: Uprising and Mario Tennis Open for the 3DS, plus the announcement that The Last Story for the Nintendo Wii will be coming to North America, published by XSEED Games. That means that the two most-wanted Wii RPGs advocated by Operation Rainfall are now coming here, with Xenoblade releasing in April and The Last Story scheduled for later this year. These titles should give the Wii a nice final burst of life before the release of the Wii U.
Up, Up, and Away!
Mass Effect 3 is getting quite the ad campaign, from a toy store's worth of promotional merchandise (complete with attached DLC) to a balloon-related publicity stunt. Unlike poor THQ, EA knows better than to clog the San Francisco Harbor with deflated balloons. Instead, the company is sending up several copies of Mass Effect 3 attached to weather balloons. They will supposedly fly high enough to get close to space, thus the connection between the game and the stunt.
The copies are being tracked on the ME3 website, and whoever is able to pick one up once it lands will be able to keep the copy and play several weeks early. The first balloon was released out of San Francisco on Thursday, and others will be let go over cities such as New York, London, and Paris. What will happen if a copy lands in the water? We presume it's available to anybody who has a boat.
Date: February 24, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*