Here we go again! Every couple months we seem to get another round of rumors about the next generation of consoles. It seems as though the more Sony and Microsoft insist they're in no hurry to release new hardware, the more people insist they know what's going on behind the scenes at the big companies. Let's see what they've thought up this week, shall we?
Nobody Likes Used Games
We've already heard the rumor that the next Xbox will contain technology that will block owners from playing used games. GameStop's CEO spoke up about that rumor last week, saying that he'd already spoken with Microsoft on the matter and that the company is not at all likely to block used games. Of course, GameStop has an extremely vested interest in the pre-owned games market, so I'm sure its leadership discusses these issues with publishers and hardware makers regularly.
That doesn't stop the rumors of used game quashing, however. Now a new rumor claims that the next PlayStation machine will block used games. This one seems equally unlikely, probably just following the trend or betting on the fact that a lot of game publishers have spoken out against the pre-owned market lately. The hard fact is that brick and mortar retail sales (particularly at GameStop) still make up a major percentage of overall game sales in North America, and console makers rely on these very same brick and mortar stores to sell their machines. Ticking off GameStop by blocking used games probably wouldn't be a smart move for console makers at this point, not to mention that if one console blocks used games and another doesn't, the blocking company risks a sales disaster as consumers flock to the console that allows used games.
It seems that these rumors just won't die down until proven one way or another by the next generation of consoles. Seeing as (barring the Wii U) that's not happening for some time, we're sure to hear people freaking out about the possible death of used games for a while.
Nobody Likes Electronic Arts, Either
The Consumerist is currently running its annual "Worst Company in America" contest, and gaming's own Electronic Arts is one of the semi-finalists. So far, EA has beaten out Sony, Best Buy, and Comcast in anti-popularity, and it's going up against AT&T for the finals.
Why all the votes? Despite publishing quite a few popular games, EA's consumer practices aren't popular with gamers. The company currently seems to be testing the limits of just how many post-purchase charges customers are willing to take, especially with its sports titles. Add that to the EA's long-held reputation as a bad place to work and notoriously unhelpful customer service, and you've got a recipe for customer dissatisfaction. We'll soon see if those unhappy customers carry EA to the "Worst Company" title.
Xbox 360 Slimming Down?
For once, we've got an Xbox rumor that isn't about the next generation. Well-known Microsoft leaker MS Nerd claims that Microsoft will release a $100 "Xbox Lite" console in late 2013. This supposed stripped-down machine will focus on arcade-style games and will be Kinect compatible. The actual next-generation Microsoft console will supposedly launch some time after the Xbox Lite, which actually meshes with the fact that there won't be new Microsoft hardware shown at this year's E3. Microsoft is saying nothing about these rumors, of course. A $100 Xbox might be nice, but what will it be missing in order to be sold for that price?
Wii U to Get Steamy?
A tweet by Toki Tori developers Two Tribes suggests that Steam Cloud support and cross-compatible saves between the Wii U and PC would be "nice." A sly hint or wishful thinking? We don't know, but there was a winky involved.
Journey Heats Up PSN
Existential adventure Journey has become the fastest-selling game ever released on the PlayStation Network. That's a pretty nice victory for an indie game. It helps that Journey appears to have found a nice balance between art and fun. In celebration, Journey developer thatgamecompany says that it will be releasing the Journey soundtrack soon.
MMO No More
Embattled publisher THQ has announced that Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millenium is no longer slated to become an MMO game. Instead, it will be a regular console game with single-player and online multiplayer modes. While a number of single-player games have been expanded into MMOs, we don't see a lot of MMOs becoming single-player games. Unfortunately, this announcement came along with a fair number of layoffs at the studios that were working on the game.
Royal GAMEEmbattled UK game retailer GAME appears to have been saved by the Royal Bank of Scotland, which has led a consortium of banks in a move to acquire the company. This acquisition would essentially make GAME a government-owned company. Interesting!
Date: March 30, 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.*