Welcome to The Weekly Dish! This column will be splashed with liberal amounts of gossip, opinion, and even baseless speculation, so enjoy it for its water-cooler nature and don't take anything too seriously. That said, let's get to it.
All About the Benjamins
One thing that can be said for Sony is that it doesn't hesitate to make bold statements about the industry. The latest is from Sony Computer Entertainment America's president Jack Tretton, who mentioned in an interview that he doesn't believe that pricing makes or breaks a gaming system. He believes that buying a platform is an investment in future entertainment, and that an expensive platform will find an audience as long as it provides enough quality to gamers.
Of course, the big question is what exactly Mr. Tretton had in mind while making this comment. Is he simply trying to play down price drops as a big factor in the PS3's growing share of the console market? Or is this statement a grim prophecy towards the price of upcoming Sony consoles? We'll get an idea soon, when the price for the upcoming NGP portable device is released. Will it cost the predicted $250-$350, or will Sony dare to charge even more?
Nintendo Doom Train Runs Off the Rails
Choo choo! All aboard the Nintendo Doom Train! For some reason, predicting the death of Nintendo is practically a sport amongst the gaming community. Is it the company's appeal to the dreaded casual market? The cute mascots? The general refusal to play by the "rules" of hard-core gaming, like "go HD or go home?"
Either way, there's been a fair bit of Nintendo-baiting going on with the release of the 3DS. Sure, sales were a bit slower than expected in Japan. Seriously, though... there's the small manner of the earthquakes, tsunamis, and associated nuclear disasters to think about. People worried about whether their homes will be standing from day to day are unlikely to be out shopping for video games, and no doubt plenty of Japanese people in unaffected areas are spending their time and money helping out rather than buying a new 3DS. Nintendo insists that the 3DS has had its best-ever portable launch in North America, so we'll see how things look when March's NPD hardware numbers come out later this week.
On the other hand, British tabloid The Sun appears enchanted with the notion that the 3DS causes a large number of customers to become dizzy and even pass out. The Sun should probably stick with equally ridiculous stories about the Royals, since Nintendo obviously tested for such things before releasing the device. No, the 3DS is not causing an outbreak of gamer-fainting, and no, it's not being returned in record numbers. Nintendo is doing fine, thank you very much. We can stop shoveling coals into the doom train for a while.
The Orkin Man Visits BioWare
A month after its release, Dragon Age 2 remains a controversial topic in gaming circles. Although a fair bit of the negative reaction has been more that slightly overheated (sure, it's not BioWare's greatest game, but it's no Daikatana), one thing pretty much everyone can agree on is that the game shipped with an unacceptable number of bugs.
No matter what platform you're playing on, sooner or later any Dragon Age 2 player is going to run into something that doesn't work quite right. Befriending some companions causes their friendship bonus to apply negatively instead of positively, eventually leading to a molasses-slow or mouse-weak player character. Another companion has a bunch of mis-ordered dialogue, and nobody's quite sure how many quest lines are bugged out or were simply shipped incomplete... and these are just a few of the biggest bugs in the game.
Fortunately, BioWare's Chris Priestly popped onto the official forums last week to announce that a patch is coming soon. Apparently, BioWare has squashed over a hundred bugs, and the patch is now in the process of testing and certification. Console players will probably be waiting longer than PC gamers, since console patches have to go through an extra certification step with Sony or Microsoft, but gamers may wish to have some patience, pause their playthrough, and wait for the patch. It's likely to be worth it, especially in the game's particularly buggy Act 3.
We can only hope that BioWare and EA have learned something from Dragon Age 2. Story-driven RPGs aren't really the kinds of games that can be developed and released within a short time period, and trying to do so is likely to result in a game that causes a fan revolt. With that note, we'll close out this week's Weekly Dish. Have a great week, and game on!
CCC Freelance Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*