The Week in Review & Rumor Round-up: CES Headlines, New Nintendo Handheld, Call of Duty to Take on the Mekong, and More!

The Week in Review & Rumor Round-up: CES Headlines, New Nintendo Handheld, Call of Duty to Take on the Mekong, and More!


The Week in Review news piece summarizes and highlights the most important gaming related news and rumors over the past week. This weekly article will keep you plugged in and in-tune.

Well, after a long stint of revelry, we’re back in the flow. In fact, CES ripped us out of the Holiday lull with a number of interesting gaming developments.

Microsoft made a bunch headlines this week. They got things started with the patenting of a new, controller-free, EMG-based human interface device. A demo video was released that showed them using the apparatus, which detects electrical impulses in your forearms, to open car doors remotely with occupied hands, to change MP3 settings while jogging, and to play Guitar Hero without the need of a plastic guitar peripheral. While the tech is still rather rough, it’s easy to see its potential. Click HERE if you’d like to check out the demo video.

It was also revealed this week at the Microsoft CES media presentation that Project Natal is coming along nicely and will make its way to retail Holiday 2010. It was also confirmed that Fable III will find its way to store shelves at the exact same time. In other words, Fable III will likely be a Natal launch title.

Perhaps most interestingly, Microsoft detailed a new service for Xbox LIVE and Windows LIVE. The Microsoft Game Room will be home to some 1000 classic arcade titles over the next three years. The service, which will allow you to purchase arcade titles or pay-per-play, is set to launch for both Windows and Xbox 360 in spring 2010 with 30 titles in tow right off the bat. Games will cost anywhere from 240-400 MS Points or 40 MS Points for one-off play as you would at a real cabinet. Once a game is purchased, you can play it on either your console or PC.

Nintendo made its own waves this week. As you probably already guessed, the company made a lot of money this Holiday. In fact, in the U.S. alone, they sold some 3 million Wii consoles, 4 million copies of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and the DS “set a new all-time calendar-year U.S. sales record for any console or hand-held system.” Expect Sony and Microsoft to try and capture some of their marketshare.

However, don’t expect them to make much headway, at least in terms of the handheld department. Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata confirmed that Nintendo will soon release yet another handheld to the market. While this surprises no one, the timing of the revelation is a significant. Could Nintendo be prepping the market for a Holiday 2010 release? While launch dates are unclear, the handheld will boast higher fidelity graphics than DS/DSi and it will include an accelerometer to detect motion.

Iwata also let it be known that the next entry in The Legend of Zelda series will be launched on the Wii console in 2010. While firm window was given, we’re pretty sure it will launch at the beginning of December as did Spirit Tracks this year.

Of course, Sony also chimed in this week with some impressive numbers of their own. The ailing electronics company has made quite a surge over the last few months on the back of innovation, restructuring, and price cuts. This past Holiday season saw Sony sell 3.8 million PS3s worldwide. That’s a “76% increase compared to the previous year.” It looks like the world is finally starting to accept their gaming console.

On a related note, 38 million PSN accounts are hosted through the service now. As such, Sony has decided to take the digital content delivery service to all of its relevant electronics. Soon, consumers will be able to use the portal from not only from their PS3s but also from Sony Bravia televisions, Sony VAIO computers, non-Sony PCs, Blu-ray players, etc. Making the PSN a universal portal should not only boost sales but serve to legitimize the delivery service with more extensive brand recognition outside of the gaming realm.

Outside of the big hardware makers, other news also hit the intertubes. Though not official, it appears the next Call of Duty title, currently being developed by Treyarch, will take players to the Vietnam conflict. The Call of Duty faithful can expect the Apocalypse Now/Platoon-inspired entry to hit in November 2010.

Finally, “Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening” was confirmed by BioWare this week. The expansion will make its way to all systems (PC, PS3, and Xbox 360) and bring players to “the Land of Amaranthine” and will feature “an increased level cap, new spells, abilities, specializations and items, plus five all-new party members” on March 16, 2010.

Thanks so much everyone and we will see you next week!

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