Thursday, April 27, 2006

Nintendo hopes Wii is ready for new console

Nintendo's next generation video game console has an official name: Wii.

Formerly known as code-name "Revolution," the company dubbed its new game Wii (pronounced "we") because it plans to "break down the walls" that separate hard core gamers from everyone else.

Nintendo wants to create a system that everyone can use. It also wants a system where you don't need a nickname. PlayStation is PS2 or PS1, XBox is X or the box.

Wii, Nintendo hopes, will be just Wii. And they probably hope "we" buy a lot of them.

-- I know you gamers have been waiting on this, so.... A company called Exent Technologies has launched a suite of in-game advertising solutions, so if the middle of your Doom quest online, you could be feted with ad to buy Diapers.

The solution allows for the enablement of in-game ads without the need to access the video game's source code. Until now, implementation was limited to new releases which would have had such progamming designed into it.

Now, the company claims publishers can "easily flip the switch on in-game advertising campaigns for games that were never originally designed to support it."

-- Casual game provider
Game Trust released updated software which includes universal chat, free instant messenger, buddy lists, and social networking links for 65 integrated games distributed across prominent online brands, including and The new enhancements, as part of the Game Frame Version 4.8 release, create a Community Gaming experience for players worldwide.

Every player can extend their Game Frame profile with a link to their personal site, allowing players to learn more about members of the community.

-- Former Southern Cal QB and Heisman award winner Matt Leinart is writing a blog for EA Sports detailing the days leading up to the NFL draft this weekend. Is he going to talk about the wild photos of him partying that are all over the net?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sony opens up PSP to more uses

Sony is making viewing multimedia content, including podcasts, easier to look at on its PSP system.

A new 2.7 firmware upgrade, now available for download, delivers support for the Macromedia Flash Player, which allows users to experience videos and other multimedia content right from their PSP system.

Also, audio content from RSS channels can now be saved directly to the Memory Stick Duo, enabling users to listen to their favorite podcasts at their convenience.

Click here to get the download, which can also be taken down wirelessly to a PSP system with a Wi-Fi connection.

--- DISH Network customers are getting their OLN channel back beginning today. DISH and OLN have reached a multi-year agreement after the channel went dark on the mini-dish provider.

"It was important that we negotiated a fair contract, enabling DISH Network to remain a tremendous value for our customers," said Eric Sahl, senior vice president of Programming at DISH. "We understand that this has been a difficult period for our customers, and we thank them for all their patience. We look forward to a long relationship with OLN in which we can provide the network to our customers."

OLN returns to channel 151 in America's Top 180, DishHD Gold or any higher programming package. National Hockey League fans can now catch exciting playoff action including tonight's double-header involving the New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils at 7 p.m. (EDT), and the Colorado Avalanche at Dallas Stars at 9:30 p.m. (EDT). Visit for a complete NHL playoff schedule.

-- There's NetFlix and Blockbuster and now MovieBeam, an over-the-air downloadable movie service that is coming to Charlotte soon. You buy the MovieBeam player for $199 and it comes with 100 movies installed. Each week, up to 10 movies are automatically downloaded via a small antenna to the box. You don't need cable or satellite.

Rental fees are $1.99 to $4.99 and browsing the website
shows that the service has the type of new releases you'd expect to find at the other services of this type.

-- A new iPod docking station is a must-have for users of the fantastic storage device. It comes with an RF remote and a USB charger and lets you easily connect your iPod to a computer, stereo or television set.

-- VSO Software's Image Resizer seems like a good creation. It allows users to resize pictures or change their format (from gif to jpeg for example). This tool can help improve pictures management and saves storage space. Image files which are smaller in size are more easily sent by email, something difficult to do with the original file size.

The resizer (available as freeware) handles images in all popular formats: bmp, jpeg, gif, png and can converts them at the preferred resolution (from 320x200 to 1600x1200, including even Ipod photo and video, Sony PSPS, HDTV and DVD). The images will adjust automatically to the size of the desktop or to the source used to display them.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Nintendo wants better games for better systems

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has challenged game developers to think out of the box when creating video games. I applaud him. As good as the technology is getting with delivering graphics, the actual game play hasn’t changed much since the days of Pong.

Iwata promises to give developers all the tools they need to create new and better games, including the controller for Nintendo's next home console (code-named Revolution), which lets users control the action on their television screens through the motion of the controller itself.

The controller, Iwata hopes, will enable developers to create new kinds of gaming experiences, ones that enhance the experience for hard-core gamers while making video games more accessible and less intimidating to novices.

"This new approach is like stepping onto an unexplored continent for the first time, with all the potential for discovery that suggests," Iwata said. "No one else can match the environment we're creating for expanding the game experience to everyone. Our path is not linear, but dynamic."

  • Iwata also announced partnerships with Sega and Hudson to offer downloadable access to their classic games via Revolution's Virtual Console.

Revolution owners will be able to relive their past gaming glories from the Sega Genesis console by playing a "best of" selection from more than 1,000 Genesis titles, as well as games sold for the TurboGrafx console (a system jointly developed by NEC and Hudson). These games join Revolution's access to 20 years of fan-favorite Nintendo games from the NES, Super NES and
Nintendo 64 eras.

  • Iwata said a new game, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, would be released for Nintendo DS later this year.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Madden Bowl Championship Tonight on ESPN

Here's the beauty of blogging: I get a press release -- kind of late -- about an event happening tonight (Thursday April 20th) and I can still let you know about it.

In the old days, this would've been something I couldn't have told you about in Friday's newspaper. And it's a good one, at least for you sports video game heads:

Tonight (Thursday April 20) at 9:30 p.m., ESPN will air a special presentation of the 2006 EA Sports Madden Bowl, filmed on location at the Colony Club in Detroit during the week of this year's Super Bowl. It pits the top eight Madden gamers in the NFL against each other in a sudden death tournament to determine the best in the league.

The finale of this two-part special airs Thursday, April 27th at

Competing are:
Willis McGahee (Buffalo); Marcus Trufant (Seattle); Edgerrin James (Arizona); Chad Johnson (Cincinnati); Alex Smith (Tampa Bay); Antonio Gates (San Diego); Mark Clayton (Baltimore); Santana Moss (Washington)