Its time for a news update:
- We will start with the situation at GAME. Last week, the company filed for administration, and 277 stores around the UK were shut down with immediate effect while over 2,000 people were made redundant. On Sunday, the investment group Opcapita was cleared by several banks in the UK to buy a large portion of the business, thereby removing it from administration and saving 333 stores and roughly 3,000 jobs. The sale gives the struggling business a sense of stability, but now the real test for the GAME group begins – in the next six months, they will need to restore consumer faith in the brand while also fending off against the increased online competition that has arguably led to its initial demise, including Tesco who have now rebranded themselves as ‘the home of gaming in the UK’.
- The mystery surrounding Nintendo’s next console, the Wii U, continues to grow this week. First off, it seems we may have a relatively accurate release date, as a internal memo sent by Nintendo to retailers across the world (including Gamestop in America) reveals that the Big N are looking at November 18th 2012 for a release date – which would seem sensible enough considering Nintendo’s affiliation with that time of the year (the last two consoles, the Gamecube and Wii, were released on November 18th 2001 and November 19th 2006 respectively). Perhaps more pressing however is the rumours that the Wii U is not as powerful as the PS3 and Xbox 360 currently are – nevermind the next generation consoles that are invariably in the pipeline for Microsoft and Sony. A spokesman from Nintendo has said:
“We do not focus on technology specs. We understand that people like to dissect graphics and processing power, but the experience of playing will always be more important than raw numbers.”
In no lesser terms, that means Nintendo aren’t denying the claims. So much for the boasts pre-E3 last year that it would be more powerful than the Sun.
- In a unprecedented move for football fans, there will not be a standalone Euro Championships game this year – instead, EA (who interestingly enough received an award for ‘Worst Company In America’ this week), announced last week that UEFA Euro 2012 will be a download only expansion pack for FIFA 12. Set for release on April 24th, the expansion will cost £15.99, which is cheaper than the game would have been on disc. In one sense, it’s a very clever move by EA – it means they have to spend less on producing the game, and FIFA 12 has already shifted over 10 million copies so there is a large base to aim at. However, for what is going to essentially be a kit upgrade, £16 is far too much. My advice would be that if you are desperate to replicate the European Championships, simply download the teams that are missing from the Creation Centre in FIFA 12 and just make the tournament on there.
- Finally, surprising news from Harmonix – the music genre in gaming isn’t dead! Yesterday, the developers announced their newest creation, Rock Band Blitz, destined to be release this summer on XBLA and PSN. The game seems to have more in common with Harmonix’s PS2 games Amplitude and Frequency than Rock Band, featuring a multi track system where all the instruments in a song can be played…without the need for instruments. It also promises to utilise all previous Rock Band DLC along its own 25 song soundtrack, offering up a ridiculous amount of playability. Check out this trailer to see the intriguing concept in action