This week the gaming world has paid its respects to Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, who passed away on Monday from a bile duct growth. He was aged 55.
Iwata had a long and illustrious history with Nintendo, working as a programmer at HAL Laboratory on titles including Earthbound and Balloon Fight, before succeeding Hiroshi Yamauchi in 2002 to become only the fourth President of the company. During his tenure the company enjoyed great success with the DS and Wii consoles, while Iwata himself received praise for his hands-on approach to the role; regularly hosting Nintendo Direct announcements and highlighting the work of developers with ‘Iwata Asks’ interviews. In recent years he took a voluntary 50% paycut in response to Nintendo’s falling profits, and following E3 less than a month ago he publicly apologized for what was perceived by hardcore fans as a disappointing showing. While fighting illness in recent months, he also announced Nintendo’s intention to get into the mobile games sector. Continue reading WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 13TH -19TH JULY→
Happy New Year to you all! I’m back after a lengthy Christmas break to bring you back up to date with the news
Headline Of The Week
Following a beta test at the end of last year, Sony has finalized the details for its PlayStation Now streaming service.
Whereas during the initial test users had to rent games by time on a per-game basis, a decision that proved unpopular, the final service will adopt a more sensible $20 a month price plan granting access to over one-hundred PS3 titles including The Last Of Us and Racthet & Clank: Into The Nexus. The service will launch in the United States and Canada on January 13th on PS4 initially, with other Sony products (including the Vita and Bravia TV’s) following soon after. Although a UK date has not been set, the service is still set to debut in Europe on the shores of Blighty.
In related PS4 news, Sony announced at a press conference in Japan that they have sold 18.5 million units worldwide, with 4 million of those sales coming during the Christmas period at the end of 2014. The PS4 continues to outpace sales of the PS2 in the UK, which is really quite an astonishing feat given the latter’s dominance during the early part of the century.
EA are teaming up with Microsoft to launch a subscription service for some of their biggest games exclusively on Xbox One, called ‘EA Access’. It will cost $29.99 per year (or $5 a month), and will let users download and play a selection of games for no additional cost; with the first titles being selected for a beta period are FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 & Battlefield 4.
Subscribers will also have the opportunity to get to 10% discounts on digital EA content on Xbox One, as well as early access to upcoming titles including the latest versions of FIFA, Battlefield & the recently delayed Dragon Age: Inquisition. A similar plan will not be rolled out on the PS4 however, as Sony (who already offer games every month on their own PS Plus subscription plan) have distanced themselves from the initiative:
‘PlayStation Plus memberships are up more than 200% since the launch of PlayStation 4, which shows that gamers are looking for memberships that offer a multitude of services, across various devices, for one low price…we don’t think asking our fans to pay an additional $5 a month for this EA-specific program represents good value to the PlayStation gamer’ – A Playstation spokesperson speaking to Game Informer
The State Council of China has temporarily removed a 14 year ban on selling video game consoles, sparking a battle for control of one of the most lucrative markets in the world.
Whereas before the likes of Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony had been prevented from selling their wares in the country, a report from Reuters suggests that ‘foreign-invested enterprises’ are now allowed to make consoles within Shanghai’s free trade zone and distribute them around the country with the prior approval of the Chinese government. No information has been provided on how long the ban will be lifted for
China is and has been one of the fastest growing markets in the world over the past few years, with a desire to modernize and a massive population to sell to. Whether or not the majority of the native population will be able to afford to buy consoles is an issue to be considered, but the videogame industry has a history of being able to successfully penetrate poorer foreign markets – for example, Sega proved to be very popular in Brazil and other South American countries during the Genesis era. This will be a story to follow with interest. Continue reading WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 5TH – 12TH JANUARY→