February 1 2006 (Wednesday)
Boycot campaign on Gun
- The Association for American Indian Development (AAID) have launched a boycotting campaign against Gun, it's publisher Activision and developer Neversoft. On [www.boycottgun.com www.boycottgun.com], the AAID complain that the game contains "very disturbing racist and genocidal elements toward Native Americans". However, since the game's popularity never really took off, it is believed that this will have little impact on current retailers.
February 9 2006 (Thursday)
Awards for games from people that matter, i.e. not Spike TV
- The Interactive Achievement Awards 9th annual ceremony took place. Hosted by Jay Mohr the big winner of the night was God of War. Nominated in a dozen categories God of War snagged seven awards including game of the year. Winning in five out of seven categories, Guitar Hero came in with the second largest amount of awards won. Resident Evil 4 was ineligible to win any awards due to Capcom not entering the game. See all of the winners here: 9th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards, 
DS Kiosk, WiFi Chat
- At the DICE 2006 summit, Nintendo announced that the wireless broadcast kiosks that Japan has had for quite some time will be introduced in North America at Best Buy, GameStop, and other major retailers in March. These kiosks will allow players to access demos, videos and trailers. The first game demos Nintendo plans to make available through its download service include Brain Age, Pokémon Trozei, Mario Kart DS, Meteos, and True Swing Golf.
- In addition to this announcement, Nintendo also announced that Metroid Prime: Hunters will be the first game on the Nintendo DS to support voice chat. Players who use the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection will be able to talk to people on their Friends list before and after games, although not during them.
February 15 2006 (Wednesday)
Nintendo DS, not just for games anymore
- At a press conference today in Tokyo, Nintendo announced plans for two new applications that will take the DS to other territories than gaming: A web browser and a television tuner.
- The web browser, titled "Nintendo DS Browser", is a cooperative project between Nintendo and Opera Software. The browser, based off Opera mobile browser software, uses the bottom screen to display pages in their full and the top screen to show close ups of content. Users can also use the two screens as one tall vertical window. The touch pen is used for inputting characters on to a soft keyboard or a transcriber, with ATOK Japanese recognition software built in. Since the Nintendo DS is limited in terms of storage capabilities, the Nintendo DS Browser will ship with a expansion cartridge. (Two versions will be shipped: one for Nintendo DS, one for Nintendo DS Lite. The difference will be the physical dimensions of the expansion cartridge)
- The TV tuner, DS Terrestrial Digital Broadcast Receiver, will use a service called 1seg (pronounced One Seg), a digital broadcasts system for mobile devices in Japan. The card turns the Nintendo DS into a television capable of receiving 1seg broadcasts. The touchscreen will be used as a remote with digital buttons, and the broadcast viewed on the top screen.
- In spite of the non-game announcements, Nintendo did reiterate and announced some of the new titles coming out for the Nintendo DS, showing off titles such as Cooking Mama, Tales of the Tempest, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 4, Mario Basketball: 3 On 3 and Final Fantasy III. In addition, titles such as Winning Eleven DS and Dynasty Warrior DS were announced will feature Nintendo Wi-Fi Online play.
February 16 2006 (Thursday)
Xbox 360 Underperforms in Japan, Head Honcho dropped
- Takashi Sensui will replace Yoshihiro Maruyama, the former head of the Japanese Xbox division as the XBOX 360 continues to struggle in the Japanese market. Currently the Xbox 360 has sold less than 100,000 consoles, with just 1,288 units in the last week. Once again below that of the GameCube (the sales of which have been in a continuous slump in Japan).
February 20 2006 (Monday)
Perry not so Shiny anymore
- David Perry, founder of Shiny Entertainment, has quit the company. Atari, which owns Shiny, recently announced that it would be selling off all its internal development studios.
February 21 2006 (Tuesday)
EA doing something not evil?
- In an effort to boost sales of current-gen software, gaming giant Electronic Arts is planning to release two of their upcoming games The Godfather and Black at $39.95, ten dollars less than most new games. (GameDaily BIZ)
How fast can you spend $62.7 million?
- Last month, Infinium Labs announced that Golden Gate Investors will invest $5 million on the turbulent development of the Phantom gaming platform. As a prerequisite, Infinium filed a prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission, documenting the company's losses prior to the investment. From the prospectus, it seems that Infinium Labs was in a much bigger hole than expected.
- In the short three years of existence, Infinium Labs totaled $62.7 million in losses, $3.5 million on development costs, and the remaining portions split between advertising (over $30 million), consultants ($12.8 million), salaries ($11.9 million), and general and administrative expenses ($5.9 million).
- So what will be the fate of the Phantom console? It seems that the project will see more delays. "We are developing and seeking to commercialize the Phantom Lapboard, a wireless, rotating custom keyboard/turntable with integrated mousepad," the prospectus reads. "After establishing the Phantom Lapboard, we may seek to develop and commercialize the Phantom Game Service. Given our limited resources, and the delays experienced thus far, we are not in a position to anticipate a completion date for development of our product or a launch date for the Phantom Lapboard."
Half-Life 2: Episode Two in the works, no word on whether it will have a proper ending
- In an interview with British site Computer and Video Games, Valve designer Robin Walker mentioned that Half-Life 2: Episode Two "has been in development for some time." Half-Life 2: Episode Two is expected to ship several months after Half-Life 2: Episode One's April 24, 2006 ship date.
February 22 2006 (Wednesday)
Japan revises its rating system.
- Due to controversy sparked by GTA III which was banned from being sold to minors in two prefectures in Japan and the GTA series which continues to cause controversy around the globe, Japan will be revises it's rating system to accommodate what would be an equal to the ESRB's Adults Only rating.
- The new system will be put in place March 1, 2006. There will be five ratings, with the A rating being the equivalent of Free, B equaling 12, C the equal to 15, D which would be for people ages seventeen and older, and Z for people ages eighteen and older. Only the Z rating will be regulated by the government. (GamesIndustry.biz)
February 28 2006 (Tuesday)
- Sony Computer Entertainment Japan has announced PlayStation Spot, a service that allows PSP owners to download limited use content and game demos. Starting today, Japanese PSP owners can use the service at certain locations to download content through the PSP's "Gameshare" feature, meaning that demos can not be saved onto a memory stick, and are deleted from memory once the unit is powered off. The service is available only to PSP users running firmware version 2.0 or above.