News bits – Wii keyboard, 360 HDMI, WoW Preorders

I’ve decided to lump a few news bits together in one post due to time constraints, so here goes:

Wii Keyboard support

With the latest system update, Nintendo added support for USB keyboards for the Wii. You can use the keyboard in the message board and with text entry, but no update has been made to the Internet channel (yet) to allow for keyboard functionality. The keyboard will also be possible for game input.

HDMI for all 360 models?

Arstechnica is reporting that soon all 360 systems will support HDMI out and be sporting the cooler-running 65nm chips. Since my 360 has been showing off some red rings lately, I might try to hold off sending it in until this can be confirmed and the new models are shipping.

Source: Arstechnica

World of Warcraft Expansion Preorders open

Certain retailers have already started handing out preorders for World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. The new expansion introduces a new class, new areas, and Arthas as a new boss. Gamestop/EB was the first retailer to open preorders, but others have already followed suit.

Microsoft E3 2007 Press Conference – My Messy Notes

-Halo theme opening by Corporeal (sp?) guys was pretty awesome.
-Peter Moore comes on stage as the music wraps up – mild applause
-Every game and demo shown will release THIS YEAR
-Peter claims it’s the best lineup in holiday history

-Rock Band by Harmonix w/ Peter Moore
-Peter on guitars
-Looks like an absolute blast
-Peter flubbed a few notes

-Viva Piñata Party Animals
-Attempt to cash in on mini-game craze
-50+ games

-Mass Effect
-Day one purchase for me
-Amazing animation
-Incredible production value
-All that next-gen should be
-November

(start video reel)
-PG4
-Dynasty Wars: Gundam
-COD4
-Stranglehold
-GHIII
-Beaut. Katamari
-Lost Odyssey
-NBA Live 08
-Fatal Inertia
-Medal of Honor Airborne
-Tiger Woods 08
-Ace Combat 6
-NHL 08
-Assassin’s Creed
-Spder-Man: Friend or Foe
-The Simpsons Game
-Splinter Cell Conviction
-Nascar 08
-Eternal Sonata
-BioShock
-Madden 08
-Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground
-Crash of the Titans
-Harry Potter Order Phoenix
-The Orange Box
-Bee Movie
-Naruto: Rise of a Ninja

-VP GLobal Marketing Jeff Bell
-Scene it game
-New controller “for everybody”…looks dumb

-More money will be spent on games than music
-Spin spin spin about install base
-Outselling PS3 2:1…tight race with Wii
-Highest attach rate, more overall sales than PS3/Wii combined, 2/3 3rd party games
-Half of consumer spending on 360 (doesn’t include handheld)
-Top 5 games were GTA/Halo last gen
-360 only platform to have GTA, Halo, Madden at once

-Naruto
-Looks nice, not my cup of tea
-Naruto runs like an idiot
-Fighting looks fast and fun like GCN games

-EA 2008 Lineup
-Double speed (fps)
-NCAA 08 next week
-Reggie Bush on stage
-Cheesy banter
-Obviously staged moment where Reggie busts a big run for a touchdown

-7 million Live members
-45 million game downloads
-Games show in video reel
-Bomberman Live
-Undertow
-Hexic 2
-Sonic the Hedgehog
-War World
-Sensible World of Soccer
-Every Extra Extend Extreme
-Geono
-Wing Commander Arena
-Feeding Frenzy 2
-Track and Field
-Spyglass board games
-Golden Axe
-Space Giraffe
-Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD
-Word Puzzle
-Marathon
-Poker Smash
-Switchball
-Tetris Splash
-Puzzle Quest
-Boku Sudoku

-HD Library twice size of leading cable provider
-Disney on Xbox Live d’load service…pretty much everything
-Tons of movies coming
-Global HD video downloads this year

-VP Corporate Office Shane Kim
-Forza 2 to sell over 1 million by end of month
-PGR4 demo
-All top manufacturers for bikes and cars
-Over 120 vehicles
-10 locations
-Shanghai shown w/ storm
-PGR4 shares photos and videos PGR on demand
-This September
-New trailer shown
-Claims 360 is most powerful console
-Lost Odyssey demo
-Looks great, very FFX in style

-Games for Windows
-Viva Piñata to PC
-Gears of War
-Game editor, new content, other surprises
-Cliffy B. on stage
-5 new chapters
-New multi mode, new multi arena
-Huge boss fight demo

-Peter Moore returns
-Live Support built in to unreal engine 3
-More than 60 titles on GFW this year (start video reel)

-Flight Simulator X
-Thrillville: Off the Rails
-Bee Movie
-Hellgate: London
-Age of Empires III: Asian Dynasties
-Stranglehold
-Gears of War
-BioShock
-Crysis
-Universe at War: Earth Assault
-BlackSite: Area 51
-World in Conflict
-Age of Conan
-Lost Planet
-Kane & Lynch
-Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts
-Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals
-Juiced 2
-Viva Piñata
-Spider-Man: Friend or Foe

-Call of Duty 4 demo
-Amazing graphics and ambiance
-Very detailed
-Retains frantic nature of CoD series
-Live demo
-Awesome sniper action in demo
-Make good use of cover and stealth
-Exclusive to 360 online multi beta http://charlieoscardelta.com (was down at time of conference)

-Splinter Cell Conviction talked about
-GTAIV trailers were real-time 360 version – shown again
-Oct 16 NA , Oct 19 Europe
-Extra exclusive episodes by Spring

-RE 5!!! (only game shown not to be released this year)
-Jaw dropping graphics
-Village turning into zombies of some sort
-Trailer only about 20 seconds long
-July 26th full trailer on XBLM

-Assassin’s Creed
-Jayde gets cat calls from audience
-demo in Jerusalem
-everything in view is interactive
-villagers interfere or help
-fell into trap
-fights based on timed combos and counter attacks
-environment important in fights
-chases differ by personality of opponent
-November

-Halo 3 promo trailer with live actors – NOT HALO MOVIE
-Looks cheesy
-True to game series
-Warthogs, Pelicans!
-New console for Halo release
-Green Halo 360 Special Edition in September
-“meh” from the audience
-Halo 3 trailer to close show

-Halo 3 trailer!!!
-Pretty great trailer showing the Chief allied with Elites fighting Brutes
-MASSIVE enemy vehicles
-Environments looked gigantic
-Cortana looked to be in some sort of pain

-Crowd filed out during live music inspired by Halo franchise

Overall the conference was pretty ho-hum, but the 360 will still most likely have the best holiday lineup. There weren’t any real surprises outside of Resident Evil 5 being shown, but it was only a brief glimpse. There is plenty in the lineup to be excited about, however, so even though fans are feeling down about the quality of the conference, they should be extremely excited by the release schedule.

Tim’s Custom Console Arcade Sticks

Every once in a while gamers have to take things into their own hands if they want to get the most out of their hobby. Timoe, of the BYOAC forums, is creating custom made arcade sticks for consoles, using only the highest quality authentic arcade hardware. In addition to quality components, Tim sports some solid construction and amazing style in his builds. You honestly aren’t going to find a better arcade stick out there.

You’ll have to contact Tim directly for a pricing quote as things are handled on a project by project basis. If you order more than one stick, I’m sure he’ll be willing to work out special pricing as well.

So far Tim has created sticks for the PC, PS2, Xbox, and Xbox 360. I personally am thinking of getting an Xbox 360 one built so I can finally stop screaming at my d-pad during Pac-Man: CE rounds. Also, a 360 compatible stick could be used on the PC via USB. See the pictures below for a look at his work:

sticks5.jpg

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sticks3.jpg

sticks2.jpg

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sticks7.jpg

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sticks9.jpg

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To contact Tim, register at the BYOAC forums (http://arcadecontrols.com) and shoot him a PM. He’s pretty quick at responding, and he’s easy to work with. I’ve worked with him in the past when building arcade control panels.

Halo 2 (PC) delayed because of partial nudity?

Next-gen is reporting that Halo 2’s delays can be partially blamed on nudity. Yeah, that’s right…nudity. Apparently an error code in the game was accompanied with the picture of a man mooning a camera. It’s nothing graphic, but after the infamous “hot coffee” debacle that landed Rockstar in so much trouble, Bungie isn’t taking chances with the ESRB or with headhunting lawyers like Jack Thompson.

Original story found here: Next-gen.biz