Features// SPOnG's Review Of 2006: May

May: the gaming community quivered

Posted 27 Dec 2006 11:05 by
Go Mr Iwata!
Go Mr Iwata!
[b]Nintendo E3 2006

Big words, Mr Fils-Aime. Big words indeed.

Now, you may think that SPOnG relishes giving you bad Sony news. There's certainly enough of it kicking around. That's not the case, however. Sometimes, we long to be able to say something, anything, nice about them. Fortunately, early May was one of those occasions.

A report emerged from Wedbush Morgan analysts Michael Pachter and Edward Woo predicting that by the end of the next-gen life cycle, the PS3 will be ruling the roost. They claimed that the PS3 will lag behind the Xbox 360 for its first two years on the market, but beyond that, Sony will become market leader once more. This, they told us, is because Sony is more interested in the next HD format than playability. Er… yes. Well spotted, fellas.

Then came more Sony news, with "final" prices (the US cost has checked out, we're still waiting to see what March will bring us in the UK) and the unveiling of the SIXAXIS controller. The prices us Brits were given at the time were £340 for the 20GB model and £410 for the 60GB. That's a fair bit more than the converted US prices ($499 and $599, confirming the 20GB price SPOnG reported in April) which work out at £255 and £307 respectively based on today's exchange rates.

Next it was Nintendo's turn to attract a bit of criticism with its E3 showing. At Nintendo's big event, Reggie Fils-Aime was less than sure of himself, provoking negative gruntings from the gathered press that their new console wasn't up to scratch. Ultimately, however, we feel Fils-Aime summed it up nicely when he extravagantly stated that "Playing is believing". Quite. It was just a conference, after all.

Adding insult to what you may well fairly perceive as injury, Ken Kutaragi didn't waste much time before going on record to claim that the PS3 is actually too cheap. His justification was that comparing the price of the PS3 to other consoles is akin to comparing cafeteria eating to a meal at a fine restaurant. Personally, I'll often take a well cooked burger over a duck with several other birds stuffed inside it, but that's just me.

Further hardware speculation ensued, with reports sneaking out that the Wii may actually be more powerful than Nintendo initially stated. This sent a quiver of joy around the gaming community.

These spasms of joy which the rumour mill managed to caress from technophiles everywhere were quickly negated, however, by leaked information that the Wii would not support Dolby Digital output. It has to be asked though: does the average consumer, not hung up like a cow rustler twitching on a rope on the nitty-gritty of technical details, like, care?

And there were some games. In fact, May proved such a glorious month for sports games fans, that at no point did we forget to give them a mention. The highlights were Championship Manager 2006 on Xbox and PS2, and the sneakily good Rockstar Presents Table Tennis. The non-sporting behemoth of May was Hitman Blood Money on PC, PS2, Xbox and 360.

Read on for SPOnG's review of June, or look back at April

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