Gaming News Round-Up: November 8th, 2004

Today's round-up includes new prices for Electronic Arts sports titles, comments from senior Microsoft figures on the software giant's attitude to handheld gaming hardwar...
Today's round-up includes new prices for Electronic Arts sports titles, comments from senior Microsoft figures on the software giant's attitude to handheld gaming hardware, and a little wrestling action for Viewtiful Joe in Japan. - Electronic Arts has announced what it describes as "new holiday promotional prices" on some of the major EA Sports titles. Starting tomorrow, Madden NFL 2005 and NBA LIVE 2005 will have a suggested retail price of $29.95. In addition, the suggested retail price for NHL 2005 will be $29.95, and NCAA Football 2005 will retail for $39.95. This bold move comes after Take-Two/Visual Concepts' ESPN NFL 2K5 and ESP NBA 2005, the major competitors for EA Sports titles, debuted at a budget price of $19.99 in order to claw back some of the massive lead the EA Sports series has taken in recent years. As a direct result of this, recent NPD sales data indicated the Madden NFL sales lead being significantly eroded by the budget-priced ESPN NFL title, though the EA Sports game still came out on top. - As reported via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, senior vice president of Microsoft's Home & Entertainment division, Robbie Bach, took a Backstage Pass event themed around Halo 2 to discuss Microsoft's attitude to the game handheld market. When asked about his thoughts regarding Sony's forthcoming PSP handheld, Bach commented: "I think, in general, it's different than our (console) business. We've yet to see anybody make a meaningful connection between having a console and having a handheld.... We think it's a different market." He also argued: "If Sony is distracted by way of a war with Nintendo, that's fine with us." While Microsoft creates the Windows CE operating system for portable computers, it has yet to announce any hardware development relating to video game handhelds, and most observers believe the Redmond-headquartered giant is unlikely to do so for the foreseeable future, concentrating on the Xbox and its follow-up. - Japanese consumer website Impress Game Watch has been reporting on the Japanese wrestling debut of Capcom's platform game star Viewtiful Joe, as Osaka Pro Wrestling showcased a surprise appearance by the game character himself (or, at least, a Japanese pro wrestler dressed up as Viewtiful Joe), ahead of Viewtiful Joe 2's December 16th debut in Japan. Apparently, a similar wrestling appearance occurred just after the game's original debut in last 2003, and there may be more promotional appearances by the masked man later this month, although it's unclear whether he can freeze time to defeat his opponents in real life.

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