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Gaming News Round-Up: October 28th, 2004

Today's round-up include Sony and Nintendo having a little dust-up, Xbox crystallizing Canada, Sony Online looking for a little extra subscription business for its MMOs, ...
Today's round-up include Sony and Nintendo having a little dust-up, Xbox crystallizing Canada, Sony Online looking for a little extra subscription business for its MMOs, and MTV showing off Halo 2 ahead of the game's release. - According to business site Bloomberg Japan, spokespeople for Nintendo and Sony have started a semi-comical war of words over their upcoming handhelds, the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP. According to the piece, Nintendo's chief PR spokesperson Yasuhiro Minagawa commented that the PSP is "...not a game machine", adding that "you can tell that [the PSP is] not yet complete." In return, Sony's Ken Kutaragi quipped: "People who want to play with Pikachu will need a Nintendo DS... but those who want to play Gran Turismo 4 will need a PSP." The not entirely serious animosity nonetheless has an undercurrent of concern from Nintendo's point of view. It appears that Sony's announcement that the barebones PSP will retail for a surprisingly low ¥20,790 ($195) may put the PSP in much greater price competition with the ¥15,000 ($136) Nintendo DS than anyone had previously considered, even though the companies deny they're aiming for a similar market. - The Canadian Xbox website posted word today that Microsoft will soon be launching an all-new bundle, called the "Xbox Limited Edition Crystal Pack", throughout the country. The Canadian bundle, which comes as the latest in a line of bundles that includes the recent Holiday Pack and the Halo/Brute Force software pack, will include the Crystal Xbox, two-month subscription to Xbox Live, and both Fable and Crimson Skies. The bundle will launch later this month in Canada, retailing for $249.99 CAD. Currently there's no word on whether this bundle will be made available in the U.S. - the Crystal Xbox originally launched as a limited-edition European bundle, before expanding to a full bundle pack in Europe earlier this month. - Sony Online Entertainment has announced an all-new, subscription-based website service called Station Players. Granting players access to community, friend tracking experiences and in-game character information from various Sony Online Entertainment titles, Station Players is the official online service for the EverQuest II community. The standard version will come with EverQuest II subscriptions, including guild websites, server community areas, class areas and basic character profiles. The service will also feature a premium service and package bundle. The premium service will include various guild tools item lists, character screenshot storage and enhanced character profiles for $0.99 per service on a monthly basis. Meanwhile, the complete package bundle will run players $2.99 per month, and include a number of expanded features such as chats, character statistic checks, web hosting for guilds, and all the features of the premium pack, in an attempt by SOE to unite their EverQuest II community and leverage the subscription website model at the same time. - MTV today announced that its "Making the Video Game: Halo 2" special will premiere on MTV on Friday, November 5, 2004, at 11:00 P.M. (Eastern) and on MTV2 on Saturday, November 6, 2004, at 9:00 P.M. (Eastern). The special looks at what the channel describes as "the most anticipated video game of 2004", including interviews with the game developers, celebrity Halo fans, and the bands involved in the new soundtrack, including Incubus and Hoobastank. In a sign of just how fashionable games are becoming, John Shea, executive vice president of sponsorship development and integrated marketing for MTV, commented: "The MTV audience is the gaming audience. Halo 2 is destined to be one of the biggest video games of the season, and we’re excited to give fans a behind-the-scenes look." Halo 2 itself will be released on the 8th of November in the United States, exclusively for Xbox.

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