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Gaming News Round-Up: September 24th, 2004

Today's round-up starts with the Tokyo Game Show announcements, featuring first-day attendance info, a new Xbox bundle for Japan, an interesting Namco arcade board, and t...
Today's round-up starts with the Tokyo Game Show announcements, featuring first-day attendance info, a new Xbox bundle for Japan, an interesting Namco arcade board, and the non-TGS mystery of whether Half-Life 2 will ever actually surface. - According to CESA, the organization in charge of the currently-in-progress Tokyo Game Show, 32,867 people attended the show on its first industry/press only day, Friday, September 24th. This compares very favorably to the 19,166 who turned up to the show's first day in 2002, and is a very slight increase over the 32,176 figure for 2003. Overall, CESA has a goal of 150,000 attendees over all three days of the show - very possible, considering the Saturday and Sunday are both open to the teeming hordes of interested public. - As part of Microsoft's TGS press conference, the company has announced a brand-new hardware bundle for Japanese consumers. Priced at 19,000 yen ($172 USD), the kit includes the Xbox hardware itself, Halo, Project Gotham Racing 2, Top Spin, the Japanese-developed Blinx 2, a DVD playback kit with remote control, and two months subscription to the Japanese version of Xbox Live. The holiday bundle, which likely seems like an extreme bargain for those in the West, is part of Microsoft's attempts to build up at least some recognition and userbase inside Japan in preparation for Xbox 2's launch. Unfortunately, with Xbox hardware selling just hundreds of units per week in Japan, it seems the company still has its work cut out. - Namco has announced a new Japanese-specific arcade board called the NVIDIA System N2, another example of Japanese companies using PC-like architecture to create arcade games. The System N2 includes an nForce 2 motherboard, an unspecified version of the GeForce graphics card, and runs Linux as its OS. The first title announced for the system is Counter-Strike Neo, an already-released LAN version of Valve's popular multiplayer shooter. Interestingly, Taito's TypeX arcade board system, also recently announced, uses Windows XP Embedded and an ATI Radeon chipset, showing that NVIDIA and ATI market competition is alive and well, even in relatively niche markets such as this. - Thanks to further investigative reporting at consumer site GameSpot, it's been brought to light that Valve Software's previously mentioned lawsuit against publisher VU Games regarding Half-Life 2 may have more bite than anyone thought. It appears that, according to a legal note filed by VU deputy general counsel Eric Roeder: "If Valve delivers a release candidate version that complies with the contract and is a Final Milestone, then VUG will have six months to release the product under the 2001 SPA." This seems to imply that VU could delay Half-Life 2 for up to six months, possibly for reasons of leverage, if it's unhappy with how its copyright infringement suit against Valve is proceeding. The suit was originally started back in 2002 because Valve was unhappy with Sierra's cybercafe licensing for Valve products, but has now blossomed, due to parent company VU's general unhappiness with Valve's wish to bypass publishers with its Steam content delivery system.

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