With Nintendo taking a beating in terms of profits, it’s no shock that rumours are surging about what they may be planning next. Nintendo News claim that an “anonymous tip from a reputable source” has sent them details of Nintendo’s next move.
They claim that Nintendo are working on new hardware; two devices that will support the 3DS and the Wii U, called the “Fusion DS” and “Fusion Terminal”. Notably, the Fusion DS has some kind of thumb print locking device (“Thumbprint Security Scanner with Pulse Sensing Feedback”).
Note that this is very much just a rumour at present, but Nintendo News do have a decent track record.
It has been quite a while since I’ve had a good excuse to pull out the old Ibanez sitting in my closet collecting dust, but BandFuse: Rock Legends’ mix of rhythm game rocking and guitar training provided an excellent incentive. It blurs the line between musical rehearsal and plain-old fun, giving everyone from total guitar novices to more seasoned players the tools to rock out while improving their chops. While it might lack some of the more useful extras and visual pizzazz of the recent Luckily, BandFuse’s sound is far classier than Godzilla’s.
Once you plug in and tune up–a thankfully intuitive and speedy process–you can dive into any selection in BandFuse’s entire 55-track arsenal with a quick play session or explore them all in a more traditional campaign mode. The latter does away with any elaborate story trappings or goofy character gimmicks. You simply rock your way through a series of increasingly tough tours with names like Venomous Licks and Behemoths of Rock, earning money with each performance to go toward unlocking subsequent stages. Each tour offers a mix of multi-song gigs and one-off challenges to plow through, and the natural progression weaves in harder songs at a gradual pace.
Track-wise, BandFuse’s eclectic mix of jams skews toward the rock, punk, and metal end of the spectrum. Face-melters like Children of Bodom’s “Are You Dead Yet” and Testament’s “Souls of Black” top a pleasantly finger-punishing stretch of the list, though plenty of catchy hits spanning the past four and a half decades make it in there too. Some tunes are recycled more than once as you go along, but rather than irritate, this structure encourages you to crank up the difficulty a little bit higher to push your skills as you progress and encounter tunes you’ve already played.
BandFuse’s biggest strength is the way it balances its gameplay elements with more serious guitar practice. There’s a welcome focus on realism, but the fun of playing a game and boosting your score isn’t lost in the mix. While it’s not the most attractive setup, the no-nonsense interface makes it easy to gauge what’s happening onscreen and what you’re being asked to play. Instead of flying at you down a vertical runway, Guitar Hero-style, notes are charted out on a side-scrolling horizontal fret board that mirrors standard guitar tab. Anyone who has thumbed through a guitar magazine or hopped on the Internet to look up the chords to their favorite radio hit will feel right at home.
A forgiving scoring system leaves lots of room to improvise and fiddle around between the notes and chords you’re meant to play. You’re not penalized unless you miss the notes altogether, and even then it’s impossible to fail a song completely. This flexibility is awesome for experimenting on the lower difficulty tiers, where newcomers really benefit from the freedom to ease into more complex playing styles. It’s a freedom that evaporates entirely on the highest difficulty setting when you have to play songs note for note as the fret board fills with dizzying chaos meant for pro-level players.
Despite five different challenge levels to suit a broad range of playing abilities–from the total newbie to the hair-twirling shredmaster–it’s hard to find the sweet spot as you outgrow your current skill range and try tunes on a higher setting. Shifting up and down across different skill levels is an uneven, jarring experience to say the least. If you have moderate guitar-playing abilities, the easiest settings get boring in a hurry, but stepping it up a notch throws a whole lot more at you all at once. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and flustered. This isn’t a total drag, however, because it spurs you to actually practice and improve your playing.
To that aim, BandFuse’s learner-focused ShredU section packs lots of tutorial videos and inspirational vignettes from guitar pros like Slash, Mike Ness, Zakk Wylde, and more. While only a handful are interactive, they’re very informative, assuming you’re in the mood to sit and watch hours of footage rather than actually play. The Lick Lab and Practice menus are more useful if you’re in a hands-on mood, because they let you tweak the speed of any song in the game to practice at a slower pace and even loop specific parts until you’ve mastered them. These diversions are helpful if you’re looking to learn, even if they’re not as entertaining as the musical minigame found in the competition.
Whether you plug in a guitar or a bass, the instrument sound quality is top-notch, and both offer a different challenge with a wide assortment of tracks that will keep even the most skilled musicians on their toes. A trio of virtual FX pedals include adjustable levels of autowah, overdrive, and digital delay to tinker with. Between those and a handful of amplifiers, there’s enough to fine-tune your sound even if the limited selection doesn’t come close to satiating the needs of more dedicated pedal enthusiasts. You can also plug in a USB microphone to sing along, though both this and local multiplayer require extra adapters and hardware.
BandFuse’s biggest strength is the way it balances its gameplay elements with more serious guitar practice.
BandFuse’s user-friendly approach to guitar mastery strikes some chords that Rocksmith misses. The tab-based gameplay is accessible and easy to grasp, which makes shredding through this heavy-hitting batch of tunes an entertaining and educational romp for players of all skill levels. A limited scope of extra bells and whistles, along with sharp difficulty spikes between tiers, is an occasional turnoff, but the rush that comes from improving your playing over time until you can nail these songs note for note smoothes out some of the rough edges.
This week, TBS’ travel documentary show Discovery of the World’s Mysteries visited the Bavarian town of Nördlingen. While much of the hour show was spent on the Ries Crater Museum, it did take time to note that, as one of only three towns in Germany that still has a completely established city wall, you’ll recognize the architecture from Attack on Titan.
In time for this week’s Japanese Blu-ray release of the Watamoteanime, Good Smile Company will be launching pre-orders for the super deformed Nendoroid Kuroko Tomoko on October 3rd. The acutely awkward heroine is packaged with various unique accessories, such as her trademark Deets headphone and massager.
NOTE: yeah, Tomoko is the main character and Tomoki is the brother, but GSC’s English site is calling the figure Tomoki.
GSC’s preview with comments from Kahotan (Mikatan’s replacement)…
Today I’m going to take a look at a Nendoroid with expressions that are sure to get everyone exited… even on a Monday!
Nendoroid Kuroko Tomoki!
Nendoroid Kuroko Tomoki!
From the anime series that many unpopular women relate to, ‘Watashi ga Motenai no wa dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!” comes a Nendoroid of the main character, Kuroko Tomoki! Pose her in many of your favorite scenes from the series such as the famous panty tearing scene, or instead holding her Handy Massage Machine and ‘Nude Butlers’ in each hand. Her unique expressions are also included for even more effect! Mokocchi hopes you’ll give her loads of attention in Nendoroid size!
Every time I watch an episode of this series I remember some of the darker times of my school years…
The main character from ‘Watamote’ is joining the Nendoroids, and she also comes with her headphones to ensure she can keep calm when need be!
Her school bag is also included!
Both the headphones and school bag can be removed!
The flaps in her skirt are really well done!! (｀・ω・
Doug Creutz says gamer anticipation and next-gen consoles on the horizon means open-world game will have shorter sales tail, though GTA Online could generate “several hundred million dollars per year.”
Grand Theft Auto V sales are expected to be “extremely front-loaded,” according to Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz.
In a note to investors today, Creutz said GTAV will have a shorter sales tail due to “high gamer anticipation” and the launch of next-generation consoles in November.
Take-Two has not disclosed specific unit sales figures for GTAV, saying only that the game has generated over $1 billion in global retail revenue to date. The game achieved this milestone faster than Call of Duty: Black Ops II (15 days) and The Avengers (19 days).
Creutz also said in his note to investors today that GTA Online–due to launch on October 1–should offer “ample opportunities” for content packs and microtransactions over the next several years.
“Call of Duty generates several hundred million dollars per year in digital revenue, and we think GTA could do the same,” Creutz said. “Success here would take significant pressure off of next year’s as-of-yet undetermined title slate.”
Sterne Agee analyst offers sales estimate for upcoming shooter; believes it can successfully coexist alongside Call of Duty: Ghosts.
Despite competition from Call of Duty: Ghosts, DICE’s Battlefield 4 will sell 14 million units upon launch later this year, according to Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia. The analyst revealed the prediction today in a note to investors that was focused on Activision Blizzard.
In the note, Bhatia explained that both Battlefield 4 (October 29) and Call of Duty: Ghosts (November 5) can “coexist successfully” despite releasing just one week apart.
Bhatia also predicted that one-third of all Battlefield 4 sales will come through PC, while just 10 percent of Call of Duty: Ghosts’ overall units will be sold through PC.
“The Battlefield series resonates particularly well with the PC gamers while Call of Duty tends to do well on consoles,” Bhatia said.
Battlefield 4 producer producer Patrick Bach said earlier this month that competition is good for consumers and that his title will emerge as the “best game” this holiday.
Elsewhere in the note, Bhatia downplayed potential concerns for Activision Blizzard investors related to Grand Theft Auto V, saying that game’s release date (September 17) is sufficiently far enough away from Call of Duty: Ghosts, which should “limit overlap.”
He also predicted that the Skylanders series will remain the market leader in the toys-to-life genre, despite competition from Disney Infinity. And though World of Warcraft is losing members, Bhatia said the game still has “plenty of life and many years of strong free cash flow still left.”
Cowen & Company analyst believes Nintendo may announce “badly needed” price cut at E3, says gamers should not expect PS4, Xbox One pricing info or used game details at trade show.
The Wii U is “struggling mightily,” according to Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz.
In a note to investors today concerning next week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, the industry analyst said the system has come up short during its first seven months on the market, but noted a “badly needed” price cut and key titles could help turn things around.
“After seven months on the market, Nintendo’s Wii U is struggling mightily,” Creutz said. We note that the company has essentially abandoned the field to Microsoft and Sony at this year’s E3 as Nintendo will not be holding a press conference.”
“However, we do think there is a decent chance that Nintendo could announce a price cut for the Wii U at E3 in an effort to bring attention to the console and boost sales,” he added. We note that the console will have a series of key new games coming out through the late summer and fall, beginning with Pikmin 3 in August. Nintendo’s window for igniting interest in its console is closing with Microsoft and Sony’s competing machines soon to come to market.”
Creutz also said he believes Microsoft and Sony will not share pricing information for the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 next week at E3, instead leaving those details for later events. He also said gamers should also not expect news concerning used game policies for both next-gen platforms.
Microsoft and Sony have confirmed that secondhand titles will play on their future platforms, but have yet to give specific information about how this will work. Creutz described Microsoft and Sony’s intentions towards the used game market as issues that are “critical.”
He said if Microsoft and Sony do decide to implement a significant tax on used games, they run the risk of damaging GameStop’s business model (in turn hurting the broader gaming ecosystem) and seeing “significant gamer backlash” that could hurt sales of new consoles.
“We also believe Microsoft likely knows this…and thus is unlikely to fumble the ball at the 1-yard line on this issue by getting greedy,” he said. “However, we suspect they will avoid the issue as much as possible at E3, despite calls from the gaming community for clarity.”
In addition, Creutz shared his thoughts on how Microsoft and Sony should market the Xbox One and PS4 during their E3 briefings next week.
“Microsoft needs to make its case for the Xbox One to the core gaming community after its
initial launch clearly focused on the broader audience for media and entertainment,” he said. “While we think pursuing the mass market strategy is correct (Microsoft reputedly hopes to sell
400 million Xbox Ones during its lifetime, more than 2.5x the sales total of the PS2 and 4x
that of the Wii), the console still needs to appeal to its core gamer constituency to get off
to a good start and generate positive buzz. We suspect Microsoft will not disappoint in this
“In contrast, Sony has focused its early message squarely on the gaming community.
Sony’s challenge at E3 is simply to reestablish relevance given the decisive lead Microsoft
has built on current-gen (at least outside of Japan),” he said. “We also expect Sony to showcase
some of the non-gaming aspects of the console; however, the PS4 needs to not come off
as ‘me-too’ relative to the Xbox One.”
E3 2013 kicks off Monday, June 10 with briefings from Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Sony. GameSpot will have full coverage of all happenings of the show.
Analyst Michael Pachter estimates prices for upcoming consoles from Microsoft and Sony, says Nintendo must have strong E3 showing.
Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter has weighed in on what he believes the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will sell for when they both launch later this year.
In a note to investors obtained by Games Industry International, Pachter said he believes the Xbox One will retail for $400, while the PlayStation 4 will debut at $350.
Pachter’s pricing estimations are based on bill of materials figures of $275 for the PS4 and $325 for the Xbox One.
Though Pachter believes the Xbox One will be the more expensive console at launch, he also predicts that Microsoft may offer a subsidized model, available at a lower price when consumers agree to a subscription plan.
“We believe the ability to watch live TV from a cable, telco, or satellite set-top box through Xbox One could entice an MSO to drive subscriptions through a subsidised box in exchange for a multi-year contract,” Pachter said. “The ‘always connected’ requirement for the Xbox One likely means that a broadband connection will be required, suggesting to us that ISPs may have an incentive to offer a subsidy as well.”
GameStop chief financial officer Rob Lloyd said last month during a post-earnings financial call that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are likely to be less expensive at launch than their predecessors.
The Xbox 360 launched in 2005 for $300/$400, while the PlayStation 3 debuted in 2006 for $500/$600.
Regarding Nintendo and the struggling Wii U, Pachter said the company must use its scaled down 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo showing to prove to consumers that compelling games are coming for the system.
“Nintendo risks losing additional share to its console competitors if the quality and volume of content available for Wii U does not pick up markedly in the near-term,” he said.
“In addition, if the Wii U’s popularity does not improve by the end of the year, many third-party publishers may pass on producing games for the console. We note that EA recently announced that it had no Wii U games in development, and it remains a possibility that the publisher will abandon the platform entirely,” he added. “Should other third parties follow EA’s lead, the Wii U could be relegated to a first-party-only platform.”