Is the Sky Falling for Wii?

Sky is Falling

Some seem to think so. A friend asked my opinion on this piece at CVG called “Is the novelty of Wii wearing off?” It mentions the console’s slowing sales in Japan, the lack of releases, and raises the question of whether the console can survive, or whether it was just a flash in the pan, soon remembered as a novelty while Microsoft and Sony get back to the business of fighting the good fight.

The answer I believe is that, while the novelty factor is huge with the Wii, it will survive, and speculating about its doom now is awfully short-sighted. For one thing, all console sales are slowing now. The holiday season is well over, far enough gone that most of those who didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas have gone ahead and made their own wishes come true one way or another. But, more importantly, game releases for all platforms from January through May are so dire that, if there wasn’t anything the past few months that made you want to buy a new console, you sure as hell won’t want to buy one now. On the Xbox 360, between now and May, Ghost Recon 2 is about the only title worth getting excited about, with PS3 having just MotorStorm.

Comparatively the Wii actually looks better than the competition, with games like SSX Blur, Tiger Woods, and Super Paper Mario having the potential to impress. The problem is, none of them are the big first-party hitters everyone’s waiting for: Metroid, Mario, and Super Smash Bros. Interesting that for years gamers have lambasted Nintendo for not having any third-party support. Now they’re getting it and all anyone wants are first-party titles.

Anyhow, the Wii is doing just fine, the conclusion CVG ultimately comes to as well. Nintendo went from dead last in the previous console generation to a solid second place overnight with the Wii, and they’ll only be going up from here.

UPDATE: The sky may not be falling for Nintendo, but toymaker Tomy is saying that theirs is, and it’s primarily thanks to the Wii. They’re blaming the console for a $14 million loss, a huge turn around from their anticipated $42 million profit!

A Gran Turismo Manifesto

GT Vision

For many, Gran Turismo 4 was a fun and good looking game, but still a huge disappointment. Delivered late yet still short on features it ultimately failed to provide the kind of addictive allure of its predecessors. With no online play, extremely limited visual car customization, no crash damage, and a minimally changed physics engine it was just more of the same. And, honestly, you can only spend so many hours playing more of the same, even if it is awfully good looking.

With so much bad press being piled on the PS3 today, Gran Turismo 5 may wind up being the make or break title for the console. After its predecessors shortcomings, the fifth will need to impress to win gamers over, especially with the Forza series making huge progress in a number of areas that Gran Turismo hasn’t even begun to address. So, to ensure the series’ continued popularity, here are 12 things that GT5 absolutely must do, and do well.

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Facts on Formula 1 and Motorstorm on PS3

Formula One 06

Pro-G has posted up the TGS fact-sheets on two of the PS3’s most anticipated racers, Formula One and Motorstorm. Yes, the PS3 to PSP connectivity has been confirmed, making it the world’s heaviest rear-view mirror. And, as should be expected, these are full of marketing euphemisms. For example, in F1, never before has a parade lap sounded this exciting:

Feel the buzz of the paddock and the excitement of race day with authentic pre-race car preparations. Warm up your tyres and get ready for the race with the parade lap.

Full Formula One Fact Sheet

Full Motorstor Fact Sheet

Filling the E3 Vacuum

So E3’s dead…or dying…shriveling, anyway. That leaves an awfully big hole in the world of videogaming. Enough hype flies out of that convention annually to fuel thousands of dedicated PR firms, not to mention countless no-name videogame outlets (irony?). What’s going to happen? Well, it’s already happening: many, many smaller would-be anti-E3’s stepping up and attempting to fill the void.

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Help Improve This Site’s Compression Ratio

cylinders.jpg

Digital Displacement is nearly three months old, and while I have no aspirations of it ever turning into a huge internet phenomenon I do think it fulfills a need. I believe there’s a lack of knowledgeable and experienced coverage of the racing genre; too many sites focusing only on realism and not on fun; too many non-racers or non-gamers reviewing racing games inaccurately (i.e. saying Gran Turismo 4 “offers the best physics ever offered in a racing game”); too much news and info about mods and sims being quietly distributed only via forums. I hope this site can fill the gap, but to do so I’ll need to develop a decent sized and steady readership so that I can, in turn, get better exclusives and such like the recent GTR2 coverage that’s been so popular.

So, if you would, please take a moment to let me know what will keep you coming back, and I in turn promise to do my best to make the visit worth your while. If your answer doesn’t fit in the poll, just whack “Other” and post down below. Oh, and if you think the site is hopeless, feel free to post that too.

“Next” Gen Watch: PC

GTR 2 550

The final “Next” Gen Watch will focus on the one platform that’s always next gen… and always curr-gen, and, for a lot of people who can’t afford to buy new graphics cards every year, always feels like last gen. The venerable PC as a gaming platform has perpetually been locked in a tug of war battle with the gaming console du jour for graphical supremacy, and while it can’t begin to compete in terms of value for money, it certainly has the edge when it comes to a lot of important factors like peripheral availability and moddability.

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“Next” Gen Watch: Xbox 360

Moto GP 2006

It’s Monday, so it must be time to talk about the last of the next-gen consoles: Microsoft’s Xbox 360. It has the advantage of being first out of the gate, but is also struggling to shrug off a few major problems. Namely: a terrible launch, some reports of hardware issues that spread through internet forums like wildfire, and that same stigma that comes attached to all things Microsoft. However, Sony’s not exactly making any friends with their rootkit business and with the purported cost of the PS3, and with Nintendo continuing to make youth-oriented consoles that will put off many gamer who are insecure in their own maturity, Microsoft could be in the best shape they’ve ever been in.

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Forget DirectX – It’s Time for a Behavior API

Like many of you I’ve found myself to be addicted to Oblivion over the last few days. I’ve not had enough time to do my addiction right, but I’ve spent enough time with the game to be very, very impressed by the living world developer Bethesda have created. It’s not the first game to feature a dynamic day/night shift and to have people appropriately go to sleep and businesses close up as you’d expect, nor is it the first game to accurately depict facial expressions or to provide a sweeping landscape pock-marked with hidden adventures to explore. It does, however, bring all these things and more together to generate a completely unmatched gameplay experience.

Despite all this, it’s missing something; this may be the first game that will show developers that while we’re getting very, very close to fully immersive games that don’t break that illusion of being there, perfecting that final little bit of immersion is going to require a wholly different approach.

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