According to a post on Major Nelson’s blog, Sega’s Phantasy Star Universe beta is now available. Gamers with an Xbox Live Gold account can now download the 900+ megabyte package from the Xbox Live Marketplace. The beta period officially ends on October 18th, but since a feat of exceptionally good planning has the Xbox Live service down for maintenance for 24 hours starting on October 17th, gamers will get even less time to experience the preview. Hopefully Sega doesn’t see its servers crash like they did at the launch of Phantasy Star Universe in Japan, which could make the testing even less effective.
Read More | Major Nelson
Xbox 360 users with an Xbox Live Gold account will be able to participate in Sega’s upcoming open beta test for Phantasy Star Universe on October 11. Sega’s official Phantasy Star Universe site has the details of the open beta. The test itself will run from October 11th through October 18th, and will let users experience some of the online multiplayer functionality of the game. According to the site, the beta will be available on the Xbox Live Marketplace sometime between October 11th and October 12th.
The Xbox 360 version of Phantasy Star Universe should hit stores on the same date as the PC and Playstation 2 versions, October 24th. Xbox 360 users will have their own servers; while PC and Playstation 2 users will be able to interact with each other online, Xbox 360 users will only be able to see other players with the Xbox 360 version of the game. For the final version of Phantasy Star Universe, Xbox 360 owners with either a Silver or Gold account will be able to play online. Phantasy Star Universe will cost $9.99 per month to play. Hopefully the online beta will help Sega avoid the server meltdowns that plagued the Japanese launch of the Playstation 2 and PC versions.
Read More | Phantasy Star Universe
The October 5 RadioOPM podcast for the US Official Playstation Magazine features Mike Gallo, producer of Full Auto 2 for Sega of America. Gallo discusses developing for the Playstation 3, working with the development kits and some of the challenges of developing a launch title.
In addition, Gallo talks about the multiplayer functionality for the game; according to Gallo, Sony’s network should support a single user profile log-on, similar to the way that Xbox Live handles things, but that Sega will be utilizing Gamespy’s matchmaking and ranking technologies for their back-end. While it is interesting to see that at least some of the features found in Xbox Live will make their way to Sony’s Playstation network, the utilization of a third-party back end for Sega’s title may indicate that Sony’s online service, while offering more flexibility on the back end, may not be as integrated a service for the end user as Microsoft’s offering. Hopefully, Sony’s last pre-launch event on October 19th will give gamers more of an idea of what they can expect online. Gallo’s Full Auto comments can be found roughly 22 minutes into the podcast, but there are other interesting discussions, including impressions of Sony’s Playstation 3 console.
Famitsu recently released the pricing and availability information for a bunch of the Playstation 3 launch window titles in Japan, and Game|Life has a translation. The price list shows information for six of the launch day titles, and three launch window titles, ranging from 5040 Yen ($43) for budget titles to the high end of 8190 Yen ($70) for Armored Core 4. The other titles fall somewhere between the two, with first party titles like Resistance: Fall of Man and Genji 2 priced at 5980 Yen, about $50, and third-party titles like Ridge Racer 7 and Sonic The Hedgehog falling between 7140 Yen ($61) to 7329 Yen ($62). So, at least for right now, it looks like gamers in Japan can expect pretty standard next generation game pricing with only the occasional wallet buster.
Read More | Game|Life
Sega recently displayed builds of Virtua Tennis for the Playstation 3 running in full 1080P resolution, according to a report by 1up. Assuming that 1080P resolution support makes it into the shipping product, this would allow Virtua Tennis to join Gran Turismo HD in the list of games that support the highest resolution display mode of the Playstation 3. People have debated the usefulness of supporting a resolution that so few end users will be able to access, but it is interesting to see what games will have the spare processing power to push that many pixels.
Read More | 1up
It looks like the ESRB has let slip information on seven of Sega’s Virtual Console titles for the Nintendo Wii. Codename Revolution found the titles in the ratings database by searching on game ratings for Wii games. The seven titles listed are:
- Altered Beast
- Ecco The Dolphin
- Golden Axe
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Toe Jam & Earl
Gamers might notice some slight overlap between this list and the previously rumored titles for the Virtual Console from Play-Nintendo, however, Outrun was on Play-Nintendo’s list but not in the ESRB database. And the ESRB database has information on more Genesis titles. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Play-Nintendo list is incorrect, but certainly more credence must be given to the ESRB.
In yet another piece of news that was quickly censored by major videogame companies, Gaming Age reported today that the upcoming Sonic Wild Fire for the Nintendo Wii will now be named Sonic and the Secret Rings. Later, SEGA asked Gaming Age to remove this news from their site, but thanks to the power and beauty of the internet, the name can still be found on other major venues including Cubed3.com.
Censoring the fact that a black Wii is coming I can sort of see, but the name for a game? Come on guys - you haven’t even let us see enough screenshots to know what to think of this game, and the title really isn’t giving anything away. A Sonic game that features rings? Wowee! I never would’ve guessed.
Read More | Gaming Age
Siliconera is hosting some new Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz screenshots for the upcoming Wii game. The shots capture some of the various mini-games that the player will encounter, but nothing from the main game. The game should be a launch title for the Nintendo Wii, and hopefully will erase gamer’s memories of the travesty that is Super Monkey Ball Adventure.
Read More | Siliconera
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