Nov 30, 2009

Xbox LIVE Game With Fame - Play Tony Hawk Ride With Tony Hawk

By Andrew Shin

Alright all you Xbox LIVE Gold members out there in Canada, listen up. If you own the new Tony Hawk Ride game for the Xbox 360, then Wednesday, December 2nd is your opportunity to play with the legendary skater Tony Hawk himself as part of Xbox LIVE's Game with Fame session.

All you have to do is send a friend request to the gamertag TonyHawkGWF and make sure that you are online a half hour before the session begins (be online at 7:30pm EST). Then just cross yer fingers and hope you get an invite to play.

Sounds like some good ol' street surfin' fun. For more details, check out the Xbox Canada website.

BC Gamers Raise $130,000 By Playing World's Most Boring Game

By Paul Hunter

Long time readers will know that I have a particular affinity to Victoria BC-based comedy troupe LoadingReadyRun. They're funny, they're creative, and most importantly they have hearts of gold.

On November 20, 2009, the team began their annual Desert Bus For Hope charitable event and over five days raised $132,608.94 for Child's Play. What an outstanding achievement.

They raised the money by playing the world's most boring video game, ever, called Desert Bus.

I wrote at length about the charity event over on the Future Shop Tech Blog, from the article:

"To get a sense of just how boring this game is consider the following description:

Desert Bus is 16-bit simulator that has the player drive a completely empty bus between Tucson, Ariz. and Las Vegas in real time at a maximum speed of 45mph. A one-way trip takes a full eight hours to complete, and the game cannot be paused. If the player manages to complete the road trip, they're given 1 point and given the option to make the return trip to Tucson for another point."

[Click here to read my full thoughts on Desert Bus For Hope]

This article appears on the Future Shop Tech Blog where I contribute three times weekly.

Nov 28, 2009

Gaming Deals For This Week

By Andrew Shin

As the holidays get closer by each passing week, retailers are starting to target gamers with some great deals to take advantage of. This coming week in particular seems to be a good one for some really great deals....here's a round up of ones I've scoped out.

Blockbuster Canada
- Buy a PS3, Xbox 360 or Wii or any Blu-ray player and receive a $25 gift card (deal begins Nov. 27th)
- PS3 price drops - 80GB system for $269.99 and 160GB system for $399.99 (while quantities last)

Best Buy Canada
- All deals run from Nov. 27th to Dec. 3rd
- Select EA titles $39.99 (Need For Speed: Shift, Brutal Legend, NHL 10, Dragon Age Origins, Left 4 Dead 2, Fight Night Round 4 - either PS3 or Xbox 360 versions)
- EA Sports Active for $39.99 (Wii)
- PS3 DualShock 3 Controller and Wireless Keypad for $79.99 (save $30)
- PS3 Greatest Hits 2 for $40

Future Shop
- All deals run from from Nov. 27th to Dec. 3rd
- Select EA titles $39.99 (Need For Speed: Shift, Brutal Legend, NHL 10, Dragon Age Origins, Left 4 Dead 2, Fight Night Round 4 - either PS3 or Xbox 360 versions)
- EA Sports Active for $39.99 (Wii)
- Need For Speed: Nitro for $39.99 (Wii)
- Wolfenstein for $29.99 (Xbox 360)
- Section 8 for $39.99 (Xbox 360)
- Ninja Blade for $19.99 (Xbox 360)
- Select titles for $9.99 (Xbox 360 - Wheelman, FaceBreaker, The Simpson's Game, The Bourne Conspiracy and others)
- GTA IV and Xbox 360 Controller bundle for $59.99
- Xbox 360 wireless network adaptor for $59.99 (save $40)

Toys R' Us
- All deals fun from Nov. 27th to Dec. 3rd
- Mix and match all video game software from any systems - $10 off on purchases between $39.98 and $74.97, $20 off on purchases between $79.98 - $99.97 and $30 off on purchases totalling $99.98 or more
- Purchase a Nintendo DS ($139.99) and receive a $20 gift card

That's it so far. I'll post more when I come across any new deals.

Happy shopping folks.

Yoichi Wada Speaks At MIGS 2009

By Andrew Shin

MIGS 2009 had a very special keynote speaker this year in Yoichi Wada, CEO of Square Enix. Wadasan officially opened the conference as the first speaker and provided a thoughtful commentary on game creation.

He covered very interesting points on how factors such as IP, globalization, form and community are not only important, but necessary in creating and developing video games that will provide engaging, relevant and memorable gaming experiences.



From an IP perspective he emphasised that:
- it is a source of value for products derived from all creative industries
- it is highly important for gaming companies to take the time to develop their own IPs through first party in-house development
- too much use of IP can be negative if substance within a franchise cannot be maintained
- the key to continuing a gaming franchise is to be able to develop a good and engaging story for each iteration

Regarding Globalization:
- creating a game that would appeal to a global audience is not possible
- games have to be targeted to people's lifestyles and tastes
- for Square Enix, this means having a global presence and network of studios that can allow them to initiate and push innovations in their games by understanding people on a global level

On the topic of Form:
- there is a state of "Cambrian Explosion" of game forms
- there are numerous types of distribution and reach that games have
- this is a good situation for the industry as a whole
- however too much variety, distribution and reach could cause confusion amongst gamers and thus become detrimental to the market

And the final point about Community:
- technology has shifted the core value of games
- there is a hierarchy that begins with hardware at the base, which drives development of code, which results in games that users interact with and ultimately drives an exchange of data with the user, which then drives the development of community
- there is a barrier in knowing who is exchanging data and so there needs to be greater focus in being able to understand data


Yoichi Wada then continued to explain how his vision and that of Square Enix is to produce games that best utilize a combination of all these elements. He is fully committed to his company's mission statement that states...

"To spread happiness across the globe by providing unforgettable experiences."

Wadasan's lecture was highly entertaining and for me personally, it was an unforgettable experience to hear directly from one of the pioneers in the gaming industry.

It will be interesting to see how MIGS will top this for next year.

Nov 26, 2009

NextGen Player Does MIGS 2009

By Andrew Shin

Alas, the 2009 Montreal International Game Summit conference has come and gone. Yours truly was in Montreal to attend and cover this year's MIGS and it was worth every moment. There was a great line up of speakers at the event that included Yoichi Wada providing the keynote address to kick off the conference. It was an absolute pleasure to hear Wadasan speak in person and listen to his thoughts and views regarding game creation.


Some of the other speakers that I got to enjoy included Patrick Plourde of Ubisoft Montreal. As the lead game designer on Assassins's Creed 2, Patrick shared his approach and insights on designing the game. It was a challenging feat with a tight and aggressive development schedule to produce a game with 230+ features and an overall gaming experience that would offer up much more than the original Assassin's Creed.

Then there was Scott Rogers, Creative Director at THQ. His lecture, titled "Everything I Learned About Level Design, I Learned From Disneyland", was very unique and thoroughly entertaining. It was quite fascinating to hear how Scott deciphered Disney's approach to telling stories and translated that into effective and impactful level designs for games.


Additionally, this year's MIGS was great exposure for NextGen Player as we were a media partner and as such we had our logo in the event's official programme as well as during the opening presentation address.

I can definitely say that we're looking forward to next year's conference and again being a media partner. If you haven't attended before, I highly recommend making plans to attend next year as it's a great opportunity to hear from some of the industries brightest minds and also to network and even source career opportunities.

Nov 24, 2009

Assassin's Creed 2 Has Early Success

By Andrew Shin

Ubisoft has reported that their newest title Assassin's Creed 2 has outsold the original game in its first week of sales. How well you ask? In its first week since launching, Assassin's Creed 2 sold 1.6 million units worldwide. This translates into a 32% increase compared to the first week of sales for Assassin's Creed.

This must be highly positive and satisfying results for Ubisoft as there has been much talk about whether or not gamers would respond well to Assassin's Creed 2 based on the mixed reviews and reactions that were tied to the first game.

With Assassin's Creed 2, it appears Ubisoft has listened to all of the feedback and developed a game that goes far beyond what the original offered. This is evident from the overwhelmingly positive review scores for the game. Metacritic has a metascore of 92 percent for the game. Not too shabby.

Nov 22, 2009

GameStop's Online Canadian Presence Grows Significantly

By Paul Hunter

GameStop recently increased their online Canadian presence noticeably with the launch of a brand new, ecommerced-enabled website last week. The newly redesigned GameStop.ca features online shopping for new and used games, pre-orders for upcoming releases, the ability to check in-store software availability, a store locator, as well as the ability check your Edge card balance and purchase gift cards.

The new Canadian website has a very similar look and feel to the GameStop.com website that Americans have enjoyed for years now. In all likelihood the two websites share the same eCommerce engine technology creating administrative efficiencies across their North American operations.

Now that GameStop has a fully functional online retail presence, Canadians will have the luxury of comparing the company's video game prices with those of other national retailers from the comfort of their own home. I can't complain about that.

But what I can complain about is the slowwww loading images on the new website. What's up with that?

Nov 20, 2009

We're Baaaaacccck...Huh?

By Andrew Shin

Hello there!

That's right...I'm talking to you (our loyal NextGen Player readers). I know we've been MIA for about a week now. It's been quite busy for us as Paul has been in the middle of a move and I had just come back from Montreal attending MIGS earlier in the week.

But don't fret. We will be getting back to business as usual and posting some great articles. I have a few pieces I'll be putting up on MIGS soon. Yoichi Wada was the keynote speaker and he was great. I'll have some more on that in the next coming days.

So thanks for your patience and expect some new articles very soon.

Cheers,
Andrew

Nov 11, 2009

Early Bayonetta Demo For Xbox 360

By Andrew Shin

This just in. NextGen Player has received news from SEGA of America on an opportunity for Xbox 360 owners to get their hands on limited early access codes for the Bayonetta demo.

Here are the specifics from SEGA:

-----------------------------------------------------------

You’ve heard about the Japanese release of the game, read the blogs, the forums, and watched all the trailers - now is your chance to get your hands on the free Xbox 360 Demo of Bayonetta weeks earlier than everyone else!

All you need to do is complete the free SEGA Pass registration, submit your details, and you may receive a free voucher code to redeem for your download of the early access demo of Bayonetta! This is your opportunity to get some hands on time with this highly anticipated, groundbreaking action game - this is not to be missed!

HURRY - we will only be giving away 40,000 codes of the early access demo of Bayonetta (first come, first served)! Registration will be open from November 9th 2009 and close November 13th 2009. We will notify the recipients of the early access demo of Bayonetta as early as November 16th 2009. This promotion is only available to those in the US and Canada.

Best of luck to everyone who registers - and big thanks to you, the fans, for enabling us to offer this special promotion!

Nov 10, 2009

There Are Many 'i's In 'Wii', 'Family' And 'Skiing'

By Leif Conti-Groome

I don't think it's coincidence that two of the few words that have two 'i's together are 'Wii' and 'skiing' and the good folks at Nintendo have noticed this as well. They are currently holding a contest in conjunction with CTV to send one lucky bunch of 'i's that are part of a family on vacation to Whistler Blackcomb (one of Canada's most popular ski slopes) located in British Columbia. Better get that camera ready to take a picture of junior all decked out in winter garb looking like a character from a Robert Munsch story.

The contest is a part of Nintendo's Get Up and Play promotion which encourages families to game together and share their experiences with other video game households. Teams can earn Challenge Points by performing bonding tasks like making videos of familial bliss fostered by the Wii, or a written mini-faq providing tips for different games or submitting a family portrait to show other gamers what the people behind the Miis really look like. Most activities can be done daily to encourage teams to make time for video games every day (which is something I strongly encourage). And, to round out the whole experience, families can comment and vote on each other's activities in Nintendo's virtual community.

Along with the grand prize of the Ski Vacation, there are also weekly prizes to be given out to a lucky team. The contest ends November 22nd so you'd better get Ma, Pa, Grandpa, Grandma, Uncle-pa, Aunt-ma, um, Cousin Marth-a organized and snow suit up! Contest details can be found here.

Who knows, soon you might be gripping ski poles instead your wiimotes.

Nov 9, 2009

EA Cuts 1,500 Jobs

By Andrew Shin

Today Electronic Arts announced it was cutting 1,500 jobs across the entire company with many of the cuts affecting the Burnaby, B.C. office. This is a large reduction for EA as the cuts account for 17% of the entire workforce. The other EA Canadian offices that will be hit by these cuts are in Montreal and Edmonton.

EA also reported today a second quarter loss of $391 million and that overall it expected a net loss for the fiscal year. Today's announcement of cuts are to be completed by March 31,2010 resulting in restructuring costs of between $130 to $150 million. EA expects that these cuts will also save them $100 million annually.

While this isn't the first cut made by EA to affect Canada - remember Black Box - this is a significant one. This move by EA makes sense from an operations and revenue standpoint as they want to focus their resources and efforts on game titles that yield higher margins and better profits. These would likely include popular and successful sports series such as Madden, NHL and FIFA as well as the Rock Band series of games.

For the Canadian gaming industry as a whole, this news is quite unfortunate considering all of the recent positive news that has taken place including the opening of a Ubisoft Toronto office and increased government investment federally and provincially in Ontario. That said, it's not surprising that these types of cuts occur as we're seeing consumers showing much more discretion on how they spend their money and being highly selective on what games they purchase. With these challenges, it is expected that gaming companies will look to reduce or eliminate investment into titles that are not successful. Let's just hope that both EA and the B.C. video game industry can rebound from this soon.

Nov 8, 2009

Future Shop Hosting National Midnight Openings for Modern Warfare 2

By Paul Hunter

With the 800 lbs gorilla that is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 releasing nation-wide on November 10, 2009, Future Shop have announced midnight openings across the country in celebration.

Launch parties will be held on the night of November 9, 2009, at stores in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Maritimes. Future Shop stores in Quebec and Sudbury, Ontario will open November 10 at 8:00 a.m. local time.

In addition, gamers in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, will be treated to special launch parties hosted by Playstation in collaboration with Future Shop. The parties will take place at the Yonge-Dundas store (Toronto), the Robson store (Vancouver), and the Northland store (Calgary). Additional street team activities will occur in the Ottawa and Winnipeg locations.

Here are all the pertinent details:

When:

Monday, November 9, 2009, 9:00 p.m. – 11:59 p.m. (Stores will be open from midnight to 1:00 a.m.)

Where:

Vancouver: 798 Granville St. (at Robson)
Toronto: 10 Dundas St. (at Yonge)
Calgary: 420 - 5111 Northland Drive NW

Future Shop has confirmed with NextGen Player that at the three launch party locations, at least 50 units of the Prestige Edition of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will be available for die-hard COD fans.

NextGen Player Review: Borderlands

By Clinton Ma


Borderlands is a gamer's game. Devoid of any high-minded pretensions of offering a story, rich characterizations or original design, the game instead plunders the well of the most battle-tested formulas to produce a game that is surprisingly better than the sum of its parts.

Borderlands also shines as a case study in genre mash-ups. Developer, Gearbox Software, combines two of our most enduring genres -- the role-playing game and first-person shooters -- to amazing effect. Hybrids all too often fall flat in their balancing act, neglecting one genre while over-salting the other. I'm happy to report that Borderlands sidesteps most of these pitfalls, paying fair tribute to both shooter and RPG fans alike. To ice the cake even further, they've seemingly managed the impossible task this generation, which is to say competently offer seamless drop-in or four-player co-op. The shock!

Despite this formidable gaming recipe they've concocted on paper, Gearbox's "role-playing shooter" still runs afoul of some typical slings and arrows, keeping it just shy of earning that perfect NGP score...

Players take on the role of one of 4 selectable vault hunters dispatched onto the desolate colony world of Pandora, to seek out the fabled Vault which is home to mysterious alien technology of unspeakable power. Each character is distinct and represents a player class all their own. Roland is your standard soldier grunt; Mordecai is the classic sniper; Brick provides the requisite tank-meathead; and Lilith is the stealthy assassin. The fearsome foursome is pushed towards their goal by a remote, Cortana-like personality who occasionally pipes into your ear to relay long-term objectives or to offer generic encouragements.

The existence of classes is your first major clue of the game's RPG inspirations. The 4 playable characters are distinct in their look and character progression trees but they all share a common foundation when it comes to their proficiency in weapons. And in Pandora, the weapon of choice is almost always a gun. In fact you're given your first gun shortly after beginning the game's tutorial. Guided along by a uni-wheeled talking robot called a Claptrap, the tutorial gently introduces you to the harsh lands of Pandora, a post-apocalyptic kind of place that takes far more stylistic cues from Mad Max than Fallout 3.

From there on out, it's up to you to explore the world and pick up the pieces that will unlock your path to the Vault. Pandora is laid out as a series of interconnected hub worlds, with each one containing a balanced mix of supply depots, towns, quest givers and hostile territories. Borderlands has flashes of feeling like an open-world environment, but is fairly linear. Unlocked areas can always be revisited to finish quests or to beat up on weaker foes but the player is quite rigidly corralled from beginning point to end-game battle.

Borderlands is first and foremost a shooter. Pandora as a world is a very rich backdrop for the first-person shooting action but as a role-playing game, it falls well short of being an interesting place to be. You're supposed to be more interested in the basic trappings of an RPG: leveling, obtaining new items, customizing your character's class skills and the like. In this respect, the game strikes a fairly good balance of offering enough variety and depth without slowing the pace with minutiae or number-crunching. But it's the loot game that makes Borderlands such an addicting experience and helps draw the inevitable comparisons to Diablo. There always seems to be a better gun, shield upgrade or class-boosting artifact just around the corner and it's this sick compulsion that drives deep into any gamer's pleasure center and takes firm hold for the good 20-25 hours it takes to complete the main story quest.


As lovely as all the loot is, you are constantly awash in items. Equipment chests are scattered everywhere. Lockers contain loot, as do toilets, safes and refrigerators. Even skag vomit (a skag is the Pandora equivalent of a giant rat) holds some ammo scraps after you've picked through it. It's loot, loot all the time and it eventually gets wearying and becomes a form of visual white noise. You'll pick up a couple choice weapons that serve you well, relegating most of your loot drops to your junk pile or as merchant fodder. In a way it reminds me of Sacred 2 another loot-heavy game I reviewed earlier this year. It's as if the game is desperately afraid of losing your interest, ever so vigilant it is at dangling another shiny trinket in your face or sending you on another tiresome errand disguised as something more meaningful.

The enemies could also have been imbued with a sense of variety. Outside of a few notable boss characters, your enemies boil down to a small mix of deranged bandits and various scurrying creatures that simply charge at you, AI sophistication be damned. Quest givers and other friendly NPCs fare no better. They are pure cardboard cut-outs, not even so much as emoting when you come into their vicinity. But hey, they only serve one purpose and that is to dole out missions for you to complete for more experience, money and loot.

If that were all there was to Borderlands, I'm afraid it would be just a very average game. Thankfully, the entire package is kicked up several notches by the very capable first-person shooting mechanics, the striking art direction and the nearly seamless 4-player co-op feature. A few RPGs have attempted FPS controls in the past, most notably Fallout 3 and Deus Ex, but no one has really captured the visceral feeling of firing a big gun in the context of a stat-driven RPG system. Borderlands comes the closest to nailing this perfectly. Firing guns feels right and to appease the RPG nuts, each successful hit elicits damage numbers that float up from your target, so you know exactly how awesome your new electricity-spewing shotgun is. There's still a slight disconnect during combat especially when you're pumping clip after clip into higher level enemies, but you rarely feel like your FPS skills are getting the short end of the stick.

Now I've heaped quite a few criticism onto Borderlands already but in all honesty, most of these niggles fade far into the background once you've grouped up with 3 other friends to tackle the wastelands together. With scaled up enemies and loot, the moment-to-moment enjoyment factor ramps up considerably when you have a group working as a team. A lot of techniques common to MMOs come into play here, with mixed class tactics being one of more satisfying results. Even many skills that seem a bit pointless in solo play take on a new life when you combine them with the complementary skills of another class. Co-op is not perfect, since it's possible for greedy players to make off with the best loot and it renders the already paper-thin narrative to the distant background even more than when playing alone. Lag also rears its ugly head on occasion. It's best played using dedicated character with the same group of friends, that way you're all at the same level and moving through the world at the same pace.

In the end, Borderlands does occupy that uneasy position that hybrids usually do. While it does a solid job as both a shooter and RPG, it's not even close to giving the champions in each of those genres a run for their money. And during a busy holiday season that sees the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Dragon Age: Origins, you almost have to wonder if Borderlands has enough mojo to compete.

But compete it does. The co-op is what really gives Borderlands its legs. Overall, I found the game to be quite the paradox, equally unique and derivative, addictive yet frustrating. It's something that is bound to hold your interest for at least 15 hours, and for many players, that's as good a recommendation as they'll ever need.

Pros:
- Striking, stylish art direction: like a cel-shaded version of Mad Max
- Addictive RPG-lite game play
- Procedurally generated loot
- Feels like a good shooter
- Drop-in & out 4-player co-op

Cons:
- Slightly shallow, one-note game design
- Chance of lost progress with corrupted save files
- Procedurally generated loot fatigue
- Unbalanced PvP
- Fun co-op that can feel a bit disjointed & chaotic

NextGen Player gives Borderlands a...


Gamercamp Toronto - November 21st

By Andrew Shin

Gamercamp is a one day event in Toronto that is a celebration of video games. This year's event will take place on November 21st at the Lower Ossington Theatre. There will be speakers, demos, an arcade area dressed with rare and retro games and Toronto's own indie game cabinet called the Torontron.

The keynote speakers for this year are Hand Eye Society's Mare Sheppard and Raigan Burns and their topic will be about approaching video game development with the rock band model. Other speakers will include Michael Todd talking about Broken Brothers Deluxe and Gerald Darcy of the Replay Arcade Museum - a Toronto based gaming museum set to open soon. In fact, Replay will be Canada's first gaming museum.

In the evening there will be a closing party hosted by Gamercamp and Replay called 1UP that will showcase 25 rare and classic arcade cabinets with unlimited freeplay. On top of all that, dinner will also be served to attendees.

Tickets for Gamercamp can be purchased for $15 and includes admission, dinner and access to the 1UP closing party. To purchase tickets, click here.

To see the complete Gamercamp schedule, click here.

Nov 6, 2009

PlayStation.ca Uncharted 2 Contest

By Andrew Shin

It wasn't too long ago when our gaming counterparts in the US were given the opportunity to win a very limited Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Fortune Hunter Edition. Well PlayStation.ca is now giving us Canadians the opportunity to win as well.

Go to PlayStation.ca and you can enter to win one of 5 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Fortune Hunter Edition games. All you have to do is simply answer 3 Uncharted trivia questions correctly in order to access the contest entry form. The contest runs until November 23 (10:00 ET).

Nov 3, 2009

Best Buy Canada COD: Modern Warfare 2 Midnight Launch

By Andrew Shin

Best Buy Canada announced today that they will be hosting a couple of midnight launch events for the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. On Monday, November 9th the Bay and Dundas store in Toronto and the Cambie store in Vancouver will be hosting midnight launch parties that will go on from 9pm to 11:59pm. At 12:01am, both stores will open for approx. 1 hour to allow people to purchase the game. So if you live near either areas, this will be a great opportunity to get your hands on this game before it goes on sale to the general public later that morning.

Full details for this event is as follows.

Launch party details:

From 9:00 p.m through 11:59 pm on November 9, 2009, launch parties will be held at the Bay and Dundas Best Buy store in Toronto and at the Cambie Best Buy store in Vancouver.

Launch party activities include:
- Be one of the first to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 with XBOX 360 street teams
- Dress up in costume for a chance to win a $500 Best Buy gift card
- Additional Call of Duty XBOX 360 console given away on site at each launch party store
- 50 limited Prestige Edition games available at each launch party store
- Monster Hitman energy drink street teams on site


Midnight opening details:

Midnight openings for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will be held on Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 12:01 a.m. for approximately one hour (Quebec stores will open at 8 a.m on Tuesday, November 10, 2009)

- Enter to win one of five Call of Duty XBOX 360 consoles
- A minimum of 15 limited Prestige Edition games will be available at every store
- First 75 customers at each store receive a free four-pack Monster Hitman energy drink

Nov 1, 2009

Nintnedo Loses Some Steam

By Andrew Shin

Earlier this week Nintendo Co. Ltd reported that quarterly profits had dropped 52% and as a result has reduced its annual earnings forecast for the year. Their operating profits fell $90 billion Yen (approx. $709 million US) in July-Sept compared to $133 billion Yen a year earlier. This has been a difficult quarter for Nintendo coupled with the declining sales trend that has hit them throughout the year.

One can't be completely surprised by this latest quarterly report as Nintendo hasn't done enough to spark new and heightened interest in their Wii console due to a lack of engaging and exciting game titles. In fact, the only big release in the last few months has been the Wii Sports Resort game that incorporates the use of the new Wii Motion Plus peripheral for the Wii Remote. The other obvious factor in all of this is the the recent price cuts to the PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles. Sony having introduced a new slimmer PS3 for $299 CAN and the Xbox 360 Elite dropping in price to $299 as well has helped both consoles to gain more marketshare with respect to sales. In fact, for the first time since its release, Sony's PS3 outsold the Wii as the top selling console in the U.S. this past September according to NPD numbers. As a result, Nintendo responded by also dropping the price on the Wii to $219 CAN.

To have dominated as long as Nintendo has since the release of the current gen consoles, it's only expected that they would lose some of its lustre. But at the end of the day, business is business for Nintendo and if they hope to recover, many in the gaming industry - both analysts and gamers - feel that Nintendo has to deliver with a solid line up of titles and new gaming experiences that will keep both the casual and core gamers interested enough to spend their dollars.