News From Tokyo Game Show 2006: Day One
Tokyo Game Show 2006 started September 22nd, 2006 in Tokyo, Japan. In its tenth year running, it will be hosting the video game industries top company’s best products, all available to the public. In this article, I’ll be discussing Microsoft’s start for the show, Sony’s Ken Kutaragi’s keynote speech on the future of the PLAYSTATION 3, and my opinion on all the game demos and events occurring during Tokyo Game Show 2006: Day One!
Microsoft’s XBox 360
Microsoft kicked off their TGS showcase with a press conference a day before the show started. The highlight of the conference was that they would be releasing a spring update that would allow the Xbox 360 to give a video output of 1080p. Up until now, the ability to have 1080p output was exclusive to the PS3, and had been a primary selling point for it.
Microsoft also discussed the HD-DVD add-on to the XBox 360, and gave a demo of how it would work. It appeared that the add-on worked seamlessly with the interface (known as the dashboard). When inserting the disk, the option to play it will appear at the bottom of all the screens, just like normal. The HD-DVD add-on will also be capable of a 1080p output. The HD-DVD add-on will be available in Japan on November 22nd, at a price of 20,790 Yen (about $175, including tax). The release of the HD-DVD add-on in the United States, however, has yet to be announced.
Making a strong push in Japan, Microsoft also announced that there would soon be 100 titles available in Japan. This isn’t so great for the United States, however, because 50 of the 100 titles mentioned have been announced to being Asia Region exclusive. On top of the 100 titles in Japan, XBLA (XBox Live Arcade) will have several new interesting games being released soon, including Contra, Lumines, Defender, and Dig Dug. It was also announced that XBLA will be releasing exclusive content for XBox 360 owners, including demos and game videos, between September 20th and September 29th. Get them now, because it will be gone after that period is up!
On the floor during Day 1, Microsoft had several games available to being played. One such title was Blue Dragon, which is an upcoming RPG from the creator of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi. There appears to be six main characters, but the demo on the floor only allows you to play four. The story looks to be about a purple villain (name is unknown) who has built an army of robots to do his bidding, and it’s up to you to stop him. Throughout the game, you’ll have a kind of extension to yourself in the form of a blue dragon. The blue dragon will be with you at all times, and during combat, you will start and action and the dragon will finish it for you. When taking damage, however, the dragon stays away… So obviously, the dragon doesn’t do everything for you. The four characters playable names are: Shu, the main protagonist who is short and has black hair, Kluke, who is female and doesn’t seem to have a specialty, Marumaro, a small goblin-like warrior, and Jiro, a male magician. That’s about as much anybody knows at this point.
Also on the floor during Day 1 was Crackdown (XBox 360), and Fusion Frenzy 2 (XBox 360). Crackdown is another open world game similar to Grand Theft Auto, and Fusion Frenzy 2 is a game consisting of a large collection of mini games. Similar to the original Fusion Frenzy, the sequel will be set in the future. Personally, I loved Fusion Frenzy, so hopefully Fusion Frenzy 2 will be just as good or better. First impressions from players on the floor are pretty good… As for the final version, we can only hope for something great.
Microsoft had a whole section of their booth setup specifically for XBLA. Showing games from popular publishers such as Namco, Konami, and SNK, Microsoft kept a steady flow of hungry fans looking at their arcade games section. The most interesting announcement to come out of this is that SNK announced that there will be a Metal Slug game available on XBLA. Now THAT’S exciting!
Microsoft sure has their hands full. HD-DVD sounds like a good idea, and it comes pretty cheap… But is it better than just buying Blu-Ray with the PLAYSTATION 3? Blu-Ray seems to have more support from movie studios. So which should you go for? I think that Blu-Ray will beat out HD-DVD, but that’s all opinion. XBox Live Arcade is a great idea, but most of the games released on it aren’t so interesting to me. I guess the reason behind the XBLA is to appease to older gamers, who were actually around and playing games when these classics were popular.
I’m glad that the XBox 360 lineup will include 100 titles soon, but at least half of them are Japanese exclusives? What happened to supporting your real fan base (as in, AMERICA)?? I’ve never heard of Dodge, an American car manufacturer, making a car that they’re only going to release in Asia. Why would they do such a thing? I can understand some Asian exclusives, but why HALF of all the games? Sure, 1080p sounds great, but if you have the ability to do it, why didn’t you include it with the box a year ago? Now, if you want 1080p, you have to get XBox Live. Not only that, the Core system will never be able to support 1080p because it needs the hard drive ($100) to store the software… Take a dump on all the Core XBox 360 owners, why don’t you! The only thing I see interesting about what has happened so far for Microsoft is that they have Metal Slug coming to XBox Live Arcade, and Blue Dragon (RPG) coupled with Epic’s Gears of War will be amazing…. Or rather, it should be.
That’s a wrap on Microsoft’s Day 1 at Tokyo Game Show 2006!
Sony’s PLAYSTATION 3
Sony kicked off TGS on September 21st with Sony’s President and group CEO, Ken Kutaragi, keynote speech. Throughout the speech, Ken focused on the potential of the hardware within the system, and the future of digital entertainment. Ken discussed using the power of the PS3 for numbers of different things, such as terrain recreation, and the power of the cell helping in medical research. For the most part, Ken strayed away from the software on the system. Apparently, he wanted the system’s games to be seen and played on the floor of TGS. Let the games speak for themselves!
Sony absolutely packed the floor with PS3 and PSP games to be played. Ken Kutaragi states that there are the most playable PS3’s on the floor than any other conventions. Presumably, this is to show off all the games that Sony has lined up for the console… All of which will be playable on the floor!
The biggest game on the floor could possibly be Metal Gear Solid 4. While the game itself is not playable, Kojima Productions released another trailer on the game. This time around, the trailer doesn’t give any hints to the storyline of the game… Rather, it puts even more emphasis on Kojima’s “nowhere to hide” concept for the next Metal Gear Solid game. The trailer also showed off some of the new gameplay features that are planned for the game, such as Snake jumping in a barrel and rolling through enemies. A fan of the Metal Gear Solid series (like me) would immediately realize that this is a spin-off of the comical cardboard box features of the previous games.
Several big games were playable on the floor of TGS 2006. One of the biggest names was Gran Turismo HD. The high speed, high octane game franchise is due out again on the PS3. I loved all the Gran Turismo games, so this game on the PS3 is very exciting, and the game looks to be shaping up well. Also on the floor was MotorStorm. The game has AMAZING graphics, and looks to be shaping up nicely as well. The final version has tons of features, including different tracks, cars, different ways of destroying your car, and multiplayer online. One of the other most anticipated games, Devil May Cry 4, was playable at TGS 2006 as well. The game’s graphics look great, as expected for a next generation game. The main character of this game in the series will be Nero, and is controlled in similar fashion to Dante in Devil May Cry 3 (if you own a PS2, you should have played that game… if not, go get it!). The action for the demo took place in a garden, warehouses, and on a set of docks. Other notable games that were playable on the PS3 were Armored Core 4, a Playstation brand mech game, F1 World Championships, a Formula 1 racing game, and the Warhawk multiplayer, a futuristic flight combat game.
Late in Day 1, Sony announced a price drop, but only in Japan. They will now be getting the 20 gig PS3 for only $430 USD. Unfortunately, the United States price will remain at $499 for the 20 gig version and $599 for the 60 gig version (for the time being). This is good news for gamers in Japan, while the wallets in the United States will still be raided for the Sony next generation console.
My impressions were that Sony made a very powerful showing for their PLAYSTATION 3 on the first day. Overall, the number of good games available to play on the floor is astounding. There are almost too many games to count… The amount of next generation content Sony is pushing for its PAYSTATION 3 is outstanding. Sony fans rejoice: the system is shaping up well, and the games look great! To me, the price of the PLAYSTATION 3 continues to justify itself on Day One of this Tokyo Game Show.
Doesn’t the name sound funny? Despite this, Nintendo is trying to build hype for its next generation console, the Nintendo Wii. As quoted from Nintendo, the console is designed to “not be about us, but be about Wii…” I know, it sounds cheesy… During Day 1, however, Nintendo failed to make a significant appearance. Perhaps Nintendo has done enough in the last few months in the way of advertising and getting their concept out to the public.
The lack of media coverage on the Nintendo Wii at TGS 2006, to me, seems like Nintendo will be falling a little behind in the eye of the public. Perhaps they will make a good impression on Day Two of Tokyo Game Show 2006.
Overview and Summary
Microsoft made a strong push for XBox Live and its XBox Live Arcade system. Microsoft highlight games today were Fusion Frenzy 2, the announcement of SNK’s Metal Slug on XBLA, and a playable version of Crackdown. Sony talked about the potential of the PS3, and continued to show the strength of their games via playable versions on the floor. Great games that Sony showed off included Devil May Cry 4 and MotorStorm. Microsoft and Sony are both shaping up to have amazing displays at Tokyo Game Show 2006, but what about Nintendo? Stay tuned and come back tomorrow for more information on Tokyo Game Show 2006!