Daily Recap: June 8, 2009
We still have our Nintendo and Sony conference impressions on-tap and ready to be served, but we're simply terrible at sliding that frothy information down the counter to you, the frustrated consumer.
Look for those articles later this week with a comp for your first few Jägerbombs.
Yesterday's news ran quite the gamut of topics: Sony's trophy system isn't happening on PSP, Satoru Iwata "scuttles" when it comes to new handhelds and playing a game might just help lower your car insurance rates.
The idea of tracking digital accomplishments for consoles is still a relatively new concept. And though Microsoft blazed the trail with the Xbox 360's achievements in 2006, Sony wised up and added its own variation to the PlayStation 3 last year.
Unfortunately for fans of Sony's trophies, the PlayStation Portable won't be adding its own version anytime soon.
Joystiq asked one of Sony's PlayStation Network higher-ups, Eric Lempel, about the possibility of adding PSP games to a trophy system linked across both consoles. Lempel gave a pretty clear "No" answer, thanks to the PSP's trouble with hackers manipulating the hardware and software to no end. It seems the PSP Go won't remedy the lack of trophies either.
It makes sense for Sony to protect the purity of their trophies, and while some may scoff at the entire concept of digital boasts, it's very important to make sure hackers and pirates can't bolster their profiles with fake accomplishments for the sake of those gamers who boldly sacrifice having a life in order to achieve artificial glory.
I have to wonder what Microsoft's solution would be if they ever released a portable, gaming-specific system? Maybe players would have to sign in to their Passport accounts each time they unlocked an achievement. Scarily enough, I can almost see that happening.
The Nintendo DSi has had quite the successful launch just two months into its North American life cycle. Even so, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata told CNBC that the company had plans for a different handheld -- plans that were eventually scrapped.
The article is rather vague, which isn't the author's fault but more due to the coy explanations on the part of Iwata. It's both refreshing and frustrating to read that Nintendo had another portable system "complete" (though Iwata doesn't offer any details on what this system was exactly) but refused to release it. Without any specific details, it's easy to imagine this unseen console could've been the greatest thing ever. That's the problem with mentioning your company had a release-ready product that never felt the clammy touch of nerdy hands.
Yes, Nintendo has a vision and it's been incredibly successful this generation -- it still doesn't mean that updating the same basic hardware for the second time is the best option, regardless of how well the DSi sells.
Iwata believes in the need for preserving a sense of momentum with Nintendo's available hardware. But really, that's just another way of saying, "We're making a lot of money as-is...why bother?" Some might just accept that as business, which is true, but laurel-resting still looks bad.
Car insurance is one of those necessary evils we all have to deal with. But what if playing a simple game could improve your visual acuity and performance to make you safer on the road and lower your premiums?
Kotaku paraphrased a story found on the San Francisco Chronicle website, SFGate.com, wherein Allstate Insurance has used a simplistic flash game called Jewel Diver -- developed by Posit Science -- to seemingly improve drivers' peripheral vision and awareness levels. If the experiment is widespread enough in its success, Allstate might employ the game to test drivers and then offer cheaper rates for those who do well enough.
It's a fantastic idea on Allstate's part, and while there are no definitive results yet it's still a good thing to see the concept of games being used to hypothetically improve public safety. The basic of idea of what a game is doesn't always have to equal either immature fun or bloody, senseless violence.
Now, let's get more companies thinking that way.