Today’s news roundup sees Microsoft possibly offer their own alternative to Nintendo’s Super Guide feature, Square Enix prepare for the demise of consoles and disc-based gaming, and Sony suggest the Wii isn’t doing as well as expected.
Microsoft Offer Their Own Answer to Nintendo’s Super Guide Feature
The New Super Mario Bros. Wii offered players a new feature in gaming, the appropriately named Super Guide. When players fail to complete a level eight or more times, Luigi will jump in for some much-needed assistance, even completing the entire level for you, if you wish. Speculation suggests Microsoft have been planning a similar feature since February 2008, with a patent filed for “User-Powered Always Available Contextual Game Help” within a game.
The technology would give players the option to consult the guide whenever stuck, prompting the guide to analyse “the current context of the game” and offer the solution most relevant to completing the current obstacle. Apparently each object in the game is tagged with a unique ID, allowing the guide to recognise what solution from a list of entries would best solve the current challenge. When questioned about the current progress of the in-game guide system, Microsoft claimed they’re looking into the matter, but didn’t reveal anything else. [Siliconera]
Downfall of Consoles and Software Inevitable Announces Square Enix Bigwig
According to Square Enix main man Yoichi Wada digital distribution must be embraced to prepare for the demise of physical media, and possibly even home consoles. Wada believes in a decade’s time console games simply won’t exist. Instead server-based offerings, game streaming and digital distribution will take the place of software, warning that “all the distributors and sales firms will suffer a big negative impact” when that time comes. Sony and Microsoft have already prepared for the shift says Wada, suggesting third-parties get on board and do the same thing.
“In the past the platform was hardware, but it has switched to the network. A time will come when the hardware isn’t even needed anymore,” said Wada. “With that, any kind of terminal becomes a potential platform on which games can be played – that’s exponential growth in the potential of gaming. The potential size of the market is enormous.” Square Enix are currently in the process of speeding up production of social and browser games in preparation for the change, but whether other third parties believe the change to be as soon and dramatic as Wada suggests is unclear. [MCVUK]
Sony Poke Fun at the Wii
With the PS3 doing pretty well for itself recently, Sony computer Entertainment boss Andrew House has taken the chance to poke a little fun at the Wii, suggesting the white wonder is experiencing a bit of a “downturn”. “I think at a time when we're seeing one of the major competitors somewhat losing a sense of momentum - at least in many of the markets I've looked at - it's gratifying to see a platform that's always had a very significant share of sales go to third party publishers capture that momentum again.”
He announces that publishers are flocking to the PS3 as they are managing up to 75% of their sales on the platform, as opposed “to a much smaller share elsewhere.” He further drives his point home by claiming “we're seeing a significant year-on-year downturn for the Wii. I think that's just a factor of this Holiday season.” [GamesIndustry]