Nintendo Tests 3DS Hardware, Specs Leak Out
Nintendo will be revealing the full specifications of its upcoming 3D handheld at this August's E3, but a picture of a new DS testing module has sneaked out of the US Federal Communications Commission. The recent filing and patent indicate that this is the basis for an entirely new Nintendo handheld- and is likely to be the testbed for the new 3DS.
The testing platform, codenamed CTR, may only be a circuit board at the moment- but we can already get a good handle on its specifications. It shares the dual-screen design of its predecessors, with a widescreen 3D display (believed to be Sharp's auto-stereoscopic 3D offering) and a traditional 4:3 display. It also has connections for both a WiFi module and a cart-based software storage system.
We'll have to wait for E3 to get to grips with the CTR/3DS's processing power and software capabilities, but it's good to see that the widescreen rumours have been thoroughly confirmed. [WirelessGoodness via Gamesindustry]
Premium PSN Membership to be Unveiled at E3
Sony (and even Nintendo) have been toying with the notion of charging for premium online services for several months now, and it appears that A report from VG247 reveals that Sony plans to roll out their Premium PSN package this August- costing around £35 per year.
Don't panic, though- basic PSN with online play will still be free. Sony plans to make their premium service pay for itself by offering a free monthly PSN game to premium subscribers (out of a selection of 2-4 per month). At an average of £5-10 per game, this could well make the subscription package break even by the end of the year. They've also stated that a streaming music application (a la Spotify) will also be included in the package- and more excitingly, that it'll be able to run in the background behind your games.
When asked whether cross-game chat and current free features would be restricted to premium users, a Sony spokesman replied,
"I can tell you now, 100 percent, that that’s not the case. There’s nothing in the premium package which will gimp regular PSN users.”
As a fan of free online services, I was good and ready to lay into Sony's monetized online system as a cynical play for more of our hard-earned cash... but it appears that Premium PSN may well be an attractive proposition for PS3 fans. We'll keep you up to date with the latest developments. [VG247]
Capcom: Western Studios Will Not Develop New IPs
In an interview with the Financial Times, Capcom President Haruhiro Tsujimoto has relegated its outsourced Western studios to developing sequels and spinoffs, keeping its development of new IPs within Japan. Poor sales of Western-developed IPs such as (the staggeringly mediocre) Dark Void and Bionic Commando contributed (in part) to Capcom's disastrous 2010 profit slump, and reigning in its outsourced developers is part of an agressive cost cutting plan that includes an accelerated attempt to break into Facebook and the social gaming marketplace.
However, this does seem like a kneejerk reaction to the declined sales, since Capcom's decreasing profits have a lot more to do with the postponement of two AAA titles to avoid direct competition (including the recently released Lost Planet 2) as well as perceived competition from facebook and mobile gaming platforms. Here's hoping that the tighter focus will result in some tighter new IPs this year. [Financial Times]