It's time again for another round of headlines.
- In case you haven't heard, the biggest news lately to shake the gaming community is Electronic Arts' lucrative five year licensing deal with the NFL and the NFL Players Association. The deal, rumoured to have cost EA between $200 and $300 million dollars, gives EA the exclusive rights to use NFL teams, players, and stadiums for the next five years. Basically, this means that if you want to get an actual NFL video game for the next five years, you're choices will be narrowed down to Madden and NFL Street. And people say Microsoft is the master of monopolies.
- In related news, Midway Games seems to be fairly unphased by the EA/NFL deal. In a press release issued today, Midway announced the development of a new unlicensed football game called Blitz: Playmakers. Since the game is not using actual NFL teams, players, etc., Midway is not under the scrutiny of the "family-friendly" NFL executives. This means Blitz will get more violence, more attitude, and even the occasional off-field violence and drug use.
“Midway's Chicago studio has laid the foundation over the past year for what is the ultimate alternative to watered down NFL sanctioned football games,” said Steve Allison, chief marketing officer of Midway. “No longer bound to the NFL license, there will be no league restrictions on content and gamers will finally experience what makes playing a football videogame really fun: off-field controversies, dirty hits, excessive celebrations and much more. Blitz: Playmakers buyers will be assured of one thing – our game will include all the gameplay and fun the NFL won’t allow."The new game is scheduled for a Q4 2005 release.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is undoubtedly the best selling game of the year on the PlayStation 2. Well, Xbox owners won't be left out in the cold for much longer. Take-Two Interactive has announced that the game will be coming to the Xbox and PC sometime in Q2 of 2005. Sorry Gamecube owners. Still no GTA love for you.
- Speaking of the Big N, Nintendo of Japan quietly announced that they will be releasing a special adapter for the Nintendo DS (and the GBA SP) that will allow the unit to play video files (MPEG-4) and audio files (MP3) off of a standard SD card. Undoubtedly, this is designed to compete with the video and audio features in Sony's PSP handheld system.
- Yep, the PSP has officially been released ... in Japan at least. According to published reports, Sony's handheld sold through more than 80 percent of its shipped units on its first day of release. Want one? You can shell out about $500 on eBay for a Japanese unit. Looks like I may have to check the couch for spare change.
Well, there's a lot more news to report on, and I'll be posting more later. Also, be on the lookout for more additions here, as well as a new and more ambitious project coming up called Visionary Ink. Also, one of the things I'll probably be adding here is a shop for Visionary Ink and Stacking the Deck merchandise (ooo ... ahhh).