Rumor Control: The PSP gets a 50GB HD and 50 Cent becomes bulletproof

This week: Rupert Murdoch passes on Eidos, Half-Life 2 expands, the Nintendo Revolution is revealed, and the video edition of RC debuts.

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RUMOR #1: Eidos is not being bought by News Corporation after all.

Source: A very well placed source at a major game company.

The official story: See below.

What we heard: This week began with everyone in the UK but the Queen confirming that Rupert Murdoch's right-leaning media empire was scooping up the house that Lara Croft built. Then a source we'll call "Deep Throat"--in honor of the Watergate informant, not the porno movie--contacted us with news that Eidos had indeed been acquired. However, s/he said that Fox News' corporate parent was not the buyer. Instead, the source laid out a scenario already covered in RC where Elevation Partners, the venture capital fund started by ex-EA president John Riccitiello and which features U2 lead singer Bono on its board, bought the ailing publisher. Supposedly, Elevation acquired a chunk of its shares through the UK holding company Schroders, which owns 21 percent of Eidos. The problem is, when contacted by GameSpot, Schroders didn't know what we were talking about. "I can confirm that we have made no significant changes to our position to Eidos in the last couple of months," said a rep for the company. As for Elevation, they aren't commenting at all. "Unfortunately, Elevation is in a quiet period related to fund raising," said a polite but tight-lipped company official. "We cannot comment on any matter related to the fund."

Bogus or not bogus?: Seeing how News Corporation isn't even commenting, even that part of the Eidos saga is still officially bogus.

RUMOR #2: Sony is working on a spicy new PSP that will feature an internal 50-gigabyte hard drive.

Source: Rumor fire-stoker Joystiq.com.

The official story: "We have not changed the specs of PSP. Please see the release dated 2/3 with a list of specs of PSP for the North American launch."--Sony Computer Entertainment America spokesperson.

What we heard: According to Joystiq.com, the PSP may be goin' all iPod up in here. Its article says that at a recent conference, Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter "let on" that he had heard that Sony was designing a PSP with an internal 50-gigabyte hard drive, thus immediately brewing comparisons to Apple's iPod MP3 player. The idea of a hard drive also lends credence to Sony's earlier admission that downloadable games may be a possibility in the future. Too bad, then, that Pachter didn't let anything on. "I said that 'if' Sony were to put a 50GB hard drive in the PSP, it would be an iPod killer," he told GameSpot.

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus. What a difference a word makes (though a great idea…)

RUMOR #3: VU Games is set to announce a game featuring rap star 50 Cent.

Source: An invitation sent to the press regarding a new game VU will be showing off the same week as GDC.

The official story: "It's possible that this rumor has something to do with the teaser we included in our invite for what we're doing at GDC."--VU Games representative.

What we heard: While being interviewed on a Bay Area hip-hop radio station in November 2003, 50 Cent let slip that he would appear in a "Grand Theft Auto-style" action game along with Aftermath label-mates Eminem and Dr. Dre. However, when the game did not surface the following year, the hopes of gamer fans of the G-Unit frontman looked dashed. However, the rumor was rekindled this week when VU Games sent out an e-mail inviting game journalists to have a "sneak peek" at an "upcoming game starring one of the world's hottest hip-hop artists." Unfortunately, that's all they're saying. "[All] I can say is that we will give a sneak peek at an upcoming video game featuring a very prominent hip-hop artist at GDC," said a rep, who answered all further inquiries with a resolute "No comment." However, insiders said that 50 Cent had paid a visit to the VU offices earlier this month, although others laughed off reports that he had performed in the company commissary. [UPDATE] However, real proof came in the form of a press release for 50 Cent's new album, The Massacre. Describing the 250,000 limited-edition sets of the album, the release read: "The set will come in a special Digipack and will include a CD key that will unlock exclusive content including a bonus track, a trailer for 50 Cent's upcoming video game, Bullet Proof, and many uncensored photographs." So now the question isn't so much if 50 Cent has a game, but who is publishing it.

Bogus or not bogus?: While there's no definitive proof, our gut tells us this is not bogus.

RUMOR #4: Half-Life 2's Alyx will be the heroine in the upcoming expansion to Valve's PC game.

Source: UK magazine PC Gamer by way of Shacknews.com.

The official story: "Despite the rumors, Valve has not announced any plans for a Half-Life 2 expansion."--Valve director of marketing Doug Lombardi.

What we heard: Half-Lifers may be getting in touch with their feminine side in a future expansion or sequel of the top-selling shooter sequel. Turns out that comely character Alyx is rumored to be the next person saving the world from an alien invasion. According to the British edition of PC Gamer magazine, Valve's Doug Lombardi is quoted as saying, "At the moment we're working on a game where you play as Alyx and her well-known robot dog." The statement should be taken with a healthy portion of salt, as the quote was featured in the magazine's "Eyewitness Conjecture" section, which covers news from the World Wide Web's net of half-truths. Shortly after word of Lombardi's quote spread faster than photos of a Tara Reid nip-slip, Lombardi reportedly e-mailed a Web site claiming that "despite the rumors, Valve has not announced any plans for a Half-Life 2 expansion." That said, given that the shooter was the top-selling PC game of 2004 and Valve has already expanded it with a deathmatch mode, it's likely only a matter of time before it gets an expansion. And given the appearance of an "Alyx Gun" in the game's development kit and game developers' propensity for foxy female leads, Alyx would be a very plausible protagonist indeed.

Bogus or not bogus?: We're going with a safe "probably not bogus" on Alyx as a playable character in the near future, likely a Half-Life 2 expansion pack.

RUMOR #5: A working prototype and final drawing of the Nintendo Revolution have surfaced.

Sources: Recurring RC guest star Engadget.com and Gearlive, making its RC debut.

The official story: See below.

What we heard: GameCubers were double-fisting rumors this week, when a one-two shot of photographic "proof" of the console hit the Web. First up was the Engadget photo (pictured) of "what is supposed to be an in-house development system of Nintendo’s next-gen game console" (see screen index), which the site claims came from the Nintendo.com forums. However, even by Engadget's often-loose standards, the machine pictured "could [be] (and probably is) totally, totally fake." Slightly more credible were the mock-ups that appeared on Gearlive, which showed a computer-generated model of an elegant, saucerlike console. But it, too, was discredited, with Gearlive editors branding it as "a very clever mock-up." However, re-posters of the images--which also surfaced on the GameSpot forums--were not so cautious, sparking off a round of speculation that will hopefully stop here.

Bogus or not bogus?: Both bogus.

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