Rumor Control: $179 DS in November and $29.99 GameCube games

This week: No Xbox Doom 3 until 2005 and Derek Smart's Freespace 3.


RUMOR #1: The Nintendo DS will be released on November 11 in the US at a price point of $179.99.

Source: Anonymous sources cited by games-press magpie

The official story: "Nintendo does not comment on rumors or speculation."--Nintendo of America spokesperson.

What we heard: Though it originated in "unconfirmed reports from Japanese retail sources," the story has a surprising amount of detail. It outlines a two-tiered DS launch. On November 4, the portable will launch in Japan for a retail price of 19,000 yen ($174.78). One week later, it will land on US shores on November 11 for a retail price of $179.95, $20 lower than the speculative $199 price at which online retailers are currently taking preorders. So should we Yanks expect dual-screen action on Veteran's Day? "That plan is remarkably close to the truth," said one informed source, who also said the leak had prompted Nintendo to go on "information lockdown."

Bogus or not bogus?: Probably not bogus.

RUMOR #2: This holiday season, Nintendo will lower the price of all GameCube titles to $29.99.

Source: The console-war partisans over at N-Philes.

The official story: "Nintendo does not comment on rumors or speculation."--the same Nintendo of America spokesperson.

What we heard: After speculating how the GameCube will compete with 800-pound gorillas Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Halo 2 this holiday season, the article comes up with a novel approach. It suggests that Nintendo will again undercut its competition, just as it did when it lowered the GameCube to $99 last fall. This time around, it will be the game price point that will go down, dropping to a standard $29.99, versus $49.99 for Xbox and PlayStation 2 titles. As evidence, the author offers up an audit of several unnamed Canadian retailers' databases that list Metroid Prime 2, Star Fox, and Paper Mario 2 for $39.99 Canadian--approximately $29.99 US. While an intriguing theory, it overlooks two things. First, now that Nintendo has discounted the GameCube so heavily, its main source of console income is software. As a result, cutting game prices by $10 or $20 would pinch off much-needed cash flow. Second, all major US retailers are offering the aforementioned games for preorder for the full $49.99.

Bogus or not bogus?: Probably bogus.

RUMOR #3: The Xbox version of Doom 3 has been delayed until 2005.

Source: CNN/Money Chris Morris's Game Over column.

The official story: Activision did not respond to solicitations for comment.

What we heard: Besides boasting of the fact he's already been lucky enough to play part of Doom 3, Morris chatted with id Software CEO Todd Hollenshead, who said there won't be a DVD version of the PC shooter. (According to Hollenshead, "The cost of the replication and having to make two masters just isn't worth it.") More importantly for console gamers, Hollenshead cast doubt on whether the Xbox version will arrive in 2004. "We can't say, at this point, that it's going to come out this year," said Hollenshead. "There are a couple of big pieces of work that still have to be done." He did not say what exactly needed to be done nor how id would work with Vicarious Visions, developer of the Xbox Doom 3, to finish it. In fact, he didn't say the game was going to be delayed at all, just that it might not be completed in time for the holidays.

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus--for now.

RUMOR #4: Outspoken Universal Combat developer Derek Smart has acquired the Freespace license from Interplay.

Source: A post from Smart on the Adrenaline Vault forums.

The official story: "No, I have not acquired the license, but I'm trying hard to."--the man himself in an e-mail to GameSpot.

What we heard: Following Bethesda Softworks' acquisition of the Fallout license earlier this week, word spread that cash-strapped publisher Interplay is having a franchise fire sale. So the rumors started a-flyin' when Smart posed the question, "Would you buy Freespace 3 if I made it?" However, those who took the effort to look at the next paragraph would have seen that Smart is still only "seriously considering" licensing the space sim. However, the very possibility of Smart taking over the series has generated a strong reaction, prompting him to post a typically verbose response to his critics.

Bogus or not bogus?: For the time being, bogus, though it's not out of the realm of possibility.

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