Rumor Control: GameCube EyeToy and the Spider-Man 2 demo debacle

Also this week: Duke Nukem (delayed) Forever, Bungie jumpers, and still more PS3 release rumors.


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RUMOR #1: Nintendo is developing a GameCube peripheral similar to the Sony EyeToy.

Source: Numerous accounts in the Western and Japanese press.

The official story: Nintendo of America representatives did not comment.

What we heard: According to recent filings at the Japanese Patent Office, Nintendo registered two names--"Manebito: Camera" and "Ningen Copy: Manebito." In English, the two names translate into "Impersonator: Camera" and "Human Copy: Impersonator." Just as interesting are the logos (pictured) that were registered with the trademarks. Manebito: Camera shows a humanlike figure taking a pose with a device that looks like a camera. On the Ningen Copy: Manebito logo, two human figures are facing each other, with one taking a photo of the other with the device. The pictures led many sites to immediately jump to the conclusion that Nintendo was bringing out its own EyeToy-like machine for the GameCube. And for once, they had good reason to do so. On numerous occasions in the last few months, president Satoru Iwata and other Nintendo executives have been quoted as saying that the company will release peripherals that will "enhance the GameCube's playability." Also, Nintendo is no stranger to camera peripherals: Back in 1998, the company released an attachment for the Game Boy named the "Pocket Camera," which allowed users to take and manipulate photos as well as print them out--with the addition of another peripheral, of course.

Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus. Given the EyeToy's popularity, it seems likely Nintendo will respond with its own camera add-on, which would also extend the GameCube's longevity.

RUMOR #2: An official demo for the PC version of Spider-Man 2 has been released.

Source: Numerous first-class sites, including Blue's News and

The official story: E-mails to Activision reps were passed along to other Activision reps, who had not responded as of press time.

What we heard: Yesterday a demo appearing to be that of Spider-Man 2 appeared on the Web and was quickly mirrored by numerous download sites. However, given that it hadn't come from Activision, its provenance seemed to be a bit of mystery. Some thought it was a pirated beta version of the game. Others, including Blue's News, traced its origin to a promotion for a Russian soft drink. However, the demo's origin is much closer to home--Battle Creek, Michigan, to be exact. The Midwestern town is the headquarters of Kellogg's, the food multinational corporation and maker of Cheez-Its. As it turns out, the Spider-Man 2 PC demo is being released exclusively as a Cheez-It promotion; send in two UPCs from boxes of the deliciously caloric crackers and you'll get a demo disc of the game. While the promotion's exclusivity would explain why many sites yanked the demo yesterday, it doesn't explain why its splash screen listed the game's developer as Fizz Factor (The Hobbit) instead of Treyarch (that's because Spider-Man 2 for the PC will be a totally different game than its PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube siblings). According to reports, Spider-Man 2 for the PC will be a child-oriented, mass-market game along the lines of Finding Nemo instead of the open-ended, Grand Theft Auto-style console game.

Bogus or not bogus?: Unfortunately, not bogus.

RUMOR #3: Sony executives have said the PlayStation 3 won't be released until 2007.

Source: Japanese online business newspaper Nikkei Electronics.

The official story: "We haven't announced anything since E3 regarding the progress of The Cell processor."--Sony Computer Entertainment American spokesperson.

What we heard: In a May 27th article on Sony's recent strategy meeting, Nikkei Electronics quoted Sony Corp. vice president and COO Ken Kutaragi as saying, "We [Sony] are going to cause a storm after FY2006" with the Cell processor. Since the high-speed chip at the heart of the PlayStation 3 and Japanese financial years are one year behind the current year--versus Western financial years, which are one year ahead--some sites assumed that Kutaragi's comment meant the PS3 wouldn't be out until 2007. However, native Japanese speakers who read the article said that Kutaragi's "storm" comment was more about a whole wave of electronic products that will incorporate the Cell, which will be seen in high-end workstations later this year, rather than the PlayStation 3, which is expected in 2006. (For the record, GameSpot adjusts Japanese financial years to match Western ones--life's confusing enough as it is.)

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus.

RUMOR #4: Numerous staffers are planning to leave Bungie following the completion of Halo 2.

Source: Some off-the-record conversations in the wake of last month's E3.

The official story: No comment.

What we heard: One of the more persistent rumors floating around E3 was that, following the release of Halo 2, a large number of Bungie developers were getting ready to exit the developer. The alleged impetus behind departures was twofold: One, many staffers were chafing under the yoke of Microsoft ownership; and two, many staffers are being wooed by Bungie founder Alex Seropian to join his start-up studio, Wideload Games. However, while there will certainly be some personnel shifting after the completion of a project of Halo 2's scope, a source close to Bungie denies that any mass defection is in the works. "Nah, I haven't heard anything like that," the source said.

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus.

RUMOR #5: Duke Nukem Forever has been delayed again.

Source: The official 3D Realms forums.

The official story: "IMO, it's more abusive to the community to continue to talk about and show the game when it's not real close to release."--3D Realms founder George Broussard.

What we heard: Given 3D Realms' adamant mantra that its release date is "when it's done," one can't really say Duke Nukem Forever has been delayed. But the developer's recent refusal of a magazine cover offer set some diehards chirping away that the ship date of the seven-plus-years-in-development game--which was originally slated for release in 2000--has slipped. In response, Broussard posted a lengthy diatribe on the 3D Realm forums, saying, "What's the point of leading people on? The best thing we can, and should do, is to shut up, finish the game and start showing it and talking about it when it's near enough to release that people can actually see light at the end of the tunnel." Enough said.

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus. It has always been delayed.

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