Rumor Control: PS3/360/DS/PSP connectivity and next-gen Grand Theft Auto

[UPDATE] This week: The Xbox 360 CPU cover-up and the Nintendo On is back on...or is it?

more screens (4)
more screens (4)

RUMOR #1: The PlayStation 3 will be able to communicate with the Xbox 360...which in turn will let users play Microsoft games on their DSes or PSPs.

Source: Double team of SPOnG and Xbox Advanced.

The official story: "We have made no such announcement, and anything otherwise is purely speculation."--Sony Computer Entertainment American rep. "Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation."--Guess who?

What we heard: SPOnG quoted an anonymous executive who claims to have seen a slide show that showed Sony was "planning on making the PlayStation 3 'talk' to the 360." A more likely scenario is that the presentation illustrated how the PlayStation 3 can connect to a network that's also connected to a 360. Since gamers will have the PS3 and 360 on their home networks, even if the two consoles aren't on virtual speaking terms, it's possible that Sony will let the PS3 share media files with other devices, up to and including the 360. Speaking of the 360, Xbox Advanced was the source of a far wilder rumor that had Microsoft working on "technology [that] would allow users of the PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS to connect with the Xbox 360 and then play Microsoft's games online." While Microsoft has reportedly demonstrated that its next-gen console will have non-game-releated connectivity with the PSP, just as it would an external drive, the thought that Microsoft would develop games for its rivals' handhelds--or that either one would let them--seems more than a little insane. [UPDATE] However, now it turns out that Microsoft is supporting the DS after all. Two job listings show its internal studio Rare Ltd. is hiring DS developers, meaning that online-enabled Microsoft games on a DS might indeed be in the cards.

Bogus or not bogus?: PS3/360 connectivity for media files could happen, but playing Microsoft games on a PSP and/or DS online via a 360? Crazier things have happened....

RUMOR #2: An image of Grand Theft Auto for next-generation console has surfaced.

Source: The Gallic gamers at Jeux-France.

The official story: See below.

What we heard: GTAddicts everywhere felt their pulses quicken this week when Jeux-France posted what it claimed was the first image of the next generation of Rockstar Games' top-selling franchise. Looking like a high-res version of Vice City, the image showed two apartment buildings lighted by a pastel sunset. The sidewalks below had a dozen-odd pedestrians milling about, although the streets were curiously absent of traffic, with only a few cars in the distance. The picture was accompanied by a news tidbit that said the nex-gen GTA would initially launch on the PlayStation 3, as well as span six times the area of San Andreas, sport more than 350 vehicles, and possibly even have an online multiplayer mode. Sounds great, n'est pas? Too bad the whole thing was bull-merde. "It's a fake," a Rockstar rep told GameSpot, "It appears Jeux-France got duped." Indeed, the site has since taken down the image and the article.

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus.

RUMOR #3: The Xbox 360's central processor will be only be twice as powerful as the current-generation Xbox.

Source: Hardware haven

The official story: See below.

What we heard: Early in the week, Anandtech ran an article titled "Microsoft's Xbox 360 & Sony's PlayStation 3 - Examples of Poor CPU Performance" by its eponymous author, Anand Lal Shimpi. The lengthy piece made the claim that both Sony and Microsoft are (shocker) using stats to make their next-gen consoles seem faster than they really are. The article singles out the 360 in particular, saying that "game developers will most likely only be using one of [the 360's three 3.2GHz] cores for the majority of their calculations." That would mean the console would run much slower than advertised. How slow, you say? "Right now, from what we've heard, the real-world performance of the Xenon CPU is about twice that of the 733MHz processor in the first Xbox," wrote Shimpi. "Considering that this CPU is supposed to power the Xbox 360 for the next 4-5 years, it's nothing short of disappointing." But is it true? Microsoft refused to deny or confirm the story, even though it gave a more thoughtful response than the usual knee-jerk "No comment." In a statement, the company revealed, "The next generation will not be defined by hardware alone, but by a complete, integrated platform." [The] Xbox 360 will have the hardware, software and services to enable breakthrough gaming and entertainment experiences that will blow consumers away." In the wake of the subsequent furor, Anandtech pulled the story late in the week, giving the appearance (at least) of a retraction, although the article can still be read on Google Groups. One thing is certain: As is the case with any new console, it will take developers time to learn how to use the 360's hardware. And since multicore CPUs are a new, next-gen phenomenon, it is possible some of the first games may, in fact, use just one core. Since the Xbox 360s at E3 were still running off dev kits, gamers will have to wait until the fall to find out exactly how much the 360 tops its younger brother.

Bogus or not bogus?: We'll see when that sucker hits the market.

RUMOR #4: More ads have surfaced for the Nintendo Revolution launch--one of which implies it will sense motion.

Source: Freshly minted next-gen fan site

The official story: "Nintendo does not comment on rumors or speculation."--Nintendo rep.

What we heard: Last week, a semi-convincing ad surfaced that appeared to promote a March 2006 launch for the Revolution. This week, RevoGaming published several variants on the ad, including one that features Metroid's Samus and another with the console's distinctive blue DVD-slot LED. "Sources speaking to RevoGaming have claimed that at the very least the original image and the [LED image] are real, and are photos taken of some ads at a display," said the site. "Their main point is that the ads appear to be printed on high-quality paper and [are] behind glass. Some sources also claimed that the photos are from a display of different ads shown to Nintendo by various advertising companies vying for a contract." However, it's RevoGaming's third image that is the most interesting. Instead of the "THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX," the tagline is "SOMETHING IS GOING ON." The fact that the word "ON" is highlighted in blue like the word "BOX" in the original ad raises some Soviet-military-parade-sized red flags. That's because just before E3, an ornate video hit the Web showing a Virtual Boy-like device named the "Nintendo On," which sensed movement, Minority Report-style, and has no buttons whatsoever. When a Spanish computer animator claimed he created the video to protest how "commerciality forces companies to put out new consoles every 2 or 3 years," it was dismissed by the public. However, the fact the image on RevoGaming is hyping something called the "ON" means one of two things. Either the ad is fake or the On video was real after all, meaning Nintendo has something very revolutionary up its sleeve. But after giving the ad a closer second look, it looks like the former is the case. Instead of saying the Revolution is coming in "MARCH 2006," the "On" ad says above "AUGUST 2005." So either the ad agency in question needs to get a new copy editor, or the ad is...

Bogus or not bogus?: ...Bogus.

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