Rumor Control: Revolution touch screens and PlayStation 3 photos

This week: Katamari Damacy rolls onto the DS and the real reason behind the Xbox hardware shortage

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RUMOR #1: An image of the PlayStation 3 (pictured) has been accidentally made public.

Source: GameSpot's own Community Forums.

The official story: "We have not released any info regarding our next-generation system, so any content or images floating around the Web is surely speculation and unfounded."--Sony Computer Entertainment America spokesperson.

What we heard: By far the biggest stir this week was caused by a "leaked" mock-up of the PlayStation 3, which surfaced on GameSpot's own forums. While next-gen mock-ups are nothing new, this latest one's detail earned it more attention than previous would-be PS3s. Reportedly taken from an E3 pamphlet, the black-matte-and-chrome console looked very slick indeed, sharing a similar design to the PSP. However, the product page sported a few features that had RC's spider sense tingling. Most damning was its mention of having "PS3/PSP UMD MediaMove" functionality, meaning the device would have a built-in UMD burner. Besides adding to the hardware cost of the unit, a built-in UMD burner would go against Sony's push to make consumers use the Memory Stick Duo for writable media. Also suspicious is its lack of wireless-controller-activity indicators and the fact that the console looks a lot like a Photoshopped version of the video projector pictured directly underneath it. And won't Sony have some kind of snazzy new logo for the device?

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus.

RUMOR #2: The Nintendo Revolution's controllers will be DS-style touch screens.

Source: This month's issue of Game Informer magazine.

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

What we heard: According to the latest Game Informer, Nintendo is planning something very different for the controller for its next-generation console. "There is no analog stick or shoulder buttons. The touch screen on the face of the controller is designed to be fully customizable, so the developer can configure the buttons any way they see fit, or in other cases will not use buttons at all, instead opting for virtual levers and or other stylus-related inputs." The article goes on to cite sources that say that "Nintendo is actually requiring developers to take advantage of unique touch-screen aspects if it wants to get approval." It also says many publishers are "skeptical" of the concept. Sound insane? So did the DS--before it sold nearly 5 million units. Plus, the very name "Revolution" means Nintendo has something industry-shaking planned for the next generation. "It wouldn't surprise me if Nintendo was that crazy," said one source close to the company.

Bogus or not bogus?: We'll go out on a limb and say this could very well be not bogus, though we won't know for sure until E3.

RUMOR #3: The real reason for the current Xbox shortage is that Microsoft is repurposing its manufacturing to crank out next-gen Xboxes in time for Q4.

Source: British game-industry magazine MCV.

The official story: "Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation"--Microsoft spokesperson.

What we heard: Although Microsoft wasted no time in telling us that it "does not comment on rumors or speculation," this bit from MCV sounded pretty plausible. After quoting UK Xbox boss Neil Thompson's admission that current Xbox "supply does not meet demand," the trade magazine said that an executive of a major US retailer told it that the next-gen Xbox will arrive in force for the holidays. "We have been told to expect roughly 1 million Xbox 2s in Europe alone by the end of the year, and 1.5 million by the end of March," the executive supposedly said. Although it seems strange that an American retailer would tell a British magazine about a European product launch, the theory is not without precedent. According to Japanese sources, one of the main reasons for last year's shortage of the slimline PlayStation 2 was that Sony had switched much of its capacity over to a new game platform--a little thing we like to call the PSP.

Bogus or not bogus?: Probably not bogus.

RUMOR #4: Katamari Damacy is coming to the Nintendo DS.

Source: The latest issue of Nintendo Power, Nintendo's official US magazine.

The official story: See below.

What we heard: What could be more fun than a diminutive alien rolling around a huge ball of sticky junk on the screen? How about a diminutive alien rolling around a huge ball of sticky junk on two screens? According to an upcoming release schedule in the latest issue of Nintendo Power, Namco's quirky hit will roll--no pun intended (OK, a little pun intended)--onto the dual-screen handheld later this year. Though the article was in Nintendo's own publication, a spokesperson for the company said it was "not our place to comment on the matter." Namco also insisted that the Nintendo Power mention of the game was unfounded. "I can assure you that Katamari Damacy for the DS is still just a rumor," said a rep. "Namco Hometek has not made any official announcement for this title for the North American market." So did the editors of Nintendo Power just make it up? Highly unlikely.

Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus.

Discuss your thoughts on Sony's next-generation console in the GameSpot PlayStation 3 forum.

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