Rumor Control: The Nintendo DGB and the $500 PSP
This week: Onimusha 4: Nobunaga Boogaloo, a PSP cellie, and back-talkin' with the N-Gage.
RUMOR #1: The final name for the Nintendo DS will be the "Nintendo DGB."
Source: Several online publications in the Japanese gaming press.
The official story: "Regarding the speculation on what these trademarks might represent, Nintendo has issued the following official statement: 'Nintendo does not comment on rumors or speculation.'"--Nintendo of America spokesperson.
What we heard: Earlier this week, rumors began to swirl that Nintendo will redub the DS the "DGB," for "Double Game Boy." In fact, DGB was just one of a series of acronyms trademarked by the game giant over a month ago, according to GameSpot's Japanese correspondent. Among the other acronyms registered were "EGB," "GBE," "XGB," "GBD," "XGB," and "WGB." However, there is no evidence whether the trademarks are a list of potential names or merely a ruse to camouflage a preselected final title. In fact, there's no evidence that these acronyms are connected to the DS at all, only that Nintendo registered them with the Japanese Patent Office. "It's all nothing but guesses based on just three initials," said one industry-watcher in Tokyo.
Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus.
RUMOR #2: The Sony PSP will cost $500.
Source: Comments by Atari CEO Bruno Bonnell quoted by numerous outlets, most prominently CNN/Money.
The official story: American Sony reps did not respond to requests for comment.
What we heard: At a game-industry conference on Wednesday, executive Bonnell joined a growing chorus of analysts skeptical of the PSP. "We saw pictures and a nice prototype at E3, but I want to see more," he said. "It's nice, like a nice car. But we have no idea if the PSP's pricing is going to be $250, $350, or $500...$500 to start would be my guess." Bonnell's last figure gave console-war partisans all the ammo they needed, and word quickly spread in forums that the PSP would be unaffordable to all but the deepest-pocketed gadgetistas. "PSP for $500?--Nintendo's Major Advantage!" crowed Game Boy Advance backers Cubed3. However, only some sites added the necessary grain of salt to Bonnell's purely speculative comments. Granted, Sony has not finalized a price point, but CEO Ken Kutaragi has publicly said that Sony expects to make money on the PSP's games and media--not its hardware.
Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus.
RUMOR #3: Capcom is making another Onimusha Game.
Source: Recent comments by Onimusha producer Keiji Inafune in UK online mag Computer and Video Games.
The official story: "[Capcom has] not specifically announced concrete plans to release another Onimusha title."--Capcom representative.
What we heard: The first Onimusha 4 mutterings surfaced two weeks ago, when Capcom released a Japanese-language financial report that mentioned another Onimusha title. At the time, American Capcom reps flatly denied that the report mentioned that any such game was on its release schedule. However, Inafune's comment to CV&G seemed to indicate that a new chapter in the enduring popular series is likely. "I must respect the wishes of the fans. So this might not be the end," he said. "If the clamor continues, a new Onimusha may reappear... In some form... Probably." But how much of a clamor is there? The latest Onimusha game, Onimusha 3: Demon Siege, debuted at the top of the sales and rental charts but fell out of the top 10 quickly.
Bogus or not bogus?: Probably not bogus. Whether Inafune's comments mean we'll see a proper Onimusha sequel or another Onimusha Tactics-like spin-off is anybody's guess.
RUMOR #4: Sony is planning a PSP/cell phone hybrid.
Source: Gadget-mad tech site Gizmodo.
The official story: No comment.
What we heard: Bearing the headline "Sony Considering PSP, Cell phone Hybrid," the Gizmodo article references another article on handheld enthusiast site Portagame, which quotes an "interview" with Sony's CTO, Masa Chatani. That article references a post on the aptly named PSP Rumors, which links to a Babelfish translation that is so poor that "chief technical officer" is translated as "highest technical patsy." Furthermore, the Chatani "interview" turns out to be excerpts of his remarks at last month's E3, in which he made passing mention of the PSP phone peripheral announced last September.
Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus. While a phone add-on for PSP is likely, it won't be integrated into the wireless-network-capable unit itself.
RUMOR #5: The original N-Gage's "side-talking" problem can be fixed with a power drill.
Source: UK phone fanatics allaboutngage.com.
The official story: "I hadn't seen that yet."--Nokia spokesperson.
What we heard: When Nokia released the N-Gage last year, the device recieved instant and extensive derision because you had to hold the unit sideways to use it as a mobile phone. The awkward position even started its own parody craze, most famously on Sidetalking.com, and prompted Nokia to play up the N-Gage QD's "slick, non-sidetalking design" on its official Web site. However, allaboutngage.com gives a step-by-step process of how to correct the original's shortcoming--by drilling a 3mm hole in its back, allowing sound to enter the previously horizontal-access-only microphone. Given the simplicity of the fix, GameSpot queried Nokia on whether or not it would be implementing or recommending something similar to make the original N-Gage a more attractive buy. "I can honestly say that we are not looking to implement that into the N-Gage at this time," said a rep. The spokesperson also implied that the first N-Gage would be phased out of the US market. "I think in the US you will see the N-Gage drop off the shelves sooner than in other regions, as our focus will be on the N-Gage QD," he said.
Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus--provided you don't mind voiding your warranty and having an increased risk of radiation exposure.
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