The Last Word: October 30-November 3

Microsoft's latest Xbox 360 system update causes problems, spectacle of E3 threatens a comeback, and EA tips hand on upcoming games.

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With two weeks left until the PlayStation 3 and Wii launch, a nervous anticipation has gripped the gaming world. Sony's console was already expected to be in short supply, but reports out of Japan this week that the electronics giant won't be able to hit its already scaled-back shipment projections are causing consternation among the company's fans.

While the Nintendo Wii is expected to ship in greater numbers, it might be just as difficult to find a system on store shelves this holiday season. Wal-Mart opened up preorders for the Wii on its Web site Wednesday, and ended them the same afternoon as the $533 bundle, which included the system along with several games and accessories, sold out in rapid fashion. The day before, Nintendo had laid out its launch lineup for the system (32 games by the end of the year), as well as its first wave of Virtual Console downloadable offerings (30 before 2007).

Nervous anticipation also gripped some Xbox 360 owners this week as reports spread that the Fall System Update was "bricking" a number of systems, rendering them unable to play games or even boot up properly. Microsoft was tight-lipped about the issue at first, but eventually said that it would solve the issue by fixing or replacing affected systems. The publisher noted that less than 1 percent of users had reported any problems with the update.

Months after the revelation that the Electronic Entertainment Expo was being dramatically overhauled and reduced in size, it appears there might be a proper successor to the show's glitzy spectacle. On Wednesday, GameSpot reported on a Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau memo that said the magazine publisher and convention organizer International Data Group was planning a mid-October 2007 expo in E3's old home, the Los Angeles Convention Center. Furthermore, the show was going to have the endorsement of the Entertainment Software Association, a stamp of approval that could help it attract the expected 30,000 attendees. (Last year's E3 drew closer to 60,000.)

Finally, Electronic Arts and THQ ended the week on an up note for the industry by revealing encouraging quarterly results that showed record revenues over the July-September period. Both publishers also revealed the existence of new projects in their conference calls. EA execs mentioned that work had begun on The Sims 3, The Sims 2 Holiday Edition for the PS3, a new SimCity game, a new Lord of the Rings game, and a next-gen version of Black. Meanwhile, THQ confirmed it was working on new installments of its MX series, Juiced, and an expansion pack for the PC action game Titan Quest.

MONDAY
Report: Street Fighter returning to the big screen
PS3 pushing SCE $1.71 billion into red
RedOctane trying to settle Guitar Hero suits
Silverstar to acquire Empire
Konami offers camo'd PSPs with Portable Ops

TUESDAY
First wave of Virtual Console games revealed
Wii launch lineup narrowed
Xbox 360 Fall Update bricking systems?
Halo movie indefinitely postponed
Report: Japan launch PS3s cut by 20k

WEDNESDAY
E3 lives on as GamePro Expo
E3 boss lands at IDG
Nintendo promises 4 million Wiis by '07
Microsoft fixing fall 360 update
NFS Carbon opens shop on XBL

THURSDAY
Wii fever hits South Park
Sims 3, Wii/PS3 Sims, next-gen Black, new SimCity & LOTR coming
EA touts record quarterly revenues
Midway suffers midsized losses
Analyst expects October sales up 25 percent

FRIDAY
THQ quarterly sales spike
Titan Quest expansion, new Juiced and MX games on the way
Street smiles on Electronic Arts
Krome buys Melbourne House
Retail Radar: GRAW 2 on PSP, Sims 2: In Season

RUMORS OF THE WEEK
Xbox 360 Fall Update bricking systems?

RELEASES
Shippin' Out 10/30-11/3: GTA: VCS, FF XII

CHARTS
ChartSpot: September 2006
Aussie game charts: October 23-29
UK Game Chart: October 22-28

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