The Last Word: October 9-13
Gamers line up for Wii and PS3 preorders as Clover's luck runs out, Bully stands up to Jack Thompson, and the first details of the new E3 emerge.
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Before Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace came out in theaters, fans terrified of waiting in line only to be turned away on opening night camped out months early to wait in line to buy advance tickets that would then let them wait in line again when the movie released. That phenomenon was mirrored in the gaming world this week as retailer GameStop opened up preorders for the Wii and PlayStation 3 at its retail GameStop and EB Games locations.
Both preorder campaigns were announced the day before reservations opened up--the PS3 preorders happening Tuesday and the Wii ones on Friday--and both saw gamers camped out in advance for a spot in line on launch day. Even though gamers were putting down $50 reservations for the Wii and $100 for the PS3, nobody was guaranteed a system on launch day. Online auctions for the PS3--expected to be the scarcer of the two systems after launch thanks to a US allocation of only 400,000 units--were averaging $1,500 a pop following the beginning of GameStop's preorder campaign.
While gamers around the country looked forward to those next-generation systems, one of the more beloved developers of the current generation had its fate sealed this week. Capcom on Thursday announced that it was closing the doors on Clover Studio, the developer of critically acclaimed titles like Viewtiful Joe and Okami. While the news came as a surprise to most, it turned out that some of the studio's bigger names had already left to pursue other opportunities months earlier.
Also this week, Florida lawyer Jack Thompson once again had Take-Two in court, this time asking a judge to stop the release of the publisher's upcoming game, Bully. After reviewing the game behind closed doors on Thursday, the judge ruled that there was nothing in the game markedly worse than what could be seen on TV each night. He added that while he wouldn't let his own children play it, there was no reason to prevent Take-Two from releasing the game.
Finally, the Entertainment Software Association revealed a few more details about the new-look Electronic Entertainment Expo. For 2007, the convention will be moving from downtown Los Angeles to nearby Santa Monica, and it will be held a little later in the year than usual, from July 11 to 13. A significantly smaller venue will house the event, as E3 will take place in the 40,000-square-foot Barker Hangar, a far cry from the 720,000-square-feet of exhibit-hall space found at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Bookings for the event, now officially named the E3 Business and Media Summit, are expected to begin within the next 30 days.
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