Kotaku are reporting that some Taito arcades in Japan are increasing the price per basic play from ¥100 to ¥120. That might not seem like a big deal, but according to the writer Japanese arcades have held the same ¥100 price point per play “since the Space Invaders boom of the 1970s” which apparently caused a shortage of ¥100 coins nationwide.

Of course New Zealand (like the US) has had a steady rise in prices, with “spacies” gradually increasing from 20c (for those old enough to remember), to 50c, $1, and now $2. Sure, you’ll still find the odd machine offering older games for less, but the standard denomination is essentially $2.

The threat of price rises in Japan raises questions about the pricing model in New Zealand. These days with the ability to play games in the comfort of your own home, in front of a large HD flat panel, and a beer at your side, arcades have to be smarter. And I’m not talking VIP cards or “double dollars” for limited times.

I’ve not personally played at an arcade for years. I walk past one regularly and have never stepped inside. $2 per play which might last me a few minutes at my ability? No thanks. But if it was a “throw-away” 50c then I could see myself quickly becoming an addict and pumping coins repeatedly into machines.

Agreed, there is a point where decreasing the price per play will not increase income, but there has to be some middle ground. Have you stopped playing at arcades and would lower prices entice you back?

The official Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings website now has further details and new screenshots for the upcoming game. Old school gamers will have an extra special treat when they unlock the LucasArts classic “Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis” from within the game. Ok, it wasn’t exactly the greatest point-and-click ever made, and I did enjoy “The Last Crusade” more than Atlantis, but it’s warming to see LucasArts bring out their classics from retirement in this way.

Set in 1939, and set in various locations “from San Francisco’s Chinatown to the lush jungles of Panama, Indy must use his whip, fists and wits to fight through ruthless opposition as he spars with his nemesis, Magnus Völler, in a race for a relic of biblical proportions — the Staff of Moses”.

Motion-controlled whipping, pointer gun-fights, and multiplayer biplane or tank battles are included in the Wii game set to release some time in 2009. A co-op mode is also promised, featuring a familiar character from the Indiana Jones world that has never before been playable in a video game. New Wii screenshots appear after the break – warning that the jaggies may be hazardous to the retina.

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Sony are holding a shindig to celebrate the release of Killzone 2, usually these sorts of things are restricted to Media and other people that don’t play games. This time they are allowing a few people to attend and have given us 5 places to make sure at least some gamers will be there.

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The event is being held in Auckland on the evening of Feb the 17th. If you’d like to attend and live in Auckland or Hamilton (cause you can get a free ride with us) then just post a comment in the forum that you would like to attend.

Linky.

 RE5

A couple of weeks ago Newsboy asked the question: “Which Resident Evil 5 Limited Edition would be coming to New Zealand?”.

We can now tell you that the answer is: “none!”.

According to an email from a New Zealand online store taking pre-orders for the game, the distributor has advised that:

there will not be a Limited Edition release of this game for  Australasia. :/

Why this is the case is hardly clear, so we can only speculate. Does it relate to the Australian Capcom distributor (Red Ant) going into “administration” on 20 January? Would the price of the Limited Edition be prohibitive, given the local supplier increasing the RRP for the standard game from the usual $130 price point to $140?

Who knows. All that we do know is that it’s a bummer of a time to be a gamer in Australasia.

It’s almost becoming a tradition in gaming that EA releases a Need for Speed pretty much every year, but sometimes one just isn’t enough. This year two new titles will be released under the Need for Speed franchise, one called Nitro and the other Shift.

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Shift will focus on a more realistic racing experience and is being developed by Slightly Mad Studios for the 360, PS3, PC and PSP. Nitro is targeting a more arcade oriented audience and will be releasing on the Nintendo Wii and DS. Both titles are releasing in Spring this year in NZ.

On a related note, also announced was Need For Speed Online, this won’t be available in NZ upon it’s initial release in Asia. The idea is similar to Battlefield Heroes and Fifa Online and will a free to play experience on PC.

It wasn’t that long ago that the idea Wii Fit would outsell GTA IV was rubbished by many. Despite not really being a game, costing twice as much, and being exclusive to one game console, combined worldwide games sales figures suggest that Wii Fit has indeed surpassed GTA IV.

There are 3 Wii exclusives in the top 5, with multi-platform GTA IV and Call of Duty: World at War rounding off the top 5. Mario Kart Wii takes the top honours.

The figures according to MCV are:

1. Mario Kart Wii – 8.94 million
2. Wii Fit – 8.31 million
3. GTA IV – 7.29 million
4. Smash Bros. Brawl – 6.32 million
5. Call of Duty: World At War – 5.89 million

Recently we reported the arrival of the new “Jasper” revision of the Xbox 360 console. These new consoles use less power, but more importantly should run cooler due to a 65nm GPU. This should (in theory) lead to better hardware reliability and a lower risk of the dreaded “red ring of death” that has plagued the Xbox 360.

Playtech, which operates a retail outlet in Auckland as well an online store, have now listed 60Gb Xbox 360 Pro models as “**NEW JASPER 65nm 150W**”, suggesting that they have been opening the boxes to check out the power supplies in their most recent restocking of the consoles. The new 150W power supplies will not fit onto previous revisions of the Xbox 360, although the Jasper consoles can use older 175W and 203W power supplies. The new power supply is also significantly smaller than previous PSUs.

Good news for New Zealanders looking to buy a new Xbox 360. Hopefully it shouldn’t take too long for this stock to filter into other stores in the retail chain.

Sony NZ have announced that in March a new Buzz! title will be available in NZ called Buzz!: Brain of New Zealand. The title will be a general knowledge quiz boasting an online national ranking system, there is no mention of any of the questions being specifically related to New Zealand, but for one like myself who not a fan of bizarre New Zealand sporting trivia this is probably a good thing.

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Full release after the break.

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Destructoid reports that a phone call to Xbox customer support has confirmed that from today, 2 February, US launch day Xbox 360s are no longer covered by the 3 year extended warranty plan introduced by Microsoft for the infamous “red ring of death”. Technically the warranty period should have finished last September, being 3 years after the launch of the console, but future repairs for consoles suffering from the “general hardware error” will now cost USD $119 (a new Arcade bundle retails for USD $199). In a move presumed to reduce call volumes to customer service, requesting an out of warranty repair online will cost $20 less at $99.

Not long before that 3 year anniversary hits New Zealand, and those with launch consoles that have never had them fail might be feeling a little more nervous in months to come given the seeming inevitability of this fault. Only this time it will cost the owners money to get it repaired.

via Destructoid