This week: PS3, more Xbox Next details, Palm OS DS, the "NexTbox," and Hulk, Spyro, and Europa Universalis II for the DS.
RUMOR #1: A mock-up of the PlayStation 3 (pictured) has been released.
The official story: American Sony reps did not deign the art worthy of a response, with good reason (see below).
What we heard: This week, a scan from an unidentified magazine began to circulate showing a mock-up of the PlayStation 3. While the "PS3" logo looked fairly convincing, the unit itself looked like little more than a Discman on a pedestal (although some less-than-charitable posters on the GameSpot forums compared it to a space-age George Foreman Grill). If the PS3 mock-up looked fake, that's because it was. The article under the misleading headline "PS3 Revealed" plainly states that the device pictured is a concept mock-up from the British design firm SeymourPowell, and is drawn completely from its employees' imagination. "Sadly, we'll have to wait a year or two until the real thing comes out," reads the final line of the article, meaning that not only is the pictured PS3 a phony, but also it's an old phony, most likely from last year.
Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus.
RUMOR #2: The logo for the Microsoft's next-generation console--called the "NexTbox"--has been revealed.
Source: A screenshot (see screenshot index) and video that surfaced on the Gaming Age Forums supposedly taken by an insider at Microsoft.
The official story: "Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation."--Microsoft spokesperson.
What we heard: While "NexTbox" has been tossed around for a while as a potential name for the next Xbox, this week saw the first time someone purported to have photographic and video evidence of it. Problem is, said evidence was laughably amateurish. The video was a shaky camcorder shot of a bland, simplistic logo (pictured) that an eighth-grader could have slapped together. And while Microsoft isn't denying its authenticity, one would almost certainly expect the multibillion-dollar corporation to hire a designer that had a slightly greater Photoshop skills.
Bogus or not bogus?: The name might not be bogus, but the logo almost certainly is.
RUMOR #3: More features of Xbox Next/NexTbox/Xbox 360 have been revealed.
The official story: "Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation."--the same Microsoft spokesperson, chanting his now-familiar mantra.
What we heard: According to a bevy of reports--some of which were reportedly verified by anonymous sources at Microsoft--the company's next-gen console will sport some serious bells and whistles. First and foremost is The Inquirer's assertion that the device will come standard with wireless controllers--a first for a console. While this goes against Microsoft's reported all-out effort to minimize hardware costs, it would be a good counter to the reportedly gyroscopic controllers used by Nintendo's "Revolution." According to Kotaku, the designers have gone to great lengths to make the Xbox 360 (as they call it) as unlike its bulky black forebear as possible. "Our Cali source says that the console is a sleek silver device worthy of countertop display, and features a design that turns the harsh angles of the original Xbox into sweeps and curves," said Kotaku. "The device will also be able to stand upright or on its side, much like the PlayStation 2. The side of the 360 is dominated by an oversized, back-lit power button called the ring of light, and the rest of the case can be customized with colorful designer face plates that pop on and off. The 360's dashboard will also be customizable, making each console a thing totally unique to its owner." Sound good? Definitely. Any way to verify it without sending a heavily armed commando team into Microsoft's Redmond campus? Well, Bill Gates did tell News.com that the next Xbox would sport "high-definition graphics and wireless that the chip breakthroughs allow us to get to." But whether he meant wireless networking, wireless controllers, or both, is still anybody's guess.
Bogus or not bogus?: Can't say either way, but interesting regardless.
RUMOR #4: Nintendo is planning to create organizer software for the Nintendo DS using the Palm OS.
Source: The self-explanatory Gamercentric.com.
The official story: "Nintendo does not comment on rumors or speculation."--Nintendo of America representative.
What we heard: On Tuesday, word began to circulate that when Nintendo shows off its "V-Pocket" DS organizer software at E3 in May, it will actually be unveiling a version of the Palm OS for its dual-screen handheld. The news came from the GamerCentric article, which claimed "Nintendo had recently licensed Palm-OS-based PDA software." However, the frugal gadget gropers over at Bargainpda.com noted that "PalmSource has not announced Nintendo as a licensee, nor are they listed on the PalmSource licensee web page." Then, later in the week, Bargainpda.com claimed to have talked with "contacts at PalmSource and all deny that Nintendo is a licensee of the Palm Operating System. It's not clear if the report from GamerCentric is a complete fabrication or Nintendo is in the process of becoming a licensee but not there yet." Who is right? Given the preponderance of evidence, Bargainpda.com's argument is more convincing. Besides, why pay Palm royalties for a licensed OS when Nintendo could just create its own?
Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus.
RUMOR #5: Europa Universalis II, Spyro: A Hero's Tail, the Hulk, and Escape from Monkey Island are all coming to the Nintendo DS.
The official story: "Nintendo does not comment on rumors or speculation."--the same Nintendo of America representative.
What we heard: The past week saw speculation about several game franchises making their way to Nintendo's dual-screen machine. The most surprising was Europa Universalis II, the complex PC strategy game from Paradox Interactive. However unlikely it sounds, an official announcement from the Swedish developer says that it is "working with Pocket PC Studios to adapt the critically acclaimed title to handheld platforms like Palm OS, Nintendo DS and Windows CE." Though the inclusion of the word "like" leaves some lingering doubt, the announcement was a lot more official than the speculation about the other titles. While the GameSpot forum thread about Monkey Island had several sketchy-looking screenshots, the only real proof of the existence of any of the other titles is a Wal-Mart.com product page for Spyro DS.
Bogus or not bogus?: Europa Universalis II and Spyro DS: apparently not bogus. The others: time will tell.
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