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AUGUST 2003 NEWS
August 27, 2003

    Online Gaming
    Sony Australia today announced details about the online gaming here, and have included a release date and price. Most interestingly the package will include a copy of the game Hardware Online which is shaping up very nicely indeed. The game is from the developers of Dropship: United Peace Force. Here's the press release:

      Sony Computer Entertainment Australia Announces the Pricing and Launch Date of PlayStation* 2 Network Entertainment

      Sydney, 27 August 2003 - Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCE Aust.) today announced the official launch date for the release of the PlayStation*2 Network Adaptor, the gateway to PlayStation*2 Network Entertainment. Australian's will be able to take their PlayStation®2 online on October 10, 2003.

      The Network Adaptor will come bundled with a copy of Hardware* Online Arena*, the arcade combat game that is exclusive to PlayStation®2, and will retail for RRP$69.95.

      The pack will also include the Network Access Disc (NAD) which provides all the information needed to equip gamers for the next generation of home entertainment including simplified connections set-up for seven of the major Australian ISP's and an instructional video on how to get connected. Customers will therefore be able to go online and be part of the new PlayStation®2 online community immediately.

      There are already 20 games either released or planned for release by the end of the year, including SOCOM: US Navy Seals, Twisted Metal Black* Online, Medal of Honor*: Rising Sun, Everquest* and Tony Hawk's Underground.

      "PlayStation®2 is about to enter a revolutionary era, enabling players to gather online and go head-to-head, or combine forces in a true real-time experience," said Michael Ephraim, Vice President of SCE Europe and Managing Director of SCE Aust/NZ. "Network Entertainment offers a new dimension to existing PlayStation*2 owners or potential owners by giving them a new and exciting games feature as well as providing them with a real community in which to play. It also offers the broader audience a compelling reason to consider connecting to broadband in the home. PlayStation*2 is the first mass market device outside of the PC that takes full advantage of broadband capabilities and so represents a real paradigm shift in the home to take broadband into the lounge room."

      Network Entertainment has been in trials since March 2003 to ensure that all technicalities are running efficiently and the customer experience is technically flawless. These trials have proved to be a huge success, not only continually proving that the system works, but also constantly receiving positive feedback regarding the ease of set-up, the fantastic gaming experience and the customer support. To ensure the best possible experience and trouble free usage, SCE Aust. has set up a comprehensive local customer service operation for anyone that may need technical support or assistance in setting up and playing online.

      Along with the Network Adaptor and NAD, consumers will need a broadband connection and a memory card to take their PlayStation®2 online. The Network Adaptor plugs into a dedicated port at the back of the PlayStation®2 and links to a broadband connection via an Ethernet cable (supplied with Network Adaptor). Customers are free to use their preferred ISP and SCE Aust. has pre-configured settings for many of the major Australian ISP's including Telstra, Optus, Ozemail, AOL 7, TPG, iPrimus and Hot Key. Other ISP providers can also be used and customers can configure the relevant settings manually

      "SCE Aust. has spent in excess of AUS $2 million on Network Entertainment infrastructure alone in order to deliver the best possible network gaming experience," said Michael Ephraim. "We've tested it, analysed it and asked customers about it. Now it's time to have some fun with it."

      * Hardware* Online Arena available only with the Network Adaptor Bundle

    Wierd...
    Some things are just cool. I have two things for you to look at today is what may become more of a regular addition to the site. The first is very much PS2 related. Some people have a lot of time on their hands. Hell, I hardly have time to write this but you need to see it. Imagine playing The Getaway not on the PS2 but for real. Yep, it looks like these guys have played the game for real. Check out this link now.

    The second thing is a very, very cool cartoon, especially for Arnold fans such as myself. Check this out now!

August 26, 2003

    Games
    Electronic Arts Australia have confirmed that The Sims: Bustin' Out will be released in Australia on December 12, 2003. Expect details on the game shortly.

    Personal
    Well it seems like I've been struck down with the Russian flu of late, hence the lack of updates. But things are looking better now (and certainly feeling it). It's my sisters wedding in a couple of days which should be a great occasion so I may be a little occupied until next week.

    Review
    Despite my illness I've had enough time to get the review of SOCOM: US Navy Seals complete. I've been playing online in the Beta trials for over a week and having a terrific time. If you want to get into online gaming then this is a great start when the online adapter is released in Australia soon. As a single player game it's still worth a look if you're just after an action title. Read the full review now.

August 21, 2003

    Online Gaming
    Online gaming is still going strong with the servers online 24 hours a day from now on. It appears that there are around 380 players currently with a ranking suggesting about 500 broadband adapters sent out last week from Sony. The trials, as far as I can tell, are still going very well indeed with 16 players in any level at any time witout any lag. Broadband was definately the way to go. Anyway I'll be posting more information in this forum topic.

    Games
    Well no sooner did I post yesterdays news did I find out that Metro3D have picked up the PAL rights to R-Type Final. The game is expected to be release on January 30th, 2004.

August 19, 2003

    Games
    Eidos has confirmed they have picked up the American distribution rights to Irem's R-Type Final. No word yet on a PAL release but at least it's heading in the right way out of Japan.

August 18, 2003

    Online Gaming
    Well the final phases of online game testing kicked off tonight with beta testing and almost 300 people playing SOCOM online from all parts of Australia. I managed to speak to many people who were all having a blast (if you wonder how - through the microphone headset). Almost no negative comments and in the 3 1/2 hours of gaming I never had a single dropout, fault or lag during gameplay. Online gaming could not look in better shape on the Playstation 2. Expect more reports soon including the full review of SOCOM: US Navy Seal's which has been held back for the online component.

    Preview
    Beyond Good & Evil is the latest game created by Michel Ancel. Michel Ancel, the creative genius behind Rayman, has created an all new adventure title, and one that looks set to set new benchmarks. Sensational graphics, an excellent storyline and well, a great looking title. Check out this sensational preview now.

August 15, 2003

    SPECIAL ARTICLE
    Top 10 Most Wanted 2003 Christmas Titles doesn't necessarily list only the good games, and hell, some of them may turn out to be pretty average, but these are the games which we here at Future Gamez are dying to get our hands on. This list is a must read if you want to know which titles to keep a close eye on this Christmas.

August 13, 2003

    Preview
    King of Route 66 is basically Crazy Taxi with large trucks. Sega obviously decided that they could go one better then cars. Instead of hauling people from one place to a destination you're hauling cargo. Does this game still have the potential to generate excitement, and sales? Here's a brief preview.

August 10, 2003

    Games
    LucasArts have confirmed the cancelled development of Full Throttle: Hell On Wheels the 3D update to their classic adventure game. As yet the company has not given an explanation for the cancellation other then LucasArts is comitted to providing the best quality gaming at all times.

    Capcom has announced they will be publishing SCEE's The Getaway in Japan. The game has sold an impressive 2.5 million units in America and Europe to date.

August 7, 2003

    Games
    If you've got SOCOM: US Navy Seals don't forget to register through the offical Australian Playstation web site for your chance to become a beta tester for the online adapter. Remember you will need broadband connection but the good news is that you'll be able to compete against us here at Future Gamez.

    Sega has announced development of Gungrave O.D. on Playstation 2, the sequel to their 2002 release. The game will include more action and is currently aroudn 20% complete with a late 2003 release in Japan planned. No word yet on an American or PAL release.

    Review
    MotoGP3 is The third game in Namco's motorbike racing series. The game has been available for a while now, but is certainly worth a look. A word of warning - this game is tough. Hardcore gamers, or fanatical bike fans, need only apply.

August 3, 2003

    Games
    According to reports EA Sports BIG are working on a sequel to Def Jam Vendetta for release in the United States in March next year. The original is a very solid wrestling title and sequel will be more then welcome to most people. It certainly gives the WWE titles a run for their money.

    Review
    Summer Heat Beach Volleyball is the first beach volleyball based game on Playstation 2. While the XBox has Dead or Alive: Extreme Beach Volleyball, Acclaim has been kind enough to release this game to keep Playstation 2 owners happy. It may not be as pretty, but in gameplay terms it's superior and that's what counts - doesn't it?

July 30, 2003

    Games
    The latest Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, has easily failed to meet expectations on both a commercial and critical level. Eidos, the games publisher, is so concerned that their flagship franchise is failing that they have taken development duties away from Core Design, who first developed the series, and handed it to Crystal Dynamics in America. The next game in the series still isn't due for a couple more years.

    Sony has confirmed that they have sold 250,000 units of Eye Toy: Play in Europe after shipping 500,000 units. This makes the peripheral one of the most purchased for a specific title ever. Oh yar, my review is coming, I'm just having too much fun playing the damn thing with my mates. In summary - get it. You may also wish to note that Sony are apparently working on Eye Toy: Groove for release late this year and Eye Toy: Sports for release at a later date.

    Producer Yasumi Matsuno has confirmed that Final Fantasy XII will be quite different to other games in the series. The game will first be shown in September 2003 at the Tokyo Game Show.

    PSP
    Sony has confirmed some more details about the PlayStaion Portable. According to The Magic Box "the PSP will consist of two 32-bit MIPS R4000 processors, both run at 10 times the clock speed of PSone, and a 4.5" TFT LCD display in 16:9 ratio. PSP will have a GPU which can process 3D graphics and surface drawing with numerous effects, such as morphing and tessellation. In addition, the machine will have USB 2.0, 802.11 wireless LAN and infrared communication supports."

July 28, 2003

    Games
    Sony has announced that the April - June shipments of Playstation 2 for 2003 was 2.65 million units down 1.94 million units from the numbers in 2002. On a more positive note the shipments of software increased 14% to 31 million units.

    I haven't had much time over the weekend to write reviews, but I have had tremendous fun playing with Sony's Eye Toy: Play which I got last week. If you have a lot of friends over, and even if they're not into gaming at all, then this is one hell of a title. We were up until 3am Friday night playing it, and then my parents even got in on the act on Saturday. So much for my uni assignment due last week!

    Letters
    Just a reminder that I have a letters page on this site. If you have anything at all to ask send me an e-mail to the usual address. You can check out the letters page here.

    Preview
    SSX3 is the sequel we have all been waiting for on the Playstation 2. The first game was a massive launch title on the system, the second redefined the snowboarding and extreme sports experience. SSX3 just another sequel? Not on your life. EA Sports BIG have redesigned the entire experience and with 2 years development this is one stunning looking title.


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