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Weekly Gaming News

Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) has issued a consumer advisory in light of recent statements by Better Business Bureaus in the U.S. and Canada concerning fraudulent online PlayStation 2 sellers. In its advisory, SCEA recommends that potential PS2 buyers “conduct business with familiar merchants or research individual sites before buying.”
It also informs consumers about certain rights they have, such as a law requiring the shipment of orders “within the time stated in its advertisements and no more than 30 days after the order date.” Another protection is the Fair Credit Billing Act, and relays that it and other consumer rights information is available from the Federal Trade Commission. The company also recommends that concerned consumers call its own Consumer Service Department at 800/345-7669, the Better Business Bureau or a local protection agency for more information.
SCEA’s statement still insists that the company will have a total of 1.3 million PS2 units in the North American retail channel by the year’s end, though analysts have estimated that SCEA won’t reach that number and may only ship half that number due to production problems. Regardless, the demand for PS2s will remain high for some time, which opens the door to unscrupulous people making attempts to take advantage of others looking to buy a PS2 console.

According to a recent study by PC Data, more women play games online than men. However, the margin is quite small as women make up approximately 50.4 percent of the online gamers. In addition, men and women differ on the types of games they play online. While men favor war, sports and first-person shooters, women are more likely to try online gambling, card games and quiz/trivia games.  Check the full release here.

Online retail giant recently announced that its Delight-O-Meter, the counter that’s tracking the site’s sales during the holiday season (starting November 2), has exceeded 25 million units sold with plenty of time left for online purchasing. The e-tailer has indicated that orders targeted for Christmas will be taken up until December 23 for items that have 24-hour availability, and that the items will be delivered up to and including Christmas Day.
    It also marked some other highlights, which include the fastest sellout of an item on two occasions: Amazon sold out its stock of PlayStation 2 consoles in 30 seconds on October 26—the day the system launched—and again on November 24, the day after Thanksgiving.

This holiday season, Sega of America is giving consumers some new Dreamcast hardware and software bundles. Those interested can order online through the Sega store or call 1-800-SEGA-SALES. Bundles include the limited edition Sega Sports Pack, Samba De Amigo Pack, Quake III Arena Pack, and SegaNet Pack.
Charles Bellfield, vice president of corporate and marketing communications at Sega of America, said, “Sega wants to make it as easy as possible for our consumers to purchase Dreamcast products this holiday season…By offering compelling packages available online and by telephone, Sega is promising our customers an efficient and pleasurable shopping experience during a very busy, and often chaotic, holiday season.”

America Online Inc. (AOL) and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. in Japan are discussing potential synergies that would enable PlayStation 2 owners to access the AOL online service, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Much as AOL has become the largest online network and service provider through liberal distribution and ubiquitous placement of its software disks and CDs, the talks with Sony are targeting a potential concept of bundling client software in the PS2 box or pre-installing it on systems.
The report went on to say that the discussions are preliminary, and that neither Sony nor AOL executives would offer comment to the story.

The Video Software Dealers Association has announced its VidTrac results for the week that ended December 10, 2000. The top five videogames rented were:

1. Driver 2—PlayStation
2. WWF No Mercy—Nintendo 64
3. The World is Not Enough—Nintendo 64
4. WWF Smackdown! 2—Know Your Role—PlayStation
5. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2—PlayStation

According to, Nintendo plans to ship 24 million units of the Game Boy Advance in the first year of its release. In addition, the company expects to ship one million units for the launch in Japan on March 21, 2001. The Game Boy Advance should be coming stateside in July 2001

At a Tokyo-based conference in late-November entitled “What Happened to PlayStation 2?” system owners gathered to share their thoughts about Sony’s new system—and it wasn’t a pretty sight, according to a story in Newsweek magazine’s December 18 issue. For instance, when asked what they were playing on their PS2, one owner indicated that he was playing Dragon Quest, a PlayStation game, while many others indicated they were using their system for mostly DVD movie playback.
According to the article, many bought the PS2 for its advanced capabilities only to find that most of the game available after its launch weren’t the cutting-edge fare they expected. Analysts who first predicted widespread success for the system are now hedging, and anticipating game-industry losses for Sony of over $200 million, the first time it has suffered such a loss in years.
Additionally, there’s skepticism that Sony has solved the production problem that’s left it with shortages of its custom “Emotion Engine” graphics chip, though the company claims to have upped the production output. If supply of the system in the U.S. is any indication, Sony is having a hard time meeting its projected figures of 500,000 units on the October 26 launch day, with 100,000 a week to follow through the end of the year, for a total of 1.3 million on the streets.

Dreamcast owners will see some new wares on the SegaNet online network, along with an early-2001 tournament aimed at rewarding gamers. The first title to be added is Pod: Speedzone, which is a Ubi Soft creation. The title is a combat racing game that features eight vehicles, six tracks and competition for up to four players.
Another title from Ubi Soft that will be introduced soon is Speed Devils Online Racing. It’s a 3-D racing game on eight tracks, using one of 22 hotrods, with sidebets adding to the excitement and risk. According to SegaNet, demo discs with sample gameplay of the two titles will appear in forthcoming issues of the Official Sega Dreamcast Magazine and Rolling Stone.
SegaNet will also offer a Pod: Speedzone tournament, which is scheduled to be held on the network in February 2001. Details are currently being worked out and will be announced in the near future.

Cybernet Systems has announced the UseYourHead Plus package that combines its UseYourHead software and a Dolphin Peripherals’ digital camera. UseYourHead enables a user to control a game via gestures and movements captured by a USB PC camera. Dolphin’s iCAM offers USB connectivity for easy install and easy disconnect; and provides 352 x 288 resolution at 30 frames per second.
The UseYourHead Plus bundle has an estimated street price of $79.99, is being promoted with a limited-time rebate offer and is being distributed in North America by Macmillan USA.

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