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Weekly Gaming News

Detroit-based WXYZ-TV recently donated an expensive PlayStation 2 videogame system to the Detroit Police Department's 7th Precinct with instructions to deliver it to a deserving poor child. Unfortunately, the child—Robert Edwards, 11—came to the precinct Tuesday with word that there was no PlayStation 2 in the box, and  instead it contained a tracking device, along with a note telling him to call a telephone number to receive the actual game system.
"I was mad," Robert said Wednesday evening. "I had to take it back to the police." But by late Wednesday, police said, Channel 7 had given him his PlayStation 2.
When questioned about the mix-up, Channel 7 officials told police they had received a tip that gifts donated for distribution by precincts are taken home by officers. The device in the box was part of the station's investigation.
Assistant Chief Marvin Winkler was less than thrilled with the investigation. "I know it's their job to report the news, but it's not their duty to try to entrap us," he said. "Are they that desperate for ratings?"

The Video Software Dealers Association has announced its VidTrac results for the week that ended December 31, 2000. The top five videogames rented were:
    1. Driver 2—PlayStation
    2. The World is Not Enough—Nintendo 64
    3. WWF No Mercy—Nintendo 64
    4. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2—PlayStation
    5. WWF Smackdown! 2—Know Your Role—PlayStation

Sony Online Entertainment claims that it reached a record count of simultaneous EverQuest players when it had 81,858 subscribers playing at one time on New Year’s Day.

Blizzard Entertainment has revealed that Diablo II players may have experienced character and experience losses during the last weeks of 2000 as a result of a problem that has since been fixed. To rectify the losses, starting January 8 it will restore characters that died between December 19 and January 1.

Infogrames is currently looking for beta testers for its upcoming PC title Independence War 2: Edge of Chaos. The beta testing is only open to gamers in the United States and Canada. Infogrames expects to release a playable demo at the end of January. Click here to register for beta testing.

Research firm PC Data, Inc. has announced that sales of desktop computers via retail and direct-mail outlets dropped 24% in December, which it claims is “the fifth consecutive month of negative comparisons and the second consecutive month of double-digit unit declines.” December saw just over one million desktop PCs sold.
PC Data also noted that desktop computer sales through the year were down 0.8% from 1999 with 10.1 million units being sold. It stated that the drop in 2000 was the first such decline in its history of reporting PC sales.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper has reported that Japanese sales of PlayStation 2 are expected to exceed four million in 2000, and that worldwide sales could hit 11 million by the close of its fiscal year, which is at the end of March. A Sony Computer Entertainment America spokesperson recently stated that the company is still on track for global sales of ten million by the end of March.

In a follow-up from last week, Sega Corp. still will not confirm whether it is talking with Nintendo Co. regarding supply of its software to Nintendo, according to a Sega spokesman. However, Sega is maintaining its plan announced in November to develop software for its own Dreamcast game machines as well as next generation consoles of other makers.
"The plan is not new. We just can't specify which deal (under the plan) will occur first," the spokesman said.

Microsoft Corp. is offering gamers to apply for the chance to get an early peek at PC and Xbox titles: “Be one of the first people to see future Microsoft games and hardware by participating in our Playtest program. Help us build the next generation of games for our new console!” The catch in the testing program is that applicants must be in the Seattle/Puget Sound area and be over 13. An application form and directions to the testing site are on the Playtest page.

Digital Game-Based Learning, a book by Marc Prensky that’s billed as “a strategic and tactical guide to the newest trend in e-learning,” is being released by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. It offers more than 50 case studies into how gameplaying actually plays a role in today’s workforce, with looks at such topics as the military’s use of games in its training and the potential for adult education through games in law, medicine, finance and other fields.
In addition to writing the book, Prensky is a game designer and the founder, CEO and chief creative officer of, a corporate-training company that focuses on teaching through gameplay.

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