Rumor Killers: November 7, 2008

The Game Reviews' Rumor Killers

 

Has the DSi Already Been Hacked?

Nintendo’s latest console hasn’t been out a week yet in Japan and reports are already coming in that the device has fallen prey to hackers all set to exploit the little machines for all their electronic desires.

In a proof of concept video posted on YouTube, Yasu software has broken into the operating systems of the DSi and taught the handheld to run a little box that says, "Hello World," and floats around the screen. For anyone curious about how Yasu did it, popular speculation right now is that the culprits used a modified TIFF image file to cause a buffer overflow, for anyone who understands that sort of thing. It’s not much, but considering the video was posted 2 days after the device launched, it would seem that Nintendo is in for quite a fight if it wants to try to keep the hackers from exploiting the DSi in pretty much any way they see fit.

We’ll keep an eye out for any future developments on this, as well as seeing what new tricks the hackers come up with for Nintendo’s shiny new system. Shoot, by the time the thing launches in America you’ll likely be able to freely download games and watch Japanese TV on the thing. Just don’t bother turning on the subtitles; Japanese TV is way more fun when you can’t understand what they’re screaming at each other.

TGR Verdict: Rumor Confirmed

Is Activision Planning to Charge for User Generated Content?

One of the coolest features of Guitar Hero: World Tour is the ability to head into the game’s studio mode and create your own musical masterpieces. Sure, the whole experience is a bit overwhelming and trying to craft your very own original creation is a daunting task, but for those with the talent, patience, and desire, it can be a highly rewarding experience.

Looks like the whole process may become a bit more lucrative too, but only for Activision. Turns out company boss Bobby Kotick is strongly considering making user created songs part of a subscription service stating, "The ability to offer these songs on a subscription basis may very well result in the newest subscription opportunity in our portfolio." The game already features some 25,000 user songs, and Kotick believes the number may be expanded to 100,000 by the end of the year. Thus far, Kotick hasn’t elaborated on any details of the proposed subscription model, but popular speculation is that the system would be very much like an MMO, with users paying a monthly fee for unlimited access. While it’s still better than paying by the song, this sort of service for this type of game is completely untested, and it remains to be seen whether gamers would even be willing to sign up for such a service.

From the sounds of things this is similar to the brief struggle Sony and Media Molecule faced when they realized just how popular level creation was going to be for LittleBigPlanet. In the end, it seems as though both companies realized that customer goodwill was more important than making a few extra bucks, but it appears as though Kotick may see things a bit differently. We’ll keep our ear to the ground for details, but if you’re currently a Guitar Hero: World Tour owner you may want to squeeze out every bit of free user content you can get, from the sounds of things it’s not going to last much longer.

TGR Verdict: Rumor Likely

Is Cliff Blezinski Working on a Survival Horror Game?

It’s the beginning of the month, and of course in the world of video games, that means a visit from Quartermann, EGM’s resident amalgamation of rumors and speculation. This month, the Q serves up a delicious dish wherein it would seem that Gears of War designer Cliff Blezinski is ready to take a break from the franchise and pursue new opportunities. Also, it appears those opportunities may manifest themselves as a survival horror game.

According to the story, this new game will mix Gears‘ traditional gory violence with a healthy dose of psychological frights, thus leaving you both queasy and terrified. Even better, the game may very well go multiplatform, meaning that for the first time ever you won’t need an Xbox to partake in Cliff’s gaming prowess.

Reports on this game are still very early and very preliminary, but it’s the sort of thing that makes sense. Gears of War has all the visual austerity of a survival horror game, it just chooses to embrace open combat rather than jump out of your seat scares. Making the transition between these two genres would likely be easier for Blezinski than trying to do a puzzle or strategy game. Still, we hope his new project includes some sort of gun with a chainsaw attached to it, we’ve just grown to expect that sort of thing.

TGR Verdict: Rumor Somewhat Likely

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