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Did Sony wait too long to lower the price of the PlayStation 2?
The Problem: When the Xbox lowered their price back in April, most video game insiders believed Sony would quickly follow suit. But that's not what happened; in fact Sony waited a month and a half and announced a price cut the day
before E3. In that time Microsoft was able to muster up some momentum by doubling their sales. Electronic Arts only fueled the fire when they announced they would finally support the Xbox Live. All which makes us wonder if Sony held out a little too long for their own good.

The Reason: Ever since it's launch, the PlayStation 2 has dominated sales around the world. At this point there's just about nothing Nintendo and Microsoft can do to catch up to Sony, which puts Sony (and its PlayStation 2 user base) in a somewhat precarious situation. Sony's response to Microsoft's price drop was nothing more than to shake it off and state that there was no reason to cut prices, sales are still strong. Their position certainly holds water, but may end up hurting them in the PR war.

The History: When Sony says they don't need to follow the price cuts from the competition, it's usually because it's true. Over the last few years, pretty much every time a price was cut it was orchestrated by Sony. In a lot of ways it was Sony's way of showing the other people at the table that they were in control, and the next few years weren't going to be smooth sailing.

But all that flipped in 2003. Nintendo struck first with a series of too good to be true offers. At one point in mid-2003 they were
giving away brand new $50 games with the purchase of the $150 GameCube, making the system a hundred dollars cheaper than its competition. By year end Nintendo had slashed the price of the GameCube to a flat $100; a move that tripled sales and took them from last place to second, despite having no real big titles for Christmas.

Neither Sony nor Microsoft countered Nintendo, both hoping their games and reputation would speak for themselves. But with inaction came slumping sales, which resulted in both companies having to own up to their shortcomings in their last fiscal report. When Microsoft finally lowered the Xbox to $150 it was seen as a last ditch effort to bandage up the wound. Which brings us to our question, should Sony have lowered the price sooner? Or was it alright for them to way a month and a half to match the Xbox?



The Solution: Sony could have saved themselves a big headache and regained control of the table had they just lowered the price on February 14, 2004. It would have been before Microsoft had a chance to strike, and long enough after Christmas to take the sting away from anybody who bought one at the old price. This would have been the perfect answer to a problem that should never have been.


Does Capcom release too many 2D fighting games?
The Problem: Now that Capcom has decided to re-release their classic 2D fighting games on every game system under the sun, some are complaining that there's just too much all at once. Is this just petty bitching, or do these people actually have a point. Could Capcom be saturating the market with too many 2D fighting games??

The History: There once was a time when Capcom really WAS spending too much time on 2D fighting games ... of course, Bill Clinton was in office and everybody still thought Eminem was a chocolate candy that melts in your mouth and not your hand. A decade ago Capcom was juggling a half dozen 2D fighter franchises, and suffering from a serious lack of innovation.

But once the PlayStation hit the market Capcom decided to forget about the 2D fighters, and work on 3D titles like Resident Evil. In fact, in many ways Capcom has milked the Resident Evil formula in the same way they did Street Fighter. But that's a whole different question.

Last year Capcom wowed Xbox Live owners with a nice, fun online Capcom vs. SNK 2 title. Outside of that game, and perhaps the occasional port of Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Capcom hasn't been doing much with the 2D format ... until now. Not only is Capcom releasing a package of all of the Street Fighter II variations put into one disc, but they also plan on porting Street Fighter III to the Xbox and PS2. And to make things even better, Capcom is planning a new fighter that will feature characters from just about every 2D game they made. So, I guess the question is, is this too much?



The Solution: If you're worried about how many 2D fighters Capcom releases, then you have too much time on your hand. Just look at how many mediocre First Person Shooter flood the market, are you bitching about those, too? And what is this, the first new 2D Capcom fighter in 4 years? Suck it up you whiner!


Will more companies look at Driv3r and substitute numbers for letters?
The Problem: Atari is planning on calling the third installment of Driver, Driv3r ... a name that combines L33T with the scary world of sequels. But the real question is, will this make other companies use numbers in the place of letters?? And if they do, will it drive everybody up the walls??

The History: Would you rather I tell you about the history of L33T or the history of the Driver series, a once hot PlayStation 2 franchise
that lost all it's luster after Rockstar Games introduced Grand Theft Auto III? Both? Neither? Okay ... how about this, let's just explain why it's taken Reflection several years just to get this game off the ground. After all, this was shown to the press years ago, only to find itself in delay Hell.

Now that it's close to competition it has to compete with the likes of the Getaway, True Crime, and three different Grand Theft Auto titles. If that seems daunting, it's because it is. The game has taken so long that any chance it had to catch the industry on fire has already been taken by the games listed above. This isn't going to be a tough road for Driv3r, this is going to be like climbing Mount Everest with only your arms.

A funny thing happened on the way to giving the third Driver a new persona, they decided to give it a weird new name. Atari wasn't content with the name Driver 3, perhaps they considered it to be too plain or too uninteresting ... whatever the case, they decided to change it to Driv3r, a truly horrendous name.

The Others: Although other companies are bound to notice it, I doubt we'll see an upsurge in L33T related spelling. I wouldn't expect M4RI0 or anything that drastic, but maybe we will see more creative numbering, or at least spelling. But I don't think we'll see much more L33T, I think this is going to be a one time thing, much like BMX XXX.



The Solution: Driv3r should go back to Driver 3, a far better name. After all, the game is going for that movie-like quality, and no movie (except for the dumb ones) would have numbers substituting letters. That's just a fact. How good was 2 Fast 2 Furious?? We're talking serious cheese here. But I have a hunch the name is the least of the worries.

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