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New Platforms

Though profits in the games industry are driven by software sales, gaming platforms nonetheless play a vital role in keeping the industry moving forward. Whether it’s with control innovations, as with Nintendo’s Wii, or through continuing the trend of graphical improvements it’s essential that the industry doesn’t stand still for too long.

Sony PlayStation 3

Though the console has already seen release in Japan and North America, Europe and other regions have yet to sample Sony’s new games console and media hub. Current estimates put the launch around March, though Sony has yet to confirm anything and are reluctant to make too many positive noises on the topic. Speculation remains that production issues, related to the use of Blu-Ray drives and new processor technology, could delay the European launch of the console further still.

Until we know more we can only assume Sony will eventually deliver the console, and it does seem inconceivable that it won’t arrive this year.

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DirectX 10 and Vista

The Future of PC Gaming, that’s exactly what DirectX 10 represents. Unlike previous iterations of the platform, which were rather more evolutionary than revolutionary, DirectX 10 has been completely overhauled and as such can only been used on the upcoming Vista Operating System. It’ll also require a graphics card, like the recently released NVIDIA 8800 series, that’s been designed specifically with DirectX 10 in mind.

This represents some unique problems, primary among them being the sheer expense of upgrading both OS and graphics card at the same time. That said, Cysis, Crytek’s upcoming shooter that’s the first utilise the platform, will feature effects unique to DirectX 10 and as noted previously, preview footage has been breathtaking in the extreme. If you’d like to know more about DirectX 10 our sister site, Bit-Tech, has an excellent feature documenting the many new features of DirectX 10 and why it’s so important

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The Duke Nukem Forever Award for Games That Definitely Won’t Be Released This Year, But We’d Quite Like Them To – Maybe.

It’s a peculiarity of the games industry that a small minority of games seem to be in development forever and a day. Here’s a couple of games we’d like to play, but don’t expect to see any time soon.

Shenmue III (Sega – ? – RPG): Not actually in development, though much of the content has reportedly already been made, Yu Suzuki’s opus was symptomatic of the worst excesses of Sega before it left the hardware race to become a software publisher. Happily, the company has since recovered and are quickly securing an excellent market share in the publishing realm. A recent statement from the company suggested that the game would not see release until the company achieved its current business goal to become the third largest publisher in the world. Let’s hope that happens soon.

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Duke Nukem: Forever (3D Realms – PC – FPS): Surely you saw this one coming? No joke can be made that hasn’t already been done, or that the developers haven’t already heard. In development since 1997, or since time began, remarkably money is still being thrown at the project. Will it ever see that light of day? Does anyone still care?

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Looking Ahead

After a year of transition in 2006, 2007 should be the year when the next-generation of console and PC gaming really begins to gather some momentum. There are bound to be many games that might slip the net and be delayed, and some games haven’t been included for this precise reason. But, even considering this, you’ll be hard pressed not to find something worth buying this year and there will surely be many more games that will surprise and delight that are yet to receive any publicity.

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