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Analysts: THQ Geared For Strong FY09 Despite 'Painful Steps'

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366w ago - Following yesterday's announcement that THQ has ceased production on its Juiced and Stuntman franchises and closed its Concrete Games studio, analysts from Wedbush Morgan, Lazard, and Stern Agee have all remained upbeat on the publisher's future, despite a sharp fall of the company's stock.

"While this is a painful step," said Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter, "we think it positions THQ to grow earnings dramatically in FY:09, unburdened by these balance sheet items."

Though Wedbush has lowered estimates on the company "to reflect significantly higher execution risk, given the company's poor performance in FY:08," Pachter says the company's lineup "is quite strong next year, and the increased write offs of capitalized software and streamlining of projects and should position the company to report operating margins in line with its historical performance next year."

Lazard's Colin Sebastian echoed the sentiments, saying that the publisher "is taking more aggressive steps to pare its product portfolio of lower quality and underperforming franchises, and to focus on proven franchises and titles with better potential, including WWE Smackdown, Pixar (Wall-E), Saints Row, Red Faction, and the new UFC license. While we will continue to review the progress of THQ's F2009 pipeline, at this point we are...
 

SCEJ Delay Release Of PSP Microphone Products - No Change For European Release

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366w ago - News reaches us that SCEJ have decided to delay the release of the microphone products for the PSP. But the good news is this won't impact on the release date in Europe, which is scheduled for late January.

With the forthcoming remote PlayTV functionality and Go! Explore, 2008 is looking like an exciting year for your PSP. Official Press Release follows:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT JAPAN TO POSTPONE THE RELEASE OF MICROPHONE PRODUCTS FOR PSP® (PLAYSTATION®PORTABLE)

Tokyo, January 23, 2008 - Sony Computer Entertainment Japan (SCEJ), a division of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) responsible for business operations in Japan, today announced that it would postpone the release of two microphone products for PSP® (PlayStation®Portable), SINGLE PACK (with one microphone, PSPJ-15010) and TWIN PACK (with two microphones, PSPJ-15011), scheduled to be released in Japan on Thursday, January 24th, 2008.

SCEJ planned to release the microphone along with the introduction of Skype™ features for the new slim and light PSP (PSP-2000). However, it was found that the microphone did not meet the Skype specifications in part to obtain certification and SCEJ has determined to postpone the release of the microphone. New release date will be announced...
 

Vista SP1 due on February 15th?

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366w ago - Vista SP1 has already been previewed, gone through a Release Candidate cycle, and had a changelog released -- so all that's left is for Microsoft to hit us with it, right?

Not so fast, Sparky -- according to various sources, you're still going to have wait three more weeks to get your hands on that hot SP1 action: circle February 15th on your Ballmer / Gates pinup calendar and start counting the days.

Of course, Microsoft isn't confirming anything one way or another other than Q108, so don't get too excited, but after all we've been through together, we can't imagine the Redmond crew not giving us a (late) Valentine's Day present -- we're like, totally serious, right?
 

Lost Planet: Extreme Condition PS3 Hands-On Impressions

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366w ago - We get our first hands-on with the PS3 version of Capcom's snowy shooter--more than a year after its initial Xbox 360 launch. But how different are the two versions really?

Capcom's Lost Planet: Extreme Condition has only been around a little while, but it has already jumped through its fair share of hoops. It first made its debut on Microsoft's Xbox 360 console last year before being catapulted over to the PC, where it subsequently became the poster boy for DirectX 10 graphics. Now, more than a year after hitting shelves (and even longer since its initial December 2006 launch in Japan), the game will make an appearance on Sony's PlayStation 3.

For those that missed the game in either its first or second coming, Lost Planet is a third-person shooter which revolves around the struggle for energy between humans and a hostile alien race called the Akrid. After colonizing E.D.N III and being met with resistance from the local wildlife, rather than try somewhere else for a free ride, humanity hangs tough and decides to wipe out those pesky aliens instead. Think Starship Troopers in a winter setting and you're halfway there.

The big question on a lot of people's minds is: What has Capcom done with Lost Planet on the PS3, and which will be the best of the three versions? To be perfectly blunt, based...
 

Hands-On with Metal Gear Solid 4 trial version

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366w ago - At CES 2008, much to my surprise and delight, I had the opportunity to play the MGS4 Trial. I'm a huge Metal Gear fan so being able to play the game before it's Q2 launch was incredibly satisfying (if only to reassure me that the game is still on track to live up to the high standards of the franchise.)

Because the game is likely to remain low-key until launch, I decided to record my entire play-through and post it for the Metal Gear fanatics out there who are scouring the net for even just a morsel of new MGS4 footage. The good news is that MGS4 has all the production value you've come to expect from a Metal Gear game and even in the tiny taste that the trial provides, it's clear that it will put Snake into some pretty unfamiliar, but nonetheless incredible, settings and situations.

First thing I'd like to mention is that the controls were non-inverted and I'm used to playing inverted (we tried changing them, but it wouldn't stay)... So if you're watching the video and wondering why every once in a while I look directly up at the sky or down at the ground, that's why.

Similarly annoying is my play style; Metal Gear is a sneaking game, but due to the fact that there was only one demo terminal and it being my first time playing this installment, I just wanted to experience the entire thing...
 
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