April 21, 2010, 7:39 AM — How time flies when you're talking about having fun. Someone pointed out to me today that E3 2010 is less than 60 days away. It should be a good show, with Playstation Move and Microsoft Natal showing for a second time, and the Nintendo 3DS and (this part is pure speculation) Sony PSP 2 being introduced for the first time. But we don't have to wait for E3 because video game rumor season starts now, and we've got rumors about two of those four products today.
Let's start with the Nintendo 3DS. This is the next generation of Nintendo's handheld, said to offer 3D gaming without special glasses. When the 3DS was announced we were told it would be out in Japan by March, 2011, which seemed reasonable enough. But yesterday gaming site CVG ran a story quoting "UK industry sources" saying the Nintendo 3DS will launch in October of this year, with the most likely specific date being October 10th (10/10/10).
I have to be honest, I don't have a lot of faith in this rumor. Nintendo generally releases DS hardware in Japan first, then a few months later in Europe and North America. For this rumor to be true it would mean that Nintendo was going for a worldwide launch five months ahead of the date in its announcement. It would mean that developers were working on launch titles now, and one would expect 'reinforcing' leaks from at least some of these developers. I hope I'm wrong – I'm anxious to see what Nintendo comes up with – but it seems a bit too aggressive of a schedule to be true.
Next up, a juicy leak of Microsoft's Project Natal. Italian site Multiplayer.it ran a story showing a good selection of pictures of a prototype Natal system. Apparently these were taken (and I admit, I'm counting on Google's translation being accurate) during speech recognition testing. The Natal unit being used looks polished enough that I have to believe this is the production case even if the internals are prototypical. It's tough to judge scale from the images, but based on some speakers in front of the monitor the Natal camera array is sitting on in one shot, I'd estimate the hardware is 6-7" long. In addition to the hardware, some pics were taken of a quick reference card. If that is accurate, Natal will need to be plugged into a wall outlet, which is a tad disappointing. You can check out Multiplayer.it's gallery of Natal images, but keep in mind they've got some old PR images mixed in with the new stuff.
If that isn't enough to whet your Natal appetite, Hollywood filmmaker James Gunn (of all people!) had a chance to give Natal a go and has written a blog post about it. Ah well, it must be nice to move in such vaulted circles. The rest of us peons will have to wait until next Fall to get our hands on Project Natal.
Now we need some Playstation Move and PSP 2 leaks to round things out...