October 20, 2008
LittleBigPlanet’s little expressions cause big problems
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Sony has suffered a blow to its plans for a strong PlayStation 3 showing this holiday season with a delay to one of its marquee games.
LittleBigPlanet has been released to reviewers, but retail copies are now being held back while a part of the soundtrack considered of possible offence to Muslims is changed.
In a statement, Sony said it had been brought to its attention that one of the background music tracks contained two expressions that could be found in the Qur�an.
It said it was rectifying the situation and apologised for any offence it might have caused.
LittleBigPlanet, an innovative game where players can create and share their own levels, is a key title. Sony has emphasised that its games line-up will be the biggest lure for console buyers this season, rather than any price-cut strategy.
September US sales figures, released on Thursday by the NPD research firm, showed the PS3 trailed badly in third in September, with 232,000 PS3s sold. Microsoft�s Xbox 360, which benefited from a price cut on September 5, sold 347,000 units, while the Nintendo Wii sold 687,000.
LittleBigPlanet will be released a week late on October 27 in North America, but gamer sites are reporting a November 14 date for the rest of the world, meaning a two or three week delay there.
In the meantime, Nintendo will release a key title for the holidays on Monday in Wii Music. It represents the third leg of its strategy to produce categories of all-ages activity games. following Wii Sports and Wii Fit. Using the existing motion-sensing controllers, Wii Music allows gamers to play along to more than 50 songs, choosing from more than 60 instruments.
Wii Fit, which uses the balance board accessory, sold more than 500,000 units in the US in September, helping to boost console sales as well. Nintendo hopes Wii Music will have the same effect over the next two months.
The Wii has been a decisive winner so far in the next-generation console race and its success has only been impeded by the console selling out at peak buying times,
Denise Kaigler, Nintendo�s head of corporate affairs in the US, told me this week Nintendo boosted monthly production by a third to 2.4m units worldwide in April and aimed to have increased numbers available at retail this holiday season.
�We know more consumers will be able to find them, and we�ve no desire to have shortages, but we won�t know till January just how successful we�ve been,� she said.