Ivan's Blog

Featuring Ivan Trembow's Self-Important, Random Rants on Mixed Martial Arts, Video Games, Pro Wrestling, Television, Politics, Sports, and High-Quality Wool Socks

Sunday, May 15, 2005
Assorted Topics--- Today, we've got word on the unveiling of the Xbox 360, Jane Fonda making better use of her time, and the second-round match-ups in the Pride Grand Prix.

Video Games: Xbox 360 Unveiled
Microsoft's next-generation video game console, the Xbox 360, has finally been unveiled with a sleek hardware design, some revolutionary upgrades to the Xbox Live online gaming service, and a huge list of games in development (including exclusive new franchises from the original creators of Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, and Space Channel 5).

The biggest piece of information that wasn't previously leaked out is that it appears as though every Xbox 360 system will come with a 20 GB hard drive (which will be removable and highly portable), thus putting to rest the theories of "one bundle with a hard drive, one bundle without a hard drive." The launch date has been revealed to be "Fall 2005" worldwide, not the previously expected scenario of, "Fall 2005 in the United States and much later everywhere else." The price is still unknown and is believed to be somewhere between $300 and $400, which is the normal range for a new game console. More specifics on the launch date and price are expected to be announced next week at E3.

GameSpot wrote two excellent articles covering the Xbox 360 unveiling, one of them with all of the pertinent details about the system, and the other with an inside look at the creation of the system and Microsoft's vision for it.

And yes, that is the Xbox 360 on the cover of Time Magazine this week, along with the following tantalizing quote in Time's article from none other than Bill Gates himself: "The day Sony launches the new PlayStation, they will walk right into Halo 3." This would seem to confirm the persistent rumors that Microsoft is planning to counter the launch of the PlayStation 3 by releasing Halo 3 for the Xbox 360 on the very same day (the PlayStation 3 is expected to launch in the United States in mid-to-late 2006). Given that Halo 2 has already sold nearly seven million copies worldwide, and has driven Xbox hardware sales worldwide, and has literally doubled the subscriber base for Xbox Live, it seems like a brilliant strategy to launch Halo 3 on the same day as the PS3.

This is not an underhanded tactic on Microsoft's part. Not only would Sony do the same thing, but they already have. You may recall that Sony timed the release of Final Fantasy 8 for the original PlayStation to fall on September 9, 1999 in the United States, which just happened to be the US launch date of the Sega Dreamcast (may it rest in peace).

Movies: Jane Fonda Takes Time out of Busy Schedule to Make Critically Panned Movie
Jane Fonda was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule of giving aid and comfort to countries at war with the United States to make a stereotypical mother-in-law comedy with Jennifer Lopez, whose career is equally stagnant at this point. The movie is currently averaging a score of 32 out of 100 from movie critics, according to MetaCritic.

Mixed Martial Arts: Pride Announces Second-Round Grand Prix Match-Ups
I previously wrote about The Bracketology of the Pride Grand Prix and all of the possible match-ups that Pride could make in the second round. Now Pride has officially announced the second-round match-ups. Defending champion Vanderlei Silva will face Kazuhiro Nakamura, the Brazilian Top Team's Antonio Rogerio Nogueira will face Chute Boxe Academy's Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in a Brazil vs. Brazil match-up, Igor Vovchanchyn will face Alistair Overeem, and Ricardo Arona will face Kazushi Sakuraba.

This scenario is very similar to the "Brazil vs. Brazil" scenario laid out in my previous article, except Pride only made one all-Brazil match, and they refrained from making the obvious Japan vs. Japan match-up of Nakamura vs. Sakuraba. Purely from a business standpoint, I think Pride is going to regret the way they have made the brackets for the second round, because they left open the possibility of having three Brazilians in the final four, and they have almost assured their "nightmare scenario" of having zero Japanese fighters in the final four. Nakamura will be a huge underdog against Silva, and Sakuraba will be a huge underdog against Arona.

As for the other two match-ups, Vovchanchyn vs. Overeem is a fight that Vovchanchyn will be favored to win, but Overeem should not be underestimated by anyone (as Vitor Belfort found out). Pride has put the tallest fighter in the tournament up against the shortest, as Overeem will have an eight-inch height advantage in this fight.

In my previous article on this subject, Nogueira vs. Shogun is the one match-up that was in all three of the "top three scenarios that make the most sense from a business standpoint." This match simply had to happen, and the style match-up has "Potential Fight of the Year" written all over it. Nogueira is a master of the ground game with his Jiu-Jitsu skills, but is also very good at stand-up striking. Shogun is a master at striking with his Muay Thai skills, but also knows what he is doing on the ground. One could easily envision Nogueira winning this fight by submission, or Shogun winning by knockout, or either fighter winning a very close judge's decision.