Video Gaming Notes 6/7

•  Spain wins the World Cup!
FarmVille comes to the iPhone
Project Natal to dominate E3

Read on for this week's round-up of the latest news in video gaming. 

Spain wins the World Cup!

It was a tense final, with 5-time World champion Brazil taking on the European champions, Spain. The action was fierce on both sides, as Brazil took an early lead on a goal from Felipe Marko. The Spaniards equalized with a shot from David Villa to end the first half.

The second half belonged to Spain, as their teamwork and stifling defense managed to frustrate the Brazilians. Villa scored his second goal in the 61st minute and Andres Iniesta added another just before the final whistle to lead the number two ranked team in the world to a memorable 3-1 victory!

Or at least that’s what happened according to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa video game.

Game producer, Electronic Arts, used World Cup South Africa to run a simulation of the entire tournament, from the group stages through the finals, and Spain came out victorious. Each year, EA runs a similar event for the Super Bowl using the long-running Madden franchise and has predicted the champion with eerily accurate results. In the seven years that EA has run the simulation, it has predicted six correct champions, including this year’s New Orleans Saints, who were clear underdogs going in.

The U.S. begins its World Cup run this Saturday versus England, a game that EA predicts will favor England 2-1. Both teams are predicted to advance to the knock-out stages, where the US will lose to Germany in a penalty shoot-out. The semi-finals will see Brazil take out the English, also on penalties, while Spain knocks off Argentina.

EA also predicts that Spain’s David Villa will win the Golden Boot with 7 goals, and Brazil’s Kaka will be the Golden Ball player-of-the-tournament.

However, before Spanish fans start celebrating, it should be noted that in 2006 EA predicted that the Czech Republic would win the Cup with a 2-1 final victory, again over Brazil. Unfortunately, the Czech Republic failed to make it out of the first round!

FarmVille comes to the iPhone

Lost in the hoop-la surrounding yesterday’s announcement of the new iPhone 4 was the news that the popular Facebook game, FarmVille, will soon be available for Apple’s iPhone and iPad platforms.

The farming simulation game from Zynga was launched in July of last year and quickly gained a massive following, peaking in March of this year at 83 million active users. However, since then, the game has seen a decline in numbers, mainly due to the way Facebook has revamped its notifications feed. (It also suffered the indignity late last month of being included in Time magazine’s “50 Worst Inventions”!)

FarmVille for the iPhone may be able to keep players engaged even better that the Facebook version, with users able to constantly ping friends and fellow farmers with updates. The game will also work cross-platform, which means players can switch between devices without having to duplicate friend lists and other data.

Project Natal to dominate E3

Anticipation is mounting for E3, the video gaming industry’s annual gathering, which opens June 15 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

At the top of everyone’s must-see list will be Project Natal, Microsoft’s new motion control device for the Xbox 360, which is due to go on sale in October of this year. Instead of responding to a conventional controller, Natal recognizes human gestures and voice commands, allowing for a much more realistic interactive gaming experience. Natal was recently put through its paces at the All Things Digital D8 Conference, where Walt Mossberg, Kara Swisher and Swisher’s son all gave it a try.

Just as important as the device will be the number and quality of the Natal-compatible games that are available. Most observers are predicting that between 15 and 25 games will be announced at E3. As well as games from Microsoft itself, expect additional offerings from industry heavyweights like EA, Capcom, Konami and Activision.

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