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Xbox One Unveiled as the Ultimate All-in-One Entertainment System
Tags: Xbox (all tags)
The unveiling was streamed live from Microsoft's Redmond campus.
Today, Don Mattrick announced the XBOX ONE. After nearly eight years of the 360 and the emergence of Xbox LIVE as an entertainment and social platform, Microsoft was quick to pitch the new system as the future of living room.
The new Xbox One was presented with a list of specs including 8GB RAM, an 8 Core CPU, a Blu-ray drive, USB 3.0 and a 500GB Hard Drive. The system was described as being controlled through three different means, including the new Kinect sensor, the new controller, and SmartGlass.
The system contains a hybrid operating system whose upswing is said to allow for instantaneous switching between games and other applications. Also, applications can be developed without the need to adhere to the gaming OS, a distinction for the new system that makes app development seem closer to a Windows like experience.
The new controller sticks close to the 360 controller design, but with an internal battery, corrected d-pad, and app-switching buttons in place of the back and start buttons. According to Microsoft, the changes are among some 40 overall design changes to the controller.
The entire event preceded promised E3 reveals, and had a lot of time focused on entertainment options like instant on Kinect controls, and user-specific game and entertainment selection derived from user habits. The system was described as a way to make the TV more intelligent and make the living room experience "simple, instant, and complete."
The system contains both an HDMI out and HDMI in, and has the ability to DVR games. The new achievement system was described as dynamic.
Some of the games featured for the system include EA Sports' 'FIFA', 'Forza 5', 'Quantum Break' (a new title from Remedy), and of course the highlight, 'Call of Duty: Ghosts.' The 'Ghosts' footage was important enough to preclude any sort of conclusion for the briefing, and the sudden ending was less than ideal.
A new HALO TV series involving Steven Spielberg was teased, but more importantly, Microsoft promised that the new system would get 15 exclusives with 8 new franchises in the first year.
This system was described as being available "later this year," presumably during the holiday period. System pricing was not mentioned.
Author: Brian Hoss
Videogame Releases: Week of May 19th, 2013
This week in gaming, 'Resident Evil' makes a triumphant return to consoles, while another classic heads the opposite direction to a handheld platform. Read about the latest videogame releases in the blog today.
'New Super Luigi U' Getting a Retail Release August 25th
Tags: Wii U (all tags)
Hard copy coming two months after digital add-on eShop version.
Nintendo continues to indulge the idea that this is the year of Luigi, and today's Nintendo Direct was no different. Nintendo went ahead and dated the previously revealed 'New Luigi Bros. U,' but not without revealing a new playable character as well as a stand-alone retail version of the game.
'New Luigi Bros. U' was first revealed as DLC for the Wii U launch title, 'New Super Mario Bros. U,' and the add-on creates a version of the game with Mario cast off and with 82 all new stages replacing the original levels. Today, Nintendo revealed that with Mario out, a four player party would be made up of Luigi, Blue Toad, Yellow Toad, and Nabbit. Nintendo explained that Nabbit, a 'New Super Mario Bros. U' character who would steal from Toad's house and thereby cause the player to chase across levels to catch, will be irregular to play as Nabbit will not be able use power-ups. Instead Nabbit will be invulnerable to enemies, and was described as a good choice for that player that is not so good at 'New Super Mario Bros.' style gameplay.
The eShop add-on will release on June 20th and be priced at $20. Nintendo also revealed that a physical copy that will work without the main game, will follow on August 25th, and be priced at $30. Not only is the physical copy meant to help celebrate the year of Luigi, but Nintendo also seems to understand that some people want to play the new Luigi game without owning the main game, which is still priced at $50.
Author: Brian Hoss
'Wonderful 101' Dated and 'Legend of Zelda' Oracle Titles Priced in New Nintendo Direct
Tags: Nintendo, Wii U, 3DS (all tags)
Latest Nintendo Direct shy of reveals ahead of E3.
Today's Nintendo Direct fell short of any groundbreaking announcement with Nintendo promising big things in and around next month's E3. Nintendo did reveal several new SEGA related announcements including a Mario And Sonic Olympics Games 2014 title for the Wii U, 'Sonic: Lost World,' and several upcoming SEGA Game Gear re-releases for the 3DS virtual console. 'Sonic: Lost World' was described as an action-adventure titles exclusive to the Wii U and 3DS.
'The Legend of Zelda' Oracle titles, set for re-release on the 3DS Virtual Console were priced at $6 apiece and dated for May 30th, and Nintendo promised an initial dollar off to encourage players to buy both titles in the first three week period.
Nintendo showed off some of the eight new levels that will be packed into 'Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. The new levels are contained in an area called Cloud Gateway and each level is based off of one of the game's previous areas. The new levels can be played in classic difficulty mode as well as the new easier version.
Bits of other games like the downloadable 'Mario vs. Donkey Kong Minis on the Move' title were shown. The level creator and sharing features of the already released 'Mario vs. Donkey Kong Minis on the Move' were highlighted. 'Animal Crossing: New Leaf' and its town sharing ability was teased. Several 'Game & Wario' levels were shown with 'Island;' looking like a fun kind of Bocce ball like game to play at a party.
'Pikmin 3' was discussed at length with its three new protagonists, the need to get juice in order to keep exploring, and the ability to use the 'Kopad' (GamePad) for directing being the focus.
Platinum Games 'Wonderful 101' is now set for a September 15th release date.
Nintendo also mentioned how this E3 would be all about games rather than previous Wii U and 3DS hardware reveals, and thus they partnered with Best Buy to allow games to p[lay unreleased Wii U titles in Best Buys in the US and Canada.
Author: Brian Hoss
The Razer Atrox is the Razer Fight Stick the 360
Tags: Razer (all tags)
Razer's stick pops open to reveal tools, spare parts, and a detachable cable.
Razer, maker of PC peripherals, the Razer Edge tablet line, and various console peripherals, will begin shipping the Razer Atrox in June. The Atrox is Razer's take on a high-end fight stick, and is a full size 10 button Sanwa powered fully moddable stick for the Xbox 360.
Razer's idea of fully moddable includes a case that pops open , and had plenty of room to work with on the inside. The bottom of the case has a honeycomb design to enable an array of possible screw mounting points. The inside also serves as a storage area for the stick's detachable 13 foot cable, alternate bat top style joystick top, two spare buttons, and screwdriver. The top of the case holds an interchangeable panel that makes adding custom artwork a breeze, especially when combined with the ease of removing all the buttons and the 8 way stick.
At $200, the Atrox is priced high for an arcade stick. Out of the box, the stick is limited to only the 360, with the likely possibility of PC compatibility still to be determined. Nevertheless, the stick's simple internal access is an interesting take. Many players prefer to build their own sticks, but Razer's option has a built-in color coded chart for wiring, as well as limited warranty.
Razer will begin accepting pre-orders next week.
Author: Brian Hoss
Electronic Arts Shelving Online Passes aka "Project Ten Dollar"
Tags: Electronic Arts (all tags)
"Many players didn't respond to the format."
In a surprising turnabout, EA has announced via Venture Beat the end to online passes. The program that began with 'Dragon Age: Origins' and extended across EA's line of online and single player titles, saw new games bundled with one-time codes that tied some content, including multiplayer access, to players' Origin accounts. The idea was for EA to capture a part of second-game sales by selling the coded content directly online.
Venture Beat is reporting that an email from EA's senior director of corporate communications John Roseburg states, "Yes, we're discontinuing Online Pass. None of our new EA titles will include that feature."
While some other publishers have and likely will continue to ape the practice, none have used it to the extent that EA has. The program originally was pushed as "Project ten dollar," and described by EA as a way to offer more content, rather than require day one downloads for either awkward or integral features.
"Initially launched as an effort to package a full menu of online content and services, many players didn’t respond to the format. We’ve listened to the feedback and decided to do away with it moving forward."
The elimination of online passes by EA marks the latest move in series of interesting moves by EA that include searching for a new CEO, landing the massive 'Star Wars' license, laying off over 1,000 employees, marginalizing Wii U support, and even announcing a new 'The Sims' title that won't need to be always online.
"We’re still committed to creating content and services that enhance the game experience well beyond the day you first start playing."
Source: Venture Beat
Author: Brian Hoss
'Batman: Arkham Origins' Trailer Gets a Trailer
Tags: Batman (all tags)
Teaser for upcoming trailer offers glimpses of Batman versus Deathstroke.
'Batman: Arkham Origins' has chartered an interesting course. After only two titles into a series that is likely the greatest video game adaption of a comic book character to date, and everything about the game seems to be in full reboot.
The game has a new developer in WB Games Montreal, albeit using the same engine. The game's story is prequel style , and the iconic voice of Batman, Kevin Conroy, has been passed over in favor of a younger voice. 'Batman: Arkham Origins' is also touting multiplayer for the formerly single player series. The game even has a handheld counterpart version in 'Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate.' With all those interesting choices hanging over the game, what is the best way to generate interest? Release a teaser for a trailer. And based off of the teaser for the trailer for the game, gameplay footage will not be forthcoming. Nevertheless, here is a glimpse of Batman as he tackles Deathstroke in a shipping yard.
'Batman: Arkham Origins' is scheduled release on the 360, PS3, Wii U, PC, (plus the Vita and 3DS), on October 25th, and is available for pre-order.
Author: Brian Hoss
'Gran Turismo 6' Announced for the PS3
Tags: Gran Turismo (all tags)
Title currently scheduled for "holiday, 2013."
After a throng of mounting leaks ahead of Sony's 15th Anniversary Celebration of 'Gran Turismo' event, Sony formally announced 'Gran Turismo 6.' The game is for the PS3, and is being described as releasing this upcoming holiday period.
The announced features of 'GT6' include: a refactored "compact" game engine with the flexibility for expansion, a new rendering engine, a new physics engine with a new suspension and kinematics model coupled with new tire and aero models. The new tire and suspension design is supposed to have had input from Yokahoma and KW Automotive, and those companies will be featured in the game.
'GT6' will launch with 1200 cars and new emphasis on car customization, including wheel and aero designs for "almost all cars." A new emphasis on adding cars, possible in the vein of 'Forza' is repeatedly being referenced and would a big change from 'GT5.'
The game will also launch with "33 locations and 71 layouts," which is listed as "7 more locations and 19 more layouts than GT5." Also, new tracks beyond this launch set are being mentioned as being supplied online in a continuing fashion. Likewise, a new course maker was mentioned.
New community options, including clubs and race events are being described as allowing players to form their own communities and online events.
A new interface for the game is being described as having fixed some of the 'GT5' issues, and promises to have a quick response and short loading times.
'GT6' is also being teased as having "Multi Device Compatibility" with smartphones and web access, which sounds like stat tracking, and game capture/sharing abilities.
'Gran Turismo 6' is the latest version of PlayStation's best-selling franchise and is available for pre-order.
Source: Gran Turismo
Author: Brian Hoss
Nvidia Shield Priced and Dated
The Tegra 4-powered portable gaming system runs Android and streams PC Games.
Nvidia's Project Shield is readying to ship and is now officially titled the Nvidia Shield. The device is focused on gaming, video streaming, and media playback and is capable of a variety of functions. The Nvidia Shield will be priced at $350 when it launches at the end of June.
The main function of the device is to serve as a portable Android gaming platform. The 5 inch 720p multi-touch screen folds away for travel and pops up for use. In contrast to tablets and smartphones, the Shield uses a built-in dual analogue controller in addition to the touch screen, seemingly modeled after the Xbox 360 controller but with the left analogue stick and d-pad swapped, and Android specific buttons added. The device is built around Nvidia's Tegra 4 quad core mobile processor and is mated to 2GB of RAM.
The device will ship with 'Sonic 4 Episode II THD,' 'Expendable: Rearmed,' Hulu Plus, and Twitch as well as access to both the Google Play store and Nvidia's Tegra Zone. This is fitting for a device that will ship with Android 4.2.1. Nvidia also has mentioned several games that will be coming to TegraZone, including Double Fine's 'Broken Age' and 'Costume Quest.'
The Shield includes "better than tablet" speakers, a built-in microphone, 16GB of flash memory, a microSD expansion slot, GPS, and a gyro and accelerometer combo. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a Micro-USB port and a Mini-HDMI port. The Mini-HDMI port opens up the system's secondary function, to be a portable console by connecting to a large external display.
What may be the portable Android gaming system's most intriguing feature though, is its PC gaming streaming capability, which will be in beta at launch. A gaming PC with a GeForce GTX 650 or higher card can be set to wirelessly stream in playable form PC games to the Nvidia Shield. The concept involves the gaming PC in one room, with the player playing through the Shield in another room.
From Nvidia, "Featuring a new and innovative PC game streaming capability available in BETA at launch*, SHIELD gives you the power to wirelessly access your GeForce® GTX-powered computer from the comfort of your couch. Play your favorite PC games and access Steam Big Picture, on a full-size controller with ultra-low latency thanks to SHIELD's game-speed Wi-Fi and the fast performance of GeForce GTX GPUs."
Retailers are expected to begin accepting pre-orders for the Shield on May 20th.
Author: Brian Hoss
Videogame Releases: Week of May 12th, 2013
This week's new videogame releases bring us apocalyptic mayhem, a PS2 throwback and… Bigfoot? Read our rundown of the latest gaming titles in the blog today.
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