Posts Tagged ‘ sony ’

Sony’s Project Morpheus: Virtual Reality

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Next-gen consoles still haven’t arrived as far as many gamers are concerned. There’s been no title, no watershed moment to justify all that excitement, and money, that marked the releases of the Xbox One and the Playstation 4. No doubt that will change quickly with a host of new games marked for this summer but the question still remains; what will make this generation of consoles so much better than their predecessors? Well that might be Virtual Reality.

It has been promised before but judging from reports from this year’s Game Developer Conference it looks like the timing, and the technology, may be right to get Virtual Reality headsets out of development and into peoples homes.

The most promising of these new products is the Sony backed Project Morpheus. It couples existing but reworked Playstation technology like the Move controller with a Daft Punk-esque headset which would be the hub of the VR. Continue reading

Posthumous Michael Jackson Album To Be Released In May

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On May 13, Epic Records, in conjunction with the Estate of Michael Jackson, will release XSCAPE, an album of new music by the internationally beloved music icon and King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The project features eight new tracks, which the world will be hearing for the very first time on the new album. For the ultimate fan experience, XSCAPE will also be available in a Deluxe Edition, which includes all of the sourced Michael Jackson recordings in their original form. The XSCAPE standard and Deluxe Editions are available for pre-order beginning April 1 on iTunes.com/MichaelJackson and elsewhere, and available at all retailers worldwide on May 13. Continue reading

Highly Anticipated Battlefield 4 Released

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One of the most highly anticipated and critically acclaimed games of 2013 went on sale yesterday as Battlefield 4 hit stores.

DICE, an Electronic Arts Inc. studio yesterday announced that Battlefield 4 is now available in retail stores for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC while a digital download is also available on Origin. Powered by the advanced technology of DICE’s proprietary Frostbite 3 engine, gamers will experience the all-out-war and epic moments possible only in Battlefield 4. The game lets players wage war across land, air and sea with unparalleled vehicular combat, dynamic environments and a new level of destruction. Console players can start the battle today on current-gen and upgrade to next-gen for as low as $9.99 (approximately €7.25) when those systems launch in November. Players will also be able to transfer their multiplayer stats at launch of the next-gen consoles so they can hit the ground running. Continue reading

Tweets Of The Week

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With Twitter becoming an ever growing way of life for online users it can be difficult to keep up with all the big tweets of the week when some stories simply take over the net for a couple of days such as the recent #SlaneGirl scandal. Here at Irish News Review we aim to bring you the best tweets of the week from a wide range of sectors in our new weekly segment. Here are our selections of interest from the past seven days: Continue reading

Shut Up & Take My Money – The Console War Begins

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Ok so thankfully Christmas is still relatively far away, but as we reported to you last month, Microsoft and Sony have unveiled their new machines due out, well one of them at least, this “Holiday” (God that’s a terrible term!). As is always the case when these two companies go head to head with big reveals like this, there is only one question:who is getting your cash?

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Xbox One And PS4 Battle It Out At E3

Microsoft and Sony have revealed their next generation consoles at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo or E3.

Microsoft was the first to unveil their latest console on the first day of the expo, the Xbox One.  Rumours had been circulating about the Xbox One with some confirmed at the conference. Continue reading

Let The Games Begin – Sony and Microsoft Battle For Gaming Supremacy

While Nintendo’s Wii U ‘officially’ kicked off the next generation of games consoles late last year, for many of the world’s hardcore gamers and games publishers the real console war doesn’t begin until Sony and Microsoft say it does, when each show their hands and release their next generation of consoles. Speculation as to what features are to be included on each console has been reigning for years with Sony being the first to unveil their gaming behemoth, the PlayStation 4 (although not actually showing the console) at a press conference only a few short weeks ago.

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Gaming Daily: 2nd July 2012

Welcome back to another Monday on Gaming Daily, and today’s main story sees a huge new development for Sony, one which could shape the direction they take in the next generation of consoles.

Sony Acquires Gaikai for $380 million

In a major announcement this morning, Sony revealed that it had struck a deal to purchase cloud gaming service Gaikai. Heavily rumoured around the time of E3, the move sees Sony aim to create “a new cloud service” based on the acquisition, allowing them to shortcut the research and development portion of any future services. In a press release, SCE President and Group CEO Andrew House said of the deal: “By combining Gaikai’s resources including its technological strength and engineering talent with SCE’s extensive game platform knowledge and experience, SCE will provide users with unparalleled cloud entertainment experiences. SCE will deliver a world-class cloud-streaming service that allows users to instantly enjoy a broad array of content ranging from immersive core games with rich graphics to casual content anytime, anywhere on a variety of internet-connected devices.”

Whilst the deal still hinges on competition commission approval and various other legal hoops, what it represents is a monumental leap into the cloud space for Sony. Speculating, it could possibly allow Sony to leverage their entire back catalog without the need for their consoles to require additional hardware. It could also extends their audience to anyone with a variety of internet connected deviced, including iPads, smartphones and the like, as custom hardware wouldn’t be a necessity for a cloud gaming service. Gaikai themselves recently signed a deal with Samsung enabling games to be streamed to any compatible TV’s (a deal that may come into question given Sony’s interest in the television market). While some remain skeptical of cloud based gaming due to the infancy of broadband and bandwidth and speed requirements, today’s announcement still marks an exciting time for video games, and a vision into what the future could hold for the medium. While Sony haven’t announced whether they intend to implement this on the PS3 or PS Vita, we’ll keep you up to date on any developments/announcements as they become known.

Seth Killian joins Sony Santa Monica

It seems we’ve had many stories recently of developers leaving their respective companies for pastures new. Add another story into the mix: Seth Killian, known in fighting circles as “S-Kill”, and who recently left his position as special advisor at Capcom, was today unveiled as a lead game developer in Sony’s Santa Monica studio. Killian, founder of the EVO gaming championships and pro fighting game competitor, will oversee development of the upcoming Sony All-Stars Battle Royale. Killian spoke on the US Playstation blog about the title:

“Fighting games are very close to my heart, and as someone that’s spent much of my life with traditional fighters, All-Stars has been a great opportunity to take a step back and rethink fighting fundamentals from the ground up. The entire team was put together from scratch to create this game, and they are loaded with fighting game superstars (including some impressive tournament credentials–I’m not even the first EVO finalist to join the team!) who love great combat just as much as I do… we’ll be taking All-Stars on the road and making sure you guys have plenty of opportunities to go hands-on, starting with PlayStation’s first official presence at EVO this weekend”

THQ stock reverse sees them maintain NASDAQ listing

It’s no secret that developer THQ has been in dire straits recently. Facing a delisting from the NASDAQ stock exchange, THQ took the drastic step of a reverse stock split, in essence consolidating approximately 70 million shares into around 7 million, and increasing the value of the shares from 61 cents to $6.20, retaining their stock listing for now. In order to maintain their listing, the stock will have to remain above $1 per share (NASDAQ’s minimum share price) for 10 consecutive days. It’s another in a long series of  developments in THQ’s ongoing troubles, which has seen them close studios and shed licences, including the valuable UFC licence to EA, in a bid to remain afloat.

Battlefield 3 Double XP week underway

Those with a penchant for shooters will be pleasantly surprised when they turn on Battlefield 3 this week. Developers DICE are running a week long double XP event, making all those kills, revives and repairs even more valuable. Those who subscribe to the premium service will have the event available all week, whilst everyone else will only earn double XP until July 4th.

Daily Trailer: Halo 4 – Forward Unto Dawn

Each day, we end the piece with the latest trailers. Today’s teaser is from the upcoming “Forward Unto Dawn”, a live action web series coming this autumn. The series will focus on the beginning of the human/Covenant war, and will be shown on Microsoft’s Halo Waypoint service as a five episode series, as well as on Machinima.

That’s another Monday in the bag, as usual any comments are extremely welcome, either below or on twitter @michael_ormonde.

Gaming Daily: June 27th 2012

Welcome again to Gaming Daily, a journey through the daily happenings in your favourite industry. Let’s just jump straight in.

Halo 4: New Details Emerge

Given the E3 was only 3 weeks ago, it’s funny that there should be anything major revealed about Microsoft’s flagship franchise that wasn’t revealed at the industry’s main get together, but details are spreading on the new entry into the Halo universe from the Microsoft ExpertZone, their online guide for retail employees to brush up on their knowledge. Highlights on the new information revealed include:

  • For the first time, Master Chief will have a true nemesis.
  • The game includes 10 new weapons as well as 2 new vehicle types
  • 10 multiplayer maps to play in multiplayer, with confirmation of more via DLC
  • Spartan Ops mode will feature 5 new missions a week, spread over 10 weeks for season 1, lasting up to 12 hours, and is completely free

There’s a fair amount to digest, so to see full screen captures, visit the Little English Blog which broke the story.

Kaz Hirai Steps Down from SCE Board

Kaz Hirai, the man who helped rebuild the Playstation brand after taking over as chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment, moved further away from the video game division today as he stepped down as chairman of the SCE Board. Hirai was appointed CEO of Sony in April, and this is seen as allowing him to focus more on reviving the fortunes of Sony’s TV and Mobile Phone divisions. Hirai will continue on as a part time board member of SCE.

Sony: No “Definitive Plans” on Resistance future

Following on from the lukewarmly received Resistance: Burning Skies on the Playstation Vita, Sony was remaining coy on the future of it’s first person shooter franchise. Danier Brooke, producer at sony is quoted as saying “The Resistance franchise has been exciting to work on, but as for the future we have no definitive plans”. That’s not to say that there won’t be another game in the series. Insomniac Games may not be working on the franchise any more, as development duties for the latest Vita incarnation fell to Nihilistic, but Sony still owns the rights to the universe, and after spending so long developing the lore, they probably aren’t ready to throw it away just yet.

Mass Effect 3 Future DLC contained in “Extended Cut” files?

We reported yesterday that Bioware finally released its much anticipated “Extended Cut” Mass Effect 3 ending DLC to the masses, and it looks like some eagle eyed gamers spotted some hints at possible upcoming DLC within its contents. Tentatively referred to as “Leviathan”, the story is said to focus on a Reaper of the same name. Bioware executives even got in on the act, taking to social networks to tease fans about the possibility of upcoming DLC. Mike Gamble is quoted on twitter as saying “As I’ve said before, we do this for you! EC was our gift to the fans. Hope you enjoyed. Also… keep your ears open over the next little while”.

Camilla Luddington is the new Lara Croft

Finally today, Square Enix revealed the actress set to take on the role of Lara Croft in the upcoming reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise. Camilla Luddington is most well known for roles in True Blood and Californication as well as decidedly dodgy Will and Kate TV movie. Darrell Gallagher, head of studio at Crystal Dynamics spoke of the appointment: This has been one of the most important jobs for us to get right. This Tomb Raider game is very different to any other and we are demanding far more from the voice and performance acting than ever before as we take the franchise in a new direction.’

Which brings us to the end of another Gaming Daily. Remember, any and all feedback is appreciated, either via the comments below, or on twitter @michael_ormonde.

Playstation Vita Review: The Hardware

Image of Playstation Vita SystemSince its official announcement in January 2011, gamers everywhere have been salivating at each tidbit of news Sony have unveiled about the Playstation Vita. Originally codenamed the NGP (Next Generation Portable), the handheld boasted specs that were unheard of from a portable gaming device. Now that we have the Vita in our hands, does it live up to the lofty expectations that Sony have set for it, or is it just another piece of tech in an already crowded market. Read on to find out.

 

Aesthetic

There’s no doubting the Playstation Vita is a sexy piece of hardware. Sporting a similar look to the original PSP, the Vita won’t look out of place amongst any of your other gadgets. One of the first things you’ll notice is how light the device is. Despite cramming in a plethora of input options and other features, the system is not exceptionally heavy, making sure that longer gaming sessions won’t put a strain on your arms and hands. Its rounded edges allow the unit to be held comfortably, and grooves in the back give you purchase, and make sure you’re not accidentally hitting off the rear touchpad. The buttons are all where you would expect them to be, and everything is within reach without too much dexterity of the fingers necessary. In saying that, the buttons don’t offer as much resistance as a traditional PS3 pad, and the dual analog sticks will take some getting used to for seasoned gamers.

Display

The Vita boasts the best display of any handheld gaming device. The 5 inch OLED screen is crystal clear, and has a depth of colour and clarity benefiting the raw power available to it. It doubles as a touchscreen, which is used for the majority of navigation around the device’s user interface, as well as for some game inputs. It’s responsive, though as with any touchscreen device , smudges and fingerprints can pose somewhat of an issue, but it is easy to clean and seems somewhat resistant to damage. The visuals of the system are on par with home consoles, which is very impressive from a mobile device; if you squint, you’d almost think you’re playing your PS3.

Screenshot of Wipeout 2048

If you want to show off how good your Playstation Vita looks, you can do worse than Wipeout 2048

Inputs

The Playstation Vita has the capability to cater for any game type imaginable. First and foremost for “hardcore” gamers, the system features the traditional button configuration you will be used to from the Playstation 3. Key to this is the inclusion of dual analogue sticks, a component sorely missing from the PSP and PSPGo, and only catered for on the rival 3DS by way of a clunky attachment. The standard X, O, square and triangle setup that has become synonymous with the Playstation brand will be the primary control method for most games released on the system. That’s not to say that will be the only way, and some of the more niche titles have already used the other inputs in various ways. As mentioned previously, and as anyone with a smartphone can attest to, the front touchscreen is now a viable input for gaming, and the Vita’s OLED screen performs this task admirably. The Vita also features a rear touchpad and front and back cameras, as well as gyroscopic mechanisms to detect tilt and movement. All of these seem functional, although the camera is of a very low quality, with most modern phones outperforming it easily.However, until more software begins to utilise the different control schemes, it is difficult to judge how useful they will be in the long run. From my time with the system, I’m excited by the potential the Vita has to cater for a vast array of games that were, until now, realistically only possible on home systems.

User Interface

The entire interface of the Playstation Vita is touchscreen based. Again, anybody who owns an iPhone or other smart device will instantly be comfortable with the application based menus on offer. Apps can be divided into up onto numerous screens, so those of us (myself included) who like to keep things organised can have one screen for our retail games, one for downloadable titles et cetera. Upon launching an application, you’re taken to that application’s “LiveScreen”. This acts as a central hub for that particular app; it provides links to the user manual, shows any updates the title has received, as well as your most recent actions on that title among other things. Most functionality is walled up inside applications, but the Playstation Vita features multitasking which allows users to instantly switch between applications. Switching is as easy as pressing the PS button (which instantly takes you back to that application’s LiveScreen), peeling away the dog eared corner, and touching the application you want to launch. It’s really that simple. It helps that the Vita is a powerhouse, as there is virtually no slowdown when you do this. The time between closing your game and launching another is minimal, which is perfect for when you’re on the go. Another great feature of the system is the ability to take screenshots at any point, simply by hitting the PS and Start buttons simultaneously. It’s a small bullet point, but allows you to capture anything on the system and show it off you your friends (all the images from this review were taken using the Vita’s screenshot utility).

Image of Vita UI

The interface will be familar to anybody with a smartphone

The Vita comes preloaded with numerous apps and utilities, some of which deserve mention here. Firstly, there is an in built content manager, allowing you to transfer data and perform system backups between your Vita and PS3, or your Vita and PC (once you’ve installed the necessary software). There is also “Near”, which is the Vita’s answer to the Nintendo 3DS’s “StreetPass” system, showing you any Vita activity nearby, and caters for the sharing of in game items. Also available are the standard fare for any portable system, applications to handle your twitter and facebook (although currently inactive due to technical issues), as well as other social networking sites.

Launch Lineup

It’s all well and good releasing a killer system, but unless you have the software to back it up, it won’t mean much as no one will want to buy a new handheld if there’s nothing to play on it. Thankfully, Sony have produced one of the most stellar launch line-ups in recent memory. There’s definitely something to cater for everyone, whether you’re a massive Uncharted fan looking forward to playing Drake’s next adventure, you much prefer racing around at insanely fast speeds in Wipeout 2048, or prefer bite-sized gaming with any number of the downloadable games available from the PSN.

Conclusion

The Playstation Vita isn’t perfect. The decision to use proprietary memory cards, and the cost of said memory cards, while understandable given the rampant piracy evident on the Vita’s predecessor, is definitely a barrier for entry given their high cost compared to standard memory cards, and considering that one is required for almost all of the titles on offer as there is no on board memory available. The 4-5 hour battery life is another negative, although considering how much technology it is powering, it’s surprising it even lasts that. Finally, the battery is built in to the system, meaning a faulty battery cannot be easily replaced. That being said, the Playstation Vita is a tremendous piece of kit which represents, in my opinion, a leap forward in on-the-go gaming. Its ease of use and multitude of control options provide it with the ability to offer a home console like experience wherever you may be, and its strong line up of games means you are spoiled for choice when it comes to what games to play. All in all, this system is a must own for both casual and hardcore gamers alike.

Keep an eye here over the coming days as I’ll review some of the Playstation Vita’s launch line up, starting with Studio Liverpool’s Wipeout 2048.