Sony celebrates 20 years of PlayStation with a retro-designed limited edition console

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on December 6th, 2014

This December 3 marked the 20th anniversary of PlayStation. It was on that day in 1994 when Sony released the original PlayStation in Japan forever changing the gaming landscape and evolving the industry into what it has become today: a place to play and discover and wow with incredible, life-like graphics and intuitive mechanics.

To celebrate 20 years of PlayStation, Sony is manufacturing a special, limited edition PS4 with a design that harkens back to the aforementioned OG PlayStation. The bundle is packed with a 20th Anniversary Edition PS4, DualShock 4 wireless controller, PlayStation Camera, and a vertical stand all coated in the same Original Grey finish as the PS1. You’ll also spot the original PS logo across the new hardware, as well as a cool 20/X/Square/Triangle pattern design scheme embossed all over the console and the controller’s touch pad. And when Sony says “limited,” they mean it: only 12,300 of these bad boys will be made (that number matches the PS1’s release date–neat, huh?). Consoles will be specially marked with their number (as in x/12,300). Want one? Today (12/6) the company put it up for preorder on its online store and to nobody’s surprise it sold out in minutes. This is not to say Sony won’t release another batch, but eBay will likely end up being your best bet in the future.

Already own a PS4 and still want to get in on the celebration? Sony’s got you covered: fire up your console, download the latest firmware update, and you’ll be privy to a free PS1 retro theme that takes over your home screen with a predominantly grey color scheme with floating colorful O’s, X’s, Squares, and Triangles. It also features a familiar boot-up sound! Preview the theme here.

Elsewhere in PS Land, Sony is holding its inaugural PlayStation Experience this weekend in Las Vegas. Some cool announcements worth mentioning follow, in brief. Remember when Microsoft offered those customizable console faceplates for its Xbox 360? Well, Sony is following in their footsteps with new faceplates to spruce up the PS4 for those so inclined. “Project Skylight Beta” is currently offering two faceplates at $24.99 apiece featuring designs inspired by the games The Order: 1886 and LittleBigPlanet 3 with more on the way. Removing the console’s current faceplate and snapping in a new one is, well, a snap; Sony demonstrates the painless process here.

Also at PSX, the company held a keynote for fans brimming with upcoming titles for PS4, PS3, and PS Vita. Engadget‘s done a nice job of collecting trailers for the announced games. Ones that popped out for me include this new look at Hello Games’ trippy exploration adventure No Man’s Sky, this first look at Capcom’s fifth major installment in the Street Fighter franchise, and this 15-minute preview of stunning in-game footage from Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Oh, and speaking of games, EA is handing out three free (I’ll reiterate: free) games at this very moment. PS4 owners can download the addictive animated shooter Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, PS3 users can nab the uniquely first person Mirror’s Edge, and handheld Vita gamers are awarded Need for Speed: Most Wanted. You’ll want to hop on this fast–these awesome deals expire tonight at midnight PST/3am EST.

Jump after the break to continue the anniversary celebration with unboxing videos and a special clip featuring Sackboy and the rest of the LittleBigPlanet universe embodying the past 20 years of PlayStation. (Click here for more…)

Sony shows off updated PS Vita and new game console/media streamer for Japanese market

Posted in Images,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on September 9th, 2013

Sony Computer Entertainment held a press conference in Japan today and although all the announcements pertain directly to the Japanese market it’s very likely that some of the announced hardware may make their way to the States and other parts of the world.

First up, Sony made it known that the PS4 will release in Japan on February 22, 2014, almost three full months after the console launches in North America. Yeah, that has got to sting, especially since Sony is based in JP. But remember, the PS3 had launched in Japan six days before it did in America…so…yeah.

Next let’s turn to hardware. Sony flashed a new PS Vita (WiFi only) that is 20 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter than the OG Vita and promises six hours of battery life. The design is mostly the same–you’ll noticed a slightly rounder look. Inside the LED screen has been swapped out for an OLED display, there’s now 1GB of onboard storage and a micro-USB has been added for syncing and charging. The new Vita will come in a bunch of colors such as black, white, lime green, light blue, pink and grey. The proprietary memory cards have fallen in price and a 64GB size has been introduced to the fold. The updated PS Vita releases in Japan October 10 for 18,980 yen (or about $190).

And now to the unexpected. Sony outed a new box to put in front of your television and it’s called the PS Vita TV. It looks like a mini console and allows gamers to play Vita titles on their TV. It comes complete with slots to insert Vita cartridges and memory cards and you control gameplay with a DualShock controller, not the Vita. The Vita TV will support 1,300 Vita games; in other words this “console” will launch with an impressive games lineup. Note, however, that it will not support all Vita titles; big ones like Gravity Rush, Wipeout, and Uncharted are not included on the compatible games list for some reason. In addition to playing games, the Vita TV will also act as a media streamer with access to Sony’s Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited services, Hulu, and more. And when the PS4 comes out, a software update will turn the Vita TV into a Remote Play device akin to how the Vita will become one as well. Vita TV comes to the Japanese market on November 14 with a 9,954 yen price tag. That converts to appox. $100. Should it enter the US market at some point it’d fare as a worthy competitor against Apple TV, Roku, and the like.

Pop into the gallery below to check out the updated PS Vita and the new PS Vita TV. Video after the break.

[Via Engadget 1, 2, 3, 4; Joystiq] (Click here for more…)

Nintendo drops Wii U price, intros Zelda bundle & affordable 2DS portable

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on August 29th, 2013

With the releases of Xbox One and PS4 fast approaching, Nintendo is making moves.

First up, a price drop. The Wii U is shedding $50 and will sell for $299.99 starting September 20. This is the black-coated 32GB “deluxe” Wii U that’s seeing the price decrease. The white 8GB “standard” version remains at $300 but I wouldn’t be surprised if Ninty decided to discontinue what used to be the cheaper model soon. With an even more competitive price tag and an onslaught of anticipated first-party titles coming soon (see below) perhaps the time is nigh to finally pull the trigger and pick up Nintendo’s next-gen entry.

Also hitting shelves on the 20th of September is a limited-edition Wii U bundle packed with the anticipated Gamecube remake The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. At the same $299.99 price point you get the deluxe console, a code to download a digital copy of the Zelda title from the Nintendo eShop (the physical disc doesn’t hit retail until October 4), one GamePad controller adorned with Zelda-inspired gold lettering, and a digital copy of Hyrule Historia, a book that details the chronology, history, and artwork of The Legend of Zelda series.

Next up: new hardware. The Nintendo 3DS is getting a new sibling and its name is 2DS. At $40 less than the 3DS, the 2DS eliminates the ability to play games in eye-popping 3D. Dual screens, cameras, and touch input remain intact, but the original hinge design is replaced with a flat look. The 2DS plays all 3DS games in 2D and it’s backwards compatible with all DS games. When it comes out October 12 for $129.99 it’ll be available in two hues: black/red and black/blue. Watch an introductory video after the break.

Lastly, the house that built Mario is pimping its upcoming games lineup as we near the holiday season. In addition to the aforementioned Zelda title, also in the Wii U pipeline are Wii Party U (10/25), Super Mario 3D World (11/22), Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (12/6), and Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Coming soon to 3DS (and 2DS) are The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (11/22) and Mario Party: Island Tour (11/22). For a list of third party games coming soon to Ninty’s home console and handhelds, jump after the break. (Click here for more…)

Nintendo outs $99 Wii Mini console for Canadians only

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on November 30th, 2012

Shorty after pushing out their next-gen Wii U, Nintendo let loose another new hardware release. The Wii Mini is a miniaturized version of the original Wii featuring an updated matte black with a red border design. It comes packaged with a matching red Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuck Controller. At just $99 the Wii Mini is steal for casual gamers who’ve fully embraced motion control gaming. To lower the price to such an affordable level, Nintendo removed the console’s Internet capabilities and GameCube backwards compatibility. The Wii Mini is designed exclusively to play Wii games, and that’s it. “It’s a great value for first-time Wii owners who just want to jump in and experience all the great Wii games that helped usher in a revolution in motion-controlled gaming,” says Ninty in a press release. For the time being, the redesigned Wii will ship exclusively in Canada come December 7. I find it interesting that it’s not simultaneously releasing Stateside, and I’d be surprised if it didn’t penetrate our marketplace soon.

Sony outs redesigned PlayStation 3, and other announcements from TGS 2012

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on September 20th, 2012

At this year’s Tokyo Game Show, Sony announced a new smaller and lighter PlayStation 3. This marks the second time the PS3 has gone under the knife since its debut in 2006. Here are the most significant changes, according to the PlayStation maker:

Thanks to a complete redesign of the internal architecture, the volume and weight of the new PS3 has been reduced by more than half compared to the very first PS3 model with a 60GB HDD, and by 20% and 25% respectively compared to the current PS3. By adopting a sliding disk cover, the new PS3 continues with the characteristic sleek curved body design, which fits various places in the home and enables users to enjoy an array of entertainment content.

Starting September 25, Sony will sell the newly redesigned PS3 in a $269.99 bundle that includes a 250GB HDD, a copy of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception: Game of the Year Edition, and a voucher to download bonus content for the game DUST 514. About a month later on October 30, a 500GB varient will release and come bundled with Assassin’s Creed III; pricing is still TBD. A white version and one with 16GB Flash storage were also unveiled, but these are exclusive to Japan for now. Browse the gallery below for a closer look at the even slimmer PS3.

Also announced at TGS is that PlayStation Plus is coming to the PS Vita. If you’re already a member of Plus on the PS3, there will be no entry fee to port your status to the portable. If you’re a new subscribers you’ll be able to choose from two options: $18 for 90 days or $50 for one year. Plus features for Vita include an Instant Game Collection, discounts for games and DLC, online game storage, automatic updates and trophy sync. Plus for Vita launches this November.

Lastly, Sony announced that PlayStation Mobile is coming to smartphones and tablets on October 3. PSM promises to bring “PlayStation-like” game experiences to PlayStation-Certified devices. Said devices will come from partners like HTC, Fujitsu, Sharp, and of course Sony.

And in related PS news, the augmented reality experience known as Wonderbook will ship November 13. For $79 you get the hardcover Wonderbook that’s filled with AR codes, a PlayStation Eye camera and a Move controller, and the Wonderbook launch title featuring source material from J.K. Rowling Book of Spells. This bundle is all that’ll be available this year, but Sony says to look forward to next year when new Wonderbook titles Diggs: Nightcrawler, BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs, and others from Disney will come out to play.

[Via PS Blog 1, 2, 3, 4]

Limited edition ‘Halo’ Xbox 360 to release day-and-date with ‘Halo 4’ this fall

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on July 22nd, 2012

Halo 4 lands November 4, and to celebrate the start of a new trilogy from developer 343 Industries Microsoft is coming out with a limited edition Halo themed Xbox 360 console decked out in a grey-and-blue hue. $400 will net you the 320GB console, two Halo themed wireless controllers, a wired headset, a standard edition copy of Halo 4, and tokens for exclusive in-game and avatar marketplace DLC. What is typically a green glow around the console’s power button and the controller’s Xbox button is replaced by a blue glow to match the overall color scheme. Also, the console features in-game sound effects that can be heard when you turn the console on and press the disc eject button. If you want a slice of the Halo hardware without putting down four Benjamins you can opt to get the wireless controller that will sell standalone at $60 that same day. Get your preorder on at Amazon today. Soak it all up in the gallery below.

[Via Major Nelson]

Nintendo refreshes the Wii’s look, drops GameCube compatibility, keeps $150 price tag

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on October 18th, 2011

The house that built Mario has gone ahead and slightly tweaked the exterior design of their family friendly console the Wii. The hardware refresh introduces a more streamlined look and is meant to sit horizontally rather than stand vertically. At the same time, Nintendo decided to drop GameCube compatibility meaning that the redesigned console will not be able to play GameCube games. The new bundle, which packs the newly configured Wii in black, New Super Mario Bros., a Super Mario Galaxy soundtrack CD, a black Wii Remote Plus controller, and a black Nunchuk will hit stores October 23. Now get this: there is no price drop and the Wii will continue to sell for $149.99. In a press release Ninty went on to state that the current Wii bundle (which includes Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuk controllers, Mario Kart Wii, the Wii Wheel accessory, and GameCube backwards compatibility) will continue to sell at the $150 price point. So when you’re shopping this holiday season, make sure you get the right bundle! In this case, functionality trumps aesthetics especially if you have a solid library of GameCube games.

[Via Nintendo]

Glossy Xbox 360 to be discontinued

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on August 16th, 2011

According to Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson, all shiny Xbox 360 consoles are being phased out. Here’s the news straight from the horse’s mouth:

We are actively transitioning all our Xbox 360 S consoles to a matte finish.  The consoles will start to arrive in stores over the coming weeks, so if you really love the idea of a glossy console don’t wait much longer.

And there you have it. ‘Tis a sad day for fans of the glossy sheen. Major Nelson goes on to assure gamers, however, that future Limited Edition consoles such as the upcoming Gears of War 3-themed console might just bring back the glossy look from time to time. But if you’re in the market for a standard shiny black Xbox 360, today’s the day to order up.

[Via MajorNelson]

Xbox getting cloud saves, beacons, wheel controller & Gears of War console

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on June 10th, 2011

Though none of these items were announced during Microsoft’s E3 keynote, there are certainly worthy of mention here. According to a recently outed Microsoft press release (in full after the break), cloud saves and beacons are coming to Xbox Live.

“Cloud Storage for Game Saves and LIVE Profile” — Here at Xbox LIVE we listen to your feedback. We are making it easier for you to sign into your Xbox LIVE account from any console at any time to access your game saves and full profile, including items such as Microsoft Points to make purchases, Achievements and friends. Cloud storage will allow you to enjoy the same great Xbox LIVE gaming experience even when you’re not in your own living room by giving you the option to store your “game saves” securely in the Xbox LIVE cloud instead of on a portable memory unit or your console’s hard drive. Gone are the days of “gamertag recovery.” Now all you need to do is sign in, no matter where you are!

“Beacons” — We want to make it easy for you to connect with friends over your favorite games on Xbox LIVE, so we are introducing Beacons to the service. Beacons are a way to tell your Xbox LIVE and Facebook friends that you want to play a game on Xbox LIVE. By setting a Beacon, you tell Xbox LIVE what you want to play. Then, Xbox LIVE lets you know when friends are playing or want to play the same game. With Beacons, no matter what you’re currently doing on Xbox LIVE your friends know that it’s ok to ask you to play your Beaconed games. Imagine sending out a Beacon to let your friends know you’re interested in playing “Halo,” while watching a movie on Netflix. It’s about making it easier for you to share and discover games and multiplayer opportunities with friends on Xbox LIVE.

In addition to these new software enhancements, a new accessory and limited edition console are coming out of Redmond, too. First up is the Xbox 360 Wireless Speed Wheel. It’s “completely wireless and controlled intuitively with precise steering, standard controller buttons/triggers, and haptic feedback with rumble.” It even includes “green bands of lights on each handle to provide visual cues when necessary.” And according to Microsoft it is compatible with all racing games right out of the box. But you know gamers will likely pair it with their new copy of Forza Motorsport 4. The wheel releases in early October for a cool $59.99.

Next and last is the Gears of War 3 limited edition console. For $400 Gears fans will get the exclusive red and black console design with two matching wireless controllers, a 320GB hard drive built-in, a wired headset, some DLC, and a copy of the game. And get this–“the power and eject buttons have been customized with unique sounds from the Gears of War universe. Drops September 20. Dig the controller design but don’t need a new Xbox? Come August 11 gamers can purchase it separately for $59.99. Check out images courtesy of Joystiq in the gallery below.

[Via Engadget 1, 2; MajorNelson]

(Click here for more…)

E3 2011: Nintendo Press Conference

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on June 7th, 2011

It’s Nintendo’s turn to show off their latest and greatest in software and hardware. Hint hint. Onward and downward (and Skyward) we go…

  • The presser kicked off in brilliant fashion with a large orchestra playing classic tunes from the Zelda franchise. To celebrate 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, Ninty is making a Zelda game for each of their systems. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (1993) is coming to the Nintendo 3DS today as a download in the now accessibleeShop. It’s the first Game Boy Color title to be added to the eShop’s Virtual Console. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, the remastered N64 classic, ships for the 3DS next weekend; hint movies and Master Quest and Boss Challenge modes included. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords comes to the DS as a free download in DSiWare in September. And lastly Skyward Sword has been confirmed to ship this holiday season for the Wii. A limited edition gold Wiimote with the Triforce emblem on it will ship alongside the game, MotionPlus tech built-in. Nintendo will hold The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony concerts this year in “each region of the world.” If you can’t attend one, the company is releasing two Zelda music CDs. Those who register Ocarina of Time 3D with Club Nintendo will get “The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D Official Soundtrack” and a CD with recordings from the 25th anniversary concert will ship when Skyward Sword does later this year.
  • Nintendo is ready to immensely expand upon the 3DS games lineup by bringing classic Nintendo characters and franchises to the portable system and they are: Mario Kart (with kart hang gliders and underwater race tracks…out this holiday season); Star Fox 64 3D (you can make use of the handheld’s accelerometer and control Fox in the sky by physically turning and moving the system…in multiplayer mode the camera facing you will capture your face and tag it to your spaceship so friends can watch your reactions in real time…out in September); Super Mario (raccoon suit is back!, out “before year is over”); Kid Icarus: Uprising (features 3-on-3 multiplayer combat and augmented reality functionality using the AR Cards to pit (get it?) characters against one another…out later this year); Luigi’s Mansion 2 (it’s not a remaster of the Gamecube classic, it’s a totally new game that includes “several new mansions”); other 3DS titles coming soon: Ace Combat 3D, Tetris, Cave Story 3D; Resident Evil: Mercenaries and Revelations, Driver: Renegade, Pac-ManGalaga DimensionsTekken 3D, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D.
  • President of Nintendo of America ReggieFils-Aime then went on to talk up the recent 3DS software update that brought the eShop and Internet browser to the handheld. Ninty promises that more Game Boy and Game Boy Color classics are on the way. Free Excitebike 3D for everyone for a limited time. Pokedex 3D is available exclusively through the eShop and also comes free. For more on the update, click here!
  • Quite arguably the biggest and most exciting news to come out of E3 thus far was Nintendo’s unveil of the Wii successor. It’s called Wii U and it releases next year. “It’s a system for everyone, but it’s tailor made for you.” Instead of focusing on the system itself, though, Nintendo decided to spill most of the details surrounding the brand new controller design. The controller packs a 6.2-inch display and allows gameplay to take place away from the TV. Nintendo set up this example: Say you’re playing a Wii U game in the living room on the big screen TV and someone walks in and watch to watch live TV. You can easily pause your game and transfer the full experience to your controller and continue right from where you left off on the 6.2-inch screen. The bond between you and the TV has been cut. Wii U games get wirelessly beamed to the controller; one’s precise proximity to the console to make this work was not specified. Besides this awesome function, the controller provides endless possibilities  for developers. “In single-player games: The new controller can display information on its screen that does not appear on the TV; The information and viewpoint can also change in the new controller based on the orientation of its gyroscope. In multiplayer games: The player using the new controller can have a different experience than those looking at the TV; This will offer a wide variety of competitive and cooperative opportunities.” Oh, the controller can do even more. The front-facing camera can be used to initiate video calls, you can flick content (i.e. pictures and videos) from the controller to your TV screen, and you can run a web browser on it. Make sure you check out this introduction video to get a sense for how it’ll work.
  • Next let’s talk hardware specifics. In addition to the 6.2-inch touchscreen display, the controller also has an inward-facing camera, an accelerometer and a gyroscope, a rumble feature, microphone and speakers, a stylus, and the following buttons: two analog Circle Pads, a D-Pad, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons and ZL/ZR buttons. The Wii U console can be paired to one Wii U controller and four additional Wii Remote or Wii Remote Plus controllers. The system is also backward compatible and can play all Wii games and use all Wii accessories. Though Nintendo’s keeping mum on console specifications, it’s confirmed that full HD 1080p support is there. It will support connections to the TV via HDMI, component, S-video and composite cables. Four USB 2.0 ports and an SD card slot complement the internal flash memory. IBM will provide processor that beats inside. Aesthetically, the console looks like the Wii but with rounder edges. It was show in white. Also, Nintendo has hinted that the Wii U will boast better online capabilities.
  • Dig this games lineup: From in-house — Super Smash Bros. is coming to Wii U and 3DS! From third party people — Darksiders 2Batman: Arkham City, TekkenAssassin’s CreedLego City Stories (coming to 3DS too), Ghost Recon OnlineDiRTAliens: Colonial MarinesMetro: Last LightNinja Gaiden 3: Razer’s Edge…and EA’s bringing Battlefield, Army of Two, and many others to Wii U.  Hardcore games are making their way to a Nintendo-made console, at long last. The company’s goal is to provide deeper gameplay and wider appeal with the Wii U, and with the upgraded graphics, better online capabilities, and the unique controller scheme I have full confidence Nintendo will strike a balanced chord with hardcore and casual gamers alike.

Once again Nintendo has beat Microsoft and Sony at the E3 press conference wars. Nostalgia is a powerful weapon and Nintendo knows just how to use it to their advantage. The 3DS is about to get a major boost in popularity with Mario, Luigi, Star Fox, and Pit coming to the handheld this year. Zelda’s star is shines brighter than ever 25 years later. And with the introduction of the Wii U gamers get to anticipate an entirely new and innovative way to interact with their video games. Nintendo made clear that the Wii U’s controller was “not designed to be a portable game machine” even though it’s in the shape of one. Surely more details will surface in the coming months. For now, peep the gallery below for a closer look at the super intriguing controller and the Wii U console.

Nintendo confirms Wii successor, to be previewed in June, released in 2012

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on April 25th, 2011

Gamers, listen here! Today the house that built Mario formally announced the Wii successor. Sure details are sparse, but at least we’ve got confirmation that something new and exciting is on the way, and it’s coming sooner than you might think. In a press statement out of Japan, Nintendo refers to their next-gen console as the “Wii’s Successor System” and they say a “playable model” will be shown off at E3 in early June, followed by a launch in 2012.

What can gamers expect from the next-gen Wii? The only official word to come out of Nintendo (besides the aforementioned press release which is sitting after the break) is provided by company president Satoru Iwata: “We would like to propose a new approach to home video game consoles. It’s difficult to make 3-D images a key feature, because 3-D televisions haven’t obtained wide acceptance yet.” They’ve managed to bring glasses-free 3D to their portable 3DS, but the technology to make the magic work on larger scale just isn’t there yet. So what then might Iwata be referring to when he hints at a “new approach” to video games?

Late last week Kotaku reported that, according to undisclosed sources, the next-gen Wii will utilize an entirely new breed of controller. In addition to housing eight buttons and two analog sticks, the new controller is rumored to also boast a 6.2 inch screen and a camera. They say: “The 6.2-inch screen will receive data wirelessly from the Nintendo console and presents an array of options, from putting the player’s inventory or map on the controller screen, to allowing players to combine it with the controller’s camera to snap photos that could be imported into a game or even turning it into some sort of glorified viewfinder (we’re unclear about whether the camera on the controller points at the player or can be outward-facing; we’ve heard both — maybe it swivels?).” Then they propose: “You could think of the new Nintendo console as turning your living room into a glorified mega-DS…. your TV is the upper-screen; your controller is the lower touchscreen.”

Other Wii 2 rumors to chew on… The new controller will not replace existing Wii-motes, as the system is said to be backwards compatible with all current Wii games. The often labeled Wii HD will be capable of running games at HD resolutions (up to 1080p) and it will be more powerful than current-gen systems (read: Xbox 360, PS3). And finally, the next-gen Wii is internally referred to by its codename “Project Cafe,” so go around saying that to your friends if you want to act all cool like you know everything. Though these rumors are certainly intriguing, let’s all anticipate the E3 reveal where Ninty will formally lay out the specifications, controller scheme(s), and perhaps a launch lineup.

[Via Joystiq (1) (2) (3), Bloomberg] (Click here for more…)

The History of Gaming told through a first-person perspective

Posted in Design,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on January 16th, 2011

A gang of game design students hailing from Munich shot this “History of Gaming” piece.  The first-person perspective takes us on a journey spanning from 1958’s Tennis for Two (played on an oscilloscope) through 1996’s Super Mario 64, and up to 2008’s Rock Band.  Although it doesn’t include every video game console invented it does cover the wide gamut.  And as much as this is a tour of video games it also reveals the steady progression of television screen technology (ranging from the old CRTs to the modern LCD flatscreens).  Click the Vimeo source link to learn more about the making of this video.

[Via Kotaku; Vimeo]

320GB PlayStation 3 is Move-less

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on November 1st, 2010

Want a 320GB PlayStation 3 console but don’t care for the PlayStation Move motion accessory?  Sony’s got you covered.  Earlier this week the makers of PS3 introduced a new SKU into the market.  For $349.99 you get the 320GB PS3 console (the largest storage capacity next-gen console) and a DualShock 3 controller.  This new standalone PS3 model is available today.  But before you decide to make a decision at the counter, take into consideration your other options.  (1) For $50 less you can get the 160GB PS3; (2) for $50 more you can get the 320GB PS3 w/ Move bundle (which includes one Move controller and Sports Champion game).  Don’t need the large capacity?  Absolutely sure you don’t want to get off the couch and interact with games in a new way?  Ultimately, the choice is yours.

[Via PlayStationBlog]

Nintendo Wii Remote Plus comes stateside for $39.99, bundled inside celebratory red Wii console

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on October 21st, 2010

We knew it was coming, but Nintendo has made it official.  The Wii Remote Plus (or the newly designed Wii-mote with the MotionPlus accessory built inside) is coming to U.S. Wii players for an exciting low price of $39.99.  Ninty confirms the Wii Remote Plus will become the new standard Wii-mote to come stuffed inside all Wii packages and bundles when it releases November 7.  It will come in the following tints: white, pink, blue, and black.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original Super Mario Bros. game, Nintendo decided to deck out the Wii in a red coat of paint for Japanese gamers.  Today I am happy to announce that the company who invented Mario is bringing the celebratory console to the States.  In addition to the red Wii console, the limited edition bundle includes a red Wii Remote Plus and matching Nunchuck, Wii Sports, and a copy of New Super Mario Bros. Wii.  The bundle costs $199.99 and ships November 7.

But the fun doesn’t stop there!  A special-edition Nintendo DSi XL bundle lands November 7, too.  The red DSi XL features three iconic Super Mario Bros.-themed graphics and comes bundled with a copy of Mario Kart DS and preloaded with Brain Age games and a Photo Clock.  It’s priced at 179.99.

Let’s hear it for the most iconic video game characher ever–happy birthday Mario!

[Via Joystiq]

PlayStation pimps its new PS3 models

Posted in Image cache,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on August 19th, 2010

On Tuesday Sony revealed two new PlayStation 3 SKUs.  The first is a plain jane PS3 with a 160GB hard drive.  It replaces the older SKU and keeps the same price of $299.99.  Buy it today.  The second model is a PS3 + PlayStation Move bundle.  Price at $399.99, it packs a 320GB hard drive and comes packed with one PS Move controller, one PlayStation Eye camera, a copy of Sports Champions, and a game demo disc.  The bundle will hit store shevles September 19, the same date PS Move launches.

[Via PlayStationBlog]

A montage of every video games console, like ever

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on August 6th, 2010

Sit back, relax, and let the nostalgia sink in.

[Via Gizmodo]

Kinect for Xbox 360 priced at $149.99, bundles plus new Xbox model announced

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on July 22nd, 2010

We finally have a release date and price to marry.  Kinect for Xbox 360, the advanced motion-tracking camera that aims to get games off the couch and into the game (so to speak), will release on November 4 for $149.99.  That’s a bit steeper than most had anticipated, but watchagonnado?  Now let’s talk bundles.  When you buy Kinect standalone for $149.99, the action/adventure game Kinect Adventures! comes packaged inside.  Speaking of Kinect titles, Microsoft says that all first-party Kinect-supported games will run $49.99 a pop (that’s ten bucks less than “standard” retail games).  In doing this Microsoft hopes to make this pricing standard for Kinect games, but they will leave third-party Kinect games up to the discretion of the developers.  Only Dance Central, the exercise disguised as a dancing game from MTV Games and Harmonix, has followed suit with a $49.99 price tag so far.  Kinect will also be bundled with a brand new Xbox 360 console.  This new SKU is similar to the new 250GB Xbox 360 announced at E3; it’s still “whisper quiet” and comes packed with a WiFi N-adapter.  What it lacks is the large HDD and shiny aesthetics.  The cheaper SKU will feature 4GB of internal flash memory and a black matte finish (as opposed to the 250GB Xbox’s glossy finish).  The new console will come with an empty HDD bay, leaving the option open for Microsoft to ship to market a HDD for expandable storage.  The new 4GB Xbox 360 will cost $199.99 and release on August 3.  The Kinect + Kinect Adventures! w/ 4GB Xbox 360 bundle will go for $299 and release alongside the Kinect standalone sensor on November 4.

Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg shared the reasoning behind the bundle pricing scheme: “We’re currently a full $100 less than the PS Move bundle which is $400, which is a single player experience. Obviously if you add a second player to that they get well over $500 pretty quickly.”  He also says that by setting the Kinect w/ console bundle price at $299 (fifty bucks cheaper than buying everything separately), this will help draw in new potential gamers and expand the market.  Look after the break for the full PR.

[Via IGN; Engadget]

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Microsoft press conference highlights: Kinect, ESPN, Xbox slim

Posted in [experience-it-all],Images,Technology by Scott Meisner on June 15th, 2010

Microsoft kicked off E3 2010 in unique fashion with their Project Natal for Xbox 360 Experience featuring a Cirque du Soleil crew.  Next they kicked things into high gear with their media briefing at the Wiltern Theatre.  Ready, set…

The press conference began with a number of game trailers and real-time demos.  First up was Treyarch with Call of Duty: Black Ops.  It releases November 9.  It was announced that Microsoft & Activision signed a multi-year agreement pertaining to Call of Duty downloadable content.  Starting with Black Ops in 2010, all Call of Duty add-ons and map packs will launch first on Xbox 360 through 2012.

Next was Kojima Productions with Metal Gear Solid: Rising.  It’s being described as a “sword action game” that’s based on the Japanese terms “zan-datzu” which means “to cut” and “to take.”  A brief trailer revealed that the game will feature protagonist Raiden slicing and dicing his way past enemies (and watermelon).

Then Xbox’s major blockbusters hit the stage.  Epic’s Cliffy B. demonstrated Gears of War 3 which is due out April 5.  A new mode called “Beast” will be detailed soon.  Then Lionhead Studios’ Peter Molyneux showed off a trailer for Fable III; it releases October the 26th.  And things rounded out with a new trailer for Halo: Reach, “the most ambitious game Bungie has ever created.”  The trailer was a mix of gameplay footage and cinematic cut scenes.  Reach drops September 14.  Also thrown into the mix was a new game from Crytek codenamed Kingdoms; it looks like a game based on the move 300.  (*Each game title is linked to their respective E3 trailers/gameplay footage.)

Kinect for Xbox 360, formally known as Project Natal, was detailed.  “Kinect detects both movement and sound in very sophisticated ways.”  An image revealed the guts of the motion-sensing device; it contains two 3D depth sensors, an RGB camera, multi-array mic, and a motorized tilt.  “When you combine the power of Xbox 360, the services of Xbox Live, and the magic of Kinect, the result is not just a revolution for your games, but for all of your entertainment.”  Enter the Kinect Hub.

To get your Xbox 360 to recognize you, simply stand in front of Kinect, wave your hand, and the software will sign you into Xbox Live and bring up your custom avatar.  Wave your hand a second time and you’re brought to a “controller-free menu” designed for Kinect gestures.  The Kinect Hub allows you to interact with your games, friends, Netflix, Zune, Facebook,, and also customize your avatar.  Thanks to the built-in mic, voice control is also accessible.  Their motto is “if you see it, just say it.”  You must precede all commands with “Xbox.”  So for example, if you say “Xbox, Zune” the Zune hub loads up and now you have access to Zune Video, and now, Zune Music.  Over seven million songs are now available over Xbox Live with Zune Music integration.  With controller-free entertainment that’s “natural and effortless” you can also play/pause movies with your voice and rewind/fast-forward them with your hands.  To select a piece of content simply hover your hand over it for a couple seconds.

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Nintendo Wii shines in a new black coat

Posted in Images,Technology by Scott Meisner on November 2nd, 2009

Too bad there are no plans for bringing this limited edition model of the Wii to the states.  We’ll just have to make due with black Wii-motes and nunchucks which are due out November 16.

[Via Gamespot]

Wii’s darker side

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on July 15th, 2009

The new black Wii hardware releases on August 1st in Japan.  Show America some love, Nintendo.

[Via Joystiq]