On Wednesday Sony took the stage in New York to formally introduce their next-generation console, the PlayStation 4. Though the company failed to show industry developers, members of the press, and gamers watching a live stream from all around the world what the actual console looks like, it did reveal two new PS4 accessories (namely the DualShock 4 wireless controller and the PlayStation 4 Eye motion sensing camera) and it did go into some detail about how powerful and socially integrated the system is. Read on to learn everything there is to know about Sony’s next-gen vid-game console. (Click here for more…)
Ahead of the Electronic Entertainment Expo that officially begins on Tuesday, Nintendo has kicked off the festivities with a “Nintendo Direct Pre E3 2012″ video featuring the company’s president Satoru Iwata and the upcoming Wii successor. He informs the press and gamers around the world that Nintendo’s E3 press conference will focus mostly on Wii U software, and so the Pre-E3 video is used as a platform to expand upon Wii U hardware and social infrastructure.
First, Iwata unveiled the final product version of the Wii U’s tablet-esque controller that is now officially called the Wii U GamePad. (The name is derived from the original NES controller that was also referred to as a “GamePad” since it was the first of its kind to not feature a joystick.) The controller has been tweaked and refined since its prototype days to provide maximized comfort. Most significantly, the two Circle Pads are have replaced by clickable analog sticks. Underneath the D-pad there’s a marker for the controller’s built-in NFC functionality; it is here where gamers will be able to place physical objects to enhance gameplay. The plus and minus buttons have been moved to the right side of the controller underneath the ABXY buttons. Along the bottom underneath the touch-capable screen is a new button labeled TV Control; clicking it opens up a TV remote app that turns your GamePad into an infrared remote control and guide for channel surfing. Around back the grips have been slightly transformed to improve ergonomics.
Next, Iwata unveiled a new accessory for the Wii U. Yet another controller and this one’s called the Wii U Pro Controller. Taking design cues from the original Wii’s Pro controller and Microsoft’s Xbox controller, Iwata describes the new peripheral as a “lighter, and maybe more attractive for longer, more intense forms of gaming” alternative to the GamePad. As you’ll notice in the gallery below, the Pro Controller is shown off sporting a slick coat of black; perhaps this is a sign that the Wii U will also come in black when it ships later this year.
Iwata wrapped things up by introducing Nintendo’s giant leap into the social space with Miiverse. When you turn on your Wii U, the Miiverse serves as your homescreen. It looks like Mii Plaza from the current Wii, with all your custom-made Miis mingling around a big white space, but this is so much more than that. Miiverse brings together your avatar, all the avatars you’ve created on the console, your friends’ avatars, and avatars of people from your country that are playing the same games as you. Miis are organized around the games and apps they are currently involved with. You can interact with this giant community of Miis via text messages and drawings that are sent through the GamePad. In addition to sharing messages to gamers in your locality and around the world, you can capture screenshots from games and share these too. Iwata says that developers will be able to take advantage of this messaging system inside their games to make for a more communal gaming experience. (Iwata makes the point that even if you are playing a game alone in your living room, you are not truly alone because the sense of community with the Miiverse is always there.) Iwata confirms that the Miiverse is destined to bring Nintendo gamers together like never before by making it accessible through web browsers on PCs, smartphones, and of course Ninty’s portable offering the 3DS. This social expansion, however, will not be available immediately at launch.
E3 is just around the corner, and Nintendo is ready to show off what really counts (read: the games) when they take the stage for their press conference on Tuesday at 9AM PST. The Wii U hardware and social network contain a goldmine of gaming potential, but in the end it always comes down to the software lineup. Will Nintendo impress with games beyond their typical lineup of first-party gems starring the company’s mascots Mario, Zelda, and Metroid? Keep it right here for the latest from Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony as E3 kicks off later this week.
Check out the gallery below to see pictures of the final Wii U GamePad, the Wii U Pro Controller, and glimpses at the Miiverse interface. Jump after the break to watch Iwata’s half-hour Pre-E3 clip.
If you’ve been thinking about upgrading your Xbox 360 controllers or adding an additional one to the mix, I highly recommend you opt for one of these brand spankin’ new chrome models. Microsoft is branding them the Xbox 360 Special Edition Chrome Series Wireless Controllers and they will come in hues of red, silver, and blue when they hit the market mid-May at $54.99 each. The chrome controllers feature the “transforming D-pad” that Microsoft introduced in the matte silver version back in August 2010. Check ‘em out in the gallery below and let the oos and ahhs commence. Heck, even the packaging is drool-worthy.
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-Man, Galaga Dimensions, Tekken 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 2, Batman: Arkham City, Tekken, Assassin’s Creed, Lego City Stories (coming to 3DS too), Ghost Recon Online, DiRT, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Metro: Last Light, Ninja 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.
The suits at Sony have something to smile about. Today the company reported having shipped 1 million PlayStation Move controllers in North and Latin America in the first 30 days of availability. SCEA CEO Jack Tretton is enthused to say the least. “Retail demand is incredibly strong and we’re working hard to keep the product in stock”, he said. “We believe consumers have already shown their preference for a precise, interactive game experience. We are on target to meet our end of year goals and expect sales to increase as our publishers and developers continue to update popular titles and introduce new games.” This is certainly great news for Sony, but Joystiq makes a solid point when they say this announcement does not help you figure the precise install base of the new motion controller. Many PS3 owners likely purchased more than one Move for two-hand and multiplayer functionality. Still, this does not take away the fact that Sony has something powerful in their (er, our) hands. Right now there’s 24 Move-supported titles out, with 17 more promised before the year runs out. I gotta get my Move on. Full PR after the break.
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!
Today Xbox’s Major Nelson showed off a newly designed Xbox 360 wireless controller. Right off the bat you will notice the new color scheme. The controller is now colored matte silver and the ABXY buttons have lost their vibrant colors (green, red, blue, yellow) to match the controller body. The two analog sticks are slightly more concave now, too. What you might not notice instantly in the pictures but you certainly will when the controller is in your hands is the brand new D-pad. For years Xbox gamers have complained about the lack of a raised D-pad, but now this issue can be put to rest. Microsoft has patented a “transforming D-pad”. In the standard configuration the D-pad is a disc (that’s what we’re sued to). With the new controller you can now twist the D-pad to raise the plus sign about a quarter-inch making it a whole lot more usable (especially for gamers who play boxing games where D-pad use is of the utmost importance).
The new controller will be available November 9 and will only be found inside the $64.99 Play & Charge Kit. Microsoft has not stated if/when the new controller will replace the old model outside of the P&C Kit and whether or not it will ever be bundled in the new 250GB Xbox 360 package. Look after the break to watch Major Nelson hold up the controller in all its gray glory.
In an interview with Famitsu magazine (translated by 1Up), the man behind the external design of every Sony PlayStation console, controller, and other accessories shared the motivation behind many of his design choices. When referring to the original PlayStation, Teiyu Goto shared that “the console itself was a relatively easy design process, but we went through a great number of stages with the controller.” During the early stages of design, Sony management insisted that the controller not look and function much differently from the SNES controller (see top right). “The Super NES was a huge hit at the time, and naturally we wanted SNES gamers to upgrade to our system,” said Goto. “That’s why the management department didn’t want the controller to be a radical departure — they said it had to be a standard type of design, or gamers wouldn’t accept it.” Though management was against Goto’s idea of molding a controller with grips at both ends instead of creating a flat, SNES-like design, Goto (with support from then-Sony president Norio Ohga) was given the green light to move forward with his radical new approach.
And here’s the bombshell. Goto finally made known the meanings behind the four face buttons that continue to live on in the PlayStation brand:
“Other game companies at the time assigned alphabet letters or colors to the buttons. We wanted something simple to remember, which is why we went with icons or symbols, and I came up with the triangle-circle-X-square combination immediately afterward. I gave each symbol a meaning and a color. The triangle refers to viewpoint; I had it represent one’s head or direction and made it green. Square refers to a piece of paper; I had it represent menus or documents and made it pink. The circle and X represent ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision-making and I made them red and blue respectively. People thought those colors were mixed up, and I had to reinforce to management that that’s what I wanted.”
And now you know.
Hey all you GoldenEye 007 junkies! Ready for your long-awaited fix when the next-gen GoldenEye releases for Wii this holiday season? Well I’ve got some good news that’ll make your holiday shopping bag a tad bit heavier. The new GoldenEye game will be released alongside a golden gun-inspired Wii Classic Controller Pro. Though the Classic Controller Pro is not required for gameplay, it’ll add that extra bit of old school nostalgia to make the experience all the better thanks to a familiar control scheme. The controller will ship this fall bundled with a “Classic Edition” of the game for $69.99. It has not been announced if it will be available separately.
Yesterday at the Game Developer’s Conference Sony finally made official the PlayStation Motion Controller as PlayStation Move. Dubbed the “next generation of motion gaming,” PS Move will take on Nintendo’s Wii-mote directly with a wireless Move controller and sub-controller (don’t call it a nunchuck). Paired with the PlayStation Eye (Sony’s webcam device for the PS3) the PS Move will become an “extension of your body” with near 1:1 motion precision and accuracy. Sony says the Move’s latency is about the same to that of its DualShock 3 controller (about a 1fps delay). The Move contains “advanced motion sensors, including a three-axis gyroscope, a three-axis accelerometer, and a terrestrial magnetic field sensor, as well as a color-changing sphere that is tracked by PlayStation Eye camera.”
So what differentiates the Move controller from the Wii-mote? The answer lies in the Z-plane. The PS Eye tracks the colored sphere at the front of the controller and can sense when you are moving closer to or farther away from the on-screen action. The Eye+Motion setup will be able to detect motion in 3D space (the Z-plane) far more effectively than the Wii-mote+Wii sensor bar configuration (especially if you don’t have the WiiMotionPlus add-on). Other differences from the Wii-mote: the controller and sub-controller wirelessly pair to the PS3 via Bluetooth, they are USB-powered (no batteries), and the sub-controller does not have a motion sensor (the Wii nunchuck does). Also, since the PS Eye can capture images and voice, augmented reality experiences can incorporated into games.
Sony’s plan is to market the PS Move not just to casual games but also to the rabid hardcore, FPS-lovin’ group of gamers. They’ve come out and said that 36 third party developers and publishers are on board to make games supporting the new motion controller, promising that over 20 games “that are either dedicated to or supported with the PlayStation Move platform” will release this year. At the GDC press conference Sony announced the following Motion-supported games, many with tentative titles: Move Party (collection of mini-games with augmented reality features); Sports Champions (think Wii Sports on the PS3; demos included table tennis, sword fighting, and archery); SOCOM 4; TV Superstars; Slider; The Shoot; Motion Fighter; Eye-Pet; and Brunswick Pro Bowling. Click here to see Joystiq’s hands on coverage of the games.
PlayStation Move will be made available for purchase in three ways come Holiday 2010: a starter kit includes the PS Move controller, PS Eye, and a game and will sell for under $100; you can buy the Move controller standalone; or you can get a PS3 console bundled with the Move controller. An exact launch date and definitive pricing details will surface as we get closer to the holiday season.
A motion controller for the PS3 is coming soon. Question is, how will it fare in competition with the Nintendo Wii and the forthcoming Microsoft Project Natal? Wii-like motion controls being implemented into both casual and hardcore games in high definition sounds tempting, but it all comes down to execution. If Sony lives up to its promise and makes sure to release a decent variety of motion-supported games inside the launch window the new controller will likely be embraced by many PS3 users. PlayStation Move will find a niche in the gaming community, especially with a sub-$100 price tag. Motion-detection offers a new way to experience video games; in particular it invites users to become more immersed in the games they play (like what 3D did with Avatar). With Wii living in the stone ages (graphics/lack of hardcore third party games support) and hype for Project Natal growing louder every day, the ball is in Sony’s court and it’s up to them to get this right.
Look after the break for the Sony press release and the Move introduction video. The gallery below contains the first official press shots of the controller and sub-controller.
Last we heard the tentitively titled PlayStation Motion Controller was due out this Spring. But that was too good to be true, am I right? Sony has gone ahead and delayed the mystical motion controller until “fall 2010″ globally. The delay affects the following countries: Japan, Asia, North America, and Europe. Why the delay? Kaz Hirai, President and Group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.: “We have decided to release the Motion Controller in fall 2010 when we will be able to offer an exciting and varied line-up of software titles that will deliver the new entertainment experience to PS3 users.” They gotta pump out the games before the accessory is let out into the wild. Makes sense. With Microsoft’s Project Natal slated to release “Holiday 2010″ the final quarter of this year looks like it’s going to be an exciting one for gamers. Full press release after the break.