Tag Archives: Video games

PlayStation 4 gets a mid-cycle boost with PS4 Pro: all the details inside

Sony announced not one but two new video game consoles this week at its PlayStation Meeting at the newly dubbed PlayStation Theatre in Times Square, New York. The first console unveiled, which was widely expected to launch here,  was the PS4 Slim. Of course, Sony doesn’t call it that officially, but it’s something gamers have become accustomed to during a console’s lifecycle. The updated PS4 is slimmer, lighter, and more energy efficient than the original model–it’s about 30 percent smaller and cuts power consumption by 28 percent to be more precise. Other minor differences: it boasts faster Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac), a third USB 3.1 port around the back, and the optical port’s been removed. Other than that, it’s got the same guts and glory that the OG PS4 always had. The heftier PS4 will phase out of market when PS4 Slim drops September 15. For $299, you get the console fitted with a 500GB HDD, a copy of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and an slightly updated version of the DualShock 4 wireless controller. The new DS4 features a secondary light bar above the touch pad, as well as USB communication. Preorder today.

Now let’s move onto the most exciting news of the event. “We realized that for the very highly discriminatory gamer, there’s always a desire for advancement and they want it in this generation…We are adjusting and accelerating our innovation cadence,” said Sony’s Andrew House to a crowd full of anticipation. In essence, what House is saying that Sony doesn’t want to make gamers wait any longer for a new, more powerful console. Instead of announcing the PlayStation 5, Sony’s taking a page out of Microsoft’s playbook and making a new console to “complement” the standard PS4 and sit right alongside it. Enter PlayStation 4 Pro. Jump after the break for more. READ MORE PlayStation 4 gets a mid-cycle boost with PS4 Pro: all the details inside

Use The Force to control BB-8 with Sphero’s Force Band

BB-8, the lovable android from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is about to get a major upgrade. And I’m not talking about Episode 8, I’m referring to the actual BB-8 toy by Sphero! The company’s showing off a new accessory for its BB-8 called Force Band and it allows you to control the android using The Force! Okay, fine, it’s hand motions detected by a wristband–but still! In addition to pushing and pulling BB-8, the wrist-worn Force Band will also have you acting out your favorite Light Saber, blaster, and Force battles; those distinct sounds emit from the band in Combat Training mode. In addition, you can go hunting for digital “holocrons” in your environment–sound familiar? (Cough, Pokemon Go!) The Force Band is compatible with Sphero’s other robots, too. But who are they kidding? BB-8 and The Force is a perfect (Bluetooth) pairing.

Seeing is believing, so check out the Force Band in all its glorious action in the video embedded above. It comes out on September 30 for $79. Or, if you don’t have Sphero’s BB-8 yet, you can buy the android-band bundle for $199. Preorder today. Oh, and one more thing: Sphero’s made a limited edition “Battle-Worn” BB-8 sporting the wear and tear of Resistance missions. Gotta love it! He’s paired with the Force Band for $199. All the above can be preordered today. May the Force be with you, always.

Nintendo celebrates its history with retro NES console release

Nintendo is on a roll. In the midst of surging in popularity thanks to the overnight success of the augmented reality smartphone app Pokémon GO, the house that built Mario has announced a new console. No, it’s not the highly anticipated next-gen NX. Ninty’s playing its most reliable card, nostalgia, by releasing a miniaturized version of its very first video game console, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which originally debuted in the States in 1985. The company describes it as a “near-identical, mini replica” of the NES and it’s compatible with all modern TV sets as it utilizes an included HDMI cable to display audio and video. In addition to the cable, the package comes complete with an AC adapter for power and one NES Classic Controller for gameplay input. The wired controller is patterned after the iconic rectangular design of the original NES gamepad. You can even connect it to a Wii Remote to play Virtual Console NES games with it on the Wii and Wii U.

Speaking of games, the mini NES, which easily fits in the palm of a hand, comes preloaded with 30 classic and cult NES titles including Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, PAC-MAN, and Kirby’s Adventure. Though Nintendo doesn’t divulge into details, it seems like your dreams of blowing into cartridges and jamming them into the console’s slot-tray have been dashed here. What is cool, however, is that each game has multiple suspend points, so you won’t have to worry about manually saving your progress and locking it with a password. Additionally, some of the onboard games will support two players, and NES Classic Controllers will be sold separately for $9.99. Update: A Nintendo spokesperson confirmed to Kotaku that the “Chamber Lid” will not accept cartridges or any other kind of physical media for that matter. In addition, the console does not connect to the Internet, so the games library here is capped to the 30 that come preinstalled. Engadget adds that original NES controllers will not work with the new NES due to differing connectors. So there you go.

The Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition hits the market on November 11 at the reasonable price of $59.99. Be sure to jump after the break to view a full list of all the preloaded games, as well as an image of the retro product’s packaging.

Update (7/21): Ninty’s dropped an especially retro commercial to promote the mini console; it evokes its marketing campaign from the 80s with the classic tag, “Now you’re playing with power!”

[Via BusinessWire] READ MORE Nintendo celebrates its history with retro NES console release

E3 roundup: The latest and greatest from Microsoft, Sony & Nintendo inside

Summer’s just around the corner, and gamers know exactly what that means. E3 is in town, and The Big Three console makers are ready to show off the best they have to offer. For 2016, Microsoft took a big swing by introducing loads of new hardware, including a new Xbox console debuting in August, as well as its next-gen beast due out in 2017. Sony and Nintendo, on the other hand, laser-focused on their respective games library. The PS4 is on the verge of transforming into a virtual reality conduit, and Sony packed quite the punch with its PS VR launch lineup. Nintendo, meanwhile, lifted the veil off the next game in the coveted Legend of Zelda franchise and it looks spectacular. If there’s a theme to be had here, it’s that all three companies are churning out visually splendid and heart-pounding experiences coming to systems this year and beyond. It’s a great time to be a gamer.

For the full scoop from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo at E3, jump after the break. READ MORE E3 roundup: The latest and greatest from Microsoft, Sony & Nintendo inside

Nintendo looks to the future with more apps, a new console & Zelda

The Wii U, Nintendo’s followup to its revolutionary motion-sensing video game console, the Wii, never quite lived up to its potential. The giant, lackluster GamePad and the system’s inferior specs ultimately drove third-party developers away and the Wii U never gained steam in the console wars against powerhouses Xbox and PlayStation. Ninty is gearing up to turn a new leaf, announcing a broader push into mobile and even a launch window for its next home console.

Last March, Nintendo partnered with Tokyo-based developer DeNA to develop games for smartphones and its first foray became a smash-hit practically overnight. A couple months ago, Nintendo dropped Miitomo into the App Store and today the company’s celebrating over 10 million users. The “social experience” app invites users to create a Mii (or on-screen avatar) and interact with other Miis over the Internet by taking photos and hanging out. This fall, Ninty’s increasing its app count by two with fresh games based on the popular Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing franchises. According to Nintendo, “compared to Miitomo, [these apps] have more prominent game elements, and the game content will tie closely into Nintendo’s dedicated games business.”

Wii U’s successor, codenamed NX, now has an official launch window: March 2017. It will be unveiled sometime later this year, Mario’s maker promises.

Lastly, Nintendo opened up about its plans for the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). This June, the NX will not make an appearance at the annual convention, but the next-gen Legend of Zelda will. In fact, Zelda will be the only playable game at Nintendo’s booth this year. It’s a strange move since Nintendo is typically known to have many of its beloved franchises on-site to demo at the show. The new Zelda is currently in development and will be released simultaneously on the Wii U and NX consoles in 2017.

See you at E3!

[Via Nintendo]

Sony solidifies PlayStation VR launch details with bundles starting at $399

Virtual reality is on the cusp of going mainstream. While VR innovators Oculus and HTC are readying their headsets, Sony is prepared to attack the market with PlayStation VR. You see, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive require powerful computers to run effectively, and not everybody invests in such pricey machinery. PS VR, formally known as Project Morpheus, simply requires a PlayStation 4 video game console to run, and Sony has the most potential to succeed here first because it can rely on its 36 million PS4 units sold since the console’s release in 2013. No doubt about it–advantage: Sony.

As we inch closer to fall, Sony’s finally made some key launch details known. PS VR releases this October starting at $399. At that price you’ll get the VR headset and all of the required cables plus stereo headphones. On launch day (still TBA), the PlayStation Store will offer a free copy of The Playroom VR so new owners of the headset will have an immersive game to demo when friends come over.

What doesn’t come in the $399 package is the PlayStation Camera and PlayStation Move motion controllers, the former a required PS4 accessory to make PS VR work. The Camera tracks your movement and the controllers bring your arms and hands into the action. The Camera ($49.78 at Amazon) and Move motion controllers ($28.85) have always been sold separately from the PS4. When PS VR comes out, however, Sony has also prepared a “launch bundle” that will include the Camera and two Move motion controllers, in addition to an exclusive title PlayStation VR Worlds. This $499 package will be available to preorder starting Tuesday, March 22 at 10AM ET at participating retailers, including Amazon. The aforementioned “core bundle,” which assumes that you at least already own the Camera, will not be available for preorder at this time. Update: Sony’s performed an about-face here and has decided to make the core bundle available for preorder on Tuesday, March 29 at 10AM ET.

Launch lineup and spec talk after the break. READ MORE Sony solidifies PlayStation VR launch details with bundles starting at $399

Help Leonardo DiCaprio grab the Oscar in hilarious button-mashing browser game

There are those of us who are just as desperate as Leonardo DiCaprio to see the actor win the Oscar. And then there’s The Line, a London-based animation studio who has gone out of its way to create a hysterical and addicting platformer that puts you in control of Leo’s chase for the gold. Leo’s Red Carpet Rampage is a free-to-play arcade-style browser game that has you button-mashing your frustrated feelings away as you make The Revenant star run down the red carpet towards Oscar. But watch out for the many distractions including pushy photographers, icebergs, and Lady Gaga. Along the way you’ll earn Golden Globe, Emmy, SAG, and BAFTA combos. Things get intense during bonus games including “Quaalude Overdose,” “Act Harder,” and “Find the Black Nominee.”

Though the Oscar might seem like a lock for the veteran and wholly deserving actor, anything can happen come the Academy Awards. Help Leo finally win the big prize! The game’s an absolute riot. Click here to play now.

Harmonix & Oculus team up to bring ‘Rock Band’ to virtual reality in 2016

Rock Band just made its comeback on consoles with Rock Band 4 on Xbox One and PS4, but that wasn’t enough for developer Harmonix. The company behind the original incarnations of Guitar Hero is hard at work on bringing the Rock Band experience to virtual reality via the Oculus RiftRock Band VR–as it’s being called for now–will suitably place the gamer on stage in front of a roaring crowd ready to hear some rock and roll. Harmonix and Oculus are keeping pretty mum on the exciting project. All we’ve got to go on is this quick clip that invites Dragonforce into the fold. Any Guitar Hero fan will remember the classic (arguably hardest) track featured in Guitar Hero III, Dragonforce’s heavy metal “Through the Fire and Flames.” The VR version of the game will come with this song in tow. The video has fun with the musicians paling around with Harmonix co-founder Alex Rigopulos and Oculus founder Palmer Luckey. It’s the final 20 seconds, though, that’ll get your heart racing in anticipation of the VR title; the nostalgic track plays as you catch a glimpse of what it’ll be like to live our your rockstar dreams like never before. How cool would it be to look around and see your bandmates playing right alongside you, feeding off your stage presence and the crowd’s energy? Both the Rift headset and the game aren’t due out until next year, so there’s still plenty of time for Harmonix and Oculus to invent imaginative ways to bring Rock Band into the untapped world of virtual reality.

Microsoft rolls out revamped Xbox One user interface

On November 12, Microsoft rolled out a new Xbox dashboard update and it brings a totally revamped user interface to the surface along with backwards compatibility. Microsoft’s been keen on doling out monthly updates to its home video games console/entertainment hub, and this latest one is its boldest yet.

Xbox One now features a UI based on Windows 10 with a focus on speed, efficiency, and social interactions. Along the top you’ll notice four sections: Home, Community, OneGuide, and Store. Inside Home, you’re presented with your most recently used games and apps, and your pinned games and apps live below them under a category titled “My stuff.” Along the left-hand side there’s a new Guide pane that presents quick access to Friends, Parties, Messages, Notifications, Settings, and app-snapping functionality. From here you can also sign-in and manage users. This pane can be accessed at anytime (read: inside games and apps) by double-tapping the Xbox button on your controller. Inside Community, you’re presented with an activity feed filled with unlocked achievements, screenshots, and clips shared by your friends. Here you can interact with them with likes, comments, and sharing. Above the feed, there are buttons to refresh it and dive into your Game DVR. Next to the feed you’ll see what’s trending on Xbox Live with quick access to content from sources like Xbox and YouTube. A new OneGuide section features trending entertainment offerings across TV, movies, and sports. App channels from content providers like Amazon and Crunchyroll provide quick access to preferred programming. Last, there’s Store; when this section is selected it auto-expands to reveal sub-sections Games, Apps, Movies & TV, and Music. These redesigned storefronts highlight popular media and make it easy to discover and search for content thanks to large thumbnails and detailed splash screens.

In addition to the faster, streamlined UI, the “New Xbox One Experience” brings with it Xbox 360 backwards compatibility, a feature that gamers have been clamoring for ever since launch. Microsoft is launching the initiative with 104 Xbox 360 titles on Xbox One, and it promises more to come as soon as December. You can view the complete Backwards Compatibility Game Library right here, and you’ll want to bookmark that link to stay updated about future additions. Oh, and it’s been confirmed that multiplayer-enabled games will support cross-play between the 360 and the One–how cool is that?!

Kinect owners may notice that motion-activated gestures are no longer supported by the dashboard with this update. There’s no need to fret, though. An even more natural way to navigate the system is coming and that’s Cortana integration. Soon you’ll be able to call up Microsoft’s digital assistant to perform even more advanced commands; finding out if a friend is online, inviting a friend to a party, and recording and sharing gameplay to your activity feed will be handled swiftly by Cortana in the near future. Also coming in 2016 is DVR functionality, so you can look out for that, too.

I’ve spent some time with the updated dash and I’m happy to report that it’s a breeze to use. The redesigned Home, Community, OneGuide, and Store sections present consolidated and streamlined portals into the best of what Xbox has to offer. Accessing your content and sharing your achievements are simple affairs. Peering into your Xbox Live community (Friends list, Parties, Messages, etc.) is made much more efficient thanks to the new Guide. Your favorite Xbox 360 titles are injected with new life on Xbox One; in addition to emulating them on your console, you can also take advantage of Xbox Live’s latest features including taking screenshots, recording Game DVR clips, and even game streaming to Windows 10 devices. In an effort to make Xbox One an easily accessible destination to play games with friends and consume streaming entertainment, Microsoft succeeded with flying colors with the New Xbox One Experience.

In case you haven’t automatically received the NXOE yet, you can manually download and install it inside Settings. And if you’ve got time to kill, jump after the break to preview the nooks and crannies of the new UI with Xbox’s Major Nelson. READ MORE Microsoft rolls out revamped Xbox One user interface

J.J. Abrams & ‘Infinity Blade’ developer collaborate on new video game ‘SPYJINX’

Play video games? Dig the curious mind of director/producer J.J. Abrams? Well, here’s an excitingly fresh piece of news for you. Abrams (LOSTStar Wars)–who previously struck a deal with Valve–is teaming up with Infinity Blade developer ChAIR to produce a game called SPYJINX. Here’s what we know so far:

Powered by Unreal Engine 4, SPYJINX is a unique mix of action strategy gameplay, dynamic world building and RPG character development – all set in a thrilling, treacherous world of espionage.

As is tradition in the world of Bad Robot, juicy details surrounding the upcoming title are being closely guarded for now. SPYJINX is expected to roll out on PCs and mobile devices during its 2016 launch, and the plan is for the game to hit consoles sometime thereafter. Gamers are invited to sign up for the beta now to help the developers shape the game and work out the kinks.

Watch Abrams and ChAIR founder and creative director Donald Mustard discuss their new collaborative effort in the video hanging here. As more information spills around SPYJINX, you’ll know where to find it.

PS4’s latest update is massive, with improved social capabilities all around

Sony’s PlayStation 4 is receiving its most significant system software update since launch and version 3.00 packs quite the punch. The ability to share gameplay with a wider audience is included thanks to expanded support for YouTube and Twitter. Joining Twitch and Ustream on the Broadcast Gameplay screen is YouTube; click the Share button on your DualShock 4 controller to access this screen and stream gameplay from PS4 directly to YouTube. Over on the Upload Video Clip screen, Twitter is now an option alongside Facebook, YouTube, and Daily Motion. Double tap the Share button to start recording your gameplay, and once it’s captured you can send up to 10 seconds of it to the Twittersphere. Live broadcast streams, video clips, and screenshots can be shared and viewed in the improved Live from PlayStation app; here you can browse popular trending content in real time.

You’ll surely notice two new icons featured on the PS4’s home screen. A new hub called Events provides an overview of activities taking place in the games you play most, as well as official broadcasts. Additionally, a dedicated section for PlayStation Plus gives you quick access to membership management, lists of the monthly free games to download, PS Plus deals, and a catalog of games you’ve redeemed through the subscription service on PS4. Oh, and here’s a biggie: online storage capacity has increased from 1GB to 10GB for all PS Plus members.

Sony is taking Party Chat to the next level with Communities. The former feature remains, but the latter one helps gamers foster groups based around shared interests, like games, genres, etc. When a Community is created, members can take advantage of a general discussion message board; text-based conversations and shared screenshots are supported here. Looking to jump into a friend’s game session? Hit him up on the Community board, or better yet, send him a “Request to Watch” notification–that’s new, too.

The Messages and Friends apps has been updated as well. You can now mark PSN friends as favorites, making it easier to group together and later find the people you chat and play games with the most. Stickers are supported in Messages; the first batch include ones themed around Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Knack, LittleBigPlanet 3, and Resogun.

Free system software update 3.00 hits PS4 on Wednesday, Sept. 30. Jump after the break to watch a brief glimpse of what’s in store, and click here to view more screenshots of the enhanced UI.

[Via PS Blog 1, 2] READ MORE PS4’s latest update is massive, with improved social capabilities all around

Nintendo brings the New 3DS to US gamers, ‘Animal Crossing’ bundle in tow

That took awhile. Nintendo has finally decided to bring the New Nintendo 3DS stateside. In October 2014, the Mario makers introduced the New Nintendo 3DS XL in its home country of Japan (there they call it the 3DS LL). Three months later, it came to the U.S. with all its input enhancements including the C-stick nub and the ZL and ZR triggers, as well as NFC inside and improved facial tracking technology. However, if you’ve been in the U.S. market holding out for an updated version of the regular-sized 3DS, you’ve been SOL, until now, that is.

On Monday, Nintendo announced that the New 3DS is coming to the States on September 25. There’s a slight catch, however. Instead of coming in the standard red and black paint jobs, the New 3DS is bundled with Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, and the hardware itself is plastered with an Animal Crossing cover plate (see above). Of course, there’s no telling if/when Ninty will release a standard version of the New 3DS to consumers, so for now you’ll have to live with this (the interior of the hardware, mind you, is white). The bundle comes with two themed cover plates, the game, an amiibo card, and a 4GB memory card. The MSRP is $219.99; bookmark it to preorder soon.

On the subject of 3DS, also outed is a Legend of Zelda themed 3DS XL Hyrule Edition, priced at $199.99. The gold-colored, Hylian Crest emblazoned handheld releases October 23; Gamestop’s got it up on its site.

Elsewhere, Nintendo has entered into a partnership with Amazon allowing the online retailer to sell digital downloads of Wii U, Wii, and 3DS titles. Simply purchase a game, redeem a code, and the game will automatically download onto your console of choice. Browse the storefront here.

[Via BusinessWire; Engadget]