Tagged "Sony"

Jun 14
By Jake In Blog 2 Comments

The web made a step towards being a whole lot bigger yesterday, when ICANN revealed the full list of potential new generic top-level domains – because .com is terribly 1985.

Sony have gone for .playstation, .xperia and .sony. Microsoft are after a handful, including .microsoft, .xbox and .live – giving them the option of both xbox.live and live.xbox. Another Microsoft application is for .bing, which opens up the delightful possibility of badda.bing.

It’s presumably all a bit too online for Nintendo, so there’s no .wii or .virtualboy on the cards. But they’re in good company – Twitter, Facebook and eBay were among the other companies conspicuous by their absense.

At the other end of the scale, Google and Amazon have gone after 101 and 76 new gTLDs respectively. They’re both among the five companies interested in .game, but Google is one of only two parties interested in .dot – and I would have thought that dot.dot alone would hold more allure than that. But with just the application process costing $185,000, that’s a lot to pay for basically one novelty domain name.

The only other games company that jumps out of the list is Konami, but they’re only after .konami, which isn’t terribly interesting. Nothing from the likes of EA and Activision, for example.

There are some oddities in the list – which is worth a look if you’ve got half an hour to scan the 1,930 applications – but also some inspired choices. Who wouldn’t want a .ninja domain? Or what about .ooo – gamesasylum.ooo has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

No sign of .cotton though, sadly.

Jun 08
By Jake In Blog No Comments

By now, it’s no secret what Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo wanted to say at E3. In some cases it was never a secret, even if it was supposed to be.

But what about how they said it? What can we glean from the the words they used?

Unfortunately – and surprisingly – no-one on the internet appears to have been sufficiently bored to transcribe the platform holders’ press conferences. So to engage in a nice spot of textual analysis, I’ve had to resort to the platform holders’ press releases.

So be it. Let’s have a look at which words cropped up most. That’s right: let’s word cloud.

Microsoft

Microsoft E3 2012 word cloud

Okay, Studios isn’t really fair, since so many of their games are by Microsoft Studios. And lots of those games are right up there: Halo and Gears and so on.

But with the announcement of SmartGlass – which Microsoft are definitely keen to stress is new – there’s an absolute shed load of entertainment. An awful lot of which is exclusive to the U.S.

Sony

Sony E3 2012 word cloud

Sony are evidently incapable of mentioning any one of their formats without suffixing it with system – so that’s why that’s huge.

Plenty of games there, but like Microsoft there’s almost as much entertainment and, in Sony’s case, content. But it’s obvious which property is key to Sony at the moment: LittleBigPlanet. It’s ruddy everywhere.

Nintendo

Nintendo E3 2012 word cloud

By contrast, Nintendo clearly consider themselves to be in the game making business – increasingly unlike Microsoft and Sony. Not much entertainment here, then, but a lot of Mario.

And with the new Wii U to promote, there’s quite a lot about the GamePad, and why they think it’s kind of a big deal.

It’s not only about games, it’s also about players. Which is probably how you’d expect Nintendo to differentiate themselves – from Microsoft, who make no noticeable mention of their public; and from Sony, who prefer consumers.

Notes

  • Word clouds created with Many Eyes.
  • The platform holder’s name and formats excluded from the word clouds, because obviously they’re mentioned a lot.
  • Microsoft: two press releases combined – one on games, one on entertainment and SmartGlass.
  • Sony: one neat, wide-ranging press release.
  • Nintendo: two press releases combined – one each for Wii U and 3DS.
Jun 05
By Adam Philbin In Blog 2 Comments

Sony E3 conference

Sony’s E3 2012 press conference came and went, much as expected, and a little light on dramatic unveilings. Whilst the big hitters such as The Last of Us and God of War: Ascension oozed quality, the biggest surprise of the night was arguably Wonderbook, an augmented reality… book. In its favour, the first Wonderbook title, The Book of Spells, is a creation of Harry Potter’s J. K. Rowling.

Wonderbook

Sony’s show was also heavy of the Ellen Page. In addition to The Last of Us featuring Ellen’s doppleganger, Quantic Dream’s new title Beyond actually stars Ellen Page, with the actress providing the voice and motion capture for the game’s main character. It’s a game about telekinesis and the after life, so hopefully it should be as good as Quantic Dream’s last game, Heavy Rain.

Beyond

PS Vita titles were a little thin on the ground – the main news being an exclusive version of Assassin’s Creed III for the Vita and the ability to use the Vita as an additional super control pad in various games, such as Little Big Planet and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Speaking of the All-Stars… Super Smash Bros wants its game concept back.

The Last of UsFittingly, the show was played out with The Last of Us, which reinforces Naughty Dog’s position as possibly the best developers around right now and easily producing the most impressive titles on Sony’s system since the first Uncharted.

As always, an E3 without a new system unveiling can be a little quiet, and Sony didn’t really throw out any big surprises to set the world alight, but there was nothing particularly wrong and they’ve shown that there’s some life left in the old dog.

Should you want to sit through the whole conference yourself, Sony livestreamed the event online, and you can catch it on Youtube below.

You might want to skip to the 30 minute mark.

Feb 17
By Matt Gander In Blog 4 Comments

It’s no wonder that the PSP’s release list has been slimmer than a Peperami over the past year – Sony have been working their socks off to provide the PS Vita with no less than ten titles. Uncharted: Golden Abyss and WipEout 2048 are the two main system sellers but there are some other titles worthy of attention too. Before we get to dissecting the line-up though, there’s some other stuff to talk about.

We haven’t spent a great deal of time with the system, but that little time has been well spent. It’s a little larger than you may expect, with a glorious screen, and the touch panel opens up new ways to play. Or at least, new ways to those who didn’t experience the DS. In the upcoming Mortal Kombat fatalities are pulled off by swiping the screen while in another game enemies’ throats have to be slashed by proficient swiping. We forget the game name, but it probably isn’t Rayman Origins.

Two models exist – a WiFi model and a more expensive 3G model. Not sure what to get? Ask yourself this – are you happy to do all your downloading and online gaming while at home, or do you want to do these things on the move? Vodafone are supplying the 3G network and have a deal planned. £279 gets you a 3G PS Vita, 4GB memory card and a 3G sim card. If you then top up the sim card with £5 they’ll hand you a shiny new copy of WipEout 2048 too.

Amazon, ShopTo and GameStop are the three retailers who have seemingly been in competition with one another to lure in those looking to pre-order.

Amazon are offering the WiFi model plus a selected third party game and an 8GB memory card for £225 or the 3G model for £275. This deal doesn’t appear to include Sony’s own pre-order incentive starter pack though which includes headphones, avatar items and a £5 discount voucher.

ShopTo’s offers do however have the starter pack. Prices start at £218.86 for a WiFi system and a selected game. They’re also rather cheekily selling the starter pack on its own for £24.99.

GameStop meanwhile seem to be the best place for the 3G model – £319 for the system, Uncharted and a 16GB memory card.

Over the high street, Asda kicked off the supermarket price war with a £196.98 price tag for the WiFi model.

The line-up is a mixture of familiar franchises, conversions of older games and a handful of new IPs. Uncharted: Golden Abyss and WipEout 2048 are the ones getting the most press attention. EDGE gave Uncharted a 7 while Eurogamer gave it an 8. It was a case of the opposite for WipEout where EDGE awarded it an 8 while Eurogamer thought it was only worth a 7.

Everybody’s Golf – one of Sony’s staples for their system launches – was also given a 7 by EDGE while fellow magazine gamesTM scored it an 8. Incidentally, gamesTM gave WipEout a 9 making it their highest scoring PS Vita game. We’ve also heard good things about FIFA Football – loading times are short and it plays brilliantly due to the system having two analogue sticks. MCV even reported that it could be a killer app. IGN were the first place to review it, where they dribbled out an 8. The only other sports game in the line-up is Virtua Tennis 4 from Sega, which has optional touch-screen controls. Our worry with that one is that your fingers could end up obscuring the view.

The first batch of reviews for mini-game package Little Deviants doesn’t make for pleasant reading. EDGE gave it a 5 claiming that there’s not a whole lot of game on offer and little incentive to return once you’ve seen everything. No wonder it’s one of the cheaper launch games – Amazon are selling it for £17.99. Modnation Racers: Road Trip has been getting mixed scores, including a 7.0 from IGN and 4 from gamesTM. That’s the same score gamesTM also gave Square-Enix’s action game Army Corps of Hell, which is a shame. That said, IGN gave it a 7.0 although they did point out it could have been done on the original PSP.

Then we’ve got Ubisoft’s conversions. If Dungeon Hunter Alliance rings a bell it’s because it was first released on PSN last year… at a third of the cost. We aren’t sure why it isn’t £19.99 like most of Ubisoft’s Vita games, such as Asphalt Ignition and Michael Jackson: The Experience. IGN gave the former 6.0 and the latter 6.5. That has to be an all-time high for the Asphalt series. Not all their efforts are mediocre though – Rayman Origins has been getting 9/10s, such as this one from GamesRadar. Ubisoft are also publishing Lumines: Electronic Symphony which has been described as amazing.

We were expecting Reality Fighters to be little more than a tech demo but it’s pleasingly more than that with a fighting system influenced by Capcom’s brawlers. EDGE gave it a 6, making it worth consideration if Capcom’s own Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 – which scored an 8 on Eurogamer – doesn’t take your fancy. There’s BlazBlue: Continuum Shift too, which we could never imagine to be terrible. And it isn’t.

Seeing as Japan was the only country to take the PSP to their hearts, Eastern support is typically strong. There’s Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus, Dynasty Warriors Next, Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen and Touch My Katamari. Touch My Katamari doesn’t sound like a very appealing package – it’s another one of the Vita’s cheaper games but you can apparently see everything in a day. IGN also had some wise words about Ninja Gaiden: “If you weren’t crazy about Ninja Gaiden the last three times, this is the same game, so keep walking. Likewise if you already played either Black or Sigma, you’re probably ok to hold off, too.” It doesn’t sound like it’s a bad conversion though – they gave it an 8.0.

There’s always a Ridge Racer wheeled out with any Sony system launch. The Vita’s Ridge Racer caused a controversy before it was even released. It’s only £14.95 to pre-order on places like TheHut but most of the tracks have to be downloaded at an additional cost. With scores including a 5 from gamesTM it may be best to stick to WipEout or Codemasters’ only Vita offering – Formula One 2011.

Sony’s Unit 13 hasn’t been reviewed yet but we’re guessing that’s because it’s missing launch day in favour of a 9th March release. It’s by Zipper Interactive – the SOCOM guys – and as such looks rather similar. One of the more interesting features is that new missions are sent to the Vita every day.

This leaves us with the downloadable games. Sony’s pricing of these has been given a thumbs up – superlative twin-stick shooter Super Stardust Delta is set to cost £6.49 while MotorStorm RC costs just £4.79 and allows for play on both PS Vita and PlayStation 3. It you already have Hustle Kings and Top Darts on PS3 then you can then download the Vita versions for free, which is another thing we approve of. Good work there, Sony.

Nov 01
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

Publishers tend to be a predictable bunch, releasing sequels and yearly sports updates, snapping up cartoon and movie licenses, and occasionally setting up new studios while closing down older ones.

It’s a little odd, then, that when a publisher does something out of the ordinary it often goes unnoticed. A little research into the subject reveals a whole host of games published by very unlikely candidates.

Only recently Sega announced that they’re publishing a few EA games in Japan including FIFA 12, Shadows of the Damned and Battlefield 3. You may wonder what the point of releasing a FPS in Japan is, seeing as the nation isn’t fond of first person games, but there is a rather unknown cult following out there who purchase western titles much like the way certain UK gamers will buy every Japanese RPG that comes along.

It’s this reason that we assume Capcom took up the chance to release Grand Theft Auto in Japan. They must have done well as they ended up publishing four of them – GTA III, Vice City, San Andreas and GTA IV.

Square-Enix even managed to find solace in publishing Activision’s James Bond: Quantum of Solace. Again, this must have done rather well as they more recently released James Bond: Blood Stone.

Going several years back, EA released a 2D shooter Soukyugurentai on Sega Saturn in Japan. If only they had been so brave with their western Sega Saturn games – all we saw were multi-format releases.

Microsoft’s publishing past is curious too. The Game Boy Color saw the dully titled The Best of Microsoft Entertainment Pack which contained dozens of games which were first released on Windows including SkiFree and FreeCell.

Sony meanwhile got their gaming feet wet prior to PlayStation with a range of games on the generation before under the moniker of Sony Imagesoft. Some of these were pretty good, like Mickey Madness, but others such as The Last Action Hero and Cliffhanger weren’t so great.

Especially when it comes to Japanese outputs, perhaps publishers aren’t quite as predictable after all.

Jun 07
By Adam Philbin In Blog 1 Comment

Sony E3 Show 2011 with Mr Kaz

“Hey, Sony are doing their E3 show tonight, can you cover it?” were Matt’s last ill-fated words to me. So, following on from our Microsoft E3 conference wordage, are these words.

Much like Microsoft’s show, which had a heavy Kinect theme – because we all know standing up and waving your arms around is a vastly superior control method than ten fingers and a joypad – Sony’s E3 extravaganza had two clear themes, 3D and PSVita.

Incase you’re wondering, PSVita is the official name of Sony’s new portable system, formerly known as the NGP or PSP2, now known as a portable gaming low-fat spread.

The important news for PSVita fans (how wrong does that sound?) is that the nice little handheld will be retailing for €249, or €299 for the 3G version, with a Christmas launch date, this year obviously. If you’re Stateside, the price is $249 and $299 respectively, because clearly $1=€1 in Sony’s world. Either Sony knows something we don’t (Greece is going to default and devalue the Euro?!) or they’re greedy arseholes, but that’s nothing new. On the bright side, it’s the same price as the Nintendo 3DS, when most people (idiots mainly) were expecting it to be much more expensive.

Other than that, the PSVita is much like it was when it was announced in January. It still has a 5-inch 960×544 pixel OLED screen, and quad-core CPUs and GPUs which are the same type the iPad 2 uses (although the iPad 2 uses dual-core versions). You can read more about the specs here.

Sony demoed a whole bunch of PSVita games, most of which we’ve seen before admittedly. Uncharted: Golden Abyss looks nice, as did LittleBigPlanet and ModNation Racers with its neat track editor.

A Diablo-style RPG game called Ruin made an appearance, which boasts the ability to seamlessly play the game on both the PSVita and the PS3, swapping sessions between each system.

Street Fighter x Tekken PSVitaCapcom showed off Street Fighter x Tekken, which is presumably a fighting game featuring characters from said franchises.

So yeh, the PSVita looks like it will have lots of nice little games, and could improve commutes for literally millions of people, unless those people find playing iPhone games less shameful in public.

On the PlayStation 3 side, Sony’s unsurprising theme was 3D for the PS3, with a little bit of Move on the side as motion-control has become mandatory for all games companies. Sony’s big focus on 3D is presumably due to all the 3D Sony Bravia TVs they hope to sell, so it’s kind of understandable.

Sony are so into their 3D, that in addition to making blurry, half-resolution 3D versions of all their new games, they’re also releasing a PlayStation 3D TV, which is a 24 inch 3D TV that comes with a pair of 3D glasses and a copy of Resistance 3, all for $499. A kind of cheap entry point to 3D, so possibly a reasonably good idea. It also features a magical technology that lets two players play split-screen games each using the whole screen (only seeing odd or even lines of pixels, with the glasses blocking out one image).

Fans of stealthy raccoons should be overjoyed to hear about Sly Cooper 4, which follows in the footsteps of 1, 2 and 3.

Nostalgics should be pleased with the Team ICO collection, which is a remastered re-release of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, in HD and 3D (presumable half HD if viewed in the 3D mode).

Uncharted 3Of course, the big thing for PS3 is Uncharted 3, which is Sony’s own Frank Lampard endorsed Tomb Raider. It still looks great, it’s still due for release this October and should be brilliant.

An interesting PlayStation exclusive is Dust 514, the EVE Online sister-game – a first person shooter that exists in the EVE universe, sharing the same servers. It will be playable on both the PS3 and PSVita, and won’t be coming to the 360, which is probably a big deal for Sony.

Aside from that, Sony showed quite a few other games, mainly existing IPs, which now feature 3D modes or Move functionality. One new title is Star Trek, based on the new films, which lets you control Kirk or Spock with the Move controller. Apparently it comes with a special phaser-shaped holder to stick your Move controller into. Hmm.

Yep, that was pretty much it. At the start Sony’s US boss Jack Tretton apologised to everyone for fucking up the PlayStation Network and allowing everyone’s accounts to be hacked. Sony are offering free downloadable games to everyone as a way to say sorry, which you can claim either by logging in to your PSN account or emailing Sony’s Nigerian office.

Next up at E3: Nintendo unveil new games featuring Mario, demo a host of 3DS titles, and possibly unveil their next console which hopefully won’t be as rubbish as the Wii.

Mar 14
By Matt Gander In Blog 1 Comment

Japan’s biggest publishers have dug deep into their pockets to help assist those suffering in their home country. Nintendo and Sony have dug the deepest dishing out ¥300m (£2.26m) each while SEGA Sammy has given ¥200m (£1.5m). Thoughtfully, Sony has also supplied 30,000 radios.

Namco Bandai has closed their arcades to help save power as well as donate a modest ¥100m (£760,000). Also to help save energy Square-Enix and Konami have shut off many of their servers.

Irem has canned their survival sim Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories (pictured) for PlayStation 3 too. You may know the series either as Raw Danger or SOS: Final Escape, depending on which country you live in.

Outside of Japan, both Sony and Sega have decided to postpone two of their titles – Motorstorm: Apocalypse now as a release date of “TBA” in Europe while Sega’s Yakuza 4, which features a zombie outbreak and is set entirely in Japan, has been delayed.

Jan 27
By Adam Philbin In Blog 14 Comments

Jeremy Clarkson and the Sony NGP aka the PSP2

The rumour mill has been churning for the last few weeks, with talk of the PSP2 being as powerful as a PlayStation 3 and launching with a Virtual Jeremy Clarkson game. Now the day and hour has come – 3PM January 27th 2011, Japanese time – and Sony are unveiling the next portable PlayStation to the world. They don’t call it the PSP2 – they now call it the Next Generation Portable or NGP.

Sony Next Generation Portable - NGP

Whilst the NGP looks much like the original PSP, it now has two analogue sticks and a high resolution 960×544 pixel 5-inch OLED screen. Aside from the looks though, it packs a bunch of new features – a touch sensitive backside, 3G data connectivity (and WiFi obviously), GPS, motion sensors, front and rear cameras, a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU (for comparison, the iPad packs a single-core Cortex-A8) and a quad-core PowerVR SGX543 GPU (it’s speculated that the iPad 2 and iPhone 5 will sport a dual-core version of the same SGX543 GPU).

NGP gameplayGone are the PSP’s UMD discs, replaced with flash cards that seem a lot like SD cards. Online connectivity is one of the big selling points – with downloadable games on the PlayStation Store, rankings, achievements, location-based services, and all that jazz. Among the first games shown were Killzone, Uncharted, Little Big Planet, Wipeout, Metal Gear Solid 4, Call of Duty, and a whole bunch of titles which look to be roughly PS3 quality (the system doesn’t have to be as powerful as a PS3 to output similar graphics on to a lower resolution screen).

Sony NGP - the PSP2

Uncharted NGP

Sony say it will release this holiday season, so Christmas 2011 then. It all looks very nice so far, and very much in the same style as the original PSP and a lot of the predictions. We’re still awaiting the pricing.

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