Tag Archives: Apple

PS4 – new tech and shiny dragons

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Killzone: Shadow Fall” image via US Playstation Blog

Hmm…orange.

So, Sony unveiled the PlayStation 4 system last night amidst hoopla, fancy curved video screens and more new media waffle than I could parse early this morning.

What I gleaned from the talk about sharing, convergence and new experiences was that the new system is powerful (so what else is new?), designed with social media integration in its DNA (witness the sharing button built into the new DualShock controller) and that all that horsepower, invention and design has been pressed into service to make a new “Killzone” and “Drive Club”,  which looks quite like “Forza” only shinier.

So, iteration rather than innovation?  Possibly. But, is that so terrible?

Apple and Samsung have made phat stacks of cash from users willing to drop hundreds of pounds every year on a slightly curved version of the same mobile phone they bought previously, so why shouldn’t the console makers choose to unveil a system which makes every thing look a bit better, sound nicer and have moderately more realistic animation?

Capcom’s “Deep Down” – Here Be Shiny Dragons…

This was a curious event, really.  Lots of cheer leading for the slightly tarnished Sony brand, which emphasised the console maker’s strong points – innovation, engineering, production values – and pitched the new system as being able to seamlessly interface with those new-fangled tablets and smartphones whose ubiquity and quick play convenience have delivered a drubbing to the Japanese gaming giant’s own PS Vita handheld console.

It isn’t just Nintendo and Microsoft that Sony have to take on this time – it’s a sector of casual gaming which really didn’t exist when the PS3 debuted and which seems to have won the hearts, minds and wallets of “Angry Birds” addicts who would run a mile from being described as (cough, spit!) a gamer.

Can the core experience likes of Capcom’s intense-looking RPG “Deep Down”, dark superhero spin-off “Infamous: Second Son” and new Media Molecule quirkiness do the business and convince the public that they need Sony in their living room again? Will E3 bring us something as crazy and absurd as a look at the actual console – what do you call a console reveal which doesn’t actually show you the hardware?

And what do Microsoft have up their sleeves (so long as somebody from MS keeps Don Mattrick safely backstage at their press event and away from a teleprompter, I’ll be a happy man) to change the game anew?

 

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PS4 – 20/02/2013?

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Cryptic, much?

In a bid to steal a march not only on Microsoft’s next Xbox console, but also the encroaching threats presented by both Valve’s Steambox and whatever the tablet/phablet scene offers up next, once dominant gaming titan Sony is going to announce…something on February 20th in New York.

And if you were of the betting persuasion, it wouldn’t take much to persuade you to drop some currency on the PS4 being announced formally – whether this is confirming specs or just showing the case, who can tell?

It’s all getting a tad bit exciting, games fans – new generation get!

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Next Xbox, PS4 for Spring 2013 reveals?

Almost certainly not what the new Xbox will look like – but don’t you just love a cool case mod?

File this one under “I’ll believe it when I see it” – venerable UK games mag turned page-view hungry website, CVG, are reporting that we’ll see the new Xbox and Playstation consoles revealed in the Spring – with Apple style events planned for the Games Developers Conference in San Francisco at the end of March.

Which would be delightful, but for the fact that most people attending the conference are already working on titles for the new systems, so  the impact of a reveal at such an event would seem to be muted at best.   A behind-doors, strictly policed, NDA-heavy presentation I can see happening, but my money is still on Microsoft and Sony playing to a wider audience at E3 and crashing the internet twenty seconds after showing their latest hardware off.

Will Sony go nuts and have some kind of bonkers, crustacean-related shenanigans to show the power of PS4?  Will Microsoft show some games this time rather than media apps targeted solely towards their US heartland?  Will Nintendo show us some killer games that make the Wii U look worthwhile? Or will Gabe Newell sneak in with a “Half-Life 3“/Steambox announcement which sucks the oxygen out of the whole internets?

There’s nothing like an imminent new generation of hardware to make gaming more exciting…

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Wii U? Why not?

 

Yep, that’s a console all right…

Whilst the telephonically-inclined are constantly refreshing their browser of choice on Wednesday in a desperate attempt to pre-order the new iPhone, those of us whose gadget yearnings extend beyond the kingdom that Steve Jobs built will be eagerly following Nintendo’s various websites, as the Japanese innovation factory announces a release date for their Wii U system.

Or the Wii 2.5′ to those more cynical observers underwhelmed by the console’s purported specs and games line-up.

Other half watching TV? Continue your game on this tablet controller.

Slightly rejigged versions of Batman: Arkham City, Mass Effect 3“, & “Ninja Gaiden 3are due alongside the next Assassin’s Creed“, “New Super Mario Bros U”, “Pikmin 3 and the mysterious motion-control fest , “Avengers: Battle for Earth” will vie for your attention this Holiday season amongst 3o or so launch window games.

It might be rubbish shovelware, or family-friendly genius, but who wouldn’t want an “Avengers” title on their system this year.

I’m always up for a new video games system – new hotness incoming! – but I’m not inclined to jump on board this particular hype train.

For one thing  – and this is key – the price of early adoption is frequently prohibitive.   It’s early enough in a console’s life cycle that production costs haven’t reduced and any business worth their stock exchange listing is going to want to give their new piece of sexy consumer electronics kit a price tag which reflects its newness, desirability and perceived cool status.  With games systems, unless you have a tattoo of Master Chief or proudly self-declare yourself as a devout Sony fan boy/girl, getting a console on the day that it hits the streets is going to leave you out of pocket, stuck with a bunch of rushed-to-market games and loudly cursing your consumer electronics overlords for  being suckered by the PR blitz once more.

I picked up my Xbox and PS3 a good few years into their life cycle – my briefly-owned Wii some time after that – and didn’t regret the financially-motivated decision to wait awhile until decent games made their debut, online services were sorted out and I had an idea what I was buying into.

The half-this-gen, half-next-gen nature of the Wii U makes me more likely to bide my time with it, if I ever pick up one at all.  As much as I love Mario and Samus, I’ve not seen anything yet from the demo footage so far shown of the system which tells me that this is anything other than a bridge between the Wii and what Nintendo come up with after seeing how the Xbox 720 and PS4 have shaken up gaming with their next disruptive iterative offerings.

Oddly enough, the Wii U really feels like a reaction rather than a singular design statement – and probably should have been with us earlier than it is – a system which can give Miyamoto-designed whimsy and blast-em-up military shooter action with a supportive suite of online services and the usual HD bells and whistles perhaps has a better chance than most at appealing to each sector of the lucrative family gaming market.

Establishing the message that your new system can handle the same fist-pumping, knuckle-dragging Bro Shooters as the other games consoles might drag in gamers for whom Nintendo is just greasy kid’s stuff but I’m not sure that they can get over the company’s image as the safe system for family gamers – and a lot of Ninty’s core audience would run a mile rather than play “Call of Duty” or “Battlefield”.

So, who is the Wii U for exactly?

 

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Alas, Poor Poddy

Poddy – you served me well…

If you’ve ever owned an iPod whose internal hard drive began to make the dreaded clicking chime of doom, you’ll know just how I feel right now – yep, my beloved 80gb MP3 player has gone to the great gadget graveyard in the sky.

Getting over the undeniable fact that this is a first world problem, and that there’s a lot of people dealing with a lot more on a daily basis than merely the end of a beloved leisure product, I don’t feel embarrassed to confess that I felt absolutely sick as Poddy gasped and clicked his last.  Anybody who has had this kind of device fail befall them will no doubt attest that the feeling is rather akin to that clearly evident on the face of Wile E. Coyote in the RoadRunner cartoons, as he looked directly into the camera seconds before plunging towards the canyon floor.

Did I back up my music?  Is it all there? What about the podcasts?  A range of questions begin to present themselves, not the least of which is   “Do I want to keep going down the Apple route or should I cut my losses and get a cheaper MP3 player and manage my music the old-school way?”  Because, friends, an 80gb iPod Classic isn’t a cheap thing to buy – and the less said about the hilarious price of a 64gb iPod Touch the better (oh Apple tax, will you ever stop providing me with entertainment?).

Not that moving past Apple is easy, once you take format quirks and the fact that the iPod is now synonymous with MP3 player for many retailers and users – the various flavours of iPod are the only game in town…

 

 

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Austerity? What austerity?

Behold - the device that will save us all...

It’s good to know that the global downturn and the attendant cuts in public services are not affecting everybody – if you’re a local councillor, in fact, it appears that things are more splendid than ever.

After the councillors in my old home town voted to give themselves vital iPads for use in council business , wouldn’t you know it –  my council in Sheffield think that they’re absolutely essential, too.

Both councils are facing serious budget cuts, with refuse collections, park services and library services under threat – but that’s hardly something to worry about now.  Let’s make sure that the council get to play about with Apple tablets whilst they’re sending lots of former council employees to the dole queue – a better use of everybody’s taxes, surely?

Kind of puts council leader Julie Dore’s recent leaflet drop into sharp relief, doesn’t it?  Perhaps they could have spent the £21,000 they spent on those leaflets – most of which will have been thrown away without being read – on iPads, docking stations, covers and other such absolutely key sundries which they can use whilst deciding which streets won’t have their bins collected (not that you would notice missing refuse collections being a new thing in my neighbourhood…).

Local councils?  The phrase ‘wretched hive of scum and villainy’ comes to mind…

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Quick Geek News, October 6 2011

Today’s fix of quick nerd news goes something like this –

Slashfilm has an update on the upcoming Universal theme park attraction for the “Transformers” franchise – with the theme park operator dubbing it, as you might expect, “Transformers – The Ride”.  It’s scheduled for a debut in the Singapore park in December of this year and in the Hollywood park in Spring 2012, blending 3D live action footage and animatronic effects.

As long as it doesn't feature John Turturro in a 3D-thong, I'm happy...

There’s a blog for the ride HERE

SFX, meanwhile, have a story about Warner Brothers cash-mountain in-the-waiting, the making of Harry Potter studio tour, which opens its doors from 31 March 2012 – you can book tickets here from 13 October.

Can we get an endlessly replenishing breakfast, too? That would be sweet...

Mrs Rolling Eyeballs is even now F5’ing as though a Hippogriff’s life depended on it.

The dream team of “Iron Man” helmer Jon Favreau, “Star Trek” scribe Roberto Orci and “Robot Chicken” co-creator Seth Green are working on an ABC tv pilot set in an “X-Files”-like division working out of the White House.

I'm always down for a show which recalls "The X-Files"...

I09 pays tribute to Steve Jobs, who died today at the age of 56, after battling liver cancer. He leaves a legacy of innovative and elegant products, from Apple computers to Pixar films, which made technology accessible to a mass audience and created a proud and passionate fan base of Apple geeks the world over.

Making complex technology simpler.

The Guardian, meanwhile, has Apple insiders recalling Apple’s culture and product design focus.  Even the Metal world gets in the act, via Blabbermouth, with the likes of Wes Borland, Fred Durst, Bret Michaels and more recalling the impact that Apple had on them.

File this one under – “I’ll believe it when I see it” – French website, via Eurogamer, reports that Spielberg-produced “Halo” movie to commence shooting in 2012.

 

Does want?

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