Wednesday, 28 January 2009

[News] A Casual Word

I had a brief chat with a Microsoft rep in work today.

He didn't have much in the way of new news, however he did go on to say that Xbox Live's first gameshow, 1 vs 100 should be released very soon. Aswell as that, he went on to point out that Microsoft were still working with BT to get the BT Vision service via your Xbox 360, with no need to purchase anything extra for your console (all you need is a BT Vision account). Hopefully we should see that service before the year is out.

Both of those points further point towards Microsoft working to further improve its Live Experiance this year, which is good stuff, bearing in mind the slight reduced number in exclusive titles to be released this year compared to last on the 360 (as mentioned here).

He went on to show a gameplay trailer for Halo Wars...which shall be the first console RPG I've bought since Command and Conquer Red Alert on the Playstation. He was very confident that people will find it easy to use the 360 pad. We shall all see for ourselves come Feb 5th, as thats when the demo hits Marketplace. Halo Wars is due for release on the 27th Feb.

For those interested, here's the gameplay footage:

And saw the release of a new trailer to Final Fantasy XIII. Click away to be taken to the official site.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

[News] Countdown...

You may have spotted that clock over on the right hand side, and you maybe wondering why its there. Allow me to explain...

Up until this point, apart from a few select people, this site hasn't really been advertised. This has allowed myself and the guest bloggers to edit the general look of the blog, aswell as get some early content typed up and posted.

As from Feb 2nd this site shall be more publically advertised, in effect 'opening the blog'.

From that point, myself and the guest bloggers will be looking to making the posts alot more regular, hopefully giving most of you new content to enjoy each time you visit.

Any newcomers to this site, don't forget to check the Archives for past postings.

Thanks to all who have helped to get this blog to this point. Roll on the 2nd!

[Events] Games Conventions

Hey its Rory,

Just thought i'd add a post saying where I am going this year in terms of conventions and festivals regarding technology and games. I'll be taking my camera to both and update the blog when possible.

First of all im going to the i36 tournament or the newly dubbed name of the "M Festival", which is regarded as the Glastonbury of gaming in the UK. It's main attraction is the Bring Your Own Computer LAN Event, which is the largest in the UK. The second attraction is the Exhibitors hall where the latest hardware and gadget's is shown. I'll be attending all weekend, its my first i-tournament so I thought I'd rent a Turn up and Play place where I rent a computer, rather than taking down my own box. If your interested in attending the website address is here.
This takes place from the 10th to the 13th of April.

Here's a Promo Video of the event:

Secondly I am going to the Leipzig Games Convention, in Germany, this hasn't been booked yet but I hope to book in the next month or so. This takes place between the 19th and 23rd of August, I will probably attend all days. There will be lots of publicity about this event and has seemed to supercede E3. Lots of games are annonced and first screens and video's are normally published at this event. I really look forward to going to this. If all goes well I will try and get tickets for PAX and E for All either in 2009 or 2010.

M Festival
PAX (Penny Arcade Expo)
E for All
Leipzig Games Convention

Friday, 23 January 2009

[Update] Spoke too Soon...

Sadly, although mentioned we'd be seeing it on our shelves this year in my previous post, Final Fantasy XIII has been delayed until next year for us folks in the west. Boo!
Japan shall still get it this year, although only on PS3.

Some good news however, Ubisoft have announced today that we'll see Assassin's Creed 2 before the year is out. Also the much delayed Splinter Cell: Conviction and a new Ghost Recon title shall be released before March 31st 2010.

Survival title I Am Alive, also from Ubisoft, was orginally suppose to be released during the first quarter of this year, however, thats been delayed aswell. Its now been put into the same time frame as Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon.

With thanks: MCV - Assassin's Creed 2 out this year

Monday, 12 January 2009

[News] The Year Ahead - Part One

So here we are, 2009...and we're still not living on the moon, oh well...

Last year was a fantastic year for gaming. The PS3 finally started making its mark (that much so, that I now also have one!), the Wii continued to show that it wasn't just a gimmick and the 360 (albeit had its hardware problems) had a very good year of sales.

So, what about this coming year? Well, it hasn't started amazingly well for a selection of the industry, with major reduncies coming from most of the big name studios (EA, Sony and Microsoft naming three) as the financial situation contiues to worsen. Even the gaming media has felt the full force of credit crunch with the demise of the popular US publication Electronic Gaming Monthly, and the selling of the online gaming site 1UP.

What can we be looking forward to be playing on our consoles this year?

Xbox 360: Its going to be a quieter year for Microsoft now that we've seen Gears of War 2, Fable 2 and the New Xbox Experiance update for the console's dashboard. Saying that, we do have more Halo goodness to look forward to this year. I'm also looking forward to more appearing on Xbox Live, in the way of downloadable content for their AAA exclusive titles. I can see Microsoft further tempting gamers who have both a 360 and a PS3 to buying their multi-platform releases, such as Resident Evil 5, on the 360 instead of the PS3 by more exclusive deals offering extra online content and such. Speaking of which, we'll get to see Rockstar's 2 new 360 exclusive downloadable content for GTA this year.

Playstation 3: With the arrival of the Playstation Home beta just before Christmas, expect a whole host of improvements and additions to its online MMO style community, which will make or break it, as at the moment it has its work cut out to be a true selling point for the console. Sony will be pushing its first party titles, such as Killzone 2 (of which a demo will be avalible on the PSN to download in the near future) and the eventual release of its flagship racing title Gran Turismo 5. Losing the exclusive rights to Final Fantasy XIII will have left a bitter taste in Sony's mouths, however they still get Versus XIII and Kingdom Hearts 3 all to themselves.

Nintendo Wii: Wii games have dominated the UK sales charts this year. Its sold very well over the Christmas period yet again, so kudos for Nintendo, who have proved everyone wrong with the direction they took with their next generation console. However, they need to keep people playing and they are still struggling to get third party studios to make the most of the hardware. It also needs to take a look at its more 'hardcore' gamers, as its easy to see its core market is more towards the casual gamers. Sega's Madworld is one to look out for this year (for those old enough to play it, as it'll probably be an 18 rated title) as its looking the part, and will tap into fans of the under rated title of 2008 No More Heroes.

PC: Last year saw the rise and fall of a couple of highly anticapted MMO's. Tabula Rasa sadly failed to leave its mark, with the games servers now being shut down. Even today, news has surfaced about Age of Conan taking steps to stay online by merging and closing some of its servers. Warhammer Online started well, and has continued to improve, while the MMO it strives to be more popular than (none other, than World of Warcraft) saw the launch of its 2nd expansion. So will this be another PC year of gaming dominated by MMOs? I don't think so... Although their are a few in devolpment (Star Wars: The Old Republic, Star Trek Online, and ofcourse Lego!) a fair number of them won't be ready for release this year. No, I personally feel this will be the year for RTS fans, with the arrival of the new Starcraft, Dawn of War 2, Company of Heroes and Supreme Commander 2 to name a few. Its battle against piracy will continue to be a major factor.

[Keep an eye open for Part Two, which will mention the PSP and DS, aswell as more on the financial problems striking the industry]

Aswell as all this, their is a whole host of multi-platform releases. Resident Evil 5 is looking to continue on from the popularity of Resident Evil 4 and its forerunners, while Square will be hopeing for big sales from Final Fantasy XIII, which not forgetting, will be avalible on both the 360 and the PS3. Street Fighter 4, Bioshock 2, Assasins Creed 2, Ghostbusters... the list goes on...

One scary fact which has really sunk home while typing this article is the lack of new original titles. They seem lost amognst the tide of sequels.

My gaming hopes for this year? A UK release of Studio Ghilbi's DS title (from Level 5, the studio that gave us Professor Layton) Ninokuni. Oh, and some sort of agreement for the 'nearly finished' Goldeneye to appear on Xbox Live Arcade...c'mon Nintendo/Microsoft/Rare/Activision...sort it out!!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

[Hardware] Logitech's New Toys

With CES announcements now bursting through the news, I thought it was time to write a post about one of the announcements. Logitech fired up the convention today by unveiling its new G-series gaming peripherals. The three new products in the G-series will be released for sale in March/April time.

The G19 Keyboard boasts and amazing 320 by 240 pixel colour tilting Gamepanel LCD that can show pictures, videos or in-game details from 60 games. Its includes 12 programmable keys with 3 macro's each and two USB ports and a button that disables the windows key for those in game accidents. Selling Price: $200/£134.

The 7.1 surround sound headset includes a microphone, six voice morphing options and three programmable keys, and also includes three swappable headbands. Selling Price: $130/£87

The G9x Laser Mouse has up to 200 to 5000 dpi on the fly. Two grips, on board memory to store up to 5 profiles, weight tuning system and custom coloured LED's. Selling Price: $100/£67

Very expensive equipment but looks pretty neat to me.

Source: Kotaku