TweakTown NewsRefine News by Category:
So the Zune HD is finally getting some decent games. It took Microsoft a little less than two months to get them out but now that they are hear Zune HD owners can finally begin to show off the power of the Tegra inside their PMPs.
As of this morning the Zune Marketplace is showing roughly seven extra free games and apps. Of special note are PGR: Ferrari Edition and AudioSurf Tilt. We had the chance to grab these free games and to take them for a short spin. We can honestly report that the Zune HD is quite the gaming platform.
In PGR: Ferrari Edition we found the graphics to be excellent while the Accelerometer in the Zune HD offered better control than the one in the iPhone 3G (or 3G S). The game was fast paced and the audio processor is excellent at maintaining in game sounds.
On the other side is AudioSurf Tilt, this game does fail at the graphical level but as a whole is very fun to play and addictive as well. In the game you "drive" along a race track created based on the audio track you chose. You have to maneuver along it collecting colored cubes while avoiding speed bumps. It has a very fun Guitar Hero feel to it and was one that I found it hard to put down.
But with the good there is always a little bad. In this case the Zune HD's lack of a speaker can make the games awkward. To get the sounds you have to use a set of headphones, this makes holding and controlling the player awkward. There is also the slightly annoying issue that most of these games have an ad that you have to watch before they launch. So while the games are free, you end up paying with that annoying intro ad and the wasted time to get into the real game play.
The Zune HD launches tomorrow to what should be a great reception. According to early previews and information on the internals for the new Microsoft Media Player the Zune HD is looking pretty formidable.
The question is; will it be able to make a dent in the iPod/iPod Touch's massive market share? Well, MS is facing two problems; the first is the most important. MS has almost no idea how to market the Zune HD. Their marketing department is terrible. When you compare them to the highly polished Apple team it is almost comical. The second problem is one that is easier to tackle.
To compete at all the Zune HD must, hands down, outperform the iPod Touch. I am not talking about simple video playback; I am talking about in all respects. So far the Zune has probably the most powerful SoC out, the nVidia Tegra. This gives the Zune HD an advantage over the touch in terms of RAW CPU and GPU power. But having a great CPU/GPU is not enough.
The OS must do and have things that the Touch does not/cannot. As of right now the Zune has a few checks in this column. HD Radio, (rumored) Flash Support, 720p(+) playback, remote control (with Dock), and now it may be that the Zune HD has the upper hand in gaming. Check out this promotional video showing it playing Forza 3.
Maybe if the MS Marketing team can get their heads out the Zune HD might actually have a fighting chance.
So Microsoft might release project Natal in 2010 and they might have a new XboX 360. That is a lot of mights to be perfectly honest. But Sony on the other hand is saying they will have 3D TV support for the PS3 in 2010.
This was demonstrated recently. The new 3D Support will come in the form of a firmware update for the PS3. This simple (relatively) update to your console will enable 3D support for all existing titles.
That last line is the most important; this is not an update that will make it available for "future products" no it will enable it for all existing titles. All I can say there is wow.
3D gaming has been something of a dream for game developers. It allows the eye-candy and visual element of the game to become more active. Now if they can get the motion capture/control elements working then we are talking about a completely new level of immersive gaming and something to really look forward to in the future.
There is nothing like a new cool gadget and Fujifilm has one. This is a 3D Digital camera for the masses. The new camera is a small compact device that is capable of capturing 3D Images that are viewable without the need to special glasses.
The concept behind the capture is surprisingly simple; through the use of two lenses (similar to the old stereoscopic viewers) the camera is able to combine different fields of view (depth) into an image or movie that is fully 3 dimensional.
Fujifilm will also offer a special printing process for these images. The new FinePix REAL 3D W1 should hit the stores in Japan early next month followed by a general release late next month.
The REAL 3D W1 will not be an inexpensive gadget though; it will run about $640 US dollars.
Rumors are fun things, at times you can picture them happening and being a great jump forward for a product, company, etc. At other times they are just plain silly.
This is exactly where the rumor that Microsoft will be putting in stereoscopic 3D support into next generation Xboxs fits. The rumor says that the next Xbox 360 will have Natal motion sensing technology but that the Xbox 720 will not only have Natal but those cheap and cheesy 3d glasses you see at movies.
It then goes on to say that the new Xbox 720 won't start shipping until 3D HD TV support is more wide spread. This means that in 4-5 years Microsoft would be putting in support for a 3D technology that is outdated today.
Read more here.
So while the Xbox 360 would be getting Natal, the Xbox 720 (or whatever you want to call it) could have Natal and 3D immersion. TeamXbox claims that the 720 won't be launched until 3D television solutions go more mainstream, which by my guesstimation won't happen within four years.
Still, with Hollywood's focus on 3D, it's not hard to believe that Microsoft would design their home entertainment console to match-even if the risk would be huge.
Ok time for one last round of iPhone rumors before the end of my day. It seems that there is a lot of speculation on what Apple will bring forth onto the world at WWDC. Much of this speculation surrounds the iconic Apple iPhone.
For months there have been rumors, fake shots, blurry cams, everything you can imagine but as we get closer to the time when the announcements should be dropping we hear some good ones.
The latest is that the new iPhone will have a 3D Graphics Chip in it. I am not sure the purpose of this unless perhaps it is an nVidia off shoot and Cuda/OpenCL capable. At that point perhaps Apple might be looking at a way to push off some of the iPhone overhead onto the GPU.
But then again since we have heard a ton of other rumors who knows until the great bitten one gives us the details.
Read more here.
It is widely expected that Jobs' Mob will be showing off its new iPhone and according to the latest rumours this will include a 3D graphics chip, and operate on a new, higher-speed network. Apparently the new phone will have better Bluetooth support, an upgrade that will allow third-party developers to to release add-on products like a keyboard or game controller.
Apple is tipped to release the new gadget on July 17. The rumour has been largely sparked by an advert where Apple is seen to be hiring in-house game developers. It is unlikely that Apple will start producing games for its Macs so it is fairly likely the outfit wants to install games on the phone.
Another launch from nVidia, this time it is the 3D Glasses we told you about yesterday. Now that the lid is off we can tell you that nVidia has gone for a shutter technology that has some interesting requirements.
While most of the hardware needed is nothing special (you need a dual core CPU, Vista, and a series 8, 9, or 200 GPU from nVidia) where you will get hit is in the compatible monitor arena. There are very special requirements for this piece of hardware. For your average LCD you need a 120Hz model or a 100+Hz analog CRT. There are also a limited number of supported HD TVs and only one listed projector.
There is also a performance impact running the glasses so if you have a slow game it will be even slower running in 3DMode. Most seem to agree that the actual 3D view is very good but at $200 it is a tad on the expensive side.
Some reviews from around the Web:
Well CES kicked off today so the news will be full of interesting products. Our first article comes from Charlie Demerjian at the Inq.
It seems that Charlie was able to get a shot of nVidia's new 3D Glasses while checking out a projection system from Samsung.
These new glasses are very cheap looking (remind me of something found on a gas station sunglass rack) and if Charlie is right won't be great performers either.
Take a look for yourself here.
They were being demo'd on a Mitsubishi rear projection TV, one of the few that are certified at this time. I guess we don't understand the point of tying your product to a projection TV when every sane person has abandoned them for LCDs.
Maybe it is just us, but this is so 1990's.
nVidia is still having a rough time, Not with GPUs and MCH chips. No this time it seems they are going in the wrong direction with their newest 3D Glasses.
If you have ever tried a pair of these (not just from nVidia) they are not exactly the easiest thing on the eyes. They usually consist of a pair of glasses that are little more than small displays that alternate the image between your town eyes creating a 3D Effect. The last pair I used gave me a headache that lasted a couple of days.
According to Charlie Demerjian; nVidia is using a similar technology to the migraine inducing ones I remember. The Green team are choosing this technology at a time when everyone else is moving away from active glasses for that very reason.
Read more at The Inquirer.
NVIDIA IS BANGING the 3D drum with their new glasses called GeForce 3D Vision, but they are entirely missing the point. In typical fashion they are going about it not only the wrong way, but trying to counter the direction of the entire consumer electronics industry.
The technology they are using is active shutter glasses, something that went out of style when sane companies realised the costs involved. This is not to say it doesn't work, it does, but they are jacking the costs up for consumers in a way that doesn't make sense, halving the effective frame rate, and inserting a host of other problems as well.
Wow. 3-D. On Blu-ray.
On August 19th, Disney unveils the beast that is Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour replete with 1080p 3D version, and presumably 3D glasses.
So those of you who cannot get enough of Ms. Cyrus in 2 dimensions (yes, you in the back) can enjoy the experience that little bit more.