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CES 2013 - Yesterday I reported that we would be seeing Valve's entry into the console gaming world this year, and now we have our first look at the new Linux based console.
Dubbed the Piston, Valve's console is manufactured by Xi3 and is not a traditional console. The Piston is a little modular PC featuring a quad core CPU of unknown origin or specifications, and it supports storage up to 1TB. It is low power too, said to consume just 40w, but that is unknown if that is under load or at idle.
The coolest feature is that the whole unit is modular like a traditional PC. The motherboard can be swapped out if the official hardware is updated, and we think the GPU is upgrade-able as well. No images of the controller design have surfaced yet, but we are sure that it will be as sleek and awesome as the Piston itself.
2013 is set to become the battle of the small brand consoles. Nvidia and Ouya both have gaming consoles releasing this year and we have heard rumors and tiny tidbits of official information on Valve's entrance into the console gaming world.
A German website (Golem) is claiming to have information on Valve's "Steam Box" straight from Valve engineer Ben Krasnow. He is said to have confirmed that the Steam Box will not run on Windows like so many expected, but rather on a Linux based backbone.
This comes as no surprise as Valve has been making a major push into its Linux compatible software this past year, and with Valve CEO Gabe Newell lashing out publicly about how bad Windows 8 is. No word on an official release date but the we know it will most likely be released this year.
'Disney' and 'console' are not two words that I would've thought I'd be writing together about, but here we are. Disney all the way back in June 2011 filed an application for a patent, but it was only recently that the Patent and Trademark Office logged it.
Disney's patent suggests that the behemoth company are working on their own console that would sport 3D augmented reality, including a handheld device. The patent has teased that it is, or will be called 'Toy Box'. The description of Toy Box sound intriguing: "It's gameplay involves various Disney and Pixar characters interacting with each other".
Considering Disney have a plethora of characters under their name, including the Pixar name and now Star Wars - this could be truly game-changing news. It might not directly compete with the Xbox and PlayStation, but it wouldn't need to. Also remember that Pixar and Apple are BFFs... so this could be the work of Apple, or they've at least got their finger in the pie here.
What do you think of a possible Disney console?
Microsoft has halted development on its free-to-play Age of Empires Online game that came out in 2011. What this means is that there will be no new content coming for the game, though the game will continue to operate. Microsoft detailed what it means in a blog post:
Age of Empires Online has finished its development phase, and now moves on into the support phase. It means that there will be no new content created for Age of Empires Online. There is a small amount of content still in the pipeline that will be released in the next few weeks, but that is all. No new features will be added. Most significantly, no new civilizations will be released. However, nothing else changes for players, nothing that currently exists will be removed.
So, the game will eventually die, and until then, bug support will be slow and possibly non-existant: "Fixing and remaining bugs and addressing balance issues will be slower and, frankly, more difficult for the team. Some may, in fact, be unfixable. We will be watching carefully in case any critical bugs appear."
Microsoft could be devoting the resources towards developing a new version of the game, or something else. It's always possible it could be ressurected in the future by another publisher, as well.
Some say gaming addiction is real, while others say it is a myth. Either way, spending all of your waking hours playing Star Craft or WOW is just simply not productive. 23 year old Xiao Feng's father decided to take his sons "excessive" game play down a notch.
After several hours of repeated deaths in an online game from the same character, Feng figured out that the high-level assassins had been hired by his father in hopes that the repeated attacks would cause his son to loose interest in the game.
The father reportedly took these drastic (and comical) measures because he "wanted his adult son to find a job". Xiao Feng maintains that he's not going to settle for just any job and that he hasn't found the right fit yet.
R2 Studions, a company founded by the guys who brought us the Slingbox has been shopping around for acquisition offers for some time now. Early reports mentioned Google and Apple as buyers, but it looks like Microsoft has beaten them to the punch.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Microsoft has closed the deal and is now the new owners of R2 Studios. The acquisition comes just a week after R2 founder Blake Krikorian stepped down from his position on Amazon's board of directors.
The sale price was undisclosed but reports are coming in that Microsoft acquired several patents that cover controlling electronic devices. R2 has been working on different ways to distribute content on TVs which lines up nicely with Redmond's plans to make the Xbox the center of your media experience.
Razer has launched a new Xbox 360 controller known as the Sabertooth. The device looks very similar to the Microsoft Xbox controller, save for the fact it features six extra buttons. It has the normal buttons all in the same locations and could easily be mistaken as a normal controller.
It's currently available in the UK and US for £69.99/$79.99 and comes with a carrying case and a detachable cable. Two buttons are on the shoulder, two are on the undercarriage, and two are beside the OLED screen. It's not clear if the device features any sort of rapid fire or other mods.
There are multiple reviews on the Internet should you find yourself interested in buying one.
Nintendo 3DS gets cracked, homebrew code should be able to be ran in the future, pirated games as well
The Nintendo 3DS has proved a tough nut to crack, but hackers have finally managed to get the system to run homebrew code. Back on December 16, hacker Yellows8 posted images of the 3DS with the screen displaying the text "We hacked it!" At the time, the 3DS was only capable of displaying text, but that has changed.
In the few weeks between initially cracking the device and today, hackers have successfully managed to produce images on both of the screens using homebrew code. While we're still a ways from running full homebrew games and pirated games, progress seems to be progressing quickly.
The original DS suffered from rampant piracy in the form of the R4 card. The piracy was so bad it led to many developers abandoning the platform completely. Fears from several developers regarding this on the 3DS have already been voiced, and many more are likely to join them.
The hackers have said they believe Nintendo could easily patch this exploit with a firmware update.
A picture of a GameStop Black Ops 2 DLC poster has leaked to the internet and provided precious details about the upcoming DLC. In the picture, you can see that there will be four new multiplayer maps, a new zombies map, and a new SMG. As far as the details go, we really only have names, so it's time to let your imagination go wild as to what the maps will look like.
"Hydro", "Grind", "Downhill", and "Mirage" are the new multiplayer maps, with "Die Rise" being the new Zombies map. Downhill appears to be a ski resort, which would make sense, while Mirage appears to be in the desert. The other two pictures aren't as clear and the names could align the maps in many different settings.
The SMG is named the Peacekeeper and there are no details as to which game modes it will be available in. The DLC is set to come to the Xbox 360 on January 29 and will likely cost $15, if it stays in line with the pricing of Black Ops DLC. If you have the Season Pass, you'll get the DLC for free when it releases.
Rumors have a way of starting using data that could mean next to nothing. For instance, a rumor is now saying that the countdown to E3 posted by Microsoft today is proof positive that they will be announcing the next Xbox at E3 in June. While there have been rumors saying this is the case, this timer does not have any shred of definite proof.
While it is pretty likely that the next Xbox will make its first appearance at E3 this year in June, a simple timer does not give any hard evidence. The text "And it's on..." only adds fuel to the fire, but still does not prove that this is Microsoft's plan. While it certainly is time for Microsoft to update the Xbox 360, they will likely try to milk it for every dollar its worth.
It's also important to consider that Microsoft still has some major Xbox 360 game releases to get through, including Gears of War Judgement in March. Would Microsoft really release the next-gen console so quickly after a major game release? It's hard to say. If the console includes backwards compatibility, then it is possible.
With that said, it's completely possible that the Xbox successor will launch at E3 this year, however, it's completely possible that it won't.