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A quick heads up for gamers hanging out for Blizzard's next big blockbuster RTS, Starcraft 2, the company has indicated the game will be in beta phase for as little as three months and as much as five, whilst still pushing to have it ready within the first half of this year.
Most likely it will be towards the end of Q2 but it's hard to know for sure. Blizzard aren't big on giving release dates or even estimates, so it's surprising to see them giving out their release plans :-
You haven't asked this question yet, but I'll answer it ahead of time. We were targeting three to five months for the beta, we're really at a three month period of time for the beta at this point. We are still targeting the first half of this year, so with that in mind, it really shortens the window of time with our major content patch coming out pretty close to the end whether it's even worth it putting out the map editor at that point.
It was also noted that the map editor might not be released during the beta, but it won't be far away.
Rumors surface all the time in the tech world and some are more believable than others. Some rumors start out of the blue and others are based in at least a little bit of fact. The new Sony rumor circulating today has a bit of fact behind it.
The rumor started when a patent surfaced showing that Sony was at least thinking about creating a universal controller for game consoles. Universal would mean a Sony controller that would work on the Wii, Xbox, and PS3. That hardly sounds like something Sony would do.
The patent outlines a controller with an LCD screen that would be able to show the buttons for specific consoles the device was connected to. The big (BIG) issue here is that the buttons are mostly virtual. I can not imagine that many gamers would want to play with a virtual button control for long.
Beginning on the 19th people will be able to play Futuremarks' Shattered Horizons for free over the Steam service. While this is not the first free weekend hosted by Steam it is the first time that Shattered Horizons has been offered for free.
The even comes on the heels of the launch of a new map pack for the Zero Gravity first person shooter. The map pack is called Moonrise and features four new levels that are free to all players. Futuremark has gone an additional step with their free weekend though; they are also offering Shattered Horizons for 50% off for the duration of the weekend.
This makes getting into some serious DX10 based zero gravity mayhem even easier and more attractive. If you already have a steam account you are all set; if not you can head over to Steampowered.com and get set up.
MaxPoint's KeySonic division which specializes in a wide range of peripherals, has just released two new keyboards to market that cater to the gaming crowd.
Both the KSK-8003 UX and KSK-6001 UELX promise a more comfortable typing experience with the use of SoftTouch Membrane technology.
The KSK-8003 UX is the larger of the two with dimensions of 433 x 140 x 33 mm, whilst the KSK-6001 UELX is a more compact setup at 393 x 158 x 24 mm and sports blue backlighting which can be disabled at the press of a button.
Both keyboards have full macro support across all of the keys for many different profiles to be stored and through the use of Anti-Ghosting technology, four or more keys can be pressed and registered simultaneously.
The full-size KSK-8003 UX can be purchased for 25, whilst the KSK-6001 UELX can be had for around 18. Both boards are available with either QWERTY or AZERTY layouts.
ASUS has bestest its ROG series of notebooks with the introduction of the new G73Jh which is all about giving the best rounded gaming platform using some of the latest and fastest mobile hardware available.
The new G73Jh's outer design is inspired by the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter plane with its unique angular characteristcs. The display is 17.3-inch in size which is FHD LED-backlit and supports resolutons of up to 1920x1080. The twin rear venting system keeps heat and noise as far away as possible from the user and careful placement of internal components allows ASUS to slope the keyboard toward you 5 degrees with the palm rest area being very thin for a notebook of this calibre.
Inside is a real party. The system is based around Intel's HM55 chipset with a Core i7-720QM processor. It houses 8GB of DDR3 memory, ATI's Mobility Radeon HD 5870 w/ 1GB of GDDR5 memory, space for two 2.5-inch drives (of which it comes with 2x500GB, making up a Terabyte), a DVD Super-Multi or choice of Blu-ray Combo drive and built-in 2 mega pixel camera.
For the AUD RRP of $2699, it also comes with a backpack, gaming mouse and headset.
For further details, you can locate ASUS' official announcement on the new ROG series G73Jh in our press room here.
If you are an avid PC gamer, you can get your hands on gaming notebooks with power and good performance but those will cost you a lot of money. For much less green you can get your hands on a powerful gaming desktop, which is what most gamers prefer.
Gateway has whipped out new gaming desktops in the FX series. The most interesting is the FX6831-03 with a price starting at $1,699.99. For that much loot you get an Intel Core i7 860 CPU, ATI HD5850 graphics, 16GB of RAM, a 1.5TB HDD and a DVD burner.
Along with that DVD burner also comes a Blu-ray drive and the system runs the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium. If that rig is too much for your checkbook, you can lop $400 off the price by going to 8GB of RAM and shedding the Blu-ray drive.
Before I bought my first iPhone, I really didn't care for mobile gaming. Games on small screens and mobile phones were just horrible with poor graphics and junk titles to choose from. The iPhone changed all that for many of us.
If you are like me and have found that on the iPhone mobile gaming is lots of fun, you probably have a gob of apps on your iPhone already. The good news with the iPad is that all of those apps will run on the device. I take that to mean you won't have to repurchase the apps if you have an iPhone and buy the iPad too.
From the photos of the iPad playing Need for Speed Shift, it's clear that the iPad is more capable than the iPhone when it comes to gaming. I am very interested to see if the claims I have heard from early users hold true for poor battery life when gaming. I know the iPhone battery is gone in no time if you play games, so I won't be surprised to find that same issue on the iPad.
If you are a fan of science fiction and online video games, you may be excited to hear that Star Trek is coming to a MMORPG next month. The game uses the characters from the recent Star Trek film and will let players create their own starship and more.
Star Trek Online entered an open beta period yesterday that will run through January 26. Fans have to have a valid open beta key to join in the fun before the game launches. Information on getting a key can be found on the open beta section of the Star Trek Online website in the source link.
Players can play as a member of the Klingon Empire or as part of the Federation. The game promises lots of customization from ships to different species of characters. This should be a cool game.
I have often wanted to put a computer in the living room so I could play games on my big screen. I never did it because I don't want my massive gaming desktop sitting in the living room. A company called iGugu has unveiled a new device called Gamecore that can solve this problem.
The Gamecore device consists of a wireless remote, a transmitter, and a receiver that can send the game to your TV from your PC. The transmitter and receiver have to be connected with network cable, which is an issue.
The main component of the system is the Gamecore wireless remote that features a trackball, joystick, QWERTY keyboard, and six accelerometers allowing the device to support motion control of games. Pricing and availability are unknown at this time.
Nintendo ruled the roost for the first couple years of the Wii's availability in the gaming console market. Recently the demand for the console has slipped greatly leading to some rough quarters for Nintendo.
Rumors are circulating that Nintendo and Intel are in talks for a Larrabee CPU with graphics built-in to power a new Nintendo console. Exactly what console it could be is unknown. We do know that Nintendo trademarked the Zii moniker and many expect a Wii HD to hit this year.
It seems that Intel could possibly be powering the graphics and CPU for the new console. Some expect that the next Nintendo console may not hit until 2011. With profits falling I expect to see new Nintendo hardware sooner rather than later.