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Contrary to the assumption (and inevitable, uncontrollable excitement) made based on recent reports that Sony's next handheld gaming weapon, the PlayStation Vita would launch in Europe in October, it's somewhat disappointing to hear today that the chances of that are apparently slim to none.
Bloomberg has reported today that Kazuo Hirai, the exec. deputy president of Sony Corp. is making it clear that the Vita will not launch in the US or Europe until early next year, which means the only folks to get their hands on it in time for Christmas will be in Japan.
It seems a little odd if true, as the console has already passed through the FCC and Sony would be missing out on the booming festive trade by making this decision.
The PlayStation Vita, once eventually launched, will come in two variants - a WiFi-only model for $249 and a 3G equipped model at $299.
Gearbox Software has officially announced the development of the sequel to Borderlands. The sequel will be based on the rustic planet of Pandora (Avatar, anyone?) and will have players traversing uncharted lands to discover new "mysteries." As usual at the time of a new game announcement, details are very low but Gearbox are promising to deliver an "ambitiously crafted story" that unfolds alongside new characters, skills, environments, enemies, weapons and equipment.
Wow, I'm pretty sure that's also known as "stating the obvious." If Borderlands 2 follows its previous title, we can expect the same four-player, role-playing, FPS lootfest that the original game made oh-so much fun. Hopefully this time round, the PC version is at least worked on. The original Borderlands stank of console port, which was very disappointing to say the least.
Smartphones and tablets are edging ever-so-close to the now ageing consoles in terms of capabilities, with the future not looking bright for the old consoles. SoC (System on Chip) creators such as NVIDIA and Qualcomm have some very powerful technology coming out and Qualcomm has gone as far as saying that future SoCs will be capable of beating current-generation consoles such as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in terms of graphics and that we'll see a move from console and PC gaming to mobile-based gaming.
Their vision is to have a device such as a smartphone or tablet based on a high-end SoC, plug it into the wall or tether to a display (either wirelessly or through HDMI) and you've got a portable gaming console. Qualcomm is committed to delivering both the hardware and software support needed to bring developers to these platforms.
Sony have previously said their next-generation portable gaming machine, PlayStation Vita, will launch globally by the end of the year and have said more specifically, that'll it'll be in the fall. Blockbuster have jumped the gun, with IGN nabbing their flier which suggests the PS Vita will hit UK retail shelves on Friday, October 28, 2011. The advertisement suggests that both Vita models will arrive in Europe after two months. Will we see a US or Japan release at the same time? We don't know.
As we can see from the above image (if true), the Vita will be £$229.99 for the Wi-Fi only model, with the 3G & Wi-Fi Vita at £279.99. Pricing doesn't seem too bad considering Sony has promised a PlayStation 3-level experience, as the Vita sports a quad-core ARM Cortex A9 processor with a multi-core PowerVT SGX543MP4 graphics chip that is four times as fast as the PSP. The Vita will come with a 5-inch OLED screen with a resolution of 950x544, two micro-analog sticks to simulate the Dual Shock experience, front and rear-facing cameras, as well as a two-finger multitouch pad on the back of the Vita unit.
Sony is hoping that the front and rear touch screens will offer new three dimension-like motion gameplay experiences never before seem on any device through "touch, grab, trace, push and pull" finger motions. A Sixaxis equivalent with a gyroscope and accelerometer is also available to let players control games by moving and tilting the Vita itself.
Blizzard have released some drips of information for their upcoming keyboard/mouse-thrashing RPG, Diablo 3. First off, Diablo 3 will be online-only, Blizzard believe that a high number of users have access to permanent internet connections anyway, and even though piracy was a concern it was not "a deciding factor" in making the decision. Blizzard instead claim that internet connectivity will be necessary due to a cache of Battle.net features that complement the game.
Things like persistent character saving server-side and the possibility of opting in/out of co-op play, persistent friends list, party system and matchmaking, the game's achievement system, and an auction house system that will allow real world currency to purchase items. Blizzard is not planning on selling any items directly through the auction house, instead, they'll let players list items for which they will charge a fixed fee.
The point of this is, real money auctions will be allowed along with in-game gold and normal item trade. Players will be allowed to rock up at the auction house at any time, with instant transactions of nearly everything, inclusive of characters themselves. Finally, Diablo 3 will not include support for bots or mods which Blizzard say is for a "variety of gameplay and security reasons."
Three years ago, Mirror's Edge arrived and created a new way of seeing the gaming world through parkour. EA have recently announced a sequel was currently being worked on. But according to CVG, the Official PlayStation Magazine now has a scoop that should start creating buzz for the new Mirror's Edge title:
OPM is now reporting on insider whispers which add more credence to the idea of Faith hop, skip and jumping onto Battlefield 3's stunning engine.
"The Frostbite 2 engine will pave the way for Mirror's Edge to make a free-running return," says the mag, much to our delight.
Frostbite 2 is responsible for the gorgeous graphics you've seen in Battlefield 3 demos and alpha videos. I truly look forward to see what DICE can pull off with Frostbite 2 and Mirror's Edge!
In obvious efforts to significantly increase sales counts on its 3DS handheld gaming console before Vita steps on its turf, Nintendo has issued out a press release today that indicates quite the price drop coming to the U.S. and several other regions. They will be shaving $80 off the cost of the 3DS, taking it down from $249 to $169 as of the 12th of August.
If you're one of the 830,000 odd people in the U.S. who've already paid out for the 3DS and feeling somewhat bitter about the above, at least there's a little sweetener in it for you guys too. As long as you've logged into the eShop at least once before the price cut, Nintendo will allow you to grab 10 free NES virtual console games from September 1st, as well as 10 more Game Boy Advance virtual console games, these of which are games Nintendo isn't planning to release to the general public before the end of this year.
Eidos Montreal have unveiled the greatest news I've read in a while, that Deus Ex: Human Revolution has gone gold and will be released on August 23. Yes, it's actually coming out - it's not another delay or problem with the game, it is finished, complete, golden. Here's a quote if you don't believe me:
We couldn't be more excited that Deus Ex: Human Revolution has gone gold and will soon be in the hands of expectant gamers," said Eidos-Montreal's general manager Stephane D'Astous. "As the first release for Eidos-Montreal, it's impossible to express how extremely proud we are of the final product and all of the hard work that went into its creation.
There has been a rumor of the Beta of Diablo 3 for release this summer, reportedly it'll hit in time for Blizzcon 2011 or the upcoming Blizzard press tour. Blizzard has been keeping quiet and not contributing to the community speculation and rumors, until now. Of course a little icon may be jumping the gun a bit, but this is Diablo 3 we're talking about. People have noticed Diablo 3 beta icons on both the EU and US portals of Battle.net.
Should we get excited? I think we should.
This is something I have covered in my editorials, forums and Facebook, that games should be created and developed on the much more powerful PC platform and scaled down to consoles that are no way near as fast. Instead of being developed on ageing hardware and then ported across to PC where they don't scale up in graphics or use DX11 properly, or multi-GPU setups properly, etc.
DICE have come out and said that the biggest difference between the PC and console versions are shown in the multiplayer side of things, down from 64 players on PC to just 24 on consoles. DICE studio head, Patrick Bach says:
The biggest difference between the PC and console version of Battlefield 3 is that we have 64 players on PC and 24 players maximum on console. The rest is more or less the same: we use the same engine, the same technology, the same animation system, the same lighting system. Our aim is to give the player the exact same experience and not try to dumb down the console version. If you want the same quality of game, I would say it's really, really hard. We tried to get more players in [to the console version] but then you need to scale down all the graphics, scale down all the destructibility, and sometimes you need to scale down all the map sizes. Everything is a compromise on: where do you cut?