Friday, August 1, 2014

Sega's quiet quarter drops it to a loss

Sega highlighted PSO2 on the Vita/PC as one of the high points of its consumer business, as it reported its latest results. But with only one new game out on 3DS, it was hardly a stellar period for the company. Ahead of Tokyo Games Show, there's very little in the way of forward looking statements, so we don't know what Sega has planned.

It made a small loss on the quarter, with summer not looking much better, looks like Hatsune Miku 2ndF dropped off the charts pretty quick. Chain Chronicle V coming to Vita should help its digital downloads, but it looks like we wait for Autumn for any big news.

Pants boy tortured again by the Vita in Japan

We've seen the happy smile-fest of the UK's summer Vita campaign. Japan's is taking an ever darker twist in the further adventures of pants boy. This time he's at least got his clothes on but is being tortured by friends all playing Freedom Wars and Oreshika on their Vita, with elements of the games crossing over into his nightmare.

Perhaps this is what it felt to be a VirtualBoy owner, way back when. And what's with the shot of her skirt? Were you thinking what he was (probably) thinking? Pesky Japanese! It gets worse, here she is on the Sony promo site

I'm starting to think there's something sinister going on here.

Capcom shows off Vita power with Monster Hunter Frontier G

You can tap the touchscreen, can tap the touchscreen, tap the touchscreen, the touchscreen, touchscreen... and fight dragons, and party with people on PS3. That's according to the new Capcom advert for MHF3-G. Admittedly the dragons look okay, but the characters are still looking very last-gen, despite Capcom tarting them up for this release.

Still, its Monster Hunter, on a Vita and its as good as we're (or at least Japan is) getting until Sony's handheld hits perhaps 5 or 6 million units in Asia and Capcom thinks about the next in the series. The game is out in a couple of weeks, after the conclusion of the current beta. Wonder how they'll react to it? Can't see it being a monster seller, but it might be enough for another sales spike.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Great Edo Blacksmith screens go live

Nippon Ichi's Great Edo Blacksmith site has gone live replacing the photos of glamorous Japanese ladies for screenshots of glamorous Japanese ladies. There's also a few screens of the game's actual RPG elements,which all looks pretty standard. We've got a nice-looking exploring screen, battle screens with a couple of juicy rats on the menu and your forge where weapons and other goodies can be cast from the metals you find in the dungeon.

You can check the lady pics on the site, which seem to include the usual tickling and hard choices when it comes to picking the woman you will spend your last year of life with. So, nothing dramatic from NIS, but as long as there's enough proper dungeon-based gameplay, I'd say its worth a go.

Sony returns to profit as games system sales rise

Sony as a whole is back in the (piano) black in its first quarter results for 2014, driven by a 95% rise in profits from the gaming division over last year's quarter. With PS4 and software sales rocketing, the company as a whole benefits, even though its TV division continues to drag.

Portable sales were also up. This time last year, Sony sold 600,000 PSPs and Vitas. In this quarter it managed 750,000 including around 100,000 Vita TVs. While its not a massive rise, that's the weakest quarter out the way and Sony has plenty of games in Japan to keep the handheld selling there.

With PSP now finished, Sony expects to sell 3.5 million Vita/Vita TV units this year, that's down on last years 4.0 million and way down on 20123's 7 million sales. However, with generally healthy sales growth continuing in Japan, the Vita's future seems pretty secure.

Despite continued good sales of mobile devices, profits from those sales dived into the red, which might also help put more focus back on the Vita which is now a mature product with less R&D needs, unlike the never-ending push for new smartphone and tablet tech.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

PlayStation Plus games for August

It looks about even this month as both sides of the Atlantic wait to find out what free goodies our PS+ subscriptions get us. Europe gets Road Not Taken (assuming its Cross Buy), LEGO Harry Potter 5-7 and PowerPoint arcade sim Metrico arriving early in August. Throw in Fez and Proteus as Cross Buys and you have a decent month.

The US gets the slightly better deal with Dragon's Crown instead of Harry Potter, so they're maybe ahead on points. But, Sony must really hope Europe likes LEGO games, because that seems to be the flavour of the summer for PlayStation Plus subscribers.

Sony's PlayStation Vita ad campaign for summer kicks off

Okay, you all know my feelings about the gonads that inhabit Sony's marketing department. But they've managed to get off their arses/begged some budget from the bean counters to put up a TV advert in the UK for summer. It highlights Minecraft, LEGO The Hobbit, Tearaway and LEGO Ninjago (if you can spot the ninja) as games for the kids.

It's not bad but quite why there's this lingering focus on the touch features is beyond me? We've already proved that it doesn't sell games, so they could have added a couple of extra titles in those gaps. Just hope there's a grown-up version for later viewing for the Vita's darker fare, otherwise how will anyone get to know about lady tickling and underwear arranging, the usual MDK fun.

Summer sale puts a host of Vita and PSP games cheap

The summer sale starts in Europe with a host of Vita and PSP games going cheap. Most of them, except FIFA and Need for Speed have additional 10% (or 20% for some indies) discounts, so knock that off the price.

If you have any change after your lurid summer-wear spree, go spending. Mind Zero, Spelunky and Terraria are must-buys. Also no excuse to not own the awesome Burnout games on PSP.

PS Vita
Asphalt Injection Was £14.99/€19.99/AU$24.95, now £3.99/€4.99/AU$7.55
Assassin’s Creed III Liberation Was £14.99/€19.99/AU$24.95, now £6.99/€9.99/AU$14.95
Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars Was £32.99/€39.99/AU$59.95, now £15.99/€19.99/AU$29.95
EA SPORTS FIFA Football Was £44.99/€49.99/AU$69.95, now £15.99/€19.99/AU$29.95 F1 2011 Was £14.99/€19.99/AU$24.95, now £3.99/€4.99/AU$7.55
Farming Simulator 14 Was £28.99/€34.99/AU$52.95, now £15.99/€19.99/AU$29.95
Guacamelee! Was £9.99/€12.99/AU$19.45, now £3.99/€4.99/AU$7.55
Hotline Miami Was £6.49/€7.99/AU$11.95, now £3.99/€4.99/AU$7.55
Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition Was £34.99/€39.99/AU$54.95, now £14.99/€19.99/AU$24.95
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes Was £19.99/€24.99/AU$32.95, now £11.99/€14.99/AU$22.95
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Was £34.99/€39.99/AU$54.95, now £15.99/€19.99/AU$29.95
LEGO The Lord of the Rings Was £24.99/€29.99/AU$39.95, now £11.99/€14.99/AU$22.95
Mind Zero Was £24.99/€29.99/AU$44.95, now £11.99/€14.99/AU$22.95
MotoGP13 Was £29.99/€34.99/AU$47.95, now £11.99/€14.99/AU$22.95
Need for Speed Most Wanted Was £39.99/€49.99/AU$69.95, now £11.99/€14.99/AU$22.95 
Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD Was £9.99/€12.99/AU$19.45, now £5.79/€6.99/AU$10.45
Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken Was £6.49/€7.99/AU$11.95, now £3.99/€4.99/AU$7.95
Spelunky Was £11.99/€14.99/AU$22.95, now £6.49/€7.99/AU$11.95
Terraria Was £11.99/€14.99/AU$22.95, now £6.49/€7.99/AU$11.95
The LEGO Movie Videogame Was £34.99/€39.99/AU$54.95, now £15.99/€19.99/AU$29.95
The Walking Dead: Season Two Was £15.99/€19.99/AU$24.95, now £7.99/€9.99/AU$14.95
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season Was £14.99/€19.99/AU$24.95, now £6.49/€7.99/AU$11.95

Army of TWO: The 40th Day Was £15.99/€19.99/AU$29.95, now £6.49/€7.99/AU$11.95 
 Burnout Dominator Was £7.99/€9.99/AU$14.95, now £5.79/€6.99/AU$10.45 
 Burnout Legends Was £7.99/€9.99/AU$14.95, now £3.99/€4.99/AU$7.55 
 Burnout Legends Was £15.99/€19.99/AU$29.95, now £5.79/€6.99/AU$10.45 
 Dante’s Inferno Was £15.99/€19.99/AU$29.95, now £5.79/€6.99/AU$10.45 
 The Sims 2 Was £7.99/€9.99/AU$14.95, now £3.99/€4.99/AU$7.55 
 The Sims 2 Castaway Was £7.99/€9.99/AU$14.95, now £5.79/€6.99/AU$10.45 
 The Sims 2 Pets Was £7.99/€9.99/AU$14.95, now £4.90/€5.99/AU$8.95

Japanese Vita sales not enlivened by Operation Abyss and Corpse Party

A bit gloomy for the Vita in Japan with all these doomy games arriving. Also, sales were mostly flat in Japan this week according to Media Create, so to see the Vita and Vita TV slip some 5,000 sales is a bit alarming as new games continue to arrive. But it is still selling healthily, and way above home consoles. Just ignore the 3DS juggernaut and everything is peachy.

In the chart, Freedom Wars has now passed 300,000 sales if you add in the 35,000 digital downloads Sony mentioned recently, while Oreshika 2 crosses the 100,000 mark in its second week. Operation Abyss and Corpse Drive make solid if unspectacular entries. Demon Gaze managed 25K sales on its launch, so Operation Abyss has some catching up to do. Corpse Party did similar numbers to previous games in the series, so all looks good for 5bp

04./02. [PSV] Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines # (Sony) 17.690 / 111.465 (-81%)
05./00. [PSV] Tokyo Shinseiroku: Operation Abyss # (5pb.)  15.242 / NEW
06./00. [PSV] Corpse Party: Blood Drive # (5pb.) 13.688 / NEW
13./07. [PSV] Freedom Wars (Sony) {2014.06.26} (¥6.264) - 5.344 / 267.771 

Last Inua chilling the Vita

Wired Productions is bringing Last Inua to the Vita, yay! No, not Last Ninja as I first read (must be the font), but Last Inua, as in Inuit, the Artic dwelling natives. A former iOS hit, the game from Glowforth (yet another Dutch developer) is gong multi-platform, but I'd imagine it will be another hit.

Here's a walkthrough of the early levels on the iOS version to give you a flavour of the game, avoid if you're not into spoilers. It looks a little bit like Limbo with some added icing and an environmental tinge to it. Anyone keen?

Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare goes Remote Play weeding on the Vita

PopCap and EA are bringing the shooter installment of the Plants vs. Zombies series to the Vita via the PS4. As the developers show in this quick look at the game on both platforms, it looks pretty sharp on the Vita. I think the game was delayed as it was an Xbox exclusive (do people still do that?) but should be hitting pretty soon, to add even more woes to hay fever sufferers.

Do expect the PS4 versions to to come with a premium price, as it continues to evolve from a fun mobile game to a big-budget project. There's lots of extra content promised, the game is out in the middle of August.

Broforce not ready to storm the Vita

Free Lives' shooter Broforce is all over the PC at the moment via Steam early access with bags of extra content arriving on a regular basis. Riffing off the likes of the Expendables movies, The Vita version was shown off at E3, with multiplayer, so is still in the pipe somewhere.Early 2015 seems to be a reasonable date for our version.

While it might look like a more fractious version of eight-bit shooters like Gunslugs, there's lots to like assuming the developers can cram all that action onto the Vita. There's so much stuff going on with this game that hopefully Devolver as publisher is keeping a keen eye on things, making for a smooth ride to PlayStation.

Avoid Droid is now finished and called Don't Die, Mr. Robot

A quick name change here since "Droids" is something that the Disney/Lucasfilm megalith now owns, apparently. Don't Die, Mr. Robot has more punctuation in it than any game I can think of (unless there was something called Die, Bastard!!!!!!!!!!).

The happy-looking arcade shooter from Infinite State Games is complete, going through QA and certification with Sony, and should be with us soon. Here's the latest teaser trailer, showing off the latest fruity, laser-dodging, munch-robot avoiding arcade fun at its finest. Look forward to adding this

Assault Android Cactus at that spiky dev phase

Wow, reading the Twitter account of Tim Dawson, the guy is really trying to polish this game, which I thought looked pretty slick about a year ago. Keep reading though for lots of evolving character and boss concept art. His existential angst over menus shows the level of dedication needed to produce a really polished product. Still, it sounds like they're close to the finish and the game does look worth the effort.

Witchbeam's game is now available on Steam early access, so a Vita version is likely still someway off, although using Unity, hopefully it won't be too tricky. There's a few recent YouTube videos of the early access code running, which looks awesome, but you know (or hope) it'll be best on the Vita screen with those twin-sticks blazing merry havoc.

Airship Q brings the multiplayer feline mayhem

I know its probably a rough comparsion, but the Japanese answer to Terraria, crowd-funded sandbox game Airship Q is coming along nicely in development. This recent multiplayer video showing all kinds of blocky mayhem, with the feline players using bows and bombs to rearrange the furniture, travelling around the world in their wacky airships.

The game is down for a "soon" release date with lead programmer Kengo Nakajima talking about it at the upcoming CEDEC developer event. Does this tweak your gaming mojo?