Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Backstab Trailer for Xperia Play

Another of the Xperia Play's exclusive titles, Backstab, which comes across as Pirates meets Assassin's Creed just had a (rendered) trailer reveal. The game should be out in the next couple of months. To see the rest of the Xperia Play launch is going, check here.

Xperia Play Launch Round-Up

Hi, this page has yesterday's (Thursday) events for the Xperia Play launch on it, to catch up with today's events click here.


Some lucky folk in London are getting their mitts on Xperia Play at Sony Ericsson's launch event. Hopefully we'll have some pics from the event soon. If you've stumbled across what is basically the world's best phone for playing games on, then this is all you need to know:

The latest news will appear below and be updated through today and tomorrow, will there be any surprise game releases, any new services, we'll find out in the next 48 hours:

  • (7:30) Some pics from the Xperia Play Launch Party
  • (6:00) Age of Zombies coming to Xperia Play (Live Play With Developers).
  • (3:30) New trailer for Backstab, another Gameloft title, coming soon.
  • (3:00) BOO! Now 3 has joined the list of companies delaying its launch, until next week.
  • (2:15) A list of optimized Android games that take advantage of Xperia Play's controls.
  • (12:50) GOOD NEWS! Orange are now getting shipments, so will launch as expected. Just o2 (bugs) and Vodafone (their shipment missed the boat - doesn't anyone fly freight these days? [and, yes, I know how expensive it is])
  • Just a thought, I hope everyone who pre-ordered and now doesn't get their Xperia Play tomorrow, gets compensation in the form of free game downloads.
  • (12:30) Sony Ericsson statement on the launch:
  • “We can confirm that the Xperia Play handsets are still planned to launch in the UK for April 1st, as originally communicated. However, as of today, we have experienced a freight issue that may impact the number of Xperia Plays arriving at some retail outlets. This said, consumers can purchase Xperia Play as of April 1st at a number of stores across the UK.”

  • Now (11:30) add Orange to the list of shops with Xperia Plays, this isn't getting any better.
  • Vodafone delaying release due to shipment issues. The company joins o2 who are delaying due to software issues.
  • There's already an awesome N64 emulator that could help make Xperia Play a great retro machine.
  • Google has pulled the PSOne emulator for the Android store in anticipation of the Xperia Play launch.
  • NOVA 2 is a timed exclusive release for the Xperia Play.

Final Fantasy IV Roars to No. 1 in Japan

Square's lavish remake of FFIV has stormed to the top spot in the Japanese charts selling over 100,000 copies and was one of three games in the top five (Dissidia 012 and Monster Hunter 3 being the other two). Also in the top 10 were Phantasy Star Portable 2 Infinity and Gundam SD G Generations, making a healthy and 3DS-squashing roster for the PSP.

Even better, for a six year old system, the PSP and PSP-Go managed to outsell the Nintendo 3DS in the hardware stakes by a few hundred units, with both selling just over 50,000. The boosts in sales seem to suggest that Tokyo and Japan's other metropolises are getting back to normal after the terrible disasters.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Xperia Play Could be the Ultimate Classic Gaming Machine

Just saw a great video on YouTube, showing the Xperia Play running all sorts of classic games (and you don't have to chip it, break the firmware or anything else dodgy to do it). Here it is running Mario Kart 64 (about 1 minute in) and Starfox (about 4 minutes in).

I'm not sure how many would buy a £500 phone just to play old games, but given the amount of MAME and other emulator forum activity there is, it could become the toy de jour for retro gamers. Then again, given most N64 and similar era gamers are all grown up now, then have the disposable income and hopefully a nostalgic tear in their eye.

Given Android's openness, pretty much every emulator is or will be available but not one other phone has the keys need for the real experience. Throw in the wide availability of ROMs (and plenty of people who still have the kit to claim they can legitimately play them), I reckon Xperia Play could get a fair boost thanks to this bonus feature.

PSN EU Store Round-up, 30/3

A busy old day on the store after some quiet weeks for the PSP, with lots of offers as we head into Spring. Things are led by The 3rd Birthday for £27.99 and Split/Second Velocity now under £20. Tempted by Battle over the Pacific in the sale for less than a £5, have a browse and see if there's anything you fancy.

Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos £13.99
Bi-Pack Pop Rival Swords + Splinter Cell Essentials £15.99
The 3rd Birthday £27.99

Mr. Hat And The Magic Cube £2.49
3D Twist & Match £1.74

Spectral Souls: RotEE £9.99
WWII: Battle over the Pacific £4.79
StateShift £4.79
International Athletics £3.99
Skate Park City £4.79
World of Pool £3.99
Spinout £3.99/€4.99
Sports Superbike 2 £1.99
All-Star Boxing (PSone) £2.39
Ace Armstrong vs. The Alien Scumbags (mini) £0.99
Card Shark (mini) £0.99

Ridge Racer £7.99
Tekken 6 £15.99
Tron: Evolution £19.99
Hannah Montana: Rock out the Show £15.99
Split/Second: Velocity £19.99
Toy Story 3 £23.99

See the Xperia Play Live

If you're in London then Sony Ericsson is holding an Xperia Play launch event where anyone can get their hands on the first proper gaming phone. Presumably, this is part of the £4million marketing campaign, that includes these ace adverts, you can find out more information on SE's Facebook page.

Reviews are appearing all over the web now and while they're not iPhone-orgasmic, they're fairly consistent on the Xperia Play being a quality Android phone boosted by awesome controls. All that is left to find out is will enough folk buy it to make SE's investment worthwhile.

Given that gadget-heads will just have splurged out in the iPad 2, Nintendo 3DS and phone-addicts have a huge range of phones to choose from, I'm not really expecting massive sales out of the door, but expect its userbase to build up slowly as users upgrade from earlier model Androids, or other phones.

One booster comes from Gameloft with its buy-one-get-one-free offer. All-in-all though, good on Sony Ericsson though for promoting this as a major step away from the herd of me-too phones.

Grand Knights History - Something Big for PSP

Marvelous and Vanillaware are planning something big for the PSP, judging by the splash made on the Japanese sites with the announcement of Grand Knights History. A turn-based, party role-playing game, it is due out in the summer.

Teasingly, Andria Sang reports that the game will cater for "infinite players," which could involve some sort of off-screen server mode, although it can support one to four players in regular multiplayer.

There doesn't appear to be a website or screens available yet, but if Vanillaware is behind it then expect it to look beautiful. Maybe, maybe if we all pray very hard, and are extra-good, it could get a western release.

Also from Famitsu is confirmation of a remake of Oreshika, a PSone remake. Plus, a new game from Atlas and Sting, Gloria Union, an update on Yggdra Union the tactical rpg battle game. Basically, if you love JPRGs, its Christmas come early.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gameloft Boosts Xperia Play Launch With BOGOF Offer

Buy One Get One Free is a pretty impressive launch offer, imagine that happening on the PS4? But since there are only 20 or so launch titles on the Xperia Play and the prices aren't exactly AAA-range, its hardly a massive saving. Still, here's a Gameloft video showing off its launch titles that lucky buyers can pick up:

Everyone else seems to be pinning their hopes on winning one of the endless Twitter-based competitions that are going on. Are any Xperia Plays actually in-stores, or are they all competition prizes?

Touch Racing Nitro (PSN) Review

Touch Racing Nitro is another game making its way over from iPhone, although quite why it kept the "Touch" part of the title is odd, saves on redoing the logo I suppose. Still, with distant childhood memories of Atari's SuperSprint flooding in, let's race.

TRN is best started by going through the tutorial mode that is not only educational in the nuances of the game, but unlocks extras cars for doing well. One quirky extra for the game is that you can reset your position when stuck manually, so rather than flying into the scenery and waiting for the game to do it, you can get going a little quicker before you reach the scene of the accident, a useful trick.

The races themselves in tournaments or time trial mode run over 5,6 or 7 laps, a little longer than is really fun. Still, the first lap is generally for getting used to the scrolling track, learning which are the fast and which are the slow corners and what obstacles need avoiding. But on the later laps, you should be far ahead, so get bored while trying to maintain your concentration, I can't see an option to lower the lap count but it would be a useful addition to any sequel.

Your dinky RC car can be flustered by the crash barriers, bumps and other cars, so keeping a fluid pace on the racing line is the major challenge. Once you master that on the current track, you can soon burn past the opposition. On the straights and big jumps, limited turbo can come in handy but can also derail your progress.

The dynamic camera follows your car around the track panning in and out as your speed changes, it can get a little juddery at times, despite the rather simply track layout and furniture. Other niggles include the time trial mode that fails to show your lap times as you go round, making it nothing like a time trial - and the fact that there are no lap records - small things that made SuperSprint one of the most addictive games ever.

While there are plenty of tracks, vehicles, paint jobs and other attractions, TRN seems to have forgotten the little details that are essential to the success of a "small game." A shame as the smart tutorial mode promised a lot more fun. Just a bit more effort in adding extra challenge for the player over just making the game and races bigger would keep me coming back, perhaps the loss of Achievements from the iPhone version isn't helping here.

Available on PSN for £2.49 [Bravo Game Studios]
7/10 Lacks the finesse or personal challenge for long term play, but a fun racer all the same.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pix'N Love Rush (PSN) Review

In a reverse of the Angry Birds review, here we have a fun game that was a bit of a lottery to play on a touchscreen phone, but a delight to play with the firm controls of the PSP. Now, every twitch of your control movement is accurately carried out on-screen, something rather vital in this homage to classic 8-bit gaming.

It is impossible, for older gamers, not to notice tiny motes of DNA from other games; a little Bubble Bobble, some Bombjack, Joust and many others are all, in some way, in the genetic make-up of this simple but fun game. The aim is suitably 8-bit, collect the "+" coins, avoid the "-" ones and shoot any enemies on the screen.

There are three modes to play, classic, cursed (a leaping survival mode) and on/off with various sub-modes. In classic, there's a 5 minute mode for bite-sized travel gaming and the infinite mode for longer plays, all with the aim of maximising your score or beating the existing high score.

The design too is a delight, instead of hearts for lives, you have tiny blocks around the edge of a single heart to indicate your health, the combo meters fill up pixel-by-pixel and for every combo you get the level theme changes into a suitably retro landscape. Music is of the brilliant plink-plonk from the time and fits the pacing perfectly.

Pix'N Love Rush is everything a mini arcade game should be, fast and furious, challenging and with its own unique style. It has found its perfect home on the PSP (ok, and the Xperia Play) and shows perfectly how the past of gaming still applies today.

Available on PSN for £1.74 [Sanukgames]
8.5/10 Bright, breezy and brings back dozens of memories

Naruto Breaks Out of the Fighting Bag

I've played a bunch of Naruto demos over the course of the PSP's life, and they all looked pretty much the same. A shame that I don't know enough about the series to care about the differences - anyone know a good fan guide link?

However, the latest Naruto game, Naruto Shippuuden Narutimate Impact, due out later this year, breaks the standard fighting mould and ventures into brawler territory, not to far off the Dynasty Warrior series.

I'm liking the cell shading look, and its always good to see a series evolve in a new direction - at least it hasn't gone all Monster Hunter on us. There's a new official Japanese site up and expect more news over the next few weeks. Nothing on the US site, which is still focussed on Kizuna Drive which I thought was already out.

Question of the Week? For iOS Game Devs...

... how much would the NGP have to sell for you to think of developing new games/porting your titles for it?

Given the iOS sales will be in the 200+ million by the time it launches, would you rather be a little-to-moderate fish in a big ocean or a bigger fish in a smaller pond, but a newer-trendier pond with exotic plants and brightly-colored ornaments (and real buttons :] and stuff)?

Has anyone run the numbers on this yet? (Would you make more from the Sony Store?)

Has anyone got the dev environment/kit and tried porting their game over? (Easy, Hard, Indifferent)

Enquiring minds want to know...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hideo Kojima to Reveal New NGP Game At E3?

It is only fitting for the sneaky Metal Gear franchise that every game is preceded by a whisper of a rumour of a hint of a launch. And so it starts again with various sources reporting that a new NGP game and the next proper Metal Gear Solid title will be unveiled at the upcoming e3 show in June.

Since we've already seen Metal Gear running on the NGP during the device's unveiling, we know its not that, so what could it be? Place your bets folks and we'll find out at the big show. Personally, I hope that, whatever it is, it uses the potential of PS3/NGP crossover games where you can carry on your PS3 game on the move.

Sneaky PSP Demo of a Cool Japanese Shooter

Billed as a strategic vertical shooter, the game "Advance! Protect it! Fight" is a Japanese game (surprise, surprise) that is coming to their PSN store soon, but you can download the demo directly from the game's site, and give it a go.

From the look of it, you check out the level, build your defences and then fight off the enemies. At the moment, there's a file error on the demo link. Not sure if this is just because its not up yet, or has gone down for an update. Will keep stabbing F5 and see what gives.

Sony Networks Takes Over PSN Store

An email from Sony is highlighting a structural change to Sony's network, which sees a new part of the company taking over. This will become more important as Sony's store and PlayStation Suit rolls out to other devices, phones, TVs and so on.

An important message to you from the PlayStation(R)Network team at Sony Computer
Entertainment America LLC.

On April 1, 2011, Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC ("SCEA")
will transfer its online services operations, including your wallet
and the funds in it, to Sony Network Entertainment America Inc. ("SNEA").
The first time you sign in to your Sony Online Services account on or
after April 1, you will be asked to enter into a new Terms of Service and
User Agreement with SNEA. If you do not wish to enter into a contract with
SNEA, you may decline the terms of service and we will close your account(s)
and return your funds. You can preview the new Terms of Service and User
Agreement with SNEA at:

PlayStation(R)Network will continue to provide you with the highest standard
of interactive entertainment. Your access to the best games, movies, TV
shows, music and friends will remain intact. Thank you very much for being
part of the PlayStation(R)Network online community! We look forward to continuing
to bring you the best in innovative online entertainment!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Falcom's Next PSP RGP Site Live

Legend of Heroes: Green Path is the next PSP game up from Falcom, who has also promised us an NGP role player for that system's launch. The site has just gone live with links to some YouTube videos, presumably it'll get busier closer to the launch date of the 29 September.

Looks like there's a cute little freebie model for pre-orders, guess that won't make it to the west, but hopefully the game should.

Spotted: NGP-Related Launch Countdown

While browsing the "NGP" tweets this morning I came across this one:

"NGP(NewGenerationPSP)に見せかけてNGP(NeoGeoPocket)かもしれない。>" from this chap.

and the link heads to this page entitled Compile Heart with a "coming soon" message and a 20-and-a-bit day countdown. There are a bunch of dead consoles piled up in the background. Quite what the timer is doing on a NeoGeo Pocket is even more of a mystery... wonder what it all means.

A new emulator service being announced? Looking at all those consoles and given the power of the NGP, it could well be. Intriguing stuff - even if it turns out to be nothing, a nice piece of art.

The company behind it is a games publisher with Astonishia Story and other titles on its roster, but, based on the image, this is something a lot bigger than just a game.

Eliminage III Coming to PSP in June

As a long time fan of Bard's Tale (the proper ones, not the crappy 3D console editions), Eye of the Beholder and many other step-by-step RPGs, I spent a fair amount of my childhood in sewers hitting rats with sticks. That fantasy could be relived with Eliminage III, a new title out in June in Japan from Starfish.

With all the essentials of character and party creation, huge dungeons to explore and lots of rats (and sticks) - but don't worry things should get more impressive as you progress - this should fulfil every RPGer's dreams. Just hope it comes out in the west, although none of the previous games did.

Here's a video from the second game to give you a clue, has anyone been brave enough to import it, or No. 1, and see if its playable through the fog of Japanese?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Final Fantasy IV Complete Nears - Dev Interview

Sony's EU blog has an interview with Takashi Tokita, the man behind Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection which is now due for release on April 11. The chat covers what modern gamers can expect from a 20-year old game.

With such a cool-looking collector's edition and a great Final Fantasy adventure to enjoy, plus an extra chapter, what's not to like?

The Last Xperia Play Advert, I Promise...

Here's Kristen, blowing sh!t up...

See previous posts for the other four adverts.

Kristen's Back Promoting Xperia Play, and This Time, Its Personal

Yep, yet another Xperia Play advert, this time showing off its true USP, the controls! A bit of a no-brainer but it gets the message across. This series of ads is warming up nicely, but it has to end in tragedy when she meets the thumby-Android creature.

See the previous entries here and here, definitely either a love or hate set of promos.

Resident Evil Remastered - NGP please!!!

The utterly brilliant news that Resident Evil: Code Veronica and (to a lesser extent) Resident Evil 4 are being redone on PS3 and Xbox360 is great. However, if the NGP is so powerful, then it can handle them no problem and I think Capcom would make a lot of people happy if these games could make it over to the NGP for some seriously zombified-launch antics.

I loved Code Veronica on the Dreamcast, it was the first time I'd seen the series in anything like a decent resolution and it was an awesome gaming experience. So, come on Capcom - do the decent thing and drop them on NGP too.

On the very day we get the original PSone game on PSN, it looks like the gaming would could fall in love with its best zombie series again (ignoring Resident Evil 5) and it would prove how easy converting those living-room console experiences down to the dinky screen can be.

PSN PSP Store Update 23 March

Europe's store gets a short but very sweet update today:

New games
Dissida 012 Final Fantasy (Full game) £27.99
Dissida 012 Final Fantasy (Prologus demo) £2.99

Touch Racing Nitro £2.49 (Looks rather SuperSprint, but as its on PSP they should have taken the touch of of the title!)

Resident Evil Director's Cut £7.99

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

US PSN Store Update 22 March

PSP Downloadable Games
Dissidia Duodecim Final Fantasy ($29.99)
Hoard ($9.99)
Legend of Mana ($5.99) - see earlier post

PSP Game Demos

PSP minis
Doodle Pool ($4.99)
Minisquadron ($1.99)

PSP Game Videos, Themes, and Wallpapers
Pulse 3/22 Edition
TNT Racers Trailer
Lego Star Wars III PSP Launch Trailer
Brushed Metal PSP Theme ($0.99)
Hoard Wallpaper 1

Vodafone Shows Off UK Xperia Play Pricing

UK phone network Vodafone has launched its Xperia Play page (with the phone already the fifth most popular model according to the site).

Costs start from a £199 phone for a £25, two year, contract; with a free phone offer starting off at £35 a month with 500Mb of Internet cap. Fancy a look? The page is here with five different offers listed.

o2 hasn't listed any prices yet, but does have the exclusive white model for the UK market. Can't see anything on any of the other mobile sites, but will update as information becomes available.

On the games front, pricing has been announced as between £1 and £10 for most titles which should see it competing nicely with iOS and existing Android games.

Okay, Xperia Play's New Ad Lady is Disturbing Me

These ads are now crawling out of the woodwork, like mind infesting parasites. After the Modern Combat 2 advert, this one gets a little creepier with Kristen (Flight of the Conchord's Kristen Schaal, if you think she looks kinda familiar) going all demonic on us, but still with a great sense of cheese and fun.

Again, the hint of game is a little annoying but as a concept I'm beginning to warm to this mad bint and her manic style. And, it doesn't stop there, here's another...

Will they never end?

Another Xperia Play Advert, One For the Ladies

Okay, Sony Ericsson must be trying to appeal to a wider audience now, its latest Xperia Play advert has lost the thumb-enabled Android and gone all power-dressing lady executive. This is the first of a series (I guess as another one has just popped up here) so I hope you like the character, otherwise they'll wear thin very quickly.

The results are cheesy at best, but show a little of the Xperia Play's fun side and some Modern Combat 2. Really could have done with a little more in-game screenery though.

Oh, and please try to ignore the horrible continuity error where the shotgun shells keep coming and going from her shoulder bandolier.

Legend of Mana Coming to PSN

Another cool game is making its way from PSone to PSN this week (in the US today, hopefully Europe tomorrow). Legend of Mana is a beautiful-looking game (if you ignore the simplistic animation) that reminds you of how good non-polygon PSone games looked (Rayman being my personal favourite example).

The Square title has bags of story and side-quests to enjoy but you're better off heading over to the rather lovely Legend of Mana Fan Site that covers the game in microscopic detail, ideal if you want to pick it up from the store and play through.

iPad 2 Pricing Foreshadows NGP Launch

Apple has announced European pricing for the iPad 2 ahead of its launch in most territories this Friday. We've already had a look at the likely hardware comparison, but pricing looks very much in the NGP's favour.

Apple's press release says:
a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model, $699 (US) the 64GB model. iPad 2 with Wi-Fi + 3G will be available for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model.

That equates to around: £399 for the WiFi only 16GB model, £479 for the WiFi only 32GB model, £559 for the WiFi 64GB model

Then there's the 3G equipped models at £499 for 16GB model, £579 for the 32GB model and £659 for the 64GB model.

So, with the NGP likely to kick off from around $250 to $350 it has a big pricing advantage (as far as gamers are concerned) and NGP is a lot more powerful than the iPad 2. Assuming a equal $/£ conversion, British gamers will still get gouged, especially at the rate the pound is falling, but if you're a gamer, I think I know which way you're leaning.

Of course, if the NGP price does come out higher than everyone hopes, then it puts itself at risks from iPad 2s and other devices, something Sony really can't afford to happen.

Vertigo Creeping Up on PSP

Vertigo (which looks like an update on an early PSP title called Spinout) is a new PSN game, out now, for the PSP from Icon Games, it looks a little bit Marble Madness, a little bit Zorb racing, where you basically roll a ball down the course, dodging hazards and trying to keep your speed up.

Vertigo looks perfect for a machine with tilt controls, so hopefully the developers will be able to tweak it for the NGP, using the tilt controls to drive the ball while moulding the landscape or doing other cool stuff with the rear pad.

Players can change the specs of their ball for added control. There is plenty of variety in the scenery with outer space, cities and country backdrops to your races. Hopefully, the controls will be tight enough to make this fun rather than annoying (GripShift was a game that got the balance almost right).

It offers some 54 levels, upgrades, pick-ups, multiplayer and other rewards. Let's just hope the game offers enough core variety to keep us entertained.

More PlayStation Suite/NGP Details Emerge

Sony's Andrew House has been chatting to UK site [MCV] about PlayStation Suite, in which he mentioned several useful snippets.

Firstly, as expected, the memory cards for NGP are currently 2Gb or 4Gb big, but he hints that future cards will be larger for even more gaming on the go. Sony dropped the physical drive as a power-saving trick.

PlayStation Suite is designed to attract both the core audience (with both nostalgic and new gaming challenges) and the general audience who will have heard many of the names of legendary games but wonder what it was all about.

Also, PlayStation Suite could come out on devices other than Android, (iOS has to be the favourite) but Sony is concentrating on that format for now.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Final Fantasy Type-0 News Incoming

Japanese magazines are starting to run previews and news on Final Fantasy Type-0 (formerly Agito). [Andriasang] has the details; which sees students fighting magical battles against a mystery enemy. Your party of three will be in the frontline, the news piece introduces some of the characters and their moves, expect a lot more information to drip feed out before release.

With Dissidia 012 doing a roaring trade at the top of the Japanese charts, this one looks like a banker for top spot when it releases in summer.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Xperia Play Games Reviews Coming Out

Now Xperia Play is in the hands of phone and game sites, some reviews are popping up. This first one for Bruce Lee is a video review, so you get to see the phone in action. "The best looking fighter on any smartphone ever" isn't bad praise either.

Will post more as I track them down.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Capcom Announces New Monster Hunter PSP Game

If you've just sold four million of any game, you know a cash in is inevitable, so it comes as little surprise that Capcom in Japan has just announced, Monster Hunter Diary Poka Poka Felyne G sounds like one of the annoying pet cat games.

There's an official site, with little detail, which you can expect given the Japanese have other priorities now but the "G" tag suggests this is a sequel or tweaked update to the original Feylne game doing the rounds in Japan.

Xperia Play Cases Starting To Appear

If you're going to spend silly money on a gaming phone, you'll want to look after it. So, lots of companies are rolling out cases, bags, covers and other kit for it in advance of the launch at the end of the month.

Most of them are listed as image waiting, so no pretty pics and the designs so far seem pretty generic, but its going to be pretty much an essential purchase.

Looking forward to some cool gaming-themed cases, and perhaps just one gross one with some plastic thumbs stitched on like in the advert.

Here are some links to shops with them:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Xperia Play Advert: The Prequel

You shouldn't have forgotten the leaked Superbowl Xperia Play ad from Sony Ericsson in a hurry. Well the story, backplot, whatever, thickens a bit with a new video showing how that robot got his bonus digits.

Just hope SkyNet isn't taking notes and figuring out a more subtle plan for when the machines finally rise!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Parasite Eve Coming to US PSN Store Tomorrow

A blog post on the official US PSN page brings joy to millions with the news that the original Parasite Eve will be on PSN tomorrow. Expect to pay top dollar, (Wonder what percentage of Square's income is now coming from PSone titles) but hopefully it will live up to the hype, given that not all that many gamers got to play it first time.

With 3rd Birthday launching at the end of the month, this gives us time to get into the spirit of things and, for those unaware of the fuss to see what it's all about. The original was released in 1998, so comes from the heyday of PSone gaming.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

NGP Weekend Thoughts

Lots of news and rumours all over the shop last week to address, all tinged with the harsh dose of reality that is the Japanese tsunami, if I see any poster on the web moaning about it delaying their next game or console purchase, I'll buy a ticket and pummel the writer in person.

It was good to see tweets from a lot of the Japanese developers/media I follow to show that they were safe, in this big globalised world of ours, it feels like we're all in these disasters together.

Anyway, first issue - this 3DS and NGP cost three times as much to develop for story.

A) That's just one developer's opinion.

B) It kind of ignores the fact that devs can reuse so much code and other assets from previous games, so easy is the NGP to port to. These don't have to be for remakes and ports, just grabbing building schematics and reskinning, reusing sound effects or tweaking existing animation systems for games isn't going to piss off players in the big scheme of things.

C) Big studios, the ones that can afford to develop big games, already have the budget.

D) NGP isn't just about big games, studios can stick with developing small ones if they like.

Next up is the rumoured NGP release in Europe on 11/11/11 which keeps going.

The good news is that Sony hasn't denied it, yet. And it does makes sense that Sony tries to launch in a territory where PSP struggled a bit - it knows it'll have a hit in Japan so why not concentrate the launch somewhere else, where the hype will be all the greater.

Finally, Xperia Play got a good dose of news this week with a UK launch date and further game announcements. The weird thing is the number of comments across the web who are doing an "either, or" decision with the Play and NGP - Sony and Sony Ericsson really need to do some explaining about how different they are, I see Play as "now" technology and NGP as "the future".

Also, good to see SonyE try to get the Xperia Play into gaming as well as phone stores, not sure how many it'll ship, but just spreading the message wider has to be a good thing.

If gamers aren't getting that, then both companies need to make some effort to explain it better.

Your thoughts please...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Xperia Play Launching in the UK on 31 March

If you want a new or second smartphone, make it one you can play games on properly - isn't how Sony Ericsson will be marketing the Xperia Play. They'll probably have severed digits on posters around the land.

However, as a gaming phone, Sony Ericsson is at least trying to get it sold in gaming shops, alongside phone stores and online [MCV]. One pleasant move, and a necessity given the price, is that it will ship with six games, with another 50 available on the store, plus all the regular Android games that it can handle.

PS2 games coming to mobiles via PlayStation Suite

Showing how Playstation is now a brand spreading far beyond Sony gadgets, Engadget highlights news from Nvidia's Tegra Zone, an App for Android phones, that provides games and news for Tegra-powered devices.

News from that service is that PlayStation Suite will soon be offering PSone games and eventually PS2 titles for suitably powerful machines, with a guess that it won't be until quad core processors, like those in the NGP, are available that PS2 games will make it to mobiles.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Capcom Creating New IP for New Handhelds?

He's a little bit cryptic about things, but Capcom's US VP, Christian Svensson, in an interview with [registration required] has some interesting things to say about Capcom's developments in the portable market.

Q: Capcom is big player in the handheld market, particularly in Japan. There are obviously some very exciting new prospects in that arena at the minute. How exciting is it to have that new hardware to work on?

Christian Svensson: Absolutely thrilling. We have a lot of projects that are in the works for handheld platforms. Stationary consoles, if you will, have migrated down to the portables. There's some really exciting content that we're talking about. I think if you look at 3DS as an example of what can be done, it's extremely robust.

I don't know if you've had any time with it, but it's the console experience in your hand, plus, plus, plus more. I think that if you look at RE: Mercenaries, and a bit later at RE: Revolutions, people are going to be just blown away. Nothing I can talk about right now though.

So, new new information, but certainly a hint of new or something to come.

Coolest Monster Hunter Case for PSP

Japan Loves Monster Hunter, but you have to figure they need to put their PSPs down at some point, and where better to put it then in this lovely PSP case. It has gorgeous engraving-style art on it and comes with a cloth to rub those battle scars and blood stains off with, what more could you want?

Andriasang, has some great pics, plus the clock - yeah because Monster Hunter players do need to know roughly what year it is in the outside world - that comes with it. Awesome stuff, can I have one please?

NGP set for Release on Nov 11 in Europe?

[UPDATE] - This rumour has been going for a full day now, and is now appearing across all the main gaming sites (keep up, guys!) There has been no firm denial from Sony, which has to be positive, but with all the interest in this news I'd expect a formal response soon, although that could be delayed by the grim earthquake/tsunami news from Japan. That will probably be of the "Sony does not comment on rumour" variety.


Sure, its just a rumour, posted by Pocket Gamer which is celebrating its fifth birthday and has also added an NGP tab - go guys!, but rumours rarely come with a specific date, or a reason for that date. And this one looks pretty solid.

"According to MCV, third-party licensees for the handheld have been told to have their releases ready for the end of this summer, in time for a western launch towards the end of the year.

There are even leaks suggesting that the console will be released on Friday 11th November."

The MCV article refers to third-parties who have been told when to have games ready for that launch - which is high-level stuff and the 11/11/11 date would be an attractive marketing ploy.

The timing would be bang on for the Christmas season but it would risk the NGP launching with a weak line-up and not enough hardware being available, which I'd rather see Sony avoid at the expense of a few months delay. Plus, if the hardware still isn't final, final - would you want to Sony launch an under-tested product?

Also, there are lots of comments appearing about how it is doomed due to market erosion by phones and iPad. I think there are still enough core gamers (spending hundreds of millions of dollars a month) on consoles and games for us not to worry about iPad (2-3 times the price) or phone games.

In fact there's a reasonable chance people who never got into gaming will try some phone games, see what the NGP can do and upgrade... it only takes a small percentage of one billion phone users to give NGP a boost.

Still - those business insiders sometimes know what they're talking about - so perhaps Sony is on the ball, on the case and ready to rock gaming with an awesome machine and a cracking line-up of games.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Twin Blades: The Reaping Vanguard (PSN) Review

Twin Blades is a great visual treat, easily one of the best-looking PSN minis. The 2D zombies and our heroine, Angelica, are great big figures, taking up nearly half the screen, and have plenty of character and detail to them. The levels have neat transparent foreground features and blood happily oozes down the screen after a particulary good splatting. But once you get past the prettiness, you being to wonder, as you swing your axe for the thousandth time, exactly what the point is.

For example, spoiling the view is a giant hand, usually pointing to the right of the screen, encouraging you on. Yet, when you reach the end of the level, there is no end, no boss to beat, no reward. You soon discover you have to pummel the appropriate number of zombies, so you might as well have stayed at the start of the level and splatted them all there. It doesn't make sense and is a major flaw in the game.

Defender had the same mechanic, but let the level wrap around - with Twin Blades, there is no point to the end of level, so why have it? Back to the brawling, Angelica (a nun with a can-do and a can-maim attitude) packs a scythe and a range of weapons. She can take a number of bites from the zombie horde and when she nears death, one usually disgorges a health potion, but there are none hiding in the crates or barrels around the level, discarding the opportunity for some scenic interaction. Once you kill the required number of zombies, you can go to the next level or head back to the church to level up her gun, scythe or other powers.

This has potential but is, again, wasted, there are different weapons including a flame thrower and holy beam gun, but apart from the neat undeath animations, doesn't change the game much as you fight slightly improved zombies. Until you come across the first boss, a giant, cleaver-wielding butcher, who is wildly over-powered. So, unless you're a real gaming ninja - its back down the streets to do more zombie mashing to power up the weapons until you stand a decent chance of beating him.

By this point you could well be bored of the whole thing and give up. If you do persevere, its just more of the same in slightly different locations. To pad it out a little there's a survival mode and a 'hard' option, but your life will have drained away long before you need it.

Available on PSN £2.49
6/10 - Very pretty but pretty pointless

Angry Birds (PSN) Review

My kids love this on the iPhone, so I got it for the PSP so they could enjoy it without hogging my phone. I don't know if its any faster on newer PSP devices (mine is an original Japanese 1000 model) but I was disappointed by how slow and jerky it could get when starting up a level and also how limited the control is in comparison to a touchscreen.

Once you get used to that, you have the same fantastic game on a slightly (physically) bigger screen. I think the developers scaled the graphics slightly, from the iPhones 480-by-320 down to the PSP's 480-by-272 so it looks a touch more jagged and stretched, but its not really noticable and if you haven't played another version you won't know. Apparently, the game is optimized for the PSP Go, I don't know what different that makes, but it nice to know.

If you've never played Angry Birds then, basically, you catapult a number of different flightless birds into artistically-erected levels by the egg-stealing pigs. Some birds explode, others split into mini-formations, others drop bombs. The further you get in, the more fiendish the level design and the tougher it is to break down the porcine defences. The better you do at demolishing the structure and squishing the pigs, the better score and star rating you get.

Therein lies the challenge, although there is none of the social aspect of comparing scores against your friends' efforts on the phone versions. Simple fun with around 200 levels and begging for an Angry Birds vs. Worms edition, you can't go wrong.

Available on PSN for £2.49
8/10 Some chugging and lack of absolute control.

Today's PSN Downtime Bringing New Features

Today PSN is down for around 11 hours, starting right after the European store update, which is hardly a user-friendly move. However, the long term benefits might outweigh the annoyance as the new features when it goes back live will include a neat new trick.

That is a rather teeny (but enough for some uses) 150Mb of cloud storage for PSN Plus users to store their save games for use on other devices. For now, Sony only mentions PS3 but it makes a lot of sense that gamers would be able to save their PS3 game and then carry on on their NGP when on the go.

White Knight Chronicles Comes to the West (PSP)

Level 5's hit RPG is coming to the west on the PSP in the form of White Knight Chronicles: Origins according the PS blog. It is being developed by Matrix Corp and acts as a distant prequel to the PS3 games.

The visuals look ace with some massive enemies and mimic the PS3 experience pretty well. There will be a four-player co-op mode for that essential party questing. It is scheduled for a May release both on UMD and PSN. Any new game coming to PSP at this point has to be welcomed with open arms, so welcome White Knight Chronicles when it hits the stores.

PSP PSN Store Update 9/2 With Video

Europe gets its mitts on Phantom Brave and some classic Lara Croft today, just remember to grab your downloads before the stores go down at 4PM (UK) for some essential maintenance.

Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle £15.99
Williams Pinball Classics £11.99

Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft £7.99

Doodle Pool £1.99

Neo Geo (all £5.49)
Baseball Stars Pro
League Bowling
Superstars Pro

Shift Extended £1.74
Age of Hammer Wars £1.74
Star Hammer Tactics £1.24

Xperia Play Developer Blog Updated

Sony Ericsson has updated its developer blog with a post from Angry Mob games explaining how to maximise dev's use of the console. There's code examples, tips and advice plus a video of the game Guerilla Bob in action, even if you're not interested in development, it provides a decent insight into how the Xperia Play is a cut above ...

Glu Shows Off Xperia Play Titles

Mobile developer Glu shows off Gun Bros, Guitar Hero and a host of other in-development titles on the Xperia Play. The interviewee also talks a little about the phone from the developer perspective.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

US PSN Store Update for PSP Owners


  • God of War: Ghost of Sparta – $27.99
  • Age of Zombies – $2.50
  • Shift Extended – $1.99


  • Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle Digital $19.99
  • MLB 11 The Show PSP $29.99


  • R4 RIDGE RACER TYPE 4 $5.99 (video)


  • TNT Racers Network Demo

PSP Theme

  • DP Materials Leopard PSP Theme
  • DP Materials Woodgrain PSP Theme

Get Ready to Hoard on PSP

Canadian developers Big Sandwich Games is bringing its PS3 title Hoard to the smaller screen of the PSP. Due for release later this month on the US PSN at $9.99 and in April for Europe, it lets you play as a brutal dragon, doing all the traditional village burning, princess-napping and other feats to grow the size of your hoard.

The only pics I can see are from the PS3 version, so I've asked for some PSP shots, but it looks like it should be lots of fun with a range of game modes and the timeless prospect of being the bad guy.

What Sony Can Learn From the 3DS Launch?

Yay, Nintendo, it managed to sell out of hardware on the launch of the 3DS, but the software failed to light up the games charts. What can this tell Sony? Well, for one, this race is a marathon and not a sprint. And, second, don't rely on your old properties to propel the next generation of gaming forward - which applies to all developers.

Looking at the line-up, Capcom had Street Fighter, Namco had Ridge Racer, Nintendo could only bring Nintendogs, no wonder something relatively new like Professor Layton is the biggest seller. So, Lesson One, Sony needs a big new game to generate interest (by interest I mean chat show hosts talking about it, kids in school wanting to try it, gamers going nuts over the "idea" whatever it is!), preferably one that uses the touchscreens and other console neat features to get people used to them.

Stories last year suggested that Nintendo wanted to sell 4 million in the first month, but if it could only get 400,000 out for launch, it has a long way to go, assuming it can supply another 300-400,000 a week - it'll do half that number. Sony has more time and, although the hardware isn't finished, needs to get higher inventory for the launch, even if it does mean delaying the western launches, sob!

Get the perfect game and decent numbers for launch and Sony can demonstrably claim to win the day. Then its "just" the small matter of a solid roster of new games, not just rehashes, remakes and .1 updates to PS3 titles. If Sony really wants to capture the spirit and mentality of the original PlayStation it will be with new stuff that makes us go "wow!", not just games that make us go "been there, done that."

What will that game be? Well, the ability to take a picture and render the image in 3D (as demonstrated at GDC) or use a photo in a game has bags of possibility for a populist game. If you want something more "core", then how about smashing the three big concepts together, Halo-esque characters in a GTA city with a Red Dead characterization scheme and see what happens. In eight months please!

Crazy PSP Skins are Back

I thought skins for PSPs had died out years ago, hadn't seen any on sale, advertised or OMG'ed about in ages. Then I noticed (and how could you not have your eyeballs popped by it) this Japanese skin which takes the biscuit in terms of over-the-top-ness, its for the Spike game Danganronpa and will definitely make your PSP stand out.
Anyone else spotted any good PSP skins recently? Surely there are some OTT Monster Hunter ones? Links please

Monday, March 7, 2011

Havok Engine Shows Off on Xperia Play

The Havok engine powers a host of famous games and is one of those ready to help developers get their stuff over to Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play with minimal hassle. A new video shows off some of the engine's features and while it is all work in progress stuff, still gives an idea of what the PSP Phone is capable of:

Another Week, Another PSP Game at No. 1 in Japan

This time its Dissidia 012: Duodecim kicking its way straight into the top spot, past a struggling bunch of 3DS games that really should be doing better for the launch of a whole new system. Last week's No. 1 Gundam added another 50,000 sales with five PSP titles (below) in the top 10 as published on vgchartz.

1) Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy (PSP) - 274,000
5) SD Gundam G Generation World (PSP) - 50,000
6) Star Driver: Kagayaki no Takuto - Ginga Bishounen Densetsu (PSP) - 42,000
8) Phantasy Star 2 Infinity (PSP) - 38,000
9) Monster Hunter Portable 3 (PSP) - 26,000

Anyone writing their "PSP is dead" pieces had better have a nice piece on Japan just to show a balanced picture!

Queen's Gate: Spiral Chaos: New to PSP, Much Jiggling

After last week's blatant raunchiness, here comes more cheekiness, in the vastly cleavage-enhanced form of Queen's Gate: Spiral Chaos (based on the Japanese fighting books) which is taking shape in the form of a new cutesy combat title from Namco Japan.

It will tick the boxes of every testosterone teenager in Japan with the added bonus of the use of Soul Calibur's Ivy as a character. It looks like several other guest appearances are imminent, but will you notice over all the jiggling going on?

Friday, March 4, 2011

New Akiba's Trip Video

Andriasang has a new video of Acquire's upcoming stripping/fighting vampire game showing off some cool moves, characters, repetitive corridors and underwear!

This game is getting some western coverage now, but I doubt it'll make an appearance over here.

Sony Europe President Says Only Top Games Will Go In-Store

We've already heard from Sony developer president Shuhei Yoshida talk about the NGP's birth and where its going, but also chatting today was Sony Europe head Andrew House who told MCV, that only high-quality, big-name games will appear as boxed product for NGP.

Everything else will go the digital PSN store route to cut down on costs. As with Yoshida-san's comments, he recognises the mistakes made with the PSP, particularly the late addition of the PSN store, and reckons that NGP solves all those issues.

He adds that developers can take risks with a game while not having to spend too much on distribution, something that ties up with Yoshida-san's desire for innovative titles from indie devs.

Sony's Dev Studio President Talks NGP

The UK PlayStation site has an interview with Shuhei Yoshida, head of Sony's worldwide developer studios. In it, he explains that the handheld has been under development since 2008, going with a back-to-basics approach to get the "right" console built that developers would want to code for.

He is also looking to the small, indie developers to create great games for the PlayStation Suite (that will run on both NGP and Android phones) - these he says will innovate and use the NGP's features in ways that no one has imagined and, presumably, produce hits like Angry Birds that will drive grass roots interest.

He also mentions non-game development, suggesting that NGP will play home to a host of practical apps too, which might not be of interest to everyone, but will be another feature that the NGP can tick on the back of the box - A point about this from a different field, plasma screen TVs only need to run at 60Hz but makers were forced to upgrade them to 120Hz and 240Hz so that buyers would see they were an equal technology to LCD TVs which need to run faster, even though plasmas don't need the feature at all.

Expect a lot of this in future consoles, even though they don't need stuff - they will have them thrown into the box, just because the maker's feel the need to compete with other devices, which is likely why NGP has a 3G option.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

PSPGo Price Cut in America + Today's Other News

After the NGP showing off at GDC, I thought the rest of today would be rather quiet. But no, we've had some mild nudity and two PSP games pummelling the 3DS launch titles in Japan. And it doesn't stop there, earlier Sony US put up a PSP Go price of $149 on its website.

With reasoning like this [Brash Games], sales of the pocket rocket could pick up nicely. So, maybe Sony does have a decent final run planned for the original PSP. Just starting to wonder if there are one or two releases unrevealed to give it a final shot in the arm?

[UPDATE] - Apparently Sony has changed its mind on the PSP Go pricing, raising it back up to $199, since I never saw the price drop on any actual store sites, this was either a mistake or a too-early leak of a change.

Naturally, you have to hope this does happen and it seems a mad thing to do in error. Another reason maybe that Sony US is planning a digital bundle deal like the European 10 free games one, this would take some admin clearing and there may be last minute hitches.

Japanese Strip Fighting Game Fun!

[UPDATE] - Some more pics at Dengeki and news of an illustrated booklet coming with game, out in Japan on 14 April.

Okaaaaaay, there's a story on Famitsu about a game, Akiba's Trip (or Akiba Strip depending on how you look at it), where one of the special fighting moves is to rip your opponent's (and by opponent they mean demonic schoolgirl hell-beast, naturally) clothes off. I think the point is to check the opponent in a special mirror to see if they're human or demon/vampire, but the translation is naturally a bit flaky.

So have some gratuitous PSP flesh tone pixels and wonder why western games don't take this route to identifying protagonists.

[UPDATE] - New video here.

Next Unreal Engine is all Kinds of Awesome

Epic has approved Unreal Engine for the NGP, this we know. And the company showed off the latest version of that engine at GDC yesterday, and all you can really say is "wow!" The engine can churn out appropriate visuals for everything from an iOS iPhone to games consoles that don't exist yet.

So, developers can produce their next megagame and easily drop off different versions all the way down the food chain. Apparently this demo was running on three super-spec PC graphics just to give you a hint of how powerful those next-gen consoles will need to be, but the scaled down NGP version would look almost as lovely.

We already know of hundreds of Unreal-using developers and can't wait to see what they can do with this last version of the Unreal 3 engine before we all move on to Unreal 4 and games so vibrant they'll change our very reality. Larger versions of the images are here.

PSP Sequel Outsells all Those New 3DS Games

Andriasang has the latest charts from Japan and instead of one of the new 3DS launch games being on top, its the new Phantasy Star Portable 2 Infinity selling over 200,000 copies.

And just behind that is SD Gundam G Generation World, which sold 80,000 more than the third placed Professor Layton 3DS title.

Sure, the 3DS topped the hardware charts which is to be expected, but it looks like the PSP is taking over the PS3's mantle as the big hitter for games in Japan, which kind of dispels our notions of the Japanese just being a herd of Monster Hunting maniacs. Month after month, some title or other pops up to keep the PSP's momentum up, which has to be good, even if most of them will never make it over here.

As for the 3DS, well I guess it just means there was not one stand-out launch game that everyone felt they had to buy. Let's face it, when a Layton game is the biggest seller, you really do have a weak launch line-up. Something Sony should be noting frantically when it comes to their turn, and I've had a few ideas on that theme.

NGP Panel at GDC: Round-up of all the News

Yesterday, Sony took its NGP to the world's biggest developer meeting to show off some of its tricks. There has been a host of different comments appearing across the gaming sites, I'll try and summarise them here, and if anything new pops up will tack it on:

Eurogamer notes that the game cards will come in 2GB and 4GB versions. that sounds quite feeble compared to a dual-layer DVD or Blu-ray, but graphic data will be reduced to just that needed for the NGP's screen. Also, Sega and Nintendo grew the memory on their carts over the years, so 8GB (if its ever needed) isn't a big ask.

The processors are being turned down to prevent the unit melting and the battery running out. Sony is saying that its performance was misreported, but its odd that the company did nothing to counter this misreporting for the six weeks since NGP's original unveiling. hmmm!

VG247 showed off an awesome augmented reality trick where he took a photo of a dinosaur on the floor that the NGP then modelled so it came alive on the screen. Imagine games where you can choose from your house what you want to use to fight another player, or solve a problem in a puzzle game. :)

Kotaku points out that the Wi-Fi only model can still do the location-based gaming and social features by using Skyhook. And here's a new video of Uncharted in action.

Engadget has the presentation slide deck which points out that the cameras are really for gaming use, not for video chat and goes into some detail on how it uses real world objects for reference points, not the cards that Invizimals or 3DS games use.

Joystiq has some video of the big screen showing off more of Little Deviants. Can't believe they wouldn't put a direct video feed on the screen though!

Partially NGP related was Epic showing the new version of Unreal Engine 3, which is all kinds of awesome and will produce the best looking games for NGP compared to any portable, even the souped up iPad 2.

Finally, GamesRadar, has some very nice hi-res pics of the demo unit. For some bizarre reason, I think the rear view is the nicest.

So, has all this filling in of the details made you fancy an NGP all the more, or has the reality started to leave you cold? Let us know in the comments.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

iPad 2 vs. NGP

[UPDATED] - Teardowns of the iPad2 confirm that the system has a similar graphics chip (a dual core PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU vs a quad core SGX543MP4+ for the NGP) which will make for interesting comparisons over the near future between games. However, the quad core in the NGP allows for substantially more graphical gymnastics and the "+" on the end means it some extra features too.

Ultimately, whatever the iPad 2 can offer, the PSP is for 'proper' games that need controls which iPad 2 simple cannot offer, so its not an either or, question - more one of how many gamers still like playing proper games in the traditional style.

--- Original story ---

A few things from the iPad 2 launch today, good to see it has HDMI-out which will hopefully nudge Sony to include that in the NGP specs. But I was really impressed by its claimed 10X graphics power increase over the iPad provided by its A5 dual-core processors.
Now that could put out some serious visual gloss, even if the machine is limited to the same resolution display as the the old model. 1024*768 (I think) . However, when the iPad 3 arrives with its Retina hi-res display, things could be different. And, although this is all rumour and conjecture for now, iPad 3 could be out in around six months time, the same period as NGP will be launching into.

Of course that Retina display will push the price of the iPad 3 up a little, making the NGP seem rather cheap in comparison. We'll see closer to the day, but without controls, iPad just can't play the kind of games that core gamers like, plain FACT! So, unless iPad comes with a magical control system, it has nothing to fear on that front.

There's a parallel piece about iPad 2 vs. 3DS here, which seems to assume the threat is bigger for Nintendo, what do you think?

EU PSN Store Update with Video

Another light week, with nothing really grabbing - was Legacy of Kain great, remember the hype about it, but not much else - hope the price is wrong too!

New games
Final Fantasy II £7.99

Neo Geo
Magician Lord £5.49

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince £7.99

Wackylands Boss £3.99

Basha Baloot £3.49

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver £7.99 (that can't be right?)

Orge Tactics (free)

Minis sale
Shift Extended £1.74
Age of Hammer Wars £1.74
Star Hammer Tactics £1.24

PSone sale
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6 £2.99
Toy Story Racer £2.39
Toy Story 2 £2.39

psp2roundup - February in Numbers

The blog's second full month of activity saw 2,112 page views, only slightly up on last month (but it was a shorter month) with the Xperia Play generating a little less interest than the NGP. Posted 55 articles to the blog and got a few more ad clicks this month, so the cat enjoyed luxury chunks!

Nearly at 100 followers on Twitter, despite the posts going up to over to well over 150, note to self - must do some work on that. The most popular articles in the month were the leaked Xperia Play advert and the Ridge Racer 4 PSone video.

Best news, some comments came in! People do like to talk, that and a few chats on Twitter mean I finally feel a little social with this social medium! March offers lots of developer-centric from GDC and hopefully some early talk of NGP games.

Japanese Developers Wants/Likes/Needs for NGP

Famitsu has an article running in its latest issue polling all the big (and some smaller) Japanese developers about what they think of the NGP.

The consensus is:

Developers want to do cool things with the reverse touch screen
Price point should be around 30,000 yen ($360, £225)
NGP will be developed for alongside PS3 and Xbox, so expect all the big games
The OLED display is lovely

Some of the developer game ideas are fairly high concept, punk multyplayer, school violence etc. Only one title was mentioned by named, Genpei Toma Den, which could make use of the back screen.

You can read the full thing in English over at

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

First NGP News From GDC: Dev Tools Out

While there are a bunch of big name development systems now available for NGP, there needs to be a glue that binds those tools to the console. So, SN Systems, Sony's tools bitch, has produced a comprehensive range of development tools to support it.

These have been created using feedback gathered from developers and should make coding and creating games easier and faster. They include:

"ProDG Debugger
Representing a major step forward in improving workflow and iteration times, the ProDG Debugger is fully integrated into Visual Studio allowing game title developers of all disciplines to build and debug their NGP code.

Razor - Profiling
Co-developed with experts from SCE Worldwide Studios (SCE WWS) Advanced Technology Group and SCEE R&D. Razor allows game title developers to analyze and profile code to ensure performance is optimum. Fully integrated into Visual Studio, it provides analysis for both the CPU and GPU (including GPU debugging) within one framework, helping devs to identify bottlenecks and eliminate conflicts within your code.

SNC Toolchain
PlayStation game title developers will also benefit from the SNC toolchain, a bespoke compiler and linker which has already established itself as the default compiler on PlayStation 3 and PSP.

To simplify the accessibility of the development kits for NGP, you can configure devkits and execute games from within Windows Explorer.

SN-DBS (Distributed Build System)
Fully compatible with NGP, SN-DBS distributes source code and data builds between computers across a network, to improve compile times."