Wednesday, February 29, 2012

UPDATED Vita sold 61,000 units in the UK on launch

Updated: Eurogamer has added to this story with an "reliable" figure cited by an analyst of 61,000 which is 16,000 up on the original number. That's a hefty step up although still down on historical launches, but - as stated - you can't really compare them, due to the overall economic gloom and the Vita's challenging characteristics.


According to a report on CVG, the PS Vita sold some 44,500 units on its launch week, which given the crappy economic climate is probably pretty good. The story goes on about PSP and 3DS sales, but if they had launched at this time, they'd probably have done just as well/badly (depending on your point of view).

Anyway, I for one welcome 45,000 odd PS Vita owning buddies and will happily play them all at MotorStorm or WipEout (PSN - Goffeentl). Following Japan's lead expect a miserable run of sales until something comes along to perk sales up. Be it Call of Duty, a price cut or something from left field. Either way, well done Sony for a decent launch.

PSP Rocking the Japanese game charts

Wow, is it 2010? The PSP has seven games in the Japanese Top 20, including new No. 1 Tales of the Heroes. The Vita - ummm - no games in the top 20, but I don't think anything new came out this week, and its sales dropped another 1,000 down to 11,200 - which is still helping up the numbers, but clearly shows it needs a boost in some form.

[PSP] 01. Tales of the Heroes Twin Brave (Namco Bandai): 85,309
[3DS] 02. Harvest Moon Hajimari no Daichi (Marvelous AQL): 81,131
[PS3] 03. Naruto Ultimate Storm Generation (Namco Bandai): 65,758
[PSP] 04. I Have Few Friends Portable (Namco Bandai): 56,969
[PS3] 05. Asura’s Wrath (Capcom): 30,308
[PSP] 06. Nendoroid Generation (Namco Bandai): 21,991
[3DS] 07. Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo): 21,400 (1,370,176)
[3DS] 08. Mario Kart 7 (Nintendo): 20,744 (1,527,266)
[3DS] 09. Monster Hunter 3G (Capcom): 17,841 (1,267,675)
[PS3] 10. Idolmaster G4U Pack Vol.5 (Namco Bandai): 17,038
[PS3] 11. Binary Domain (Sega): 14,905 (88,589)
[PSP] 12. Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 5 Kazahanaki (Tecmo Koei): 12,630 ()
[3DS] 13. Resident Evil Revelations (Capcom): 12,210 (244,116)
[PS3] 14. Touch Shot! Love Application (Compile Heart): 11,077
[3DS] 15. Theatrhytym Final Fantasy (Square Enix): 10,786 (77,993)
[PS3] 16. Gal Gun (Alchemist): 9,002
[3DS] 17. New Love Plus (Konami): 8,644 (113,613)
[PSP] 18. Samurai Warriors 3Z Special (Tecmo Koei): 8,178 (25,303)
[PSP] 19. Moujuuzukai to Oujisama Snow Bride Portable (Idea Factory): 8,044
[PSP] 20. Suikoden (Konami): 7,607 (83,086)

Gravity Daze getting full boxed EU release

Mere hours after wondering about the digital-only availability of this game, Sony has popped up on its blog to announce a full release on game card as well as digital on the 13th June. Delighted about this as I prefer to get by PS Vita games I'll be playing for a fair while on card, and the smaller ones on PSN to preserve the rapidly shrinking space on my memory card.

Well done Sony, thanks for listening and love the new advert for it, although it doesn't beat this one.

Post 1250: EU PSN Store Update, MotorStorm RC and BlazBlue get DLC

This blog hits the 1,250 posts mark, a shame there isn't more to announce, but The PS Vita gets some DLC while the PSP can go hide in a corner as Resident Evils 2 and 3 lurch onto the PSOne classics list.


Resident Evil 2 £7.99
Resident Evil 3 £7.99


Persona 2: Innocent Sin £27.99
Persona 2/3 Bundle £39.99


Motorstorm RC
Elite Bundle I £0.79 (consists of the following)
Elite Big Rig – "Patriot 80"
Elite Racing Truck – "Voodoo Iguana"
Elite Monster Truck – "Lunar-Tec Wendigo"
Elite Buggy – "Humbler Diablo"

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend
System Voice Arrange Noel Type A, B £4.79
System Voice Arrange Rachel Type A, B £4.79

Here's a note from the BlazBlue team about its upcoming DLC: Arc System Works Europe and PQube are pleased to announce that all-new DLC is now available for BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend. Starting this week and continuing over the next five weeks, new "System Voices" will be released, allowing you to tailor the in-game battle announcer to the character of your choice. The BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend’s "System Voice" DLC schedule kicks off today with both Rachel Alucard and Noel Vermillion, and continues with the following releases;

·         7th March        Litchi Faye Ling

·         14th March      Tsubaki Yayoi

·         21th March     Makoto Nanaya

·         28th March      Platinum The Trinity

·         4th April           Professor Kokonoe

DLC is charged at 400MS Points for Xbox 360 and £4.79 for both PS3 and PS Vita

Gravity Daze getting DLC rush in Japan

Gravity Daze had sold over 50,000 copies by last week, to try and rope in some more gamers, the developer (as hinted at a while back) has announced three weeks of new content to keep the game current, fresh, vibrant and anything else to get it to sell.

Each pack will include a costume, couple of extra spy missions and three challenge missions and will cost a paltry 400yen (about £3) each. No news on a western release date, but I hope Sony does decide to give it a full boxed release rather than go digital only as was mentioned at first.

Dynamo does some magic with the PS Vita

Is this marketing or is it magic? Sony has just put up a couple of PS Vita videos on YouTube with the trendy magician Dynamo (think David Blaine before he went a bit peculiar), doing a spot of magic to bring the Vita to life.

Unit 13 Rates Well in Famitsu, Persona 2 Part 2 coming to PSP

Given Japan's ability to not-quite-get western games, especially military ones, its good to see Unit 13 getting a decent score from Famitsu. The Zipper game rated three eights and a seven for a score of 31/40.

Also on the ratings front, Eien no Aseria on the PSP did less well bagging two sevens and two sixes for a score of 26. However, the big PSP news is that Persona 2 Eternal Punishment, sequel to Innocent Sin will be released by Atlus on 17th May.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

PS Vita Top Tip: Demo vs. Trial downloads from PSN

Just noticed on the PSN that there are different sections for demos and trials. Only just figured out what the difference is, the trial is the full download and demo which can be unlocked by buying the game either within the Live Area, or from the PSN, while the demo is a reduced file-size version that requires you to download the full file if you choose to buy it.

Only noticed this when I went to buy MotorStorm from PSN and saw it took no time to download, as I'd tried out the trial version earlier. Makes sense now I think about it, and am a long time shareware user, but some gamers might now know the difference.

Vita's first GTA Stories title to be a GTA IV prequel?

Just found this on a Spanish site and see it in a few other low-key places, so treat with a huge pinch of salt. But RockStar has form on the PSP with its GTA ... Stories series, so this rumour does make sense. The basics being that a GTA IV Stories game will launch on Vita and PS3 pretty soon, and that it will be a prequel to the main GTA IV game.

The site also says (translated), "sources close to the developer say that they have been testing for inclusion in their games of touch options" which would make sense, although the game will do just fine with dual sticks thanks - and I never really had much trouble playing the PSP editions.

WipEout 2048 getting its traditional DLC overdose

The WipEout games on the PSP had some of the best DLC ever to grace the format, its a shame few other developers followed them down that road. But, Sony Liverpool will continue WipEout's generous trend with a mix of free and paid content for the Vita.

The news is part of an interview over on the official Sony mag site, "I guess it’s going to be patches and stuff. DLC always comes across as paid for content. We’re not obviously not going to just do paid for stuff, we’re going to do free stuff too. That’s largely going to be things we didn’t get time to do. For example, the AR museum. We’re looking into other things to enhance the toolset of the game. So we’re looking on to custom controls, potentially some kind of multiplayer extension. We’ve got more stuff to support Cross Play, which I can’t announce anything about yet. So just lots of smaller different things that’ll be coming out in patches and obviously we’ve got bigger stuff coming out in DLC as well."

I was pretty entranced by the demo and will pick up the full game, possibly this lunchtime. Get a move on ticking clock thing!

PS Vita sells a million on launch week

Update: Sony has just released an official statement on PS Vita sales, below the original story. It announces two million software sales, which is pretty poor at less than two per user and some 70 games in development, which is encouraging, but since Uncharted and FIFA sold 50% of all Vita games last week, they need to be of that brand or quality to succeed and encourage further development.

On the plus side, that's a ballpark £286,800,000 in revenue for Sony based on the UK price which the company badly needs to drive future development and growth.


Not sure how accurate the figures are, but VGchartz reckons the Vita sold 1.1 million units in its first week on-sale around the world with 300,000 US sales and 380,000 in Europe (no word on Aussie sales). All of these are fairly low in light of previous console launches, but it is a different world we live in and Sony will have to happy at having a solid base to grow from.

While the next few week's sales will probably decline, Sony's marketing should be kicking in (I've seen the TV advert just once and the logo around the pitch at a Champions League match) and interest will rise as the spring season of games arrives. With two Vita games at the top of the charts, what will be the next system seller?

On the release list, we've got Mortal Kombat, Silent Hill and Persona 4 The Golden lined up but then it looks like a long gap until Resistance Burning Skies and Ruin hit the shelves. What grabs your attention?


Sony Computer Entertainment Inc, today announced that the sales of the PlayStation®Vita (PS Vita) portable entertainment system reached over 1.2 million units worldwide as of February 26, 2012.  PS Vita experienced an initial burst of momentum when it launched on December 17, 2011 in Japan followed by Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. Newly launched in North and Latin America, Europe and PAL territories as well as in Singapore on February 22, 2012, sales have exceeded expectations surpassing over 1.2 million units worldwide, firmly establishing PS Vita as the must-have portable entertainment device across the world.  Software sales across the globe have surpassed 2.0 million units at both retail and on PlayStation®Network.
"PS Vita was designed to deliver the ultimate portable entertainment experience, and we couldn't be more thrilled with the reaction we're seeing from consumers and the pace at which PS Vita is selling," said Andrew House, President and Group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. "The market has responded and there is clear demand for a mobile device capable of providing a revolutionary combination of rich gaming and social connectivity within a real world context.  To sustain momentum, we're working closely with 3rd party developers and publishers to ensure the best games and franchises possible will be available on PS Vita, and our software line up for the remainder of 2012 will have something for everyone across the globe."

Get Borderlands 2 Made for the PS Vita

Gearbox's Borderlands 2 will be a big thing in gaming, and a user push is underway to get it made on the PS Vita (and don't overlook the fact that the Vita needs games of this class to be made if its going to be anything other than a portable curio). Join in the drive, which is being encouraged by Gearbox's own Randy Pitchford, and start getting in touch with the people on this list and joining/liking the petition Facebook page.

The 2009 original pitched guns and cars into a post-apocalyptic future and did pretty well on PS3/Xbox and PC, a Vita version of the sequel, due in September and published by Take 2, should make a decent impact and continue to prove that the Vita deserves equal billing with the big-screen consoles. Take 2 currently say they have no plans for B2 on Vita, but all plans can be changed.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Free South Park episode for Vita users

And PS3 owners as it happens, but here's your chance to check out some free video content from PSN. The episode in question is No. 1 in series 12, which can be hard to spot on the Vita as the titles are too long and run off the page, but look at the icon and you can see episode numbers there.

Given the argument over the Vita not being HD, the SD image quality looks deeply crisp, or as good as you'll get from a bunch of hand-drawn potty mouths. Will have to check with some proper movies later.

One man and his Vita, after that first weekend love-in!

The cold grey dawn of a Monday means the first fling is over, so what to make of the PS Vita? Well, I like the interface a lot more than I thought I would - it doesn't grate or seem overly kiddified. Sure, I'd prefer if it could be customized to hell and back, with folders (I like those free AR games but don't want them hogging a chunk of a games page, the same could be said for demos) but its bright and vibrant, and if I was a younger gamer I'd be licking the screen.

Some parts of the UI really show Sony should never be allowed near multimedia, ever! Transferring music from the PC is a joke and Content Manager is pretty much a joke. My biggest disappointment is that if I'd known how finicky the Near app was without 3G, I'd have gone for that version over WiFi. If you walked into a store you wouldn't have a damn clue what its main advantage was.

Love the social apps too, bar the vanished Facebook, but if I had a dock I'd leave LiveTweet running 24/7 next to my monitors as a great little feed monitor. Across the whole Vita menu, I could do without pressing Start all the time but otherwise everything feels well integrated and smart.

Overall though, I got a Vita, Uncharted and memory plus a bunch of free mini-games (in Welcome Park and the AR titles which I'm annoyed Sony hasn't flagged up on the box) at what I think is a great price. Throw in the huge launch line-up and I can't see Sony having done much more to get the Vita off the ground.

Onto the games

Just some observations from the games/demos I'm loving.

I fell in love with the Vita in Uncharted when I had to hold the whole unit up to a light to read some parchment... that's the first time I've ever seen that interaction and, in its own little way, made all the money worth it.

With BlazBlue, i tried the PSP version for comparison and realized just how much louder the Vita's speakers are, and this game proved to me that the Vita's buttons aren't too small. Also, the taunts got lost in the PSP soundtrack whereas everything is more distinct on the Vita. A big plus point, even with a less high-profile game like this, there is lots of online activity for multiplayer! On the down side, in observer mode, I now realise how poor I am!

I'm still spending time just watching the WipEout demo city pass by before starting a race and drinking in the detail. See the little taxi on the normal road wayyy down below, I keep thinking that's a GTA reference. Then, after the race, watching the heat haze distort the ships in the replay. In between I'm too busy to really notice!

Every console should have a beautiful Pool game and Hustle Kings is the Vita's so gorgeous while MotorStorm RC is so tight, I can probably stop playing Super Sprint on MAME now.

Vita games top the UK charts as 3G sells surprisingly well

The PS Vita looks like it got off to a decent start in life with four games breaking into the UK's top 15, I'm pretty much in love with Uncharted and have tried the demos of the other three. It is clear to see the level of quality involved in each game and good to see they beat out some of the crud on offer.

Remember, there's no digital sales here which means a lot of numbers are unreported. The top two counted for some 50% of all Vita games sales, which is a scary number. Rayman remains the most popular title on Amazon, possibly due to its bundle offer while Uncharted and FIFA are in the high twenties among all video games (inc consoles and pre-orders) with Mass Effect 3 leading the way.


UPDATED: Here's the first ever Vita format chart

3    WIPEOUT 2048
10    F1 2011

Also, from Japan, an interesting note that the 3G version beat out the WiFi model at Japan's launch and is level-pegging in sales. Wonder what the UK sales split will be like? Did that offer of a free WipEout sway many buyers to the more expensive model? UPDATE - WiFi sold 79% of Vita units, 3G the remaining 21% according to MCV.

Having seen how Near works, I'd probably have picked one up if I'd know the difference between 3G location quality and WiFi. Still, there's always next year's 4G model :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Me and my Vita, first thoughts

So, as you may have read earlier, I picked up a Vita today and have been going through the features in between work. Firstly, I've never been as intrigued with the features of a console as I have on the Vita. I mean the PSP's interface was mastered in about 15 seconds. On the Vita I could go on exploring for days, finding out what everything is and does.

The mini games in Welcome Park are something that my children could play on a regular basis and the worlds of Party, Near and Friends are going to be a big hit if Vita sells as many as Sony hopes. It'd be good if Sony could get rid of the Start button before every app though, I tapped the big shiny button - I don't need to confirm that at every stage.

But, its the games I got the little machine for and in that it does not disappoint. Uncharted really is slick and while I can take or leave some of the interaction methods, there's nothing quite like that first set of rubbings and jigsaw puzzle to make you realise the possibilities that Vita can offer.

Then there's BlazBlue - I've played the PSP version but on the Vita, its like having bottle-top glasses taken off, the clarity is awesome (and I love the Vita's in-built screenshot feature).While I was worried about the dinky control and action buttons, it feels second nature after just a few seconds.

Alas, Sony still can't do multimedia to save its backside. I tried to copy over some music from my PC and all you get is a long list of songs in alphabetical order, no album or artist copy feature at all - horrible stuff! At least the music players looks decent.

I have in my hand a PS Vita...

That will preserve peace in my heart for a good few years to come.

Given that ordering one online would incur an annoying delay, I legged it down to my local retail park, which has an ASDA, GAME and a HMV. ASDA had the cheapest individual prices, but no Uncharted. GAME staff were trying to wrest my Xbox off me before letting buy one with some stupid bundles and trade-ins but it looked impossible to just buy a Vita without some sort of back alley trading going on, no wonder the company is in trouble.

On the other hand, HMV had a demo unit, some friendly staff and a decent bundle (The Vita and Uncharted for £229). So I put my money down there and picked up an 8GB memory card (card is the wrong word having seem them in the flesh, I feel "memory fluff" should be the new phrase) and a free pre-order pack by asking nicely.

Getting it home, I unwrapped it, used my handy microscope to put the memory card in, figured my way around the firmware update/PSN account loop of hell (just tap Do Not Use and enter your date of birth to escape). Apart from instantly falling in love with the game boxes, clearly the screen is the big sell here. It is simply gorgeous and sucks you in.

I'm not too fond of all the "Please Wait" activity icon when waiting for stuff to happen, this is supposed to be a light-speed fast console, waiting shouldn't be an option, but I hope future firmware updates will fix that. Oh, and having the screen go blank during a firmware update is a big no-no, I wonder how many people will trash their machines resetting them in the middle of an update.

Other than that, delighted... lets get on with the gaming

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rayman leading the PS Vita score fest

After I noticed that Rayman had almost sold out at Amazon (UK), a quick look at Metacritic shows that the cartoon platformer is also top of the score averages. Ubisoft is doing pretty well in that respect, with Lumines also rating highly.

As for the, rest, its almost a very PSP situation, with lots of highly-rated games but nothing standing out, although since we're in the first week, no one can hold that against it. Also, the first batch of reviews of games for a portable always seem to have the same type of comments "its good... but not as good as a real console" or "this updated version of old game here isn't quite right" which I think skews the results down a bit.

Let us know what your favourites are so far. I'm getting my Vita tomorrow and will probably settle for MotorStorm RC and Everybodys (Hot Shots) Golf for now as I really want to test out the multiplayer side of the console.

Vita to sell 12 million in 2012?

So says some analyst or other in an MCV story. His main issue being that Sony needs to cut the price. Guess what genius, Sony has a month until the Easter sales, when it will sell as many Vitas as it can at the launch price. Then we have the dog days of summer, when no one's buying anything much - so it doesn't matter what the price is.

Finally, come September things start getting interesting, and at that point - probably in November, Sony can go "PRICE CUT" and kick off a festive season of sales like no other... ignoring consumer's fickle demand for the new iPhone, Amazon's Kindle Fire, iPad 3s and whatever else the world can throw at us. Gamers will only have the Wii U to distract them, in the new-stuff stakes, so Sony has a fairly easy ride here.

I'm fairly confident that's pencilled in at Sony and retailers - remembering Japan doesn't have Easter or Christmas, so it can make a price cut according to its own needs. So, while the calls will start for a price cut whatever Sony sells in the next couple of months, it won't happen until the Autumn because it simply doesn't need to happen any earlier.

Of course, this ignores the current recession where no one has much money to spare, especially for a purely luxury item. At least iPhone users can get away with the "its just a phone" excuse as they tuck into another go on Temple Run. That's the real reason the games industry is tanking, nothing to do with what hardware or games are being produced.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rival Schools hits Japanese PSN

Rival Schools was one of my favourite PSOne beat 'em ups and the game has made it (after some effort on Capcom's part) to Japan's PSN for download. Andriasang has the full story, but just bask in the madness of the video and hope it makes its way west one day.

If it doesn't then I suppose Blazblue will become my nutjob fighter of choice.

Netflix on Vita Shown Off

Engadget has a quick video up of Netflix's US movie and TV streaming service running on the Vita. Don't think the UK app is up yet, but will definitely check it out as I love Netflix on my iPhone.

UPDATE: Four years on and still waiting - cheers you lazy Netflixing bastards!

Will the Vita will struggle here due to tech media denial?

I follow the tech press pretty closely for a bunch of  reasons, and if you look at the top of some of the tech pages, you wouldn't even know the PS Vita existed today. Take a look yourselves. This is on the front page of VentureBeat, even though the site has a Vita story down the page...

This is the front of Techmeme, which aggregates what the tech press is saying, no sign of the Vita anywhere (at the time of writing). Search the site for PS Vita and you have about one story a week appearing.

And this is TechCrunch, one of the biggest tech sites on the planet. It too has a story, that the Vita is a tablet alternative, duh!

Basically, whatever Sony is doing marketing the Vita, it is somehow managing to ignore, confuse or overshoot a whole section of the online press that somehow manages to get excited about a fledging social service, some silly spectacles and other nonsense.

Sure the Vita can't hope to compete with iPad 3 mania, but you would have thought that by getting the Vita into some of the right hands early, it could generate some excitement and attention from the press which drives the digital device agenda, get it mentioned in the "hot" categories and not just as an afterthought.

By failing to excite these sites (which is different to merely sending them a unit and some press releases), the Vita will likely get ignored by a whole section of geeks - the same people who drove a novelty music player to the legend that is the iPod etc etc. Perhaps it is the "only for games" focus that puts Sony down the list here - but with the specialist gaming press dying on its backside - Sony needs to find the news where it can, which is right here in the sites above and its not happening.

You can't not read about the Vita outside the games press, but that is preaching to the converted. To get new players on board, Sony needs to touch the wider tech press who can expose it to a whole new audience, who if they get excited about every tiny iteration of a phone update, should be delighted to see something new and wholly different.

Just a thought.

Pics from the PS Vita launch (play spot the Vita)

Apparently some console or other was launched at midnight last night, but Sony's photographer appears to have been a bit distracted by WipEout developer Ami Ledger's get up....

Oh, there it is, nice! 

Japan's Software and Hardware Charts, Vita Adrift

While we wait a few months to see how the Sony Vita does on launch in Europe, the Japanese get the latest blow-by-blow account of the Vita's stuttering start.... and its still on a steady slide down, despite the recent good game launches and presumably a truck load of marketing by Sony. With discounts kicking in, the only thing that can really turn it around has to be the lurking Monster Hunter announcement.

Hardware sales

3DS 94,667
PS3 21,993
PSP 14,824
PSV 12,309

Software (Vita only)

Gravity Daze manages to cling on the top 10 while the second game, a new entry doesn't look like one headed for western shores anytime soon.

10 - Gravity Daze 10,219 (53,680)
15  - Kyokugen Dasshutsu ADV: Zennin Shiboudesu 6,538 (New)

Check out the full charts here.

Remember the PSP: PSN EU Update - Cheap Harvest Moon and Valhalla Knights

If you haven't got a Vita yet, dig out your PSP and head to the PSN to grab hold of some fun minis or some bargain PSP titles, with Harvest Moon for £5 being the highlight for me.


Half-Minute Hero (Was £11.99/€14.99 – Now £6.49/€7.99)*
Harvest Moon Hero of Leaf Valley (Was £23.99/€29.99 – Now £11.99/€14.99)*
Harvest Moon Innocent Life (Was £9.99/€12.99 – Now £5.19/€6.49)*
Valhalla Knights (Was £9.99/€12.99 – Now £5.19/€6.49)*
Valhalla Knights 2 (Was £11.99/€14.99 – Now £6.49/€7.99)*
Valhalla Knights 2 Current Battle Stance (Was £15.99/€19.99 – Now £7.99/€9.99)*

Knight Fortix 2 £2.49

Freeshot Frenzy £2.49

Remember the PSP: New Velocity trailer

For collecting-type gamers, the PSP won't go quietly into the cupboard, as we still need it to play all those UMD titles that Sony won't bother helping us to swap. But there's still some good new stuff to come for Sony's original handhel, the latest being shmup Velocity. Check out the latest trailer.


Hundreds queue for UK and US Vita launch

According to The Telegraph, there were a couple of hundred people queuing in London to pick up the first Vita systems from GAME's Oxford Street branch (other reports say a lot less). Doesn't make much difference since Sony Europe never really reveals its hardware numbers, so it'll be months before we know how well its selling - far prefer the Japanese system, even though that can lead to huge amounts of short-term journo panic (cough - me too!)

Anyway, check out the usual forums for the best bargains on games and units with prices all over the shop (literally) Asda has the cheapest base units at the moment, while game prices vary between digital and physical, a real challenge for true bargain hunters.

A little later and over the pond, the U.S. launch got off to a more vibrant looking start with proper crowds and bustle.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

ASDA Selling the Vita for £197

Booo! if you hate Supermarkets stealing our gaming pounds. But, Yay! if you want a cheaper PS Vita. Asda has the basic model for £197 saving £33 with the 3G model at £259 with £21 off. Games and memory cards also have discounts, so get ready to go shopping in the wisps of Walmart's satanic armpit (or just a big shop if you're not bothered about their world domination).

New PS Vita F1 2011 launch trailer

I've been quite rude about the look of Codemaster's F1 game and there are still glimpses of grottiness in the new trailer. That and the truly awesome MotorStorm RC beign only a fiver means my auto-vehicular bucks are going elsewhere. But having seen some live video footage, I think this game isn't as bad the Codies have somehow managed to make it look.

Still, it hints at the challenges and multiplayer mode - hope there are going to be more Vita owners online than there ever were for WipEout or Outrun games.

PS Vita's first PSN Store Update, FIFA still too expensive

How much can you save on digital PS Vita titles? This much... as the PSN store update for Vita hits with all those games to cram on your little memory card.. FIFA 12 doesn't sound like its getting much of a discount at £44.99, but there's also lots of free demos, content and apps to try out. Check out the review scores so far, here.

After a quick check, Amazon still seems cheaper in some cases (Uncharted £37.90) and more expensive in others (Rayman £32.99) - so shop around if you're keen on saving those pounds. And, for those worrying about data cards, the file sizes are here.

PlayStation Vita Games

Everybody’s Golf (£29.99/€34.99)
Little Deviants Trial & Unlock (£19.99/€24.99)
Modnation Racers: Road Trip (£29.99/€34.99)
Uncharted: Golden Abyss (£39.99/€44.99)
Wipeout 2048 + Network pass (£29.99/€34.99)
Escape Plan (£9.99/€12.99)
Hustle Kings (Psn Only) (£6.49/€7.99)
Motorstorm RC (Psn Only) (£4.79/€5.99)
Super Stardust™ Delta (PSN Only) (£6.49/€7.99)
Super Stardust Delta & DLC Bundle (£7.99/€9.99)
Top Darts (Psn Only) (£6.49/€7.99)
Plants Vs Zombies (Soe) (£8.99/€11.25)
Cliff Diving (Ar Suite – Digital) (Free)
Table Football (Ar Suite – Digital) (Free)
Fireworks (Ar Suite – Digital) (Free)
Army Corps Of Hell (£34.99/€39.99)
Virtua Tennis 4 – World Tour Edition (£34.99/€39.99)
Asphalt: Injection (£19.99/€24.99)
Lumines Electronic Symphony (£29.99/€34.99)
Rayman Origins (£29.99/€34.99)
EA Sports FIFA Football (£44.99/€49.99)
Shinobido 2 (£34.99/€39.99)
Touch My Katamari (£24.99/€29.99)
Blazblue Continuum Shift Extend (£34.99/€39.99)
Michael Jackson The Experience HD (£24.99/€19.99)
Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 (£39.99/€44.99)
Dynasty Warriors Next (£29.99/€34.99)
Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus (£29.99/€34.99)
Ridge Racer Gold Pass (£5.49/€6.99)
Ridge Racer (£16.99/€19.99)
Dungeon Hunter: Alliance (£29.99/€34.99)
A-Men (£11.99/€14.99)
F1 2011 (£44.99/€49.99)
Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack(£5.49/€6.99)


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Uncharted: Golden Abyss Demo
Modnation Racers Road Trip Demo
Dynasty Warriors Next Demo
Unit 13 Demo
Wipeout 2048 Demo
EA Sports FIFA Football

Downloadable Content

Everybody’s Golf Network Pass (£7.99/€9.99)
Reality Fighters Network Pass (£7.99/€9.99)
Wipeout 2048 Network Pass (£7.99/€9.99)
Hustle Kings
        Hustle Kings Snooker Pack (£2.39/€2.99)
        Time Savers Pack (£1.19/€1.49)
Uncharted: Golden Abyss (£0.79/€0.99)
Modnation Racers Road Trip – Unlock All (£3.19/€3.99)
Super Stardust Delta: Advanced Star Fighter Pack (£2.39/€2.99)

Motorstorm RC (Dual Compatible DLC)

        Access All Areas Pass (£0.79/€0.99)
        RC Collection Pass (£0.79/€0.99)
        Full Game Pass (£1.19/€1.49)
        Rare Rally Car: Patriot Enforcer – Only available for 14 days (£0.79/€0.99)
        Rare Rally Car: Italia Buttercream – Only available for 14 days (Free)

Touch My Katamari

        Fancy Damacy x 3 (£1.15/€1.39)
        Fan Damacy x 5 (£1.59/€1.99)
        Fan Damacy Item (£0.40/€0.49)

Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3

        Additional Character: Jill (£3.99/€4.99)
        Animal Pack (£3.19/€3.99)
        Brawler Pack (£3.19/€3.99)
        Femme Fatale Pack (£3.19/€3.99)
        New Age Of Heroes Pack (£3.19/€3.99)
        The Evil Twin Pack (£3.19/€3.99)
        The Rising Dead Pack (£3.19/€3.99)
        Viewtiful Strange Pack (£3.19/€3.99)
        Villain Pack (£3.19/€3.99)
        Weapon Expert Pack (£3.19/€3.99)
        Additional Character: Shuma-Gorath (£3.99/€4.99)
        Costume Pack (£3.99/€4.99)

Ridge Racer

        Add-On Course 01 ‘Old Central’ (£1.99/€2.49)
        Add-On Car 02 ‘Elenie’ (£1.19/£1.49)
        Music Pack 01 to 10 (free)
        New Songs Pack 01 (£0.79/€0.99)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Looks like the best PS Vita game costs just £5

I know its dangerous to go on one review, but as a childhood Atari Super Sprint fan, I had high hopes for MotorStorm RC and it looks like the folk at Evolution have used the Vita in all the right ways for this game...

And that’s really the point: RC is fabulously playable and dangerously addictive. The game modes – racing, time trials, overtake and drifting – feel like almost a means to an end, the ultimate goal of everything simply to be the best in the world. With the game even taking into account your overall time through all the events I can see people getting really serious about this. Thankfully, Wreckreation mode lets you practice, practice, practice… 
Brilliant leaderboard system
Sublime controls and decent physics
Priced well
PS3 – PS Vita system is wonderful

It’s worth re-iterating that MotorStorm RC is effectively the cheapest game on the Vita at launch and it’s one that’s also playable on PS3 for the one price. At just under five quid it’s extraordinarily good value, there’s lots of game here and the trophies hint at at least two new festival bundles, potentially expanding what’s already a considerably beefy game into one that might threaten to make the rest of the line-up obsolete for some time… 9/10
Of course, this is all down to taste, long experience has taught me that some folks will ONLY play one type of game, but for those looking across the spectrum of Vita releases, this sounds like one you can't go wrong with. Look forward to pasting you all online!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Call of Duty Autumn hint for Vita

We all saw the logo, along with Bioshock and other big names that suggested the Vita was on a par with the PS3 and Xbox.

Then, nothing, as focus fell on the launch games, with only Uncharted and WipEout doing anything to suggest next-generation-ness. Now that's out of the way, Somy has to sell it long term, and what better way to do that with CoD, with the first hint pointing to an Autumn release.

A smidge more here...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Japanese Charts show Vita gasping for breath

On the software front, the PSV has two games in the top 10. (sales from the 5 - 12 February). Konami grabs the No. 1 spot for PSP with a a new Suikoden release...

01. [PSP] Genso Suikoden: Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki
02. [PSV] Gravity Rush 43,462
03. [3DS] Monster Hunter Tri G
04. [3DS] Mario Kart 7
05. [3DS] Resident Evil: Revelations
06. [3DS] Super Mario 3D Land
07. [PS3] Gran Turismo 5 Spec II
08. [PS3] Armored Core V
09. [PS3] SoulCalibur V
10. [PSV] Ragnarok Odyssey 8,117 (this week)

On the hardware front, the Vita continues to drift despite those positive software sales. I'd assumed it would start to perk up a bit, but it really looks like Sony needs to beg, borrow or steal a Monster Hunter announcement from Capcom to get this beast moving (or a price cut!).

3DS – 67,558
PS3 – 22,002
PSP – 15,860
Vita – 13,939

Early First Edition Vitas available today in the US

Those lucky enough to have bagged a US First Edition Vita should be getting their consoles today. Some tweets from mail order folk seem to suggest they won't be turning up until next week which seems to be missing the point completely. Anyway, I'll keep an eye out on the streams to see if there's any news, problems or interesting comments to post as gamers crack open their boxes of goodies.

Check back for more...

New Mortal Kombat trailer shows off Vita tricks

More gore for your delight in a new trailer for Mortal Kombat, the earlier gameplay preview shows more detail but this shows off a few of the Vita's other tricks. Enjoy...

PSN Store Update: further adventures in PSP sales

New up this week on the European PSN: Tron (and other Disney games) going really cheap, a neat looking minis shooter in Bermuda Triangle and some table tennis. Oh, and something called Mass Effect 3 - as someone who hasn't finished 1 or 2, I'll hang fire on that for now.


Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix £5.49

PSP Minis

Bermuda Triangle £1.99

World Ping Pong Champion £2.49

Disney PSP Sale

Disney G-force £3.99/€ 4.99
Tron: Evolution £3.99/€ 4.99
PSP Pirates Essentials Bundle £7.99/€ 9.99
PSP Disney Pixar Double Pack £7.99/€ 9.99
Hannah Montana – Rock Out the Show Now £3.99/€ 4.99
Toy Story 3 Now £3.99/€ 4.99

PSN Update shows off Vita game sizes

I'll update this list as and when I find the file sizes or download games myself, it is really annoying that they're not shown on the PSN pages, so I hope this helps.

The first PSN (or SEN) update with Vita games reveals the sizes that these games are coming in at. Basically time to get the biggest memory card you can. If you buy all-digital copies, then the free 8GB stick Amazon is offering (in the U.K.) won't be enough for the top games in this list.

BlazBlue tops the list at 3.32 Gb, with Uncharted second at 2.7GB, hope your broadband connection is up to speed, and Sony servers are being reinforced for the full Vita launch. Think I'll buy my first few games in the shop!

Recent Games
Metal Gear HD Collection 3.3Gb
Resistance Burning Skies 3.1Gb
Disgaea 3 2.2Gb
Frobisher Says 421Mb
Velocity 77Mb
Pure Chess 349Mb
Stardrone Extreme 136Mb

Augmented Reality games
PulzAR 146Mb
Table Top Tanks 135Mb
Cliff Diving 444Mb
Table Football 251Mb
Fireworks 308Mb

PSP titles
Persona 3 Portable 1.1Gb
Trails in the Sky 1.2Gb
God of War Ghost of Sparta 1.2Gb

PS Vita Launch Games

Super Stardust Delta Interstellar Bundle ($14.99) File Size 209 MB
Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 ($39.99) File size 1.34 GB
Escape Plan Full Game ($14.99) File size 843 MB
Blazblue: Continuum Shift Extend ($34.99) File size 3.32 GB
F1 2011 ($39.99) File size 1.42 GB
EA Sports FIFA Soccer ($39.99) File size 2.83 GB
Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour Edition ($39.99) File size 1.2 GB
Asphalt Injection ($26.99) File size 765 MB
Dungeon Hunter: Alliance ($35.99) File size 1.03 GB
Lumines Elecronic Symphony ($35.99) File size 772 MB
Michael Jackson The Experience ($35.99) File size 1.34 GB
Rayman Origins ($35.99) File size 932 MB
Super Stardust Delta ($9.99) File size 208 MB
Uncharted Golden Abyss ($44.99)File size 2.7 GB
Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational ($35.99) File size 1.23 GB
Wipeout 2048 ($35.99) File size 1.6 GB
ModNation Racers: Road Trip ($26.99) File size 1.4 GB 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

US Vita advert sucks ass, makes Europe's look like an Oscar winner

Ewwww! What the hell were they thinking? With Sony claiming to be spending $50 million marketing the Vita, I was expecting something a bit higher class than this. Sure, there's a few more nanoseconds of actual gameplay in the U.S. advert. But, it lacks any sense of oneness, coherence and passion that the EU advert (watch it here) has in spades. Whatever Sony's bullshit Brand manager says (note the videos have vanished from the PS site too), this sucks mightily.

UPDATE: This advert appears to have fallen off the face of the earth, all I remember is people running around on a roof or abandoned buildings among lots of cement! Anyone remember it? Or can find a copy?

Honestly, the EU advert I could see winning an award or two, but the US one looks like an advert for a concrete firm, (I'm sure they think they're branding it around the concrete jungle, but it doesn't come across like that) as that's what most of the ad is taken up with. I don't wish to start an inter-continental bitch fest here, but it really is wrong. Opinions, please...

System 3's Putty Squad ups the feature count

As the PS Vita nears launch, the smaller games are throwing their hats into the air trying to get some coverage as the general press seems to think a portable machine for Uncharted is shipping soon. Putty Squad has added some new Vita-special features to the mix to broaden its appeal in the big wide world. Check out some early screens here.

Using the Vita's in-built GPS system you'll be able to collect Putty Squad Stickers. These stickers will appear in your in-game Sticker Album. As you progress and complete pages of the sticker album you'll be rewarded with Putty Squad bonuses such as free Avatars and eventually, exclusive levels!

Some of the levels in Putty Squad are quite complicated so we've added a brand new feature to the game called Map Mode. This enables you to pause the action at any point and zoom into and around a map of the level. Once in Map Mode simply tap once in order to zoom into the map. You can then use your finger to drag and swipe the map in order to explore.

You can also use the map to locate MIAs (missing in action Putty friends) and plan your best route of attack. This whole process is touch-screen controlled. A demo will precede the launch, for which there's no firm date yet, but it shouldn't be far off.

Mutant Blobs Attacking the PS Vita for launch

Joining the cool list of digital titles for the Vita launch comes Mutant Blobs Attack from Canadian developers DrinkBox that will hit the PSN store on launch day. In advance of the main invasion, there are some great sightings of the advance party over on the company blog.

According to a recent tweet from the company, they're showing the game off to the press, oh, any minute now. So expect some previews to start showing up soon. Check out the fun trailer here.

It'll be priced at $7.99 in the States, which should make it £4.99 here if there's any justice.

PlayStation Suite heading beyond Sony, will anyone care?

I'm less and less inclined to believe anything Sony says about Suite, given its long incubation and painfully slow adoption and release list, but HTC reckons it will have Suite-Certified Android phones out later this year. Which is mildly amusing given the piffling lack of games for it.

Sony is showing Suite off at MWC later this month but unless it has a truckload of games to announce, this really is a dodo. I mean look at the official site for it, not updated since January 11. Does this look like something Sony cares about? Anyway, this story will only get interesting if Nintendo makes an Android phone and then you can play Sony and Mario games on the same phone.

Those Burning Skies sure look pretty

Resistance for the Vita has been announced with a release date of May 29, which is pretty hot, but not as hot as the boxart, which is one of the sexiest looking Vita cases around. Definitely one for a physical purchase rather than a download.

The game will pit fireman Tom Riley against the might of the Chimera, but really the game will be an acid test of the Vita's dual stick controls. 

Full PS Vita advert out, now it makes sense!

Following on from that odd snippet yesterday, the full Sony Vita advert is out... and it makes sense. I suppose I could point out that there is no game with a Normandy scene, no boxing and I don't think one with airships in it. But that's picking (bullet) holes, also nothing will ever beat the boggle-eyed kid from the PS2 ads who had "conquered worlds!"

Are you ready for the world in play? I hope the sales staff in stores are when kids and their parents complaining on launch day that they want "the game they saw in the ad!" Oh, and it dropped the Japanese "Playstation" off the last second - boo! On the plus side its about a million times better than the new American advert.

And in French, if you're that way inclined...

Monday, February 13, 2012

PS Vita digital games priced... cheap as fish and chips

Having enjoyed the minis range on the PSP, expect a huge amount more content on the Vita as it aims to cater to both big, posh games and the growing mobile gaming dynamic. The first digital only games have been priced up and range across a fish and chips to a takeaway Chinese meal for two price bracket.

  •     Escape Plan: £9.99
  •     Top Darts: £6.49
  •     Hustle Kings: £6.49
  •     Super Stardust: Delta: £6.49
  •     MotorStorm RC: £4.79
I'd happily buy most of them at those prices and as long as Sony can keep the content coming and also fill in the gaps at the price-of-a-Mars Bar duo gaming range favoured by the iPhone mob, then I'll be delighted. 

Coke and Sun flogging the Vita (compo)

Guess the Vita marketing campaign has kicked off in full, now that tabloid newspapers are giving them away in competitions. Even sponsored by Coke and wrapped up in a supermodel bundle, they still seem to make it seem tacky...

Sick bucket anyone?

Uncharted gets a western launch trailer

Setting the pace and tone of the Vita's lead-off game, Uncharted's trailer is worth checking out just for the first few seconds with the Vita on a plinth. Add in the stereotyped Latin American General (there must be a school somewhere) and lots of Indy/Tomb Raider-esque shots are we're all good to go for the 22nd.

Love that the western adverts still have the Japanese take on "Playstation" right at the very end too.

PlayerThree brings Chronovolt to the Vita

Chronovolt is a fiendish-looking 3D puzzle-platformer game in which the player has to guide their Chrono Sphere through the twists, turns and traps and hazards of Escher-like arenas. Players must perfect control of speed and dexterity with the tilt controls to guide the Chrono Sphere to the exit on each of the 30 levels, with a few twists along the way.

Chronovolts are scattered around the levels, giving the power to control time in different ways, stopping it for selected objects, rewinding it and creating time warps. These time controls increase the complexity of the puzzles and the fun. Time is controlled through the front and back touch panels. Check out for more details, nothing yet though - have asked for some pics.

IGN busts out with PS Vita game reviews

IGN breaks cover with a host of PS Vita reviews over the next couple of days, the he scores on the doors:

FIFA Soccer 8/10
Little Deviants 6/10
Modnation Racers Road Trip 7/10
Reality Fighters 4.5/10
Super Stardust Delta 9.5/10
Uncharted 8.5/10
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 8/10
WipEout 2048 7/10
Rayman Origins 9/10
Army Corps of Hell 7/10
Touch my Katamari 6/10

Check out the master review list for a wider range of PSV reviews.

Sony's bat-crap crazy advertising for Vita kicks off

Anybody get this? Anyone at all? You would have thought that after the weird Japanese ads with the man on a bike, Sony would have stuck to something a little less arsey for the European launch.

Three things this isn't - viral, inclusive or enticing... Three things it needs to be... about the games, about the games, about the games.

Little King to reign in March

Konami's Little King Story for the Vita will launch in Japan on the 29 March, as a full sequel to the Wii original. It will be available in a box and as a slightly cheaper download

The official site has some very pretty looking screens and a guide to the Vita's touch controls. And, if we do the magic translation thingy, explains the game as follows. ""Kingdom Arupoko" people live happily.
This is the story of the boy king to rule this country. One day, a ball was being held at the castle .... Then suddenly, with the emergence of monsters in the castle, roar. Will be deprived of the monsters of the castle. Escaped from the king for one's life is hidden passage, you witnessed it is burning his own castle."

So, typical straightforward RPG fare.But, with party combat and tactics key to the game, and cute little armies at your beck and call, it looks like Little King Story could have big ambitions.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Expect more from the world of Gravity Daze

Already on-sale in Japan, we eagerly await to see how the PS Vita' first big piece of original gaming flies off the shelves. One things for sure, it won't be ending with that little box in gamer's hands. For a start, there will be some DLC to come for this version and boss Keiichiro Toyama (via Twitter) says he is keen to make another one in the future.

Assuming this version does some good business, and the signs are impressive with a good 38/40 score in Famitsu, a 4.92 out of 5 rating from gamers on PSN and lots of interest from the press and public, this could be the kind of all-new game that helps the Vita stand out and get it noticed.

Can't wait for the western release, in the meantime, check out the first 15 minutes of the game including the intro here...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Check out Ghosts n Goblins' Arthur kicking ass in Marvel vs. Capcom 3

A new video is out showing off some of the more fun aspects of the brand-mangling brawler as Sir Arthur, raccoons and other gaming legends make a bow. A shame Sony is still doing videos in these crappy fake Vita's, there's a whole lot of screen space being wasted here, even in full screen mode.

The game will launch with the Vita, which has an increasingly strong brawler line-up for pugilists to look forward to.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

PSP to Vita game transfers for dummies, really!

Sony has put up a blog post explaining the process for getting games from your PSP to the Vita. Remember, this is the company that changed the memory card format so we can't just stick our old cards in and play our digital downloads. This is also the company that just scrapped the Passport games transfer scheme for UMD owning gamers.

So, of course, Sony was going to make it annoying to do. Basically you can either redownload those old games from the Vita store, using your existing PSN account. See that's really how I want to spend the first few days with my new console, downloading gigs worth of data as my bandwidth limit caves in, as the system gets hammered by millions of gamers all downloading their old titles - that'll go well!

Of course, the alternative is to copy them from your PS3. Well I, and I guess quite a few other PSP owners don't have a PS3. So method one it is. Sony has listed 275 titles that are compatible and instantly I see missing from the list is LittleBigPlanet, Tekken Dark Resurrection, LEGO Star Wars and a few others I would want to copy over.

So, PSP owners, brew a big pot of coffee, stock up on Vita games and then wait until all the fuss calms down before trying to copy over your old PSP titles, assuming they are there. Then you can kick in the upscaled filtering and enjoy them all over again, if you haven't beaten yourself unconscious in the process.

Velocity to be the best PSP mini ever!

Okay, that's an interesting boast. But FuturLab, the folks behind the fun-and-speedy Coconut Dodge are sticking their necks out with it in their latest press release for Velocity. It looks and sounds like a classic 8-bit shooter with a cool teleport mechanic to spice things up.

UPDATE: This game hit the US PSN and should be out in Europe today.

Just sniff the screen and you get hints of Uridium, a waft of Galaga, some Salamander and many other titles, just from the look, the audio and soundtrack. Check out some pics here.

From the press release: FuturLab reveals Velocity, raises the bar for PlayStation minis. ‘Velocity’ is a scrolling shooter unlike any other which features an innovative teleport mechanic, allowing players to jump around the screen and return to previous areas of a level to solve time sensitive logic puzzles.

From James Marsden, FuturLab's Managing Director:
“We’ve achieved some notable innovations within the shoot ‘em-up genre, to the point where Velocity not only lives up to fond memories of shoot ‘em-up classics, but goes several steps further by introducing something completely new and exciting – teleportation! It also features a phenomenal soundtrack from Joris de Man, winner of an Ivor Novello award for his work on the Killzone series for PS3.”

Robin Jubber, Supreme Technical Commander added:
"Speaking as a handsome man, I can confirm this is just the sort of astonishing programming masterpiece I like to play, when I'm winding down after a nine hour coital marathon. With its fluid 60fps gameplay and remarkable hidden features, it very much reminds me of me. As an extra bonus, space is black, so you can always see your face in the Vita’s shiny screen. Modest yet beautiful men like me will find this game as polished as my Superbike. I like to watch my name in the credits while marveling at the sharpness of the font. Buy Velocity now, and earn my manly respect!"

The official Velocity website is now live, as is the Facebook page where artwork and screenshots can be viewed, as well as back story.

Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack gets trailered

Sounds like a "B" movie, looks like a "B" movie, can't go wrong really. Check out the trailer for Canadian developer DrinkBox which has the requisite amount of city eating blobs, flying blobs, lasers, slime and other terrors.

Sure, it won't be the first game on your Vita shopping list, but it should be there somewhere, to encourage more quirky titles on the platform. Also, check out an interview with the developers over on Gamasutra about how easy the Vita is to develop for.

Namco waves DLC and Ridge Racer Gold Passes in our faces

I was never really sure about the idea to split Ridge Racer into a cheap, bare game and tack on the DLC after. Of all the formats to do it on, Ridge is the weakest of the racing games to do it to. Still Namco is persisting in this approach with the Euro launch, but adding a Gold Pass to make getting the content easier for early buyers.

The Fatalia will expand your Ridge Racing garage

At launch, and while stocks last, those who buy the retail version of Ridge will find a code in the box for a free ‘RIDGE RACER Gold Pass’ which unlocks a wealth of extra DLC content. The same Gold Pass is also available to all fans who purchase the digital version of the game on PlayStation®Network no later than March 31st. It will also be available for purchase on the PlayStation®Store for 6.99€ for all other players to enjoy. The Gold Pass will let players unlock the following DLC content as soon as they are released during February and March:

  • Three new courses: Old Central, Sunset Heights and Lost Ruins
  • Two new music tracks: NEW SONGS PACK 01
  • One new extended music mix: LONG MIX BGM 01

There will also be demos and DLC for Shinobido 2 and Touch My Katamari, adding eight fearsome bosses to Shinobido and missions for Katamari including  Snowman!, Shopping, Maid, Downhill, PAC-MAN and Soccer and Downhill with Toro.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Check out some fireworks with PS Vita augmented reality games

I'm starting to suspect the developers are having more fun with the Vita's AR capabilities than us gamers will, sure these things look good to create, but are they fun to play? Guess we'll see - check out the video for some mild fun with fireworks and some other crazy stuff.

Japanese hardware sales flatline again

The latest unit sales for consoles in Japan show mild declines for most platforms with the launch of Ragnarok Odyssey not really helping to give the Vita s lift,

3DS 75,018
PS3 23,293
Vita 17,141
PSP 15,847
Wii 8,814

Perhaps Gravity Daze will do a better job of giving the Vita a boost

PSN Store Update, Persona bundled and more PSP sales

Here are the latest PSP titles, minis and offers from the updated PSN (SEN, whatever) update. The highlight having to be that you can get all three Persona games for under £50 which has to a be a bargain, what are you waiting for.

Persona 2: Innocent Sin/Persona 3 Portable (bundle) (£39.99/€49.99)

minis (PS3/PSP)
T.N.K. III (£1.99/€2.49)
Vanguard II (£1.99/€2.49)
Alien Havoc & Bubble Trubble (Bundle) (£3.49/€3.99)
Ace Armstrong/Stellar Attack (Bundle) (£3.99/€4.99)
Cubixx/Vibes (Bundle) (£3.99/€4.99)
Fight Fantasy: Talisman/Warlock (Bundle) (£4.99/€5.99)

PSP Sale
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona (£9.99/€12.99)
Worms Battle Islands (£5.49/€6.99)
Sid Meier’s Pirates! (£5.19/€6.49)
Beaterator (£5.19/€6.49)
GTA Vice City Stories (£6.99/€7.99)
GTA Chinatown Wars (£6.49/€7.99)
GTA Liberty City Stories (£6.49/€7.99)
Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition (£5.19/€6.49)
Midnight Club LA: Remix (£5.19/€6.49)

New Japanese Chart shows Ragnarok doing the business

Update: Ragnarok sold some 33,500 physical copies, or well over 80% of its shipment, which led to the sell outs in some areas. With Game Arts being a smaller company, it can't ship in the huge numbers that the big players can, but will be restocking rapidly to take advantage of its success. (Note, chart's don't count digital sales yet). Soul Calibur and Resident Evil swapped places between the prelim numbers and the final ones (or I cocked it up, one of the two).

Tales of Innocence R drops out of the Top 10 having sold over 54,000 copies last week, only managing around 9,000 this week. Next us for the Vita is Gravity Daze which seems to be generating quite the buzz. The PSP title FotoKano is a girlfriend photography title, just so you know.

1 Resident Evil Ribereshonzu 3DS Action Adventure Capcom
2 NEW Soul Calibur V PS3 Action NAMCO BANDAI Games
3 NEW Fotokano PSP Simulation Kadokawa Games
4 NEW Ragnarok Odyssey Vita Action Gung Ho Online Entertainment
5 Monster Hunter 3 (Tri) G 3DS Action Capcom
6 NEW Gran Turismo 5 Spec II PS3 Simulator Sony Computer Entertainment Japan
7 Mario Kart 7 3DS Action Nintendo
8 Armored Core V PS3 Action From Software
9 3D Super Mario Land 3DS Action Nintendo
10 NEW Dragon Age II (Dragon Age II) PS3 RPG Spike

Via Famitsu

Check out PS Vita's firmware 1.60 in action

YouTuber skyghene22 has put up a neat video showing off the Vita's new functionality. Check out the video recording function, maps app and other features of the latest PS Vita firmware. Shame it doesn't play PSOne games yet, something that Sony really needs to sort out fast.

Stick around until the end and there's also a competition to win a copy of Uncharted.

Destination PlayStation to reveal Vita goodies?

A whole bunch of good stuff is expected to be unveiled by Sony at this week's Destination PlayStation event for games retailers (we're a couple of days in already, in fact the general session was yesterday - so any leaking news should be making its way out now). Some snippets have already been leaked including LittleBigPlanet Karting (made by the ModNation folks), God of War IV, a new Syphon Filter and more.

The key test for Sony is that, if the portable has the power to do these games, then they should be out for both Vita and PS3, not just the big console. Screw diluting the brand or the experience, as marketers will no doubt whine. Gamers will only get a Vita if it has the big name titles in all spheres, not just become a poor second cousin like the PSP did.

Sony Entertainment Network, not entertaining, not a network

As expected, the SEN site is the complete embarrassment. Your first clue is the news page, the latest News is from the 31 August 2011, which demonstrates pretty much how Sony cares about this hip and happening service. Has the company really had nothing positive to say about it in SIX MONTHS.

You have to sign in (or up) differently for the Music, Video and PSN services - IT IS NOT A NETWORK, just a collection of disparate shit services that cling together around a half-arsed brand. Try it, sign in for PSN, hello all my PSN stuff - I'd like some music though, click on Music Unlimited - oh no, you've signed out, please sign in, oh no you need a new account - you need to pay - what the hell????

If you pay for PSN Plus, exactly why should you pay again for streaming media on your media device? Especially when you can just get free Spotify or LastFM, or just pick any iRadio service (especially for Android users that they're also marketing this at). Hasn't Sony seen the massive success of Apple's all-in-one (regardless of if you own an Apple gadget) iTunes thingy?

I'm a big kid, I'm used to multiple accounts and convoluted services, but this new generation is supposed to be better than what we had previously, and this certainly is in no way,  better or even just slightly fixed.

I really don't need this crap, especially with the Vita which is supposed to a next-gen media system. Then there's the Partner services, I understand they have to be different but for Sony to offer a true network it needs to aggregate all the schedules, content and so on from these and put it in one place to make it universally searchable.

If a movie is on iPlayer for free, I'd rather watch it on that then pay for it on Lovefilm and then if I want to listen to the soundtrack, why do I have to slog over to another service. If Sony wants to be in anyway innovative, it has to tie these things together into a proper network.

PS Vita games appear on the SEN, all we need is hardware

In advance of the early-preview program in America, some PS Vita titles have popped up on the store ready for the big launch. Most games are listed with that 10%ish discount so, the likes of WipEout 2048 is $35.99, Hot Shots Golf for $35.99, ModNation Racers: Road Trip for $26.99, Super Stardust Delta at a cool $9.99, while Uncharted: Golden Abyss is up for its full price of $49.99.

Hopefully Europe should see what prices we get when the EU store updates this afternoon, similar discounts should be expected, otherwise expect a great deal of murmuring from the unhappy masses.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

No UMD transfer scheme for western gamers

Perhaps Sony has forgotten the however many million PSP consoles and games it sold in the west over the years, that'd be quite easy given the slow strangulation of the handheld over here. But even so, leaving all those loyal users in the lurch (while Japanese gamers can happily play on) when it comes to old UMDs is, frankly, taking the piss a bit.

I've got lots of recent games via PSN, but my first three years of PSP titles all came on UMD along with plenty of later ones. My PSP still works, but for how long? What am I supposed to do when it finally dies, those PSP E1000s might only be £85, but that's still a lot of money. This is where Sony can be rightly crucified for its obsession with proprietary formats. PSP games still look good, still play well, and making them redundant and non-transferable is a pretty shoddy way to treat gamers.

Hopefully Sony will have to rethink this, as they have the stupid pricing of memory cards for the Vita (via bundled offers) and play fair with western gamers. I don't want to buy all those games again on PSN (sorry SEN, a whole other problem for Sony) despite the decent offers, some of them you can't even get, so do the decent thing Sony and  sort it out.

PSN becomes SEN, can Sony really offer us an Entertainment Network or is it just marketing guff?

Okay, Sony can call it what they like, my personal favourite would be Sony PlayStation Entertainment Revolution Multiplex. But really, the splodge of stupid services it already has, PSN, that music store pile of crap, the comic book store and whatever you get on Bravia TV sets - if Sony can pull it all in one place, under one icon, fine. But on my devices, its my network and I want it my way.

This is the 2st Century - Sony should be thinking bigger, any "Entertainment Network" should be a single entitiy. I pray it doesn't go the way of the Xbox and its stupidly wide smattering of different entertainment types categories and apps (movies, video, TV (five different apps), music (four different apps), a Polka section, etc). If Sony is going to offer "entertainment", then put it all under one roof, make it deeply embedded and searchable around what the user does.

Sony doesn't have a search engine, but whatever one it uses should be front and center, so the user can enter "Rock Horror Picture Show," "Katy Perry," "Browse ska punk from the 90s" or whatever and get the content they want. I don't want to be pimped the latest crap teen movie, Justin Bieber or books about fishing.

I hope Sony learns that when it promises an "Entertainment Network" it can genuinely deliver one and not some pile of hacked together crap. The trouble is, Sony has a poor track record with entertainment, so I'm not expecting miracles, but now it is promising us this mighty new thing (even though its the old one wrapped up in a new logo - for now), it had better deliver.

Little card, big card, PS Vita memory charade

We'll soon be forking out for extra memory cards to store all our "Sony Entertainment" content, assuming you don't grab a free one at launch. Just to point out how ridiculous these things are, look at Sony's packaging. They might as well put them on those cheques they give out to lottery millionaires, especially at the prices being charged.

Question, does anyone know if Sony will make a card reader for a PC, so you can move content around without them being in the Vita, or is that part of the security features? If so, surely a third party can make a card reader?

F1 2011 producer discusses Vita features

Over on Pocket Gamer, they have a pretty detailed discussion with producer Dean Scott about the PS Vita's first serious racing game, he seems to confirm it just looks better in action, rather than the screenshots and direct video that looks so murky, and that seems to be confirmed by the off-screen footage.

There are a few changes from the PS3 game with no more interviews, but instead there is a big challenge in the career mode and while there isn't full season multiplayer, you can still get mates together for a sesh:

Instead, we have an entirely new game mode consisting of 60 one-off challenges. It's a well-worn cliché to talk about 'gaming on the go', but the reality is that for every person that wants to do a full distance race there's another who doesn't have two hours to spare.
 So, perhaps this might be a game to go for, especially with the pre-season testing just kicking off and those horrible-nosed new cars kicking around, not sure I'd go for the F1 2012 edition.

More PSP games for Japan, Accel World, Strike Witches and more Legend of Heroes

UPDATE:  There's a host of new PSP games been announced recently including Hunter x Hunter, more details on the new DigiMon, Sol Trigger from Imageepoch and a new Unchained Blades. Start badgering the usual suspects for English versions now.

With every gamer and his Feylene having a PSP in Japan, the games keep on rolling out with a bunch of new titles announced recently. First up is Namco's Accel World (also for PS3) based on the recent anime/manga. where kids escape into the virtual world to avoid the stresses of real life (like that'll ever happen!).

All that has been announced so far is that it will be a combat strategy game, the gimmick in the Accel World being that "a power called Brain Burst that allows a person to make time appear to stand still in their surroundings by "accelerating" their brainwaves in the real world. Unfortunately, there is a limit to how many times a person can accelerate which uses Brain Burst points and the only way to get more points is to fight other Brain Burst users in a Fighting game and defeat them."

A hot chick from Accel World 

Next up, is Strike Witches from Cyberfront, a good old-fashioned side scrolling shooter with  heroic ladies doing battle in mid-air against a range of monstrous machines and waves of small enemies. Looks pretty tame by bullet hell standards, but we'll see. 

Andriasang also has some news on the next Legend of Heroes game, but there are now so many of those coming out on PSP and Vita, that I'll let you read their story and get confused for yourself, rather than me making things worse.