Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Take a walk through Tales of Innocence R

Persistent YouTuber Arekkz is at it again, with a neat run through the demo of Namco's RPG that's now out in Japan. By the look of it, four tooled up kids go traipsing through a forest, beating up some fat lizards, fluffy birds and a stick of broccoli. Surely Japanese developers need to come up with some more aggressive creatures for their RPGs.

Then I again, pretty sure the first enemy  in Dungeon Master on the ST was a giant mushroom, so us westerners really can't complain.

PSP and PS Vita releases for 2012

Having just mashed together the Vita's release schedule lineup, its a bit unfair to leave the PSP out, so here's what I can dig out for the little fella with a western release in 2012 . For Japanese game lovers, its a pretty decent lineup with niche publishers doing a sterling job in bringing some awesome titles along. Hope it carries on for a little while longer, most of these games are down for a spring release:

Black Rock Shooter - NIS
Hakuoki Demon of the Fleeting Blossom - Aksys (14 Feb)
Putty Squad -  System 3
MLB 2K12 - Take Two (6 Mar)
Grand Knights History - Rising Star
Gungnir - Atlus (12 June)
Growlanser IV - Atlus
Mecho Tales - Oyaji
Fate Extra - Ghostlight
Yakuza Black Panther 2 - Sega

As usual, any missing or new titles, firm dates, please post a comment and I'll update it.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sega's Yakuza Black Panther 2 trailer shows fighting and girls

There's a whole lot of art (and shouting) in this new seven minute trailer for the Sega's PSP fighting gangster opus.  Seems to be a merging of the previous videos, but still worth checking out if you're planning on importing this.

Half wonder if they'll upgrade it for the Vita, and then bring it over to the west, did the other Yakuza's sell well here? Probably not.

The PS Vita's sales drought looks like its over

After a sluggish start, expect PS Vita sales in Japan to take off now. First up Tales of Innocence R is on sale and these games usually ship a good million or so. Then comes the news that the Ragarok demo notched up 100,000 downloads over the week, which suggests this is the game that will help Monster Hunters pass the time until that game turns up later in the year on Vita.

Both games have had extensive build ups to their release with endless screen drops (another bunch of Ragnarok screens here)and drip feeding of information. ToIR also has some DLC out already. Assuming the usual gaming RPG and MH factions turn up in even a fraction of their full force, that should shift Vita sales along this week and next. After that, its Gravity Daze's turn in the spotlight.

Sony France "confirms" Monster Hunter Vita

I've said all along that Capcom's love in with Nintendo was a time-limited deal, but was worried it was a rather longer than usual one - to the extent that I wonder how much of Nintendo's recent losses came from paying Capcom for their loyalty.

Anyhow, the boss of Sony France has let the Feylene out of the bag with a hint that Monster Hunter Vita will be appearing on the console this year. That just leaves the question which version? Assuming its a 4G or 4V, I guess that help Sony happily shift 4 to 5 million Vitas and we'll be wondering what all the fuss was about. That's assuming the Monster Hunter armies aren't all happy playing on their 3DS or using the PSP version on their Vita (above) - but I figure Capcom will have something special to help move Japan's gamers on to the next version.

Capcom said it has no official comment to make, which means its still furiously typing up a press release.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

U.S. Vita buyers getting free memory cards and a game

Hope this happens this side of the pond. Clearly the message is hitting home about games that won't even play without a card, and the potential user outrage, as well as their overall cost.

So, now U.S. gamers will get a free PSN game and an 8GB memory card with a WiFi Vita while 3G buyers also get free data allowance. Check out Sony blog for details... http://blog.us.playstation.com/

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tales of Innocence R getting DLC really soon

The Vita's first proper RPG title is only just out, but Namco is popping up with some quick DLC to give players some hair style and costume options. Not sure if its free or paid-for DLC, but Andriasang has a full range of pics.

Remember, there's a demo out too if you've imported and have a Japanese account.

PacMan and MegaMan to guest in Street Fighter X Tekken

Two of videogaming’s most iconic characters are entering the ring and going toe to toe in a frankly bizarre crossover appearance. Exclusive to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita versions of Street Fighter X Tekken, Capcom’s very own Mega Man will be joined by Namco’s mascot, Pac-Man.

The version of Mega Man featured is from the original Mega Man 1 box art with Pac-Man taking on all challengers as he rides atop Mokujin. Which is a bit contrived by anyone's standards.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mr Karoshi and Whale Trail hit Xperia Play

The gaming smartphone gets a couple of upgraded titles this week, Mr Karoshi is a game with a sick twist where the aim is to die as often and painfully as possible. Mr Karoshi is an overworked Japanese salaryman who's had enough and his only goal is to end it all. You control him to work through the fast logic puzzles trying to find ways to bring about his demise in this highly original, puzzle, platformer with a twist.

Whale Trail is at the other end of the taste spectrum, a psychedelic, surreal and charming flying game! Take to the skies, loop the loop, collect power ups, smash enemies, discover new lands and make friends along the way. Offering game modes and Scoreloop worldwide leaderboards, Whale Trail is one of the most intense and addictive games, which will keep you coming back for more. Choose from the surreal endless Classic Mode or unlock stars in 32 bite-size Challenge Levels.

Both titles can be had for mere pence on the Android marketplace.

Hidden secrets in PS Vita's Rayman Origins

Given that I still play the PSOne original on my PSP, Rayman Origins should be something to look forward to. The PS blog has a new post up explaining some of the Vita's features including this little tantaliser:
We also have some great PS Vita-specific features available for Rayman Origins. First, for those looking to really appreciate all the hand-drawn art of Rayman Origins, players can pinch the front touchscreen to zoom in, so you can better appreciate the detailed character and level design that our studio in Montpellier worked so hard to deliver. Playing with a zoomed-in camera view also delivers a new experience and is critical in discovering the game’s many hidden secrets.

The game will be out for launch on the PSV and along with Lumines will be a near essential purchase for proper gamers.

Hungry Giraffe to hit PSN minis next month

Laughing Jackal is bringing its Hungry Giraffe game to the PSN store on the 15th 1st February (a quick change of plan there). the company is also bundling some titles together to create some tempting offers for those who've missed out on the likes of Fighting Fantasy and others.

Hungry Giraffe looks like it has all the hallmarks of classic arcade fun, list the games that could have acted as inspiration in these screens, and you'd have a very long list.

MLB 12 The Show, shows off PS Move/Vita features

I loved fun, simple baseball games back in the eight-bit days, Imagine's World Series Baseball and the seminal Hardball were awesome. The more modern and realistic they've become, the less I've liked them, but the Vita offers a new chance for me to get into the game.

Anyway, Sony and San Diego Studios has put up the first video of the new game, and it looks more and more like the TV broadcasts, it could do a bit more to highlight what the Vita's unique features are, but I'm sure they'll get round to mentioning them soon. The game will have Adrian Gonzalez on the front cover.

Lumines Electronic Symphony - a touch of genius

Among the cruddy iOS ports, Ubisoft is charged with bringing one of the PSP's best games to the west. The Q! Entertainment title has sold millions in other formats, but will always be that "great" PSP game. The PlayStation Blog has a run down of the features and Vita-unique modes.

A new experience system means all the points that a player receives in a session are converted into XP, so as you level up, you will unlock additional skins and avatars. The new version will support the front touch screen controls to move and rotate blocks which are rendered using animated 3D blocks instead of 2D sprites.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus - not a new line of razors

Tecmo and Team Ninja have put out a trailer for the upcoming Vita revisit of NGS, throwing all the weapons at your ninja's disposal against all kind of monsters, dragons and bad guys. The game is out toward the end of February in Japan.

Wii U and XboxNext news explodes

After a lull in the rumour mill, things are kicking off on the next-gen console front with Nintendo today confirming the Wii U will launch around the world this Christmas. That's pretty much on course and will see the company trying to weave its magic via the tablet controller.

Microsoft is still at the rumour level with talk of a SoC processor already under trial runs, and Blu-ray and Kinect2 being bolted into the next console. Expect these ideas to solidify or fade away over the year with Microsoft likely to launch next year and Sony to bring up the rear in 2014/15.

With all that activity going on, Sony really needs to get the Vita marketing machine going full bore, right now without a second to spare, if its not to be swept aside as the big-screen consoles get their own next generation into gear. (Which reminds me, probably time to put up a PS4roundup blog page, can't be long now! :) )

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Japanese hardware charts, PSP up, Vita down again

This week's hardware charts show most formats drifting down, of them all the Vita probably had the smallest percentage drop. Expect big changes next week as the first big releases of the year start hitting.

3DS – 80,960
PS3 – 21,155
PSP – 17,181
Vita – 15,219
Wii – 10,173

Japanese Software Charts - all down again

This week's charts show some minor changes with a bunch of new entries, but nothing going gangbusters. Heroes Phantasia for PSP appears at No. 6 while there are still no Vita games in the top 20, although that will change next week. Sales are dropping again with most games down around 30%.

01./02. [3DS] Mario Kart 7 (Nintendo) {2011.12.01} (¥4.800) – 35.105 / 1.404.728 (-33%)
02./00. [3DS] Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure (Sega) {2012.01.19} (¥6.090) – 31.598 / NEW
03./03. [3DS] Monster Hunter 3G # (Capcom) {2011.12.10} (¥5.800) – 31.369 / 1.159.866 (-30%)
04./04. [3DS] Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo) {2011.11.03} (¥4.800) – 26.051 / 1.265.491 (-35%)
05./00. [360] Onechanbara Z: Kagura (D3 Publisher) {2012.01.19} (¥7.140) – 22.013 / NEW
06./00. [PSP] Heroes Phantasia # (Bandai Namco Games) {2012.01.19} (¥6.280) – 15.163 / NEW
07./05. [3DS] Inazuma Eleven Go: Shine / Dark (Level 5) {2011.12.15} (¥5.800) – 14.190 / 360.325 (-32%)
08./00. [3DS] Beyond the Labyrinth (Konami) {2012.01.19} (¥5.800) – 14.176 / NEW
09./01. [PSP] Super Robot Wars OG Saga: Masou Kishin II – Revelation of Evil God # (Bandai Namco Games) {2012.01.12} (¥6.280) – 11.598 / 93.494 (-86%)
10./06. [PS3] Warriors Orochi 3 # (Koei Tecmo) {2011.12.22} (¥7.800) – 10.690 / 347.614 (-48%)
11./08. [PS3] Final Fantasy XIII-2 # (Square Enix) {2011.12.15} (¥7.980) – 8.706 / 762.674 (-40%)
12./10. [WII] Just Dance Wii (Nintendo) {2011.10.13} (¥5.800) – 8.315 / 511.363 (-33%)
13./13. [PSP] Monster Hunter Freedom 3 (PSP the Best) (Capcom) {2011.09.22} (¥2.990) – 8.126 / 171.906 (-13%)
14./12. [WII] Wii Party # (Nintendo) {2010.07.08} (¥4.800) – 7.133 / 2.273.318 (-24%)
15./11. [WII] Wii Sports Resort with Remote Plus # (Nintendo) {2010.11.11} (¥5.800) – 6.594 / 850.426 (-35%)
16./16. [WII] Kirby’s Return to Dream Land (Nintendo) {2011.10.27} (¥5.800) – 6.162 / 585.260 (-31%)
17./15. [WII] Mario Kart Wii (Nintendo) {2008.04.10} (¥5.800) – 6.137 / 3.489.774 (-32%)
18./19. [PS3] Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – Dubbed Edition (Square Enix) {2011.12.22} (¥7.980) – 5.945 / 96.391 (-24%)
19./18. [3DS] Nintendogs + Cats: French Bulldog / Shiba / Toy Poodle & New Friends (Nintendo) {2011.02.26} (¥4.800) – 5.932 / 481.804 (-25%)
20./17. [WII] Go Vacation (Bandai Namco Games) {2011.10.20} (¥5.800) – 5.460 / 221.639 (-33%)

Final Fantasy prices get slashed on PSN store

PSP owners run to the store now, and pick up pretty much all of Square's Final Fantasy titles including the Dissidia series at up to half price, or less if you're a Plus member. Grabbing the PS One classics at £3.99 is a hell of a lot more reasonable.

The update at least offers something new for PSP users who otherwise only get the Mecho Wars mini.

Dissidia: Final Fantasy (Was £14.99/€24.99 – Now £9.99/€11.99)
Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy – Prologus (Was £2.39/€2.99 – Now £1.19/€1.49)
Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy (Was £27.99/€34.99 – Now £13.99/€17.99)
Final Fantasy (Was £7.99/€9.99 – Now £3.99/€4.99)
Final Fantasy II (Was £7.99/€9.99 – Now £3.99/€4.99)
Final Fantasy IV: Complete Collection (Was £27.99/€34.99 – Now £13.99/€17.99)
Final Fantasy V (Was £7.99/€9.99 – Now £3.99/€4.99)
Final Fantasy VI (Was £7.99/€9.99 – Now £3.99/€4.99)
Final Fantasy VII (Was £7.99/€9.99 – Now £3.99/€4.99)
Final Fantasy VIII (Was £7.99/€9.99 – Now £3.99/€4.99)
Final Fantasy IX (Was £7.99/€9.99 – Now £3.99/€4.99)
Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions (£7.99/€9.99 – Now £3.99/€4.99)

Carl Clover's dad joins the BlazBlue line up

Hmmm, its rarely a good thing when dads turn up at a party. However, I don't think Relius Clover, pop to Carl Clover, the boy vigilante from Calamity Trigger and Continuum Shift will detract from the game's overall tone. He fights with a similar 'Dual Character' style to Carl and Nirvana, in that players must control Relius and his robotic puppet Ignis simultaneously.

Relius is a sinister scientist in the BlazBlue universe (anyone think he's a bit Lucius Malfoy?) and one of the main antagonists of the story. He comes with his own scenario in Story Mode and his own set of challenges to introduce players to his moves, simpler combos up to more advanced playing techniques.

Mr Miyagi gets a role in Reality Fighters

I'm not too fussed about the game, despite the technology looking cool, but this could sell it to some die hard Karate Kid fans, it now has the venerable Mr M. as an instructor and mentor in the game...

As the PS Blog puts it, "Miyagi has two roles. First of all he is the sensei and guide we all know. He’ll teach players how to set themselves up as a character in the game, choose clothing and costumes, learn special moves and more as well as giving encouragement before a bout and wise words whether the player is victorious, or not so lucky!"

PS Vita's sales drive had better start here as big games arrive

Tomorrow sees the launch in Japan of Tales of Innocence R and, after that, there's pretty much a decent title a week out of the next couple of months....

Jan 26 Tales of Innocence R
Feb 2  Ragnarok Odyssey
Feb 9 Gravity Daze
Feb 9 Sumioni
Feb 23 Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus
Mar 8 Unit 13
Mar 15 FIFA Soccer

There are others, but these are the games that should help the Vita shift a bit. If sales don't pick up during this period (I think Sony would settle for 50,000+ units a week) then you'd have to start looking at a price drop to get things moving again.

As for the western launch, Sony should get the same decent first day sales it managed in Japan, but it will be hoping to avoid that horrible plummet it suffered in the following weeks. The west has a better launch line-up, and shouldn't fall into the January-void of doom. Existing PSP gamers have little to look forward to, while PS3 and Xbox gamers might be looking for something new in the years long gap until their next console launch.

On the negative side, how many folk just gave up waiting and went for an Apple iPhone (Apple sold 37 million of them last quarter alone) or an iPad instead. With sales like those it won't be long until gaming developers turn their full attention to hardcore iOS titles. Also, the more new games are announced that don't have a little Vita sign at the bottom will make gamers wonder if developers are really taking it seriously.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mecho Wars mini hitting PSN tomorrow

A fun little fantasy/strategy mini based on the works of Luc Bernard will hit the store tomorrow for PS3 and PSP, get ready for Mecho wars.

Developers start talking up 2012...

Now that Christmas and New Year are out the way, developers (those that haven't been axed, merged or disbanded) are looking to their collective futures and new technologies. While none of them would be bold enough to leap out and go "we're making shit hot game x for Vita." Most are hinting at things to come.

Take Splash Damage, the folks behind Enemy Territory and Brink, "Which brings us back to 2012 being a special year for Splash Damage. We've got several significant announcements to make in the coming weeks and months. We've hired some amazing new talent, strengthening our team in key areas. We'll be revealing new titles - both on platforms we've previously visited (including the PC and the world's leading consoles), as well as exploring spaces completely new to us. Finally, we've got some special things planned to take full advantage of the changes our industry is experiencing."

So, what developers would you like to see turn their attention to the Vita, and what games (new or old) should they bring to the platform? The bad news seems to be that despite the Vita's power, I've seen a rash of new trailers as new games (Sniper Elite II, Darksiders II today) are announced from developers and none of them are adding the Vita to the PS3/Xbox/PC list of machines.

Its no good if the machine has the power if developers are going to ignore it for their core products. Something that could see the Vita drop into the smartphone gaming mire pretty quickly, if Sony doesn't dangle some carrots and get big games from non-Sony developers out there.

So Sony, where's the 4G PS Vita then?

Sony seems pretty proud of its 3G PS Vita, but you have to wonder - given the next iPhone, iPad will have, and endless Androids already have, 4G - when the first update to the PS Vita line-up will hit, and will it massively improve the online experience?

Simply put - in an area of decent reception - 4G should give you broadband-like performance from a mobile network. Realistically, that will be quite slow broadband compared to your typical 20Mbit cable connection, but enough for gaming purposes and decent sized downloads. But, expect to be charged quite a bit by the phone network for such luxury.

While 4G is rocking metropolitan American and Japan, its pretty rare elsewhere and will only really be taking off in 2013/14, which gives Sony some time to put a decent package together. Technically, all it needs to do is add a new radio in the Vita and update the software, so it won't be a big change to the look of the unit.

Current 4G radios suck battery juice pretty quickly, which is why Apple has held off on adding 4G to the iPhone until now, when more power-friendly models are becoming available. That's one reason why Sony didn't start with a 4G model, the fact it would be a pretty niche device being the main one.

However, by going 4G it allows for a braver push into online gaming on the go. Sony could have a bunch of  new games and apps specifically for 4G users. Only the wider roll out of the networks and the fact it would make for a pretty expensive (and surely aimed at adults) package, is holding things up, but expect a 4G Vita at some point in the next year or two.

Xperia Play getting Reckless Racing 2 timed exclusive

Reckless Racing from Polarbit has done pretty well in the mobile market and the sequel will be a timed exclusive for the Xperia Play, before hitting other Androids and iOS. Expect new cars, tracks, customisation, better detail and more racing fun...

Reckless Racing mixes old-school racing gameplay with state of the art graphics and multiplayer features to brew a mean gumbo that takes the genre to a whole ‘nother level. Perfectly balanced controls lets you skid, slip and slide through some of the most beautiful tracks ever seen on a handheld device – leaving nothing but mud-splattered opponents, skidmarks and chaos in your wake.

As Ragnarok approaches launch, more screens

Starting to get the horn over this game which does look like the Vita's best and brightest title (in the Monster Hunting vein). Andriasang has a host of new shots and artwork. The game will launch on February 2 with ad hoc mode in Japan, and a patch to add proper online will be added later.

Hopefully the west will get the full version soon enough and the muppets behind ModNation Racers will understand the important of proper multiplayer being added to its game and not make up pathetic excuses as to why its not there. 

Gust announces Concerto for PS Vita

Looking rather adventurish, developer Gust has let loose some screens for the PS Vita's newest title, full name, Surge Concerto: Ciel no Surge. Hopefully everyone had a chuckle at the schoolboy humour behind Gust Concerto.

That aside, there isn't much information, other than the girl in one of the pics is called Ion and central to the plot. The scenes all seem rather 50s in tone, perhaps with some future tech buried in among the architecture. The game is due out at the end of April and articles will appear in this week's Japanese press, so we'll know more soon.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sony bringing PSP games to Certified devices

Some ESRB ratings are showing PSP games including Syphon Filter, Daxter, Flow and others to PlayStation Certified devices like Sony's tablets, Xperia Play phone and a few others.

When they turn up, that should help boost the profile a bit. Most gamers must be fed up of Crash Bandicoot by now.

Doctor Who for PS3 and Vita gets a video

Last week it was a single screenshot, this week we get a video full of some of the Doctor's most malevolent enemies with some Prince of Persia like gameplay and some adventurish elements, should be fun, especially with River Song in a leather outfit.

Tales of Innocence R scores well in Famitsu

Missed this from last week, but the big hope of getting some PS Vita hardware sold this week did pretty well in Famitsu, scoring nines across the board. Pretty sure most Japanese gamers would rather be playing a new Resi, but I'm starting to suspect Capcom is doing 2012 with Nintendo as best buddy, 2013 with Sony and so on to balance out its dev teams.

Resident Evil: Revelations (3DS) – 10/10/9/10
Tales of Innocence R (PSVita) – 9/9/9/9
Armored Core V (PS3/360) – 9/8/8/9
WWE ’12 (PS3) – 9/8/9/8
Tropico 4 (X360) – 8/8/7/8
Love Bancho 2 Midnight Lesson (PSP) – 7/7/7/6
Zoo Keeper 3D (3DS) – 7/7/7/6
Gundam Mokuba no Kiseki (PSP) – 7/7/6/7

Check out some pics here.

ATT tweaks PS Vita 3G pricing

The US provider of 3G for the Vita, AT&T has tweaked its pricing for the non-contract service. the updated site now states;

The AT&T Data Connect plans are month by month and not contract based. All plans include complimentary AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot access in the United States. There are two plan choices:
250MB for $14.99 and 3GB for $30.00, both with a 30-day recurring opt out, which starts at the date and time of purchase.

Which is a change from the original 2GB for $24.99 offer. Interested now? Nope, me neither. Move along people

F1 2011 looks better in motion, still not convinced

Remember those horrific screenshots of F1 on the PS Vita, well an IGN video shows the game looks a lot better in action...

Still not convinced its an essential purchase (this from someone who just coughed up for a Sky TV package so he can watch all the F1 action in the upcoming season). Perhaps when it hits the cheap shelves in the summer and F1 has its mid-season break. If they add the 2012 roster that'd help, I need more grumpy Finns in my racing!

BlazBlue devs celebrate Chinese New Year

Not a news story at all, but a nice little celebration from the BlazBlue developers for the Chinese New Year, remember the game is headed to Vita in the Extend edition featuring the complete works in one box.

Please, point us in the direction of any other neat Chinese New Year art from games that you come across.

Assault Armies shocking the PS Vita, Feb 1

One of the first western developed indie titles to hit the PS Vita, Assault Armies from Polish firm Bloober will hit the PSN in Japan on February 1. The first video I've seen of it seems to be mostly about your men can die...

But as long as the cute details, neat animation and much doom ties up into a fun game, seems to be a Lemmings meets Cannon Fodder affair, it should be a winner. Check out some of the first screens here and a little more gameplay here, the game is being published by Kemco in Japan.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

New Square domains suggest a PS Vita game?

Square did pretty good with the PSP; Crisis Core, Dissidia and the others showed what could be done on the dinky handheld. Imagine what could be done with the power of a Vita - certainly more than the painful experience that is the XIII-2 demo, which I just deleted from my Xbox.

So, there may be good news on that front with Square registering a few domains in the vein of Final Fantasy Dimensions. Of course, it could be a 3DS, iPhone or other title, given the company's wide spread these days. But, with the PSP developers saying they'd like to work on the Vita, I have an faint notion that this could be a Vita game - which we'll probably be waiting years to see.

UPDATED: Square's lawyers must be busy, Square has just made a trademark application in the UK for "Sleeping Dogs" which sounds like a whole new  ball game to us.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sony shows off its top PSP and PS One classic sellers in December

The PSP may be drifting to an end in the west, but its still raking in the sales on the PSN store. Sony has unveiled its December figures which shows Corpse Party on top and Final Fantasy dominating the classics sales.

 Top 5 PSP Games
1) Corpse Party
2) NBA 2K12 PSP
3) Mega Man Maverick Hunter X
4) Need For Speed Most Wanted
5) Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories

PS One sales

5) Crash Bandicoot

PS Vita Teardown - torn to pieces...

Serious people with a wide range of tiny screwdrivers love taking gadgets to pieces and costing up the parts. UBN has done that with the PSV (note, you have to pay for the full report) and come up with an approximate overall parts list of:

Display and touch components: $50
Other components: $30
CXD5315GG Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore CPU: $16
BB+XCR: $16.25
Non-electronic: $11
Supporting materials: $10
SDRAM: $9.25
NAND: $6
Battery: $3.60
Cameras: $3.50
Wi-Fi/BT/GPS: $3.50

So, roughly $160 or £100 which, of course, doesn't include Sony's massive marketing expenses, research and development costs and so on. Even so, perhaps Sony isn't get such a massive haircut on the hardware units after all. It will certainly rake in lots of cash on the memory cards which cost just a few bucks each and are sold at a decent markup.

What this does mean is that Sony can afford a price cut in 2012, it is just a matter of market pressure on the company to do so. That will come from a poor western launch, continued weak sales in Japan and stores threatening to discount on their own.

Listen to WipeOut team narrate the intro video

WipEout 2048 on the Vita, as ever, has a great intro video that goes through the history of racing. And Sony's PlayStation blog has put up a video with the creator's explaining how they did it and what it all means.

Take a ride through the PS Vita's WipEout 2048 demo

Another video from the busy Arekkz's YouTube channel, showing off the various control methods and their use in the gorgeous WipEout 2048 demo. I'm getting a little nervous about how many times he has to stab at a touchscreen icon to get things to work and the tilt controls are clearly going to take some mastering.

But, put this game in its normal mode and it really flies and looks beautiful, I hope the stereo effects are nice and spacey, having got used to the joys of surround sound headphones on my Xbox.

Check out the PS Vita's cards and slots in action

One of the more nerdy Vita videos out there, but I thought I'd share it after reading some complaints about how hard it was to put game and memory cards in and out of the handheld. Doesn't look that bad to me, although my stubby thumbs may count against my come February 22. Check out the guy's YouTube channel for loads of other neat Vita videos.

Will we see a host of visits to A&E departments in hospitals around the west as kids sprain their wrists trying to prise open these slots? I don't think so, but I'm sure the tabloids will condemn Sony for cracked nails and dinged digits.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mortal Kombat on PS Vita, 60fps of fatalistic violence

Ed Boon has been talking to the PlayStation blog, where he confirms that the game will run at 60 frames per second, for the loss of only some minor detail over the PS3 versions. The touchscreen will be used for some fun fatalities and the game features one-on-one online battles.

With all the main brawlers coming to the Vita, its looking like fighting games is the handheld's strongest category.

Tales of... demo frenzy on the PS Vita

Today the PSV gets a Super Stardust (aka Starstrike) Delta demo, to coincide with the download-only game in Japan, plusa Ragnarok demo, which comes with a special video if you complete all the quests it has to offer. Reports suggest that while Ragnarok will initially only be ad-hoc, an update will bring full online modes to it.

Then, next week, Tales of the Heroes: Twin Braves gets a demo (technically for PSP, but Vita owners can try it too) which coincides with the launch of Tales Of Innocence R on the Vita. At which point the handheld's sales might go up a bit. All c/o Andriasang which has some pretty new Ragnarok pics here.

Update: the other Tales of... game, Innocence R is also getting a demo. With the full game out next week, it'll have to arrive really quickly to be of value or will perhaps be used to tempt those who don't rush out and buy the it, which considering the game should be the Vita's first No. 1, won't be many.

Could the next LEGO game be Lord of the Rings?

With Harry Potter on the way out and Star Wars done to death, could LEGO be looking to Lord of the Rings as the next big Traveller's Tales games franchise? With monster LEGO brick sets due out this summer, it would be right up the street of most geek gamers and they could have lots of fun with the characterisation of Tolkein's diminutive heroes and the nasty orcs.

Nothing official has been announced, but since news is ramping up on the blocks release, I wouldn't be too surprised if we heard something soon from a suitable publisher, perhaps to tie in with the Hobbit release.

PS Vita could have looked a lot different...

Sony's blog has an interesting piece up on the design decisions that helped create the PS Vita. In one part, they discuss the different form factors it could have taken, including a clamshell or PSP Go style design or it could have had an even bigger screen.
Also, it’s not just designers and engineers who have a say. When we started work on PS Vita, the shape we had in mind was very similar to the final product, but in the testing phase we tried many different designs, including a sliding system [similar to PSP go] and a clamshell. We settled on the final model after many discussions with the game development teams in Worldwide Studios.
Read the full piece over on the Sony Blog.

And Ghostlight's new PSP game is Fate Extra

Ghostlight, the company that brings the PSP hard core some top-notch Japanese gaming, in the form Persona 2 and 3 plus the awesome Trails in the Sky has just made announced another new game is headed our way. That new game is Fate EXTRA, from Imageepoch.

Waking up in a strange virtual world with no recollection of the past, the main character finds themselves forced to fight for survival in a war they do not understand for a prize beyond value; the opportunity to have one’s wish granted. With only an enigmatic “Servant” by their side, the protagonist will have to face both friends and foes in battles to the death in order to not only gain possession of a mysterious object known as the “Holy Grail,” but also to find the answer to the most important question of all: “Who am I?”

Intuitive, Fast-paced BattleSystem: Using Break, Attack, and Guard abilities in combination with powerful Special Moves and Code Casts, players are required to plan out their attacks to effectively counter their opponent’s moves and emerge victorious from potentially deadly encounters.

Engrossing Story: Written by the creator of the original Fate series of PC games, Kinoko Nasu, the story ofFate/EXTRA will not only appeal to long time fans of the Fate universe, via the inclusion of many familiar characters, but will also appeal to RPG fans looking for a deep, non-formulaic storyline that delves into such mature themes as loyalty, death, love, and what it means to be human.
Extensive replay value: Multiple story paths, each with their own unique dialog trees and character interactions that lead to different endings.

See more on the Ghostlight blog.

Resident Evil comes to the PS Vita, kinda

Okay, I'm forever annoyed that the PSP never got any Resident Evil love from Capcom, expect for the PSOne classics. The Vita might get luckier, but there's no sign of that yet. However the PS Vita and Resident Evil do get linked in this Sony sponsored ad for the new Resident Evil movie.

Okay, the first two movies were fun if liberty-taking, but this one follows the third in pissing in the wind of zombie flicks long gone and ripping off a load of Sci-Fi modern classics shamelessly. Avoid!

Growlanser IV PSP announced for North America

Never before released outside of Japan (where it is known as Growlanser IV: Over Reloaded) and widely considered the best entry in the long-running franchise, this PSP system iteration of the fourth chapter in the Growlanser saga tells of a land - once rich with culture and technology - long ago nearly obliterated by evanescent divine entities.  Two millennia later, the mysterious entities appear again, threatening to bring about an end to all things unless a fabled warrior of destiny can rise against them.

U.S. fans can look forward to a long list of improvements and additions over the original game with new characters, scenarios, and events are complemented by dramatically improved loading times and a message skip option that allows players to advance the story at a faster pace.
Blending a sprawling 40+ hour narrative with over 40 different possible endings; deep tactical RPG mechanics; the character designs of the legendary Satoshi Urushihara; and a host of enhancements over the original release, Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time continues the proud ATLUS tradition of epic adventures set in breathtaking worlds and gives PSP system owners something to look forward to in 2012.

ATLUS also revealed that while the PSP system version's many anime cutscenes would be fully voiced, the remainder of the game would not include Japanese or English voice work.  The Japanese track could not be included due to licensing restrictions, while the sheer scope of the game's script - expanded and fleshed out over and above the original PlayStation®2 system release and already one of the largest localization projects in the publisher's two decade history - was prohibitive to the prospects of a new English voice track.

Check out the site for more details Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time for PSP system is currently scheduled for release in summer. .

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Plants vs. Zombies to bloom on PS Vita

Mentioned this game already, and its still my least favourite of the big-name iOS time wasters. Still, PopCap has announced that it is going to be out on the Vita's launch giving gamers more choice, that is if you haven't played it on any of the other 12 formats its already available on.

Haven't heard from the Angry Birds or FieldRunners teams yet, but guessing they'll be along shortly. Personally think Flight Control would be really nice on the Vita too while everyone should try Hunters if you've got an iPhone.  .

Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock first picture

The first image of Supermassive's Doctor Who game just popped up, showing the Doctor doing what the Doctor does with his beloved Tardis. Not much can be inferred from it, other than it looks pretty spot on. A promo video came out last month and the game is due in the Autumn for PS Vita and PS3.

PS Vita sales show one thing, it should have launched in US/Europe first

The latest Japanese sales figures show the PS Vita dropping to a new low, while the PSP charges happily on, with a PSP game at No. 1 and lots of high quality titles still to come for the older format. Which means pretty much one thing:

Sony should have launched the Vita in the west first where there is next-to-no demand for the PSP. Sure there is only a couple of months in it between launch dates, but the western market is far more likely to have lapped up the portable with high profile titles like Uncharted likely to appeal to the western audience.

Sony will never admit it screwed up, but unless the Vita gets a serious rebound in Japan thanks to the likes of Ragnarok and Tales of Innocence, there will be increasing questions about a price cut, which will stall sales further.

And now, in the west, Sony is launching at around the same time as the iPad 3 and Samsung's new tablet which will attract a whole lot more media attention and if Apple does play its gaming gambit, with big name titles from console developers, the whole portable ship could sink on launch.

Sure, this is a long-term game for Sony, but impressions are everything and you really have to question the value of a decision where your shiny new product is selling less than a quarter of what your seven-year old one does. If there ever is a next time, Sony - launch here first! Back in December, its biggest new competition would have been the Kindle Fire - no contest! Thoughts and opinion welcome on this one.

Latest Japanese Sales Charts: Super Robot Wars storms the chart

The charts this week are a hell of a comedown from the last few weeks, with massive declines across the board. But the first big new games of the year start coming out tomorrow, so expect better news next week. On the plus there's a PSP game at the top!

01./00. [PSP] Super Robot Wars OG Saga: Masou Kishin 81.896 / NEW
02./01. [3DS] Mario Kart 7 52.266 / 1.369.623 (-67%)
03./03. [3DS] Monster Hunter 3G 44.644 / 1.128.498 (-55%)
04./02. [3DS] Super Mario 3D Land  40.154 / 1.239.440 (-66%)
05./04. [3DS] Inazuma Eleven Go: Shine / Dark 20.777 / 346.135 (-63%)
06./05. [PS3] Warriors Orochi 2 20.409 / 336.925 (-52%)
07./00. [3DS] Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir 16.351 / NEW
08./07. [PS3] Final Fantasy XIII-2 14.407 / 753.968 (-59%)
09./00. [3DS] Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy 12.819 / NEW
10./06. [WII] Just Dance Wii 12.370 / 503.048 (-67%)

Hardware sales are depressed too but I still think that with WipEout 2048 out this week and Tales of Innocence R plus Ragnarok out next week, the Vita should get a decent bounce soon enough.

3DS - 100,668
PS3 - 30,332
PSP - 22, 538
PSV - 18,361

PSP PSN Store Update - PSOne classics and minis

A few bits and bobs on the store this week as the industry wakes from its seasonal slumber. A few minis have had their prices chopped too, so go check 'em out. Full list for bargain hunters and PS3 types on the PSN blog. Stick Man Rescue comes from TikGames who did the impressive ScaryGirl.

PSOne Classics (PSP/PS3)
Arc the Lad (£3.99/€4.99) Rating: PEGI 12

Pandemonium 2 (£3.99/€4.99) Rating: PEGI 12

minis (PS3/PSP)
Stick Man Rescue (£2.49/€2.99) Rating: PEGI 12

P.O.W – Prisoners of War (£1.99/€2.49) Rating: PEGI 16

Xperia Play gets some Virtua Tennis love

Three new games are hitting Sony's Xperia Play phone in the next week or so. With some tennis to keep those watching the Aussie Open happy, a war game and apuzzler to round out the deck.

Virtua Tennis Challenge

An Xperia Play exclusive, it features in-depth action, complete with realistic graphics, Virtua Tennis Challenge lets gamers take 25 different players to the courts of replica stadiums around the world across three different game modes – STP World Tour, Exhibition Match and Multiplayer.

Great Little War Game is a 3D turn-based strategy game optimised for the XP, I had a quick play on the iOS version and it neatly brings back memories of Cannon Fodder and early strategy games – with its immersive gameplay and light-hearted comical style, gamers will find it hard to pull themselves away! Market link

Finally, AstroComet is hugely addictive rapid puzzler,  optimised for Xperia™ PLAY. It combines incredible fast-fingered fun and far away frolics across 105 epic levels – gamers must guide Twinkle through perilous puzzles on a journey across seven galaxies, lighting up stars on the way. Market link 

BlazBlue Extend Limited Edition brings home the fight

The new version of  BlazBlue Extend Limited Edition has some neat box art and goodies for the PS3, Xbox and PS Vita editions, offering:

• 12 super-high quality prints offering a rare glimpse into the Arc design process.
• Printed on high-grade Hahnemuehle Torchon art card for an exceptional reproduction of the original artwork.
• Never-before seen concepts, sketches and technical drawings from the BlazBlue archives.
• These beautiful prints are exclusive to the European Limited Edition and are unavailable anywhere else in the world.

The Limited Edition also includes the sought after ‘Song Interlude’ soundtrack, featuring new music from Extend as well as two vocal arrangements – Childish Killer and Blue-Bloom composed by Daisuke Ishiwatari.

After reviewing the PSP game, I'm still finding all sorts of fun little nuances and things to like about the characters in the game and although the big hitters of Mortal Kombat, Tekken and Street Fighter and coming to Vita, this deserves some space in your collection. 

Sega goes to the London Olympics (no plumber required)

Can't see this one not coming out on Vita, 3DS and every other format under the sun. Currently listed for PC, PS3 and Xbox, and being developed by Sega Studio Australia, it does the HD 2012 games in all their simulated glory and are likely a million miles removed from the fun of Epyx's Summer Games and Daley Thompson's Decathlon.

Update: Here's the official video

Note, the obsession with cycling is its one of the few things Britain stands a chance of winning a medal in. That and yachting, not because we're really good athletes, but its too expensive to go by train or car anywhere.

And here's what the press release has to say: For the first time in an officially licensed Olympic video game, London 2012 will support motion control in a number of different Olympic events.  Budding sports heroes will have an enhanced and realistic way of competing in a number of events that are compatible with PlayStationMove and Kinect including 110m Hurdles, Beach Volleyball (Kinect only) and 25m Rapid Fire Pistol (Move only).  Over 30 Olympic events have been authentically recreated in their official Olympic arenas with a host of new disciplines making their d├ębut for London 2012.  Keirin (Cycling) at the Velodrome, 10m Synchronized Platform (Diving) at the Aquatics Centre and Trampoline at North Greenwich Arena are just some of the new events in which you can compete for that coveted gold medal.

In another first for this iteration of the video game, London 2012 will take the world’s biggest sporting event online in the form of global leaderboards.  The leaderboards will track personal medals gained while playing online, with each personal medal won added to that nation’s medal table.  Every medal won will help to improve a nation’s standing in the leaderboards, creating even more moments of sporting glory and fame across the globe. London 2012 will contain a number of game modes including single player Olympic Games mode, online and offline multiplayer and party play.

If you didn't get tickets to your chosen event this is probably as close as you'll get to savouring those Olympic dreams, as some heroic Welsh teenager stumbles home in seventh place - in the shotput.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Street Fighter x Tekken and Tekken x Street Fighter headed to Vita

The first game from Capcom is listed as TBA on the company's schedule but is pretty much confirmed as coming. Today the developers over at Namco mentioned that their take on the two fighting franchises, due out a lot later on, will most likely also appear for the Vita.

Enjoy this awesome new video from Capcom as we wait for the first punches to be thrown in anger. What with those and Mortal Kombat on the way, plus the new BlazBlue - looks the Vita will be all right for fighting!

Mortal Kombat offering fatalities on the go with PS Vita version

Only the press release to go on for this news: Warner Bros, announces Mortal Kombat will ship for PlayStation Vita in Spring 2012. Developed by NetherRealm Studios, it delivers an experience designed specifically for on-the-go gaming with brand new gameplay features and content developed exclusively for the Vita.

"The NetherRealm team is committed to making sure that we follow up the success of 2011's Mortal Kombat with an equally compelling experience on the PlayStation Vita," said Ed Boon, Creative Director, NetherRealm Studios. "The original game content and new features we developed for the PlayStation Vita will provide gamers with the best fighting game experience available on the new mobile platform."

In a triumphant return to the game's original mature presentation, Mortal Kombat offers over-the-top fatalities and cringe-worthy X-ray moves. This latest iteration in the franchise brings the game back to a 2D fighting plane and introduces a number of new gameplay features including Tag Team, Challenge Tower and a deep story mode. Several new features have been developed exclusively for Mortal Kombat for PS Vita system.

Xperia Play adverts are back, PES 2012 and Kristen Schall get it on

Perhaps it was the breakup between Sony and Ericsson, but there wasn't much happening for the Xperia Play aside from a mild drift of time-limited exclusives. Highlights have been the appearance of OnLive and Grand Theft Auto III But now its just the Sony party, their launch bunny Kristen Schall (check out some of her early XP work) is back showing off her skills on Konami's Pro Evo Soccer 2012

Now all Sony has to do is stock the classic PlayStation store with quality titles, get a wiggle on with some PS2 compatibility and it should have a goer on its hands. There have never been any Xperia Play sales figures that I can find, but the set is now nice and cheap - but approaching its anniversary, you have to wonder if an Xperia Play 2 is in the works.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New SuperMonkey Ball trailer shows off monkeys, balls

Super Monkey Ball will have the subtitle Banana Splitz according to this new trailer that shows off lots of monkeying around. Not much in the way of gameplay, but I think you can figure that out for yourselves.

Look out for it at the Vita's launch.

Latest PSP charts, will FIFA 12 ever be dethroned?

Football continues to dominate the top of the UK's PSP charts, which probably won't change much now until they are delisted. Good to see Ghostlight getting some decent sales of its Persona games. Remember this doesn't included digital sales, which probably make up the bulk of them these days.

1 FIFA 12 EA
2 Football Manager 2012 Sega Europe Ltd
3 LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 Warner Bros
4 PES 2012 Konami
5 Invizimals Sony
6 Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Impact  Namco Bandai
7 LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars Activision
8 EyePet Sony
9 Persona 2 Innocent Sin Ghostlight
10 SOCOM Fireteam Bravo 3 Sony

Toys R Us has the cheapest Vita

Ooh, 1,100 posts - and to celebrate I'll point wannabe Vita owners in the direction of Toys R Us which (in the UK) has the cheapest price for the PS Vita WiFi unit at £215 (including the pre-order bundle). That's £14 cheaper than most other stores, and you can't say that very often.

Not sure if that price will stick up to launch of if TRU will honour it when the Vita finally ships, but worth a punt and you can put the money toward one of the memory cards instead. Of course, somewhere else may have it cheaper, let me know if you spot it for less.

Vita gets another firmware update

Given that PSP updates used to come around once in a blue moon (with sprinkles on), the Vita is probably going to be at the other end of the spectrum as those early bugs are worked out. A second update has just hit Japan, going up to 1.52. It's only a minor, unspecified bug fix, claiming "improved operational stability". Some kindly user tweeted his information screen.

Looks like when the western release hits, the first thing everyone will be doing is smashing the Sony servers for an update, just to add to the evil complexities of modern gaming.

New Ragnarok screens show off one of the best looking PS Vita games

A possible Monster Hunter replacement? Ragnarok Odyssey from Gung-Ho is starting to look the business with some awesome visuals. Andriasang has a new batch up showing some excellent boss-size enemies including the fearsome Grendel and some serious action.

Given that Monster Hunter Portable 3 is three years old pretty much, this could move the genre on a few points and bring back gamers that have turned to the 3DS for their beastie mangling fun. Looking forward to it the more I see of it.

Likely Australian PS Vita launch line up emerges

While Aussies might still be moaning (along with Europeans and others) about the price imbalances in their currencies, the Vita hits Australia on February 23, in the same week as elsewhere, so be happy for small mercies. IGN has put together a list of likely releases. .Priced as  AU$349.95 (Wi-Fi) and $449.95.(3G - which most will ignore).they can enjoy a massive range of launch titles, with just a couple of games lagging.

Not sure about FIFA football, which isn't listed anywhere else - so there might be more guesswork than anything else here, anyway here's the list.

Army Corps of Hell, Asphalt Injection, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II Extend, Dungeon Hunter: Alliance
Dynasty Warriors Next, Escape Plan, Everybody’s Golf, F1 2011, FIFA Football, Gravity Rush
Hustle Kings, Little Deviants, Lumines: Electronic Symphony, Michael Jackson: The Experience
ModNation Racers: Road Trip, MotorStorm RC, Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus, Putty Squad
Rayman Origins, Reality Fighters, Ridge Racer, Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen, Super StarDust Delta
Top Darts, Touch My Katamari, Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Virtua Tennis 4 World Tour Edition, WipEout 2048

Japanese hardware charts for 2011

Using Media Create's data, Japanese site 4Gamer has posted the combined hardware sales in Japan over 2011. The columns are: format, 2011 sales, lifetime sales and 2011 quarterly sales. This follows on from the earlier software sales charts for the year.

Despite being older than your nan, the PSP still managed over two million sales and is only three million behind the PS2's lifetime sales, which is some going. Sales of the Wii are falling off a cliff as Nintendo-ites move on to the 3DS (pretty sure there is supposed to be another million on the 3DS' fourth quarter number - which is awesome going).

Japan's top 30 for the year, Square and Monster Hunter rake it in

With the 3DS going batshit in Japan, its not much a surprise to see it dominate the top of the software chart, but the ageing PSP did pretty well with seven games in the top 30 and two in the top 10. Square did pretty well with its last two big titles while relative newbies Little Battler and AKB1/48 prop up the bottom. The stalwarts of the PSP, Monster Hunter and Phantasy Star Portable 2 show just how much legs those games and the PSP had.

01: [3DS] Mario Kart 7 (Nintendo): 1,160,169
02: [3DS] Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo): 1,080,192
03: [3DS] Monster Hunter 3G (Capcom): 985,498
04: [PSP] Final Fantasy Type-0 (Square Enix): 746,203
05: [PS3] Final Fantasy XIII-2 (Square Enix): 704,236
06: [PSP] Monster Hunter Portable 3rd (Capcom): 682,651 (4,532,557)
07: [Wii] Rhythm Heaven: 654,403
08: [PS3] Tales of Xillia (Namco Bandai): 627,346
09: [NDS] Dragon Quest Monsters Joker 2 Professional (Square Enix): 602,664
10: [Wii] Wii Sports Resort Wiimote Plus Pack (Nintendo): 579,220 (802,974)
14: [PSP] Dissidia Duodecim Final Fantasy (Square Enix): 465,198
21: [PSP] 2nd Super Robot Taisen Z Hakai-hen (Namco Bandai): 423,972
25: [PSP] Phantasy Star Portable 2 Infinity (Sega): 376,534
28: [PSP] AKB1/48 If I Loved an Idol in Guam (Namco Bandai): 350,350
30: [PSP] Little Battler eXperience (Level-5): 346,608

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sony selling last PSP Go units cheap on eBay

Head over to Sony's eBay page and the company is flogging off the (presumably) last few PSP Go consoles for £70 a pop. This lot have sold out, but more may pop up over the next few weeks until the final one is claimed. I wonder how many of those just sold are going straight back on eBay?

Second hand prices are still doing pretty well, and if you have enough digital download PSP games are probably worth keeping as a backup device, gaming curio.

New Shinobido 2 trailer explains it all

While I loved all the Japanese Shinobido videos that have been put up, it does help to have some context. This video has a voice over explaining the moves and interactions with the Vita along with the usual plot elements of betrayal and mystery, Check it out and get some revenge of Zen in your life.

More details and video on Zipper's Unit 13

Having been announced that game will be hitting Japan pretty soon, Zipper now has a new video up on the PS blog showing off the online interactions and some covert action. There's also a look at the pretty cool boxart, although I'm sure something else had a big grenade splashed on the front.

My only criticism would be that the stealth attack is pretty feeble, given a real commando would perform a somewhat more violent and decisive move. If that game has a 16 age-rating on the box, then why not use that to its advantage.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

EA leaks new Medal of Honor, Need for Speed games

Not really news in itself, everyone knew they were coming. The issue is will these games make it out to the Vita? EA has been pretty light on Vita titles so far with FIFA and, I think, SSX heading our way. I was expecting Need for Speed: The Run to transfer over, but no sign of that either. Formats weren't discussed, presumably, for these, but we can but hope, right?

So, if big developers are taking the Vita seriously, then big-name games like these need to be hitting the handheld too, if they don't then Vita ends up in the PSP's boat of getting cast-offs and sub-games, not something that will sustain it in a time where gamers are being really picky about what they play.

Is 2012 the year of tablet gaming?

The PS Vita has more of a grown-up gamer appeal to it than the 3DS, and Sony as a company has that slight adult vibe to it, whereas Nintendo is often seen as 'for the kids'. Microsoft, well kids love the Xbox, but its PC side is pretty much grown-up territory. That theme and sense of target audience could soon be threatened by the rise of tablet gaming and one device in particular shows the way forward.

Sure, its expensive, but Razer's Project Fiona PC gaming tablet at around $1,000 could be the executive toy of choice for serious gamers who want to get away from their big rigs or massive gaming notebooks. Expect this beast to hit the streets at the end of the year.

Of course, it only takes a decent controller gadget or a popular wireless controller and full-on console-style tablet gaming will take off massively. Game publishers will flock to launch their existing wares on iOS and Android where some 200 million new gamers are ready to be fed quality titles.

With this year's tablets soon to packing quad core processors, monster GFX chips and packing plenty of RAM, could 2012 be the year of tablet gaming, something that will kick consoles, traditional handhelds and the like into the fringes?

Augmented Reality Football hits the Vita

At CES in Las Vegas, Sony is showing off some of the fun things on the PS Vita that casual players might like. One of those is AR Pocket Soccer, aka football. It puts the pitch right on your table and allows players to set up the WAR cards as parts of the stadium.

The zooming in and out is impressive and the game, while primitive in a Subbuteo kind of way, should provide a touch of wow factor to those showing it off to friends and family.

Japan gets Star Strike Delta, slick new video

Japanese gamers can enjoy the awesome Star Strike Delta (Super Stardust Delta to us westerners) next week for just 1,000 yen. The new video shows off the awesome weaponry, the slick 3D-globe view and lots of massive explosions, space stations, aliens and masses of bullets what more do you need?

The PSP version was awesome fun, despite the lack of a second stick, this should be the full business. Remember to click the 720HD version for the best video.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Japanese Hardware Charts 1-8 January, Vita stops the rot

PS Vita sales were up a few hundred this week (last week's here) as game buyers return to stores after New Year to stop the alarming decline. With the first batch of post-launch games coming next week, it should start heading back up the charts. The Wii had a good week, shooting up 16,000 units while the 3DS is clearly in the zone, going up 40,000 units.

  • Nintendo 3DS 240,819
  • PlayStation 3 74,459
  • PlayStation Portable 71,033
  • Wii 49,525
  • PlayStation Vita 42,915

With WipEout, Ragnarok and Tales of Innocence soon hitting the shelves, a bit of a turnaround is on the cards, but perhaps not a huge one.

FIFA tops PSP's 2011 sales list

In Eurogamer's roundup of the charts of last year, it saves some space for the diminutive PSP games of the year (in the UK, at least) but it doesn't include digital downloads which probably skews the whole thing somewhat.

Still, here are the top five selling titles in PSPland with gamers clearly liking their portable football and racing, and a spot of murder! Surprised not to see some of the LEGO games in there, as they always were prominent whenever I looked at the PSP charts.

  1.     FIFA 12
  2.     FIFA 11
  3.     Motorstorm: Arctic Edge
  4.     Gran Turismo
  5.     Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines

More Killzone for Vita, but Little Deviants team is toast!

Sony is making some alterations to its UK studio closing down its BigBig studio which was behind the Vita's launch game Little Deviants. Some staff will be moving over to Sony Cambridge which is working on the Killzone series for PS Vita. With both teams having a lot of PSP experience, its good to see Sony not cutting down a whole raft of talent, but sad that a team with a lot of Vita knowledge is being broken up.

Who knows what mystery projects we'll see on the CVs of the freshly redundant team, but if Vita takes off over here, there should be plenty of positions for them to drop in to. Note many of these stories say "Killzone games", so presumably there are several in the pipe for Sony's newest console.

BlazBlue is back and Extended for the Vita

Having done great stuff with the PSP version, Arc System and PQube will be back on the Vita (and Xbox and PS3) with a new edition, BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend. The new edition adds the original ‘Calamity Trigger’ storyline – giving arcade fighters the complete BlazBlue in one package.

This re-telling of the original quirky, funny and often rude story will include new and remastered scenes for fans and to help introduce new players to the BlazBlue universe. With 23 individual stories with multiple endings, exploring the characters and universe of BlazBlue, new. Expect the new game sometime in the first quarter of 2012.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Netflix coming to PS Vita, films on the go!

Already available on Xbox and PS3, Netflix will launch on the Vita in the US, (not so sure about Europe) where the service has just launched across a range of devices. The streaming video service will offer HD movies, TV series for a monthly fee.

Sony says it is looking "to have it on day one," which isn't quite a guarantee. Expect a bit of a price war between them and LoveFilm in Europe, otherwise not much to see here, but a neat addition for film fans.

Sony's holiday sales figures, life in the PSP yet and the first Sony phone

While the Vita has managed to sell over 500,000 across Asia since its launch, the Venerable PSP managed to sell 1.6 million globally since mid-November, proving that there is some life in the little pup yet. Meanwhile at CES, Sony unveiled its first own-brand smartphone since the split from Ericsson.

The Xperia S maintains that brand name, and is a PlayStation-certified device. The S features a 4.3 inch 1280 by 720 display, 1.5GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, and 16 or 32GB storage. Wonder if we'll ever hear any sales figures on the Xperia Play.

New PS Vita trailer for Sega's Samurai & Dragons

A new 30-second trailer for Samurai and Dragons shows off some brief bits of combat, card dealing and city-building in the upcoming Vita title from Sega. Since we probably won't get to fight massive dragons in Skyrim on the Vita, this looks your best bet.


Monday, January 9, 2012

LEGO Batman 2 to Kerpow your Vita in 2012

Missed this from last week, but the LEGO Batman series will continue thanks to a neat expansion into the DC universe. Called Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, you can play as Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, among others.

Due out in summer, it moves the LEGO line neatly over the to Vita after the series long-serving and well-selling support which ended with Harry Potter 2. This time players will fight villains from across the DC cosmos and can try out the Batmobile and Batwing along with a bunch of new gadgets and costumes. Traveller's Tales are again at the helm,

Western PS Vita reviews start filing in

With a rash of Japanese scores now coming out, an d still a few weeks until the western launch, the media has their hands on the PS Vita hardware and games. Below, I'll list any scores I find, please add a comment in you see any others out in the wild.

UPDATE: Gravity Daze just got rated as the best Vita game yet in the new Famitsu.

PS Vita Console
EuroGamer (no score)
VideoGamer (no score
IGN 8.5/10
T3 4/5


Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
EuroGamer 8/10
IGN 8/10

Gravity Daze
Famitsu 38/40

Famitsu 29/40

WipEout 2048
EuroGamer 7/10
IGN 7/10

Tales of Innocence R
Famitsu 35/40

Dynasty Warriors Next
Famitsu 35/40

Uncharted: Golden Abyss
EuroGamer 8/10
PS Lifestyle 10/10
Destructoid 9.5/10
Famitsu 35/40
IGN 8.5/10

Little Deviants
Eurogamer 7/10
IGN 6/10
Dungeon Hunter: Alliance
PS Lifestyle 4/10

Touch my Katamari
EuroGamer 6/10
PS Lifestyle 6/10

Shinobido 2
PS Lifestyle 7/10

Hot Shots Golf Vita
Famitsu 34/40

BlazBlue Continuum Shift EXTEND
Famitsu 34/40

Lord of Apocalypse
Famitsu 34/40

Army Corps of Hell boxed for PS Vita

One of the best original titles for the Vita, Square Enix's monster masher looks like it has everything, including some scary box art. With rings of little demons doing your bidding, as long as the developers get the mechanics right, this should be one of the most fun games you can play at launch.

Square will soon be bringing Final Fantasy X for Vita at some point, along with Lord of Apocalypse, wonder if Final Fantasy Type-0 will also make the transfer.

Sony Europe promising massive UK Vita launch

Sony needs to hit the ground running with the Vita, having seen the launch stall in Japan quite dramatically. So, the company is promising a massive campaign for the hardware and software, running all over 2012 to hype and promote the new gadget.

Sony's recent advertising has been pretty hot with sponsorship of key movie channels and decent adverts. As long as it doesn't get sucked into the smartphone-led wanky-lifestyle adverts, it should do fine. Stores too should be pimping the console like the second coming, having had appalling sales over Christmas, with HMV the latest to fail miserably. They'll also want people buying physical copies of the game, rather than running home and grabbing those slightly cheaper downloads.

Again, so far, the device remains uncracked, keeping the spectre of piracy at bay - long may that continue!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Monster Hunter Portable 3 to skip PSP, head to Vita.

A US store has listed MHP3 for Vita, which would make sense as the game never made it out in the west on PSP, and doesn't really look like doing so. While the west isn't that into its monster hunting, and the news won't help sales in Japan right now; a real Vita version, as opposed to the upscaled PSP version, will give Vita sales in Japan a fair kick. if the information turns out to be true.

While there are plenty of pretenders to the throne and everyone seems to think the 3DS only has a timed exclusive on Monster Hunter, every day Sony is counting lost sales while Capcom will be seeing its relations with Sony soured the longer this goes on.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Shining Blade coming to PSP, new trailer

Check out the usual slicing and dicing in yet another Monster Hunter-esque title, this time from Sega. Shining Blade features manga-heavy characters and looks like it offers a slower, more positional approach to the monster slaying genre. Wikipedia has some more details.

Icon publishes its PSP Mini sales figures

As Nintendo asks indie developer Icon to pull its WiiWare sales figures off the site, I noticed that it lists its PSN sales happily. So if you wondered how much a PSN mini can sell, check out this list for a guide.

Bashi Blocks: 83,595
Arcade Air Hockey and Bowling 24,818
Arcade Darts 16,069
Arcade Pool and Snooker 3,410
Family Games 8,829
Vertigo 960

With Sony struggling in the Japanese charts due to Vita's digital-heavy features, how long before all these numbers need to be made official? The move certainly make Nintendo look more old-fashioned and anally retentive than it already is.

After the Nintendo kerfuffle, Icon spoke to PocketGamer about its plans for the Vita, praising Sony's approach to minis above its rivals, saying:

PSP/PSN has been your strongest platform. Why do you think this is the case?
I think the key aspect is how well Sony has promoted the Minis. It has run several exclusive promotions and offers for Minis titles, and you are also free to set the pricing and run your own special offers and sales. Add to this the PSP Plus service and you have so many ways to get your game noticed and downloaded. Hats off to Sony for such a brilliant, developer friendly initiative.
Let's hope Sony keeps attracting new developers in this way for the Vita.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Infinity Blade sells four million, is that a really threat to Vita and consoles?

If the PS Vita is really being threatened by smartphone gaming then there has to be enough high-quality games for core gamers to want to switch. But how much do this new generation of phone games sell? Focusing on the poster child for iPhone, Epic has just announced that Infinity Blade I and II have generated $28 million between them, which at the $6.99 download price means around 4 million sales.

That's excellent news and a good bar to aim at for any title (given Angry Birds was downloaded 6.5 million times on Christmas Day alone) , but consider its one of the few games in town with a really high profile. There are plenty of good games like Hunter, as well as barely playable tosh like Need for Speed Shift II that either hardly get a look in or are promoted to high heaven.

At least PS Vita gamers know what is on offer, know what to expect from their games and can bask in their familiarity with their favourite franchises. Now imagine a console gamer switching to a phone. All the EA games are there but as shallow versions of their usual glory. You play Infinity Blade for a couple of days, and maybe dig up some classic gems and a few undiscovered rough diamonds. What next?

In my own rambling way, I'm saying I can't ever see myself switching to a phone for my gaming, and can see more people finding a few good games on a phone and (wanting more) will move over to handhelds or consoles to get their fix. Just my 2c worth.