Friday, November 29, 2013

MXGP video shows some mud and physics

Milestone's dirt track racer seems to be coming along nicely with well balanced handling, huge amounts of mud and lots of bikes being thrown around the skies. That should help it in the flashy trailer stakes, and help it offer a bit more variety than the pacey but straight-laced MotoGP title.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Yay, more Stealth Inc DLC incoming, meet the Lost Clones

I simply loved Stealth Inc and its Teleport Chambers DLC, with the Vita being the perfect platform for its sneaky play. So, I'm delighted to hear that a new batch of levels is coming in the form of The Lost Clones, coming out next week. Note there's also a patch for the original to tighten up a few bits and bobs.

Packing 20 new levels, it offers a few more hints about the dark toy company that put you through all the torture of the first levels. Available as Cross Buy for PS3 too, this is exclusive to the PlayStation versions and it'll pack six new trophies and new leader boards for only £2.99

God Eater 2 gets festive, even in Japan

Pandering to the western memes are we? Namco could at least release the game over here first. But basically, if you recommend God Eater 2 to a friend in Japan and they download it, then there's some free DLC in the form a cute Santa suit for your demon fighting party. Not sure what perks they come with (ahem) but players will at least look distinctive.

Panzer Girls have some news for Tanksgiving, towing a trailer

Sure, its unlikely to ever see a western release, but the recently unveiled Panzer Girls game from Namco has been confirmed for a June 2014 release in Japan. With a few snippets of the anime and in-game action in the new trailer, World of Tanks it ain't, but there will be a special edition with the anime and collector's cards included.

CastleStorm gets DLC to bolster your ramparts

This impressive rampart defence and destroy game has only been out a few weeks, but Zen has been quick on the skirmish with a pair of new DLC updates. From Outcast to Savior and The Warrior Queen DLC are now available for download as Cross Buy content for PlayStation 3 and PS Vita in North America and Europe ($2.99, €2.99).

From Outcast to Savior features a brand new Royal Guard faction, new environments, an unlikely Hero, 20 new battles, new weapons, Skirmish & Survival levels and new trophies! Lead your army into battle across stunning new environments including Stonecrest, The Royal Airport, The Skyship Harbor and the Bladgard Icefields in your quest to capture the mighty Viking warrior, Chief Ramhorn.

The Warrior Queen reveals a new Viking Elite troop class, plus huge additions to the arsenal of weapons available for the destruction of your enemy’s castles. We’re not joking around here: Meteor Showers, Exploding Barrels, Stormbringers, Golem Hostages, and FROZEN SWORDFISH. Throw in 20 new battles and new trophies and you have an excellent addition to your favorite super 2D physics destruction tower defense brawler mashup.

Vita gets its own LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril Trailer

So, the Vita still won't get fair play with the big console versions, but at least the portable game gets its own trailer this time. See Hulk, Wolverine and others in action without the false promise of those open world levels and so on. The game is out on the PSN store now for £34.99.

Disgaea 4 Returns new trailer adds mechs and dinosaurs

Need more Disgaea in your life? I kinda liked the D3: Afternoon of Darkness game that hit the Vita pretty early, but it all got a bit much with the squeaky-voiced mania. Looks like this D4 remake will follow the same traits, still the gameplay is pretty enticing but with a few new tricks, and you can't go far wrong with mechs and dinosaurs.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Toukiden coming February 2014 with pre-order bonuses

Tecmo Koei has announced Toukiden will bring its unique take on monster hunting early next year for western gamers, with some DLC content as pre-orders to sweeten the deal. The second-best selling Vita game to date, check out some screens here. Plenty more description and a few images on the game's Facebook page. An official game site is up here.

Free PS Mobile games on the EU store

Two very different indie hits are now available for PS Vita/Android users via the PlayStation Mobile store for free as part of a Thanksgiving, Black Friday style offer. Passing Time and Rymdkapsel offer soccer passing and space-based RTS action and are among the best that PSM has to offer. More games are being set free in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out.

Latest Vita sales figures out of Japan

Final Fantasy XIII Lightning Returns tops the chart in Japan on PS3, showing what can expect for the December release of FF-X HD. For the Vita, God Eater 2 keeps going in the top 10, up to over 300,000 sales with another 40,000 this week, showing very good legs. Atelier Rorona arrives at No. 13 on Vita, selling 17,500 and out-selling the PS3 version.

On the hardware front, Vita sales dive after the recent hubbub, but still shifting a decent 21,000 and Vita TV sales plummet, after last week's impressive start, to below 8,000 (total sales now around 50,000), which means the west will likely get this device soon rather than later since it isn't a gangbusters seller in Japan.

Still, 20,000+ a week is a decent level for the Vita to hold and build on, as long as the games keep coming, and with Final Fantasy HD, Gundam, Dragonball and a couple of others to come, there's reason to remain hopeful that the sub-10K days are behind it. Games sales should look clearer if we add in Famitsu's download data, although that means switching all my data from Media Create.

Famitsu to publish Japanese PSN download sales figures

Come on Sony Europe, get with the times! Let's see just how well PSN is performing. Japan, as usual is ahead of the game and will see Famitsu publishing downloaded game sales data from early next year. To show off the current base, it has published a bunch of Autumn sales numbers across Nintendo and Sony devices showing how wide the range can be.

Not sure if they're based on official data, or other means. With Vita games picking up between an extra 4,000 to 7,500 sales, usually between 8% to 10% of the retail figure (in brackets), that's a decent addition to most titles numbers but we'll see across next year how it affects the overall numbers.

1. 3DS Monster Hunter 4 225,324 (2,542,114)
2. PS3 Final Fantasy XIV 22,807 (217,644)
3. PSV Ragnarok Odyssey Ace 6595 (46,788)
4. PSV Killzone Mercenary 6403 (18,582)
5. PSV Sen no Kiseki 4489 (93,674)
7. PSV Musou Orochi 2 Ultimate 3853 (24,825)

1. 3DS Pokemon X&Y 33911 (2,953,059)
2. 3DS Monster Hunter 4 30,879 (433,365)
3. PSV SakaTsuku 7462 (40,795)
6. PSV Danganronpa 1&2 Reload 5697 (88,334)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Killzone extra maps confirmed, eventually

Hot off the PSN blog, comes news that Killzone will get some extra content, at some point, after a series of patches which will refine and add new modes to the game.

First up is Update 3. In terms of functionality there will only be minimal changes, but this is the patch that reduces the size of the other patches! After installing this patch it will free up around 800MB of space for those who have already installed Updates 1 & 2. Update 3 should be ready in the next few weeks.

 Update 4 is due in January and is being designed to improve Matching and to help reduce join-game connectivity problems, as well as adding an auto team-rebalancing feature. Following that is the big one:

Update 5. Two new multiplayer maps for FREE, and the release of offline Botzone for Mercenary and Guerrilla Warfare modes.

 Also in the first few months of 2014 will be Update 6, in which we’re working towards continued refinements and adding support for playing Killzone Mercenary on Vita TV. We hope you enjoy the additions to Mercenary. Happy gaming.

Remote Play may kill core Vita development

Here's a little bit of history with my tech-writer hat on:

  • In the 80s/90s, IBM launched versions of OS/2 with DOS (and then Windows) support. No one much bothered to develop OS/2 apps unless IBM paid them, as they could use the Windows apps. OS/2 died horribly.
  • More recently, BlackBerry launched BB10 OS with limited Android app support. Not that many people developed bespoke BlackBerry apps. BlackBerry app development collapsed, as is the company. 
  • This month, Sony launched the PlayStation 4 with Remote Play for the Vita. The Vita now plays PS4 games. 

So, who would develop a PS Vita game that will sell maybe 100,000 copies (likely less) when it could develop a more powerful PS4 game on a booming high-profile platform, that could sell a million?

The answer is Sony, with a bonus point for third-party developers that Sony pays (see Assassin's Creed). And looking (outside Japan) there are few games coming from third parties outside Traveller's Tales titles.

Indies are a different case with smaller profit needs, access to a tight platform that's easy enough to port/code for, and a keen captive market looking for quick-and-fun entertainment.

So, while there's some hope that increased Vita sales on the back of Remote Play and PS4/Vita bundles will see more games from third-parties come out, don't hold your breath.

Monday, November 25, 2013

LEGO Hobbit will enchant the Vita

Warner Bros and Travelers Tales Games will bring the first two movies of the Hobbit trilogy to the Vita early next year The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and the upcoming The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, the game will take players on quests throughout Middle-earth, joining Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, and Thorin Oakenshield and Company in their exciting adventures toward the Dwarven Kingdom of Erebor.

Players will visit key locations from the films, including Bag End, Bilbo’s Hobbit-hole in Hobbiton, trek through the treacherous High Pass over The Misty Mountains, and explore the depths of Goblin-town, Mirkwood and Rivendell. Along the way, players will solve countless puzzles, partake in Treasure Quests and battle with Orcs, Trolls and fouler things. They will also be able to mine for gems, discover loot from enemies, and craft powerful magical items or build immense new LEGO structures.

Tearaway fails to dent the UK chart

Proving the grim status of the Vita among UK gamers, despite glowing reviews and lots of social media praise and chat, Tearaway has failed to make it into the UK top 20. If the biggest, and pretty much only big Vita game of the season, can't make a dent then don't expect third parties to take more of an interest until Sony can provide more evidence that the Vita is selling.

The game landed at a lowly No. 26, and while it would have been higher had it not coincided with the Xbox One launch, still shows a fatal weakness for the Vita. No doubt it will sit on top of the Vita chart, and no doubt Sony will claim decent download sales, but even with a PS4/Vita bundle coming, time is starting to run out for the Vita as a consumer concept.

Killzone at least managed to reach No. 8 on launch, but Tearaway may have only sold a few thousand boxed copies at best, which is a pretty sad state of affairs for a product crafted with so much love. Sure, Sony can hope to sell Vita consoles via bundles, but the damage is done with another poor showing.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Persona 4 Dancing all Night on the Vita

So, um, yeah, Atlus announced Persona 5 for the PS3 today, coming out next winter, plus crossovers and spin-offs for other consoles. The Vita appears to be getting a rhythm game, Dancing All Night, which is different, anyway it'll arrive in Autumn 2014.

I guess Persona 5 Portable will arrive in 2015 or 16, but who knows which portable will get it. Trailer to follow... I guess it made sense to add a fighting game to the series, but is a music game jumping the sharktopus?

Friday, November 22, 2013

As you walk through the valleys of God Eater 2, carry a damn big stick

The God Eater 2 playing masses in Japan have been hard at work putting up videos of their exploits on YouTube. These real play clips show a slightly different side to the game from Namco's own clips, presumably created by the developers or using pro-level players.

There's a bit more mayhem, and swapping of weapons, which means ending up up-close with the guns and out of range with the hammer. And, of course, there's the squad shooting themselves to pieces after the battle and the trudging wait for the bout to end.

Reports from Japan say the Vita version sold just over 75% of its copies, shifting over 250,000 copies. That should leave enough for a decent second-week performance, and hopefully restocking will see it hold on to the No. 1 spot.

No Madden on the Vita? No worries with Remote Play

PS4 owners don't need to stress about the lack of quality EA Sports support on the Vita, with the full-fat FIFA 14 and Madden 25 hitting the new console. If they want some portable sports, just kick in Remote Play and off you go, as they decent look at Madden in action shows. See some more Remote Play action here, including just how far you can get it to work.

Terraria arriving on the Vita very soon

Recently, Sony promised big things for December, and it looks like they'll stick to that in big and small ways, with the upcoming PS4/Vita bundle and a raft of Indie games with Terraria confirmed for early December, which probably means the 6th.

Getting out ahead of Minecraft is probably a good thing for the 2D build-em-up, as the 3D Mojang game has been confirmed to the fuller-fat console version and not the weedy mobile edition. Terraria's combat might give it some wider appeal, but there's going to be an almighty dust-up between the two as Vita owners get constructing.

Sony marketing confirms Vita and PS4 Ultimate Edition for hardware heaven

So, having just shifted a million of the new PS4 and with a few million more to sell next Friday. Sony finally succumbs to the inevitable and announces a hardware combo pack with both the Vita and PS4 in one-hyper powered box. No price or exact release date, but it'll coincide with a £2.5 million marketing campaign and probably make a great stocking filler for the rich and famous.

Ys Memories of Celceta remembers about western gamers

Getting ever closer to a western launch (next week in the US), here's a new trailer for the Ys RPG with an up close look at the character Duren, a master information dealer (and Adol's right-hand man during his long journey through the Great Forest of Celceta).

Ys: Memories of Celceta comes in standard and digital editions at $39.99, while the ultra-swanky Silver Anniversary Edition comes with a 130-page art and strategy book, a 3-CD compilation of music from throughout the series' 25-year history, a cloth map and a logo-emblazoned compass for $59.99. Hope we get those version in the EU too.

Just one question, is there some massive pressing need for all that Damaged Lumber in the game?

Roll with the launches, a brief history of the console experience

So, Xbox One is out in the nicer parts of the world, PlayStation 4 is out next week for us Euro types and I definitely need a PC upgrade next year. What better time to think back on my personal gaming history, before I take that next step.

Okay, so I'm a bit old. My first sight of any games system was probably PacMan on a school friend's Atari 2600, then owning one of those handheld Space Invader LCD games, Duck Hunt with the light gun being awesome fun on the NES and lots of other goggle-eyed 'Wow' moments as a kid.

There was looking at a super-expensive Vectrex in Woolworths, the first time I went into an import shop and wondered which bank I should rob. Fast forward through an Atari ST (years of Elite and Bard's Tale) and that first clunking PC (a 40MHz 386 DX with 40Mb HD, but played X-Wing brilliantly) and I hit the 16-bit console era with some actual hard-earned cash.

Choosing a Megadrive over a SNES might seem like the bad sort of evil now, but I was young and Sonic went soooo fast, then there was Madden and the original FIFA, years of late-night multiplayer in the proper elbow-banging style! Then things went a bit wrong and I got a Jaguar (for Aliens vs. Predator and Tempest, naturally) and a Lynx (RoadBlasters and not-quite Gauntlet) as the console market took that funny turn.

Then there was PlayStation and its endless gaming brilliance, Dreamcast (House of the Dead bundle), PlayStation 2, plus all the shared consoles my college and flatmates had as I moved out and up in the world. In between them came the PSP, a day-one Japan import and a jealous bunch of friends watching Ridge Racer and WipEout on a small screen.

My last generation went Wii (at launch, having stabbed refresh 1,000 times on some Find-a-Wii-in-stock site), Xbox 360 (when the non-exploding Jasper model came out), Vita (at launch, naturally) and PS3 (early 2013 latest model, driven largely by my PS+ subscription and all those free games).

This gen looks like being PS4 (next week), the Wii U (whenever the next price cut arrives) and lastly XboxOne (probably 2015 when the first hardware refresh arrives). After that, its conceivable there won't be new consoles, just some cloud service farting any-game-you-like to our 4K TVs. How weird will that be? Will we stand outside the shuttered remains of long-closed GAME stores with candles?

Even though I barely have a tenth of the time I used to have, something in my DNA says I must own these things and play the games. They helped me get jobs (with a little technical know-how too), made me friends around the world, and when I see my son building whole worlds in Minecraft I know they'll help him in future life too.

What were your defining moments, and wouldn't this have been all much simpler and cheaper if we'd been in pubs and clubs fighting? Feel free to share your generational experiences too.

Sega serves up some desert to Phantasy Star Online 2 gamers

If only they'd pause a few minutes and bring the game to western players. Still, this batch of new content, based around the defence of a desert mining base (what do you reckon, Arrakis or Tatooine?) looks pretty hot. The update is due to hit in mid-December.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Freedom Wars in-game clip sees Sony pushing 2014's line-up

With the big beasts for the Vita now out on Japanese shelves, Sony is trying to divert gamers' eyes forward to the future with next year's offerings. Leading the way is Freedom Wars, which has input from the God Eater 2 team Shift and Sonic 4 crew Dimps, to widen the talent pool. This first in-game action shows the usual team of players running around the usual demonic fiend, bringing it down in a fiery and disjointed end, with grappling hooks to get higher around the scene.

How does that fit in with the Panopticon concept of massive prison sentences for all citizens? Guess we'll find out soon enough, but roughly every beastie you take down or citizen you rescue (guess that's the carrying to the pod scene) helps reduce your sentence, hopefully there are other ways to do that too. Clearly there's a lot of work to do but this is the kind of game that the Japanese are lapping up and if it can do anything a little different, that could see it sell easily.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Vita TV helps Sony sell 90,000 in Japan, God Eater 2 shifts 380K

As usual, some numbers are leaking out of Japan ahead of the official chart updates, with the Vita reported to have sold 88,520 units, which is the best number since launch. Famitsu puts the number at 90,000. No idea on the exact breakdown, but its looking like around 50-50, with the Vita TV selling slightly less, making it a slightly inauspicious start for the combo-gadget.

God Eater 2 sold 258,826 on Vita and 119,620 on PSP, good enough for a Vita no. 1 I guess. But it looks like its out of stock in many places including Amazon Japan until the end of this week, which might dent sales for next week.

So, can Vita maintain some momentum in Japan into the winter? Will Vita TV continue to sell at this level or will it take some more big launches for it take off? I'll update the chart news when published. UPDATE: The hardware breakdown is Vita selling 46,350 and Vita TV shifting 42,172, which isn't that hot, given the hype up to launch.

01./00. [PSV] God Eater 2  (Bandai Namco Games)  266.326 / NEW
02./00. [PS3] Call of Duty: Ghosts - Subtitled Edition (Square Enix)  190.631 / NEW
03./00. [PS3] World Soccer Winning Eleven 2014 (Konami)  151.800 / NEW
04./00. [PSP] God Eater 2 (Bandai Namco Games) 112.024 / NEW
19./04. [PSV] Akiba's Trip 2 (Acquire)  6.074 / 39.550 (-82%)

Editorial, Tearaway marks the most important week in the Vita's life

With the glowing reviews piling in for Tearaway, and sales figures looking good for God Eater 2 and Vita TV in Japan, this week's news will put Sony's handheld in its best light since launch, or last winter's AC3/NFS/COD trifecta if you're keeping score.

So, go on then Sony, impress us with a marketing blitz to end all campaigns. Shower the world with press highlighting this game's unique style and sense of warmth. Fling the scores in the faces of disbelievers, show parents that gaming doesn't have to be all death and violence (but beware of paper cuts).

Sony has one shot, this year, to sell some Vita handhelds, to get a new generation of gamers on-board and to build some confidence in the machine for other developers to hang new games on to. Tearaway should be everywhere, on bus-stops, on television, being talked about by rappers and reality TV stars, it should be on the cover on non-gaming magazines and in tabloids.

With Killzone, the best portable first-person shooter ever, alongside, a mass of low-cost great indie games and a decent library of core games, the Vita as a consumer concept has the potential for some mass appeal. So, go on Sony, get out there and sell it all the way to Christmas and beyond.

Sure there's a new console you need to advertise too, but if Sony really still believes in the Vita, Iota and Aoti, and the Squirrel King should be peering round the corner of every single PlayStation commercial and advert. Yes, there's always 2015 and another couple of Sony-developed exclusives to go, and maybe some nostalgia gaming and JRPG goodies for the core, but Tearaway is the sparkling line in the sand for new gamers, so don't screw this up! (Just as the company plans to find a $100 million savings, oops)

Tearaway getting rave reviews, confetti parade

Tearaway hits PSN and stores on Friday, and is picking up mostly nines and some tens in its reviews, VG24/7 is keeping a list. The game seems to have pretty much hit the spot and could challenge Persona 4 and Velocity Ultra as the best-rated title on the handheld. Lets hope Sony manages to market it right!

My pre-order isn't even in the post yet, hurry up Amazon! Note, there's a demo on the way too and the game is a 1.4GB file if you want to grab it from PSN. Review comments include:

PocketGamer: Tearaway is the most creative game you'll play on any portable device this year. It's also one of the best you'll play on any system.

IGN: Tearaway is the best game I’ve played on the PlayStation Vita. It’s a joyous experience that wants to celebrate individual creativity and the power of storytelling, so it’s just as well that it never runs out of ideas itself

Eurogamer: With so much charming, augmented-reality whimsy piled on top, it's easy to forget that there's a traditional action adventure game underneath, and it's here that Tearaway's flaws, minor though they are, can be found.

Polygon: Tearaway is far from a traditional platformer; even less so than Media Molecule's most famous stab at the genre, the LittleBigPlanet series. To wit: Iota and Atoi, the game's customizable male and female protagonists, don't learn to jump for the first hour or so of the game. That would be damning for any other platformer, but Tearaway fills that hour with more than enough mechanics for you to experiment with and master.

ShopTo: Tearaway is a fantastic game from the minds of LittleBigPlanet. What the studio has crafted here is unique, fun to play and just for Vita. It goes without saying that if you own a PS Vita then you should own Tearaway, because to me at least, they both go hand in hand. (checkout their great-priced Tearaway bundle)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

iPhone finally gets some buttons to mash up the Vita

The iPhone and Android pretty much managed to squash mobile gaming without the need for buttons and directional controls. But now its even on that front too with the much anticipated release of MOGA's new controller this week.

Sure, its butt ugly and most iPhone owners wouldn't want to sully their sleek device with this massive cludge, but for those who want to play tens of thousands of games properly, there's now a big plus point when making a buying decision.

This and other devices like the simpler and less-ugly Logitech Powershell (below) will take advantage of some new code in iOS 7 to enable proper gameplay controls, expect phone shops to bundle it with gaming offers and all of a suddenly it becomes a normal part of mobile life.

However, it still looks like crap and most games will still show their touch interface controls, unless rewritten, ruining the effect somewhat. Still with similar devices coming from other makers like Logitech, it won't be long before all games are designed with these in mind and offering a more integrated experience.

These things are pretty pricey, $99 for the MOGA, so its not exactly an automatic purchase, and the Vita is established enough (just) not to fear this trend, but any future Vita successor will likely take its cues from this, as Xperia phone sales rise faster than the current Vita model. Basically any PSP3 will  be a smartphone first.

Atlus and Chunsoft bring some immaculate Conception II to the west

ATLUS and Spike Chunsoft will bring the not-as-sexy-as-it-sounds turn-based RPG Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars for the Vita next Spring. In Conception II, players take on the role of a young man beginning his training as a Disciple - a human gifted with the divine powers of one of the Star Gods, and one of the few who can fight the monsters that plague the world.

These monsters emanate from the Pandora Labyrinth, which births these abominations at a prodigious rate. Worse yet, the Pandora Labyrinth is beginning to spawn labyrinths of its own, so it's up to the Disciples to put an end to it. And even worse than that, a Star God's power only resides within a human until the age of 18 and the need for new Disciples is at an all-time high. Meaning Disciples will have to combine their powers to "create" Star Children who can fight for them in battle. Let's put it this way... it brings a new meaning to the phrase "after-school activities."

An early teaser site is up here. The first game was a PSP title, but isn't required reading to get to grips with the second one.

Vita gets ever cheaper as Black Friday looms

Soon eBay will be selling PS Vita consoles from $150, starting at midnight on November 29. Put that right next to the bargain Tearaway bundle in the UK and owning a Vita has never been more tempting. But, will buyers go for these deals, or is the Vita already so undesirable that its already toast in the west?

Guess we'll find out but its hard to see any confidence in the Vita from Sony's quarterly figures, and beyond the format's regular boosters. UPDATE: If you just want a remote play screen and new isn't important, check out Amazon's Warehouse second-hand page (US) or in the UK, Amazon UK Warehouse Vita products (lots of cheap games too), where they are available from only $125 or £140.

See The Amazing Spiderman in action on the Vita

Another sneaky release swings out onto the Vita (in the US), packing the handheld with more superhero goodness. Spiderman is pretty late to the format, but hey, the more the merrier. Check out this quick unboxing and then some gameplay in action, looks a little lo-res based on this video, but since the game didn't get the most amazing, scores, buyers won't really have huge expectations.

Dragon's Dogma Quest jumps Japan in December

The iOS free-to-play title hops over to the Vita on 19 December for Japanese owners, allowing them to go questing in the DD universe with familiar and new heroes and foes. Don't expect a western release for this, I'm sure the Japanese will pay enough for the in-app content to more than cover the costs of conversion.

Sony reps promising big December for Vita and, maybe, a brighter future

Indie Don Shahid Ahmad was tweeting away yesterday, promising lots of good things coming for the Vita in December, with Tempest TxK and others in the running for release. Luftrausers looks like it has been delayed into 2014, but there's lots to come, check his tweets.

Across the pond,  Adam Boyes, was talking to Kotaku about Sony's more strategic plans for the Vita, he seems to think PS4 owners with Remote Play will likely go some way to help save the Vita, which should help get bigger developers back on board. Sony's scheme to get JRPGs and long lost games is also part of the plan, which along with the indie horde, should generate some interest.

However, 2013 has been another crap year for the Vita outside Japan, without a GTA or Gran Turismo to help it along. Even Square don't seem too bothered about bringing Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD over. That lack of interest will be very hard to overcome no matter how well the sales do, given the increasing focus on the new consoles and mobile.

Tearaway is 2013's big Vita game and the one advert I've seen is rubbish, which suggests to me Sony has now idea how to capture the interest of family or future gamers. Perhaps sacking its current marketing team, or the company that produces its adverts is one way forward. Any other ideas on how to give the Vita more appeal to the wider world, beyond those of us already committed to the cause?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Minecraft on the Vita will be the good Minecraft

I have Minecraft installed on the Xbox and the iPad, and when my son is forced to play it on the iPad I soon hear the grumbling. So, its good to hear that the Vita version will be based on the console version and not the mobile one, which I guess the ill-fated Xperia Play 'Pocket Edition' was coded for.

This isn't exactly new info, but everyone is talking about it, and with Minecraft still in the top 10 all-formats chart based on the Xbox version, the Vita edition could do some decent business. Mojang's conversion team is hard at work and hopefully we'll get access to the mash-ups, themes and other content that is available.

Marvel Heroes No. 1 for the UK Vita chart

Warner's Marvel title forces its way past the competition to be the Vita's new No. 1, dislodging FIFA and keeping fellow hero Batman company. Killzone continues to stick around and expect LBP to be replaced by Tearaway next week. Does that have a shot at being the all-formats No. 1? Unlikely but there's some hope. Marvel managed No. 2 on the all-formats.


The Vita version accounts for 5% or less of total LEGO Marvel sales, with the game landing at No. 2 in the all format, but it did mark the best launch for the LEGO games behind Indiana Jones way back in 2008.

God Eater 2 Vita headed to No. 1 in Japan

Early chart data from Japan suggests the Vita version is handily out-selling the PSP edition of God Eater 2, which is as you'd expect with more Vita stock, and is headed straight for No. 1. Retail chain Tsutaya puts it well above its rivals.

But the big question, given that all the marketing guaranteed a big start is, can GE2 continue to sell and become Sony/Namco's equivalent to the Monster Hunter series, picking up a million or more sales, driving Vita sales higher? Also, I wonder how well the Vita TV did? I'm guessing not so hot since Sony hasn't made any huge announcements as it did with the PS4

Week 46, 2013 (Nov 11 - Nov 17)

01./NEW [PSV] God Eater 2
02./NEW [PS3] World Soccer Winning Eleven 2014
03./NEW [PS3] Call of Duty: Ghosts
04./NEW [PSP] God Eater 2

UPDATE: God Eater 2 the most successful Vita game by far! That's likely partly due to the continued updates and support from Namco.

Girls und Panzer tracking to Japanese Vitas

From the recent manga and TV series, comes another game for Japanese Vita owners. Nothing like small girls and large pieces of death-dealing iron to brighten up the day. Promising 3D combat action, I can only imagine the massively chatty cut-scenes, teaser site is here, more info to be released this week.

Final Fantasy X, X-2 HD dated for the west but no Vita version?

The game that hits Japan around Christmas, won't be that much later arriving in the west with a 21 March release date, (18 March in the US) now confirmed, making this the first big game of the Vita's third year over here. Some sites are saying that's a delay, but I don't ever recall seeing an official launch date.

Look closely though, there's no Vita stamp on that trailer, or the US blog post, (but there is a Vita tag on the US trailer, just to confuse things further) wonder if Square Enix thinks we're not worth the effort, or if Sony France (and now US) are playing dumb. Or are we getting shafted with a digital only version? Confusion awaits! Check out the recent batch of screens too.

UPDATE: Sony say the Vita version is coming, but they aren't announcing it just yet which sounds like a pain in the ass of a delay to me.

Shop To's Tearaway Vita bundle is pretty unmissable

You might already have a £350-400+ hole about to appear in your bank or credit card statement as the PS4 rolls around next week, but if there's room for a little more damage, then check out Shop To's PS Vita offer with Tearaway, LBP (as downloads) and a 16GB card for £139.99.

Plus with Sony giving away a month's free PS+ to all Vita buyers, you can pick up four or five other games including Uncharted and Gravity Rush for nothing.

That's the UK-only bundle announced last week which Sony hopes should be a big seller this Christmas. Will this also help PS4 owners enable their dreams of remote play heaven? Guess we'll find out over the next couple of weeks.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Remote Play getting even more remote between Vita and PS4

Sony reckon you have a 50-foot radius to play your PS4 games on Remote Play on your Vita, but so far we've seen Gaikai founder David Perry manage it from between his home and office (presumably with pretty hot broadband at both ends).

But taking that even further, check out this guy playing in the streets of New York by linking his Vita to an LTE phone for a mobile broadband connection. Note that I told you everyone would be playing Resogun on their Vita!

Friday, November 15, 2013

OlliOlli getting up to speed on the Vita

While the background to this level looks more like something from Green Beret, the game is definitely Roll 7's OlliOlli, the endless skateboarding game for the Vita which has come on in leaps and bounds since those early glimpses some months back. Along with Jeff Minter's TxK, can't wait to crack this one open.

So, will the PlayStation 4 launch help the Vita at all?

As a Vita blogger, and from that narrow perspective, the PlayStation 4 launch is more about helping sell Sony's handheld than it is about the future of home entertainment, 1080p gaming, cloud processing and all the other benefits it offers. With the memory of Sony all but abandoning the PSP to work on the cranky PS3 Cell processor, and the nightmare of developing games for it still alive, how are Sony doing today?

Well, with the tempting offer of Remote Play for most PS4 games helping to do the big sell, its clear Sony finally has a clear strategy to link to the two devices. That goes way beyond the rather poor remote links between the PS3 and PSP or Vita, but I suppose the seed was sown then. Sony is also continuing to develop Vita games, sure most of 2014's titles aren't announced yet, but hints have been dropped of more to come.

Then there's the indie wave being nurtured that is picking up the slack of mid-level developers who won't code for a niche product. But ultimately it is down to the American gamers picking up their consoles today (and in Europe in a couple of weeks). Has anyone noticed increased Vita sales during the PS4 launch? Did those queues of buyers packing those large blue boxes also come out with a little blue box next to it?

That'll be the detail I'd like to hear from stores or Sony, as the PS4 sells out rapidly. Sony is keeping its poorly Vita sales close to its chest, but if its being honest about its gaming ambitions, how about a bit of real honesty over sales? Unless there's some mental spike in sales, I wouldn't expect a bean from Sony about the immediate results, but I'll be looking for signs of increased life across the webosphere.

MXGP looks hot and muddy in first screens

Okay, these screens ain't exactly the Vita version, but they give a hint of what's to come from Milestone's next foray into two-wheeler sports. On the heels of MotoGP and WRC 4, MXGP is all knobbly tyres and rutted tracks. The developers have done pretty decent conversions of their console games to the Vita and hopefully this will maintain as much detail as possible, some more pics on the game's Facebook page.

Vita getting some more sisterly Hyperdimension rebirth in Japan

Compile Heart continue to bring out the dimensional shifting fun with Rebirth 2, Sisters Generation bring more cod RPG action to the Vita, and hot on the heels of Rebirth 1 with goddesses, girls and games all to the fore. No, I don't really get the series, but they look fun!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Check out the Vita TV in action

Earlier I posted an unboxing video from Nihongo Gamer on YouTube. Now here's his look at the Vita TV in action on the big screen, showing the setup, update, navigating the Vita's touch interface and an eventual bit of fun with Sony's shiny new baby box of fun. Feel free to be jealous of his 64GB card!

Abe gets a new and tasty trailer

With the current Oddworld Stranger's Wrath game free with PS+ for Vita owners, its time to start getting excited for the bugloid's next remade adventure, New 'n' Tasty, a HD version of Abe's Odyssey due next Spring on the Vita and PS4. What lurks within that dark tower? A reminder to update the release schedule, that's what.

Tearaway bundle features LBP and 16GB card

Sony are finally bringing out some sensible bundles, given the near mythical Killzone version, here comes a rather more friendly affair for the UK market, with a 16GB memory card and download codes for both Tearaway and LBP. That'll eat up a fair chunk of the memory card, but its still a pretty bright affair. That Age 3 rating will also make it more of a family present over the scarier KZ edition.

There are also Europe-wide bundles with just the game or the game and a 4GB memory card.

Meet the most remote played PS4 game for the Vita

Resogun from Housemarque will be a PS+ freebie for subscribers on day on of the PS4's launch, so once buyers of Sony's new console have got the mandatory patch out the way (hoping the servers haven't crashed), this will rapidly become the most popular game on the console, once everyone's had a shot at their bundled title. It'll only play at 30fps, due to remote play limitations, rather than the PS4's full 60fps glory, but it still looks pretty smashing.

Cinderella looks freaked out in Soul Sacrifice Delta

Sony has put up some new pics of that Disney definitely wouldn't approve of with the fairy tale princess going all Human Centipede. The game is definitely aiming to add some further shock value to its array of freaky demons. You have to hope a trample frenzy is one of her attacks.

There's also Dindoran, a witch character with a finger that can do a lot of damage, throwing out some powerful spells. Plenty more pics and details of new magic and costumes (in Japanese, with auto-translate) over here.

Injustice Ultimate trailed for the Vita

NetherRealms heroic brawler comes to the Vita soon (only £12.99 from Argos, of all places - now showing as out of stock, glad I got in early. Not showing on Amazon UK yet), featuring the DLC content and lots of heroes and super villains to pummel. Warner has released a suitably bombastic trailer to get those martial arts juices flowing.

Namco ships 500,000 copies of God Eater 2, Fenrir Vita unboxed

With the launch of God Eater 2 and Vita TV in full effect in Japan, Namco has announced it has shipped half-a-million copies of the game, likely split around 350,000 on the Vita and 150,000 for PSP, which must put it among the biggest Vita launches yet. There's also the God Eater limited edition Vita, unboxed here.

Sales expectations are high with Amazon Japan having been in and out of stock on pre-orders, and the game at No. 3 in Bestsellers. The big question is, will Namco see any reward on its investment and continue to support the Vita with big projects in the future? While we wait for news of a western release, why not listen to some of the game's music. And enjoy these pics from the launch.

more pics here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

PlayStation Vita TV unboxing video...

Well it had to happen didn't it. Does anyone use their day-one devices for anything other than box-porn? Anyway, here's the Vita TV being birthed for the first time. With thousands of Japanese likely picking these up today, plus some keen westerners and importers, get ready for a stream of opinion about those little games on the big screen.

And here's one of its channel screens in action.

Sony fans' wishlist of Japanese games may get some ticks

Earlier in the year, the US version of our beloved Shahid Kamal started asking for games fans wanted to see coming to PlayStation. Now it seems the company will make the effort to get those games over here. With suggested titles including Shenmue (since Sega can't be arsed) and Yakuza (since Sega can't be asked) and Final Fantasy Type-0 (since Square Enix can't be arsed).

A few more details on Kotaku, but with no firm timelime, formats suggestion and plenty of obstacles to overcome, this will be a lot longer effort to produce results than Sony's indie drive.

Light comes out of the dark with Team 17

Light was briefly a Kickstarter project that looked like a good match for the Vita. Then the nascent team Just A Pixel got a publishing offer and pulled it. Now its back under the wings of perpetual wrigglers Team 17 who are assuming publisher duties. The minimalist stealth game is now posted on Steam's Greenlight for PC and Mac, but we hope the developers still get a chance to try it on the Vita.

Vita sales steady in Japan as Akiba's Trip gets them off

Akiba's Trip leads the way for the Vita this week with almost 33.5K sales, and there are four Vita titles in the top 20, suggesting increasing longevity for the handheld. Vita sales don't do too bad either at 21,000 units, making it 160,000 units in five weeks since the launch of the 2000 model.

Expect things to go bananas in next week's chart as God Eater 2 and the Vita TV enter the scene. Going onsale in Japan this very minute in fact, if they're doing midnight openings for it.

01./00. [PS3] Battlefield 4 (Electronic Arts)  121.699 / NEW
02./01. [3DS] Pokemon X / Y # (Pokemon Co.)  115.630 / 2.847.101 (-29%)
03./04. [3DS] Monster Hunter 4 # (Capcom) 40.205 / 2.912.310 (-14%)
04./00. [PSV] Akiba's Trip 2 (Acquire) 33.476 / NEW
07./05. [PSP] Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2013 (Konami) 24.675 / 98.856 (-35%)
16./00. [PSV] Exstetra (FuRyu)  11.376 / NEW
19./07. [PSV] Gundam Breaker # (Bandai Namco Games)  8.897 / 42.672 (-74%)
20./13. [PSV] Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2013 (Konami)  7.976 / 45.173 (-38%)

Sonic Transformed and GTA hit PS+ for Vita owners in December

December is when PS+ probably goes pretty mental. Not only will the PS4 get its first free PS+ game in Resogun, but millions of new PS3 and PS Vita owners will probably be signing in for the first time. Vita owners will get Sonic All-Stars Transformed, which is a damn fine racer and Guacamelee and GTA: Liberty City Stories.

Add those into the service's stock freebies, with Gravity Rush and Uncharted still going, plus Oddworld, MotorStorm and three Jak and Daxter titles currently in the swag bag, and it looks like the deal of the year.

God Eater 2 and Vita TV ready to hit Japanese stores (pic)

The Vita's main hope for a killer app launches in Japan in just a couple of hours, with the usual midnight events and store openings. Here's what the kids are (hopefully) after, with the Vita TV potentially becoming the Vita's trojan horse, offering something Nintendo has played with in the past, but I can't see them making a 3DS adaptor for the Wii U.

God Eater 2 has had all the marketing, got the review score and probably a tee-shirt, now all it needs is the 600,000 plus players of God Eater Burst to move on up. Will they stick with the PSP version, or all upgrade to Vita and/or Vita TV? We'll find out with next week's Japanese charts, but look out for updates today as things shake out in Japan.

Note, the Vita TV is apparently region-locked, so don't think about importing one. Most likely Sony is trying to stop imports to the west, suggesting it has a launch for us planned.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

This is how Sony will sell Tearaway and the Vita to the world

So far, all Sony's Tearaway videos, screens and reveals have been to entice gamers. But, as the company's only real opportunity to sell the Vita with an exclusive game over the holidays, this is how it will sell Tearaway to the general public. Would that brief clip convince you of the amazing possibilities the Media Molecule game provides? I'm not convinced, but Sony marketing never fails to disappoint me.

I know they only have 30 seconds, but by hyping the tilt and touch features at the expense of the adventure, wonder and papercraft of the game, it looks more like a gimmicky mini-game to me.

PS4 Remote Play on Vita shown off with Battlefield and Need for Speed

With the good news that Diablo III will play on the Vita, Sony has been busy showing off some other publisher's titles working on the small OLED screen. EA's Battlefield 4 and new Need for Speed offering make the Vita a tempting option for gamers whose TV time is limited.

Diablo III will remote play on the Vita

After a couple of days of uncertainty, and probably a few sharp emails between console maker and develoepr, Blizzard has confirmed that Vita and PS4 owners will be able to play Diablo III on the small screen, despite the dinky nature of some of the visuals. Perhaps Blizzard devs have never seen a Vita, as focused as they are on the big-screen games, but the Remote Play feature will be enabled.

To prove it, here's Blizzard showing off the game on the small screen. Of course, the game is half the price on PC (and not even out until next year on PS4) if you want to play it properly. But the new console version will at least be able to be played off the big-screen, so perhaps will be a bigger deal to those who need to do a Pindleskin (or whatever the D3 equivalent is) run morning, noon or night.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Namco's Super Heroine Chronicle busting chops in Japan

Yep, the first enemy I always want to face in an RPG is a green octopus on a street. Pretty damn sure this fun all-girl crossover RPG isn't heading west, so enjoy this brief snippet from Namco and move on. What are the odds on Kat from Gravity Rush appearing in her 15th (approx) guest role?

There's an official site for Super Heroine Chronicle here showing off some of the girls from Dream Hunter and other series that make an appearance.

Final Fantasy X HD team keep kicking out the art and screens

This is getting almost boring now, the developers at Square Enix still have around seven weeks to release and seem content to tease Japanese gamers with weekly drops of stills for the Final Fantasy X I and II HD remakes. Hopefully we'll get some more video content in the run up to the 26 December release, but until then 4Gamer has a bunch of new pics.

Keep getting logged out of PSN? Me too, fix found!

Over the weekend, any game I tried to play kept dropping the PSN log-in screen in front of me, and whenever I signed in, I was automatically signed-out again. Apparently this has been a common problem since Sony updated its terms of service. To get around it, IGN has the answer, basically go to the PSN/SEN website and accept some updated terms and conditions and your woes will go away.

Quite why you aren't requested to do this on the Vita is really annoying (Apple annoys iPhone users all the time with T&C updates, but at least it happens on the device). But, at least the fix only takes a second and seems to be working fine now. Back to the games and I can stop worry about my account being hacked and so on.

PS Thanks to all the Twitter comments that helped sort it out too.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Rounding off the week with some PSN chart action

These charts would  be more worthy of discussion if Sony would show off some numbers, but for what they're worth, here's what selling on Vita via the US and EU PSN services. Good to see America still lapping up Killzone and that Muramasa is being well received on both sides of the pond, even Malicious is doing pretty well.

Top 10 US PS Vita Games 
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season
Killzone: Mercenary
Malicious Rebirth
Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut PS Vita
Persona 4 Golden
Dragon’s Crown
Real Boxing
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate
Valhalla Knights 3
Need for Speed Most Wanted

Top 10 Europe PS Vita Games:
Hotline Miami
Dragon’s Crown
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season
Muramasa Rebirth
Killzone Mercenary
Malicious Rebirth
Worms Revolution Extreme
Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut

Its Top 100 games time with Famitsu

Japanese games advertiser and occasional news piece rag, Famitsu, has put out its top 100 games of 2013 (so far) and of the century (so far, so good). The PSP manages to squeeze four Monster Hunter titles into the top 100 of the century, topping out with 4.5 million sales for No 8 Monster Hunter Freedom 3. Those four games sold over 9 million units, showing just how much it propped up the PSP.

But you won't be surprised to hear that there isn't a Vita game anywhere near that list. In fact the best the Vita can manage is this lot, with numbers just beating out Xbox games in Japan (ouch!), but do remember that this list excludes digital sales.

247,000 PSV Persona 4 Golden Atlus
221,000 PSV Toukiden Koei Tecmo
215,000 PSV Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA f Sega.

Over this year, the Vita does a little better, with these games selling in excess of 50,000. If they're considered successful then Japan will continue to thrive as many series can survive on those numbers, but expect localisations to diminish as they won't have the funds to bring any language intensive games west.

16. Soul Sacrifice Sony 184.391
33. Shinovi Versus Marvelous AQL 133.596
35. Toukiden Tecmo 127.744
43. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 Bandai 94.384
44. Phantasy Star Online 2: Special Package Sega 94.372
57. Muramasa Rebirth Marvelous AQL 74.207
61. Tales of Hearts R Namco 70.066
64. Valhalla Knights 3 Marvelous AQL 66.658
69. Demon Gaze Kadokawa Games 58.365

Amazon UK's buy a Vita get a new game for £20 deal

In lieu of any decent bundles this year, Amazon UK has popped up a new offer with the opportunity to pick up a new game from FIFA 14, Batman Blackgate or LEGO Marvel cheapish. Since the 10 game mega-bundle is among them, you can pick up a lot of gaming for £189 if you don't already have Sony's handheld. Nudge this offer  -- Amazon's £20 Vita game offer -- in your friend's direction if they're thinking of signing on.

Legend of Raven kicking it up on the Vita and PS4

Online brawler Legend of Raven from Nicalis will be available on both the Vita and PS4 when launched, soundtracked by The Dirty Youth and focusing on lag-free online play. Sure the Vita has plenty of good fighting games, about the only category it does well in, but what's one more between friends, especially with this much attitude?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sega, finally, bringing Hatsune Miku f west for Vita on PSN

Yep, digital only, but beggars can't be choosers and with western-sourced games drying up faster than the Kalahari, its good to Sega noticed the success of the PS3 version and will bring it out for the Vita. Ms. Miku will arrive in all her vocaloid glory early next year, with all the DLC we can eat.

There's a bunch of pics on Sega's Flickr page to tide you over until the skinny lady and her entourage sing at last on a western Vita, both in the US and Europe. My only question is why so long, given the code and translation must already have been done for the PS3 version?

Vita sales push ahead as the games rush hits the stores

Vita sales nudged up 3,000 this week to over 27,500 with a couple of titles hitting the top 10, Gundam Breaker (plus a GB hardware bundle) didn't do as well as expected considering all the hype, while Neptune Rebirth did okay for a remake. Note that baseball sales went up for the PSP version, but halved for the Vita. Next week is God Eater 2 and Vita TV week, with more to come, where hopefully things will shoot up.

01./01. [3DS] Pokemon X / Y # (Pokemon Co.) - 162.347 / 2.731.470 (-29%)
05./06. [PSP] Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2013 (Konami) - 38.179 / 74.181 (+6%)
07./00. [PSV] Gundam Breaker # (Bandai Namco Games) - 33.775 / NEW
09./00. [PSV] Chou Tsugitsugimono Game Neptune Re:Birth1 # (Compile Heart) - 31.811 / NEW
13./07. [PSV] Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2013 (Konami) - 12.866 / 37.197 (-47%)
14./10. [PSP] Diabolik Lovers: More, Blood # (Idea Factory) ) - 5.929 / 16.411 (-43%)
17./00. [PSP] Shinsouhan Heart no Kuni no Alice: Wonderful Wonder World # (QuinRose) - 4.811 / NEW
18./11. [PSV] Dangan-Ronpa 1-2: Reload (Spike Chunsoft) - 4.412 / 100.574 (-58%)
19./00. [PSP] Seishun Hajime Mashita! # (Honeybee) - 4.352 / NEW

God Eater 2 rains fire on CoD Ghosts in this weeks Famitsu reviews

No surprise really, given Famitsu's dodgy scoring these days, and the massive hype lavished on the site for the game, but God Eater 2 outscores Call of Duty Ghosts, Pro Evo 14 (where the PSP release really shows its age compared to the PS3 version) and all other comers this week.

That bodes well for its launch on the 14th alongside the Vita TV. What do you reckon, 300,000 copies week one, maybe 500K? I also wonder how many will take those extra points on the PSP version as a cue to upgrade to the Vita? Catch this week's Japanese sales here, as we prepare for the main event.

God Eater 2 (PSV) – 10/9/10/9 [38/40]
God Eater 2 (PSP) – 9/8/9/9 [35/40]
Call of Duty: Ghosts (PS3) – 10/9/9/9 [37/40]
Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 (PS3) – 10/9/9/9 [37/40]
Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 (PSP) – 8/7/6/6 [27/40]
Shinigami Shogyou: Kaidan Romance (PSP) – 8/7/7/7 [29/40]
Arcana Famiglia 2 (PSP) – 8/7/8/8 [31/40]

Update: Okay, this made it to Reddit and hundreds of you are visiting, please feel to catch up on other Vita news here, the game release list with indies and Japanese titles. And do drop by again. Cheers!

Sony Europe's Sci-Fi PSN sale lights up the darkness

While the US celebrates hitting things this week, the EU PSN sale focuses on all things sci-fi with a host of spacey, shooty and alien-tinged titles up on offer, with an extra 25% or 10% off for PS+ subs. Earth Defense Force is the only real Vita highlight, as everyone should already own Super Stardust Delta, there's a few PSP curios in there too, Space Invaders Extreme is good fun! If you've got a PS3, get Vanquish.

PSP/Vita Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable
Was £23.99/€29.99, now £11.99/€14.99

Super Stardust Delta
Was £6.49/€7.99, now £4.86/€5.99

Super Stardust Delta + Advanced Star Fighter Pack Bundle
Was £7.99/€9.99, now £4.79/€5.99

Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack
Was £5.49/€6.99, now £3.12/€3.98

Miracle Space Race
Was £2.39/€2.99, now £1.19/€1.49

Savage Moon: The Hera Campaign [PSP]
Was £6.49/€7.99, now £2.4/€2.95

Savage Moon Waldgeist Pack
Was £3.19/€3.99, now £1.59/€1.99

Space Invaders Extreme [PSP]
Was £7.99/€9.99, now £3.19/€3.99

Super Stardust Portable [PSP]
Was £6.49/€7.99, now £2.4/€2.95

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Greatness is portable according to new Sony advert

Not sure if this is a broadcast ad, or just Sony preaching to the converted online, but at least it shows PS4 and Vita as very much part of a family, and pretty easy to move a game between the two of them with the lovely firmware 3.00 update (see the new guide).

I think it shows Sony learnt a lesson and won't forget about the Vita in the same way they dumped the PSP when the PS3 arrived, but the Vita itself still needs some big games to sell after Tearaway arrives and there's precious little sign of them, so far.

Grand Knights History online services shut down

It is such a shame this PSP game from Vanillaware never made it west, despite plans to back in 2011. But if you got hold of a Japanese version then be aware that the online service has now shut down. Since the same team made Muramasa which came from the Wii to the Vita, wonder if there's any chance of them updating it for the Vita?

Perhaps it does seem a little dated compared to the company's more recent Dragon's Crown, but I do love the game's look regardless. The team left a little farewell image over on the game's blog. Copies are around £10 and up on eBay if you fancy a try.

How to make your Vita and PS4 best buddies

Okay, with Firmware update 3.00 out for the Vita, all we need is a shiny square box under our TVs and the circle will be complete, or something. When that blissful moment arrives, depending on your country, there's a simple process to link the two devices, as highlighted by Sony for the joys of Remote Play.

Then its just praying your WiFi or Direct Link will hold up to the bedroom, bathroom or wherever, and hoping that Vita in the pic isn't some monster-sized new model, and that it isn't a mandatory requirement for PS4s to be connected to really skinny HDTV sets to work.

Vita goes retro with PocketStation in Japan

As per the recent video tease, Sony has resurrected its never-out-in-the-west PocketStation LCD mini-console as an app for the Vita with the fun mini-games that came with some PS1 games. With games like Ape Escape, Grandia, Crash Bandicoot 3 and Ridge Racer Type 4 providing a rival for the Dreamcast's VMU.

Crash Bandicoot 3, Mega Man and Ape Escape are due out today, while Dokodemo Issho and others will follow in the coming months. Next to no hope of this hitting the west, but since the games are so simple, how about trying it anyway Sony, so we can at least give it a go?

MLB 14 The Show to slug it out on Vita, PS3 and PS4

Here's a teaser, tech guide for Sony's annual slug-fest, now that the World Series has just finished. The game will hit the Vita, PS3 and PS4. Hopefully we can play between devices and transfer seasons for on-the-go play. Miguel Cabrera will be your cover star and the game is out in early 2014.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Firmware 3.0 on the way so the Vita and PS4 can play nice

With the PS4 launch just days away, and with a firmware update of its own, the Vita too will get a little present in the form of a 3.0 update. The source is from Sony Turkey's PlayStation page of all things and gives no details of the update, but I'll add more when the others catch up.

That's a good leap up from the current 2.61, so lets hope there's some additional goodies besides the PS4-connectivity features. Will the evil 100 icon limit go? Will Netflix arrive in Europe? We should find out soon enough. What would you like from this update?

And here's the full list of features as the update goes live today.

PS4 Link
The PS4 Link app has been added to the PS Vita system’s home screen. With this application, you can use your PS Vita to remotely control a PS4 system, and play a range of PS4 games on your PS Vita screen. When you’re playing a game on PS4 that supports second screen features, you can also display information from that game on your PS Vita and use it as a second screen.

Parental Controls
The Parental Controls application has been added to the home screen. You can now manage the duration of game play, and the use of games and videos that have parental controls. You can also control access to certain areas of the system, including the use of the Internet browser and Location Data.

A Panoramic Camera setting has been added. You can now take panoramic photos on PS Vita, and look around the photo by using the PS Vita’s built-in motion sensor.

The application layout for Friends has been improved. There are now four tabs:
Find Player on PSN
Friend Requests
Players Blocked

The Group Messaging application name and icon have been changed to Messages. The application layout has also been improved, and you can now send and receive messages with friends and players on PS4 or on mobile devices installed with PlayStation App.

The icon for the Party application has been changed. You can now voice chat and text chat with friends and players on PS4.

You can now sync the contacts saved in your email account from services including Gmail and Yahoo! Mail. To sync your contacts, select Contact List > Options > [CardDAV Settings] > [Add CardDAV Account], and then follow the screens.

Content Manager
You can now use Wi-Fi to connect your PS Vita to a PS3, and transfer data between them. Your PS Vita and PS3 must be connected within the same network.‎ Also, to use this feature, the system software of the PS3 you’re using must be version 4.50 or later.

PS3 Remote Play
The Remote Play application name and icon have been changed to PS3 Remote Play.

You can now download future system software updates automatically.

You can now display Trophies of PS4 software on your PS Vita. Rarity of the trophy cannot be displayed.

US PSN gets punchy with a new Vita sale

Split across the next two weeks, Sony and pals are slashing the prices for some of the Vita and PSP's scrappier titles. First price is for PS+ subs, the second price for non-subs with some classics and recent indies among the heavy hitters.

This week
Dead or Alive 5 Plus $21.59 $23.99
Guacamelee! PS Vita (Cross-Buy) $8.39 $10.49
Mortal Kombat PS Vita $10.79 $11.99
Real Boxing $6.29 $6.99
SOUL CALIBUR: Broken Destiny $13.49 $14.99 (PSP)

Next week
Atomic Ninjas PS Vita (Cross-Buy) $6.29 $6.99
Divekick PS Vita (Cross-Buy) $5.59 $6.99
KickBeat PS Vita (Cross-Buy) $5.59 $6.99
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale $19.34 $21.49
SOUL CALIBUR: Broken Destiny (PSP) $13.49 $14.99
ULTIMATE MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 3 PS Vita $12.79 $15.99
Reality Fighters $5.99 $7.49

Enjoy five minutes in the charming company of God Eater 2

Namco is getting ready for the launch of its big Vita and PSP hope in the form of God Eater 2. Will it boost the Vita to new heights in Japan, or will it line-up alongside the rest of the Monster Hunting roadkill? Coinciding with the Vita TV could give it stellar impetus. The originals sold over 500,000 on PSP, so it at least has some legacy, unlike the riskier all-news games like Freedom Wars, Toukiden and Soul Sacrifice.

Hyper Light Drifter gets a combat trailer

The recently successfully funded indie effort shows off some pre-alpha combat footage, which looks pretty damn clean to me. The game is just one of a slew of indie efforts coming to the Vita to make up for third-party indifference.

The game snagged nearly $650K in funding from an original request for just $27,000 and offers 2D Action RPG in the vein of the best 8-bit and 16-bit classics, with modernized mechanics and designs on a much grander scale, according to its KS page, pretty hard to disagree.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Spy Hunter and Sonic Racing first up in Amazon's pre-Black Friday deals, some UK offers too

America (and to a lesser extent, the rest of the world) is ramping up for the sales silly season, with Black Friday (November 29) and the following Cyber Monday representing insane deals, mad spending sprees and so on.

Amazon is dragging out its regular deals well before that time with some new offers for US buyers. Spy Hunter is under $10 and Sonic at $17. The only really cheap game on Amazon UK is Virtua Tennis at £7.50 which has actually gone up a bit, but still well worth it.

There are a few sub-£15 PS Vita Bargains here for UK types, with Need for Speed and Metal Gear HD among them. The offers and deals should get more interesting toward the end of the month, if you can tear yourself away from your PS4?

See Sony's next big thing, Freedom Wars, in action

Old pointy-hat bloke is back with his students to introduce some of Freedom 'not at all about hunting monsters' Wars in action. If fact it doesn't look very monstery at all with a Panopticon of a civilisation cracking down on crime, birth, inequality and great big demonoids. The full previews will kick in a few weeks time, allowing God Eater 2 to set the tone for future Vita releases.

A Vita TV, what does one of them do then?

Well confused person, Sony has just the video for you, admittedly its in Japanese with the launch of the cross-over gizmo less than two weeks away over there, but you'll get the drift on all its awesome capabilities and room- and device-sharing skills.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Rainbow Moon dated for the Vita

Eastasiasoft said there would be a Vita version of Rainbow Moon if there was enough interest, and true to their word, they've got the game ready to go, with improvements! And its out next month, not in some insanely delayed timeframe.

The developers have revved their engine to ensure a solid 60 FPS, and minimised loading times. Plus, more than 30 new features, improvements, and bug fixes found with Cross Save, skipping XP counters, items can be used directly from the quest vendor, and left-stick control has been improved, reducing the chance of walking in unintended directions while in battle mode.

Toukiden dated for Europe in 2014

Tecmo has announced that Toukiden Age of Demons will hit European shores on 14 February, lets add that to the release schedule. The monster hunting title has done pretty well in Japan and should offer a bit more exploring than Soul Sacrifice provides, and tide us over until a hope-and-pray release for God Eater 2.

Looking at that release list, and somewhat randomly, I reckon Sega will disband in 2014, its own schedule is as dead as some doo-doos, beyond a smattering of iOS games and its partner titles from Sports Interactive with ChampMan 2014 Classic for the Vita, and Creative Assembly's next Total War PC title. To think they used to be a big name in gaming! Honestly, go look for yourself!

Idea Factory's bright spark, an international site

The cunning developers at Idea Factory produce some of Japan's quirkier titles (at least quirky in the western sense). Many of its titles are brought to western shores by Nippon Ichi or Aksys, so now the company has put up its own site to concentrate all that fun and news in one place.

So now, you know where to look for more info on Sorcery Saga, an RPG about cooking for the Vita, Hyperdimension Neptunia and several others. There's also a Facebook page and Twitter account to follow with some prizes on offer for joining up.

Sony teasing PocketStation to make a comeback

PocketStation is back, at least according to a Japanese teaser with a reveal set for next Tuesday. The original riffed on the Dreamcast's VMU with an LCD screen, buttons and a memory card, and made good use of Sony's mascots Toro and Koru. 

However, we don't use those big old cards now, so Sony must have some other 'in' to attract buyers. Simple micro-games won't cut it, so what would Sony have planned? Does it link to the Vita or is it something Sony might but on its smartphones to try and further spread the PlayStation brand. 

Gundam Breaker starter pack stomps on Japan

On-sale from today in Japan, Gundam Breaker is the first of the new bundles that should help keep up the hardware momentum for the new Vita models (God Eater 2 and FFX HD being the other two). Here's a pic from a Japanese blog of the actual box. To be honest the decal on the back of the Vita is the worst of the bundles.

If you're interested in the game, which I guess will never head west, despite a fair bit of the game's text being in English, here's a playthough of the opening scenes.