games / Columns

Around the Gaming World News Report 06.08.12

June 8, 2012 | Posted by Chris Ferrell

Hey everyone, welcome to the latest installment of Around The Gaming World. If this is your first time checking in I try to cover some of the major stories for each console in addition to news, which in my opinion, is the news of the week.

Let’s start off with reader comments.

And if you don’t like the Metro UI, it means no next gen xbox sales.

Posted By: Guest#3490 (Guest) on May 31, 2012 at 11:43 PM

I don’t think the UI would keep me from buying. The games are the primary driver when it comes to my console choice. The UI is always changing in Microsoft’s case anyways.

Hopefully F-Zero 4 is one of the new Wii launch titles.

Posted By: Guest#4391 (Guest) on June 01, 2012 at 12:23 AM

Nothing announced on F-Zero that I saw. But I would guess it is on the list of games Nintendo will make.

I absolutely hate the Metro UI. No buys!
The Wii U will probably have a Smash Bros game as a launch or near launch title.

Posted By: Guest#2423 (Guest) on June 01, 2012 at 06:19 PM

I hope a Super Smash Bros game is on the horizon. That game is what caused me to buy both a Gamecube and a Wii. I love that series.

Why would Sony use the PSP as an e-reader? Why use obsolete tech when they just released new hardware? Did you actually mean the Vita…with a resolution that is near the retina display on the NEW iPad? *blinks*

220 DPI(Vita) vs. 265 DPI (the NEW iPad)

The price point of the Vita vs. the price point of the NEW iPad is pretty one sided. So, why not try to give it MORE features…?

Posted By: David (Guest) on June 03, 2012 at 10:14 PM

Well the main reason I wouldn’t think the PS Vita would work well as an e-reader is the screen size. I don’t think it’s really ideal for long term reading. That being said I don’t even like using my iPad for reading. Reading for long times on an LCD is exhausting for the eyes.

This week the format of the column is getting shaken up a bit. I’m going to try and cover one major development for the Big Three and then spend the rest of the time talking about E3 trends or game releases. Next week we will go back to the normal format.

And now, it’s on to the news…

Microsoft Unveils Smart Glass – This morning Microsoft made good on last week’s rumors with the announcement of Xbox Smart Glass, a companion app for Windows 8 PCs and mobile devices that lets you interact with video content and games on the Xbox 360. We were given an early look at the app running on a Windows 8 tablet and a Windows Phone device, and while there were some bumps in the road we have to say we’re quite impressed at the product’s potential. In its most primitive form, Smart Glass is a Wi-Fi remote app for video. When launched, the app goes into “listening” mode, and seamlessly syncs up with any Smart Glass-enabled content, providing the usual array of controls (we were shown School of Rock from Microsoft’s own first-party movie service as well as a clip of Game of Thrones from the HBO Go app). That’s just where the story begins, however; what Smart Glass really offers is a way to access additional interactive material while you’re watching a program or playing a game.

Via: Washington Post

Full disclosure, the Xbox is my preferred console. However, I find the Smart Glass app fascinating. I think it takes the idea of the WiiU controller and makes it work with existing products that gamers may already own. It might not be as seamless an experience but it should be pretty cool. Being able to display a Halo map on my iPad while playing Halo could be very useful. Or using the iPad running smart glass it would be pretty cool to make custom Madden plays where my opponents can’t see what I’m doing. But above all,
I want to see if Smart Glass allows me to stream content from my iPad to my Xbox. If so, it’s basically Air-Play for the Xbox.

The fact that Microsoft is releasing it for multiple platforms surprised me at first. But, this is a smart move by the folks at Microsoft. Nowadays many people have smartphones and/or tablets. The majority of these devices are either Android or iOS based. If Microsoft had limited Smart Glass to Windows Phone 7 then there would be very few users of the Smart Glass app. Approval on for Android devices should be quick, my concern is how long it will take Apple to approve the Smart Glass app for iOS. Apple has to approve all apps entering the marketplace and some apps are approved much quicker than others. For example, the cloud based gaming company On-Live has been waiting 6 months for Apple to approve their iPad app to allow gaming on the On-Live network. If Apple drags their heels on this app there are a lot of gamers who will not get to try out Smart Glass. And since Smart Glass is going to cut into Apple’s Air-Play plans I have a sneaking suspicion that the approval of Smart Glass might take awhile

The Vita Shows Me Something – Sony announced during its E3 2012 that a library of PS One Classics will become available on PlayStation Vita via a system software update this summer. The list so far includes:

Tomb Raider
Final Fantasy VII
Wild Arms
Twisted Metal 2
Cool Boarders 2
Arc the Lad
Resident Evil Director’s Cut
Crash Bandicoot

In a statement after the show, Sony added that ” SCE will further accelerate the expansion of the PS Vita platform through regular system software updates.”

Via: IGN

Is it just me or did the Vita show some signs of life at E3? Both Assassin’s Creed 3 and Little Big Planet looked really good for the Vita. In all fairness, I have been anti-Vita but most of that has stemmed from my thoughts that there were no ‘must have’ games for the console. It looks like after a year of lackluster sales Sony has realized the same thing and is making a commitment to bringing some established franchises to the Vita.

The Vita hardware is very impressive. Combine the powerful hardware with good games and I think the Vita might start selling better in North America. If Sony can put out a steady flow of must have games for the portable console I think sales will improve a good deal.

Nintendo’s E3 Releases – Nintendo hasn’t yet announced when you’ll be able to sit a Wii U beneath your television, and pricing is still a mystery too, but the company has gone into detail regarding its launch lineup at E3. There are a handful of Nintendo properties, as expected, but there are some interesting third-party titles that will be available on the console too, including some fan favorites.

Here’s the full list from the E3 announcement:

Pikmin 3
New Super Mario Bros. U
Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition
Scribblenauts Unlimited
Darksiders 2
Mass Effect 3
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Trine 2: Director’s Cut
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
Aliens Colonial Marines
Wii Fit U
LEGO City: Undercover
Just Dance 4
The Avengers: Battle for Earth
Assassin’s Creed III
Rayman Legends
Rabbids Land
YourShape: Fitness Evolved 2

Via: Slashgear

Last year Nintendo beat all their competitors out the gate as they were the first company to announce their next-gen console. I think that a lot of people hoped they would use that momentum to push forward with the
WiiU and gain more interest. Instead it seemed to me that Nintendo was really just treading water in their keynote much like Microsoft and to a lesser extent Sony. This was the chance to wow people with the WiiU and it just didn’t seem to happen. There is still no killer game for the WiiU when it launches. There was a lot of speculation over a new Super Smash Bros game or even a Zelda game but nothing was announced. Instead, we found out there was a new Mario game available at launch. That’s something I’m pretty sure everyone could predict.

The big news when it came to WiiU games was the pending arrival of Mass Effect 3 and Batman Arkham City. But the problem is, these games will have been out for quite a while when the WiiU drops. These games aren’t going to drive new gamers to the system. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that stalwart Nintendo fans will get to finally place these two games it’s just not really that important. Nintendo needs a killer game to drive people to the WiiU.

I also have to admit that I was a little disappointed that Nintendo said nothing about the pricing for the WiiU and its accessories. I have a sneaking suspicion that the controllers, or WiiPads, will not be cheap. Presumably, the WiiU will ship with one controller but how much will the second one cost? On a quick sidenote, I have to admit that the ability to play games on just the Pad itself and not the TV is pretty cool. The simple fact of the matter is, we need to know how much a WiiU will cost, as that will probably drive a lot of decisions for people in this upcoming holiday season..

Also, is it just me or does the WiiU gamepad look a lot like an Xbox 360 controller? They do say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery…..

Am I right or what?

Nothing New This Year

I really hoped we would get some news on the next-gen Playstation and Xbox. Realistically, I never expected to get anything. To me, it almost seemed as though Microsoft’s presser was a little less informative than last year and I think they might be holding a lot back for next year and the presumed launch of the new Xbox. Sony wasn’t talking either when it came to the presumed PS4, but they did get me more interested in the PS Vita platform. Nintendo missed a golden opportunity to steal the show with the WiiU though.

Next year’s E3 should be exciting when it comes to the next-gen console wars!

E3 was Boring

It might just be me, but I thought that a lot of E3 was boring. There were really no surprises. Neither Microsoft nor Sony announced their new consoles, in fact neither company even hinted at what their future systems would be capable of. The WiiU showed off some new gamepads but nothing amazing when it came to new games. The WiiU needs a must have game to be a success and I haven’t seen it. All of the big game announcements seemed as though they had leaked ahead of E3. Is that a consequence of living in such an internet-centric world? Rumors take off and if even the slightest bit of information on a new release leaks out everyone knows about. While it’s great to find out about the games ahead of time, I think it takes away from the E3 experience some.

Halo 4

Hey, I’m a Halo fanboy so you all had to know this was coming. The gameplay footage for Halo 4 was damn impressive in my mind. The graphics appear to have been tweaked and all reports say there will be new multiplayer modes. All of these things are good in my book. After seeing the trailers I had a few thoughts.

First, it seems as though it’s only been 4 years since the end of Halo 4, and now humanity is trying to go the route of peaceful exploration. But something will draw the human vessel across the galaxy to where the Master Chief is currently in hibernation.

Despite the end of the war, the Chief is still fighting Covenant. I wonder if he is unaware that the war has ended? But the big shocker is the new enemies. Either they are Forerunners or descendants of the Forerunners. Regardless they look fairly freaky and have some powerful weapons.

I for one cannot wait for Halo 4. Luckily we only have to wait until November!

Star Wars 1313

For a game that was so hyped as the next evolution in Star Wars gaming I was really expecting to get to play as a Jedi. However, playing as a Jedi is a bit overdone now and in all fairness The Force Unleashed games were fun but really screwed with Jedi power levels. Going to a darker story with a non Force-sensitive main character will be cool to change pace. After all Shadows of the Empire was a really fun game on the N64 and you didn’t play as a Jedi in there either.

The gameplay shown off for SW 1313 looked pretty awesome. The graphics were gorgeous and it seems to me that the gameplay is very similar to that in Uncharted which people love. I’m curious to see how good the game ends up being. Right now I’m seriously considering pre-ordering the next Star Wars game.

Assassin’s Creed 3

This game looked fantastic at E3 and I really like how they are adding to the gameplay. Adding in the ability to do battle in a massive naval warship looked incredible. The combat also looked to be improved and flowed much more than in past games. I’m not even a big fan of the Assassin’s Creed series and this game intrigued me.

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My personal Twitter: @RoundTableNerds

Thanks for checking in for your weekly dose of gaming news. It should be interesting to see how some stories, such as the next version of the Xbox and PS3, progress over the next week. As always, please make use of the comments to let me know what you are thinking. Feedback is always welcomed.

Pardon me for a moment while I shamelessly self promote. I recently joined a podcast as one of the weekly host. The podcast is entitled All Things Good And Nerdy. With a name like that we have to cover video games. I’m looking for suggestions on game topics you would want to see/hear discussed by a group of nerds. Let me know in the comments below. If you’re interested in checking it out the audio is on iTunes just search All Things Good And Nerdy. But seriously, send me discussion topics; I’d love to hear what people want to hear about.

If you find yourselves bored on Xbox Live, send me a message. I’m always looking to put together a good team on the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer to tackle some gold challenges. Without a good team you just get your ass kicked.

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Chris Ferrell
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