The mobile gaming space is shifting from the dominant casual titles such as Angry Birds to hardcore games such as Shadowgun and Grand Theft Auto III. As smartphones and tablets become more powerful, games are becoming more complex as well. Unfortunately, both device categories have a major flaw where gaming is concerned: touch controls. Using a touchscreen and accelerometer is extremely limited, and in many cases frustrating as well. A number of third-party accessories look to solve the problem, but now it looks like Apple may be working on an OEM option. During its iPad review, AnandTech briefly mentioned that Apple is working on a physical gaming controller for iOS devices. “I know of an internal Apple project to bring a physical controller to market, but whether or not it will ever see the light of day remains to be seen,” the site said. “As smartphones and tablets come close to equalling the performance of current game consoles, I feel like the controller problem must be addressed.” While no other details are given, previous Apple patents have suggested the Cupertino-based company is taking gaming very seriously. More →
Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox will use controllers that have “an HD screen surrounded by the traditional 360 buttons and sticks,” according to Xbox World Magazine. The magazine claims Microsoft’s tablet-like controller will have shape closer to Sony’s PS Vita than Wii U’s “bulky unit”. The next Xbox “will be a matte-black media hub with a mission to bring games to life in your living room with augmented reality, directional sound, and a four-player, finger-tracking Kinect.” The new controller will apparently also be used as a remote control when watching TV, a browser for the Internet or for extra buttons while playing a game. Earlier rumors suggest that the next generation console may be six times more powerful than the current Xbox, however it is not expected to launch this year. The publication speculates that the console could be priced over $600. “Microsoft are playing it safe with the CPU and GPU but running wild with the functions that will change how you play, but it won’t be cheap,” the site claimed.
GameStop recently began carrying several Android Honeycomb tablets pre-loaded with seven free games. It was originally rumored that the game retailer would begin selling its own custom Honeycomb tablet, although it appears that is no longer the case. GameStop currently lists the Acer Iconia, Acer Iconia Tab A500, ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, Motorola XOOM, ViewSonic VPAD7 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in stock with prices starting at $300. The seven free games include Dead Space, Madden NFL, Monster Madness, Sonic CD, Re-Load, Riptide GP and Cordy. GameStop is also bundling a special tablet-friendly own-brand Bluetooth controller with its slates for an additional $39. The devices are currently only available in 200 of GameStop’s stores, although you can also purchase one directly from the company’s website. More →
U.S. video game retailer GameStop will soon sell its own GameStop-branded Android tablet, president Tony Bartel recently told GamesIndustry. The company is not building a device from scratch and will instead re-brand an existing model. GameStop has not disclosed which manufacturer it partnered with but the company is testing the device in Dallas, Texas where Samsung Mobile is also based. “I don’t see any need to create a new one with the three hundred or so on the market already,” Bartel said. “We have a refurbishment center and we can bring in the product and pre-load certain games onto it. It’s an Android device.” The tablet is currently being called a “GameStop-certified gaming platform.” Read on for more. More →
Microsoft is being sued for patent infringement over motion-sensing technology used in its blockbuster gaming accessory, the Microsoft Kinect. Ohio-based Impulse Technology has filed a complaint alleging that Microsoft’s Kinect controller infringes on seven of its technology patents. One patent referenced in the lawsuit covers “wide variety of games where the movement of a player is tracked in three dimensions…and certain exercise games where the motion of the player is tracked to effect movement of a virtual avatar, and the exertion of the user is monitored, including where the tracking of the player is done by the use of a camera.” A separate patent describes an “education system challenging a subject’s physiologic and kinesthetic systems to synergistically enhance cognitive function.” Impulse Technology is seeking a permanent injunction to block the import and sale of Microsoft’s Kinect, and it is also suing Electronic Arts, Konami and Sega for developing Xbox 360 games that utilize Kinect and infringe on its patents. Impulse is seeking damages, treble damages, interest, and attorney fees from Microsoft as well. The Kinect motion-based video game controller has been a smash hit for Microsoft, having set numerous sales records since its launch. This past March, Microsoft announced that it had sold 10 million Kinect controllers since the device’s launch just before the holidays last year. More →
In a recent interview with Forbes, Nintendo of America’s president and chief operating officer Reggie Fils-Aime was asked how his company will market the new Nintendo Wii U console — given that the existing Wii will still be on the market. Fils-Aime responded by noting that the console will not launch until after April 1st of next year — a date we hadn’t heard yet — and that, historically, Nintendo has sold multiple devices side by side. Fils-Aime pointed to the launch of the Nintendo DS alongside the Gameboy Advance, and also said that the Wii was on the market at the same time as the Game Cube. He also discussed cross-platform play, which could allow users to play against one another using different Nintendo machines “We have one key developer with a very strong relationship to Nintendo, the same developer who created Smash Brothers, that is envisioning a Smash Brothers experience that will be cross platform between Wii U and 3DS,” Fils-Aime said. Nintendo took the wraps off of the highly anticipated Wii U during the E3 tradeshow early last month, but has yet to announce a price for the console.
OnLive — the popular gaming service that allows you to purchase, subscribe, or rent games and play them on your television — has now announced that it’s extending its gaming support to mobile devices. Later this summer the company will debut a new controller, as well as applications for iOS and Android. OnLive basically streams the game your playing, which means you don’t need to have an insane amount of hardware muscle on your device just to play Duke Nukem in all of its glory while on the road. We had a chance to go hands-on with OnLive running on the iPad, HTC Flyer, and Motorola XOOM, and the experience was virtually the same across all three devices; we were blown away at the performance. The custom controller, which will also launch later this summer, felt a lot like an Xbox 360 controller, and we felt right at home. Check out our gallery below, then hit the jump for the full press release.
We just stormed the show floor at E3 and strong-armed a few people to get right up close and personal with Nintendo’s brand new Wii U controller. The demo game required a lot of movement on the user’s part — there was a lot of shaking involved with controlling the character on the screen — but the interaction definitely looked like nothing we’ve seen before. The large touchscreen display was bright, too, and the controls are all comfortably within reach of your thumbs. We dig the white color of the controller as well, and it absolutely looks like a substantial high-end device. Hit the gallery below to see the rest of our hands-on images!
After all of the rumors and speculation, we now finally have a name and details for Nintendo’s next-generation Wii console… the Wii U! Nintendo just announced the new Wii U at its keynote presentation from the annual E3 conference. As the rumors suggested, the Wii U controller features a 6.2-inch touchscreen centered between a d-pad and an analog stick on the left side and a second analog stick and buttons on the right side. The controller also features a microphone, stereo speakers, a camera, an accelerometer, and even a gyroscope — in fact, the controller can act as a console itself! Moreover, the controller becomes a second window into the game being played, showing different views of the current scene, plays and options in sports games, items in a players cache… the possibilities are endless. Nintendo also stated that all current Wii games will work with Wii U and the new Wii U controller. The console supports High Definition gaming, online gaming much like the solutions offered by Sony and Microsoft, and even social networking integration. Nintendo states that the goal of its Wii U console is to serve the avid gamer and casual gaming communities alike, with a single console. From the look of things, they might just be able to pull it off. The Wii U console will launch in 2012 and pricing has not yet been announced.
Sony Ericsson’s Xperia PLAY is the company’s first smartphone focused on bringing serious gaming and a powerful handset to the masses. The slide-out PlayStation-style game controller is innovative and it enables you to interact with games on your smartphone in ways that just aren’t possible on a touchscreen-only device. With that said, there are some obstacles in the way — PlayStation Suite offers limited games, and there are some pretty big bugs even on the stock Android handset. Do the positives outweigh the negatives, though? Jump past the break to find out.
Listen up gaming fanatics. It looks like Nintendo’s Project Café, otherwise known as the Wii 2, has been caught on video thanks to a sneaky developer and their utter disregard of non-disclosure agreements. Aside from slides that showcase the “Screen Stream“ controllers, we see the Wii 2 console projected and lurking in the background as well. There appears to be a docking accessory — most likely for controller recharging — shown on the screen towards the end of the clip, although it is hard to tell as an audience member’s head obfuscates our view. The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is scheduled for next month from June 7th to 9th; don’t be surprised if the Wii 2 gets a lengthy preview from the folks at Nintendo. The video is waiting for you after the break.
On Monday, Nintendo released a statement confirming that it will reveal the successor to the original Wii during the E3 Expo tradeshow in Los Angeles — which takes place June 7-9, 2011. The new console, currently codenamed “Project Cafe,” may feature a new “Screen Stream” controller option that will provide each individual gamer with their own touchscreen display, although Nintendo did not disclose any of the console’s new features in its statement. The Japanese gaming firm also announced its earnings for the fiscal year ending March, 2011. Net sales of ¥1,014 billion ($12.35 billion) were down 29.3% year-over-year and Nintendo’s net income fell 66.1% to ¥77.62 million ($946,110). Hardware and software sales for the United States, Nintendo’s largest market, also fell year-over-year. Nintendo sold 15.08 million Nintendo Wii units, 3.61 million of its new Nintendo 3DS devices, and 17.52 million of its Nintendo DS portable gaming consoles in the States. By contrast, the firm sold 20.5 million Wii units in the U.S. last year. Globally, the firm sold 171.26 million Wii units, 120.98 million DS devices, and 9.43 million Nintendo 3DS units. Hit the jump for Nintendo’s earnings release, as well as its official statement on E3. More →
Nintendo’s next generation Wii console — currently codenamed “Project Cafe” — could land later this year, and it may sport a new controller with a touchscreen display. A user in the NeoGaf forums has posted several images that provide additional details on Nintendo’s rumored system. According to the photos, “Screen Stream takes the 1080p image and pushes each rendered quarter to the player’s personal TV screen,” which is on the controller itself. So if you’re partaking in a four-player game, for example, you’ll be able to view your slice of the HDTV screen directly on your controller. Similarly, we imagine instances where a gamer could manage his or her character’s traits or abilities directly from the controller itself, without having to pause the game for everyone to access game menu options. IGN says the Nintendo Wii 2 will likely cost between $350 and $400, will offer 1080p output with possible support for stereoscopic 3D, and will run a newer version of AMD’s R700 GPU. Hit the jump for more images. More →