Every weekday we share an updated collection of the best free iPhone and iPad apps, but there are always plenty of noteworthy apps that don’t make the list. This week, two especially interesting games launched on the App Store, and they’re both completely free to download. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, read on.
In the long and storied history of gameshow blunders, what you’re about to see below may very well take the cake. Sure, we’ve seen contestants embarrass themselves before. And sure, we’ve most definitely seen contestants lose a lot of money before.
But never before has a gameshow contestant lost so much money in such an embarrassing way as in the clip you’ll see below. This Wheel of Fortune contestant literally had $1 million dangling right above his hands only to have it snatched away in a fraction of a second. More →
Rovio on Wednesday announced that its Angry Birds franchise has surpassed one billion downloads across Android, iOS, Windows and Mac OS X, with 350 million downloads having been served in 2012 alone. The latest Birds installment, Angry Birds Space, was downloaded more than 10 million time in less than three days and a whopping 50 million times in 35 days, making it the fastest growing mobile game of all time. The immensely popular franchise generated $106 million for the company in 2011 and drew in 200 million active monthly users. Rovio’s video announcement follows below. More →
Sony is aiming to launch its next-generation PlayStation video game console ahead of rival Microsoft, a recent report claims. Microsoft’s next Xbox console — which could be an ARM-based “Xbox lite” that will launch ahead of a true Xbox 360 successor that will be released some time later — is widely expected to hit store shelves for the holidays in 2013. According to an unnamed source speaking with VG247, Sony plans to launch its PlayStation 4 console before Microsoft’s next Xbox makes a splash. “Sony are completely in the belief that they have the jump on Microsoft this time,” the source reportedly said. The anonymous source continued, “Top line publishers already know about it. Developers working with publishers – like Ubisoft, for example – already know what’s going on. They’re already working on it.” Both Sony and Microsoft are expected to unveil their next-generation consoles during the annual E3 gaming conference next year. More →
Wealthy smartphone users are more likely to own an Apple iPhone and less likely to play games or post on Twitter than average users. According to research from The Luxury Institute, 62% of U.S. consumers earning at least $150,000 per year own a smartphone. 45% of people falling to that category own an iPhone, 35% use an Android-powered device and 25% have a BlackBerry. More than 80% of wealthy smartphone owners download mobile apps, with the most popular categories being weather (63%), news (51%), travel (42%), business/finance (39%) and sports (34%). Facebook, Angry Birds and Words With Friends are the most popular apps, however higher-income consumers use far less entertainment apps than the average smartphone user. “As you get older and have family and significant others, aging parents, and a lot more assets and investments, you’re going to need apps for far more relevant things than playing games and chatting with your peers,” The Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza noted. More →
The next generation PlayStation has reportedly been code-named “Orbis,” and it will feature an anti-used game system and offer no backward compatibility with PlayStation 3 games, Kotaku reported on Wednesday. According to multiple unnamed sources, Orbis will have some kind of measure built into the console that will prevent it from playing used games. Users will be able to buy new games for the system on Blu-ray disc or as a PlayStation Network download, and if a user chooses to buy a disc, it will supposedly be locked to a single PSN account. Users will reportedly be required to log into Sony’s network to play games, with no offline mode available. Read on for more. More →
Microsoft first discussed its “three screens and a cloud” gaming strategy in 2009, describing a scenario that could carry a single video game across a TV screen, a PC and a smartphone. Now, nearly three years later, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II counts itself among the first games to showcase this exciting integration. Owners of an Xbox 360 and a Windows Phone will be able to start a game on one device, pause, and pick up on the other device exactly where they left off. “One of the cool things about it is that the Windows Mobile 7 [sic] and the Xbox are going to be able to work in tandem in ways that are completely new,” Digital Grand Manager for Sonic 4: Episode II Ken Balough told Official Xbox Magazine in an interview. “So when you pick up the Windows Mobile 7 and you’ll be able to play Sonic Episode II, save it, stop, boot up your Xbox 360 and pick up right where you left off. And that’s a really cool thing Microsoft has going between the devices and I’m a huge fan of it.” The video interview with Balough follows below, and the conversation pertaining to the Xbox and Windows Phone can be heard shortly after the 4-minute mark. More →
Microsoft’s next-generation video game and home entertainment console may use online downloads and a swappable solid state card port of some kind in place of a traditional disc drive. The news comes from British gaming magazine MCV, which cites an unnamed person who claims to have obtained the information directly from Microsoft. The Xbox 360 already supports digital content distribution models and it is expected that Microsoft will continue to increase its focus on non-physical media. At the same time, however, this new rumor counters earlier reports that the next-generation “Xbox 720” will include Blu-ray disc support. When asked to comment, a company spokesperson wouldn’t confirm the move away from discs but did say Microsoft is “always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention.” BGR exclusively reported last June that Microsoft intends to unveil its next-generation Xbox console at the annual E3 gaming conference later this year. The console is expected to hit the market some time in 2013. More →
One of the most beloved video games in history has been refreshed in a new mashup that gaming fans of all shapes and sizes need to download immediately. The title is “Mari0” and simply stated, it’s Super Mario Brothers meets Portal. Game developer Maurice Guegan is the man behind Mari0, and he built the title from the ground up. It features a start to finish recreation of Nintendo’s original Super Mario Brothers game, adds a portal gun that shoots portals through which Mario can travel as in the popular PC game “Portal,” and mixes in a 4-player cooperative mode along with several additional features. The result is an addictive game that does a better job adding a new twist to an old classic than anything we’ve seen in recent history. Mari0 is free and open source, and it is available immediately for Windows, OS X and Linux PCs. A trailer video follows below, as does a link to a download that will ensure your Monday is completely unproductive. More →
Apple may be working on an overhaul of its iTunes Store and App Store, according to 9to5Mac. Due to growing competition from music streaming services like Spotify and the growing popularity of Amazon’s online music store, the redesign of the iTunes Store is considered “a top priority for Apple.” The Cupertino-based company is looking to simplify the service and deliver a more user-friendly interface than the one afforded by its current design. The redesign will reportedly simplify content discovery, and it will “make the iTunes Store a much more engaging experience.” The revamped stores are reportedly scheduled to launch later this year. More →
Rovio on Friday teased the next frontier for the company’s massive Angry Birds franchise. The fourth major Birds release will be called “Angry Birds Space” and is scheduled to land on mobile devices on March 22nd. In the newest edition, users will be flinging birds on zero gravity planets with new gameplay features such as slow-motion and lightspeed destruction, according to Yahoo Games. “We think fans are really going to love it because we’ve already gotten amazing feedback on the physics of our games,” said Rovio’s GM of North America Andrew Stalbow. “They’re so accurate and easy to grasp that some teachers use Angry Birds in their lessons about projectile motion.” Rovio has confirmed that the game will have completely new birds along with some originals, who now possess various super powers. Since debuting in 2009, the franchise has been downloaded over 700 million times on iOS and Android alone. Read on for a video teaser from Rovio. More →
HTC will be one of the first companies outside of Sony to receive PlayStation certification for its mobile devices, according to Pocket-lint. The announcement is expected later this year and devices with PlayStation certification could possibly debut at this month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Sony announced that its PlayStation certification program would launch on non-Sony devices at last year’s launch of the PlayStation Vita in Japan. The program gives smartphone and tablet owners access to many classic PSOne games and to Sony’s gaming network. It is suggested that HTC devices with the PlayStation Suite will begin hitting the market in the second half of 2012. More →
The video game industry capped off a rough year in the United States with a horrible holiday month that saw sales plummet year-over-year across all categories. Market research firm The NPD Group recently released its sales estimates for December 2011 and the full year, and neither set of figures paints a pretty picture. Last month, total industry sales plummeted to $3.99 billion, down 21% from $5.07 billion in December 2010. Hardware sales dropped 28% to $1.32 billion in December, and software sales were down 14% to $2.08 billion. “December was very rough for new physical sales of video games hardware, software and accessories,” NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement. “Because of the great slate of content that came to market during the fourth quarter, I had expected December sales to represent a larger portion of total year sales than what occurred. This year, December accounted for just 23% of annual sales, while the average for the past ten years has been 28.” For the full year, hardware sales were down 11% to $5.58 billion, software sales dipped 6% to $8.83 billion and total industry sales slid 8% to $17.02 billion. The NPD Group’s full press release follows below along with a list of the top-10 best-selling games of 2011. More →