Ouya Launch Delayed Three Weeks

The Kickstarter funded console known as the Ouya looks like it won’t be ready for its expected retail release on June 4th. The release date for the console has been pushed back three full weeks to June 25th.

For those unfamiliar with the Ouya, it is a new console that is based off the Android platform. It has a customized version of the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) operating system on board. It uses this operating system to make a console that plugs into your TV, complete with a controller instead of having to worry about touch screen or accelerometer based control.

Though Ouya will be running Android, it will likely be similar to the Kindle Fire where it will have many of its own unique features. It will not have access to the Google Play Store, but will have its own Ouya store. The system will only cost $99 when it is released.

Ouya is notable for being the second largest funded project on Kickstarter. It is truly an open source system, even allowing users to root the system without voiding the warranty. There is no separate development kit, but developers can work on games using the regular console.

There are a lot of good ideas coming out with the Ouya, but the initial impressions haven’t been that great so far. Though it has plenty of power to play the latest mobile games, it is far behind the current generation of consoles. It will likely find a market among the more casual of gamers.

The biggest issue so far with the console is the lack of quality in the controller. Both The Verge and Engadget had pretty negative complaints about the controller. From removable face plates that are more of a hassle for joystick movement than one would like, to noticeable severe lag between the controller and the game, the Ouya definitely seems like it isn’t quite ready for release yet.

If these initial reviews have had an impact, then we might see an improved version of the Ouya. If these problems aren’t fixed though, this cool project might be one worth skipping for at least the initial iteration.

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Star Wars

Is EA the Right Company to Make Star Wars Games?

It was a sad day just over a month ago when Disney announced that they’d be closing LucasArts. LucasArts was one of the more revered game developers, especially during their peak of success in the 90s. Now, Disney has recently announced that EA will be taking over the development and publication of Star Wars games.

It’s a really difficult pill for gamers to swallow. One of the most beloved licenses is moving from one of the best developers and is now in the hands of a company that is the only two time winner of the Worst Company in America contest.

EA’s flaws are well documented. From publishing half finished games to forcing DRM on the players, nearly ever gamer has some sort of issue with them.

EA has always been interested in publishing games for the biggest licenses. In the 2000s, they produced games for both the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings franchises. Ten years ago, you couldn’t imagine there being a movie series more popular than those two. Thanks to this high popularity, EA managed to produce weak, uninspired video games on both franchises that still managed a profit.

Despite LucasArts always getting a lot of praise, Star Wars games have been hit or miss over the past several years. In fact, both EA and LucasArts produced an RTS game based on the movie licenses that they had at the time. Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth came out 15 months prior to Star Wars: Empire at War, but it could be argued that the Lord of the Rings RTS was more innovative and fun to play than the Star Wars version.

With that in mind, it might not be a disaster for EA to be the publisher in charge of creating Star Wars games. Though EA has rarely made a licensed game worth raving about, they do have the ability to keep a game from being complete garbage. The worst possibility would have been if some lesser known company started producing Star Wars games that were on the same level as ET for the Atari. Though it likely could have been better, at the same time it could have been much worse.

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Wii U Gets a Likely Boost with a 3D Mario this Fall

As Super Mario Galaxy 2 nears the two year anniversary since its release, and with the Wii U struggling to generate sales, Nintendo has seemingly decided to unleash the big guns with a brand new 3D Mario game to be released this fall.

The Wii U has been a bit of an afterthought publicly for Nintendo through the first third of 2013. Promises have been made about how the fall release schedule will be one of the most packed in the history of Nintendo, but trailers and screenshots of promised games have been notably lacking.

At this point, we can only confirm Pikmin 3 and a new HD version of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, but there has been a lot of talk about a new Mario Kart and Smash Bros. Mario Kart and Smash Bros. will definitely be heavy hitters at E3 next month, but now it looks like a new 3D Mario game might steal their thunder.

Although there have been quite a few Mario games to come out lately, the pace is certainly much slower than in the Gamecube era. Back in the early 2000′s, Mario wasn’t only spraying water all over Delfino Island, but he was playing every sport imaginable from soccer to baseball. Lately, Mario has been hiding in the shadows a bit, especially with his brother Luigi taking some of the limelight lately with a new Luigi’s Mansion game released for the Nintendo 3DS earlier this year.

That looks like it’s going to change quickly though. Instead of having spin off games or remakes, Nintendo is reportedly putting out a whole new full fledged adventure for the Italian plumber. Nintendo has made it a point to not announce games until closer to the release date, especially after the controversy of announcing a new Smash Bros back in 2011 before they had even put together a development team. The new Mario game, which would likely be unveiled at E3, is looking at a possible release date in October.

Although there is a lot of catching up to do with console buzz, Nintendo has the resources and the classic mascots to do it. They know that they need to do a full court press right away if they’re going to stay in the game for this console generation.

Source: CVG

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Wii U

Wii U Will be Missing Out on Madden

Here comes another piece of evidence that EA might be working on deal with Microsoft. Last night, EA officially announced that Madden 25 won’t make an appearance on the Nintendo Wii U.

This is an unprecedented move by EA, as they have released a version of Madden for all major consoles ever since 1991, a streak of 21 consecutive years. The statement released by EA Sports was this:

We will not be releasing a Wii U version of Madden NFL in 2013. However, we have a strong partnership with Nintendo and will continue to evaluate opportunities for delivering additional Madden NFL products for Nintendo fans in the future.

For those who are familiar with Nintendo’s relationship with EA, you’ll realize quickly how inaccurate that statement is. EA has a really weak relationship with Nintendo, and will rarely develop a game from the ground up for a Nintendo console, especially since the Gamecube came out in 2001.

This news comes as being especially surprising, since last year’s Madden version showed some unique ideas for the Wii U. The game allowed players to use the tablet controller to draw receiver routes and make quick adjustments before the play. The game was a quick port from the Xbox 360/PS3 version, and it showed graphically. Despite the Wii U having a little more power than the other two consoles, the game looked worse and suffered from stutter problems. Despite this lack of effort from EA, the game still managed to sell a respectable amount of copies, even with it being released two months after the start of the football season.

There are a possible causes for this decision. Either EA has given up on the system before giving it a chance, or they have entered into some form of agreement with Microsoft for exclusivity. Either option is a possibility at this point, especially given EA’s history with Nintendo and the other evidence suggesting that they’ve teamed with Microsoft.

EA made a similar move when they released a ported version of Madden 12 with the Nintendo 3DS, and cancelled the series on the portable following poor sales despite the game coming out well into football season.

Source: Nintendo World Report

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Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts Teaming Up with Microsoft?

When Sony announced the PS4 just two months ago, one publisher that was noticeably absent was the largest third party, Electronic Arts. As we get closer to Microsoft’s reveal of the next Xbox, it has started to look more and more likely that EA will be offering some type of exclusive deal with Microsoft.

The latest nail in the coffin comes as Respawn Entertainment, a new studio under the wings of Electronic Arts, announced that their anticipated multiplayer shooter will be exclusive to Microsoft consoles. Respawn was founded by the original creators of the Call of Duty franchise.

Other evidence comes as Microsoft has begun to actively promote some of the EA Sports games on their twitter account. EA has been very quiet on next generation games coming to the PS4, despite the console likely being released in less than seven months.

With the rumors that the next Xbox will require an internet connection in order to even play a game, it isn’t surprising that the kings of DRM will do what they can to back that philosophy.

Microsoft would have quite a bit of trouble selling consoles with all things being equal other than an anti-consumer DRM policy such as an always online console. There are absolutely zero benefits to the consumer, who would otherwise be fine with online being optional. The only people that this helps is the game developers and publishers.

Electronic Arts has a history of trying to push DRM on their consumers. They came up with the idea of limited installs for PC games, online passes required to prevent used game sales, and they had the bright idea of having a historically single player franchise be forced to be played online, only for the launch to blow up in their face.

It all seems to fit together. Microsoft knows that they will seriously hinder the size of their consumer base if they had an always online console. They need exclusive games to convince gamers to still buy their console. EA doesn’t like used game sales and piracy eating into their profits, so they’re likely willing to take a short term loss in order to get rid of these practices. With Peter Moore being in such a prominent position at Electronic Arts, it’s likely that he was able to negotiate with some of his old buddies in Microsoft’s console division to make such a deal happen.

Although nothing is official yet, it’s looking likely that we’ll see some type of exclusive deal between Microsoft and Electronic Arts for the next Xbox when the console is revealed in just three short weeks. Here’s to hoping that our worst fears aren’t realized.

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Call of Duty

Surprise, Surprise! New Call of Duty Confirmed

I’m sure everybody has been wondering if there would be a Call of Duty released. For those who were starting to get worried, it’s time to ease your fears. It’s official! For the 9th consecutive year, Activision will be releasing a new Call of Duty game.

Continuing their tradition, Activision will be releasing a new Call of Duty game, this time with the subtitle of Ghosts. Every other game is developed by either Treyarch Studios or Infinity Ward. With Treyarch releasing Black Ops 2 last fall, it’s Infinity Ward’s turn for this year’s iteration.

Activision released a new web page yesterday with not much on it other than a Call of Duty title and a montage of tweets. These tweets were creating a picture of some sort, and more tweets were being added as people used the #CallofDuty hashtag. Over night, this picture finally completed and can be seen here.

Today, after that picture of Ghost was revealed, Activision confirmed those rumors and announced Call of Duty: Ghosts, which will be released on November 5, 2013. The character nicknamed Ghost was last seen in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which seems to suggest that the new game will also be set in a modern setting. They also released this poster:

Call of Duty

The Call of Duty franchise has been a bit of a joke for many gamers over the past few years. The once great first person shooter has been subject to rehashed titles and very little innovation. Now that the Modern Warfare series within the franchise appears to be over, there has been hope that the series will begin to reinvent itself. As long as Activision insists on releasing one game every year though, the opportunity to create new innovative features remains somewhat limited, as the developers are only given about eighteen months for development.

It is confirmed that the latest release for the Call of Duty franchise will be available on both the Xbox 360 and PS3. Although no announcements have been made, it can be assumed that the game will eventually be ported on to the next generation of consoles at some point.

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Next Xbox Likely to Include Video Sharing

It’s almost tradition now for game console developers to take ideas from other developers and put them into their consoles. Sony put in a half baked motion control sensor in their SIXAXIS controller after Nintendo announced the Wii. Nintendo copied their digital distribution model directly from the App Store. Now, Microsoft looks like they’ll be using Sony’s video sharing feature in the next generation Xbox.

Sony announced this feature as a part of their console reveal at the end of February. When in the middle of a game, gamers can press the “Share” button on their PS4 controller, and they would be able to send a live video stream to other gamers.

According to sources over at Polygon, the new system would work like a DVR system. Gamers would be able to record key moments automatically, such as when they receive achievements. They would also be able to rewatch their games, selecting highlights. These would then be able to be put directly on YouTube of other social media sites.

Though that doesn’t sound quite as cool as Sony allowing us to stream live broadcasts, it is definitely a framework that could lead to that feature easily. It does suggest that the next Xbox will also have a very large amount of onboard storage, if it’s going to be constantly recording HD video.

It’s not surprising to see such a similar feature implemented into the Xbox. Out of all of the PS4′s new features, the video broadcasts seemed to be one of the most popular ideas. Microsoft has had plenty of time to see that response and make a video sharing system of their own.

The downside to this feature likely being put into the new Xbox is that even more attention has been made to the social media and multimedia features of the new system, instead of having a focus on how to improve the gaming aspect of the console. Microsoft has a lot of ground to make up in the public eye when they reveal their new console. Their reveal is scheduled for May 21st, which is now just 22 days away. For many gamers, that date can’t come soon enough.

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The World’s Dumbest Video Games

There are elaborate games that are action-packed and can be played for hours such as Call of Duty and there are simple games that make a user think like Minecraft. These games are cool but there also lies another category and that’s The World’s Dumbest Video Games. Let’s take a look:

Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties
It’s hard to classify Plumbers Don’t Wear ties as one of the World’s Dumbest Video Games as instead it might qualify as the World’s Dumbest and Most Expensive Powerpoint Presentation. The game teases of being full motion video at the beginning but instead users are presented choices in a slideshow format in an attempt to get two strangers to fall in love. This game is billed as an adult adventure but the horrible voice acting and seemingly random plot is too much for any sane adult to sit through.

Hooters Road Trip
Racing games are cool and so are Hooters girls, it just seems kind of dumb to combine them in a video game. The point of the game is to win each race in the hopes of hanging out with Hooters girls at the end. That being said, wouldn’t it just be funner to do that in real life?

Shaq Fu
It would’ve been fun to be at the pitch meeting for Shaq Fu – “O.K. we’ve got Shaq in Tokyo for a celebrity basketball game, he stumbles into a Kung Fu dojo, he learns martial arts in a day but then is transferred to another dimension where he must save a strange boy from a mummy.”
“Let’s green light this project, Is Shaq available or is he filming Kazaam 2?”

There’s often a lot of yelling when playing Madden football against friends but the game Gnilley actually operates on screaming. By turning up the microphone on the computer, players attack enemies and bosses by shouting at different pitches at their computer screen. Seems like a great way to get acquainted with apartment neighbors.

E.T: The Extra Terrestrial
The 1982 release of E.T. might not classify as one of the world’s dumbest video games, but it’s universally bad. Atari acquired the rights to E.T. in late July 1982, giving developers only five weeks to produce the game by September 1st for production for the Christmas season. The game was so bad that it crippled Atari, helped lead to a North American video game crash,  and so many people returned the cartridges that they had to be buried in a New Mexico land fill.

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No E3 Press Conference for Nintendo in 2013

Since 1995, the first year of E3, console developers have without fail held a press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Even when the event downsized to an audience of just 5,000 guests, everybody still held a big press conference. Nintendo announced early this morning in Japan that they will not be holding a major press conference at E3, but will instead hold small events geared at specific audiences during the Expo.

With E3 making such a focus on the Western audience, Nintendo felt that it would be important to keep the Japanese gamers involved as well. During E3, Nintendo plans on releasing at least one Nintendo Direct. A Nintendo Direct is a 10-15 minute video that the gaming company has made to send information directly to gamers and media over the internet. When Nintendo has wanted to send out a video in the past, they have informed media sources of the time and gave a link for where the video could be watched.

Nintendo Direct has become a major platform for Nintendo to make big announcements over the past two years. In the most recent announcement, Nintendo announced a new Mario Party, Yoshi’s Island, and a new Legend of Zelda game for the 3DS.

One of the major advantages of waiting until E3 for these announcements was that a gaming company could swing a lot of momentum in their favor with just a 90 minute press conference. There was a lot of risk involved as well, because a bad press conference would leave a negative image in many people’s mind.

With other next generation consoles being put on full display at E3, Nintendo is taking a major risk by flying under the radar. Without offering a public press conference, it’s likely that they’ll be all but forgotten at E3. There also is the fact that a large amount of announcements grouped together generally looks better than having them spread out over many months.

On the other hand, Nintendo gets to make their announcements on their own schedule, without having to worry as much about getting overshadowed when they do make their announcements. It’s just another opportunity for Nintendo to avoid competing directly with the other consoles.

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XBOX 720

XBOX 720 To Be Announced on May 21

This is it Xbox fans, Microsoft has confirmed that it will “give you a real taste of the future” during an event being held on the 21st of May. Microsoft has confirmed that it will be holding an even on May 21 at the headquarters in Redmond, Washington and will be revealing the XBOX 720 (we will use this until the actual name is announced).

“On Tuesday May 21st, we’ll mark the beginning of a new generation of games, TV and entertainment,” said Microsoft’s announcement. “On that day, we’ll be holding a special press event on the Xbox campus and we invite you to join us via the live global stream that will be available on Xbox.com, Xbox Live and broadcast on Spike TV if you are in the US or Canada.”

A good move by Microsoft here, showing the XBOX 720 live event one TV as well as various other sources ensures that no gamer is left behind. Gamers like me who reside in Asia also want to experience the thrill of the XBOX 720 announcement and it will be a shame if we missed that due to a “technical problem” on the video streaming site.

“On that day, we’ll share our vision for Xbox, and give you a real taste of the future,” stated the announcement. “Then, 19-days later at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, we’ll continue the conversation and showcase our full lineup of blockbuster games.”

So here is what I think, Microsoft will bring the actual XBOX 720 console on the stage and showcase its various features without touching the games. Because in the recent years Microsoft has shifted the focus on gaming and is working to make the XBOX a media center device, the one to take over your TV. If that is the case be ready to witness, Kinect video controls and better Netflix integration.

“We are thrilled to pull back the curtain and reveal what we’ve been working on.”

We are too Microsoft, but please don’t bring the always online thing up again. Or be ready to be booed down the stage

Source: Gamespot

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