Squad based strategy comes to mobile and desktop worlds
Trying to mash tactics and strategy into a game that spans computers and mobile devices is no easy task. Not only do the controls need to be precise enough to use with a mouse and touchscreen, but the game must offer a consistent experience. Best known for Battlecruiser 3000AD in the late 90s, 3000AD has offered gamers a tactical, squad based strategy game in Line of Defense Tactics across multiple platforms -- OS X, Windows, iOS and Android. The game focuses on strategic thinking and resource management to get a squad of four through their missions in one piece. Does the game hit all the right marks considering its ambitious reach? Or will Line of Defense Tactics end up a frustrating game because of it?
Yoshi themed limited edition 3DS XL launches March 14 for $199
Nintendo has announced that it will release a limited-edition, bright green, Yoshi-themed 3DS XL handheld on March 14. The release of the handheld coincides with the launch of the newest Yoshi game from Nintendo, Yoshi's New Island. While the console will have a price tag of $199, Nintendo has stated that it will not come pre-loaded with the new Yoshi game, nor will it come with a physical copy.
Ubisoft's 'hack everything' game to be released May 2014
Ubisoft's open world, cyber-espionage title Watch_Dogs now has official release dates of May 27 for North America and May 29 for the rest of the world on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC. The game was pushed in back in October 2013 from its original release window, which coincided with Ubisoft's fiscal year-end of March. Watch_Dogs was originally pinned to be a launch title for the newest generation of consoles, but had been delayed to this spring in order to allow more time for its development. Gamers holding out for the Wii U version will have longer to wait, as a release date for Nintendo's console has yet to be confirmed.
Assassin's Creed Pirates for iOS and Android adds new map area
Ubisoft has announced that its game Assassin's Creed Pirates has been updated for iOS and Android devices. The update includes a new map area and campaign missions, with three new secondary missions and new treasures and diaries available for collecting. Each map features its own "survival mission," where players can fish and hunt whales for food. The update to Assassin's Creed Pirates is free for existing users.
Division responsible for $1.3 billion in losses in seven years
As a result of a shift in strategy, Disney's Internet and video game department Disney Interactive is laying off 25 percent of its employees, effective immediately. Around 700 employees are now looking for work, following 2013's consolidation of Disney's mobile and social game development efforts.
Shawn Layden of Sony Entertainment Network slated to lead division
Sony Computer Entertainment today announced that Jack Tretton will step down from his role as president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) as of March 31. Reportedly, the split is a result of a mutual agreement between Tretton and SCEA not to renew their contractual relationship. Executive Vice President Shawn Layden will become president and CEO of SCEA, effective April 1.
OnLive offers streaming option to downloaded games bought elsewhere
Streaming gaming service OnLive is attempting a relaunch by announcing two new services, following its meltdown in 2012. Retaining the same Playpack subscription option and going through a graphical overhaul, OnLive is taking the opportunity to add to its existing streaming offerings, with CloudLift streaming games already owned by the user, and a second service meant for developers called OnLive Go.
Twitch SDK allows players to stream game footage from mobile devices
Game video streaming service Twitch is hoping to expand the reach of its service into mobile gaming, from its existing PC and console efforts. The announced Twitch Mobile Software Development Kit will allow developers to add Twitch streaming to mobile titles, letting gamers broadcast their gameplay live, as well as capturing and archiving the video for future viewing.
Compatible with Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation, 2.5K other devices
Accessories maker Logitech has extended its line of Harmony remote controls to include a new "Harmony Smart Keyboard" that the company is aiming for the growing number of non-computer "smart devices" around the home -- particularly "living room" devices like Apple TVs, video game consoles, audio systems and digital video recorders, among others. Logitech says the keyboard is compatible with 225,000 home-entertainment devices covering 5,000 brands.
Updates support for OS X 10.9.2, CUDA update also available
On Monday, video card maker Nvidia released updated drivers for 2010, 2009 and 2008-model Mac Pro units, along with a reminder that the units will need the previously-updated CUDA 5.5.28 driver for Mac in order to leverage the CUDA architecture in some Nvidia cards. The updated drivers bring support for the latest version of OS X Mavericks (10.9.2), and include an Nvidia Driver Manager preference pane.
Job posting hints at lightweight Xbox Live framework for mobile developers
Microsoft is planning to push for Xbox Live to be more cross-platform than it already is, by making it easier for developers to include in their apps, according to a rumor. The company is preparing to extend the Live platform to more games, with a recent job posting hinting that it will compete directly with Google Play Games and Apple's Game Center on mobile devices.
Intel's new SSD 730 Series available for pre-order
Intel has made its new Solid-State Drive 730 Series available for pre-order. A powerful hard drive intended for gaming and heavy work use, the SSD 730 Series offers low latency and a high throughput, allowing for quick response times. Able to complete up to 70GB of writes per day as opposed to the industry typical 20GB, the drive is capable of delivering consistent performance across data types. Interested buyers can now pre-order the SSD 730, with its official release being March 18.
Bounty put up for first to use new public drivers to run Quake III
The Raspberry Pi Foundation is celebrating the second birthday of the Raspberry Pi, by announcing over 2.5 million sales of the $35 computer, and by offering a bounty for developers. The first person to run Quake III on the microcomputer using new drivers for Broadcom's VideoCore IV 3D graphics core "at a playable framerate" will receive $10,000.
Sequel to Avadon: The Black Fortress now available for iPad
Spiderweb Software's sequel to its award-winning role-play game, Avadon: The Black Fortress has been released for iPad. Avadon 2: The Corruption is the second chapter of the Avadon trilogy, and offers the choice between five different types of characters for exploring the game's large world. Gamers are charged with the goal of protecting their homeland of Avadon from foes of the "Pact" of warriors, mages, spies and assassins who have trained in the Black Fortress. The game is available through Steamfor Windows and OS X users, and can be purchased for iPad from the App Store for $10.
Activision to publish mobile phone and tablet version of skateboarding game
In an interview with Bloomberg last week, skateboarder and entrepreneur Tony Hawk revealed that the next iteration of his skateboarding game franchise would be released on mobile platforms. This marks the first time the series has headed directly to mobile devices, and the first game to be released since Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD in 2012.
Beta version uses Dropbox to backup game progress and settings
Razer's Game Booster has been gained another feature in its recent beta release, bringing cloud-saving capabilities to the software for game save files and settings as the company branches out further. The new Game Save Manager currently supports over 2,000 titles with more being added.
Steam's Family Sharing feature exits beta
Digital game distributor Steam has officially released its Family Sharing feature. Originally released in beta, users can now authorize another user and their device to "borrow" a game from their library. Up to 10 computers can share one library at a time, with up to five different accounts permitted to use any of the aforementioned computers. Steam's Family Library Sharing is now available for all users.
Google+ Hangouts for iOS adds iOS7 optimization, video messaging
Messaging app Google+ Hangouts has received an update for iOS devices. Google+ Hangouts features free group audio calling with up to 10 people, and phone calls can be made through the app for free to numbers in the US and Canada. Now optimized for use on iPad, users of v2.0 can access picture-in-picture video calling as well as record and send video messages up to 10 seconds long. The app has been updated to reflect iOS 7, and has the addition of shareable animated stickers for expressing feelings and sending a map of one's current location. Google+ Hangouts is free to download, and is available on iTunes.
Nintendo prepares to shutter Wii, DS multiplayer services on May 20th
Nintendo has revealed it will be shutting down its online multiplayer servers for the Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii on May 20th. The global closure will stop multiplayer games from working online through the Wi-Fi Connection service, but it will still allow other online aspects, such as the Wii Shop and video-on-demand services, to continue working. Online play for games made for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U will remain unaffected by the closure.
Original developer plans to introduce new titles to App Store
Despite efforts by Apple to prevent some of the more brazen clones of the popular-but-pulled iOS game Flappy Bird, a recent sampling of new iOS games released in a 24-hour period has revealed that one-third of them are either direct clones with different artwork and names, or at least use the same gameplay mechanic to the point that they are obviously borrowing the concept.
Microsoft offers 100GB OneDrive storage via Bing Rewards scheme
After the success of its 100GB of cloud storage giveaway to 100,000 users as part of the SkyDrive rebrand to OneDrive, Microsoft is offering another way to gain the large block of online storage. The Bing Blog claims users of the Bing Rewards scheme, a program that offers discounts and other incentives for using Bing, will exchange 100 credits for a code, which provides access to the same 100GB allocation for one year, though the promotion will only be offered until June 30th of this year.
Documents 5 launches for iPhone and iPad February 27
Readdle's Documents 5 is set to launch this Thursday, offering users a centralized hub for interacting with digital content. By creating an interconnected ecosystem of core Readdle apps, Documents 5 facilitates a workflow where users can readily access different tools normally found in separate apps. For example, if a user wants to convert a PNG file into a PDF, one can open the PNG file and convert it to PDF from the Documents 5 app, which will automatically open PDF Converter and paste it in the Documents 5 root folder. This applies to PDF Expert 5, and Printer Pro integration as well. Documents 5 will be available free from the App Store beginning February 27.
Xbox One's Titanfall Special Edition Bundle now available for pre-order
Multiplayer game Titanfall is now available for pre-order as part of a special edition console bundle, according to Xbox One's blog. Titanfall will utilize new patty and chat improvements that have been in development for Xbox One, as well as multiplayer alerts for matches while users are watching TV, and more. In light of the game's upcoming launch, Xbox and Titanfall's creators -- Respawn Entertainment and Electronic Arts -- have announced the Xbox One Titanfall Bundle, priced at $500. The bundle includes a digital download of Titanfall, an Xbox One console and Kinect sensor, a wireless controller, a chat headset, and a one month Xbox Live Gold membership. The pre-order has begun, with the bundle available officially March 11.
Includes unusual iPhone mount
Accessory maker Mad Catz has announced the C.T.R.L.i, a new wireless gamepad for iOS devices. The controller connects via Bluetooth, and works with any device capable of running iOS 7. It comes with a spring-loaded mount, however, specially tailored to hold an iPhone 5, 5s, or 5c at a convenient viewing angle.
Sony starts selling PlayStation 4 in Japan months after US, European launches
Sony has launched the PlayStation 4 game console in Japan, months after shipping it to customers in the United States and Europe. While it has already sold 5.3 million units in other markets when competing against the Xbox One, the launch in Japan will be largely uncontested, with The Verge noting no news of an Xbox One launch in the country has been issued by Microsoft, and the Nintendo's Wii-U continues to sell poorly.
Aria headphones feature 50mm full-range neodymium magnet drivers, wooden acoustic chamber
Luxury gaming instruments company Feenix has announced the upcoming availability of its headset, Aria. Intended for gamers who desire a high level of sound quality, Aria focuses on reproducing sounds as well as a studio monitor. The headphones possess 50mm full-range neodymium magnet drivers, and an acoustic chamber composed of Japanese pine wood. Its independent cardioid clip microphone allows for unidirectional voice recording, with its recording capability making Aria suitable for an every day headphone as well as a gaming headset. Aria's ear cushions are made of memory foam and protein leather for comfortable wearing. Currently available for pre-order online, the Aria headset is priced at $350.
Former jailbroken software bypasses App Store, poses security risk
A former "unofficial" app that required jailbreaking an iOS device to run its Game Boy emulator has attempted to "backdoor" its way onto non-jailbroken devices by hijacking a legitimate certificate, which has now been disabled by Apple. The app, GBA4iOS 2, offered emulation of Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance games on iOS 7 devices, and included a built-in browser to allow users to pirate ROMs.
Humble Bundle 11 launches with Monaco, Dust, Giana Sisters, Guacamelee
The eleventh Humble Indie Bundle has been launched. This time around, the bundle consists of four titles: fighting game Guacamelee! Gold Edition, quest game Dust: An Elysian Tail, platformer Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, and puzzle-platformer The Swapper. In addition, puzzle title Antichamber and heist game Monaco are unlocked for users that pay more than the average purchase price. All six titles are compatible with Linux, Windows, and OS X.
Sony shifts 5.3M PlayStation 4 consoles, beats recent Xbox sales figures
Sony has sold over 5.3 million PlayStation 4 game consoles globally as of February 8th, the company has revealed. The news comes just days before the company launches the console in its native Japan on February 22nd. In comparison, Microsoft's January financial results toward the end of January showed it sold 3.9 million competing Xbox One consoles and 3.5 million of the Xbox 360.
PrioVR gaming suit Kickstarter raises well over its fundraising goal
Motion-based game controller suit PrioVR, has surpassed its funding goal with $75,000 with 40 days remaining in its campaign. Consisting of a suit that can be configured in three ways -- a half-body suit, or two full-body styles adding leg movement -- PrioVR translates body movement into gameplay. Early-bird pricing for the full body suit is sold out, however the upper-body version, PrioVR Lite, can still be pledged for starting at $250. Delivery is expected in June, with the campaign ending on March 31.
Security startup SlickLogin purchased by Google
Israeli security startup SlickLogin has announced that it will be joining Google, in light of the company's recent buyout. Aiming to offer a simplistic yet secure method of user authentication, SlickLogin's users can authorize access to a secure account by placing their phone next to their laptop or tablet, which emits an undetectable sound. The sound acts as a unique audio password, and utilizes patent-pending technologies. Google's acquisition of SlickLogin suggests that its two-factor authentication technology may be replaced in the future.
'Classic' hip-hop band De La Soul offering free albums for 25 hours
Nineties hip-hop group De La Soul, mired in copyright issues preventing iTunes digital distribution of previously-released albums, has temporarily released their back catalog to the public for free. Available for download (in exchange for an email address at the De La Soul website) are the albums 3 Feet High and Rising, De La Soul is Dead, Buhloone Mindstate, Stakes Is High, both offerings in the Art Official Intelligence series, and a compilation of "remixes, instrumentals, and rarities." The offer is valid through noon eastern standard time on February 15.
Black-only handheld replaces OLED with LCD, smaller touchpad
The new "slim" PlayStation Vita PCH-2000 will see a North American release this spring in a bundle with popular 2011 shooter Borderlands 2. As opposed to the Japanese version with its six colors, the US bundle will come only in black. The new model is 20 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter than the existing model. Also, the OLED display in the original has been replaced by a five-inch LCD version which allows for up to another hour of battery life.
Rumors suggested threat of lawsuit might be responsible
The creator of Flappy Bird, Dong Nguyen, didn't pull the app because of threats from Nintendo, a spokesman for the latter suggests. Although very different in terms of gameplay, many people have commented that the pipes in Flappy Bird look similar or identical to those from Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. series. In a new email, spokesman Yasuhiro Minagawa repeats the position that Nintendo has never made any complaints.
Xbox One update due February 11, adds battery life indicator
Microsoft's Xbox One is set to have an update released, addressing issues encountered by users since the console's launch. The update is due February 11th, featuring issue corrections regarding storage management, and the addition of a battery life indicator for the console's controller. Libraries will be split into two separate lists of 'My Games' and 'My Apps', as to simplify file searches. Also expected in the update is the added ability to use a USB keyboard with the console.
Reasons behind removal of popular free-to-play game are unclear
The developer of a wildly-successful game has pulled the app from both the iOS App Store and Google Play. Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen, the creator of Flappy Bird and sole employee of .Gears, made the decision to remove the game from availability, posting about its imminent shutdown on Twitter 22 hours beforehand, though it is still unclear exactly why Nguyen has taken this course of action.
Game hinders users ability to rate lower than five stars
Information has surfaced about the new free-to-play Dungeon Keeper game that has lead to a public outcry against Electronic Arts by gamers and fans of the series. In information reported by Gamasutra, the game uses questionable means in order to secure five star ratings on the Google Play.
QuadStick video game controller for quadriplegic gamers succeeds Kickstarter goal
Complex mouth-based controller for quadriplegic console gamers, QuadStick, has succeeded in reaching and surpassing its Kickstarter goal of ten thousand dollars. Composed as a single joystick, four sip-and-puff sensors, a lip position sensor and a push switch, the controller outputs to both USB and Bluetooth, and then into gaming hardware. QuadStick will be compatible with PCs, Android devices and PS3s, and with the addition of an adapter, Xbox One and Xbox 360 as well. Controller configuration is available,with pre-arranged setups built in. Users can use its straws to shift between different control methods.
Nerf N-Strike Elite Nerf Cam EC5-12 Blaster to feature 1.77 inch color screen
A new prototype from Nerf shows the company taking new steps in embracing technology: a new blaster in their N-Strike line will have a mounted video camera for recording the dart-slinging action as it happens. Yahoo Tech was able to try out the Nerf N-Strike Elite Nerf Cam EC5-12 Blaster -- a motorized, clip-loading platform that shoots darts to 90 feet, featuring a 1.77-inch color screen.
IP, 75 staff acquired by Amazon in game studio purchase
Amazon has acquired a game studio, in what is believed to be an attempt to bolster its gaming division. The retailer will absorb approximately 75 staff and all intellectual property of Double Helix Games, the team behind the Xbox One-exclusive Killer Instinct, with it becoming the second studio under its control alongside Amazon Game Studios.
Indie-focused digital game store for Mac games grows, library close to 500 games
ShinyLoot, an indie-focused digital game store has been open for under a year and offers a Steam alternative to Mac users. Including 425 games that run on OS X, ShinyLoot focuses on DRM-free downloads, and offers free purchasing credits for user-created reviews. All titles are available worldwide without regional pricing, and by using a trait-based filter system, users can easily select games that best fit their interests. No separate client is required.
NudeAudio announces Studio 5, its first home speaker
NudeAudio announced today its asymmetrical home speaker, the Studio 5. Featuring Bluetooth and Apple Lightning connectivity, the Studio 5 is compatible with all smartphones and tablets. Its 2.1 audio system offers high-fidelity sound, and is housed in metal and fabric material combination. The Studio 5's play-control buttons are hidden in its circular dock-plate, and its iPad support is composed of transparent polycarbonate.
17-inch Alienware for $1,399 and more
Currently at Dell, buyers can get a 17-inch Alienware gaming laptop computer for $1,499. Use coupon code '2M66J?BPVPP$F3' to drop the price down to $1,399. That's about $70 less than the lowest price offered anywhere else. This model features a 2.4GHz Intel i7 (Haswell) processor, 8GB of RAM and a 750GB hard drive, with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit pre-installed. A one-year warranty on parts and labor is included.
TellTale release second episode of The Wolf Among Us across devices this week
TellTale Games' The Wolf Among Us is releasing its second instalment, an episodic adventure game for iOS, PC, Mac, PS3 and Xbox 360. Based on the comic book series Fables, players take on the role of Bigby Wolf and affect the storyline of the game by their choices throughout the adventure. PC and Mac versions of The Wolf Among Us, Episode 2 will be released Tuesday, with the PS3 and Xbox versions available Wednesday (in the UK) and the iOS version is set for debut on Friday.
Increase in Windows 8.1 usage still not enough to beat Windows 7 on Steam
The adoption of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 by gamers has broken 21 percent for the first time, up from 20.06 percent for December, according to the latest figures from the Steam Hardware & Software Survey. Last month, Windows 8.1 systems made up 10.75 percent, with Windows 8 existing on 10.56 percent of reporting systems, though this is still far behind the older Windows 7.
Rumor of Xbox One without disc drive denied, others still plausible
Microsoft is not working on a cut-price version of the Xbox One game console without a disc drive, a company executive has seemingly confirmed. When asked about rumors of a $399 Xbox One over Twitter, Microsoft Chief of Staff for Devices and Studios group Aaron Greenberg advised "No, you cannot believe everything you read on the Internet."
Moshi releases flip cover case for iPhone 5s and 5c, features embedded touch sensors
Mobile accessory maker Moshi unveiled earlier this week its flip cover case for iPhone 5s and 5c, the SenseCover. Allowing users to swipe to answer phone calls or silence alarms without exposing the iPhone's touchscreen, Moshi's touch-sensitive plates within the front cover offers a design similar to what is seen from Samsung's S-View flip cover for Galaxy handsets. Its cutout near the top lets the caller identification information still remain visible. When access to the touchscreen is desired, the cover can be folded back and kept open by its rear-mounted magnetic clasp.
Add-on gives added depth, choices for endgame
Ever since the first Civilization title shipped on a pair of floppy disks in the early '90s, the series has been a staple on the PC and Macintosh. Late in 2013, Firaxis helmed by Sid Meier pushed out the second major expansion to Civilization V, called Brave New World. With the game itself a few years old and the expansion costing more than the base game itself now does, is the expansion a worthwhile addition to the series, or more of the same?
AMD-powered gaming in a small box
Gigabyte launched its latest in the Brix series of ultra-compact PCs this week, the Brix Gaming. Taking the small-form PC to gaming, the Brix Gaming packs AMD technology to power its small box. With a footprint of only 59.6mm x 128mm x 115.4mm (2.35in x 5.04in x 4.54in), the small form factor is jumping to the market when the idea of the Steam machine is still fresh on the mind from this year's Consumer Electronics Show.
Portable Puku S8 charger offers 900 hours of smartphone standby time
Puku has announced its new portable charger, the Puku S8. Featuring a powerful rechargeable battery, the S8 provides three to five full charges for an average smartphone in a small form factor. Compatible with smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices that charge through a micro USB cable (or adapter for micro USB), its compact design allows for easy carrying while travelling. One charging of the S8 can power up to 900 hours of standby time, 36 hours of talk time and 153 hours of media play time. The Puku S8 is available in six colors, and is priced at $100.