News from the video game industry for the week of November 23
Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN sum up some of the news from the gaming industry over the past week in one article. In this week's edition of Weekly Game Replay, we take a look at the strong sales of Super Smash Brothers, Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby for Nintendo consoles, Ubisoft's free downloadable content (DLC) and games for botched Assassin's Creed Unity launch, This War of Mine statistics, new Star Citizen funding goals for pets, and upcoming PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Games with Gold releases.
First expansion for Blizzard game in the works, bringing more than 100 new cards
A new expansion for Blizzard's popular online card game Hearthstone is reportedly in the works. Production Direction Jason Chayes spoke with Polygon this week, informing the publication that more than 100 new cards are being produced as a part of the game's first expansion. Chayes said that the developer has thought a lot about the pacing of not only the game, but also in how content is released. He adds that Blizzard was pleased with the reception of the Curse of the Naxxramas add-on, which only added 30 cards to the game.
New white bundle includes 18-title instant game collection
Sony has launched a new version of the PlayStation 3 in North America, this time in "Classic White." The new console bundle will also have a matching white controller, a 500GB hard drive, the console's largest ever; and a year-long membership to PlayStation Plus, including access to a downloadable collection of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita games.
PS3 gets 3D Harry Potter, PS Plus bundle
Sony brought out a late PlayStation 3 holiday bundle on Tuesday to catch Black Friday buyers next week. The new bundle ties a 160GB PS3 to both 2D and 3D versions of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 on Blu-ray. A coupon in the box gives access to downloadable versions of the two earliest movies in the series, Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets.
Search by title, actor, category, studio, more
A post on the PlayStation Network blog describes a new application called "Video Unlimited - preview." The app will be available from the Media section of the PlayStation store. The app provides previews for over 40,000 items in the PSN library. It gives users an extremely flexible search tool, allowing searches by title, actor, director, category, studio, and more. When an item is selected, the app gives the usual synopsis in the middle of the screen, and suggestions for other viewing in a sidebar on the right side.
Sony says PSN may stay partly down until May 31
Sony spokesman Shigenori Yoshida said Monday in Tokyo that the ongoing PlayStation Network outage wouldn't be resolved until May 31. While basic service didn't have a timetable for coming back, it wasn't expected to impact a more definitive plan to have everything back by the end of the month, he told Bloomberg. PSN is due to come back with a new security model and will require a password change along with new PS3 and possibly PSP firmware.
PS3 cloud save games live
Rumors of PS3 cloud saved games came true with an update from Sony. The 3.60 firmware update will give PlayStation Plus owners the option of backing up saved games to PSN, letting them switch systems without losing progress. As much as 150MB or 1,000 files will sit online.
PS3 Internet saved game syncing due with 3.6 patch
PS3 owners could soon get an online based saved game sync system through PlayStation Plus. An apparent leak of a Sony developer update late Friday has suggested Sony will give the premium subscribers the option of storing games on a server. Similar to Valve's Steam, the Kotaku-described Online Saving approach would tie the saves to the player's account and could bring them back after switching to a new console or if the hard drive dies.
Sony announces discounted PS3, PSP warranties
Sony announced on Tuesday that PlayStation Plus subscribers will have a 25 percent discount on the PlayStation Protection Plan. The extended service plan for the PS3 and portable PSP lengthens the devices' standard one-year warranty by one or two years. They also eliminate shipping and most of the other secondary costs associated with getting the consoles fixed.
Hulu Plus PS3 enters limited release
Sony gave some PS3 owners a reward this afternoon as it pushed out the preview version of Hulu Plus on the game console. PlayStation Plus subscribers can download the app and, with an invite, can watch TV shows through the $10 monthly service. The initial version will support the entire library and HD video.
Hulu Plus won't need PS Plus in finished PS3 relea
Hulu has allayed fears that it would require PlayStation Plus to use Hulu Plus on the PS3. A gamer asking the TV streaming service was told that Hulu Plus only needs the yearly Sony subscription to work during the preview phase. When the full Hulu Plus is available, customers will only pay the $10 per month attached to the service itself.