Sony Officially Ends PlayStation Vita First Party Support

The PlayStation Vita has a library of stunning JRPGs including Persona 4 Golden and impressive hardware specifications. Despite this, the console is a commercial failure and struggled to compete with the Nintendo 3DS. Additionally, the rise of cheap, smartphone gaming made dedicated handsets seem like an outdated notion. Although, the core games on the 3DS and Vita are of a much higher quality. On another note, Sony’s absurd proprietary memory card pricing alienated quite a large amount of customers. Given the software library’s niche audience, Sony decided to cease first party development.  Sony Computer Entertainment SVP Masayasu Ito told 4Gamers (via DualShockers):

“At the beginning the PS Vita did not resonate with age targets under 20, but now the situation is changing and the popularity with younger demographics is increasing. Minecraft: PS Vita Edition has provided a boost.”

“In addition to that, a variety of third party  games is also planned for the future, and in order to further accelerate that flow, we decided to release new colors for the PS Vita this fall.”

“Currently, first party studios have no titles in development for PS Vita. Since third parties are working very hard on PS Vita, SCE’s own strategy is to focus on PS4, which is a new platform.”

Currently, the Vita is being supported by a number of Japanese 3rd party developers, so this shouldn’t be a cause for concern. However, Sony appears to be giving up on the Vita and handheld market in general.

Do you own a PlayStation Vita?

Aqua Blue PS Vita Launching In The US This November

The PS Vita has been somewhat disappointing over its life and so have recent handheld consoles in general, the emergence of mobile phone and tablets have transferred the consumer base onto a more multi-tasking devices. In the US at least, the PS Vita will be launching with a new colour scheme which might entice fans of the handheld to buy into the experience, or more likely it’s just a money shaming gimmick.

The colour in question will be Aqua Blue which will stand out considering US buyers have been limited to either Black or White options up until now. The basic device will be the same, there won’t be any hardware improvements and under the shiny colour will still be the second generation Vita which is currently out on the market. The Recommended Retail Price will be $199.99, so $200 dollars then.

Below is two further screenshots of the handheld, as you can see, it’s quite striking but other than that, it’s the same. Sony have informed fans that it’s better to pre-order the console as of now, as it “won’t be around for long” It will be interesting to note how this device fares within the market considering game developer support is slowly losing interest in the PS Vita, it remains to be seen how sales will fare.

Pricing and New Name Revealed for SteamOS Powered Handheld

Valve made a great choice when they allowed third party manufacturers to create SteamOS powered hardware, the same strategy behind Android and what most likely contributed to its huge market share. If Valve can pull off the same with SteamOS, that is something that only time will tell, but it looks great up until now.

We’ve previously seen a lot of known vendors presenting their SteamOS powered devices and we’ve also had a glimpse of the SteamBoy handheld gaming device. The SteamBoy is now officially unveiled under its new name, the portable Smach Zero Steam machine and it is going to start shipping by Q4 2016 with pre-orders starting November 10th, 2015.

The specifications aren’t anything that will blow us away, but it’s decent. You get a 5-inch touch screen with a 720p resolution, 4GB RAM, and 32GB storage space. It is also possible to expand the storage with the use of SD cards. It features Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G LTE connectivity and also an HDMI output for gaming on a bigger screen. There wasn’t any word on what CPU it will use.

Smach, the company behind the device, is confident that it is enough to deliver a great experience in popular games such as Dota2, Half-Life 2, and Civilization V. I question the last one, especially in a late-game on a huge map full of cities and land improvements.

The good news is the price and the Smach Zero can be pre-ordered through the company’s website for $299, but not until November 10th. That is about the price of a “normal” smartphone – and it’s pretty much just that, except that it’s loaded with SteamOS and has the added controls on each side.

Thank You UberGizmo for providing us with this information

Huawei P8 Blueprint Hints at Super-Slim Design and Fingerprint Scanner

Huawei is said to be hosting an event in London on April 15th where it is expected to reveal their Huawei P8 handset. As the date draws closer, more and more leaks seem to be surfacing with
details on the company’s smartphone.

The latest points to a leaked blueprint of the Huawei P8. If proven to be legit, it would confirm that all the alleged images of the device leaked so far are authentic. However, the blueprint confirms more than just a few screenshots of the device.

It is said that the blueprint also provides exact measurements of the handset, having the body specs set at 5.7 x 2.83 x 0.26 inches. This means that the P8 is taller, wider and slightly ‘fatter’ than its predecessor, the P7. The size also suggest that it might house an even bigger screen too, having speculations reveal that it might come with a 5.2-inch display.

Another interesting aspect found in the blueprints reveals a rectangular shape cut out on the backside of the handset. This obviously suggests that the P8 might be coming with a fingerprint scanner, but the shape is a bit confusing. Some sources also suggest that it might house some sort of touchpad, though these are obviously speculations.

Summing it all up, the information collected so far point to the Huawei P8 being a 5.2-inch 1080 x 1920 pixels smartphone, boasted by an Octa-Core Kirin 930 CPU, 3GB of RAM, a 13 MP back and 8MP front camera and powered by a 2,600 mAh battery.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information

This War of Mine Soon to Be Released on iPads

11 Bit Studios plan to release their IGF 2015 awarded title, This War of Mine, on iPads in the near future. Currently, the title is supported on PCs, Macs, Linux-powered machines, as well as Steam Machines.

Since the game does not need a state-of-the-art computer in order to run it and mobile devices nowadays are quite able to handle a bit of advanced graphics anyway, it would be wise for the company to enter the mobile market. The title is said to be available on the AppStore later on this year.

Thank you Kotaku for providing us with this information

Microsoft Teams up with Intel to Bring Low-Cost Windows 10 Smartphones

Microsoft has been working with ARM-based processors for their smartphones up until now, having all of its Lumias powered by Qualcomm’s SoCs. Things are about to change later this year, having the corporate giant teaming up with Intel to release Intel-based Lumias along with its latest Windows Phone 10 OS.

Intel as announced at the Mobile World Congress that Windows Phone 10 is set to run on handsets and phablets powered by the company’s upcoming Atom X3 chips codenamed Sofia. Handsets powered by the X3 chips are said to have a price tag ranging from $75 to $249 and will not have a Windows Phone OS exclusivity, having Intel planning to integrate the X3 in Android-powered handsets as well.

While Windows Phone has only a 2.7% market share, as per the 2014 statistics, Aicha Evans, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Communication and Devices Group, is optimistic about the partnership between the two company giants. He hopes that this will also help Intel gain more ground in the hand-held devices market, a place currently dominated by the ARM chips.

Thank you PC World for providing us with this information

New Nintendo 3DS Coming to US and Europe

Remember that ‘new’ Nintendo 3DS that is slightly more powerful and includes more buttons? Well now it’s coming to Europe and the United States.

Nintendo announced the news in a Nintendo Direct presentation. They said that the US will receive a New 3DS XL, but no New standard 3DS. Europe on the other hand will get both, the bigger XL model and the smaller one. In the US the console will cost $199.99, but no price has been announced for the European model as of yet.

The consoles are indeed faster, with Nintendo claiming that it will load games quicker. It also has better Wi-Fi, allowing faster downloads and it also includes NFC support for those Amiibo figures.

It’s also worth mentioning that the console doesn’t come packaged with a power adaptor – something Nintendo has been doing in Japan for years. Why? Well it lowers the overall cost of the console for the many millions that already have a power adaptor from their old console, perhaps representative of Nintendo’s traditionally conservative Japanese attitude to business. Obviously that is at the inconvience of those who don’t have an adapter, but they don’t cost all that much on their own anyway.

The consoles will be available from February 13th, 2015.

Source: Engadget

New Nintendo 3DS Contains Secret Game

The New Nintendo 3DS, which was recently released in Japan and Australia, contains a hidden game accessible only via the web browser. Simply tap the tune of the Super Mario Bros theme on the ‘new page’ screen of the 3DS’ web browser to be greeted with this Breakout-like game.

The game allows you to break up block representations of your most visited websites.

what happens if you tap out the mario theme in the new 3DS browser?

A video posted by sam byford (@345triangle) on

Source: The Verge

Nintendo to End Sale of 3DS XL In Japan

In a report from Siliconera, it has been suggested that Nintendo is planning to discontinue the sale of the Nintendo 3DS XL in Japan.

The larger version of the company’s 3DS handheld console has been widely successful, selling 234,000 units in Japan, leading some to wonder why Nintendo might want to pull it. t’s also no surprise though, that the release of the New Nintendo 3DS is the most probable reason for the change. The new console is better for gameplay with its dual analog sticks and trigger buttons and has already received great reviews since it was announced. The 3DS has performed better than its home console brother, the Wii U. The handheld is the most popular in its class, beating the more powerful PS Vita with it’s wider library of games.

Source: Polygon

Sony Offers Customers Partial Refund After Misleading PS Vita Ads

 

The US Federal Trade Commission has ruled that Sony put out ads in the US that misled customers as to the “game-changing” capabilities of their handheld console, the PS Vita. Instead of fighting the decision, Sony has admitted culpability by settling the case with the FTC.

Sony’s advertising concerning the Vita’s Cross-platform Gaming, Cross-Save, Remote Play, and 3G connectivity capabilities were deemed by the FTC to be deceptive, since they either didn’t operate as advertised, or were non-existent.

“Sony claimed, for example, that PS Vita users could pause any PS3 game at any time and continue to play the game on their PS Vita from where they left off. This feature, however, was only available for a few PS3 games, and the pause-and-save capability described in the ads varied significantly from game to game,” said the FTC’s statement. “The FTC’s complaint also alleges that Sony’s PS Vita ads falsely implied that consumers who owned the 3G version of the device (which cost an extra $50 plus monthly fees) could engage in live, multiplayer gaming through a 3G network. In fact, consumers could not engage in live, multiplayer gaming.”

Any customer who purchased the video game system prior to 1st June, 2012 may be eligible for either a partial refund of $25 cash or credit, or a $50 voucher to spend on games and/or services.

Source: engadget

ShopTo Leak UK Release Of PS Vita 2000 Slim Ahead Of Sony Announcement

We’ve known for a few weeks now that Sony were planning something big for the UK, speculation has been high as to what it would be, PlayStation Vita Slim, or the PlayStation Vita TV console? We’ll, I have to say that I am a little disappointed that is wasn’t the Vita TV console, but I’m not completely upset to see a new model of the Vita either.

The official announcement from Sony is expected later today, but ShopTo jumped the gun by publishing an online flyer which has now been taken offline, where it revealed that the PS Vita-2000 will be available in the UK this year. It’ll be 20% thinner and 15% lighter than the stock Vita, feature a micro-USB type B port, 1GB of internal storage, longer battery life (up to 6 hours). Overall it sounds pretty awesome, but it comes at a price, the OLED display is gone and has been replaced with an LCD panel.

The 2000 model is available in six different colours in Japan, white, grey, yellow, pink, brown and black, but at this time it is unclear if they’ll all make it to the UK, or if there will be more additions to the range. We can’t wait to check out the new model, but more importantly we can only hope that sooner rather than later, the PlayStation Vita TV device will be coming to Europe and the US.

Thank you Metro for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Metro.

Nintendo Working On A New Next-Gen Console

There are rumors that Nintendo has started working on a next-gen console and the manufacturer has already chosen a system on chip design which is perhaps based on an existing SoC.

Reports are coming in that the company has already started developing a next-gen platform. Latest report (or rumor) comes from a neoGAF user Wsippel who believes that Nintendo is going to launch a new handheld.

“Nintendo apparently started working on a new platform in early 2013 and has already selected a vendor for the SoC after talking to several potential candidates. The SoC might be based on an existing design, but will be changed to fit Nintendo’s requirements. I assume it’s for their next handheld, though.” Wsippel said in a post on neoGAF.

The Wii U console that launched in 2012 did not turn any heads due to many aspects, the most important being the lack of big game titles. Therefore, the Playstation and Xbox still has the upper hand. Other than that, the Wii U had slightly better performance, but nothing mind-blowing. And the Nintendo console cannot even be compared with the latest next-gen consoles.

It’s not a surprise, given the following information, for Nintendo to make a move in bringing a next-gen console of their own on the market. But having it be a handheld version, that might be a bit tricky. They should be taking into account Playstation’s Vita most of all before making this step.

Thank you WCCF for providing us with this information

NVIDIA Defences Down With $249 Black Friday Shield Offer

Black Friday is in full swing across the globe and there is almost no stone that has been left unturned in the market. NVIDIA have joined in with the festive season price drop frenzy on the Shield hand hand console by not only slashing a $50 chunk off the selling price, but they are also bundling a heap of extras as well. The limited time offer is only open to people over in the US and Canada sadly, but the lucky bunch that are over in North America can pick up the handheld console from NVIDIA’s online store where they will also receive a carry case worth $39.99 and also two games as well – namely Sonic 4 Episode II and Expendable: Rearmed. That is not all though as there is also free shipping and a limited-edition shield t-shirt will also be thrown into the deal as well.

There is a limitation of four units per person, but if you’re looking at getting one this Christmas be quick as stock will run out soon. Head over to http://store.nvidia.com/buyshield where you can get the Black Friday deal.

Source: NVIDIA

Nvidia Project Shield Coming This Augusts

A report on FudZilla states that Rob Csongor has confirmed that the Nvidia Project Shield gaming device will be available very soon, speaking at the Barclays Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference.

“This is now being preordered and availability of this device is in August,” Said Mr Csongor.

The new hardware is already available for pre-order and since it packs the Tegra 4 hardware, which you can expect that to launch some time in July.

It was expected that Project Shield would launch along side the Tegra 4 launch some time in June, but I guess the extra time will allow Nvidia to work on marketing the device a little more, as well as giving more time for them to manufacturer the device.

It’s only a one month delay on the estimates and this does give Nvidia extra time to make announcements and next weeks Computex and hopefully the eTeknix team will be around to catch a few of them from Nvidia and we’ll be sure to keep you up to date.

US and Canada are going to be the first to get this new hardware, followed by Europe and then filling in the global market gaps after that, but with it’s unique approach and $349 price tag it’s really hard to say how how popular (if at all) the new gaming device will be for Nvidia.