Sony Opens PlayStation Network Store

In a big announcement about its next-gen gaming system, Sony is opening up its PlayStation Network (PSN) Store to directly compete with Valve’s Steam software system by allowing online retailers to launch their own storefronts for PS3, PS4, and PSVita titles. Amazon already has its US PSN store up and operational, and is offering a $5 PSN credit on digital orders. So users are now in the drivers seat for finding new and improved deals, just as they were with physical copies of the games. It’s a step in the direction of consumer control, as gamers are no longer locked into Sony’s ecosystem.

Sony Announces PS Vita TV

Sony is taking on Apple TV, Ouya, and other boxes like Roku all at the same time with its PS Vita TV. It’s a 6 by 10 centimeter console and set-top box that connects to a TV. Based on Vita hardware, it plays Vita, PSP, and PS1 games, while offering wireless PS4 connectivity; it lets users play PS4 games on another TV screen if, say, the PS4’s screen is occupied at that given time. What’s more, it also offers video apps like Hulu, the LiveTweet Twitter client, and Reader ebook software. At $99, it looks set to take on many competitors in the set-top box environment while offering a robust gaming proposition. Thus far it’s only available in Japan, but when it comes to America it could make big waves indeed. 

Immersive tech pulls players at E3 2010

The annual games bacchanalia otherwise known as E3 recently drew to a close and despite the chaos of multi-story megabooths staffed by both the bizarrely and scantily clad, two important trends were easily identifiable. Here’s a quick overview of this year’s dominant themes.

Motion control

Imagine you’re playing a baseball game. Would you rather push a button that tells the pitcher to initiate a throwing motion or would you rather whip your arm forward and watch the player mimic your movement. Anybody who’s played a videogame in the last 30 years is familiar with the button paradigm; at E3 2010, the games industry was clearly intent on adding the more novel notion of physicality to the controller mix. Continue reading “Immersive tech pulls players at E3 2010”

Mobile gaming revenues exploding

Games figured heavily in the (official) introduction of the iPhone 4G and according to industry research, it’s easy to see why. A recent Nielsen study found games are the most frequently used apps, ahead of more utilitarian categories such as social networking, news and navigation. Games are also at the top of the entertainment app heap, with more usage than anything having to do with either music or movies. Current projections see global mobile gaming revenues surpassing $5.6 billion in 2010.

Here are a few of the new iPhone’s gaming-relevant updates. A new chipset and the promise of faster processing could improve the speed and graphic quality of games. Promises of better networking speeds could eventually allow better multiplayer or even eventually streaming experiences. A better camera on the back and a new camera on the front might allow iPhone developer to take creative cues from existing game platforms and eventually yield some interesting changes in the way players can control the experience. The new iPhone also has a built-in gyroscope, promising more refined game control. The near-term implications are obvious: better mobile games and competition against the mobile games platforms from Nintendo or Sony. The potential long-term ramifications are far more compelling. Continue reading “Mobile gaming revenues exploding”