We suppose that one can never get enough Harry Potter and although there will be no more books about Hogwarts, J.K. Rowling is collaborating with Sony and London Studio to create Augmented Reality technology in The Wonderbook: Book of Spells. After opening the interactive book, one can learn about and practice spells, with the PS Move acting as magic wand and the TV screen projecting the images. The PlayStation 3 game and book is available for pre-order now and will be out December 2012.
If you are still on the sidelines about purchasing the new Sony Vita, here is one more perc that may make up your mind. Music Unlimited is now available with browsing, play lists, and purchase. Given that the portable gaming system already has Netflix, access to the PlayStation Network and social networking, the Vita is certainly worth another think.
Now that Nextflix has encouraged movie and TV streaming via the Wii and the PS3, Nintendo has created an app for Hulu Plus. A version for the 3DS is also planned. Hulu already has access via Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
A recent Nielsen survey found that 33% of Wii users streamed content with their gaming system, almost twice the amount used for streaming on other systems. So purchasing a Wii system makes it a win-win situation for both gamers and movie watchers.
Microsoft will soon offer its Xbox Live to iOS and Android devices. While they believe that it is best paired with Windows, the company is smart enough to admit that there are more out there who would also like the service. Microsoft has also decided to end its Points System in favor of the almighty dollar by the end of the year.
WowWee has turned from its usual botty stuff to AppGear, a combination of iOS and Android applications with action figures. Launching at the CES 2012, six of them will launch at prices between $9.99 - $19.99. Foam Fighters, Alien Jailbreak and Zombie Burbs are some of the titles and, from a peek at the video, it would seem that the physical toy is the object of the attack.
Aside from hundreds of games already offered, Sony's renovated PlayStation Home expands socialization by allowing users to spend time with buds in their virtual universe. Hang out at the "Hub" and go on quests or visit themed Districts. Even better, the group can listen to RadioIO, enjoy Ustream entertainment or view movies and TV shows. It does this via its Crackle network with lots of free content.
Following the lead of many streaming services, gaming company EA is offering its players the chance to play full games before their official release. Available to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 owners, Sports Season Ticket offers downloaded versions 3 days before anyone else gets to see them. And while the demo expires after those 72 hours, players can keep their achievements. Madden NFL 12, coming out Aug. 30, is the first title that can be had after joining the service for $24.99 (or 2,000 MS points) yearly.
Almost everything these days is voice activated, and soon you will be able to search with yours on your Xbox 360. You can look for games, movies, music and TV shows on Netflix, Hulu Plus, ESPN, LIVE Marketplace and Bing. You simply tell your TV what you want to see/hear and you can select what option you prefer from all available sources. Even more online content will be there down the line, like YouTube videos, international live TV and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) content.
At the recent E3, Nintendo unveiled its next best thing, the Wii U with high-def graphics, a tablet touchscreen and motion-sensing controller. Available next year, Nintendo claims that the combination of tablet/game machine was conceived before the iPad was a mere twinkle in Apple's eye. Whether it is grasped by the public with open arms, er gaming hands, remains to be seen. You can even sign up now to be notified when it is released.
The first certified PlayStation phone is out for those who cannot wait to take their games with them and play them on tiny 4" screens with slide-out gaming controls. Verizon will be offering the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play that runs Android and comes loaded with six games. Other titles will be available to download and multi-player participation is possible. The phone also comes with two cameras so that you can discuss your recent wins with those that lost.
Amidst the hoopla surrounding the release of the 3DS, many critics are quick to shut it down on its usability or difficulty to play, but Jimmy Fallon was filled with glee when he got the opportunity to play with it last week. (But come to think of it, he is always gleeful.)
In its second week out, the portable game system sold 50,710 units, breaking the record of the PSP as the fastest selling. No doubt many of those were from people that can't resist shooting the faces of their closest buds.
When Nintendo launches its 3DS March 25, they are adding an extra benefit. Users will be able to get free WiFi at AT&T's 10,000 hotspots. This means that not only can you play to the max, you can buzz up on Starbucks Trenta. Look for a $250 price for the portable game system.
Let's wish a collective congrats to Nintendo as the Link franchise is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Talk about feeling ancient. The original Zelda got me hooked on video games when it first came out. It seems fairly basic compared to games now, but it was certainly an improvement over Pong and I was never much for Pacman. And once in a while I get the urge to play it again as most of those relics are free to play online. For those of you who have a Wii, don't miss out on the latest version of Skyward Sword due out later this year.
Although we are not prone to rumors, this one from Sony Computer Entertainment's President CEO Kazuo Hirai seems promising. They are thinking of partnering again with Google TV. (The Sony Bravia NSX-40GT1 has already included Google TV with mostly uninspiring results.)
The move means not only support for their Playstation Suite (another reason to keep playing) but a future that will include "PlayStation Certified" Android phones that can play in PS quality. The company will keep an eye on the PSS before leaping to the phone idea, but we see this idea as a keeper.