Unreal Engine 3 running on latest iPhone/iPod Touch hardware

Unreal Engine 3 on an iPhone.This little bit of news will have you wishing someone would just make a standard controller peripheral for the iPhone/iPod Touch. Epic Games has successfully ported its Unreal Engine 3 to Apple’s mobile platform.

Anandtech got a chance to play with a demo of some familiar weaponry and level design. The demo looks really smooth, as the video over at Anandtech shows, though Epic said this shouldn’t be taken as a sign that the developer is getting serious about the platform. My guess is that it’s because of a lack of hardware support. The engine requires Open GL ES 2.0, a feature only available to the newest iPod Touch and the iPhone 3GS. Without wider adoption its probably not worth it to spend time developing a game that would only reach a portion of possible iPhone gamers.

Check the video over at Anandtech.

Boston PD now fighting gaming addiction

Gaming addict.I don’t know about you, but I spent many a late night gaming when I was 14. Sure, my parents tried to get me to go to bed, and more often than not I ignored them, but that was to my own consequence. They would wake me up ass early with expectations to clean the house or mow the lawn or any of those other childhood duties. An exhausted march around the yard behind a mower was so awful I started to manage my time and go to bed a little earlier. My parents were happy, I was well adjusted, and no one had to call the cops to get me to put down the controller.

That’s what Angela Mejia thought she had to do with her son. At 2:30 in the morning she caught him playing Grand Theft Auto. She tried turning off the console, but when it didn’t work she decided to turn to the authorities. The Boston Police were dispatched to convince the boy to go to bed.

As Mejia puts things, “I have support from my church, but I’m alone. I want to help my son, but I can’t find a way.” I’ll let you in on a little secret, lady. You’re too late. Way too late. If you have to call the cops to get him to go to bed you’ve been doing things wrong for years.

Source: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1220221

Blizzard will return to consoles “at some point”

Diablo 3 character selectionWhen Diablo III was first announced, there was wide speculation that it could be released for the PS3 and Xbox 360. The series screams console development with its simple control scheme and dungeon-mashing playstyle. Blizzard isn’t quite ready to confirm that rumor, but the developer did say it’s thinking about console development in a serious way.

Speaking to Gamasutra, World of Warcraft production director J. Allen Brack said Blizzard will make a return to console gaming. The only thing holding it back is that the company wants to make “the right game for the right platform.”

“We will definitely work on a console game at some point. I have no doubt about that,” said Brack. I still have hopes for a Diablo III port, but I can’t say I’m ready to believe the rumors.

Source: Gamasutra

Tapulous is making $1M a month

Tap Tap Revenge logo.Reuters ran an article on Tapulous the other day, you know, the guys responsible for the iPhone/iPod Touch game Tap Tap Revenge. Obviously the game has seen crazy adoption rates, but I couldn’t believe just how crazy things have become. The game has been installed more than 20 million times, generating sales of nearly a million dollars per month.

The kicker? Tapulous has just 20 employees. That’s it. The report says the company is profitable, which is as unsurprising as things get. Can you split almost twelve million dollars between 20 people? I know I could. As to the future of the company, the CEO has stayed quiet. There has been speculation that someone like EA could acquire them, but for now that’s not really news. EA has been picking up social gaming developers lately like Playfish, which was bought for a cool $275 million.

Source: Reuters

Rhythm games begin their inevitable decline

Rock Band isn't so fun anymore.The world’s love affair with plastic instruments was bound to end some time and it looks as though that time is now. According to the latest NPD data, rhythm games are struggling, showing weak sales despite new genre releases like DJ Hero and The Beatles: Rock Band.

As always, things are relative. The games may not be doing as well as they were, but Michael Pachter still thinks the niche will level out somewhere around $500 million in sales a year. That’s a pretty little penny, even for a company like Activision. Developers need to pick their ventures wisely, though. DJ Hero tanked. Hard. In a shrinking market that’s the last thing you want, especially after paying for the likes of Jay-Z and Eminem. Even The Beatles: Rock Band undersold expectations by 200,000 units.

Source: Reuters

Is WiiRelax the Vitality Sensor’s killer app?

Wii Vitality Sensor.Back in April, an Italian company called Siliconera announced “Wii Relax,” a product complete with web pages and press info. That info has since disappeared, and Nintendo has now officially trademarked the name, though it removes the space to form WiiRelax, in Europe.

As Destructoid reports, the trademark is good for PAL territories. I hate to say I think this will be a real game, but I do. The question remains, why? Is Nintendo trying to encourage the already pervasive drug culture that comes along with a lot of games. And how do you determine who wins? Will it always be the guy with the Volcano?

My curiosity pretty much stops with theory, though. I have absolutely zero interest in playing a game associated with the Vitality Sensor. Sure, motion control is fun, but even then it’s more of a mental exercise in timing, control, and trouncing the competition. I don’t need a video game to help me fall asleep.

EA sounds uneasy about Tiger Woods franchise

Tiger Woods in the rough.Companies are dropping their Tiger Woods sponsorships like crazy in light of his latest press explosion. To think, all it takes is a twelve-woman affair to turn hundreds of millions of dollars into thin air. EA was an exception, one of a rare group of corporations willing to wait for this all to blow over.

“Our strong relationship with Tiger for more than a decade remains unchanged. We respect Tiger’s privacy, we wish him a fast recovery and we look forward to seeing him back on the golf course.” That’s from a company statement on December first. After his decision to take indefinite leave from his sport of choice, though, EA sounds a little uneasy about Tiger.

“We respect that this is a very difficult, and private, situation for Tiger and his family,” said a company statement to the New Britain Herald. “At this time, the strategy for our Tiger Woods PGA Tour business remains unchanged.” The language is ambiguous enough that EA could do anything, which is probably a smart play. Honestly, unless Tiger Woods 2011 grants players an extra golf bag with fourteen spots for women, I don’t think I’ll be buying.

Source: Go Nintendo

Proof that 3D gaming is a long way off

XpanD shutter glasses.The other day, Sony said it would rely on motion control, 3D gaming, and the PlayStation Network to drive sales in 2010. To me, 3D gaming is a pipe dream, at least for the next five years or so, and today I’ve got a little proof.

XpanD, the company that produced the glasses for Avatar has said a pair of their shutter glasses will start at $70 a pair and run up to $150. That’s on top of the premiums you’ll pay for the TV, though some sets will likely ship with glasses included.

For a family of four, you’re looking at about $300 just for the glasses. Granted, your average family of four won’t be gaming in 3D together, but think about having your friends over. The expense of the hardware is going to dictate that you enjoy your 3D games alone, a trend the industry has been moving away from for the last decade.

Until costs come down, there’s no way Sony can expect real revenue from 3D next year. It’s just too expensive.

Playstation Home reaches 10 million users

Playstation Home logo.Despite the service’s non-priority status, Playstation Home has hit a significant milestone this week. According to a press release this morning, the place “where users and developers meet” has hit 10 million users. The news comes as Home has opened new spaces recently, including one for Uncharted 2.

“Every new game space enhances the overall experience for consumers, offering more variety, more choice and more enjoyment from a PlayStation Home session,” said Dan Hill, Sony’s European Home business manager. “The more game spaces there are, the better it gets, and the number of spaces keeps on growing. For developers, there’s no better way of driving interest in their titles than giving fans a hands-on, interactive experience based around the game itself.”

Well, a hands-on, interactive experience with the game itself always seemed sufficient to me. Really, I have very little interest in Home as any sort of serious marketing platform. It might be a nice way for Sony to make a few bucks if they can properly monetize it, but I can’t imagine the value for developers being as high as Hill makes it out to be.

Waldo is this week’s top-grossing iPhone game

Where's Waldo: The Fantastic Journey.If the success of Virtual Console titles tells us anything, it’s that gamers love their nerdy past. Classic titles sell like mad, and I know I practically flip when I find out something I loved is coming to a new console. One developer’s been paying attention to the classic game frenzy, and it’s turned a childhood classic into a serious moneymaker.

To find the game, you only have to look at this weeks’ top-grossing iPhone OS games. At the top of the charts, yes all the way at number one, is Where’s Waldo: The Fantastic Journey. This isn’t just a fluke, either. The game beat out Call of Duty: World at War Zombies and Dragon Lair to take the top spot.

Among other games Waldo has pushed out this week are Super Monkey Ball 2, The Sims 3, and Tetris. It’s quite an achievement, really, and something developer Ludia has got to be happy with.

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