Wii U, Xbox 720, PS4…Ouya?

Originally, I wasn’t sure whether or not to report on the Ouya, mostly because I feel like I met my quota on farfetched console rumors with that Xbox 720 report leak. However, between the underwhelming Wii U unveiling at E3, and Microsoft and Sony remaining mum on their future plans, 720 leaks aside, it’s getting harder and harder to get properly hyped up for the next generation of consoles based on mere official information. So here I am, reporting on another console that may or may not exist.

Cynicism aside, the truth is that there are a lot of reasons to be excited about the Ouya. Because Ouya isn’t just a vaguely dirty-sounding word, but is instead a rumored new entrant into the console wars that has the backing of veterans like Ed Fries (Xbox) and CEO Julie Uhram (IGN).

Now, obviously, anybody trying to make a successful new console has to have an ace up their sleeve to separate themselves from the industry giants. The Ouya’s trump card, as first reported by The Verge, is its Android-powered core, which will supposedly help the console double as a development kit. Essentially, the Ouya is “hacker friendly” and allows for gamers that buy it to create their own titles. Even more appealing is the consoles alleged price tag, which is said to be set at $99, and will feature completely free games.

While there is apparently more information about the Ouya set to break in the coming days, what we have now is tantalizing enough. The idea of a major release system encouraging a lassez faire attitude towards its consumers concerning security policies and publishing rights is an interesting one, and brings consoles closer toward their seemingly inevitable assimilation with some of the finer points of PC gaming. In fact, there is a lot about the Ouya that reflects the recent evolutionary trends in gaming. It combines a little bit of mobile app gaming, the explosion of the indie development market, and is supposedly set to offer the whole package to you for a foundation-shattering price point.

It’s a console based around the concepts of freedom and independence, making the 4th of July the perfect day to consider its potential impact. Because honestly, whether or not the Ouya bucks the trend of previous cinderella entrants into the console market and actually makes it is, at this time, largely irrelevant. As the “Madden” franchise has shown, when there is a lack of real competition in a market, it’s hard for your product to not become stale. And if even half of the information about the Ouya turns out be accurate, it is at least an exciting idea that may hopefully force the major players to consider the benefits of its more appealing ideas.

  

A Possible Leak From Microsoft May Reveal the Future of Xbox

While the Wii U has been making its publicity tour, including an awkward appearance on “The Jimmy Fallon Show,” there has been a very shocking dearth of information from Sony and Microsoft concerning their next generation plans. That is, until now.

Well… possibly.

There is this absolutely massive 56-page report that is currently making its rounds on the front page of most major gaming websites.  Its contents are various, but the general summary of it is a detailed “game plan” of sorts for Microsoft’s next console launch, including features, a price point, and a broad ranged analysis of the console market both at the time of the documents origins and how it will look by 2013 (the next console’s supposed launch date) and beyond.

Now, this report is being classified as a “leak” as it apparently made its rounds internally around Microsoft back in 2010. However, while Microsoft is naturally remaining mum on the subject of its origins and accuracy, there are many who believe the report to be more or less a hoax, albeit a very detailed and professional one. Nevertheless, the most eye-grabbing bits of the report are the specific features of the alleged new console (which is named Xbox 720 in the report). Among them are:

– Blu-ray functionality (oh come on Microsoft, giving up on HD-DVD so easily?)

– Enhanced Kinect support, including the expansion of the system to allow up to four players and a new sensor all together

– A $299 price point

– Cloud support for taking your multimedia files anywhere

– Potential tablet integration

– Enhanced reality glasses, dubbed Fortaleza, that provide features such as heads-up displays and other virtual reality aspects

– Games that are “4x to 6x better looking than current titles”

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The 2012 E3 Awards

Is another E3 already almost behind us?

Yes, yes it is. With as much that’s changed in the world of video games over the years, its somehow comforting to know that E3 is still around to exhibit the best of the industry in a big atmosphere way. Unfortunatley the age is starting to show on the old gal, and the show hasn’t been as captivating the last couple of years as it probably should have been. While this years was more of the same, there was still enough on exhibit to be worth talking about. It’s not quite done yet, but I’ve seen enough to start naming the best, worst, and most memorable of E3 2012.

Best Presentation – Sony

This is more of a choice made out of necessity than something I absolutely fell in love with. While there was very little mind blowing here, Sony managed to put together a tight presentation that was loaded with games that people actually came to see. While the storybook segment was a complete bomb, in the end Sony managed to show better than any other company that they have plenty of sure fire greatness ready for their fans. If only “The Last Guardian” had made a surprise appearance, this one might have been more memorable.

Worst Presentation – Microsoft

Poor Microsoft. Sure their market share an income is absurdly large, but they cannot seem to put together an E3 presentation that doesn’t make their fans feel awkward. While this years showing wasn’t as bad as last years Kinect centric, child actor filled disaster, it’s scarily close. Bad celebrity appearances, uninspiring game footage, and boring presentations more at home at lame board meetings than the world’s most extravagant trade show for your industry were the unfortunate highlights of this years Xbox showing.

Biggest Surefire Hit – “Assasins Creed 3”

“Assassins Creed” has been a money in the bank franchise since the series second installment. So far it looks like there is absolutely no reason to suspect any less out of the “Assassin’s Creed III”. What I love most about it is that Ubisoft has found a perfect way to make the franchise feel fresh again, by changing the time period and location to the rarely explored American Revolution, they also seem intent on really making everything that was great about the series perform at its absolute best. The jaw dropping E3 footage only confirms that this will most likely be the smoothest and most exciting “Assassin’s Creed” yet. Unlike the British troops in the game, this one isn’t likely to miss.

Biggest Surprise – “Watch Dogs”

Ubisoft strikes again. Garnering no real press prior to the event, the demo for Ubisoft’s “Watch Dogs” showcased something truly intriguing. You play as a man who has an incredible array of technological abilities that essentially give him super powers over the modern gadget obsessed world. The idea is cool enough, but the way that it seems to be implemented creates so much potential for amazing moments. The world of the game is also absolutely gorgeous, and begs you to re-watch the demo several times to gather all the little details. There is nothing like a fresh idea from an established developer, and Ubisoft seems to have exactly that.

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Natal to catch some unconventional advertisement

Project Natal could be in Cosmo soon.According to an MCV report, Microsoft is going to take Natal marketing outside the male 18-34 demographic. The company supposedly held a VIP showcase for select media outlets, particularly women’s mags like Cosmopolitan and Glamour, to show off Natal and talk about options for exposure.

Microsoft is taking a page out of the Nintendo playbook if this thing is true. The Wii’s success came largely from marketing to non-gamers and convincing them that bowling, even with terrible graphics, is a lot of fun if it doesn’t play like a traditional game. It’s that same group of people Microsoft is after, people who may want something social to do with friends that doesn’t have the learning curve of a controller. The only real problem I see is that a lot of those people already own a Wii. How can you convince them they need a Natal, too?

MCV says Microsoft will be using celebrity endorsements to market Natal in “the parenting press, toy retailers and publications which primarily cater for non-gamers.” Good luck with that guys.

Source: MCV

  

Microsoft denies impulse buy rumors for Natal

Project Natal announcement.Launch rumors for Project Natal are a dime a dozen, and according to Xbox UK boss Neil Thompson, the latest batch are bunk, too. This last round of rumors said the periph was due out November of 2010, would release with 14 compatible titles, at a price that could be as low as $50. Right.

As Chris Lewis, Xbox’s head of Europe puts things, “Now you know better than to listen to that stuff! We will announce in good time.” Message received, Mr. Lewis. I can’t imagine how Microsoft could possibly get Natal down to the $50 range, or why they would. The install base for the 360 is big enough that people would pay much more for this kind of experience. Think about the Rock Band sets that regularly go for $200. With a bundled game or two, you can bet Natal will at least break a hundred.

As long as he had the world’s ear, Lewis was glad to keep the hype train rollin’. “I’m not going to be specific about what they might be,” he said. “I will say however we’re committed to ensure those experiences are unique, compelling and very exciting right from the outset. That has to happen and that will happen.” Don’t worry you little heads over a release date – just know that when we get one, you’ll be rushing to mark your calendars.

Source: Eurogamer

  

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