E3 2012 Report

E3 2012 took place in Los Angeles,  from June 5 to June 7. Overall 45,700 video game industry professionals, investor analysts, journalists, and retailers from 103 countries attended the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 2012). E3 resulted in an estimated 30,000 total hotel room nights and generated nearly $40 million in revenue for the city. Approximately 200 exhibitors showcased the latest in computer and video game hardware and software, including the unveiling of the titles that will be the hottest titles among consumers.

We have gathered the crumbs and build an overall picture of what we have to expect from this year’s gaming industry. There are many new video games coming next year, a lot of them sequels to established franchises and many choices regardless of the console you own. If you could not make it to E3, here are some of the biggest highlights below:

Halo 4

“Halo 4” marks the return of Master Chief and the beginning of a new saga in the blockbuster franchise that has shaped entertainment history. E3 2012 marked the worldwide premiere of “Halo Infinity Multiplayer,” including the all-new, story-driven experience known as Spartan Ops. A first of its kind, Spartan Ops is an episodic adventure — playable in single-player or cooperatively with up to four players — that blends immersive storytelling, high-quality cinematics and action-packed gameplay to deliver an unprecedented serialized experience. Spartan Ops will extend the “Halo 4” experience well beyond the game’s launch. “Halo 4” hits store shelves on Nov. 6, 2012, delivering its most epic and explorative campaign yet, together with groundbreaking multiplayer action.

Resident Evil 6

“Resident Evil® 6” features three distinct, yet interwoven, storylines, each with its own pair of protagonists for either solo or co-op play, both offline and online. Leon S. Kennedy is paired with government agent Helena Harper, while Chris Redfield teams up with fellow BSAA member Piers Nivans. Finally, gun- for-hire and son of the infamous Albert Wesker, Jake Muller is joined by series returner Sherry Birkin. All six must face new horrors as they fight to survive the global C-virus outbreak. Blending both action and survival horror, “Resident Evil® 6” promises to be the dramatic horror experience of 2012.

Tomb Raider

Armed with only the raw instincts and physical ability to push beyond the limits of human endurance, “Tomb Raider” delivers an intense and gritty story into the origins of Lara Croft and her ascent from a frightened young woman to a hardened survivor.

Gears of War: Judgement

“Gears of War: Judgment” takes you back before the events of the original “Gears of War” trilogy to the immediate aftermath of Emergence Day — the defining event of the “Gears of War” universe. Follow Kilo Squad, led by Damon Baird and Augustus “The Cole Train” Cole, as they fight to save the city of Halvo Bay from an unstoppable enemy in the most intense “Gears” game yet. “Gears of War: Judgment” introduces a variety of new multiplayer experiences, including OverRun, a thrilling new class-based competitive mode that will pit Locust and COG soldiers in a head-to-head battle unlike anything “Gears” fans have experienced yet. “Gears of War: Judgment” will launch worldwide in early 2013.

Forza Horizon

Combining the legendary “Forza Motorsport” authenticity with a festival atmosphere and the freedom of the open road, “Forza Horizon” is a high-intensity, action-racing game set against the backdrop of the world’s most unique motorsport party. Featuring an expansive landscape, daring driving maneuvers to master, a rousing soundtrack and visceral moment-to-moment gameplay, “Forza Horizon” offers an immersive pick-up-and-play experience while retaining the unrivaled realism, diversity and innovation that are hallmarks of the “Forza Motorsport” franchise.

Fable: The Journey

“Fable: The Journey” offers a whole new way to experience the deep storyline and picturesque world of Albion that fans have come to know and love. Set 50 years after the events of “Fable III,” this new version asks you to come to the aid of the mysterious Theresa, who thrusts you into an action-packed adventure full of dangerous enemies, hair-raising chases and humorous characters. Built from the ground up for Kinect, “Fable: The Journey” gives you the power to wield magic as a deadly weapon, defend yourself in combat and solve puzzles on your journey to becoming a hero.”Fable The Journey” will launch on Oct. 9, 2012, in North America, South America, Asia and Australia and Oct. 12, 2012, in EMEA.

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A Short Thought – UltraViolet Really Sucks

I’m not going to belabor this at all – but UltraViolet, Sony’s movies in a cloud thing..? Yeah, so not a fan…

I am a computing fan. I am a Windows OS expert. I’ve been a part of nearly every Windows and Office Technical Beta Team (the ones picked by MS to privately test for them), ever. I’m currently using a Mac, and while OS X is now my default OS of choice, I still use Parallels for Windows to run Office 2010, because, well, it is a native Windows app, and the integration between the apps is so much better on Windows than on the Mac.

Please don’t say the words Outlook 2011 for Mac. It’s the biggest train wreck to come out of Redmond since Windows ME and Windows Vista. Its so bad, I couldn’t even finish a review of it. It was too negative.

Why preamble all of this? Simple. As a Mac, I’ve embraced their ecosystem and have an iPad 1 and an iPhone 4S as well as a 15″ Early 2011 MBP. iTunes is my music manager of choice, obviously and really, has been for quite some time. Its just provides the best well rounded experience on the desktop and on the go, even though its bloated as all get out, and could probably do with a serious code rewrite; but I digress…

Because I’m a Mac and use iTunes, when I purchase DVD’s or Blu-Ray discs at point of sale, I try to buy titles that include an iTunes digital copy. It saves me from having to buy the movie twice (the physical copy for the set top box and a digital copy for my iPad, Mac and Apple TV). This is a problem with certain films, as I’ve got a huge iTunes audio and video library dating back to before 2004.

I could pontificate a ton more; but let’s cut to the chase – UltraViolet exists because Sony didn’t like the deal that Apple was willing to cut them. They wanted a better deal, Apple wasn’t willing to cut into their margins and neither was Sony. So, Sony created a completely different, competing download system that uses Flixter (available in Google Play as well as the iOS App Store) as a content player on both Android and iOS devices.

The problem comes when you’ve got an already existing library in iTunes. Without jumping through some serious hoops, you won’t get the content on your iPad, iPod, iPhone or even in iTunes for that matter. Flixter wil eventually give in and get you an iTunes compatible copy; but it sucks that you have to go through the grief.

So, because Sony and Apple can’t work and play well together, I’ve got to either limp my way through managing 2 different content libraries, or I’ve got to beg Flixter and Sony to give me an iTunes compatible copy…and there’s no guarantee they will.

The only thing this is really going to do is push me to rip video from DVD’s I own, avoid those that don’t offer an iTunes compatible digital copy, or just forego buying a physical copy all together and just stick with the copy that I can get to play on my Apple TV, my Mac or my iPad.

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XBOX 720 Rumors

The Xbox 720 is the industry nickname for Microsoft’s next big addition to the console gaming and multimedia entertainment market. Given the popularity of the Xbox 360, it was inevitable that Microsoft would want to build on that success with a new and superior product and the company confirms that it began considering the next generation almost as soon as the current Xbox began to ship.

Rivals Sony have let slip that their own PlayStation 4 will also be shipping sometime in the next couple of years, estimating that it will hit the stores not much later than the Xbox 720 (codenamed “Durango”). Sony have a longer and more impressive track record as a purveyor of addictive games console technology than Microsoft and there’s considerable loyalty among PS gaming fans. Future purchasers will be looking both at the new consoles’ speed and graphical excellence from a gameplay perspective; but the winner in battle of the consoles will also need to compete on multimedia capabilities.

One hot rumour is that the new Xbox will incorporate a Blu-Ray drive. When the Xbox 360 first shipped, the format wars were still ongoing and Microsoft was a stanch member of Team HD DVD. Now that Blu-Ray has soundly trounced its rivals to become the reigning multimedia format, it seems an absolute certainty that both consoles will include Blu-Ray.

Another solid bet is that the new Xbox will have HDMI and Wi-Fi as standard. The Xbox 360 Elite offers HDMI; as of 2012, Wi-Fi also comes as standard. More to the point, the The PS3 already comes with Wi-Fi Ethernet and Bluetooth so we can reasonably assume that the PS4 will, too. To remain competitive, the Xbox 720 needs to match these capabilities.

The Xbox 720′s processor is another major focus for speculation. Rumours that the PS4 would be sticking with the PS3′s Cell processor have been quashed and industry insiders now believe it will employ an AMD x64 CPU. The Xbox 720 will need to compete with that to attract serious gaming enthusiasts. It’s probable that Microsoft will turn to its partner IBM for the latest in processor technology. IBM’s Power6 chip, a dual core 4.7GHz server CPU, would give the Xbox a serious edge over its rival. Rumour has it that the Xbox 720 will contain two GPUs for faster graphics.

Fans who have amassed a large collection of games and a virtual trophy cabinet of achievements needn’t fret. The Xbox 720 will almost certainly be backwards compatible, allowing you to play all your existing games, and achievements you’ve unlocked on the Xbox 360 will probably be carried over too. The Xbox 360 still has a lot to give and Microsoft will certainly continue supporting it after the Xbox 720′s release.

The new console could theoretically stand the gaming industry on its head, capitalising on the ground that Microsoft has already gained in the gaming and entertainment market. A firm launch date has yet to be announced but 2014 seems a likely estimate.

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JPCSP – The Java PSP Emulator

Programming a console emulator is a tricky proposition, especially for a relatively more recent console such as the Playstation Portable. The Java-based open-source JPSCP emulator is however a strong piece of software, suitable for both playing existing games and testing out your own projects.

As an open-source project there is a strong community behind the software, so any problems can be brought to the attention of the project’s forum for swift advice and help. However, more documentation with the download would be helpful, as it can take time to trawl through forum posts to find the information you are looking for.

The download is compact and the emulator is easy to install and set up, with controls and compatibility features easy to tweak, even for those without technical knowledge. The interface itself is basic but functional, with a graphical control allocation feature making assigning controls basically idiot-proof. You just click on the PSP graphic to assign controls.

The major downside is that the list of compatible games is small, however the range is growing. Some games may run a bit slowly, especially on older hardware.

JPCSP is certainly worth having if you want to play one of the games on its compatibility list or test your own projects. While it is relatively easy to use, more documentation would be helpful.

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Sony VAIO L Series 3D All In One PC

Meet VAIO L Series 3D – an all in one PC which features a 24 inch Full HD 3D multi-touch display with superb clarity and contrast (whether you’re watching in 2D or 3D), Intel Core i7 processor, Blu-ray player, NVIDIA graphics with 1GB of RAM, S-Force Front Surround 3D, HDMI output, and touch controls built in the bezel.

Using the multi-touch LCD screen, you can scroll through files, flick between web pages, zoom and rotate images with fingertip gestures… and no mouse or menus needed. The screen is framed by a touch sensitive ‘Edge Access’ bezel that gives mouse-free access to key functions. The bezel also houses an embedded 3D transmitter: you just have to slip on your active shutter glasses and enjoy the show in 3D.

Take a look at the video tour from E3…

The New VAIO L Series 3D also offers more ways to enjoy your favourite entertainment. ‘Native’ supported 3D content includes movies on Blu-ray Disc, games and videos. You can also enjoy 3D panoramic still images captured with Cyber-shot digital cameras and α DSLR digital cameras by Sony. There’s also a dedicated button on the bezel that instantly converts 2D content like Blu-ray Disc movies to simulated 3D.

Highlights:

  • 61cm (24″) all-in-one 3D touchscreen multimedia PC
  • Slim, space-saving all-in-one PC with large multi-touch 3D screen
  • 61cm (24″) Full HD VAIO Display Plus with LED backlight brings entertainment to life in 3D
  • Convert 2D movies and videos to 3D at the touch of a button
  • First all-in-one PC with 3D HDMI input to enjoy 3D PlayStation 3 games
  • Create 3D artworks with easy-to-use Family Paint 3D software
  • Now the whole family can watch and create thrilling 3D content with the new VAIO L series 3D multimedia PC from Sony.

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Sony Introduces World’s First Digital Binoculars with HD video Recording

Sony will release the world’s first digital binoculars to record in AVCHD™ 2.0 format. The new models, DEV-3 and DEV-5, are ideal for nature/bird watching, they can record Full HD video with stereo sound at the touch of a button, and even add a 3D mode that records scenes as thrilling stereoscopic video footage for playback on most 3D HDTVs.

model DEV-3

 

Users can select the variable zoom on both models to scan a wide area at low magnification before zooming in seamlessly to pinpoint a subject. Turning on the digital zoom at magnification settings over 10x boosts the DEV-5 model’s total magnification range from 0.9x up to 20x digital (image quality is reduced when digital zoom is on and recording 2D video at magnifications higher than 10x), rivalling many high-powered conventional binoculars. The DEV-3 model pulls wildlife, sporting subjects and architectural details closer with a maximum magnification of 10x optical. In 3D mode, the binoculars’ maximum magnification is 5.4x optical.

model DEV-5

Unlike traditional binoculars, electronic autofocus keeps moving subjects sharply in focus at all times. A comfortably positioned dial allows fingertip adjustment of manual focus – ideal for focusing selectively on a subject, rather than overhanging branches or other obstructions in the field of view.

Separate images for left and right eyes are captured by a matched pair of precision G Lens optics by Sony with “Exmor R” CMOS sensors and powerful BIONZ® processors. Independent electronic viewfinders provide clear, detailed images for left and right eyes, offering a stereoscopic viewing experience that’s comfortable, natural and highly immersive.

The DEV-3 and DEV-5 digital binoculars feature Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization (Active mode), the optical stabilization system that’s found on Sony Handycam® camcorders and Cyber-shot® cameras. Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization helps keep images clear and stable, even when viewing at high magnifications. The binoculars can be connected via HDMI® to a Sony BRAVIA® HDTV or any HD television with HDMI input for viewing images (cable sold separately). 3D videos can be enjoyed on virtually any 3D-compatible TV, including Sony BRAVIA® models. There’s also a USB connection for transferring video clips to a PC for storing, editing and sharing.

The DEV-5 model includes an on-board GPS receiver that automatically geo-tags video clips and photos. Tagged images can be viewed after shooting in online maps (requires compatible software).

Both binocular models come with a high-capacity rechargeable battery pack (NP-FV70) that allows up to approximately three hours of 2D recording on a single charge. Remaining battery time (minutes) is displayed in the electronic viewfinder.

The new DEV-3 and DEV-5 digital recordable binoculars from Sony will be available in November 2011 for about $1400 and $2000.

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Playstation Vita launch date delayed by Sony in US and Europe

Sony officially confirmed that their new handheld console will miss this year’s holidays. The launch date for Playstation Vita will be rescheduled in US and Europe, while the initial launch date for Japan will remain the same.

Kazuo Hirai, gaming chief at Sony, didn’t mention a reason for this delay, but rumors say that the natural disaster that hit Japan this Spring, may have caused to Sony some supply limitations.

Anyway, sooner or later we will get the new Playstation Vita which comes in two models with Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi+3G. The handheld machinery will mock the 3DS from Nintendo with a strong hardware configuration: quad-core ARM processor and GX 543MP4+ graphics processor. The OLED touchscreen, with rear-mounted touchpad support and six-axis motion sensors complete the new gaming experience delivered by Playstation Vita.

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Sony Tablet in two versions with Android 3.0

Sony Corporation (“Sony”), announced “Sony Tablet” project, two tablets with unprecedented design, including S1 (codename) which is optimized for rich media entertainment and S2 (codename) which is ideal for mobile communication and entertainment. “Sony Tablet” will become available in the global market starting in fall 2011.

“Sony Tablet” is equipped with the latest Android 3.0 which is designed for devices with larger screen sizes, particularly tablets. Both tablets are WiFi and WAN (3G/4G) compatible and users can not only browse the internet or check e-mail but they can also smoothly access digital content including videos, games and books through Sony’s premium network services and more, on-the-go at any time.

S1 has a 9.4-inch display for enjoying the web and rich content on a large screen. Its off-center of gravity design realizes stability and ease of grip as well as a sense of stability and lightness, offering comfortable use for hours.

S2 has two 5.5-inch displays that can be folded for easy portability. In contrast to existing tablets, its unprecedented dual screen presentation and usability allows its displays to be combined and used as a large screen or for different functions such as playing video on one screen while showing control buttons on the other.

An interesting feature will enable users to control home entertainment devices through S1 infrared technology working as a universal remote controls for a variety of AV devices. Also, through DLNA functionality on “Sony Tablet”, users can “throw” personal content to large screen televisions or music to wireless speakers.

Both tablets codenamed “S1″ and “S2″ are scheduled to be released worldwide in the fall 2011 with prices estimated under $700.

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