Posts Tagged sony
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Sony Pictures Television has recently released Suits and Swords; an odd sort of mixture between RPG and blackjack.
You’ll control Captain Black Jack in a quest to defend the four card realms and put an end to the evil Joker’s nefarious plans – at least I’m assuming they are, because when are the antagonist’s plans not nefarious? The game combines the strategic play of Blackjack with various RPG elements such as collecting powerful weapons and armor, battles with enemies, and sidequests.
If you’d like to check Suits and Swords out, and we all know you would, you can download it right now for free.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
In an odd move that’s becoming less and less surprising (at an alarming rate, might I add), Sony has released Ratchet & Clank: BTN for free on the App Store with pretty much zero fanfare. It just sort of appeared today with no explanation, which seems to be turning into a trend for major iOS releases lately.
Anyway, Ratchet & Clank: BTN (which stands for Before the Nexus) is an endless runner set in the R&C universe and set up as a sort of companion piece to the new PS3 game, Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus. Despite being a runner, many of the series’ staples have found their way into BTN; including some classic weapons, bolts and their requirement for upgrading weapons and armor, rail grinding, and gadgets a-plenty.
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Sony has released a new PlayStation app today called PlayStation App! That’s right, now all you gamers can always be connected with your games, friends, and the PlayStation Store. You’ll be able to see what your friends are playing, compare trophies, and even chat with them to see what’s up. You’ll also be able to view your profile, receive notifications, and use the mobile device as an on-screen keyboard for the PlayStation 4 system.
Sounds pretty interesting, yeah? Well it gets better because you can also browse the PlayStation Store to purchase games and have them sent to your PlayStation 4 to play when you get home. To take advantage of these features, you’ll need a Sony Entertainment Network account and a PlayStation 4 system.
I’m ready for greatness!
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
The PlayStation 4 is out in a week, and I think it’s safe to say that there’s been a fair amount of buzz surrounding it. There’s also been a fair amount of buzz surrounding the planned launch titles, including the upcoming KNACK.
KNACK’s Quest is actually a companion app that lets iOS players collect items through a match-3 game, then send those items to the main console title. Match-up a bunch of different parts to make KNACK bigger – using super moves to help clear the screen when appropriate – and complete each level by getting the unlikely hero to his maximum size. Then you can send some of the goodies you’ve earned over to the PS4 version to give the big guy an edge. At least that’s the plan. As of right now the Item Share feature isn’t available but according to Sony it’ll be in the next update, which I’m assuming will be right before or on the console’s launch day (11/15).
We’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of the new Sony QX line of lens-style cameras: those super high quality lens systems that attach to the back of an iPhone and communicate with the phone via a Sony app. We had a few minutes to go hands-on with the QX-100 high-end lens yesterday, and here’s what we saw. More on the QX cameras.
While not in the perfect setting, we did a few side-by-side tests with the QX-100 ($499) lens against the stock camera in the iPhone 5S. Here are the sample shots and a few notes for each. These images are not modified other than whatever the individual cameras do by default and for size/cropping for use here.
This first shot is a bit of a torture shot for any camera. Bright colors, bright sun, dark shadows, natural and artificial light all in one. In this one both cameras do a good job, but the nod goes to the Sony QX-100 for better representation of the colors in both the light and dark areas. Also a better job of keeping the highlights from blowing out and the darks from disappearing.
In this shot, both cameras do a great job. While the Sony has a richer color saturation – perhaps too saturated – both are quite good. One plus for the Sony: notice that the background is blurred nicely vs the flatter image from the iPhone.
In all, the real let down was the software. And the good thing about that is that it can be updated. Hopefully it will be. Image size is also an issue. The iPhone 5s takes images natively at 8MP while the Sony QX-100 was only sending 1.5MP images to the camera. It is capable, with an micro-SD card installed, to take up to 20MP images, but I was unable to test that.
The price is another thing to think of. The QX-100 is $500. While saving a couple hundred over the same featured RX-100 camera, it might be worth the extra just to be able to use the camera by itself. Without further testing I can’t really be sure if the camera is worth the $500 over the camera built into the iPhone. We hope to have a full review for you later this year as the lenses become more readily available.
Just when we thought we’d seen the cross-promotional tool to end all cross-promotional tools, Sony went and completely broke the mold. Instead of aiming their new game PlayStation All-Stars Island at the PlayStation Vita as expected, it’s launching exclusively on iOS and Android. This is a curious choice to be sure, but the App Store masses are certainly not going to turn down appearances from the likes of Nathan Drake and Sackboy.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale was a PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3 release from last November that was just recently announced to be dead, at the hands of Sony. This tie-in to the console franchise comes literally the week after that news broke, making the decision to release this title outside of the Sony-verse even more befuddling. Luckily this collection of mini-games carries on the legacy of the original product, with a little help from Coke Zero. And by a little help, we actually mean it’s being plastered over every square inch of the product.
At launch the game currently features one of what is planned to be four base games, along with several mini-games acting as creative non sequiturs. The only available mode features Nathan Drake making his way through a Temple Run-esque environment, featuring plenty sliding and jumping, while also tilting to collect coins and droplets of soda. Yes, droplets of soda. Once the player has collected enough to fill a bottle, two different mini-games can be abruptly kicked off; including cameos from Clank of Ratchet and Clank fame, as well as Kat from Gravity Rush.
Though the initial offering is light on variety, it is mechanically strong. Everything plays fluidly, the visuals are crisp, and most importantly, it is fun to play. Sony characters may not usually make appearances on iOS, but they fit the platform like a glove. There’s little doubt that future additions to this free title will make it even more worth the download. It is rare for an unfinished product to reflect any kind of justifiable promise. Thankfully PlayStation All-Stars Island has been able to overcome this obstacle and deliver a game that has the potential to be quite good, once it has been completed.
However, like most good things in life, there is a catch… Someone over at Sony decided that this title would be best targeted exclusively to a European audience. For this reason, it has been confirmed that PlayStation All-Stars Island is not expected to ever see release stateside.
Why would a game featuring a couple of characters from US development teams not venture across the Atlantic? Also, each character appears in games that have sold best in North America. Heck, Coke can’t even be the scapegoat because Coke Zero is available here! Someone in the marketing department should take a break from plugging the PlayStation 4 and deal with their games that are already on the market. iOS gamers are clamoring for the chance to swipe Drake into submission. Why rob them of that opportunity?
Sony’s Music Unlimited service, which works similarly to Spotify, Rdio, and other “all you can eat” music services, has had an Android app since June of 2011, but iOS adherents to either the free or premium online music service have been waiting for a way to stream their collection through an iPhone. As of last week, the wait is over. Basic users can play songs form their music stored in Sony’s cloud, and the full on-demand service is available for subscribers. There is also a 30-day free trial to get new users to convert.
For free you can stream, as the name suggests, endless ad-free pre-programmed genre stations, get song and artist suggestions from Sony and listen to the tracks you own. $.3.99/month opens the on-demand catalog, give access to premium channels and let’s you create and edit playlists. The app is getting lukewarm user reviews so far, and we’re disappointed it’s not a universal build, but if you use the service and have tested the app we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
When it comes to films there are few names that are bigger than Sony Pictures. Acting as home to many iconic film franchises such as Ghostbusters, Spider-Man, and Men In Black, Sony’s titles have also been prominently featured in the iTunes Store for quite some time. With a stable of strong films already at their disposal now the question becomes, how could the company better promote their titles on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod, while still taking advantage of the iOS platform?
The answer to this question seems to be coming in the form of a brilliant new app from Sony Pictures, named My Daily Clip. So how exactly does a piece of software that serves up daily clips of films help sell flicks? The crux of the product seems to be the attempt to introduce consumers to titles they wouldn’t have otherwise recognized or been interested in, via this daily sneak peak. This sounds like a brilliant way to reach out to an audience, and it will be very interesting to see how this works out in practice.
Another interesting angle of the app is its entertaining trivia mode, which will ask viewers a interesting question related to the daily featured clip. Yeah, this isn’t exactly the kind of trivia challenge that film buffs may be looking for, but a piecemeal challenge is better than nothing. Who knows? Maybe you will fall in love with a flick and have a new piece of media to add to your iTunes Library. So why not give My Daily App a download and let us know what you think of it in the comments section.
Despite our rabid suggestions otherwise, it pains us to admit that there is a world of portable gaming outside of Apple’s miniature operating system. Sure, Nintendo announced their exciting three dimensional microsole at E3 last year, in the form of the Nintendo 3DS, but in a sick twist of fate, Sony’s new pocketsized Ferrari of a device has been getting a tremendous amount of buzz. The device, codenamed NGP (Next Generation Portable), would seem to some to be a direct shot across the bow of Apple’s hardware suite, touting features such as front and back mounted multi-touch input, internal six-axis gyroscope and GPS, an OLED display with visuals on par with the PlayStation 3, and even 3G functionality.
As you can imagine, a device like that not only turned heads, but also managed to drag attention away from another HUGE announcement for fans of Sony’s enormous back library of original PlayStation titles: The PlayStation Suite. Initially focused towards taking advantage of the Android phone, tablet, and set top box install base worldwide, the software is a proprietary set of emulation code, used to make a large number of Sony’s original PlayStation library available to the masses, without the necessity of purchasing a Sony device. This is a big step forward for the company, as they move to further proliferate the already ubiquitous PlayStation brand.
With all of this buzz about the NGP being in competition with existing iOS devices like the iPhone 4, many began to wonder if the PlayStation Suite’s Android focus was in an effort to draw attention away from Apple’s platform. I was one of those conspiracy theorists, in fact, noting that there was never any mention of iOS throughout last week’s Sony press briefing, while Android was name dropped numerous times.
In an effort to nip such discussions in the bud, when speaking with Andriasang, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kaz Hirai was quoted as saying:
“There are a variety of OSes, but we’re focusing first on Android. There’s also Windows, iOS and so forth, but we don’t have the resources to make it compatible with everything from the start.”
This is hardly a confirmation of the PlayStation Suite landing on iOS anytime soon, but it is good to know that we are at least on their long term radar. Now the question becomes if and when such a functionality would or could be added, not to mention how long of a head start it will receive on Android.
Unfortunately this will all boil down to a waiting game that no doubt has more nefarious motivations than satiating Cupertino’s fan base. It will be interested to see how this all plays out moving forward and rest assured that if anything breaks, you will read it here first.
PlayStation fans who can’t stand to be away from their console of choice for even a moment can take heart, as Sony has officially launched the PlayStation iPhone app. Users who download the app can sign in with their PlayStation Network ID and sync their Trophies and friends lists, as well as check out the latest stories from the Official PlayStation blog. That’s not all that’s planned for the app though, as future updates will include the ability to comment on PlayStation Blog posts as well as share news with friends and keep up with new game releases.
“There are tons more features we are planning to bring to this app in the next few months so keep an eye on the PlayStation Blog for further announcements early next year,” Sony said in a statement when announcing the app.
Right now the app is available in Europe, but there’s no word yet on an American launch. We’re expecting it to appear in all iTunes marketplaces eventually, but if you don’t see it yet just hang tight, it should be popping up anytime.
Right now the app has fairly limited functionality and doesn’t really offer all that much excitement for potential users. Sure it’s nice to be able to see your Trophies on the go, but to what end? Are you going to whip out your iPhone at some bar to defend your honor to a fellow gamer who dare doubts your Trophy-hunting prowess? And while it’s nice to be able to read PlayStation Blog posts, you can just as easily do so by popping the URL into Safari and browsing the news that way. With some enhancements this app may be a world beater down the line, but for now it’s not all that terribly exciting. Staying tuned to the app and this website may be the only real answer here.
Angry Birds developer Chillingo may cease to be an indie darling in the near future, as EA has bought the company. Reports put an the deal at $20 million cash, but the future of all the studio’s properties are still up in the air.
Chillingo was already a hot commodity after Angry Birds, but the massive success of the recently released Cut the Rope has truly turned the UK developer into a den of rock stars. While companies like Activision, Gameloft and even Intel were vying for the studio, EA was able to close the deal.
“By acquiring Chillingo, EA Mobile is increasing its market leadership on the Apple Platform as well as reaffirming its position as the world’s leading wireless entertainment publisher,” EA’s Holly Rockwood said in a statement.
It sounds like EA wants to keep Chillingo in the mobile space, but we can’t help but wonder if the studio will be asked to dabble in consoles and handhelds as well. EA has dabbled with physics games by publishing Boom Blox on the Wii, but the series has stalled and perhaps the company is looking for a new franchise to bring to non-Apple audiences. There’s also the distinct possibility EA could request a totally new IP from Chillingo, one which could be backed with a big budget and marketed across all platforms.
Where things may get tricky is in regards to ownership rights of games published under the Chillingo banner. Rovio created Angry Birds, while ZeptoLab made Cut the Rope, and, at least according to Rovio, the development studios still own those properties. A Rovio spokesperson says his company “controls the Angry Birds brand and any future products,” so at least that franchise may remain apart from this deal.
At any rate, let us be among the first to congratulate Chillingo and wish them the best of luck under the new ownership. They’ve already proven what talented, dedicated people can do when they put their minds to it so they deserve all the success and wealth they’ve earned. Well done guys, keep up the good work.
3D TV is being pushed from all angles and today Sony has pulled the cloth off of its first Blue-ray players officially being labeled as 3D capable. The BDP-S470 player is expected to have a firmware update by mid summer which will support 1080p playback and should be shipping “on or around March 18th” for only $200. iPhone users get an extra bonus as this player can be controlled by the new BD Remote App developed by SONORAN BLUE. The app sports both a simple or full remote view plus a soft keyboard and provides additional disc information. The S470 is just the first of many new devices said to support this remote option including the new BDV-E770W & E570 Home Theatre Systems.
No official word has come down from SONORAN yet but many fans are begging for them to build in PS3 support. If this was done, an iPhone user could pair up with a product like the L5 remote and have a true universal remote capable of competing with a Logitech Harmony.
Random Musings of the App Store
More stupidity from Sony
An interesting article over at PocketGamer this week reveals some measures Sony has been taking to combat Apple’s wildly successful (but far from perfect) App Store and to make their virtual download service, the PSN, more appealing for both consumers and developers. Sony might be doing fine with consumers, as the reported top limit of 5 euros is less than the App Store imaginary limit of $9.99, so if consumers managed to stomach the outrageous price of $250 for the PSPgo, they should be pleasantly surprised with the game pricing. The question is, however, will there be any games worth buying. The upper limit of 5 euros is simply awful for developers. For any quality games that are worth buying to a consumer, the volume of sales just needed to break even is immense. This is one of the biggest problems of the App Store, but it has managed to get away with it – for now – because of the huge reach of the store – there are simply a massive amount of consumers who are willing to buy a lot of games. I can’t imagine the PSPgo will sell as many units as the iPhone and iPod Touch combined, so I can’t imagine how hard it will be for developers to turn a worthwhile profit. Just ask the Google Android – the entire Android store probably has seen less downloads than any of about 500 iPhone apps. To make matters worse though, Sony is taking huge control over the games, requiring a two week QA test and regulating release dates, further discouraging indie development. Sure, most people don’t see the iPhone in the same light for gaming as the PSP (though I could recommend you a couple of titles that might change your mind), but with the new insanely powerful iPhone 3GS and help like this from Sony, Apple might just eat away at Sony’s share of the portable gaming world.
Snood arrives in the App Store
Last night, Snood, a classic PC/Mac Bust-a-Move clone, was released by EA into the App Store. Despite some strange Facebook requirements, a quirky landscape interface (the game is played entirely in portrait view), and the fact that it’s an EA port, Snood has made it to the iPhone in all its highly addictive goodness… with online multiplayer nonetheless! Best of all, there’s not even a stupid cross-over promotional Pocket God pygmy in sight! A friendly warning: I lost many hours of productivity on this game back in the day. I’ve not spent enough time with the game (ok, basically none) to give it a recommendation, but we’ll try to have an official 148apps patent-pending review up soon (or not…I didn’t get that checked out with our editor, Chris. He might have some sort of strange anti-Snood bias).
Released: 2009-08-17 :: Category: Games
App Store Fire Sale
It seems that in the App Store lately, everything must go! Developers have been slashing their prices to new lows, some even making their games free for a limited time. Rather than typing more, I thought I’d let our fancy boxes do the talking, so here are some notable price drops:
Released: 2009-03-27 :: Category: Entertainment
Released: 2009-06-29 :: Category: Games
Released: 2009-08-05 :: Category: Games
(Full disclaimer: I really don’t like NFL 2010)
Released: 2009-03-10 :: Category: Games :: Puzzle
Released: 2008-12-11 :: Category: Games
Released: 2009-06-08 :: Category: Games
Released: 2009-05-08 :: Category: Games
This week’s sign of the apocalypse
The game Ricky is currently sitting at the number 33 spot in the App Store. The description tells me that if I like Super Mario Bros, then “surely I will like Ricky.” Well Ricky, the only thing I’m surly about is your game. Ricky is a blatant Mario rip-off (ported horribly I might add). The hills have eyes, the main character is an italian plumber, and oh yeah, the icon is the 1up mushroom. Really Apple, you saw no possible copyright infringement going on. It just makes you wonder how apps like this get through while quality games like iMech and A.D.D. are held up in the approval purgatory for months.
Released: 2009-07-12 :: Category: Games
Apps of the Week
This week was a great game week, and while I was hoping Duke Nukem 3D would hold a spot on this list, unfortunately the controls are among the worst I’ve seen for a big title on the iPhone. Nevertheless, a duo of great games, one new, one old, made my list for the apps of the week.
Spider: the Secret of Bryce Manor
Spider is simply a work of art. The main gameplay, spinning webs to catch and eat bugs, is very compelling, especially with fantastic touch controls, but what makes Spider truly great is the multi-faceted story. The story is a human one that rivals many novels, but it is told through subtle clues found throughout levels. Items of seemingly little consequence can fill in a crucial missing piece. To top things off, Spider comes with many secret area to levels plus a secret room that it will take a true adventurer to unlock.
Released: 2009-08-10 :: Category: Games
Earlier in this article, I mentioned the addictive nature of Snood, but that is nowhere as addictive as the classic turn-based empire building game Civilization. Once I start a game of Civilization, I literally am not capable of doing anything else until I’ve finished the game. The iPhone version is slightly watered down, making it more accessible to newcomers, and it does have some interface/control issues (no performance issues over here on my iPhone 3G), but it’s still Civilization, and it’s still awesome.
Released: 2009-08-10 :: Category: Games
That’s it for this edition of MMAHQ. Next week, I hope to have some super secret exclusive content for you all that I’ve been working (or should I say waiting) on. Enjoy your week!
Random musings of the App Store.
Retro games are appearing in the App Store in droves! Pac-Man Remix, Q*Bert Deluxe, and of course, the incredible Space Invaders Infinity Gene. All of these are updated in some way from the classic games. Q*Bert has updated graphics, Pac-Man Remix has updated graphics (though they are still not too hot on the iPhone) along with power-ups that sometimes feel gimmicky, and Space Invaders is a complete re-imagining of the classic game. Of these, the only game that really captivates me is SIIG. In my opinion, retro games are retro for a reason – frankly, they’re boring and outdated. However, the concepts are still good, and if they’re updated for modern gamers, they can turn out like SIIG. To go with these retro games, there are plenty more on the way: Snood, a classic match-3 shooting game, TAITO’s Bust-a-Move, and most importantly, Pac-Man Championship Edition. Pac-Man CE, for XBLA, is, along with SIIG, one of the best re-imaginings of a retro game I have ever played and, if the controls are changed from Remix, should translate fantastically for the iPhone.
Gameloft coming on strong (maybe)
Along with NFL 2010, Gameloft has an upcoming FPS, Sandstorm, and a GTA knockoff, Gang$tar in the works. These games are particularly of note because it seems as if Gameloft is attempting to directly compete with other developers. NFL 2010 was notably released before EA’s upcoming Madden 2010, and at a lower expected price point – $7.99 compared to $9.99. Sandstorm seems to be in line for direct competition with ngmoco’s upcoming FPS (as yet unnamed). Gang$tar looks to have a huge advantage on current App Store GTA-a-likes with a fully roam-able 3D world. If I was a betting man (ok, I am a betting man), though, I would count on the other two games losing out. If there’s two things Gameloft games have in common, with the notable exception of Castle of Magic, it’s lackluster, on-screen controls, and uninspired gameplay. Gameloft seems to put all of the genre “requirements” in their games, without doing anything truly unique to make the game their own. They seem stubborn about their controls as well, always opting for mediocre on-screen d-pads or joysticks, rather than attempting any innovation for the iPhone. NFL 2010 is a solid football game with licensing, and I’m sure Sandstorm will be a decent FPS. However, neither if these titles, probably, will be great.Games requiring 3.0 software
I wanted to briefly address a common complaint springing up various places: games requiring 3.0 software or higher. Developers are excited to utilize 3.0 features and making their apps 2.2.1 compatible takes a lot of time, resources, and extra testing. Look, I know that the update is $10 for iPod touchers (whoops, that sounds weird), but that’s really not a lot for a major software upgrade, and if these stubborn users don’t update soon, they’re going to find themselves left out in the cold for some of the App Store’s best apps and games.
This week’s sign of the apocalypse
First Doodle Jump, now Harbor Master; the Pocket God pygmies are invading other games! It was bad enough that I had to look at those stupid pygmies while playing Pocket God, thinking I would eventually like it. But no, that wasn’t enough, now they have to ruin games that I actually play! I really want to kill a pygmy, and in a way so that they can’t be magically dropped from the sky a few seconds later.
Apps of the Week
Last week, I previewed Kevin Calderone’s new game Gomi, mentioning the staggering amount of content. Now, the app is out, and not only is it huge, but all that content is actually worth playing! In Gomi, you clean up the world by eating pollution and the like while spitting (?) out trees and flowers. You have to eat smaller things to build your appetite, eventually building up to shopping malls and the like. The regular levels are great, the boss battles are challenging and clever, and the game is seemingly endless with 140+ levels, eight mini games, achievements, and online scoreboards. At the low price of $1.99, Gomi is a unique game and a highly recommended bargain. Expect a full review soon (sorry, I’m on vacation).
Released: 2009-08-06 :: Category: Games
BargainBin is an app that allows you track other apps; creating wish lists with target prices and viewing the newest apps, updates, and price drops. BargainBin recently was updated with two major improvements: a nice UI update and a killer feature: push notifications. Now, whenever an app you’re tracking reaches your desired price, you’ll instantly receive a push notification without ever having to open the app. Finding the App Store’s best deals has never been easier!
Released: 2009-03-26 :: Category: Productivity
Well, that’s it for this week, and I’m still loving writing this column! Apparently, I messed up the links for the previous articles, so commenting was impossible. This has been fixed, so hopefully this week my begging for feedback/comments will succeed!