Electronic Arts is hoping to convince folks to covet thy neighbor's wife. Or that co-worker you've always lunched with. Or your college sweetheart.
Virtually, of course.
At E3, a show that caters to hardcore gamers who stand in long lines to get the first chance to play soon-to-be-released action titles, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Assassins Creed: Revelations, EA's new title in The Sims franchise has gone a bit below the radar. But The Sims Social, which will launch this summer on Facebook in five languages, would seem to have all the prurient … Read more
LONDON--When you sell Angry Birds, the casual game that's spread like wildfire from the iPhone to Android to Windows to the Web, what do you do for an encore?
You expand beyond games--as far afield as books and movies. At least that's the plan detailed by Peter Vesterbacka, whose title as leader of Rovio Mobile is "mighty eagle," the name of the game's all-powerful pig-blitzing character.
First came Angry Birds stuffed toys and T-shirts. They've been successful for the company, with 3 million toys and more than 1 million shirts sold so far, Vesterbacka … Read more
Nintendo commenced its E3 2011 press conference in grand fashion today, revealing many details about the future of the Zelda franchise. The Japanese video game company first showed off a four-minute video montage tribute, complete with a live symphony orchestra performing "The Legend of Zelda" theme song music to gameplay clips from 25 years of Zelda titles.
Senior Managing Director Shigeru Miyamoto took the stage afterward and seemed downright giddy at the premise of a full orchestra before him. It wasn't long before he gleefully asked the instrumental ensemble to play various Zelda sounds, including: solving a … Read more
ANAHEIM, Calif.--After being closed for more than a year for a major redesign, the 24-year-old Star Tours ride at Disneyland reopened this past weekend as Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. Disney and Lucasfilm have equipped the re-imagined ride with new 3D technology, HD screens, and improved audio animatronics, so CNET strapped into the simulator to test the the new attraction.
Since the original Star Tours based on the first three "Star Wars" films ("A New Hope," "The Empire Strikes Back," and "Return of the Jedi") opened in 1987, George Lucas and company released a second trilogy of films introducing new characters and locations into the Star Wars universe. Meanwhile, improved audio technology and animatronics, HD screens, and 3D imagery have made their way into popular consciousness. The new Star Tours joins of all those elements together into a more modern entertainment experience.
While I managed to get a look at the new attraction with a press pass, park visitors waited in two-hour lines. As they wove through the traditional theme park wraparound lines, new high-def screens presented themed messages about possible destinations and the ride's security procedures. A new and improved animatronic C3PO and R2D2 bicker while they prepare your shuttle for travel through a galaxy now ruled by the Galactic Empire. While the ride remains similar in feel to its predecessor prior to boarding that shuttle, its art direction and technology got a serious upgrade. … Read more
Though playing video games is often called a child's activity, a new study from the Entertainment Software Association has found that that perception couldn't be further from the truth.
According to the organization, which represents the game industry, the average gamer today is 37 years old. Moreover, the average game buyer is 41 years old. Because of that, a greater number of parents are playing games with their children. The ESA said that 45 percent of parents play games with their kids "at least weekly."
Those statistics are quite important to the ESA and the industry … Read more
LOS ANGELES--Nintendo got the next wave of console wars started today with the introduction of the next entry to its arsenal, the Wii U, at the company's E3 presentation.
The new console, with an iPad-like controller, will be available next year, as the company had said in April.
Nintendo didn't offer the price of the console or any technical specifications. But it nevertheless wowed a partisan audience at the Nokia Theater here in Los Angeles with a video of novel new gameplay. The company never showed the device itself or any live demonstrations of the console or controller.
But in the video, Nintendo showed how gamers could use a TV screen and the screen on the controller at the same time to play games, and how they could use each on its own. Using both screens, for example, a gamer playing video golf put the new controller on the ground, where it became a sand trap with a ball in it. The player took a swing with a Wii controller and the ball flew onto the TV screen and landed on the green.
In battle games, players can flick throwing stars at opponents with their finger on the new controller. The weapon then flies onto the television screen.
Using the screen separately, gamers could play a traditional board game like Othello, where they move chips over a the board by touching the screen. And they can also use the screen for video calls and for surfing the Web. The controller features a 6.2-inch screen, has a rumble feature, a microphone, two speakers, an accelerometer, gyroscope, and a front-facing camera.
Nintendo Global President Satoru Iwata said the company expects the console can be loved by hardcore and casual gamers alike.… Read more
Sony's next-generation PlayStation Portable got its North American debut today at E3, as well as a new name--PlayStation Vita.
The device, which Sony unveiled in Japan in January, comes with two joysticks, multitouch 5-inch OLED screen, front and rear touchpads, and front and rear cameras for augmented reality.
"Vita means life," said Kazuo Hirai, president and group chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment. "And we're confident that Vita will be the first product that blurs the lines between reality and interactive entertainment."
The Wi-Fi model will run $249, and a model that includes … Read more
Brad Bushman, a communication and psychology professor at Ohio State University, has conducted many studies demonstrating the negative effects violent video games can have on teens and young people.
He wasn't investigating the possible effects of "relaxing" games because, he says, "Until recently...such games didn't exist. Most video games try to rev people up rather than calm them down."
But the researcher says a growing genre of relaxing games has enabled him to investigate whether, just as violent games can lead to aggressive behavior, nonviolent games can promote positive behaviors.
On the surface Origin offers few surprises. It functions as a digital storefront from which you can download PC games directly to your computer, and is essentially a more fully developed version of EA's existing EA Download mini application. At the moment Origin carries EA published games exclusively, with regular and special-offer prices matching those of … Read more
As Microsoft prepares for the E3 video game conference next week, the company is already taking the opportunity to promote its progress in that arena.
According to the software giant, it has now sold 55 million Xbox 360 units worldwide since the device's launch in 2005. Perhaps most importantly, sales are "accelerating," Microsoft said, and in the first four months of 2011, Xbox 360 sales were up 29 percent compared to the same period in 2010.