CES Blowout: Microsoft Vs Sony
Microsoft and Sony have given their keynote speeches at this years Consumer Electronics Show... and there are a few little announcements hidden behind the usual posturing and posing. For your delectation, here's the whole shebang in digestible bitesize form.
- Rumour Controlled: Avatar Kinect is real. The rumours (reported yesterday) have been confirmed. Microsoft will be rolling out Avatar Kinect this Spring, allowing our virtual caricatures to mingle and chat in themed environments with gesture support and the ability to record our own podcasts!
- Torchlight and Beyond Good & Evil HD confirmed for XBLA. The downloadable port of Runic Games' loot grinder has been confirmed as a full Xbox 360 exclusive- and the reskinned classic Beyond Good and Evil will remain exclusive to Microsoft's console for an as-yet undisclosed period of time. They'll form part of the XBLA House Party promotion that kicks off February 16th. We'll have full reviews next month!
- Game Room & Fable Coin Golf Headed To WP7. Game Room's decaying bloated carcass is a mockery of its incredible potential- but the news that arcade games (and achievements) can be shared across the PC, Xbox and Windows Phone 7 should help to rejuvenate the service. Oh, and a Fable-themed coin golf game will also let you... well... play golf. For coins.
- Kinect has sold 8 million units in 60 days. That's actually very impressive for a risky new peripheral. Hopefully this user base will warrant the creation of more innovative games as well as better integration into Xbox 360 dashboard operation. 2011 promises to be a great year for Kinect, and we're looking forward to seeing what the next few months have in store.
- New Prototype 3D Headset Revealed. Basically it's a virtual boy for the new generation. Executive deputy president Hiroshi Yoshioka introduced the new tech, which is a closed visor with integrated headphones. Seperate displays for each eye should cut down on headache-inducing interference, though since it's a prototype, no details on performance or pricing have been announced. We'll keep you posted.
- Playstation Phone tacitly confirmed. Again. Oh, you coy little tease. We already know that the Zeus Z1 smartphone with Playstation emulation functionality is a very real proposition, but SCE CEO Kaz Hirai has dropped a few more hints that they'll be "integrating into mobile the assets [they've] collected in the Playstation family." Yes, we know that the PS Phone is happening. Hurry up and showcase the damn thing already before we get bored!
- PSN Subscribers reach 60 million. Which is almost enough for a small game of MAG. All joking aside, this is an impressive achievement made possible by their innovative freemium sales model. To put this in perspective, Microsoft has hit 30 million users. Take from this what you will.
Did we miss anything important? Excited about this year's CES- or was it a bit of a damp squib? Drop us a line in the comments!
Intel Reveal "Game-Changing" Sandy Bridge Processor
This is probably the biggest news from CES 2011. Intel have revealed their new Sandy Bridge processor, which is the first 32 nanometer-based chip on the market. Apparently it will offer "a console-like experience on the PC," which means less messing around with graphics options and drivers before being able to play the games themselves. Sandy Bridge will apparently also provide lower manufacturing costs along with improved performance and cooling rates, which will hopefully guarantee a competitive launch price.
Valve's Gabe Newell stepped up to the plate and praised the new chip, stating that "it’s a real game changer." Portal 2 will apparently be optimised to run on the Sandy Bridge processor when it releases later this year.