Now at a Kickstarter near you
If you have more than even just a passing interest in the music/rhythm genre of video games, you’ll probably know that befor Harmonix rocked out with Guitar Hero and eons before their Rock Band days, there existed Amplitude – a PlayStation 2 exclusive that put Harmonix on the map with a controller-based music rhythm game that, well, kicked ass. Unfortunately, Amplitude has been mostly forgotten due to the far more successful in the mainstream Guitar Hero and Rock Band games, but Harmonix isn’t letting the brand die – the company has just announced today that they’re planning on bringing Amplitude back, and in a big way on today’s modern platforms – the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 3.
The new Amplitude, which exists as a Kickstarter project that you can support starting today, is graphically superior to the original in every way while maintaining the original’s frantic and addicting gameplay. The mockups that have been released thus far reveal a beautiful game reminiscent of both the original as well as the company’s latter Rock Band titles, and that’s a good thing – its moody, its expressive, and it looks plain old cool.
If you want to help make this a reality, you can donate $15 now for a redemption code for the full game when its finally released in March of 2015. Or you can go crazy and donate in the thousands for some sweet bonus swag, like a flight to Boston, a tour of Harmonix’s studios, a helicopter tour of the entire city, and some other just ridiculous goodies. I gotta admit, this looks good. The company is looking for $775,000 in donations to help make it a reality, so get donating if this is something you’re interested in playing at your next, next, next, next social gathering.
Xbox boss shoots down portable rumors
A couple of years ago there were some rampant rumors that Microsoft was hard at work on an Xbox branded 7″ “Surface” tablet, and that rumor has stuck around as though it were actually something Microsoft was going to actually do. Unfortunately for whoever started that rumor however, Microsoft’s new Xbox boss, Phil Spencer, took to Twitter today to shut down all hope on that front as Spencer has claimed that a portable Xbox branded device isn’t on its way.
A user tweeted to Spencer directly asking him the question that has been on all of our minds, asking whether “a handheld Xbox One-like gaming device at E3 or in the future.” Phil Spencer shot the rumor right in the heart when he answered pretty directly that he doesn’t think that “we’ll do a dedicated handheld gaming device.” Of course, company executives have quite often straight out lied in order to hide what they’ve been working on, but an answer this direct does nothing but dampen our hopes. And oh, did we have such high hopes.
Source: Phil Spencer (Twitter)
Flopped when its hardest to flop
The Christmas season is traditionally a pretty good time for technology and entertainment brands, with big businesses usually growing the most as a rush of tech-hungry holiday shoppers cross loved ones off their shopping list. While Christmas likely helped boost the sales of the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 launches respectively, it seems the gaming industry’s third player wasn’t so lucky. According to NewStraitTimes, Nintendo’s President Satoru Iwata admitted at a press event this week that the gaming giant was “not able to lift sales momentum for the Wii U.” Iwata reportedly blamed the failure on inadequate software sales.
The Wii U, which we originally reviewed back in November of 2012, has had a rough life so far. Originally championed as a “return to form” for Nintendo in a sense, the Wii U has gone on to dramatically flop, constantly losing the support of big publishing companies, developers, and consumers alike. Nintendo finally admitted the poor performance of the Wii U early year when they cut the sales forecast of the Wii U by over half, with Nintendo executives taking pay cuts due to the console’s poor performance.
One of the primary issues with the Wii U seems to be its lack of hardware capabilities. While the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 both contain powerful, fast x86 based AMD processors with next-generation graphics capabilities, people have been disappointed with the Wii U’s relatively weak hardware, which is barely – if any – better than what you’d find in an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 back in 2006. Developers like DICE have gone so far as to openly mock the Wii U, with DICE claiming that the console “can’t run” the company’s next generation Frostbite 3 engine, which powers such games as Battlefield 4. It’s worth pointing out that even the Xbox 360, a console released in 2005, is capable of running Frostbite 3.
Following the news that Facebook is buying Oculus comes word that Notch, creator of the wildly popular sandbox game Minecraft has cancelled the official version of Minecraft for Oculus Rift.
For the very reason that Facebook has bought Oculus, Minecraft will never see an official release of the game that is compatible with the Oculus Rift. Notch having stated that “Facebook creeps [him] out” and how Facebook doesn’t care about their users other than if they’re getting more users are some of the reasons why he personally pulled the plug on the project.
Thankfully, the project was just in preliminary talks and given the nature of Minecraft there are mods out there that make it Rift-compatible, they’re just not official.
Got your Xbox One all ready for Titanfall? Well, good luck playing it because Xbox Live is experiencing issues just in time for the Titanfall launch. Specifically, users are currently unable to log into their Xbox Live account although according to Engadget, anyone who has logged in earlier to the outage can still play Titanfall as normal.
There’s no word on when the downtime will be corrected so just keep your Xbox One joypad in one hand and a mouse in the other – you could be in for a long night.
Get the latest before your jealous friend
Good news, fellow gamers – Microsoft has begun inviting some Xbox Live users to begin testing out Xbox One Software Updates ahead of their official release to the general population. Users have begun receiving Xbox Live messages like the one above inviting users to download a special Xbox One application that enrolls a console into the program.
We’ve known for some time now that Microsoft is working on updating the Xbox One with some much needed improvements, some of which rolled out to users just a couple of days ago, and it’s good to see the company is doing more to make sure that the company’s next generation console remains successful into the long run. As for when we should expect to see the first Xbox beta release, Microsoft has begun messaging those who were accepted into the beta program the following message:
Thanks for registering to preview Xbox One updates! The first preview wave will be coming to your console soon.
Not exactly a lot to go on, but hey – official world that there’s more to come is better than no word at all. Future Xbox One updates are expected to bring Twitch streaming support to the console, improvements to the way it manages Xbox Live’s party system, stability improvements, controller improvements, and more.
Gotta watch 'em all
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the size of the state of Texas for the past 25 years, you’re probably already familiar with the Pokémon television show – a Japanese anime by Nintendo that follows the wacky adventures of Ash, a forever-twelve-year-old kid who’s on an epic, seemingly never ending journey to be the best there ever was (whatever that means) and collect all nine million Pokémon while he’s at it. To date, there have been over 800 episodes of the show, and starting on March 1st, you’ll be able to watch some of the best episodes and specials on Netflix.
According to the internet streaming and DVD rental service, Netflix will have available to stream “the classic first season of the television series, Pokémon: Indigo League, the fan-favorite Pokémon: Black & White season, and two feature length Pokémon movies [Pokémon the Movie: Black-Victini and Reshiram and Pokémon the Movie: White-Victini and Zekrom].”
So while that may not be quite enough to appease younger fans of the series, that’s more than enough content to get some of the series’ older fans excited – I mean, the entire first season? Indigo League? Those are gems of the 90s! Sign me up!
Hello, is this thing on?
Microsoft has announced that the Xbox One will be getting one of the PlayStation 4’s best features – live game broadcasting to Twitch. Starting later this Spring, all you’ll have to do to show the world your mad sick Forza drifting skills or your Titanfall parkour antics is speak the words “Xbox, broadcast” and voila – it will be so. This will enable thousands of new, not before live streams to hit Twitch.
The new functionality will be coming soon, March 11th, and Microsoft will be hand picking a select number of Xbox One users to beta test the update before the general public has a chance to get their hands on it.
If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of folks who likely got their hands on the real, original Flappy Bird game before developer Dong Nguyen took it down to protect your, and his, sanity – then good job! But if you’re not and you’ve been constantly searching around the App Store or Google Play to get something that’ll give you a rough idea of what the original game was like, we’re sorry to say that you’ll now have a harder time of it. An Apple representative has confirmed that the company is removing and actively denying Flappy Bird clones on the App Store, reportedly telling developers that they’ve “found your app name attempts to leverage a popular app.”
Google is reportedly very much doing the same, however the company isn’t commenting on the news that Flappy Bird wannabees are going the way of the dodo. With Mr. Nguyen appearing increasingly unlikely that he’ll ever put our good friend Flappy back on the App Store, you may wanna act fast if you wanna get something that even remotely resembles his breakout hit.
It's gone forever
Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen has at long last made his first public interview since the sudden removal of Flappy Bird from the App Store and Google Play. While Mr. Nguyen originally only claimed that he removed the insanely addicting and popular game from the App Store because he couldn’t “take it anymore”, we’re now finding out more behind his actual reasoning behind removing the popular game.
In the interview, which was conducted with Forbes, Nguyen claims that the removal of Flappy Bird has been significantly “thought through”, claiming that fans of the game should in no way expect it to reappear any time soon. The actual reason behind the removal? “It happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem,” Nguyen says, seemingly pointing out the hundreds of thousands of collective hours likely spent smashing a small pixelated bird into a SNES era sprite of a Mario World-inspired pipe, or the fact that a busted old iPhone 4 fetched hundreds of thousands of dollars on eBay just because it had Flappy Bird. “My life has not been as comfortable as I was before… I couldn’t sleep.”
While Nguyen has spent the last couple of days offline, avoiding his online profiles and not responding to emails or tweets, Nguyen did claim in his last tweet that he will continue to develop games, and prior to the removal of Flappy Bird he was said to have been considering a sequel to the game. The question is – now that Nguyen has achieved such an immense level of fame, will he ever be able to develop a true indie game – one that won’t commandeer thousands of independent blog posts, hundreds of thousands of downloads, and fan frenzy? Or has Nguyen, like those at popular Minecraft developer Mojang, already crossed the threshold of “indie” developer to superstar?
The smell of desparation
Microsoft is once again trying to convince people to buy the Xbox One. This time, their scheme is simply to offer trade-ins: If you trade in your PlayStation 3, they’ll give you $100 in store credit towards the purchase of an Xbox One which drops the price down to $399, or the same as the PlayStation 4. Don’t have a PS3? The deal is also available to owners of Xbox 360 S and E units – if anyone’s 360 White is still working at this point, you’re being left out.
As with these sorts of trade-in deals, the console must be in fully-working condition with no major cosmetic issues and with all of the original cables and controllers. The catch is that the offer is only valid at physical Microsoft stores of which there are fewer than 100 scattered across the US, and that means if you don’t live near a store then you can just forget about this offer.