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Xbox Expected This Year

Xbox 360 with Kinect

The gaming world has been buzzing with excitement since Sony announced the PS4 last week. But for Microsoft, the Japanese electronics company didn’t announce new technology, but rather a declaration of war. Now, Microsoft is making their move and has a simple message for Sony: its game on.

Less than 24 hours after Sony’s announcement, the domain XboxEvent.com was registered by Eventcore – a company responsible for the planning of large, professional events, including the 2013 AT&T developer summit.

With this new development, It’s now evident that Microsoft is planning on revealing the Xbox this year.

And because the race is now on for the Xbox to be released in time to compete with the PS4 during the holiday shopping season, we can expect a large, and likely live, announcement by Microsoft within the coming months. This will likely happen before this summer’s E3 expo, which was originally rumored to be the stage for the Xbox’s release.

But we’re going to have to wait until that official announcement to get any details about the newest heir to the Xbox throne. The tight-lipped Microsoft has yet to reveal (or leak) any information about the new Xbox’s hardware, appearance, or features to the public. Even the popularized name of the new console, the Xbox 720, is still a matter of speculation.

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Sony Announces PlayStation 4

Screen Shot 2013-02-21 at 6.25.14 PM

Sony announced Wednesday in New York that the newest generation of console gaming, the PlayStation 4, will finally be released during the holidays! And judging by the details the Japanese electronics giant has currently released about the PS4, it seems that a lot of gamers are going to be drafting their wish lists early this year.

A powerhouse capable of lightning speed, the PS4 will come fully armed with eight x86-64 AMD Jaguar CPU cores, and will boast an impressive 8GB of GDDR5 memory – a huge leap from the PS3, which operates with a mere 256MB GDDR3. Mark Cerny, lead system architect for the PS4, referred to the new system as “like a PC, but supercharged.” More power behind the PlayStation means that the system will turn on and off almost instantaneously, and you’ll even be able to shut the system down mid game and reboot without losing a single step.

In addition to hardware upgrades, the PlayStation’s classic DualShock controller has received a facelift. The controller still has the basic, classic styling, but gamers now can expect better rumble and enhanced motion sensibility. Amongst the new features on the controller include a touchpad located on front of the device, a headphone jack, and a “share” button, giving you the opportunity to gloat about your progress to friends, or seek their help in a tough spot.

For those who wish to play their PS3 games on the PS4: you’re out of luck. Sony has confirmed that the PlayStation 4 will not support backwards compatibility. But this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy classics from the past. Sony is introducing a new system called “PlayStation Cloud”, which will allow you to access old titles from past PlayStation systems without need of a physical disc. However, specific details surrounding how exactly the cloud will operate are still, well, clouded.

More details about the PS4 are likely to be revealed within the coming months, but for right now Sony isn’t pulling the curtains completely.

Not a single complete image of the console was shown during Sony’s two hour long presentation, leaving the appearance of the new system still shrouded in mystery. And while it has been announced that the console will be released some time during the holiday season, a solid street date and estimated pricing has not yet been revealed to the public.

To learn more about the PlayStation 4, and to view their official announcement, click here!

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Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Trailer Debut

Halo4-Forward-Unto-Dawn-Screengrab2

Machinima just released the full length trailer for the live action series “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn”. The series will be available on their Machinima Prime channel and will cover the beginning of the war between humans and the Covenant. Expect to see some great live action heroics from our iconic hero Master Chief in this series. You can become a subscriber of MachinimaPrime here. The series is set to premiere this fall, so set your calendars for October 5, 2012!

Halo4-Forward-Unto-Dawn-Screengrab1

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Interview: Malcolm Harris, creator of Witch Girls Adventures

witchgirlsWitch Girls Adventures is a table top role playing or “drama diaries” game created by Malcolm Harris of Channel M Publishing. The game is the first of its kind, being marketed towards young girls in the 11-16 age group. Malcolm’s unique and interesting vision behind the Witch Girls Adventures has made the series successful. He’s recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help produce the second edition to the Witch Girls Adventures game called Witch Girls: Book of Shadows. I was able to have the chance to talk to Malcolm about the culture of table top role playing games, and how his game relates to young girls in general.

Ari:
When did you become interested in “geek culture” and how has it defined you as an adult?

Malcolm: I was an early reader and I loved to read. In fact, my parents would give me all sorts of books. At age three, they gave me an old middle school science book, and that sparked my interest in science. At age five, my dad brought me an issue of “Superboy and the legion of Superheroes”, and that made me a comic fan.

As I always say, everything I needed to know in life I learned from reading comics. The villainous are often a cowardly lot, stand up for truth and justice, the different despite being helpful are often feared and hated. Never stop learning and always surround yourself with “super friends”

Ari: What are some of the stereotypes that you see surrounding the table top role playing game genre?

Malcolm: Where do I start. Being a black male you get the “Black people don’t play table top RPGs”, yet I’ve played in RPG groups that are all black. “Girls don’t play table top RPG’s”, yet I’ve played in groups were I’m the only guy (did that a lot in college). And my favorite “all Table top gamers are socially awkward shut-ins/ virgins.” That one is so not true. I’ve dated the same awesome young lady for a while, Most of my gamer friends are gamers married to gamers or dating gamers.

Ari: What was the inspiration for the characters in Witch Girls Adventures?

Malcolm: Most of the character types and signature characters I placed in the game comes from research as a writer, I know a lot of female table top gamers so I asked them, what kind of character would you like to have played as an eleven year old. I also observed modern character trends, talked to my niece and the daughters of friends and people I know in the comic and animation business.

My friends in animation told me something that has served me well. Young people like characters that are like them or are what they wish they could be. So my signature characters became just a little of both and I give Players (we call them Stars) a chance to build characters they wish they could be .

Ari: What types of lessons can young girls learn from your role playing game?

Malcolm: Problem solving, self-reliance, The coolness of mathematics, communication and the biggest one…it’s okay to be you. Girls (and boys but more so with girls) are bombarded with the message “You must be this way or else…” instead of “Its okay to be different.” I think role playing games, fantasy and science fiction, comics and general geekery lets a girl know its ok to let her “freak” flag fly.

Ari: What are some of the challenges and pressures you feel that young girls face today? Especially if they have an interest in things such as comics, role playing, and things that are typically “geek culture”

Malcolm: As I stated. There seems to be a conscious (by society and the media) effort to brainwash girls. This includes the early sexualization of girls and the forcing of girls into set gender roles by the media. Sadly this tends to work on a lot of people and males and females expect girls to be “x”, if they are not “x” they are shunned, made fun of or worse.

Being into geek culture means in most cases girls are painting a bulls-eye for ridicule on their head in regular society. It also means in most cases they are not afraid of that ridicule and have made a conscious effort to be who they wish to be.

Ari: Do you find it hard for table top role playing to compete with online or computer based role playing games?

Malcolm: It’s not a competition. If you see yourself as competing against computer games…you’ve lost that war.

Table top role playing games are different. They are games with no limitation on time, money and length. They are exercises in social interaction and storytelling, and if you think they have taken a beating, do your research.

Teens and tweens have filled forums and chat rooms with free form fandom and original role playing, fan fiction, and fanart. Every table top RPG publisher should be saying “Those kids should be playing our games” and figuring out how to make that happen. Some of those kids play computer games, but I’m sure if they had a chance to experience table top role playing, and at least knew it existed they would love it.

Ari: What do you think are the key characteristics that set table top role playing games a part from online or computer based role playing games?

Malcolm: Aside from being cheaper than computer games (Something publishers should tell parents), its literally limitless in scope, story and length.

Ari: What other projects are you working on?

Malcolm: Witch Girls Book of Shadows: The second edition of Witch Girls Adventures our modern magic RPG (We call them Drama Diaries games) aimed at girls 11-16. Nemesis: Modern Mythology, second edition of my very first published game, Nemesis: A perfect world. Nemesis: Modern Mythology is a super hero RPG with a twist. DDF , Drama Dice (Our game system name) Fantasy RPG with a muti-ethnic, non-eurocentric bent.

On the comic front, A Princess Lucinda graphic novel and A comic seres based around the Nemesis superhero world.

Ari: How do you envision the future of comics in the technological age?

Malcolm: We can’t stop the digital comic age. It’s going to happen. I’m not saying print comics are going to die but they will become something of a specialty item. So for publishers I say adapt or get out of the way.

Ari: What advice do you have for young girls who want to break into the comics industry?

Malcolm: Practice your craft, be it art or writing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to show off your work. The only way you will get better is if you know what you need to work on. Also, don’t be your own worse critic. A lot of kids are so down on their work they never try. You have to get out there and take the bruises and jeers if your every going to succeed at anything.

You can find out more about the Witch Girls by visiting them on Facebook, and don’t forget to contribute to their Kickstarter campaign to help them make their stretch goals!

Witch Girls on Facebook
Witch Girls on Kickstarter
Channel M Publishing

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It’s Official! Master Chief Awakes on November 6th!

Halo 4 Preview

When last we saw Master Chief, he was getting into a cryo-chamber, telling Cortana, “Wake me…when you need me.” Last year, we got a sneek peak at E3 of Cortana doing just that (reviving our sleeping super soldier), and now the date has finally been set! Microsoft has revealed that November 6, 2012 will be the official launch date of the latest installment in the Halo franchise, Halo 4. This is the first game in the franchise under new developer 343 Industries, and will mark the return of Master Chief, the central character of the Halo franchise. Pre-Ordering is already available at your favorite gaming outlets. The new game will be the first in a new trilogy for Halo fans.

“November 6 is an important date in Halo’s vast and fascinating history. For the uninitiated, that was the day the Master Chief found a weapon, a parched Grunt stumbled upon the starship, and Staff Sergeant Avery Junior Johnson discovered the answer to one of life’s most perplexing questions. He wasn’t born knowing what the ladies like, you know.” -Bs Angel at HaloWaypoint

In partnership with Rooster Teeth Video, Microsoft have released a couple of Red Vs Blue videos to make sure all game fans remember not to forget the date.


Who’s in with planning a sick day with the lame fake cough? Forget about us in the United States actually electing a president that day!

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New Star Trek Video Game Coming in 2013


Machinima
just posted a teaser trailer for the new Star Trek video game based on JJ Abrams sequel to his 2009 re-imagining of the classic sci-fi television show.

Writer Marianne Krawczyk (God of War) collaborated with Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the writing team behind the reboot of the Star Trek film franchise. The game is expected to be a co-op experience, with players having the ability to be either Kirk or Spock.

You can clearly see Zachary Quinto, and Chris Pine’s likenesses in the roles of Spock and Kirk respectively, and while this is being touted as an original story line, it’s hard not to get just a little bit excited that maybe there is a spoiler or two of the movie in this teaser trailer for the game. News coming from the set of the film has been very quiet with only a few photos released recently. There hasn’t even been a reveal of the official title of this film yet, with everyone just dubbing it Star Trek 2 in the press, even though there is already Star Trek 2: the Wrath of Khan.

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Is the PSVita Doomed Before Its Release?

PSVita

Sony debuted its new portable handheld gaming device, the Playstation Vita (or PSVita), recently at the annual E3 convention. Now, it looks like a couple game developers are saying that they are not really interested in developing games for it. With the recent price reduction in the Nintendo 3DS, it is hard to image anyone willing to pay $299 for the PSVita.

Even though there may still be a market for hard core gamers who are loyal to portable devices, with the introduction of multifunctional tablets, the gaming industry has seen an increase in the casual gamer that has boosted tablet sales tremendously. Recently, GameIndustry.biz spoke with two game developers who shared their thoughts on why the PSVITA will fail, and how tablets have changed the market for portable gaming.

“The technology is sweet, I’m a huge fan of mobile technology, but I just don’t know there’s a market out there anymore for the hardware. I can’t see why you would want to put a device out that only does games.

The consumer has spoken. We wanted to see that world exist – more players, more opportunities for us, but at the same time people don’t want that. Unless there’s a super technology paradigm shift it’s not going to shift back.” -Lyle Hall of Heavy Iron Studios Source: GameIndustry.biz

“While it’s a nice achievement from Sony in the first step it’s not something we would take into consideration in the short term…

I can see that the multifunctions that devices like tablets offer is a big advantage of them. And I think people want one mobile device that can do multiple things.

Considering this, I think those handhelds are lacking in that area and they are losing ground, actually. I think they have to be more innovative.”  -Avni Yerli, Managing Director at Crytek Source: GameIndustry.biz

The PSVita is set to release in Japan this year, with the US and Europe the following year. The outlook is pretty grim if popular developers like Crytek (known for Crysis and Far Cry) are backing off already from developing for the device. Without a nice stable of available games during its release, the PSVita could already be looking at a price cut to make the technology more appealing to the changing gaming market.

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Star Wars Kinect Bundle Xbox 360

star-wars-kinect-bundle-1311273024

If there ever was an Xbox bundle that was mandatory for console lovers everywhere, then this is it! The new Star Wars themed Xbox comes complete with a console made in the style of R2D2 (it even makes his droid noises!), a C3P0 styled controller, and a limited edition white Kinect sensor. The bundle will be priced at $449, but will come with copies of Star Wars Kinect and Kinect Adventures.

Using the classic droid designs makes this custom limited edition appealing to both female and male gamers alike. Gizmodo was able to take an exclusive inside look into the making of the console set, and what went into the design construction.

The bundle was officially announced on opening day of ComicCon. It will come with the largest HDD Xbox has ever released at 320GB

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New Trailer for The Secret World MMO

The upcoming massive multi-player online game, The Secret World, has a creepy dead amusement park, a floating clown looking guy, and really ugly flesh eating monsters. The trailer looks good, but it is by FunCom which put out the disappointing Age of Conan.

No word on when this is being released, but the if there is a free demo that might be worth having a look at before spending any money on the full release.

Source: The Secret World

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