Google ‘working on videogame console’

The new hardware would allow Google to compete with rumoured products from its rival, Apple, including a next generation TV that will include a videogame console and an Apple smartwatch.

The internet search giant is planning to design and market the two devices and then release at least one of them this autumn, according to reports.

Google’s smartwatch is expected to connect to smartphones using Bluetooth technology, much like its Google Glass product. Wearable computing is a key focus for major technology companies and Samsung has also said it has plans for an Android-based smartwatch.

Google also has some experience in the videogames market, as games that run on Adroid software are growing more quickly than those made for Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo consoles.

The Wall Street Journal reported the developments based on unnamed sources “familiar with the matter” and also claimed Google is planning to release a second version of its media-streaming device Nexus Q.

The first version of Google’s home entertainment device was revealed last year but was criticised for costing $299 (£195) and never went on sale to the public.

Google’s next attempt at the Android-based device is expected to be much less expensive, according to Wall Street Journal sources. The product should help Google sell more music through its streaming service, Google Play.

The technology company is also reportedly working on low cost Adroid smartphones that would be released in developing markets, including places where Google plans to help create wireless networks.



Expect new PS4 game reveals at gamescom in August

The PS4 has clearly won the popularity vote over the past few weeks due to Microsoft’s insistence the Xbox One require an Internet connection. But with that decision now reversed, the consoles are more evenly matched (with the exception of price). Inevitably, which console gamers choose to buy will come down to the games on offer, and Sony apparently still has a lot to unveil.

Most of the PS4 game reveals so far came at the initial February unveiling of the new console. E3 was mainly about the hardware, a few new titles, and updated looks at the games we already knew about. According to SCE Europe CEO Jim Ryan, that wasn’t because there aren’t anymore games to show, Sony has just decided to hold back revealing them until later in the year.

In other words, we can expect to see new games announced at the remaining major game conferences in the run up to the PS4 launch. The two big ones being gamescom in August and the Tokyo Games Show in September.

Ryan has also pointed out that SCE Worldwide Studios has 30 titles for the PS4 in development. 20 of those will release in the first year the new console is on sale, and 12 of those 30 games are brand new IP. With that in mind, we can expect to see a selection of PS4 games making an appearance at gamescom for the first time and then yet more making their debut at TGS. On top of that, we should expect third-party publishers and developers to show more of their PS4 games and possibly reveal some new titles, too.

We also can’t forget Microsoft and Nintendo. Microsoft will surely have held something back to help push the Xbox One in the coming months, and even if Nintendo doesn’t have anything else new to reveal, they will be pushing the already-announced first-party Wii U releases they do have pretty hard.


Nintendo’s First Free-To-Play Game Out Soon

It seems Nintendo is ready to put its money where its mouth is. As it suggested back in April, the Japanese gaming giant is making its first foray into the world of free-to-play titles.

And Nintendo’s first free-to-play game will be based on Steel Diver, a tactical submarine simulator developed specifically for the launch of the 3DS handheld console.

At the E3 2013 event last week, Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata said the free-to-play title is currently in development and would be released before the end of the financial year, which is in March 2014. Iwata did not give any other details about the title and Nintendo only confirmed that it would not be part of the Mario or Pokemon franchises.

But a couple of days ago, veteran game designer Shigeru Miyamoto told IGN that the new title is based on the 3DS Steel Diver game idea, but will have a new design and is going to be very fun. The game will include a multiplayer mode, Miyamoto said, talking also about a very interesting four-player battle mode. The new game will be ready very soon and will probably be released later this year, the designer added.

Steel Diver is a slow-paced action game in which players have to control a submarine with virtual buttons displayed on the touchscreen. The game was developed by EAD Tokyo studio, which was also responsible for some of Nintendo’s widely popular titles, including Super Mario Galaxy, and was released in 2011 together with the 3DS.

Nintendo’s First Free-To-Play Game Out Soon

An exact business model for the free-to-play Steel Diver version has not yet been determined, according to Miyamoto. But we can expect the game to be affordable, as Iwata said last week Nintendo was doing everything in its power to avoid an unbalanced game setup which would require players to pay a lot of money.

Nintendo is hoping that by promoting balanced and reasonable free titles, it will forge a favorable relationship with customers in the long term. Analysts believe the move will help the company boost revenues from the digital market.

The Japanese gaming giant has hit a rough patch with its Wii U console, which did not sell as well as it was expected. This was largely due to the absence of a significant game library for the platform.