As rumored, Niantic is bringing brand partnerships to its hit augmented reality game, Pokémon Go. The software developer has announced that Sprint will have the first sponsored locations in the US, with more than 10,500 stores expected to be turned into PokéStops and Gyms. It’s worth nothing this doesn’t only include Sprint’s namesake shops, but also those from Boost Mobile and RadioShack — which are owned by the carrier. These spaces will feature in-store charging stations too, in case your smartphone can’t keep up with all your quests.
Now don’t get too excited (or do), but Niantic says you should keep an eye on its social media channels on December 12th. That’s when it will be sharing details about new Pokémon additions to Pokémon Go, and we know you’re dying to find out all about that.
Following years of pining after GameCube games on the Virtual Console, it looks like Nintendo fans will soon be getting their wish. According to a recent report by Eurogamer, the Nintendo Switch is rumored to be the first Nintendo console to offer GameCube games on its Virtual Console. Citing several sources within the company, the article states that Nintendo already has classic titles like Super Mario Sunshine, Luigi’s Mansion and Super Smash Bros. Melee running on the Switch.
The article goes on to suggest that Nintendo is also prepping popular GameCube lifestyle sim Animal Crossing for the Virtual Console. It seems as though the company is also looking into making the console compatible with the Wii U’s GameCube controller adapter.
Given Super Smash Bros Melee’s evergreen popularity at fighting game tournaments and the Switch reveal trailers focus on eSports, its inclusion is an easy win for Nintendo.
The GameCube emulator is rumored to be developed by Nintendo’s European Research Department – the people responsible for this year’s Christmas sell-out, the NES Mini. While the NES Mini has a few issues, its game emulation runs flawlessly, meaning that if true, GameCube emulation on the Switch looks rather promising indeed.
Frustratingly, it looks like old Virtual Console purchases won’t transfer over to the Switch, requiring users to pay a small ‘upgrade’ fee to unlock the rom on Switch. In an age where account purchases on mobile transfer seamlessly to your next handset, if true, it’s hard not to see this as a cheap cash grab.
While none of this has been officially confirmed, Eurogamer’s previous rumors about the system proved to be true. With Nintendo holding a press event revealing more about the Switch next month, we won’t have long to discover how much truth is in this reports.
For those who maintain a cable subscription, one of the (many) annoying aspects is that sometimes channels have streaming apps you can’t use, despite being a paying customer. Over the years, Comcast has decided that it’s not going to allow customers to use whatever channel’s app on one platform or another, but now the PlayStation 4 is off of that list. According to a tweet, owners with Comcast subscriptions can finally log in and use the WatchESPN and HBO Go apps on their game console.
Good news: Xfinity TV customers can now log-in and access HBO Go and WatchESPN on PS4.
— PlayStation (@PlayStation) December 6, 2016
As usual, there’s no explanation as to why it took so long (HBO Go launched on the PS4 in May 2015, WatchESPN just arrived in September). Even Roku scored Comcast support for HBO streaming back in 2014. Now, Comcast is one of the notable holdouts from the Apple TV single sign-on scheme. Whatever the reason, it’s resolved in this case, so it’s time to catch up on that Westworld finale.
Source: PlayStation (Twitter)
Xbox One and PC owners can now get their hands on Bethesda’s all-new Skyrim, Fallout and Doom… themed pinball machines. Available today as DLC for the free game Pinball FX 2, Microsoft gamers can trial these new tables for a limited time at no extra cost. If, however, you find yourself wanting to return to Bethesda’s machines, the pack of three will set you back $11 (£8).
While we’re not usually ones to get excited about digital pinball, the level of detail in these lovingly crafted machines really is something else. Featuring fully rendered models of fire-breathing dragons, vault-dwellers unleashing VAT-powered shots and even Skyrim’s lock-picking mini-game, these detail-packed pinball machines are bursting with game references.
Given the recent release of Dishonored 2, the franchise’s omission seems like a bit of an odd decision. Still, with the Prey reboot only a few months away (and these tables costing nothing to try) this is a cheap way to satisfy that Bethesda itch.
After surpassing 40 million sales back in May, Sony has now sold 50 million PlayStation 4s. That figure includes PS4, PS4 Pro and the new slim version of the console, and represents sales to customers, rather than shipments to stores.
The 50 million milestone took just over three years for Sony to reach. For comparison, the PlayStation 3 was on sale for four and a half years before Sony had shipped the same number.
Software sales have also been fairly strong. Sony says that, as of December 4th, it’s sold 369.6 million games across retail and digital downloads. That means that roughly seven games have been purchased for every one console.
As Sony’s announcement gives only a grouped figure for console sales, it’s impossible to know exactly how many of the 10 million PS4s sold since May were the “Pro” edition. Similarly, there have been absolutely no firm figures for PlayStation VR sales. The headset came out back in October, and at the time SCEE president Jim Ryan said launch sales were expected to be “many hundreds of thousands.” Analytics firm SuperData projects that total sales of the headset in 2016 will be less than 750,000.
Microsoft stopped reporting figures some time ago. The launch of the smaller Xbox One S has revitalized sales somewhat, with the Xbox One outselling Sony’s console for several months in a row this year. Third-party estimates suggest that Microsoft has sold between 25-30 million Xbox Ones, giving Sony close to a two-to-one sales lead.
Hot on the heels of PlayStation Experience, Sony has announced the first smartphone games developed under its new “ForwardWorks” banner. The roster includes a new Everybody’s Golf title (known as Hot Shots Golf in the US), which is due to come out in spring 2017. The company is also working on a new Wild Arms game, an adaption of Arc the Lad and What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord? Looking further ahead, ForwardWorks has confirmed it’ll be working on a new Parappa the Rapper game, as well as apps based on Doko Demo Issho and Boku no Natsuyasumi.
It’s a sizeable list, though one clearly geared towards the Japanese market. While some of its chosen franchises have a fanbase in the West — Parappa and Everybody’s Golf, for instance — most are considered niche or long abandoned. Reviving them as smartphone apps is an intriguing way to measure fan interest. If the games are free, and more importantly good, it could spur demand for new, higher budget console and portable titles. Sony is taking a similar approach on the PS4 right now, having confirmed HD remakes for Parappa the Rapper, Crash Bandicoot and Wipeout.
Sony has tried to make smartphone games before. PlayStation Mobile was an abject failure, however, producing few titles with lasting appeal. It shuttered the project in 2015 and shifted focus to the PlayStation 4, a wildly successful console, and the PlayStation Vita, a brilliant but unpopular handheld. With ForwardWorks, Sony will be hoping to re-assert itself in the mobile market. That’s easier said than done, given the cut-throat competition on iOS and Android. A broad line-up could work in Sony’s favor — effectively spreading its bets — while contrasting Nintendo’s smaller, more cautious portfolio of smartphone games.
Source: Sony (Blog Post)
This morning, we’re reading about how Google has upgraded its search app to keep personal information and news events separated, the same company’s attempt to solve router troubles forever… and the Novint Falcon’s transformation from haptic games controller to sex toy.
Your to-go guide
Google’s search app splits up news headlines from your upcoming events.
The automated interests formerly known as Google Now are getting another refresh. In a change that’s rolling out first on Android (soon on iOS) the app will display two different sections of information. Upcoming has all of your personal info, like incoming packages, calendar events and reservations. Feed is where current events, sports and trending updates will go. In the age of personal AI assistants, figuring out a place for different types of info is going to be key.
Technology’s biggest patent fight still isn’t over
Supreme Court sides with Samsung over Apple patent penalty
Samsung’s Supreme Court appeal worked: the justices unanimously voted that the company’s violations of Apple’s iPhone design patents were only valid for a part of a smartphone, not the entire device. This means the $548 million penalty sum will return to the lower courts and be reduced. To what degree, however, is up to the courts. The iPhone’s design is iconic — and that will be noted.
It makes a world of difference
Spotify Connect is live on Sonos
After a short beta period, a feature that lets Sonos owners control their audio gear from within Spotify’s app is available to all. It works across desktop and mobile, and can jump from speakers to headphones with the tap of a button.
The next big thing in teledildonics
Computer Love: Novint Falcon (NSFW)
The Novint Falcon debuted as a haptic joystick in 2005, and despite a lot of enthusiasm, never made it to market in a big way. Now, it’s had something of a resurgence, but this time as a sex toy. In this edition of Computer Love, Executive Editor Christopher Trout investigates whether its hardware is up to the task.
An end to “Have you tried switching it off and on again?”Review: Google WiFi
Google WiFi is a solid choice if you’re looking for a router that mixes smart design with simple features and solid performance,. However, users who like to get their hands dirty may prefer the control and flexibility of more conventional products. For the rest of us, Google WiFi will likely provide an easy transition to the connected home. Check out our full review.
Somehow it’s not just an endless RIP list
The top ten Twitter conversations in 2016
The clock is almost up on 2016, and not a moment too soon. Twitter has a round up of the top conversations from this year, including Game of Thrones, Brexit and Black Lives Matter in its Moments format. Of course, it wasn’t all death and politics — remember, Leo finally won an Oscar.
But wait, there’s more…
- Constant updates and online functionality pushed Bungie out of making ‘Halo’ games
- Chance the Rapper’s ‘Coloring Book’ is the first streaming-only album up for a Grammy
- Apple’s TV single sign-on feature is live
From Skylanders to Amiibo, “Toys to life” have been a pretty lucrative way for video game companies to make money. Sony has been more-or-less absent from the field, but today it’s announcing something not too dissimilar: Project Field.
The company is showing off dedicated smart pads that pair with a phone or tablet to bring card games to life. Imagine a game like Hearthstone, for instance, but with physical cards that you buy in store. Or the physical and digital versions of Pokémon Trading Card Game fused together.
When a user places a card on one of the pads, it’s identified using an NFC-like wireless technology. The pad then sends the card’s exact position to the phone or tablet using Bluetooth. Once the card is in the game, the pad is able to detect movement — if you slide a card to another position, for example. The cards will be both readable and writable, meaning in-game status changes can be saved. Depending on the game, players will also be able to “grow” a character, with stats stored on the card.
Sony announced Project Field today as part of a broader push to get PlayStation games onto mobile phones, and says it has “multiple” projects planned for the platform. The first title to be announced is based on Yokai Watch, the hugely popular Level-5 RPG.
This isn’t a drastically new idea — Sengoku Taisen, Kantai Collection and other Japanese arcade games already blend collectible cards with video games. Nintendo’s Amiibo cards for Animal Crossing also have built-in NFC chips. Where Project Field differs is in portability, and potential reach. If the pads are sold at a reasonable rate, players will be able to get an arcade experience anywhere they can bring a tablet.
While Project Field is only slated for release in Japan, the worldwide appeal of Skylanders and Amiibo means an international release doesn’t seem impossible.
Source: PlayStation Japan
The Russian government has a problem with a lot of current technology: a YouTuber was imprisoned for playing Pokémon Go, Microsoft Outlook was banned from government computers for being an American boogeyman, and good luck accessing LinkedIn from St. Petersburg. This week, Electronic Arts became the country’s latest target when a group of Russian members of Parliament asked the government’s communications oversight agency to possibly block FIFA 17 after the popular soccer franchise promoted a tie-in with a UK-based LGBT rights group.
Show your support, get your FREE Rainbow kit in FUT now! More on the #RainbowLaces campaign: https://t.co/2NohXaloXe pic.twitter.com/xSbY9G8wAp
— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) November 26, 2016
FIFA 17 has lots of connections to the English Premier League for a variety of obvious reasons, but as the Guardian notes, the Russian MPs’ beef with the title stems from EA’s support of the Rainbow Laces campaign, in which the league partnered with LGBT rights group Stonewall to fight homophobia and transphobia at matches in the UK. EA’s part in that campaign included virtual rainbow-colored uniforms FIFA 17 players could use to deck out their in-game teams. Even though the Rainbow Laces tie-in ended in November, the MPs claim the game is in violation of a 2013 law that outlaws the promotion of non-traditional relationships because they could bring “harm to children’s health and development.”
The MPs are asking the state consumer protection and communications oversight agencies to investigate whether the game should be banned from distribution in Russia, or if developer EA Canada should be ordered to change the game’s age rating or even modify code to remove the parts that the Russian government finds so offensive.
Engadget has reached out to EA for comment and we’ll update when we hear back.
Via: The Guardian
According to Variety, Will Ferrell has reportedly signed on to star in an upcoming film about eSports. The as-of-yet untitled movie will feature Ferrell as a member of a pro gaming team with the twist being he’s super old for an industry where most people retire in their mid-20s. The film will also include appearances by the Evil Geniuses and Fnatic, two actual professional teams.
This marks a significant milestone in the development of eSports leagues. In just a few years, the industry has gone from hobbyist pastime to niche sideshow to legitimate entertainment attraction (and investment). Heck, last year’s League of Legends finals garnered more views than the NBA’s championship. Now, eSports have so thoroughly integrated into the mainstream that the industry is being depicted in other mediums including television, Facebook and board games.