The rumor-mill is a-churnin’, folks: vg247.com recently posted an E3 2012 prediction article which seems to drop inside knowledge regarding a partnership between Sony and a “leading cloud gaming service”. Sony has a long history of early E3 leaks, and VG247 has a long history of actually getting things right, so we’ll chalk this one up as a solid “possible”.

Leading possibilities here include OnLive, Gaikai, and Steam, but a recent invitation from Gaikai posted by French blog Gameblog.fr translates to: “Gaikai has major announcements for E3, which has the potential to change the future of video games, the game consoles and the way in which we play.” This would put Gaikai as the frontrunner.

What does it mean for gaming? Is this a PS3, PS4, or PS Vita-related announcement? Will Sony shift to a cloud-based gaming model in order to reduce hardware costs and losses in the next generation? Oh, this time of year is just so exciting.

The Muffcake Podcast.  We’ve played some Minecraft, James rates Max Payne 3, Paul is absent, and we say many a word about what Activision are up to.  Wugga knows things about Halo 4, Microsoft are in the news, and I speculate wildly about Forza Horizon.

The 3DS makes use for QR codes for sharing Miis and for special features in supported games. Mario Tennis Open (reviewed here) released in New Zealand today and EB Games have an exclusive QR code which allows you to unlock the Black Yoshi costume in the game by taking your 3DS and Mario Tennis Open into an EB Games store and scanning the code. In other regions there have been various promotions and activities to allow the unlocking of other Yoshi colours – no further such details are available in New Zealand yet. 

Available “for a limited time only”, head down to your local EB Games store now to unlock this character costume!

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My thoughts on Kinect have always been pretty clear – I just don’t really get what the fuss is all about. The tech looked highly promising – the final implementation never impressed me much and nothing has changed to convince me otherwise yet.

LEAP into the future – the near future in fact – and dreams of a Minority Report control system could be just around the corner. LEAP Motion have showcased their upcoming product which could have you gesturing in thin air to control aspects of your computing, with potential gaming applications far beyond what Kinect has shown itself to be capable of. Claimed to be accurate down to “1/100th of a millimetre”, the tiny device aims to allow you to use not only your arms like Kinect, but also your hands and fingers. You can even grip a pen and “write” with it – the LEAP can apparently map those fine movements as if you were using a tablet.

Check out the video below which demonstrates what the LEAP aims to achieve. Whether you believe it to be real or just a mockup is up to you but pre-orders have opened for a limited number at the impossibly low price of USD $70 (under NZD $100). Will you be pre-ordering one for the launch of late 2012/early 2013?

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Mario Tennis is back! A long seven years after the excellent Mario Power Tennis was released on the GameCube, the memories are finally rekindled but this time on the small screen. With Wii Sports tennis being the signature title for Wii, there were hopes that this would eventually lead into a Mario tennis title for Wii. Sadly however, the New Play Control! port of Mario Power Tennis was the closest we ever got, and with Wii U on the horizon it is virtually impossible that a full-blown title would ever make it to Wii.

Camelot having developed all the titles in the Mario Tennis series, and Mario Tennis Open looks and feels a lot like Mario Power Tennis. Obviously this time the screen is much smaller and a little more 3D, but the vibrant graphics style looks quite stunning on the 3DS.

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Nintendo has made it clear that it is taking E3 2012 seriously, offering interested gamers the chance to get the latest info from LA via the web, YouTube, FaceBook and Twitter. In a press release, it was announced that:

“Nintendo will be using a mix of online, broadcast and social platforms to provide a steady stream of breaking news and announcements during the video game industry’s biggest annual trade show”.
 
“We don’t want anyone to miss the energy and excitement of this year’s E3 Expo,” said Cindy Gordon, Nintendo of America’s vice president of Corporate Affairs. “By offering different ways to tune in and follow all the Nintendo news, we aim to make fans all over the world feel like they’re right there with us at the show.”

The hub on the web is located at http://e3.nintendo.com, where there will be a live stream of the proceedings (no information about geographical restrictions announced). The US will have access to live TV broadcasts on the Spike TV and MTV2 networks commercial-free, while there will also be updates posted on YouTube, FaceBook, and Twitter. All this should make it easier for New Zealanders to follow the news when E3 kicks off in a couple of weeks.

via Gaming Examiner

I was pretty concerned that an XBLA/PSN release of Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown would mean a stripped-down feature set, but this trailer has gone a long way to help me put those fears aside. The video goes out of its way to acknowledge the existence of the dynamic arenas (which I was expecting), online room matches (which I wasn’t entirely expecting), a “vast collection of customizable items” (which I… wasn’t necessarily expecting only because I’m crazy about making Akira look weird), and a tutorial mode, which looks like it might be as fully featured as the VF4 Evolution tutorial mode, and includes a frame advantage counter, which is great news if you’re wanting to learn how to play.

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Following in the footsteps of excellent Sparrow for Mac which we reviewed earlier, Sparrow for iPhone seeks to bring the same superb minimalist email to the iOS platform. The challenges go beyond adapting Sparrow to the smaller screen of the iPhone/iPod touch however, with Apple restrictions meaning compromises needed to be made, with certain much desired features reluctantly omitted.

Sparrow for iPhone currently only supports IMAP mail, so it is not an option for users of Hotmail and other POP accounts. Setting up accounts is relatively straight-forward, and completed you land in a unified inbox that looks on the surface much the same as any other mail app.

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Bannermars

Wind the clock back a decade and if I told you that one of the “Best in Market” software programs was made by Microsoft and it was free and you’d have had me committed. Fast forward to 2012 and against all expectations Microsoft offers Windows users not only one but two very useful and free applications – the highly acclaimed Microsoft Security Essentials, and the WYSIWYG blogging tool Windows Live Writer. Powerful enough to satisfy the needs of most casual bloggers, WLW is a pleasure to use and has become the standard by which other blogging software is compared against.

The problem with WLW is that it is available for Windows only, and Mac users need to perform fancy tricks by dual booting or running Parallels to use it. For many Mac users it remains the one last bastion of holding onto the Windows OS, but with MarsEdit 3 the long awaited WLW equivalent for Mac may answer their prayers.

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