The internet has been stuck in this broken record type situation ever since the release, and subsequent success, of the Wii. Last year almost everyone seemed convinced that Microsoft would announce some form of motion tracking device to be used on the 360, there has also been talk that Sony were intending on doing something similar. The rumours continue again with Variety and Engadget reporting from “various sources” that both parties are planning E3 announcements.

Colour me sceptical but I hope these don’t prove true for the mere fact that I am sick of hearing the same rumours over and over again. This combined with the fact that I remain less than enthusiastic about motion based gaming means that if they do prove true I will be a tough customer to win over. The only thing that gives me a glimmer of hope in this situation is the fact that Microsoft has now in its employment Johnny Lee, you remember him? Oh and we can’t forget the EyePet, I love that little monkey hamster.

Time will tell.

Imagine; you want to play Connect 4 with your friend. However, you and your friend are nowhere near each other. It’s a good thing the ButtonMasher Podcast is here to tell you about Connect 4 on the Xbox Live Marketplace for only 800 Microsoft points! Somewhere in the middle, me and Brian have a chat with David Hine from Sony NZ, and I confuse Prototype with Infamous again.

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Also, we put Buzz!: Brain Of New Zealand and Scene It: Box Office Smash side by side, Gar gets angry about the consolation points in the latter, and utters some terrible words towards the end.

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At GDC two new contenders have thrown their hats in the ring and signalled their intentions on running with the big boys, at it’s base the method is similar but they promise very different distinct experiences.

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The first and probably more likely to ever eventuate at a real contender is called OnLive. The product is the brainchild of Rearden Studios who developed a unique motion capture system that was used in Benjamin Button. The new “console” is intended to allow users to plug it in to their existing PC and then play the most current games without needing the hardware to run the game on your own computer. The service/device named OnLive is a device that transmits input data from the end user and receives the picture that is displayed on your display. The computing and game information is all processed remotely by the provider of the service.

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A post on Kotaku tells of a Flikr user emilyskeith who loves at least three things; cosplaying, Portal, and (I’m assuming this part myself,) her industrious boyfriend who happened to make her a portal gun. People who have heard me talk about the Xbox 360s power-brick know that I consider an item of these sizes to be heavy when death by blunt force trauma has real potential. This wee trinket looks like it meets that criteria and then some.

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So while the Guitar Hero: World Tour drum kit didn’t turn out to be as flawless as we may have hoped, the device that purported to solve most issues related to sensitivity by allowing you to connect it to a PC for tuning was suspiciously absent from the New Zealand section of the Red Octane Warrantee site – which you had to find four clicks deep from the Activision Support link given in the box. Well the happy ending to this story is that (according to senor Newsboy,) the connector became available on the site late last night, so those people registering double hits/kicks or none at all can get to tuning and then back to rocking. To deviate for a moment though – does anyone else find it amusing that this page lists the solution to every piece of the kits sensitivity issues as “try hitting it harder/softer”? Sure, I bet there are some real apes and possibly some children which are wondering why their hits aren’t registering correctly, but for “velocity sensitivity” to have been such a selling point, only for them to turn around now and say “well, there’s actually a specific range we’d prefer you to hit it in…” – Nice one.

There has been a flurry of Blu-ray news as of late, so I though I would round up some of the latest gossip, rumours and going ons. In an article from the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday, Asher Moses states that Blu-ray is struggling to catch on with shoppers and is in danger of being skipped over, but feels the format may have new life breathed into it come Christmas this year.

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Moses includes some data from Sony and according to them, there are about 2.3 million HDTVs in Australian households but only 400,000 Blu-ray players have been sold. The PlayStation 3 with a built in Blu-ray drive accounts for about 370,000 of those Blu-ray players, indicating only about 30,000 households have picked up a stand-alone player solely for the purpose of playing Blu-ray discs, which doesn’t seem to fare well for the format. Furthermore, figures provided by Sony Pictures state that of all the movies sold on disc in Australia, Blu-ray sales make up just 1.9 per cent of the total market. That figure is a little higher in the US at 5%, but in the UK and France, Sales of Blu-ray are under 2%.

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Nintendo in Japan will release the “Nintendo Wi-Fi Network Adapter” for sale from September 18 on the Nintendo.jp website. Unlike the Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Adapter, the Network Adapter functions as a standalone wireless router/access point, and supports connection of other Wi-Fi compliant devices (the USB Adapter works only with approved devices, and currently only supports the DS and Wii).

The network adapter will have a switch to allow it to work as a standalone wireless router or bridge a current wireless connection. The unique feature of this device is that it will allow DS and Wii consoles to connect simultaneously using different protocols.

The DS can only support the widely criticised WEP protocol (and the DS does not support firmware upgrades), so those choosing to use more secure WPA networks in their homes can connect their Wii but not their DS. In order to have the DS and Wii connected simultaneously, one needs to “downgrade” security to WEP.

The device will launch at ¥5,800 ($82 NZD), and there are no current plans to release the product outside of Japan.

Note to Nintendo: Stop releasing products ONLY in Japan. It breeds envy

via DailyTech. Photos via Famitsu.com

Apple’s “Let’s Rock” event in San Francisco overnight threw up a big surprise. No, we’re not talking about the “back to the future” portrait-orientated iPod Nano (which incidentally comes in every colour in the rainbow), or the iTunes 8 “Genius” that chooses songs for you based on your taste.

The new iPod Touch features lower price points, a thinner body, and an in-built speaker – making it “the best portable device for playing games” according to Apple CEO Steve Jobs. I’m sure that these strong words will just have Nintendo and Sony execs shuddering in their boots, but panicked shareholders haven’t rushed to sell their stocks – yet.

Apple is now renowned for their wild claims – in fact just recently an iPhone advertisement was banned for claiming that “all parts of the Internet” can be found on an iPhone (complaints were based around the fact that lack of Flash and Java support did not allow all websites to be seen in their entirety).

At the event there were demonstrations of EA’s Spore Origins (released to iPod touch and iPhone yesterday), the unreleased iPhone version of Iron Man, Gameloft’s Real Soccer 2009, and EA’s Need for Speed. There are already over 700 games available on the App Store for compatible iPhones and iPod Touches.

Of course only time (not Jobs) will tell how much of an impact the iPod/iPhone will have in the portable console market.

via MTV

Microsoft announced yesterday the price drop of some of the accessories for the Xbox 360. The drop does make a needed change to the price of some items that are becoming more and more popular like the stand alone 120GB HDD.

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There is obviously still a bit of room for movement before the bigger hard drive and wireless adapter become an instant purchase for most gamers, but a reduction is always welcome.

Tonight Microsoft hosted an event in Auckland in co-operation with PlayTech to promote the announcement of the new SideWinder branded PC hardware, the X6 Keyboard and the new X5 mouse. The X6 will be the first keyboard to feature a detachable number pad which can be placed on either side of the keyboard for comfort of use, it also boasts programmability allowing up to 90 specific macro commands per game.

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The new mouse is a revision of the SideWinder branded mouse that was released last year. After a brief play around in CoD4 the mouse and keyboard seem like a very competent gaming combination with plenty of features and a comfortable size and design. We’ll have a full review up as soon as the hardware is released into the wild but for the time being the technical spec’s are past the break in the press release.

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