Think you know about Assassin's Creed? Have you travelled the world with Ezio? Then prove it by taking our Assassin's Creed Travel Quiz.
With over 1 million
pre-orders and more to come, the upcoming PS4 launch for 29 November 29 caused
There is a clamour for eager PlayStation fans to pre-order and get the new console in time for Christmas. With partners such as GAME guaranteeing deliver before Christmas with only a £20 deposit, there is still a chance to grab your hands on the elusive console in time.
The more details that are released from the Sony team, the bigger the anticipation we feel. With this in mind we have the top five things that we love about the PS4:
5. Dualshock 4
Trying to design a controller that is better than the Xbox's default offering has been one of the harder tasks for Sony developers but they may have succeeded with the new Dualshock 4 ps4 controller.
Introducing the Track Pad, there is now more flexibility for players to make the most out of each game. Plus, with a sleeker design and an incredibly light feel, hours and hours of gaming time awaits you with no negative effects on your hands.
4. Playstation app
Sony have caught up with rivals Xbox and announced that there will be an app for iOS and Android to offer second screen gaming. The free app will allow users to compare achievements and view the successes of friends.
The most striking element is the ability to offer second screen gaming like with the Wii U on certain games.
As of yet, there has not been an announcement on the release date on the app.
3. Online upgrades
With technology outdated almost as soon as it is released, it is refreshing to see Sony focus on the future and longevity of the PS4. Online upgrades will be consistently released and provide the console regular booster injections to keep themselves ahead of the game.
Plus, there has already been acknowledgement from the powers that be that early fan feedback on the PS4 has been taken in. Expect Sony and the fans to work together to have the ultimate games console that is personally defined for each user.
2. A feast of games
A healthy mix of third party and exclusive titles fill up the list of on the PS4 and with more expected to be announced, the console is definitely kicking things off with a bang.
1. All round improvement
So much has been promised to fans with enhanced graphics and social features that all round improvement has to be our favourite PS4 feature.
Add into that the fact that the PlayStation Vita will play an important role as Remote Play if enabled on the PS4, and the gaming experience has reached a whole new level.
Very excited about the launch of Sony's PlayStation 4 later this month? Well you can whet your appetite a little by downloading Sony's new PlayStation app for iOS and Android which has just the respective app stores.
The exciting part is that the new PS4 enables second screen content so you will be able to interact with the game through your mobile. This might be a game map or some extra control options - it is obviously down to the developers. You can also use the app to buy games which will then be ported to your console.
The app also has PSN chat as well as and you can use the app to control the console which is every useful for things like harnessing your phone's keyboard rather than the one on the controller.
The app is very similar on both iOS and Android and is designed to have the look and feel of the new console.
Despite its male-dominated beginnings, 48% of gamers are now women - and it's easy to see why. With so many games available for mobile operating systems like Android, it's almost impossible not to be drawn in by an overwhelming desire to collect gold coins, or wreak vengeance on virtual enemies. With that in mind - here's a selection of some of the best Android games out there.
Ok, so we are a little late with this. I mean who would have thought that Nadal would be on the plane home before we got our annual Wimbledon gadgets and games feature out. Nevertheless if you do want to emulate the great British player Andy Murray (aka as the Scots fella should he not be lining up in the final on Sunday) then here are a few games and gadgets to get you in the mood.
There was a time when Sony was the ultimate name in consumer electronics. It had a superb range of high-end products in a number of sectors that were just better designed, better built and crammed with more useful and innovative features than its rivals.
Then about a decade or so ago things started to go a little awry. Hamstrung by its ties to content companies it let some of its leading brands ie the Walkman slide to be superseded by the brilliant products coming out of Cupertino.
The level of innovation declined and even in gaming it found itself running a poor third behind Microsoft and Nintendo.
More recently there has been a subtle change at the company. Maybe it has just focused more on product design (maybe taking a cue or two from Apple) or maybe it has decided to really give consumers what they want (and not agonise about the impact on its music, games and video sles) but its products have once again become, whisper it, rather cool.
The ditching of the unwieldy Sony Ericsson combination has certainly helped and the arrival of 4K TVs and tablets has opened up new opportunities for the company, but it just feels like Sony has rediscovered its mojo.
Here then are five examples of how Sony has returned to form.
1 The new PS4 trumps the X Box One
The two new games consoles are fairly similar in terms of looks, hardware and range of games. But the Sony has a few trump cards. Firstly it has removed the restrictions regarding the playing of used games - which has been massively well received by gamers. Also you don't need an online connection to play games and the console is region-free. The clincher though might just be the price, with the PS4 coming in at £349, which could be as much as £80 cheaper than its Microsoft rival.
2 Sony has the only Android tablet to seriously rival the iPad
In fact a few writers have even suggested that the Sony Xperia Z tablet has the edge over its 10inch Apple competitor. It is an absolute stunner. Incredibly thin and light, yet a breeze to use and has a superb screen and excellent sound quality. It is waterproof so you can watch movies in the bath too. If you have £400 to spend on 10inch tablet you need to look at this beauty first.
3 Sony is leading the way in 4K TVs
Super high resolution 4K TVs are set to become big news later in 2013 and Sony is already setting the standard. On its books it has the flagship monster screen 84-inch 84X9005 and coming soon are the Sony KD-55X9000A and the Sony KD-65X9000A.55 and 65inch screen sets respectively which have prices tags starting at £4,000. This will start to begin the coast of 4K Tvs down and Sony is very well placed to dominate the 4k market.
4 It is rumoured to have an amazing smartphone on its way
As if the excellent Xperia Z with its groundbreaking waterproof screen wasn't enough, there's already quite a buzz about the next big smartphone from the company. The rumours are that the Honami will pack Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 quad-core chip clocked at a staggering 2.3GHz - way faster that any of its rivals. It will also be powered by a huge 3,000mAh battery pack that will deliver running times that are well clear of rival smartphones. The screen is rumoured to be stunning too in that it is a 5-inch Full HD 1080p display running 'Triluminos' technology. The phone will be made from glass, metal and carbon fibre, and be absolutely stunning to look at. And to top it all it will sport a 20-megapixel camera accompanied by a huge 1/1.6-inch Exmor RS sensor.
5 It is making great laptops again
For while now Sony laptops have been also rans. Which a shame because there was a time when if you wanted a Windows laptop the extra you paid for design and build quality for a Sony was a very sensible investment. The new Vaio Pro is definitely a return to form. It is light, made from carbon fibre and has an Intel Haswell heart. There's a lovely screen, very good quality battery life and a decent keyboard - which not all Sony laptops have featured recently. It might be pricey at around £1000 but this might just be the best Windows 8 laptop on sale.
Get out your smartphone or tablet and click over to PokerStars now, because the poker site has announced that they will be giving away $5 million in celebration of the 100 billionth virtual hand.
100 billion is a huge number. To put PokerStars' record-breaking achievement into perspective, the amount of hands played on the website is about to be the same number of stars estimated to populate the Milky Way. As PokerStars hurtles towards this huge accomplishment, it is giving its players the chance to share in its success.
As part of the Road to 100 Billion promotion, which celebrates every five billionth Mega Milestone game, players on PokerStars can win a substantial amount of money if they're lucky enough to be a part of the 100 billionth hand.
The final mega milestone is expected towards the middle of June, concluding the promotion with a massive celebration and $1 million for the players involved. The winner of the hand will take a minimum prize of $100,000, with the rest being shared between their fellow players on the winning table and all other players playing at the same stake at the time of the 100 billionth hand.
Players in other key milestone hands in the run up to the 100 billionth milestone will share $1 million in prizes. More money will be spread across special promotional Sit & Gos and tournaments, with another $3 million to be won.
Traffic to the website is expected to spike significantly in anticipation of the Mega Milestone hand. The 95 billionth hand played out on PokerStars back in February at a $0.08 / $0.16 No Limit Hold'em table.
All nine players who were lucky enough to be dealt into this hand shared out substantial prizes, with the winner, RichB17, receiving a$23,920 first place prize. It takes around three months for http://pokerstars.com to deal every 5 billion hands, so make sure you are playing on the site in June to be in with a chance of sharing in the celebrations.
Nvidia is staking a strong claim on the cloud-based gaming arena at CES 2013 this week by unveiling the Grid.
The Grid is just like Netflix but for die-hard gamers instead of movie buffs and - after a demo from the team - appears to be a seamless way for users to play a range of different games across multiple devices. Whatever game you play on one device and whichever stage you reach, you can then pick everything up from the exact same spot using another, which is what has led many to draw comparisons with Netflix's functionality.
There'll clearly be some issues with streaming games for those in areas that don't have the best data connections, but there's no doubt the Grid could prove to be a key competitor to the likes of OnLive and Gaikai that are already in the "game", so to speak.
The highly anticipated Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 computer game, crammed with all kinds of gory shoot-em-up scenarios, zombies and terrorism, sold more than eight million copies in the first 24 hours after it was released, making it the fastest selling game of all time.
The latest Call of Duty release officially went on sale throughout the world at midnight on Monday and stores up and down the country stayed open all night to allow die-hard gamers to get their hands on it.
Shiny Shiny was invited to the game's official launch party where we watched celebrities battle it out. We'll keep you posted about when our sister site Tech Digest posts its official review of the game...
Microsoft has launched a new feature for the Xbox console today called Kinect PlayFit, which collects data about your activity and the calories you've burned playing a whole host of popular titles, such as Dance Central 2, Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012 and even Kinect Star Wars (yeah, really), as well as a number of other games.
Those interested in tracking their fitness will be able to earn different kinds of medals and achievements too, work their way up leaderboards so they can compete with other Xbox Live members and share their results among social networks, making them more inclined to really push themselves as they dance around, bend into yoga positions and fight off stormtroopers.
The Kinect PlayFit is only available to Xbox Live members in the US at the moment and it'll apparently be launching to those in other countries as soon as next week. Finger's crossed the UK is next on the list.
Over the past few years we've seen offline advertisers take different (and often worrying) approaches to targeting potential customers, which sometimes seem far too much like ideas taken straight from Minority Report, with different ads being shown to different genders, drivers being told where they might like to visit nearby and even ads that are tailored to your personal tastes. Well now it seems Microsoft wants to try and bring a similar, yet even more advanced, kind of targeted advertising to gamers.
According to Technology Review, Microsoft filed for a patent application back in 2010 that would enable the Kinect to determine your mood and fire ads at you accordingly. It's only just been made public this week and has left many questioning whether it's the most manipulative use of the Kinect we've EVER seen. We think: YES.
The patent application contains a lot of information about how Microsoft would accurately work out different moods and it seems to be all about employing the use of motion and facial recognition technology:
"If the user on the videos or images from the webcams is dancing, the advertisement engine may assign a positive emotional state, such as, glad or happy, to the user...If the user on the videos or images from the computing device, e.g., Microsoft Kinect, is screaming, the advertisement engine may assign a negative emotional state, such as, upset, to the user. If the user on the videos or images from the computing device, e.g., Microsoft Kinect., is pacing back and forth, the advertisement engine may assign a negative emotional state, such as, worried, to the user."
If it doesn't concern you enough that your Kinect is sat there analysing your every movement, then take a look at some of Microsoft's justification for analysing a gamer's face:
"Weight-loss product advertisers may not want their advertisement to appear to users that are very happy. Because, a person that is really happy, is less likely to purchase a self-investment product that leverages on his or her shortcomings."
Yes it makes sense from a brand's perspective, why sell a product that's designed to erode your self esteem and force you to part with a disgusting amount of money to people that enjoy life? After all, it's those that are sat there crying and need someone to comfort them that need your overpriced, gimmicky gym equipment and a pill that'll damage their insides but make them a few lbs lighter.
Of course it's just a patent application, there's a pretty good (OK highly likely) chance that this kind of advertising won't be happening anytime soon, but we can still get all worked up and angry about it in the meantime.
[Via Technology Review]
The last place you'd expect to see a Kinect is on an operating table, but the device could be the ideal way for doctors to consult medical images during complicated procedures.
Last week a surgeon at the Guy's and St Thomas' hospital in London started using a new system that relies on an Xbox Kinect camera. The surgeon was able to wave his arms, or make other simple gestures, in order to quickly and easily browse through medical images, instead of asking his colleagues to find them for him.
According to New Scientist, surgeons generally need to stop what they're doing and look through detailed images anywhere from once an hour to every few minutes during a procedure. Many depend on assistants and nurses to hold up images or use a computer to find the information they need, but we can imagine this is a lengthy and rather frustrating process.
Tom Carrell, a consultant vascular surgeon working at Guy's and St Thomas', who helped lead the operation, said:
"Up until now, I'd been calling out across the room to one of our technical assistants, asking them to manipulate the image, rotate one way, rotate the other, pan up, pan down, zoom in, zoom out [...] I had very intuitive control".
Carrell was able to use the Kinect to look at a 3D model, which was then projected as a 2D live image-feed onto the patient. This way the doctor can see what's happening inside the patient and look at the 3D model simultaneously.
In order to make the whole process as quick and easy as possible, Carrell and his colleagues have been working with the Microsoft team to develop gestures that they can perform in small spaces during an operation. So, medical professionals can now use simple gestures with one hand at the same time as a voice command to access the information they need.
[Via New Scientist]
The popular Pictionary / Words With Friends hybrid Draw Something amassed more than 50 million users in a matter of weeks and a large proportion of our lives in March were spent trying to think of the funniest ways to doodle Bieber and dandruff. However, as we predicted last month, it seems hardly any of us are actively playing with it anymore. Awh.
Despite gaining a huge following in a record-breaking amount of time, according to a recent study, more than half of the Brits who were addicted to Draw Something a month ago now play less than once a week.
The research carried out by discount website MyVoucherCodes.co.uk polled more than 1,000 users and found that 54% log in to play the app less than once a week now, when back in April the study found most people spend at least 10 to 30 minutes perfecting their drawing (or should we say chubby finger doodling) skills.
MyVoucherCodes.co.uk wanted to get to the bottom of why people are suddenly so sick of the app and 47% of those polled said it was because the novelty had worn off, whilst 31% said they were just "bored" of it. We also think it's because there just wasn't enough variety, you can only draw hot sauce and Jordan's breasts so many times before you start to lose the will to live.
Although it may seem sad to mourn the death of an app that held such a special place in our hearts our bosses certainly aren't as upset. Back in April two thirds of Draw Something users admitted to playing the game during work hours, but we're sure Facebook stalking, the logo game and more excessive tweeting can easily fill that void.
[Image via Draw Something Pro]
Kinect motion sensors are being used by a school in Minneapolis to identify the early signs of autism in young children.
Over the past few years we've seen the Kinect's innovative technology being hacked in countless ways, whether it's to make your room a touchscreen, talk to your pet when you're away, create a robot that dances around, flush a toilet so you don't have to or even to peel off your own skin and take a peek at what's underneath.
Now although we don't doubt some of these hacks are pretty damn clever and handy (who wants to flush a toilet themselves when a computer can do it for them?!), the Kinect has also been put to work on a number of projects that could have a positive impact on healthcare, treatment and the way we diagnose illnesses in the future.
Over the past few months a school in Minneapolis has been using a number of Kinect motion sensors to watch the movements children make as they play and learn in an attempt to work out whether they may show early signs of autism.
Researchers at the Shirley G. Moore Laboratory School have positioned the gaming sensors all around the classroom in order to record the children's movements as they play. These recordings are then combined with a series of computer-vision algorithms, that are specially designed to detect abnormalities and flag up the individuals that are moving and behaving differently to the rest.
Although it's still in its infancy, the system could help us identify behavioural problems in children much earlier than we would using modern day methods, meaning teachers and parents can give them the care they need right away.
Guillermo Sapiro, who along with a larger team has helped to develop the system, said:
"The idea is not that we are going to replace the diagnosis, but we are going to bring diagnosis to everybody [...] The same way a good teacher flags a problem child, the system will do automatic flagging and say, 'Hey, this kid needs to see an expert'."
The Pictionary / Words With Friends hybrid Draw Something has exploded over the past six weeks with more than 30 million (yes, million) of us using our chubby little fingers to scribble rubbish pictures of Lady Gaga, dandruff and iPads.
So, we thought it'd be a good time to collect together a few more of our favourite new games for you to happily waste away your afternoon, whether you're a Facebook, iPad or mobile gamer.
Everyday we see new websites, apps and online tools specially built to allow regular people with little experience to try their hand at music creation, whether it's a basic app designed for kids or a much more advanced programme for genuine wannabes.
Well now a basic but addictive form of music creation has come to Facebook, with new social game Songster. Like all Facebook games, you log-in to your account and away you go, you can choose different styles of music and then mash instruments, vocals and other tracks together to create something pretty unique.
As you'd expect, you can then share tracks, connect with other players and even play your creations at virtual gigs, which may be a bit far-fetched, but is bound to appeal to the dedicated social gaming community who prefer the land of Facebook than the land of the living.
The game has been created by start-up Mowgli and the founder and CEO, Marshall Seese, told Mashable:
"As a musician, I'm really passionate about people connecting through music [...] So I wanted to enable anyone to make great songs, not just sounds. Social gaming seemed like a great fit because it embraces user creation."
The controls and songs you create are all pretty basic, don't expect to mix together something that sounds professional with Songster, but that's why it's so appealing to newbies. For social gamers looking for something a little more interesting than a fake farm (do people still REALLY play Farmville?!) or children wanting to spend their time online a little more productively, it could well be a hit.
To bring a bit of cute, retro fun to iPad gaming, ThinkGeek has this week unveiled its latest product, the iCade 8-Bitty controller.
YES, it's only for the geekiest of gamers, but we're tired of jamming our hands onto touch screens and sometimes just want it to be like it was in the old days, but with iPads and iPhones, obviously.
The iCade 8-Bitty works wirelessly, has a classic D-Pad and button layout like the NES gamepad and it's powered by two AAA batteries. Ah batteries, remember those?!
It works with a huge range of top retro games, like favourites Atari Classics collection, Pac Man and Super Mega Worm. Developers of both iOS and Android games will be happy to learn that they can tap into the public API specification to make their creations compatible with the new controller a little further down the line too.
You can get the 8-Bitty from ThinkGeek for $24.99.
Most people are reluctant to collect together and trade-in old electronics, games and software because they think it's a lot of effort for a relatively small reward. However, according to a new study the average gamer has more than £100 worth of unused games lying around that could be cashed in.
The research carried out by video game marketplace Playr2.com found that the average gamer has £135 worth of video games they'll never use again stashed away in ther home.
Most of the self-confessed gamers that were polled admitted to having traded-in or sold unwanted games in the past, but said they rarely keep on top of just how much money they could be making back from the rejects.
Simon Kilby, Founder of Playr2.com, said:
"We've all got games in our collection that just sit collecting dust; whether it be because we've completed them, got the latest franchise release or simply didn't like them in the first place. To ignore them is to flush money down the drain though, as the value in unused games can be significantly more that you'd expect, and you could end up making a pretty penny if you were to sell them on."
1,012 gamers took part in the poll in January 2012.
[Image via The D34N]
There are lots of mobile apps on the market designed to keep us motivated, track our runs and spur us on to beat that personal best time. We're big fans of Nike+ GPS because it's so simple to use, the interface is intuitive and the GPS tracking really accurately records your runs. However, if you find it hard to workout then a simple app might not motivate you to get down to the gym or out onto the roads, which is where Zombies, Run! comes in, a crazy (but very clever) new running game for your mobile that's guaranteed to have you running as fast as you can...
The basic premise behind the new game is that zombies are chasing you, so you've got to run as fast as you can to get away from them before they (presumably) maul you. The game, which will be available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android, delivers the scary zombie chasing story straight to your headphones and gives you orders and voice recordings to make it all the more realistic. How. Creepy.
The story is very similar to the likes of 28 Days Later or I Am Legend, you're running for your life away from zombies and creating a little den at home with supplies and the random food you can find. You can automatically collect these all important items, like medicine and ammo, as you're running around, so it's like you're inside a video game the whole time.
The great thing about Zombies, Run! is you don't have to sprint away outside (even though the game will make you want to) you can use it on a walk or on a treadmill too, but it won't be as authentic, obviously. Although listening to the audio is central to the whole game, you can also set your own playlist to play too in between the scary bits.
The game also keeps track of all the more important and serious stuff, like distance, time, pace and the calories you've burned. All of that info can then be synced with RunKeeper, so there's a central place to keep track of your runs, which is great if you get into Zombies, Run! but don't want to have to descend into a world of flesh-eating monsters every time you go out.
There are all kinds of examples of clever technology being used to transport us into exciting games as ways to motivate us to work out and keep us entertained, but there's just something so hilarious, terrifying and genius about Zombies, Run! that has us convinced it's going to be very, very popular.
Zombies, Run! isn't available quite yet, but you should be able to get your hands on it at some point in the next few months. We really can't wait!
[Via Connected Health Via @SianySianySiany]
A lot of exciting Nintendo news has been revealed this week, as well as giving us all some of the details about the Nintendo Network online community features, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata confirmed new capabilities were being added to the tablet-like controller of the upcoming Wii U console.
At the top of the list of these new and advanced features is NFC (or Near Field Communication) technology, the kind of standard we're used to seeing in many new smart phones (like Blackberry) and in London's Oyster Card transport payment system. Basically, allows the transfer of information just by putting two NFC-enabled devices close to each other, so it's being used as a way to share information, pay for stuff and enhance entertainment experiences.
Satoru Iwata said:
"By installing this functionality, it will become possible to create cards and figurines that can electronically read and write data via noncontact NFC and to expand the new play format in the video game world.
"Adoption of this functionality will enable various other possibilities such as using it as a means of making micropayments."
As of yet no date has been placed on the release of the Wii U, Nintendo yesterday revealed that they are on track for a Q4 2012 (October-December) release date, but we'll keep you posted.