Fresh Off The Block


Aug
15
2012

First downloadable retail 3DS games hitting eStore this week – double points for downloading quickly, but is the price worth it?

With the Wii U, Nintendo announced its plans to deliver games to players in two ways and let them decide which they prefer – either buying retail games traditionally through stores, or downloading them directly from the Nintendo eStore. Nintendo shortly plan to bring "full game downloads" to the 3DS; and the first three games have now been announced.

From this week, Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL owners will be able to download Nintendo's own games from the 3DS eShop as well as buy them in the shops. The first three titles to be made available in this way are New Super Mario Bros. 2, Freakyforms Deluxe and New Art Academy. As a special incentive to encourage people to download the games rather than purchasing them in stores, Club Nintendo members who download the games within the first four weeks of release will earn double the typical number of stars for their purchase – 500 Stars instead of the usual 250 for high-price games – to save up or spend on Club Nintendo-exclusive merchandise.

While you may expect that the availability of three major Nintendo-published titles as downloads, with a bonus for loyal Nintendo fans would get many people excited, in reality a key section of the announcement has caused a huge amount of outrage for a large amount of Nintendo's fan-base, who claim the downloads are horrendously overpriced. In particular, European customers have to pay £39.99 to download New Super Mario Bros 2 from the 3DS eShop – which many point out is £10 more than what many retailers are charging for boxed copies. In addition, those who preorder the game from GAME or GameStation stores earn a free coin case as a preorder bonus. Meanwhile, the 500 Stars offered for the download copies of New Super Mario Bros 2 is stingy by comparison – on its own, 500 Stars is redeemable for only basic goodies; such as ringtones (up to 350 stars each), backgrounds (50 each), folder binders (new, 400 each) or 100 Nintendo Points for the Wii or DSi Shop channels (400 each).

Brill Baddies Set of Two Folders

Is this really worth paying £10 more for?
(Image courtesy: Club Nintendo EU Stars Catalogue)

It should be noted that overpriced download copies of games is sadly nothing new – popular PC-based online game distributors Steam and Origin have both been under fire many times for overpricing the games they offer via their systems (although Steam, to its credit, regularly does deals on its games allowing them to be downloaded at much lower prices and is just as well known for its amazing discounts); and both (but more so Origin) have also been criticised for being over-restrictive on how downloaded games can be used and shared. Also the PS3 and Xbox 360 have themselves had online stores much longer than Nintendo and are incredibly familiar with how people feel about downloaded games compared to purchased ones. Even so, it's disappointing to see Nintendo follow this trend when the company is so reputable for its innovations and its constant desire to be different and fun. Hopefully they learn much from the feedback they get over the coming months.

What are YOUR views on 3DS game downloads? Please share your feelings in the comments!

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    Previous Articles


    Jul
    30
    2012

    Digg gets a rethink

    Dying social network Digg, designed as a site to share news on the internet and allow people to judge its importance to decide which become today's headlines on the site's homepage, was bought over by a new team roughly two months ago for a trivial amount of money. Now the new Digg team have explained their plans for revamping the social network to make it relevant once again, in a blog post at rethinkdigg.com detailing discussions over the last six weeks.

    One of the major sticking points in the new rethink is to refocus the site around getting to the content people want in the simplest ways possible, dropping anything that isn't constructive to that process. Gizmodo published an article today about one such move, ditching the much-loathed Diggbar; but other plans include dropping Newsrooms; and renaming “Newswire” back to its original name, Upcoming.

    Perhaps most telling of all though is the new Digg team's assessment as to the role of Digg in the modern internet. Rather than encouraging people to stay on Digg and ignoring every network, the new Digg is being designed to get you to the content you want to read quickly, in the belief that the easier it is to discover things using the network, the more likely you'll come again to find new things (now where have we heard that before…?); as well as to embrace the networks people have already to judge the relevance of articles. While you can still "Digg" articles on the site itself to increase their score, Digg scores will now also consider how often an article has been shared on Facebook and Twitter to determine an article's overall importance, thereby highlighting the articles most grabbing of people's attention whatever network they use.

    Diggs: 54. Tweets: 46. Facebook mentions: 112. Total Digg Score: 212.
    An early mock-up of the new Digg scoring system. Although this article only has 54 Diggs, it scores 212 due to the many mentions of it on Twitter and Facebook. Clicking the overall score shows a breakdown. (Image Credit: RethinkDigg)

    Also of note is that the early launch of the new Digg will lack a comment system, to give the developers time to consider how to "do it right". As posted on RethinkDigg:

    At launch, v1 will not include a commenting system. When Digg was founded in 2004, it was one of the only places on the web to have a conversation with like-minded people. Today, conversations happen everywhere, and the problem that Digg started to solve in 2004 now has no shortage of solutions. We knew that if we were going to support commenting at launch, we had to do it right, and we knew that we couldn’t do it right in six weeks. In the coming weeks we will conduct a few experiments in commenting that will inform more permanent features.

    Time will tell if the rethink of Digg by its new team will help make it relevant to the modern world and keep it away from Death's Door. What are your views on its chances?

    Feb
    28
    2012

    New Features and Updates now live on Technically Motivated

    Technically Motivated was down for an extended period from Friday to Sunday to perform major site maintenance. During this time, as well as fixing the issues myself and many readers had come to notice throughout the site, I also worked on and tested many new features and enhancements for the blog, which I’m pleased to announce are now live. Read the rest of this entry »

    Jan
    28
    2012

    Confirmed: Nintendo announce 2012 Wii U Release, Nintendo Network

    Nintendo confirms new console will launch this year, controller gets NFC function

    In its Third Quarter financial results briefing, Nintendo has revealed new details about its plans for the upcoming next-generation console, the Wii U.
    It has been confirmed the company is planning to showcase the final format and discuss the details of the new hardware at E3 2012, which will be held in Los Angeles in June this year. Nintendo can confirm that they will launch the Wii U in Japan, the U.S., Europe and Australia in time for the year-end sales season.
    "For the launch of new hardware, it is, of course, regarded as a sort of requisite not to miss the critical year-end sales season. The company is aiming to firmly complete the development of the entire system and prepare sufficient software so that the Wii U will be at its best at the time of the launch. Needless to say, we have learned a bitter lesson from the launch of the Nintendo 3DS," -Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Jan
    15
    2012

    VirusTotal gets updated, file size limit increased to 32 MB and new interface

    This article was not written by the team at Technically Motivated. It was quoted heavily from a similar post from dotTech.org; which itself was based on a posting from the VirusTotal blog; and has been reprinted here under the terms permitted by the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license the original work was licenced under. Technically Motivated makes no claim of ownership for this article.

    VirusTotal is an awesome website. If you don't know about it already, you have been missing out on life — VirusTotal allows users to scan a file with 40+ anti-virus/anti-malware engines. VirusTotal recently introduced an update to the website. This update brings many goodies. Let's take a look at what they are:

    • New interface. VirusTotal has a new interface; it is more modern and streamlined.
    • New file size limit. In the past VirusTotal only accepted files that were 20 MB or smaller in size. That limit has now been increased to 32 MB. Oh happy days.
    • New back-end engine. VirusTotal has now been migrated to Google Apps Engine. This basically means VirusTotal runs on Google's cloud services. For most of us normal users, it makes no difference if VirusTotal is running on Google Apps Engine or some other cloud service. However Google Apps Engine allows VirusTotal to scale better when the need arises, ensuring a better service level; plus scans and analyzes should now be faster thanks to Google's infrastructure.
    • Other changes. Aside from the major changes mentioned above, other changes include:
      • Thanks to HTML5, VirusTotal now computes the hash of files locally thus if you are looking to scan a file that has already been scanned by VirusTotal, you don't have to upload the file before you are given the ability to view the older scan results.
      • The URL scanner uses more engines now, bringing the total to 19.
      • Releasing version 2 of the public API, improving responsiveness among other things.
      • And more.

    Hit up the link below to check out the new VirusTotal yourself:

    VirusTotal homepage

    [via VirusTotal Blog]

    Oct
    03
    2011

    Rumour: Comcast, Verizon Coming to the Xbox 360

    Subscription-based streaming TV allegedly on they way.

    According to a new report from Bloomberg today, Microsoft is planning to partner with Comcast and Verizon to offer subscription-based streaming television service on the Xbox 360.

    Citing sources “with knowledge of the situation,” Bloomberg says that the company is in talks with two dozen networks and media service providers in both the United States and Europe, including HBO, Crackle, Bravo, SyFy, and LoveFilm in the UK.

    The report falls in line with other recent rumours, as well as Microsoft’s presentation at this year’s E3, where they demoed Kinect-enabled television control.

    Most importantly, sources suggest the announcement of the new services could arrive as soon as next week.

    Jun
    05
    2011

    Microsoft Office 365 given June launch

    It has been in its beta stage in several countries for some time now and Microsoft has attracted some 100,000 customers to try the Office 365 beta program, and now Microsoft Office 365 is confirmed to be officially launching on June 28, this year. Microsoft partner Jon Roskill confirmed the details in a tweet.

    Office 365 brings together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service. Those who register for the beta will also get Read the rest of this entry »

    Jun
    01
    2011

    Google +1 for websites to launch tomorrow

    Website owners will be busy tomorrow, as Danny Sullivan has confirmed that Google will be launching their +1 button for websites tomorrow. No doubt this will be the topic of discussion throughout the cyber world, Google’s ‘Like’ or ‘Tweet This’ button will be a hot implementation as social factors have been shown to impact search result rankings.

    The button had previously been spotted in the national ads Google has been running for Chrome – but when it would be launched was not known until today.

    “Google announced the availability of this button on the Webmaster Central Blog on March 28, fully two days ahead of the +1 launch. Presumably this was to give publishers a chance to get the jump on things, but shortly after Google issued a statement indicating “we’re still working things out and aren’t quite ready for this to be publicly available just yet,” a report by Search Engine Watch claimed earlier.

    You will need to have a Google Account to use these buttons – Google wants to make it search more social and to do this they need to know who you are so your followers can see what you are voting for. Google’s content on the button sounds a lot like the Bing commercial. “Sometimes it’s easier to find exactly what you’re looking for when someone you know already found it. Get recommendations for the things that interest you, right when you want them, in your search results.

    Numerous websites are already making preparations to include the button, but only time will tell how widespread it will become.

    May
    26
    2011

    Mobile Payments “coming soon” to Android

    Google is expected to announce the launch of an electronic wallet for Android phones, to allow for mobile payments, at an event on Thursday in New York City.

    Unnamed sources cited by Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal say that Google will introduce a mobile payment service that utilizes near-field communication (NFC) on Sprint Nextel phones. NFC provides a way to store payment card information and to transmit it to a device capable of processing the payment.

    Bloomberg reports that the service will be tested in five major U.S. cities–Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. The Wall Street Journal has identified three participating retailers–American Eagle Outfitters, Macy's, Inc. and Subway.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    May
    20
    2011

    Google Wants to Become Your Personal Finance Advisor

    In its attempt to break into the personal finance market, Google has launched a new tool for finding and comparing financial products.

    At its core, Google Advisor is a personal finance comparison tool. It helps you check the rates for mortgages, credit cards, CDs, checking accounts and savings accounts by providing a list of financial instruments that meet your search criteria. For mortgages, Google provides data such as APR, monthly payment, fees and contact details. If you’re looking for a credit card, the search giant provides data on rewards, card type, purchase APR and the annual fee.

    Google Advisor isn’t a search engine, though. It’s really a comparison engine with a lot of filters. If you need to find a 30-year fixed mortgage for a $650,000 home in Alameda County with a 660 credit rating, you will probably find it. Google advisor also features certain offers based on low APRs or the interest rate.

    At the moment, mortgages are treated differently than the other financial categories. While Google doesn’t get paid if you find a credit card, CD, checking account or savings account through the search giant, it does make money whenever you contact a mortgage lender. You will noticed that mortgages have “sponsored results” while other financial instruments simply have “matching results.” Sponsored results could to other financial products expand over time.

    Google has long wanted to break into personal finance, a sector where it could potentially make billions in advertising and referral fees. In March, Google acquired UK price comparison website BeatThatQuote for $61.5 million. There are a lot of similarities to BeatThatQuote and Google’s new finance service, and that probably wasn’t an accident. This is likely just the beginning of a series of tools Google will release to conquer the personal finance arena.

    What do you think of Google Advisor? Do you trust Google to get you the best financial data? Let us know what you think in the comments.