Fresh Off The Block


Aug
30
2014

Nintendo reveal upcoming NEW 3DS and 3DS XL models with Amiibo, more buttons, better battery life and more!

When Nintendo came out with the Circle Pad Pro accessory for the original Nintendo 3DS – which added a second Circle Pad and extra buttons to the 3DS which allowed for even more control; and which Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate made good use of – many asked why a second Circle Pad could not have been a standard feature of the 3DS. When the 3DS XL was released and also lacked the second pad, the complaints became even more vocal.

New3DSColours

Colour choices at launch for the New 3DS and New 3DS XL

Today in Japan, Nintendo have not only finally heeded the call, but have gone even further. The company announced all new models of their popular hand-held game consoles, the Nintendo 3DS and the 3DS XL (called the 3DS LL in Japan), which along with extra controls, make a number of other additions and improvements over the previous models.

3DSXLsizecomparison3DSsizecomparison

If you actually care that the new models are a few mm bigger in most directions, you probably have an Apple device and/or no shame (click pictures to enlarge)

The real big news of the announcement, however, comes in the form of a small toy.

New 3DS XL / Amiibo Stylised Logo

If you’re wondering why this pic shows just the Amiibo logo instead of an actual Amiibo, blame Nintendo.

With the new consoles including an NFC Reader, the new 3DS and 3DS XL will come with built-in support for Amiibo, Nintendo’s upcoming range of NFC-enabled figurines. Previously thought to be exclusive to the Wii U, the new addition enables future 3DS games to also offer the ability to allow select Nintendo characters to be stored and shared across compatible games or to use the toys for special in-game functions; and use of the feature in the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. is already confirmed – what it consists of is yet to be announced, but if one is to make a guess, imagine something like the sticker mode in Brawl, but with an actual physical toy to enhance and make your own character with.

New3DSButtonColours

Those colourful SNES-like buttons.

As to the controls, the new 3DS and 3DS XL will add a splash of colour to the A/B/X/Y button. The new 3DS gets the more significant facelift with fully-coloured buttons, while the XL simply gets coloured button labels. The colours are the same as those originally used on the Japanese SNES controller, in a nice homage to Nintendo history.

New3DSC-Stick

…But that’s not what you care about, is it? The bigger news is both devices finally feature a second Circle Pad – well, kind of. Dubbed the “C-Stick” by Nintendo in another homage (this time to the yellow analogue stick of Nintendo’s own GameCube controller), the new stick is much smaller than the main Circle Pad – in fact, it’s roughly the same size as one of the four A/B/X/Y buttons. This isn’t accidental – according to Nintendo’s own Satoru Iwata, while the new control will function like a stick, it’s also designed to be used as though it were a button itself. Iwata also claims the new C-Stick “is easy to use”; with Nintendo releasing a picture showing that the size and positioning of the button should make it easy to control with the same thumb used to press the lettered buttons – it remains to be seen if this turns out to be the case. The new C-stick will be used in Dragon Quest X: Online, Final Fantasy Explorers, and Monster Hunter 4G to control the in-game camera function, and in the upcoming Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS to unleash Smash Attacks.

The back of the 3DS now has ZL and ZR buttons next to the L and R, but the game card slot is no longer found here.

The back of the New 3DS XL. Notice anything different?

The new 3DS models will also include ZL and ZR buttons on the back beside the existing L/R buttons, thus making the Circle Pad Pro accessory entirely redundant. Because there is no longer space for the game card, the game card slot is now found on new 3DS and XL’s bottom-left side, which seems poorly thought out – surely it’ll be right underneath your left palm thus making it easy to accidentally push the card in and eject it? The space at the top previously occupied by the game card slot now houses the charging port, which has been moved from its original off-centre position.

3DSXLbatterycomparison   3DSbatterycomparison

Battery life comparisons (given in minimum to maximum expected time between charges) for the New 3DS XL (top) and New 3DS (bottom) compared to their predecessors (click to enlarge)

Nintendo claim that the new 3DS and XL models also make small improvements on the battery life, with their rated maximum life up half an hour on the XL to 7 hours; and up a whole hour on the regular 3DS to 6 hours. Part of the reason for these gains are due to a new adaptive brightness feature, where the screen will automatically brighten or darken depending on the currently displayed picture, which is also aimed to improve colour quality. Another big reason for the small improvement is a new, more efficient processor – which also grants the new models a small speed boost to make downloads and loading times quicker – though exact specs are not yet known. Speaking of downloads, you’ll also now be able to use Micro SD cards with both new 3DS models, with a new slot located under the bottom covering.

The new Nintendo 3DS models also have an improved 3D function. With the original 3DS and XL, if you viewed the 3D effect from the side and didn’t stay in the “sweet spot,” the graphics became all blurred. However, the New 3DS has improved 3D, enabling players to continue to see the 3D effect even if viewed from an angle. Using the device’s cameras and gyroscopes, the new 3DS and 3DS XL actually track your face to work out the angle the screen is being viewed from – and will adjust the 3D effect to what’s best for your view. Clever!

New3DSPrices

Though the international launches of the new 3DS and 3DS XL models is still to be announced, both will be out October 11 in Japan. The New Nintendo 3DS is priced at 16,000 yen (approx. £92.75 at time of posting) and the New Nintendo 3DS XL is priced at 18,800 yen (approx. £109 at time of posting) – given the usual mark-ups, however, I’m personally predicting prices of £129 and £159 when they hit the UK. Sorry, that’s business.

[Via Sanitarium.FM]

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    Previous Articles


    Aug
    09
    2013

    Nintendo & CoroCoro reveal new features and Mega Evolution mechnanic for Pokémon X and Y!

    Take a look at a new kind of Pokémon Evolution appearing in Pokémon X and Pokémon Y!

    Meet Mega Mewtwo, Mega Lucario, and Mega Blaziken!

    First off, don't expect to be walking around the Kalos region with Mega Mewtwo stuffed inside a pokeball — these Mega Evolutions only occur in battle, when a Mega-capable Pokemon is holding a very specific Mega Stone. For instance, in order to evolve Lucario into Mega Lucario, he'll have to be holding a chunk of Lucarionite.

    Lucario

    Once Mega Lucario is done kicking ass, he'll revert back to his normal form and stuff himself back inside his Poké Ball.

    Blaziken

    One of the Megas, Mega Blaziken, will only be available during a special, incredibly short distribution event held during the launch of the games on October 12. Players will be able to grab a special Torchic holding a Blazikenite Mega Stone, which they'll have to evolve to Blaziken before going all super saiyan with him.

    Players will most likely learn about these Mega Evolutions in the seaside town of Shalour City, home of the Tower of Mastery and the spirited gym leader Korrina, who seeks to unlock the hidden potential of her Pokémon.

    Also announced today were two new types of Pokemon training, injecting a little Monster Rancher style into the franchise. Here's the details:

    Super Training or S.T. is being introduced in Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, allowing players to help their Pokémon grow stronger when they’re not in battle. On the Touch Screen of the Nintendo 3DS system, players can have their Pokémon participate in Super Training, activities that will increase a Pokémon’s base stats, the underlying values that define its HP, Attack, Defense, Sp. Atk, Sp. Def, and Speed stats.

    One Super Training activity involves having Pokémon train by facing huge Pokémon-shaped Balloon Bots in a virtual space, with both sides trying to shoot balls into the opponent’s goal. Using the Circle Pad and Touch Screen to avoid shots from the Balloon Bots while landing their own in the goal, players will enjoy this action-packed feature while increasing their Pokémon’s base stats to help them become stronger for battle.

    For a more casual way to help Pokémon strengthen their base stats, Core Training lets players set up training bags, earned by completing Super-Training Regimens, for Pokémon in their party to use. Pokémon will work on Core Training by themselves, raising their stats on their own. By tapping on the Touch Screen during a Core Training session, players can help their Pokémon increase their base stats, too. Players will be able to see how their Pokémon are doing at their Core Training at any time from the main Super Training screen.

    And finally, it wouldn't be a big Pokémon announcement without some new critters.

    new pokes

    Dedenne, Skiddo and Bunnelby are three of the cutest damn things ever. You can learn more about them at PokemonXY.com.

    [Via Sanitarium.FM]

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    Acknowledgements: Simon Litchfield, www.sanitarium.fm; more...
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    Aug
    08
    2012

    Steam Spreading to Supply Software Starting September

    Valve Software, developers of popular gaming client Steam, which allows games to be purchased online (often at seriously low prices) and sync them with your Steam Account so that they update online automatically; and in many cases also allow your games, game saves, achievements and so on to be retrievable on other computers, announced today that due to growing customer demand the company is expanding beyond gaming and making "creativity and productivity software" available through its store.

    Starting September 5th, Steam will allow users to purchase and download non-gaming software from the Steam Store and link them to their account. Many of the launch titles will take advantage of popular Steamworks features, leading to the exciting prospect that the software, like most Steam games, will automatically update while connected to Steam and may even sync documents or settings wherever you take Steam with you. After the initial launch line-up, the collection of available downloads will be regularly added to with new software on a regular basis.

    View official Valve Press release >>

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    Acknowledgements: As cited inline (Valve Press Release).
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    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?

    Jul
    15
    2011

    Rumour: Microsoft blurring line between Windows and Xbox for upcoming Windows 8 OS?

    New rumours spreading around the Blogosphere today make the tantalising proposition that Microsoft may be considering baking in support for XBox 360 games and services within the upcoming next generation of their market-leading (for better or worse) Operating System, Windows. Numerous explanations have been given as cause of this rumour, but chief among them is a new entry in the error message tables for Windows that was discovered in closed Beta builds of the upcoming system, which stated: “Could not read XBox 360 disk media”.

    In addition, with Microsoft known to be working on a Software Development Kit for using Kinect on Windows computers; and Microsoft’s own admission that they’d like to see the technology incorporated beyond the XBox, many claim Microsoft may also be planning to bake Kinect support into Windows directly.

    Microsoft have yet to confirm or deny either rumour, which come from multiple sources, some more trustworthy than others. But knowing a little about Microsoft current conceptualising for the next Windows platform, we can draw some conclusions which give the rumours some support. We already know that Windows 8, as it is being called currently, is taking many design philosophies from Windows Phone 7, including the tiled interface and web widgets. One reason for this, as revealed by Microsoft, is to make the interface more intuitive to touch-screens. Microsoft claim two reasons for taking this measure: Firstly, Microsoft want Windows 8 to support as many different types of input as possible, in order to make for a seamless experience. Could this also include Kinect?

    Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Microsoft claim they wish to unify the Windows experience across several devices; and believe it is best achieved by making a single system that can easily be adapted to any device the consumer wants – from traditional computer, to tablet device, to smartphone and possibly even TVs. In this case, Windows 8 can be seen as a replacement for the Windows Phone system as well as the next step for the personal computer system. One of the key selling points in recent launches of Windows Phone has been its tight integration with XBox live services, which range from profile management to actually being able to play certain games through the phone. If Microsoft integrates XBox 360 support directly into Windows 8, then brings Windows 8 into smart phones, the XBox gaming platform may suddenly become bigger, stronger and capable of even more games and features than ever; plus game developers will suddenly find they’d only need to develop for one platform to potentially target several. This could be the killer combination that puts Windows for smart devices firmly on the map.

    What’s your take on all this? Let us know in the comments.

    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 »

    Apr
    25
    2011

    Google Offers Easier Way to Transfer Video From Google Video to YouTube

    Google Video is shutting down. That’s no surprise. Having been surpassed by YouTube for the longest of time, and Google subsequently acquiring YouTube in 2006 making their own service almost redundant, Google stopped accepting new videos to the site after May 2009 and urged people to move to YouTube instead. Now Google have announced the official death of the site – videos already on the site will no longer be available after April 29, and the site is shut down completely after that.

    You’d expect, if Google’s reason for closing Google Video is that YouTube has made it unnecessary, that therefore Google would allow a quick way to move from Google Video to YouTube in order for users to take advantage of the superior platform and not be forced to lose anything. But, originally, Google hadn’t even planned to do such a thing. The original message about Google’s Google Video closure stated that users would be allowed to download their video manually until May 13 and keep it to hand to do as they wished with it; but there’d be no automatic migrations, and the service – and all data on it – would be taken permanently offline some time after that date.

    Numerous voices spoke out, asking why Google couldn’t just create a quick way to transfer videos between the two services. Google listened. And now, good news: The company’s backed away from its original plans and done just that. Read the rest of this entry »

    Feb
    11
    2011

    BlackBerry PlayBook will reportedly support Google Android apps

    Well, this is a bit of a surprise. Research In Motion – otherwise known as RIM and famous for the BlackBerry line of smartphones – is reportedly working to ensure that the BlackBerry PlayBook can support some apps from the Google Android platform.

    BlackBerry PlayBook is RIM’s first attempt at entering the Tablet Computer market, by making a device that’s larger and fully touch-screen. With BlackBerry having never made a Tablet before, it’s hard to judge how good they’ll be at it until the Tablet has been in customer’s hands long enough – and considering there are already established competitors in the market in the guise of Apple’s iPad and the range of Android tablets, this means RIM will need something special to encourage users to take a look at it instead.

    So RIM are reportedly looking at making the PlayBook compatible with Google Android apps, in order to widen their market, and increase familiarity from those who may be interested in switching from Android. The rumours come from Bloomberg, who cite the following statement, credited to “anonymous sources close to Google”:

    RIM plans to integrate the technology with the PlayBook operating system, giving customers access to Android’s more than 130,000 apps, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the effort isn’t public. RIM, after looking outside the company, is developing the software internally and may have it ready in the second half, two people said.

    However, RIM won’t be using Google’s Dalvik Java software due to patent issues.

    Android certainly is growing in popularity, and given that we don’t have a BlackBerry tablet precedent, it might be helpful to have a feature that is familiar to a wider audience to bring more customers in. This doesn’t mean that the PlayBook is automatically going to be a strong alternative to the iPad and Android, but it will certainly garner some extra attention it might not have otherwise.

    Feb
    09
    2011

    Confirmed: The “PlayStation Phone” cometh!

    It’s been rumoured, supposedly debunked, and rumoured again more times than Ant & Dec have appeared on TV, but now it’s finally official: The “PlayStation Phone” is real, and it’s coming to market very soon!

    Officially named the Xperia Play, the phone combines a traditional Android 3.0-powered smart-phone with a preloaded PlayStation Pocket app for downloading and playing PlayStation games. It’s also powered by a Qualcomm chip for lightning fast performance. The Xperia Play has been leaked and spied for months, with Sony Ericsson happily previewing the phone on several occasions – but despite it all, there were constant doubts as to whether the phone was ever actually going to be released.

    O2, T-Mobile/Orange and Vodaphone have all confirmed they will host the phone in the UK as soon as it is launched, which Orange has stated is due in April. This leaves only the Three network left to confirm a launch.

    Pricing is still to be confirmed by all the networks.

    Digiprove sealThis informative article has been Digiproved © 2011
    Feb
    01
    2011

    Google and Twitter give voice tweets to Egypt

    With no internet connection in the entire country, Google and Twitter have teamed up to allow the people of Egypt to talk to the world through a voice-to-tweet system. All people have to do is call one of three international phone numbers (+16504194196, +390662207294 or +97316199855) and speak their message.

    Using technology created by SayNow, a company that Google’s just bought, the voice is converted to text and tweeted with the #Egypt hash tag. Original messages can also be listened to at twitter.com/speak2tweet.

    While the service should be admired, it should be pointed out that the system only allows the Egyptians to post messages, not to read them or get other information from the internet. With the internet shut down, it could be tricky for Egyptians to even be made aware of service.