Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Category

The idea of virtual reality has been around for a very long time, but few have been able to perfect the idea like the boys at Oculus Rift.

This company not only smashed through its Kickstarter campaign goals but still has investment flowing in with Facebook purchasing the company and now Samsung working with them to create a headset for its own media.

Of course, in any great market, others will strive to take a piece of the pie as the public is hungry for the new technology. The gaming industry is worth nearly $80bn, and some games gross more than some films nowadays so the fruit is there for the picking.

Oculus may be seeing its first real rival from China in the form of ANTVR. Still small and mobile enough to do what it wants without the huge corporate board that Oculus has with Facebook peering over its shoulder demanding results.

The ANTVR Kit includes a customisable remote, which is compatible with all games. The coolest form the remote takes is the hand gun which I think most of us will enjoy, giving you that "Time Crisis" type feel which we all enjoyed back in the 90's arcade scene.

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The controller can be a simple joy pad, or happily transform into a joystick or steering wheel making it very versatile.

The headset is equipped with Full HD display (1920x1080, 1.03 megapixel per eye) and will give an IMAX style viewing environment with its large screen. They creators have even thought about glasses wearers making sure there is enough room inside to still wear them. It supports all the mainstream platforms including PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Android devices. All you need is a standard HDMI signal to use the headset as a screen.

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The headset can be wireless, but currently it is an expensive add-on which we don't really think you need. We do like the idea of the "shotgun style" bullet reload to change the batteries in the device.

This is certainly a formidable rival for Oculus, it's price point is pretty much the same and it looks no lesser quality than its bigger brother and presents Oculus with a spin....the cool controller.

Starting at $300 with an estimated delivery date of September, we really cannot wait to test these out for ourselves.

Over on Kickstarter

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It is amazing the things you can do on a tablet nowadays. The games you can play and the uses are endless. From talking to your friend half way across the world for free to editing a hi-res photo with professional detail while on the sofa listening to music. It makes me think of what did we actually do when we were younger? How did we survive? How did our parents keep us entertained?!

As a parent myself, it worries me that my child uses the iPad far too much and sometimes we all rely on it far too often. I have even seen my son walk up to a digital photo frame and swipe to the right to see the next picture, but left feeling slightly confused as it doesn’t work.

The question is, are children nowadays too reliant on modern technology and is the imagination that I think we had, going to be lost to a processor? This question can only be answered as time goes by and we see what happens to the next generation.

All is not lost though…A company called Tangible Play (made up of old Google staff) have released Osmo, a new crowd funded app for kids that encourages ‘real world’ play. It allows the user to pick up things and build using their hands, thanks to a mirror attachment which turns the iPad’s camera to view the surface where your child is playing.

Recently I have looked around the App Store and failed to find anything that is different or breaks boundaries, but this app is very different and we should stand up and take notice.

All of the games to be used with this kit are optimised for ages 6-12 but each game has a varying range of difficulty. Take Newton, it’s a physics game, which uses the same concept as “Cut The Rope” where players can use any object, from lines on a piece of paper to a toy or even their own hands to control the stuff on screen. All you really need is a piece of paper and a pen to get started.

Tangram, is a game where puzzle pieces in the real world must be matched to the shapes on screen. The kit comes with an iPad stand and mirror connector and promotes your child’s creativity as suddenly the brain is thinking in many dimensions!

I do not only love this as a educational toy for my kids, but also as a concept in itself. It is not often you get something that comes along that breaks the mold and creates a whole new genre of games….this might just be that thing.

Available now on the Osmo Website for $49. This is a steal considering what you get and of course this will double once pre-orders have been fulfilled. The company is concentrating on developing the apps, but will eventually open this up to developers to create their own games….so watch this space.

Check out the Osmo video

 

 

While we were all preoccupied with waiting for Sony and Microsoft to come out with the next generation of consoles, some smaller more mobile firms were readying some serious tech to stir the gaming industry.

Firstly let’s look at Oculus Rift, the virtual reality headset for video games that we told you about back in March.  The Rift is a high-resolution display, with head tracking, that provides an immersive experience that allows you to get right inside the game. Full 360˚ vision allows the gamer to physically turn their head to be able to view things around them and in first person shooters, actually aim where they are looking.

The Rift is coming along nicely with some prototype models going out to developers looking very promising, but in my opinion, you still need other accessories to complete the package……(cue dramatic music) bring in Omni!

Omni

The Omni is one of the first virtual reality interfaces for moving within the virtual space. It allows you to freely walk, run, crouch and jump within the game so that it feels like you are really there. Of course the Omni will require that your purchase a virtual reality headset for the best experience, but it still comes in cheaper than a running machine and is double the amount of fun.

The Omni is compatible with the Oculus Rift and the Razer Hydra and is ready to play out of the box. It can be partially disassembled to store away and comes with support belt, tracking hardware and software.

Imagine the possibilities for something like this to help you lead a healthier lifestyle or even rehabilitating injured people.  Now, the stigma of just sitting down when gaming getting no physical exercise can be a thing of the past as you burn away calories running away from in-coming bullets and grenades. You can even see this being used in training the military or keeping people mobile letting them view parts of the world they never thought they would see without actually ever being there.

TheTechSpy is very excited by this as now the picture is being completed in the virtual reality field at a reasonable take home price. The Kickstarter project has already been immensely successful, nearly raising $500k with still 47 days left, but if you want to bag yourself a complete setup you will have to pledge around $479 now with stonky international shipping rates.

Here is the Kickstarter Video

So here it is, Microsoft have just announced the next Xbox to the world and simply called it Xbox One.

Let’s start with the way it looks, as this is important as Microsoft have tried to make this an all-in-one entertainment system which is meant to sit in your living room. Microsoft are taking the battle directly to the DVR companies making this look like a sleek TiVo. The box, with its polished black exterior will not look odd in anybody’s home falling inline with most A/V components.

Along with the unit itself, the control pads have had a slight face lift to bring them in line with current standards and include vibration motors in the triggers, but I don’t think this will disappoint as the pads themselves have always been very popular.

The Xbox one will come with 8gb of RAM, Blu-ray drive, USB 3.0 and a 500gb hard drive, but at this point they have not released much about the processor itself just that it is an 8 core processor. It has a HDMI input and output which will lets you plug other devices into it, which is totally new for a console. I can only imagine that they are going to allow for your regions TV receiver to go through the box to further bolster up the media player side of things.

Microsoft confirmed they are not getting rid of Live services and are on the contrary upgrading servers from 15,000 today to 300,000 in the coming months which will significantly improve online game play and will include services such as cloud stored music, games and movies for an all round media player experience.

The DVR function is very interesting, having only a 500gb hard drive which will quickly be eaten up by movies and games, recording live TV may get assistance from the cloud, so a good solid Internet connection is going to be a must. The DVR will allow you to record game play so that you can view it back at any time or share with friends.

The redesigned Kinect camera has a 1080p sensor shooting 60fps which will work with Skype and they have referred to it working with live TV using voice recognition and allowing some kind of interactive TV experience. Skype will have the ability to be used during gameplay and the camera itself will be able to track your heartbeat for games that need it…..wow!

Games already lined up, FIFA 14, NBA live, Call of Duty: Ghosts and a new Steven Spielberg collaboration for a Halo interactive live TV series. Microsoft have also teamed up with the NFL to bring live streamed games direct to the console with a new fantasy football experience.

One thing that will disappoint most is that the console will not play Xbox 360 games as the architecture has been changed, but the console does not have to always be connected as recently covered in the press.

The long-awaited console has yet to have a confirmed release date but they have spoken about it being later this year which would coincide with recent November rumours. Currently we have no prices confirmed, but expect this to come in more expensive than the existing Xbox and to come with an option to sign up to Live annual services to reduce the price of the console.

Move over Surface tablet and Windows 8, all is forgiven Microsoft, you are back in the game!

Xbox One

TP Vision, the collaboration of two prominent players in the TV industry has finally given birth to what we think could be a work of art for the home. Already this line of TV’s has won the Red Dot design award for excellent product design.

Philips and TPV have combined assets and skills to bring out the beautiful DesignLine Edge TV made from a single sheet of glass which has a gradient tint to blend the TV in with the glass itself. Turn it on and the picture appears to float in mid-air, surrounded by the glorious glow from the awesome AmbiLight LEDs at the back lighting the wall behind.

It’s available in 46 & 55 inches and features the impressive Philips Perfect Pixel engine, along with Active 3D support. One of the more notable things is the inclusion of 2-player full-screen gaming and the ability to convert 2D to 3D which will be interesting to see how good this really is.

In the box, the set will include a brushed aluminium remote which doubles as a keyboard with integrated mouse pointer to access the Smart TV features like a web browser. The Design Line will also support the MyRemote app, which lets you control the TV itself, share multimedia content from your iPad/smartphone and watch live TV in another room.

Inside its sleek frame, the unit boasts WiFi Miracast so that you can share content from iPhones, iPads and other Android devices straight to the TV over your WiFi network. Also featuring MultiRoom technology, the unit lets you stream what’s being shown on the TV to any compatible TV anywhere in the house and will allow USB hard disk recording.

All this design and spec comes at a price, releasing in June in the UK, the 46” will be £2000 and the 55” will be £2800. Let’s hope this is the future for our living room.

DesignLine TV

This is a new games console, which underwent a massively successful funding campaign in 2012 and has just started shipping to eager pledgers.

The Ouya costs £99.99 and runs on the Google’s Android operating system allowing you to download games direct from Google Play to the console at a fraction of the cost of traditional console games.

The sleek console comes with a controller, which strangely gets its looks from the Xbox’s offering. Inside the cool little box it’s packing an NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, which is expandable via USB. You can choose from Ethernet or Wi-Fi for multiplayer options and it has a HDMI socket for full HD gaming at 1080p.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this is a superb piece of kit, but it will still only play games comparable to our mobile devices and tablets at the moment. But with games improving all the time for these devices and the big players in gaming joining the mobile parade, we may just see some serious titles on this console.

Ouya have partnered up with Twitch.tv, Crunchyroll, iheartradio, TuneIn, XBMC, Plex and Flixster so it will double up as a media centre also. Partners like these will allow you to stream shows, movies and music, which increases the appeal of this mini console.  The interesting thing is that Ouya promises that you will be able to download all games to test for free to see if you wish to purchase the full title.

Ouya will hit the stores here in the UK in the summer as Game have already started taking preorders. Extra controllers will set you back £40 each.

Ouya

Oculus have been quietly working on this Virtual Reality Headset concept since they launched the Kickstarter project back in August. The project wanted $250,000 to begin shipping developer kits out faster than they normally would be able to, but instead managed to raise just over $2.4m as excitement for this went viral.

Oculus Rift is a new virtual reality headset designed specifically for video games. With an incredibly wide field of view, high-resolution display, and ultra-low latency head tracking, the Rift provides an  immersive experience that allows you to get right inside the game like never before in the home. Full 360˚ vision allows the gamer to physically turn their head to be able to view things around them and in first person shooters, actually aim where they are looking.

Although the Rift is still in its development stages, it is a massive leap in progress for gaming, in a market where little has changed but speeds and movement tracking. The company have quite a few tweaks to make and are eager to work with developers to take the platform further. Unfortunately at the moment the only launch title is Team Fortress 2 as Doom 3 was removed from the developer kit, but expect many more to work with these guys as the platforms scope widens and the likes of Valve and EA work with them.

The Rift has made waves in the gaming world as one of the most innovative VR technologies to be developed in recent years. Named Best in Show
at CES 2013 by The Verge, the Oculus Rift takes gaming to an entirely new level and we can’t wait to see what comes of this awesome project.

Oculus Rift