Apple’s Remote App 2.0

Apple announced recently that it has updated their popular Remote app. Along with optimizing the app for the screens on iPads and Retina Displays on iPhone 4s, it will now have support for shared libraries on iTunes or Apple TV.

The Remote app is available for free for iOS devices, and lets users control iTunes and Apple TV libraries via Wi-Fi, lets you make a playlist and supports AirPlay remote speakers. The Remote app 2.0 also includes several bug fixes and compatibility updates to work with iTunes 10 and can be found here.

Source: Cnet

Gran Turismo 5 Goodies

Europe is getting a Gran Turismo 5 bundle including a PS3 with a 320 GB hard drive and a copy of the game. The bundle is retailing for 284.99 British pounds ($452) and is similar to a Japanese bundle, though the PS3 will not be platinum blue.

Additionally, EB Games in Australia is offering a Gran Turismo 5 “face plate” for the PS3 Slim console with the game’s logo, artwork, and a signature by Kazunori Yamauchi. The accessory might be made available in the U.S. as well through GameStop.


BlackBerry Opens Up The Playbook

Research in Motion recently unveiled the BlackBerry Playbook, a new tablet computer. Set to release in early 2011, RIM is hopeful it can counter Apple’s success with the iPad.

With new devices coming out on multiple operating systems, it’s as much defensive for RIM to have a tablet as it is offensive, said Scott Sutherland, a Wedbush Securities analyst.

Playbook will be able to use Flash, and thus be able to deliver a different sort of web experience than the iPad. Much of the market has been defined in terms of how you fit the Web to mobility, said RIM co-chief executive Jim Balsillie.

Source: Toronto Star

Fable III Voiced By British Actor All-Stars

Microsoft today revealed the all-star voice cast for the upcoming Fable III. They will include Simon Pegg (Star Trek, Shaun of the Dead), Ben Kingsley (Sexy Beast, Gandhi), John Cleese (Monty Python), academic star Stephen Fry, actress Zoe Wanamaker (Harry Potter, My Family), Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds), Bernard Hill (Lord of the Rings), Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy) and Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End)

“These people have really never come together before in any medium,” said Peter Molyneux, creative director of Microsoft Game Studios Europe . “For a lot of them, this is their first computer game they’ve ever done. Heading the cast is John Cleese, one of the founding fathers of Monty Python. He’s made fantastic films like Life of Brian and the TV series Fawlty Towers. He’s just a brilliant and incredible actor.”

Kinect Called ‘Bigger Than 360 Launch’ By Phil Spencer

Microsoft has made it very clear that they regard Kinect for Xbox 360 as something akin to a new platform launch. Microsoft Game Studios corporate vice president Phil Spencer is so bullish on the device, he’s expecting it to blow by early estimates.

“You forecast, you hope, you do your best, right You ship something. I know my manager, Don Mattrick, was quoted saying a holiday target of over 3 million, said Spencer. I think about it in a bigger way than that. Not that Don’s wrong; that’s the number that he stated, but a lot has to happen in order for us to have success. Our content partners have to ship great games, our retail partners have to be there with us, our marketing has to be there in a very impactful way. We are investing in this like we’ve never invested in a platform launch.”

“We’ll have a huge launch portfolio, we want to sell more units than any console has ever sold in its first holiday, a new platform, continued Spencer. Our retail partners are telling us, based on the consumer demand, ‘this is going to be the number one consumer electronics purchase this holiday. Not just in the games space, all of them.'”

“In North America 7,000 retailers are doing midnight events when we ship and our pre-order momentum looks huge. So this, for us, is bigger than Xbox launch, bigger than 360 launch – this is a big deal for us. How many units are we going to sell We’re completely goaled in investing as if this were the biggest console launch ever, and that’s our expectation, he concluded.

Source: Edge

Wii Remote Plus Is Real

FlingSmash is described as combining the hands-on fun of tennis with the nonstop action and instant gratification of pinball. It’s not the sort of title that would normally attract attention from the media, but when it recently came out that it was being bundled with a special Wii Remote that had built in functionality of the Wii MotionPlus accessory, interest was palpable.

Still, the posting on GameStop was almost immediately withdrawn, leaving speculation in its wake. However, a Nintendo rep did recently confirm that it “is real” before adding, “We have nothing to announce on this at the moment.”

Source: Eurogamer

3DS Coming March 2011

Nintendo has announced that the 3DS will launch on February 26 in Japan for 25,000 yen ($299), coming in the colors of Aqua Blue and Cosmo Black. A North American release is planned for March 2011, with no price given for the region.

The portable will have the ability to take photos, play augmented reality games, create Miis and save them on a 2GB SD card. The 3DS will also have a Virtual Console, with various Game Boy titles available for purchase.

Ubisoft’s Big Spend On Christmas Dancing Titles

Ubisoft made Just Dance and Dance on Broadway into large hits and they’re hoping to continue that this holiday season. They think they have another pair of hits in Just Dance 2 and Michael Jackson: The Experience.

We have been delighted with the performance of Dance on Broadway and Just Dance over the summer months and expect the market to ramp up as we come into the Christmas period, said Ubisoft s group marketing manager Mark Slaughter. We are planning on spending big this Christmas on our key dance titles. Just Dance 2 and Michael Jackson: The Experience will be supported by significant above-the-line spends, as well as strong trade marketing activity.

With Just Dance and Dance on Broadway, we saw great elasticity to TV advertising so with a strong TV buy planned including X Factor spots, we expect a similar reaction, he continued. Both titles deliver a great gameplay experience. Through this high awareness and trial-driving activity, we hope to maintain our leading position in this market.

Source: MCV

Blackberry Gets A New Ad Platform

Research in Motion recently announced that they are launching a new advertising service. The maker of Blackberry is allowing ads in apps where it’s relevant, enabling developers to connect with ads and ad networks like Amobee, Jumptap, Lat49, Millennial Media and Mojiva and receive 60 percent of the revenue.

“This new advertising service not only brings new channels of revenue to our developer community, but also provides them with a single relationship through RIM to simplify the commercial and technical complexity of mobile advertising,” said Alan Brenner, SVP of BlackBerry Platform for Research in Motion. “We also feel that it is important that agencies and brands have full control of the creative process and have worked to provide features in the SDK that will allow them to bring dynamic and relevant ads to BlackBerry smartphone users.”

PopCap CEO Rips Zynga On Game Quality

Zynga has certainly prospered with Facebook gaming, but their methods of doing so have been openly criticized. PopCap Games CEO Dave Roberts can be added to the list of people who is not a fan of Zynga.

“They are in some ways struggling to catch up because they are not (about) gaming in their heritage — they are a marketing company. They are a media company,” said Roberts at the WTIA TechNW forum. “They are awfully good at it. But we believe that ultimately, and it’s our bias, that great content wins out. And that great games are always going to be better than great marketing.”

Roberts also noted that PopCap’s Bejeweled Blitz was doing better than Zynga’s Mafia Wars in terms of daily unique visitors without spending any money on advertising. “Zynga is really good at sort of using money to buy their customers every day,” he added. “…That’s an interesting business model, but [it] becomes complicated.”

He noted that there was a particular challenge in bringing Bejeweled Blitz to Facebook, but he said that PopCap has gotten used to adapting to new platforms. By contrast, Roberts said that Zynga’s attempt to bring FarmVille to iPhone was an “abysmal failure.”

“I think a lot of the easy money that catapulted companies like Zynga into this crazy stratosphere — the easy money days are gone,” said Roberts. “That doesn’t mean the platform is dead, it just means that you actually now have to work at it. Now, it is not about luck, it is about good, old-fashioned hard work.”

Source: TechFlash