New Super Mario Bros. Wii Finds Its Way Onto Stamps

The Belgian postal service bpost has announced that they’re putting out a series of New Super Mario Bros. Wii postage stamps. The recently privatized postal service has also teamed up with other companies like Disney for promotion.

Not something we’re likely to see with the USPS any time soon.

The New Super Mario Bros. Wii will retail for 5 Euro and for sheets of five. The offer will only run for a very limited time.

Source: Polygonal Lawn

Apple CEO Takes Leave

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is taking a leave of absence due to medical concerns. The announcement comes roughly two years after Jobs first took a six-month break for a liver transplant.

“At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health,” wrote Jobs in an email. “I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can.”

Chief operating officer Tim Cook will take responsibility for day-to-day operations of Apple, but Jobs will continue to be consulted for major decisions. Jobs gave no timetable for his return, and worries about his status and the future of Apple have sent shares of the company dropping as much as 10 percent.

“This will come as a surprise to Apple investors and definitely take some shine off the Apple stock,” said Alexander Peterc, an equity analyst at Exane. “But even if Steve Jobs never returns to Apple, I would not expect a visible, tangible impact on how Apple is executing over the next couple of years.”

Jobs is a visionary in the field of consumer electronics, but the forces pushing Apple forward shouldn’t be greatly affected by his absence. Still, as Richard Windsor, global technology specialist at Nomura notes, “Perception of the company is another matter. Steve Jobs is seen by the market to be a major force in Apple’s strategic direction. If his pancreatic cancer has returned, one could be quite worried.”

Source: Reuters

Portal 2 Owners On PS3 Get Free Steam Copy

Valve revealed today that PS3 owners of Portal 2 will receive a code that lets them install the game on PC if they link their PSN and Steam accounts. There will also be cross-platform functionality that allows PS3 and PC players to play multiplayer matches together, chat online and upload their PS3 saved games to a cloud-based storage system.

We made a promise to gamers at E3 that Portal 2 for PS3 would be the best console version of the product, said Valve president and co-founder Gabe Newell. Working with Sony we have identified a set of features we believe are very compelling to gamers. We hope to expand upon the foundation being laid in Portal 2 with more Steam features and functionality in DLC and future content releases.

PS3 gamers will be able to simply drop the Blu-ray disc into the PS3 and link to their Steam account from inside the game, added Portal 2 project lead Josh Weier. All their Steam friends on PC and Mac will be visible and accessible for chat and game invites.

Jonathan Ross Hosting 3DS Conference

TV star Jonathan Ross has been invited to host the official Nintendo press conference for the 3DS and he’s letting the world know. Ross took to Twitter to talk about his early impressions with the device.

“Been invited by Nintendo to host a conference next week that gives out info on the 3DS. Tried it yesterday! he said. What I can say about 3DS is that the 3D is far better than I would have thought possible without glasses. Can be switched to regular 2D!

“Think it’s because the screen is small that it can be done effectively without need for glasses. I only had unfinished prototype. But a couple of very cool new features, he added.

Source: MCV

Microsoft CEO Talks Xbox 360 As Family Entertainment Center, Not Game Console

It’s a busy period right now for Microsoft, what with the recent launch of Windows Phone 7 and more focus on Cloud. According to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, though, nothing is more important than Kinect and Xbox 360.

If you want to know where is the consumer heat, the things that people want to get their hands on, it’s Xbox and Xbox Kinect. I think about my own family, said Ballmer. My wife used to say, ‘No, no, that’s the machine the boys use,’ and now she says, ‘Yeah, I want to go watch movies. Let’s go play the dance game.’ It opens up accessibility to family entertainment because with the Kinect, you control these systems with your body, with your voice. We’ve opened up the world of content in TV, movies. You just sit there and say ‘Xbox’ or ‘play movie.’

When asked about competition with other gaming consoles, Ballmer had a rather interesting response. Xbox isn’t a gaming console, said Ballmer. Xbox is a family entertainment center. It’s a place to socialize. It’s a place to watch TV. We have Hulu coming. It’s the only system where you are the controller. Your voice, your gestures, your body.

The issue of cool factor came up with comparisons to Google and Apple and Ballmer went back to the Xbox 360. You go to your average 15-year-old boy, and he will say ‘I’ll take an Xbox,’ asserted Ballmer. I want that average 15-year-old girl as excited about the Kinect, and we haven’t done as good a job drawing in that broader set of demographics.

Source: USA Today

Mortal Kombat Gets Web Series

The online short by Kevin Tancharoen for Mortal Kombat created a lot of buzz last year, and its been picked up by Warner Bros. It will be a 10-episode web series penned by Tancharoen, Todd Helbing, and Aaron Helbing, star Michael Jai White leads the cast as Major Jackson ‘Jax’ Briggs.

The shooting is expected to start in Vancouver this coming February. Characters expected to appear are Liu Kang, Sub Zero, Durak, Kabal, Kitana/Mileena and Scorpion, with the plot focusing on Earth warriors fighting against the ambitions of Shao Kahn and Shang Tsung.

Source: Bloody Disgusting

Gran Turismo 5 Goes ‘Anywhere’ In February

Before Gran Turismo 5‘s release, one of the advertised features was the ability to control the B-Spec races via PC or mobile devices, but it was absent when the game came out in November 2010. The Gran Turismo Anywhere feature, however, looks like it will be incoming soon.

Gran Turismo 5‘s executive producer Kazunori Yamauchi has sent out a message saying that the feature will be coming in early February. According to that timing, it will not be available by the time the Signature Edition Challenge is concluded.


PGA Tour 12 Gets European Spokesperson

EA Sports has played down the fact that the Masters has taken a more prominent role on the new cover art for their PGA Tour game than their long-time spokesperson Tiger Woods. In another take it for what you will moment, they’ve hired another golfer to be the brand ambassador for PGA Tour 12, particularly in Europe.

I m delighted to be appearing in the new game and especially proud to be the first European Tour golf brand ambassador for EA Sports, said Welsh pro Rhys Davies, who will wear the EA Sports logo on his shirt. It s every golfer’s dream to be immortalized in a video game and I can’t wait to compete against my virtual character.

We’re extremely excited to be partnering with Rhys Davies, added EA’s senior PR manager Shaun White. We will work with Rhys on several initiatives during the season and give gamers an insight into the life of a tour professional.

Civil Rights Recreation Comes To Second Life

Just in time for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Second Life has a recreation of many important moments of the American Civil Rights Movement. Created by students at Indiana University, it includes the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington, and the Mississippi Freedom School Movement.