Sony Lets Taco Bell ‘Unlock The Box’ For The PS Vita

Sony has announced a new partnership with Taco Bell for the PS Vita. The “Unlock the Box” promotion will see them give away one PS Vita every 15 minutes to consumers starting January 26, 2012, before the console releases in the U.S., exclusively through Taco Bell.

“This partnership is the perfect way to deliver PS Vita’s game changing technology directly to our passionate fans in the weeks leading up to launch,” said Guy Longworth senior vice president of marketing and PlayStation Network at SCEA. “We know anticipation around PS Vita in the U.S. is reaching a fever pitch, and we’re happy to be working with Taco Bell to give away one PS Vita for every fifteen minutes, ensuring thousands of gamers get their hands on the revolutionary entertainment system before it becomes available in stores.”

Running until March 11, 2012, users can pick up codes found on Taco Bell’s specially marked $5 Buck Box that can be entered online for an instant chance to win a PS Vita prize pack. Fans can win through Taco Bell’s mobile app by battling their friends on Reality Fighters Dojo, an augmented reality game experience set on the $5 Buck Box and by entering an online contest that users boast about what they’d be willing to do for a PS Vita.

“Taco Bell has always been a brand of firsts and we wanted to kick off the year with an innovative combination — our great food, PlayStation’s cool new technology and multiple ways to play and win,” said Brian Niccol, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer at Taco Bell Corp. “We have an incredibly engaged customer fan base and we are excited to leverage this partnership and help them become early adopters.”

Prize packs include one PS Vita 3G/Wi-Fi model, the Little Deviants game, one 4GB PS Vita Memory Card, and a choice of one of the following games: ModNation Racers: Road Trip, LittleBigPlanet or MLB 12 The Show.

MLB Perfect Game Challenge Returns For 2K12 Edition

2K Sports has announced that the $1 Million Perfect Game Challenge is returning for the third year in a row in Major League Baseball 2K12. This variation will see players attempting to place on a dynamic leaderboard that ranks the top perfect games thrown starting April 4 until the end of April and submit a unique code at upon completion of a perfect game; eight finalists will compete in a live tournament to crown the new $1 Million champion.

“Winning $1 Million for being the first to pitch a perfect game in Major League Baseball 2K11 was an unreal experience,” said Brian Kingrey, who won the contest in 2011 using Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies. “I can’t wait to watch the competition unfold and see who will join me and Major League Baseball 2K10 winner, Wade McGilberry, in what’s becoming the coolest fraternity in sports gaming. We like to call it ‘The Perfect Club.’”

“With the Perfect Game Challenge firmly entrenched in the culture of sports gaming, we’re thrilled to introduce several new twists that can only take the contest to the next level of competitive excitement and open it up to more people,” said Jason Argent, vice president of marketing at 2K Sports. “The contest has been incredibly popular the past two years, but there’s always room for improvement. We listened to user feedback and made participation more fun and accessible than ever before.”

Microsoft Xbox 360 TV Subscription In Limbo

While Microsoft just won an award for their Xbox 360 TV setup at CES, reports are now that the company has put the subscription service for TV shows and movies on hold, according to people familiar with the discussions. Licensing cost were apparently to high for the model Microsoft wanted.

“They built Microsoft TV, they demoed it for us, they asked for rate cards but then said ‘ooh ah, that’s expensive,'” said one anonymous senior media executive connected to the talks.

While Microsoft wanted to offer more current shows than services like Netflix does, it wasn’t completely feasible cost-wise and the company will simply continue to work directly with cable/satellite providers. “It doesn’t mean they won’t be back in another iteration,” said the senior media executive. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

Source: Reuters

Skyrim PS3 Lag Will Be ‘Addressed’ In Patch 1.4

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on PS3 has had rather infamous lag issues that make the game nearly unplayable if the file size is big enough. While the previous three patches did only a little to alleviate the issue, it looks like it will finally be put to bed once and for all soon.

When asked the PS3 lag issue will be fixed, a post on the Bethesda Blog Twitter account said, “We’re addressing that in the 1.4 update planned for this month.”

Source: Twitter

Homefront Goes Ultimate By March

Reports are that THQ will publish a Homefront Ultimate Edition by the end of March. It is believed that it will contain the multiplayer map-packs ‘The Rock’ and ‘Fire Sale’ along with the DLC 870 Express shotgun.

Homefront managed over a million in sales in the U.S. within two weeks, despite mixed reviews. Developer Kaos Studios in New York was shut down soon after release, though Crytek UK is now working on a sequel, expected to release some time fiscal year 2014.

Source: Eurogamer

Star Wars: The Old Republic Launch Pleases EA

Star Wars: The Old Republic is off to a fast start, collecting well over a million players within its first week or so of launching. While there have been some connection issues and the review scores have been in the mid 80s rather than the 90s, EA COO Peter Moore is pleased with the response given to the game so far.

“I was watching every hour of every day because a lot of the work we needed to do in Customer Experience reports directly to me – even though BioWare handles its own customer service as you probably know,” Moore remarked. “But look, there’s a reason it’s an MMO; it’s a massive game and when I think of all the MMOs I have seen launched I can’t think of one that has been launched flawlessly. There’s so much you don’t know and when you’ve got a million people coming in and playing, I’d like to be able to guarantee a completely flawless experience from a technology perspective, from an interaction perspective, but again I look at it every hour and when we look at the queue times to get on the servers, the amount of downtime that is scheduled, it’s green lights all the way. I couldn’t be more happy,”

“We’re only three weeks in since the launch and we’re stable, we’re robust and adding people. It was a ramped phase-up, and we made sure for the people as they came in that they had a great experience,” he continued, “Was it perfect No. Did anybody really expect something of this magnitude and complexity to be perfect No, but the key is how you resolve those problems and move on quickly and I think our teams have done that well.”

Kinect For Windows Plans Outlined

The Kinect for Xbox 360 sold over 18 million units in the past year, setting a Guinness World Record for the fastest selling consumer electronics device ever. The sort of work required to get to a “hands-free” motion controller wasn’t easy.

“Without many years of intense R&D efforts, including research investments of hundreds of millions of dollars, and the deep partnership between our research teams, software teams, hardware teams, manufacturing teams, and games studios, Kinect simply wouldn’t exist,” writes Craig Eisler General Manager of Kinect for Windows . “And as amazing a piece of hardware as Kinect is, it is much more than that. At the heart of the Kinect experience lies sophisticated software that meaningfully deciphers the images and gestures captured by the 3D sensor as well as the voice commands captured by the microphone array from someone much further away than someone using a headset or a phone. More importantly, Kinect software can understand what each user means by a particular gesture or command across a wide range of possible shapes, sizes, and actions of real people.”

Microsoft is hoping to expand the possibilities for the Kinect with the launch of Kinect for Windows. The hardware and accompanying software will be available on February 1, 2012 in 12 countries, at a suggested retail price of $249 which includes a one-year warranty, access to ongoing software updates for both speech and human tracking, and the continued investment in Kinect for Windows-based software advancements.

“With Kinect for Windows, we are investing in creating a platform that is optimized for scenarios beyond the living room, and delivering new software features on an ongoing basis, starting with “near mode” (see my earlier blog post for more about this),” added Eisler. “In addition to support for Windows 7 and the Windows 8 developer preview (desktop apps only), Kinect for Windows will also support gesture and voice on Windows Embedded-based devices and will enhance how data is captured and accessed within intelligent systems across manufacturing, retail and many more industries. We are building the Kinect for Windows platform in a way that will allow other companies to integrate Kinect into their offerings and we have invested in an approach that allows them to develop in ways that are dependable and scalable.”

“Although we encourage all developers to understand and take advantage of the additional features and updates available with the new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software, those developers using our SDK and the Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware may continue to use these in their development activities if they wish,” he continued. “However, non-commercial deployments using Kinect for Xbox 360 that were allowed using the beta SDK are not permitted with the newly released software. Non-commercial deployments using the new runtime and SDK will require the fully tested and supported Kinect for Windows hardware and software platform, just as commercial deployments do. Existing non-commercial deployments using our beta SDK may continue using the beta and the Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware; to accommodate this, we are extending the beta license for three more years, to June 16, 2016.”

“We expect that as Kinect for Windows hardware becomes readily available, developers will shift their development efforts to Kinect for Windows hardware in conjunction with the latest SDK and runtime. The combination of Kinect for Windows hardware and software creates a superior development platform for Windows and will yield a higher quality, better performing experience for end users. We are excited for the new possibilities that Kinect will enable on the Windows platform, and to see how businesses and developers re-imagine their processes and their products, and the many different ways each Kinect could enrich lives and make using technology more natural for everyone,” Eisler concluded.


Mortal Kombat Gets Komplete

Warner Bros. has officially announced the release of Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition. The compilation for the game that has sold over 3 million copies will feature all of the DLC for Mortal Kombat released so far when it comes out March 2 on PS3 and Xbox 360.

The Mortal Kombat DLC will feature the fighters Skarlet, Kenshi, Rain, and Freddy Krueger. There are also 15 Klassic Skins and three Klassic Fatalities for Scorpion, Sub-Zero and Reptile.

Sony Not ‘Contemplating Talking About’ PS4

Almost continually, rumors have been cropping up that a new PS4 console is in the works and some even peg it for a release in 2012. If that’s the case Sony Computer Entertainment president Andrew House isn’t surrendering any information that suggests that is what’s happening.

“I don’t think we’re contemplating talking about anything to do with future console iterations at this point,” said House. “But one thing I always point to is that, somewhat in contrast to our major competitors, we have, particularly with PS2, managed the length of the lifecycle and ensured its profitability for our publishing partners for a much longer lifecycle than has been true of the competition.”

“I would say that’s in part because of the global reach of Sony from a distribution, infrastructure and marketing standpoint,” he added. “Because in many markets, we work alongside really long-standing, established operations in electronics, we’re able to migrate out into rather more emerging markets much more easily and sustainably than is possible for some of our competitors.”

When asked about the future of home console games, he responded, “There are clearly a lot of opportunities [in the future] with regard to business models around games, all of which we’re interested in and are exploring. Some of our group companies already have a stake in free-to-play models and so on. But in my view, for the very highest quality high-definition console gaming, I think there are still some significant barriers to streaming solutions.”

“Whether it’s in mobile or cloud-based services, there are opportunities there for more casual content and in our case potentially for legacy content, which we would definitely like to explore. But I think we are a way away from being able to deliver the full-on top-end experience like that,” he added. “The scale of data involved and issues around latency do mean that, at least for now, the easiest consumer experience is from physical media. Although, having said that, we’re starting to see some growth in the number or proportion of our consumers that want to access their content via download. But I think it’s still pretty small.”

Source: MCV