PlayStation 4 European Launch Events

The PlayStation 4  successfully launched in the US and Canada on November 15, but the console has yet to roll out in the rest of the world. Sony is preparing for the next big launches across Europe on November 29th.

The company’s European division has announced that it will hold a UK launch event on Thursday, November 28 at the PS4 Lounge in Covent Garden, London, where gamers can buy the system on a first-come, first-serve basis without the need for a pre-order. For entertainment, Tinie Tempah will also perform, and food and drink will also be provided.

MD and VP of Sony Computer Entertainment UK & Ireland Fergal Gara, said, “Day one PS4 pre-orders sold out in record time and this could be the last chance for anyone who wants to get their hands on a console before Christmas. We really wanted to offer some way for people to buy on launch day, and this is a fantastic opportunity for anyone that hasn’t already pre-ordered to get their hands on a PS4 on day one. The excitement in the run up to our UK launch has been phenomenal, and we want to thank gamers for their support by giving them the chance to take a PS4 home at the earliest opportunity.

The PlayStation 4 launches in Australia and New Zealand, much of Europe, the UK, and Latin America on November 29; the Middle East and the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary on December 13; and finally in Japan on February 22, 2014.

Source: EU PlayStation Blog

Millennials Get Psyched For Black Friday

It looks like millennials by and large won’t exactly be waiting around for Cyber Monday to roll around. Twenty-six percent of them plan on having their big Christmas shopping blowout at retail stores on Black Friday while boomers stand aside with a collective “meh” according to a survey by DDB.

Millennials are keeping the holiday spirits aloft with robust profits from the outset this holiday season. A telling 12 percent will do their shopping as the madness peters out over the weekend and 11 percent will take advantage of the big deals likely to be found Cyber Monday.

While you’re adding up those numbers, it looks like 51 percent of millennials will weather the initial shopping wave to ride it out later in the season. A solid 10 percent are procrastinators, waiting until the last minute to find gifts for their loved ones.

In comparison, boomers appear to be much less excited to hold out for the best deals come Black Friday. A meager 7 percent plan to partake in Black Friday and the same number are prepping their wallets for Cyber Monday. Boomers are also slightly more keen on waiting until the final days to secure their Christmas loot.

Although folks are still planning on getting into the spirit of the giving season, 47 percent say they will be less spendy this year than last.

The most wanted item this year Notably, it’s not a console. Thirty-one percent of survey responders say they would much prefer cash.
Source: AdWeek {link no longer active}

Play ‘Call of Duty’ With Sports Stars

Multiplayer sessions of Call of Duty, including the most recently released Ghosts, can be quite random, but every once in a while you run into a player that you remember well in the match. This could be a professional game player, or, in some cases, a professional athlete, as they’re known to kick back and relax with the shooter.

Now players will have a better opportunity to do so, through a new app called OverDog. Developed in conjunction with Call of Duty publisher Activision, the app allows users to play online sessions alongside their favorite athletes.

“Adrian Peterson is going to play Call of Duty this week anyway,” noted Steve Berneman, CEO and co-founder of startup OverDog.

“Athletes are very competitive, and they see it as another way to compete with each other and the people around them,” added Dario Raciti, director of Zero Code, OMD’s gaming specialty shop, which helped put the app together.

Here’s how it works: those who download the app will have the chance to play an athlete through random selection, once they indicate that they want to play an online match-up. From there, fans can accept the challenge, turn on their game systems, and get into action. During these sessions, fans can ask these players anything – though obviously some topics may be a little touchy, depending on the athlete.

“We listen in on these, and the first 30 seconds of the conversation are about the game, then the next couple of minutes are stuff you’d ask a pro athlete,” said Berneman. “Once we get through that, it’s like a couple of 25-year olds playing Call of Duty.

Other athletes taking part in the program include starting pitcher David Price, former NHL player Jeremy Roenick and the NBA’s Patrick Beverly, among 300 or so other athletes.

There’s no word yet on the app’s price, but more information should be released soon.

Source: Adweek

Line Chat Hits 300 Million Users

Line has become a reliable message application across 230 countries, and this week it announced that it has reached a monumental number of users with the program.

At a press conference in Tokyo, the company confirmed that the app has reached 300 million registered users, which is up from the 200 million it was at four months ago. That means, in a matter of approximately 120 days, it has picked up 100 million users – nearly a million users a day. It is important to note that these are registered users, not monthly active users (MAU), so the count is probably inflated somewhat (the company previously said its MAU in Japan was 80 percent of its registered users).

Line’s CEO Akira Morikawa stated that the company has an even loftier goal in 2014, hoping to reach 500 million registered users – quite the milestone, but one that’s definitely in reach since it’s “accelerating exponentially.” Line said global downloads across all its games exceed 220 million, and game-related payments account for 60 percent of its revenue (Line is now bringing in nearly $100 million in revenue a quarter).

The company also stated that markets where the service isn’t exactly thriving, including the U.S., aren’t the focus of growth at the moment, as “It is necessary that users understand the value of our service first.” Still, the option to offer more options to expand its services isn’t out of the question.

Source: TechCrunch

Black Friday Video Game Deals Aplenty

Black Friday isn’t too far off now, and various retailers will be offering bargains as soon as 5 PM on Thanksgiving night. Those looking to buy great video game deals for loved ones may want to pay attention to some specific deals, which we’ve happily highlighted below.

Amazon: Bundles are the name of the game with this website, as it’s offering an Xbox 360 250 GB Holiday Value Bundle with Halo 4 and Tomb Raider, or a 250 GB PlayStation 3 system with The Last of Us and Batman: Arkham Origins for $199 apiece

Wal-Mart: This national chain has a few great bundles as well, including the Xbox 360 4 GB for $99, the PlayStation 3 12 GB model for $149, the 2DS (red or blue) for $99 or the aforementioned Last of Us/Batman: Arkham Origins PS3 system bundle for $199.

Target: If you want a 3DS XL, this is the place to get it, as Target will have it for $149.99 for a limited time. You can also pick up an Xbox 360 Kinect Bundle with Kinect Sports and Kinect Adventures, along with a free month of Xbox Live gold, for $199. The PlayStation 3 Last of Us/Batman: Arkham Origins bundle will be available here as well.

GameStop: Various deals will be available through this retail chain, including a Skylanders Swap Force Wii U bundle with a backpack and a $25 GameStop gift card for $299.99; a PS Vita Walking Dead bundle for $199.99, and a PlayStation 3 Pulse Headset for $79.99, but only on Friday.

Toys ‘R Us: The toy chain will have plenty of deals, including the Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon 3DS system bundle for $150, the Sega Genesis Classic Game Console w/80 built-in games for $29.99, and the Skylanders Swap Force Wii U pack for $259.99.

Best Buy: Last but certainly not least, Best Buy will have doorbusters aplenty, including an Xbox 360 250 GB bundle with Tomb Raider, Darksiders 2, Halo 4 and Batman: Arkham City for $189.99, a Wii U bundle with Nintendo Land and 2 Wii remotes for $319.97, and deals on Turtle Beach headsets for $34.99 apiece.

Source: IGN

Xbox One’s ‘Variety And Limitless Creativity’

To millions of Xbox gamers, Larry Hryb is known as “Major Nelson,” but the Microsoft exec plays an important role at the company beyond being a public figurehead. Hryb is the Director of Xbox Programming, which allows him to use his direct access to an active Xbox community to try to deliver what they’re looking for in video game and entertainment experiences. After a rough start at its pre-E3 and E3 press conferences this summer, Hyrb did a ton of damage control with the public and has been out front in relaying Microsoft’s revisions in policy with next gen. Hryb has been crisscrossing the country leading up to the launch of Xbox One, speaking with gamers at conventions, at retail locations and at other events. The [a]list daily caught up with him to discuss what the next generation of Xbox will deliver in this exclusive interview.

What do you feel will define the next generation of games beyond better visuals?

Variety and limitless creativity. Our vision for Xbox One is to build a platform that allows creators of all sizes — from development teams of hundreds to a team of one — to bring their ideas and passions to life. Xbox One will be the home of exclusive blockbuster new IP like Ryse: Son of Rome and Titanfall, some of the most popular franchises in gaming like Forza Motorsport 5, Dead Rising 3 and Halo, and captivating new experiences and indie games like Project Spark and Below. Powered by amazing exclusive next-generation features like the cloud, Kinect, SmartGlass, Upload Studio, Game DVR, Smart Match and more, there’s no limit to the kinds of games and experiences you’ll find on Xbox One.

What role will exclusive games play for Xbox One as the next generation console battle evolves over the coming years?

Exclusive games and experiences are one of the biggest reasons for someone to choose Xbox One. We have more titles in development now than at any other time in Xbox history, including new IP, heralded blockbuster franchises and indies. Games like Titanfall, Dead Rising 3, Sunset Overdrive, Forza Motorsport 5, Quantum Break, Project Spark and Below take full advantage of exclusive platform features like the cloud, Kinect, SmartGlass and Xbox Live to fully demonstrate how Xbox One makes games better. We’re also working with the best third party developers and publishers in the world to create unique and compelling games for Xbox One because we truly believe that games are what matter most.

What role do you see original exclusive entertainment on Xbox One like the Halo television series playing in the entertainment landscape today, given the success we’ve seen with Netflix originals like Arrested Development and House of Cards and Warner Bros’ success with Mortal Kombat Legacy?

Xbox One was designed for the living room of today and the next decade. We looked not only at our vision for what a future gaming console could be, but also at usage trends and how gamers and non-gamers alike interact with their entertainment content. We then built a system that is made to evolve with the changing gaming landscape, including how and where people play games. The TV remains the premier screen for today’s consumer, and Xbox One starts there, integrating all your favorite entertainment, the TV you already have, and the mobile devices you already own.

How has the evolving gaming landscape with mobile and free to play’s growth impacted the design and development of Xbox One?

Sunset Overdrive

Xbox SmartGlass is a free app you can download for most iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Windows 8 devices, and instantly turns your mobile device into an intelligent second screen so you can experience your Xbox One games, music, movies, TV shows and sports in all new interactive ways. We’re proud to have great free-to-play games for Xbox Live Gold members today on Xbox 360 such as the smash-hit World of Tanks, and we’re very excited to bring some of the biggest next generation titles into the free-to-play program on Xbox One.

What opportunities does SmartGlass open up for Xbox One entertainment?

Our vision for entertainment starts in the living room but it also integrates with smart devices you already own. We’ve seen innovative second-screen experiences created from entertainment partners on Xbox 360 for TV, movies, sports and more. With SmartGlass built in from the beginning there is a deeper level of integration with Xbox One. More devices, more control of your console and new ways to navigate. You can be on the go, hear about a movie or TV show, and queue up content by pinning it and saving it for later. Xbox SmartGlass also lets you manage your TV set-top box and Blu-ray, and search the OneGuide without interrupting your current activity.

What type of development support and innovation do you believe having the Kinect in every box will have on Xbox One games?

We believe in Kinect and its ability to revolutionize the way people interact with their games and entertainment. Putting Kinect in every box allows all Xbox One users to experience its power. It also becomes a fundamental part of every system sold. When game developers, content creators and entertainment partners can count on Kinect as a part of every Xbox One, an entire world of new experiences becomes possible.

Xbox was discontinued after Xbox 360 launched. What are your plans for Xbox 360 after Xbox One launches?

We launched an updated design for Xbox 360 to more closely resemble the design of Xbox One and we will continue to sell and support Xbox 360 after Xbox One launches. We look forward to a bright future for Xbox 360, as our best-selling console only gets better. The world’s brightest creators are continuing to bring imaginative new titles to Xbox 360 including exclusives like World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, as well as blockbuster games like Call of Duty: Ghosts, Grand Theft Auto V, Battlefield 4 and Madden NFL 25.

What did you learn from Xbox 360 gamers that you’ve applied to Xbox One when it comes to the entertainment functionality?

We know that gamers don’t want to choose between their games and entertainment. So we wanted to fuse our new gaming OS with an entertainment OS so you get the best of both worlds in one device. For example, with Snap on Xbox One you don’t have to choose between watching your favorite TV show and playing your favorite game — you can do both at the same time or choose from a wide selection of entertainment experiences while you wait for your game to fill.

Sony Congratulates Xbox Too

It looks like PlayStations answer to Xbox’s viral tweet was doled out on Friday. Although the success of this tweet was not nearly as big as the impressions Xbox created, 5k favorites and 7.2k retweets is nothing to sneeze at.

The next-gen console makers have something in common– executing very smart social media tactics.


Jessica Chastain In Texting Short

Scripted Content is the latest installment of the company’s new video series Vogue Original Shorts, and this one deals with a light hearted situation where a man happens across Jessica Chastain. The social media moment isn’t spontaneous but it’s easy to imagine the situation happening.

Lightning Returns And Dazzles

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is out now in Japan, and Square Enix’s American branch is releasing a new trailer to make the wait until February 11, 2014 seem less bad. Check out the varied landscapes, various costumes for Lightning and the whole cast of returning character’s from the previous two entries.