Boutique system builder iBuyPower on Thursday announced a interesting piece of proprietary software called "MAGIC," or "Multi-touch Advanced Gaming Interface and Control." The software was developed in-house, and according to iBuyPower, it allows users to play any game under the sun with multi-touch controls.
"Mutli-touch is one of the fastest growing PC gaming interfaces," said Darren Su, Executive Vice President of iBuyPower. "Our motivation behind creating the Multi-touch Advanced Gaming Interface and Control -- MAGIC -- is to instantly expand compatibility of multi-touch interfaces to nearly every application you can imagine."
So how does MAGIC work its, er, magic? As iBuyPower explains, MAGIC links multi-touch gestures to pre-existing in-game commands, and is really a fancy way of emulating commands by mapping mouse clicks or keystrokes. MAGIC supports the use of profiles, as well as Tap, Pan (Drag), Rotate, and 2 Finger Tap actions.
Ready for the best part? iBuyPower is giving MAGIC away as a free download.
It might not be much, but after four years, Sony has finally begun flipping a profit on each PlayStation 3 console it sells. It took several hardware revisions to get to this point, and now that it has, the company can begin focusing on recouping some of its hardware losses, though it's unlikely Sony will break even.
That won't stop the console maker from trying, however, as rumor has it Sony would like to extend the PS3's retail lifespan for a few more years. That will depend, in part, on what the competition is cooking up for the next round of console wars, but it's worth mentioning that Sony recently released firmware that adds 3D-capability to the PS3. Combined with the integrated Blu-ray player, the PS3 is in solid shape to stay relevant beyond tomorrow.
And then there's the whole motion control bonanza. Between Microsoft's Kinect and Sony's Move technology, both console makers appear content to ride their current hardware for at least a little while longer.
For those of you hoping to score Nintendo's upcoming 3DS handheld console in time for the holidays, you better have a backup gift to add to your wish list. Addressing rumors suggesting an October launch, Nintendo said not to expect the 3DS until 2011.
"Nintendo 3DS will not be arriving in 2010. 3DS won't be appearing until next year," said Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime.
Reggie's comments came during a taping of the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon talk show and clarify what Nintendo has said all along, which is that the 3DS would ship before March 31, 2011. How much earlier remains to be seen, and given the early hype, it's possible Nintendo could push the release date back to buy some time to line up more supply.
Nintendo's 3DS console has been making headlines because of its ability to produce 3D images without requiring the viewer to don a pair of stereoscopic glasses.
The American Dream, which calls for a wife, 2.5 kids, and a white picket fence, never took into consideration the mounting cost of Xbox Live Gold memberships for the entire family, which adds up rather quickly. To help address this, come November Microsoft will begin selling Xbox Live Gold Family Packs for $100, which will offer up to four individual Gold memberships for the price of two.
More than just four Live Gold accounts, the Family Pack also opens up a few additional perks, including a new Family Center accessible through the Xbox dashboard. As Microsoft explains it, you can expect easier family management, access to activity monitoring reports, and the ability to purchase and give away Microsoft Points to little Johnny rather than pay him an allowance.
There will also be exclusive family content and discounts, though Microsoft didn't outline exactly what these would entail. For more info, check out the full press release here.
We had a feeling this was coming, and now it's official. With the launch of the new, slimmer Xbox 360 console, Microsoft went the sensible route and trimmed $50 off the price of the current-gen Arcade and Elite models, which now run $149 and $249, respectively.
The price cuts apply to Limited Edition consoles too, such as Modern Warfare 2, Splinter Cell, and Final Fantasy XIII bundles. These packages now cost $349 instead of $399, assuming you can find a vendor who still has these in stock (and it's not too difficult just yet).
According to Fudzilla, the price cuts are just the beginning. Citing un-named sources, the news and rumor site claims Microsoft will soon discontinue the older Xbox 360 consoles and push just the new slim version, which will likely come in bundles of their own.
When StarCraft II releases to a rabid fan base who have helped make the original one of the most popular games of all time, Razer will be ready and waiting with a handful of StarCraft II themed peripherals, including a mouse (Spectre), keyboard (Marauder), and headset (Banshee).
"We are all huge StarCraft players here at Razer, so we are really excited to give gamers a first glimpse at the StarCraft II gaming peripherals," said Robert 'Razerguy' Krakoff, president, Razer USA. "The peripherals were created with our newly developed APM (Actions-Per-Minute) Lighting System™ and feature a gaming-optimized design inspired by the StarCraft universe to complement the on-screen action."
Hit the jump to see what each one brings to the StarCraft universe.
Speaking of waving things around in your hand (see previous news post), Microsoft has made official the rebadging of Project Natal to Kinect.
Details are still pouring in as E3 gets set to kick off, but a little more was revealed during a Kinect-themed 45-minute theatrical performance by Cirque du Soleil. Most of the new info involved upcoming game titles which, according to USA Today, will include:
Kinectimals: train and play with 20 different types of virtual cats, includng a lion, cheetah, and tiger
Joyride: a racing game where users will position their hands around an imaginary steering wheel
Kinect Sports: six sports games to choose from, including boxing, bowling, volleyball, track and field, soccer, and table tennis
Kinect Adventures: river rafting game
Dance Central: an MTV Games project involving full-body dancing without the need for a controller
Star Wars: probably will involve light saber duels
"For lots of people, that controller is a barrier," says creative director Kudo Tsunoda. "We set out to make a new control paradigm where anybody can get in and play, without having to read the instructions or learn a complicated set of controls."
Kinect's built-in camera will employ facial and voice recognition. You'll be able to control Netflix menus with hand gestures, as well as fast forward though a recorded TV program just by waving your arm about.
Pricing, release date, and other details have yet to be disclosed, though we suspect to know a lot more as the day goes on.
Vegas odds has this one as most likely a pricing error, but what I stumbled upon yesterday -- and apparently I wasn't the only one -- was a PlayStation 3 console listed as "starting at $199.99" on Sony's 3D portal. Could it really be so?
Not likely, though not completely out of the question either. Clicking through revealed no such console priced for just two Benjamins, and when I woke up this morning, I found that Sony had gone back and changed the price to $299.99, seemingly closing the case on this one.
It's worth noting, however, that E3 kicks off next week, and if Sony were to introduce a 'budget' PS3 console, that would be the time to do it. Admittedly unlikely, it's at least conceivable that someone on Sony's Web team inadvertently jumped the gun, much like Microsoft recently did with the Zune HD 64GB.
As it stands, Sony's PS3 is available in only two main storage flavors, 120GB for $300 and 250GB for $350. Sony also just recently pushed out a 3D firmware update applicable to all PS3 consoles, so while it has a feature advantage over both the Wii and Xbox 360, both units can be had for as low as $200.
Around this time last month, Valve officially opened up its Steam platform to the Mac community, and in doing so helped chip away at the argument that Macs suck for gaming. What they also did was reveal some interesting statistics about the machines their users are running.
As Steampowered forum member and Mac user "90rmbrown" points out, "facts are facts," and according to the latest Steam Hardware Survey, the average Steam gamer running an Apple computer has a beefier system than those running a Windows-based PC, at least in some areas. Mac users, for example, have more RAM (4GB vs 2GB) on average, while half of those running a Mac have an Internet connection of 2Mbps or higher, compared to 28 percent of PC users. Mac users are also more likely to have a dual-core processor running at 2.3GHz to 2.69GHz, or higher.
Before you whip out the pitchforks and light the torches, there are some things to note here. The sample size of Mac users is significantly smaller than that of PC users, so the hardware breakdown is dubious at best. And where it really counts for gaming -- in the graphics department -- PC gamers have more video RAM, and probably beefier videocards as well.
So what can we take from all this? As Sean Portnoy at ZDNet writes, PC gamers are still getting by with older hardware, while the early influx of Mac users with refreshed hardware could benefit from better graphics. Other than that, there isn't a whole lot to say -- we'll still take a PC over a Mac any day, especially when it comes to gaming.
What hardware are you running? Hit the jump and post your specs.
As far as kid cartoons go, SpongeBob SquarePants easily ranks as one of the better ones, and at times is even a bit hilarious. But would we want to control the bright yellow fry cook in a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG)? Irrelevant, because whether we want to or not, SpongeBob is heading online.
That's the word from MTV Networks Asia and online games company GigaMedia, two entities working together to jointly publish the first SpongeBob MMOG.
"Partnering with GigaMedia on the development of a SpongeBob SquarePants MMOG allows us to bring the residents of Bikini Bottom into a whole new world -- one that is tremendously popular in Asia and presents unlimited creative and business opportunities for the franchise," said Jihee Nam, Vice President of Digital for MTV Networks Asia. "SpongeBob SquarePants is Nickelodeon's best known property within Asia and we're extremely proud to oversee the development of the MMOG with local business partners. We look forward to working hand in hand with GigaMedia on bringing SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, Gary and Sandy Cheeks to life in an entirely new and incredibly popular online world."
If aimed at adults, something like this could end up being full of win, but for obvious reasons, kids are going to be the target audience. MTV says the game will follow a free-to-play model with an online store where gamers can spend their allowance on a range of items. The MMOG will also feature a bunch of video and simple Flash-based games, but other than that, MTV doesn't plan to reveal much else until we inch closer to the 2011 launch.