Zeebo, backed by Qualcomm, announced a new device it's calling the "fourth video game console." But don't worry if you're a console collector, the Zeebo console probably won't ever see the light of day in the U.S. and is instead being targeted at middle-class buyers in emerging markets.
Referring to the middle-class consumers of the so-called BRIC nations -- Brazil, Russia, India, and China -- Zeebo Chief Executive John Rizzo said "A console for these markets has got to be affordable."
To keep costs down and cut back on rampant piracy, the Zeebo will not use a disc or other fixed media, and instead employs a Qualcomm chipset to allow gamers to connect wirelessly to purchase and download games. The onboard flash memory can store about 50 games, Rizzo said.
Other specs include an ARM 11 / QDSP-5 running at 528MHz, 128MB of DDR memory, VGA (640 x 480) output, three USB 2.0 ports, and an SD card slot.
The Zeebo console will first be available in Brazil for $199, with pricing expected to drop to $150 within the year.
Sacred 2 is a hack-and-slash Diablo clone in the vein of Titan Quest, the late and much-lamented Mythos, and, of course, 2004’s Sacred. And thanks to the original game’s popularity, Sacred 2 is also the most-anticipated Diablo clone—other than Diablo 3, of course.
But dedicated hack-and-slashers will find plenty to love in Sacred 2. The game world is huge and nonlinear—there are more than 22 square miles to explore. It’s bigger than Oblivion, bigger than Fallout 3. Unfortunately, most quests take place within a few hundred yards of the roads, and most of the stuff in the middle, though occasionally interesting or whimsical, can be skipped. The graphics are pretty, but not revolutionary, even at the highest settings.
OCZ has been on a mission to undercut the competition in the peripheral gaming market and has released a pair of gaming mice this week towards that goal. The company says its new Behemoth and Eclipse mice are "built with the hardcore gamer in mind" looking for an inexpensive gaming solution.
"OCZ continues to break barriers in the cost for performance arena by offering high performance gaming products that deliver exceptional features, ergonomics, and performance at an aggressive price," commented Ryan Edwards, Director of Product Management for OCZ. "The new Behemoth and Eclipse gaming mice are no exception, offering world-class performance designed to provide the discerning gamer and enthusiast with a superior hands-on control experience whether playing first person shooters or getting creative with design applications."
Both the Eclipse and Behemoth come with a 2-way scrolling wheel, adjustable weight (up to 18g on the Eclipse and 24g on the Behemoth), 4-way changing LED display, black rubberized coating for a no-slip grip, 60IPS tracking speed, and 50G acceleration. The compact-style Eclipse sports an adjustable DPI up to 2400, whereas the larger Behemoth ramps up to 3200.
Remember a few young, naïve years ago (What’s an Obama?) when Crytek first cracked open your PC and drank the syrupy yolks within with the second iteration of its CryEngine technology? Remember the stomach-churning mix of awe and a heart attack you felt upon viewing its viewtiful vistas?
But it is very, very crisp, clean, and lush – just like CryEngine 2, but tweaked to levels of near-perfection. Does it knock reality off its high-horse and keep on riding? No, but if we fired a real rocket at an equally real tree, we imagine that its leaves tenuous grip on their lofty home would look something like that.
And oh, hey – look! A waterfall! Why, is that a heart attack we feel coming on? We’ll never doubt you again, Crytek.
Like a family engaged in an annual game of holiday card one-upmanship, the PC Gaming Alliance’s numbers, figures, and, er, printed-on coffee stains – courtesy of its State of the PC Gaming Industry in 2008 report – are shining with that make-everyone-else-jealous-of-your-obvious-superiority sheen that’s so popular with these sorts of things.
Most notably, the report states that PC gaming still brings home pounds upon pounds of bacon – nearly enough to necessitate tossing away a few slabs before fording the river, in fact – making it the largest single gaming platform in existence. As of now, industry revenues sit at $11 billion, and are expected to continue making our fingers, toes, and abaci feel inadequate in spite of the current Harsh Economic Climate.
In addition, PCGA president Randy Stude emphasized the PC gaming market’s unique advantages, saying:
“The biggest story in PC games is the expansion beyond retail. PC games have successfully pioneered online subscription and distribution models that have resulted in a global boom that shows no signs of slowing. Despite the advances of the likes of Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network, the online platform that remains the most accessible and robust worldwide is the PC.”
Buried at the bottom of scenic Oh-God-Don’t-Look, State of the PC Gaming Industry U.S.A. were a few roadblocks the industry’s currently negotiating, mostly stemming from variations in hardware configurations, piracy, and – of course – the economy.
You can check out the full, 33-page PDF file on the PCGA’s website, if you really want. Be warned, though – it’s large enough to become the butt of many a “Yo momma’s so fat” joke. Peruse at your own peril.
Time for another price and parts guide! The $1000 parts guide we posted earlier this month garnered much discussion and debate among readers, so we wanted to a better job explaining our choices in this edition. Compared to the pricey decked-out systems from OEM builders like Falcon and Digital Storm, $1500 is still technically in the "budget" range. But for many people, that's still a lot of money to spend on a PC. We catered this build for gamers, and anchored our picks on the GPU and CPU, while judiciously choosing the other parts and brands to fit into our budget limits. The results were pleasantly surprising, and recent price cuts and rebates across the board really helped. Of course, your own configuration may vary wildly from ours depending your own needs, priorities, or brand allegiances, but we think this is an awesome configuration for something building a new gaming PC.
Read on for our parts and price list, and contribute your thoughts and personal configs!
If this sounds like something you’d be interested in checking out, you can find the transcript here. And, be sure and check out other debates in the future over at Xfire! They did a great job setting up the event.
Like a down-and-out, washed-up action movie star, Blizzard’s Battle.net service – once a pimp-my-wagon pioneer of online gaming service form and function – is beginning to look a little silly in a world where relative youngsters like Steam and Xbox Live give the Internet the buddy cop treatment. However, instead of stinking up a beloved franchise or wrestling California into submission, Battle.net’s hopping back into the ring with an all-new image.
Most notably, Battle.net’s new groove (or possibly, the proactive reclamation of its old groove) brings with it a single online identity, which will consolidate all of your Blizzard game accounts into one mega-handle. Currently, merging accounts is optional, but you’ll eventually be forced to Brady Bunch your accounts together and experience convenient organization and other such terrifying prospects.
"As we continue to build additional functionality into the new Battle.net, we will eventually require all active World of Warcraft accounts to migrate over to Battle.net Accounts in order to continue playing," read the official Battle.net site.
The new Battle.net also allows you to manage purchases in Blizzard’s online store, which leads us to wonder if the service might eventually try to compete with Steam. After all, World of Warcraft means Battle.net comes equipped with 11 million users right out of the box. The potential’s certainly there.
As a general rule, our belief is that pairing two slow-performing cards using SLI or CrossFire is a bad idea—you’re usually better off running a single faster card. However, the Radeon 4850 X2 delivers astounding performance compared to the single-GPU boards in its price range, spanking the Radeon 4870 and the GeForce GTX 280, with none of the pitfalls that have plagued dual-GPU boards in the past.
At the heart of the board is a pair of ATI’s RV770 GPUs running at 625MHz, just like the single-GPU in the 4850 boards. Each GPU features a full complement of 800 stream processors, which are connected to identical 1GB GDDR3 frame buffers running at 993MHz on a 256-bit bus. Although X2 boards are labeled as featuring 2GB of memory, because the contents of each GPU’s frame buffer must be mirrored, applications can utilize only 1GB of video memory.
As children, we were always taught that ingesting red and/or blue fluids – generally those found in that Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil otherwise known as “the cabinet under the sink” – wasn’t among the better choices we could make, no matter how devilishly tempting it might’ve been.
Only now, however, do we fully comprehend the breadth of our parents’ bounteous wisdom.
For some maniacal reason, Blizzard has decided to pair its uber-successful World of Warcraft franchise with another one of man’s more inexplicably addictive creations: Mountain Dew. The result: a taste bud-burning crusade of what some might even venture to call “flavor.”
The drink comes in two varieties: Alliance Blue (“with a punch of Wild Fruit Flavor”) and Horde Red (“with a blast of Citrus Cherry Flavor”).
Both flavors will attempt to give Bawls – and other gamer-centric energy drinks -- a thorough licking this summer. We'll probably end up downing a bottle or two ourselves in penance for that terrible joke.