Headline Of The Week
Since its public unveiling, Microsoft have been touting the Xbox One to be the ultimate all-in-one entertainment device…just like every console since the PS2 has also claimed. Nevertheless, this week they have confirmed which entertainment applications will be ready for you straight out of the box.
Every consumer market will have access to Xbox Fitness, Xbox Video, Xbox Music, Internet Explorer, Skype, SkyDrive and Upload (allowing users to upload gaming clips to Xbox.com). In-between the UK launch date of 22nd November and ‘Spring 2014’, we can expect the following applications to be added: 4oD, Amazon, blinkbox, Crackle, Demand 5, Eurosport, Machinima, MUZU TV, Netflix, NOW TV, TED, Twitch and Wuaki.tv. Noticeably, the BBC iPlayer, Sky Player and ITV Player which are all currently available on Xbox 360 will NOT be available during this time period. An Xbox Live Gold account will be required for these apps, and services such as Netflix also require their own fees and subscriptions.For what its worth, applications will also feature Achievements, but they will not count towards your individual Gamerscore.
Essentially, if you want a brand new entertainment device for your living room, right now you would be better off with a current console because they offer exactly the same services (minus sharing of gameplay footage) for a cheaper price.
BREAKING BONUS NEWS: Kotaku have a full report of a chap who managed to get an Xbox One weeks ahead of its release, before the console was taken offline by Microsoft. Plenty of interesting factoids on download sizes and other features.
In Other News…
The troubled retailer Blockbuster UK will be honouring pre-orders for the Xbox One and PS4, despite entering administration for the second time this year.
Initially, following the news at the end of October that the company had fallen victim to yet more financial troubles, all pre-orders were cancelled. In a statement this week however Blockbuster claimed they had set aside consoles for customers with valid pre-orders, and asked them to fill in a form so that payment details could be set up with Microsoft and Sony.
The lesson to be learned here is that if you live in the UK, simply don’t use Blockbuster for anything.
Certain lucky gamers around the world (by which I mean, not me) received an unexpected e-mail from Microsoft this week rewarding them with a free copy of the upcoming Xbox One fighter Killer Instinct. Rewarding fans with high Gamerscore figures or long tenures on Xbox Live, the e-mail read:
“You’re a fan of us and we’re a fan of yours. Thank you for your dedication to Xbox. We want to show you our appreciation so we’re giving you Killer Instinct.
“We’ve unlocked all characters so you can hit the ground running. Watch your inbox on 22 November for instructions on how to claim your free gift.”
Killer Instinct will be free-to-play for all Xbox One users, but only one character will be available to use. An Ultra Edition, featuring all the fighters and a port of the original SNES title, will set you back £34.99.
Do you like cars? Do you want to see cars in high definition? Well, Gran Turismo 6 has got them…1200 of them! Yep, Polyphony Digital have released the full list of vehicles that will feature in the upcoming PS3 simulation racer, including racers from NASCAR, FIA GT, go-karts and even the Lunar Roving Vehicle LEV-001; the 12mph car that trundled across the Moon in 1971. No word yet on whether you can take your super car collection into space as well, but we all know that would be fantastic if it is in the game.
Deals & Offers
If you have been looking recently to pick up Batman: Arkham Origins, let me point you in the direction of a much better Dark Knight related deal…
The Humble Bundle, after a few weeks of nice deals on games from independent studios, has moved back into the big leagues this week with the Humble WB Games Bundle. The four games that you can pay what you want for are F.E.A.R 2, F.E.A.R 3, Lord Of The Rings: War In The North and the simply excellent Batman: Arkham Asylum GOTY Edition. Pay above the average price, and you also get Scribblenauts Unlimited and the headline act of Batman: Arkham City GOTY Edition, easily one of the top games from the past few years. Remember, although you can name your price for these games, some of the proceeds do go to charity so it is worth giving generously towards the Bundle.
In sales news, the swashbuckling adventures of Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag managed to beat the shooting thrills of Battlefield 4 to the top of the UK sales charts in one of the most competitive retail weeks of the year. The time-sink that is Sega’s Football Manager 2014 entered at No.6. Smart money will be on Call Of Duty: Ghosts to be at top spot next week, although Activision have refrained from their usual sales boasts this year because of Grand Theft Auto V’s record breaking successes.
Top Ten For Week Ending 2nd November 2013 (from GFK/Chart-Track)
1 – Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Ubisoft Montreal)*
2 – Battlefield 4 (DICE)*
3 – FIFA 14 (EA Canada)
4 – Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar North)
5 – Batman: Arkham Origins (WB Games Montreal)
6 – Football Manager 2014 (Sports Interactive)*
7 – WWE 2K14 (Yuke’s)*
8 – Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (4J Studios)
9 – Skylanders: Swap Force (Vicarious Visions)
10 – Pokemon Y (Game Freak)
A show of hands please – anyone remember the PocketStation? No? Well it’s not that surprising; it was a PS1 memory card with an LCD screen that allowed you to transfer save data from games including Ape Escape and Ridge Racer Type 4 and play mini-games on the move. I was always intriguing by the Chocobo mini-game from Final Fantasy VIII, but I never got to play it because the PocketStation was only released in Japan.
But good news this week for PS Vita owners; Sony have released an free application for PS Plus subscribers which will emulate PocketStation games (providing you have downloaded the corresponding PS1 game which the mini-games were located in)! On December 3rd when the app is released to non PS-Plus members, Sony will also be releasing Dokodemo Issho, the first PocketStation game to feature the hilarious Japanese cat mascot Toro (who recently made an appearance in PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale).
But there is a significant catch – it’s still only available for Japanese Vita owners. No news yet on whether there will be a Western release of the application