Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Wii Mini, announced. Wow.

Yeah, look at it, look into it. Take your time and just take in how beautifully crafted this piece of art is. Wow. No one's judging.

The Wii U is the successor to Nintendo's Wii but the company is yet to give up on their original motion control console launched back in 2006. Nintendo has released a press statement officially announcing that after 6 years in the market, the original Wii is set to go from big to mini, from white to red (and black).

The Wii Mini will similarly boast the iconic Wiimote and Nunchuck controller, and will be able to play up to 1,400 Wii games which includes all the more popular titles like Mario Kart Wii, Wii Sports Resort and New Super Mario Bros.

However, there is a catch. The Wii Mini has no Internet capabilities and will not play GameCube games. Also, up till now, it seems that despite how awesomely-beautiful this console is, it may only be exclusive to Canada. Retailing from the 7th of December, it's suggested retail price is only $99.99 as according to Nintendo, it is primarily aimed for the holiday season as well as for first-time Wii owners "who just want to jump in and experience".

Ron Bertram, Nintendo Canada’s vice president and general manager also expressed that “there are games in the Wii library for every type of player", adding that the "Wii Mini has a mini price, but it’s all about big fun.”

*We'll be updating you if Nintendo decides to release the Wii Mini to other parts of the world including Malaysia, any countries in South East Asia or Australia. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Wii U launches with more than 400,000 units sold

Nintendo's Wii U is the company's big leap into the next-gen consoles era. Microsoft and Sony has yet to announce their future consoles so Nintendo being the first player in the market, should probably have the edge.

Last week marked Wii U's launch in the United States ahead of everyone else in the world and in its first week of availability, many reports have said that the console has been quickly sold out, or at the very least 'is selling fast'. Though that is nice to hear, it is important to note that product availability was comparably limited to the original Wii back in 2006.

Nevertheless, in an interview about the Wii U North American launch, Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America announced that during its launch week, the console has already successfully sold more than 400,000 units via retailers and its Nintendo stores, continuing to express, "the Wii U is effectively sold out at retail ...we are gratified by the consumer response."

The numbers could definitely be better but nevertheless well done Nintendo, now to watch for the global launch. And erm, that's including Malaysia, if you are seeing this, Nintendo.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

[Wii U] Everything you must know about the Nintendo Network and Miiverse

The Wii U is Nintendo's next (gen) console and their primary effort to boost sales, survive their financial crisis and to stay in the game with the 2 big console players. Though it carries the name 'Wii', it is in most parts largely different from the predecessor and this is particularly noticeable with the lack in motion controls. The Wii U, however, now focuses heavily on its online interface and this post will serve to point out the main must-knows of the systems.

There are three major highlights and they are the Nintendo Network, the Miiverse, and also the Internet Explorer. The first thing you'll need to understand is the difference in your Nintendo Network ID and your user account. Afterall, both of the terms used suggests very similar functions, and it is there that I feel Nintendo could have done better (scroll below also for a video by Nintendo explaining the differences). Basically, your user account will be your log-in for your Mii character, a unique identification from other users on the system. The Nintendo Network ID, on the other hand, is the main ID to control the console.

First thought of the the Nintendo Network would be Nintendo's effort to compete with Microsoft's Xbox Live and Sony's PSN, but going deeper into it and you'll find this unique ecosystem of gamers actually interacting; or in their term, the Miiverse.

The Miiverse is more than just adding friends or barbie-dolling your character, it is about the sharing and the discussion between gamers worldwide together on one ecosystem. It allows gamers to help one another by posting their personal tips on getting through a level, or similarly for anyone to ask for help at any certain level in the game. Basically, it is like a forum integrated live in a game and this idea, though it does have its loopholes, will seem to prove very useful and definitely interesting to test out.

Nintendo does their part in detailing what you need to know as well:

*The Wii U has been released in the US, will be launching on the 30th in Australia, but no information have been released for Malaysia.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

[BWC 2012] "Bring It" wins World of Warcraft Arena Global Championships

Held recently from the 17th to 18th of November in Shanghai, the annual World Championships has once again showcased the best of the best talents competing in the World of Warcraft Arena Global Finals.

This year around, after quite a flawless performance at the start sweeping off Double G, AHQ eSports Club, and Yaspresents, they maintained their lead into the competition as they reached the finals. Competing again with Europe’s Yaspresents, the North American team predictably muscled their way through securing themselves the title of '2012 Global Champion' along with a whopping $105,000. Congrats!

Watch their interview:

Source: World of Warcraft

Blizzard CEO named 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young

Co-founding the very company that now houses globally-played games Starcraft, World of Warcraft, Diablo and the likes, Blizzard's CEO Mike Morhaime has recently been named the Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young under the technology category.

"His commitment to a high standard of quality that has propelled Blizzard Entertainment to the pinnacle of the gaming industry" has led the organisation to honoring Morhaime, as he has also "positioned the company as an internationally recognized leader in interactive entertainment".

The Ernst and Young award was first introduced to "encourage entrepreneurial activity and recognise leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment" in their world-class businesses.

For this case, Ernst and Young had also particularly acknowledged Blizzard's way of recognising their employees ideas where for the company, "every voice matters". Projects are mostly developer-driven and the company would consult their developers during the decision-making process. The development teams would also get feedback from other employees and as this makes the process completely interactive throughout the company, they are "able to foster an environment where developers are extremely passionate and motivated in their work".

Source:, Ernst and Young

Friday, 16 November 2012

[DOTA 2] Introducing Live Player Activity Map

If there is one game any PC gamer in the world would know of and has played before, that would probably be DOTA 2. DOTA, since its inception as a Warcraft in-map game created by IceFrog, has been growing tremendously and is now indisputably one of the most well-known and popularly-played online game in the world.

To celebrate the continuously demanding reception to enter (still in beta) DOTA 2, Valve has set up a dedicated page to live-track the traffic and players online to give an overview of the number of live games played at any current moment.

As seen in the picture above, the popularity and current player activity is measured in its size and frequencies of orange heat spots, which at the time i'm posting this is particularly heavy in the Europe and South East Asia.

Keep in mind that DOTA 2 is in beta mode so there still is a whole pool of players waiting to enter. And when DOTA 2 officially opens up to everyone and anyone in the public, then THAT will be interesting to see...

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

[Starcraft 2] Global Play to come in "upcoming patch"

One of the main troubles in online games is that there rarely is a cross-server support for gamers from different regions to play together. For example, if I am on the South East Asian server, I would usually not have access to play in say the Europe region. Though this is not entirely an issue for most, it limits the freedom and opportunity for gamers especially for friends from the other side of the world.

Great news is, Starcraft 2 players will soon be able to cross-play in regions as 'Global Play' will soon be integrated into the game in an upcoming patch. Basically, as its name suggests, this feature will allow you to join other server regions around the world but even more importantly is that you will be able to take advantage of the different additions, benefits and maps in other regions.

However, important to note is that Global Play will not integrate one profile in ALL the regions. This means that your profile data will be different in each region-play, and everytime you choose a different region you'll need to create new characters, etc.

Things to remember as well:

  • Players will be able to freely switch between regions via the StarCraft II login screen.
  • When your region’s game servers are undergoing maintenance, you may be able to play in a different region that is not down for maintenance.
  • Your game language and user interface will not change when you change regions.
  • Players using Global Play will be subject to the in-game policies of their selected play region.

(Source: Starcraft 2)

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

[Event] Malaysian Black Ops 2 Midnight Launch

When it comes to the Call of Duty series, the size of its fan base is difficult to not notice. The franchise is definitely a force to be a reckon with and with its newly-released Black Ops 2, 'highly-anticipated' could hardly describe the hype during the follow-up to its launch.

To celebrate the release of Black Ops 2, one of the more prominent video game retailers in Malaysia Gamer's Hideout organised an exclusive (if I'm not mistaken Malaysia's only) midnight launch event. Taking place at its One Utama branch, the event officially started at 11.00pm 12th November but naturally, avid fans of the game would start queuing up way before.

One young gamer, Sean Choong Qixie of 17 years (same age heh) apparently started queuing up 21 hours before, do the maths and that's from the 11th of November 3pm! Respect! Being the first in line, Choong was then also rewarded with a 32' LCD by the directors of Gamer's Hideout themselves.

Story and image credit: Gamer's Hideout FB

Imagine DOTA based on Marvel Characters. It's coming, sort of.

You should definitely have heard of Defence of the Ancients (DOTA), probably know League of Legends (LOL), and may or may not know Heroes of Newerth (HON). These games and its 'genre' MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) are arguably one of the more popular online games these days headlining almost every major competitive gaming event.

Hopping on the scene would be Disney Interactive as the company recently signed a contract with Korean developer Smilegate in plans to develop a MOBA-based title featuring Marvel characters. Yup, a whole legion of Marvel characters, set to unleash in 2014 for Asia only.

And oh, i'm assuming the Hulk will be a tanker, probably Centaur-like, Captain America as erm Sven, and Thor as, Zues-like? What other Marvel heroes can you relate them to?

Source: MMOCulture

Monday, 12 November 2012

8 must-NOT-do offences in Black Ops 2

Being one of the most highly-anticipated titles of the year, Black Ops 2 is probably set for a huge launch. And as thousands and millions of players prepare to storm both the campaign and multiplayer front, the game's developers Treyarch has announced a set of "security and enforcement" policy for gamers to play by the rule.

Failure of following the policy will see you being temporary banned, judging on the severity of the offence, from 2 days till 2 weeks. So to prevent that, do NOT:

  • Mod/Hack

Any user who runs a modified version of game code or uses a modified game profile is subject to penalty.

  • Use Pirated Content 

Any user who illegally acquires Call of Duty: Black Ops II content is subject to penalty.

  • Use Unsupported Peripheral Devices & Applications

Any user who utilizes an unsupported external hardware device or application to interact with the game is subject to penalty. Unsupported peripheral devices and applications include but are not limited to modded controllers, IP flooders and lag switches.

  • Boosting

Any user who colludes with another user to exploit the game for the purpose of gaining XP, prestige, game score, weapon level, or in-game unlock is subject to penalty.

  • Glitching

Any user who abuses an exploit in game code or other established rule of play is subject to penalty. An example includes but is not limited to using a hole in the map geo to intentionally go outside of the map boundary.

  • Offensive Behavior

Any user who is found to use aggressive, offensive, derogatory or racially charged language is subject to penalty.

  • Offensive Emblems

Any user who creates an emblem with sexually gratuitous images, racially offensive material or foul language is subject to penalty.

  • Offensive Live Streams or Unauthorized Live Stream Content

Any user who is found to have offensive or unauthorized content in their live stream is subject to penalty. Offensive content includes but is not limited to foul language, racially charged language, and nudity. Unauthorized content includes but is not limited to unlicensed music, TV shows, movies and brand logos.

It's pretty ironic isn't it? How Black Ops 2 (and the Call of Duty series) is all about killing, shooting and blasting, and then there's this "security" policy to protect the game' But that's the rule and that's what you do NOT want to break, intentionally or accidentally.

The long list of details can be found here.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

SteelSeries releases official Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 gaming mouse and mousepads

In conjunction with the global release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 release this week, SteelSeries have previously announced that it will be selling exclusive COD: BO2 gaming peripherals.

In partnership with the game's publisher Activision, part of the peripherals lineup will include a professional-grade gaming mouse and non-slip rubber-based mousepads with Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 theme designs. The gaming mouse will sell at $70 while the mousepads are at $15.

For specs of the two hardwares, find them here.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Xbox SmartGlass now on iPhones and iPads

Microsoft has been quite aggressively branding its Xbox 360 as an all-new, all-in-1 home entertainment system, connecting it with its newly-released Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Along with the entire Microsoft family product sync would be the release of Xbox SmartGlass, serving as a companion app for the console.

The app has been on the Windows and Android platform for quite a while and today it has finally been approved onto the iOS platform. Meaning, Xbox SmartGlass is now available on the iPhone and even also a special version for the iPad.

What it serves to do remains pretty interesting. It basically serves as a second screen for most features in the console. Xbox Music was announced a week or so ago, and SmartGlass will be one of the ways to more conveniently control playbacks or search for songs, instead of navigating via the controller. Likewise, it works for movies, even providing additional information like synopsis when requested. However, SmartGlass features for games may for now be quite limited, though I'm expecting developers to take advantage of this features in future games.

Want a look into its experience? Here's a video explaining it all.

You can download it here.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

5-in-1 Assassin's Creed Anthology confirmed

The Assassin's Creed franchise has come a long way since its debut in 2007. Scaling the walls (now even scaling trees!) and drop assassinating have never felt so exciting before, just to name one of my favourite features.

To celebrate the evolution of the saga throughout the years, which its story spans across 3 distinctively different centuries and play host to 3 unique protagonist characters, its publisher Ubisoft has confirmed a big bundled box of all the main Assassin's Creed titles. This, of course, includes:

  • Assassin's Creed
  • Assassin's Creed 2
  • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
  • Assassin's Creed: Revelations
  • Assassin's Creed 3

To make the whole set complete, Ubisoft has also thrown in all the DLCs from before. This, presumably also, will include a season pass for the recently-released Assassin's Creed 3 as its DLCs are only set for next year.

Prices, release dates and official launch platforms have yet to be announced but we'll be updating any news here. Meanwhile, are you excited about this, a prospect of what we would like to call, a 5-in-1 Assassin's Creed combo?

Source: Eurogamer

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 confirmed for end of November Australian release

Though announced more than a month ago, the actual product have yet to reach public market and even after the official Windows Phone 8 event, Nokia doesn't seem too sure about release dates yet. This is one of the biggest obstacles from allowing Nokia to regain market share (I believe and hope they will) as availability dates and pricings are actually essential influences on our decisions.

But this issue is settled.

Along with announcements in other parts of the world, Nokia Australia has recently confirmed when it's flagship Lumia 920, along with it's mid-range counterpart Lumia 820, will hit the land down under. However, again, it was only announced as "from the end of November" with no exact dates were given. I suppose only time will tell in hopes that as each day passes, an exact date will be announced before more potential buyers make a decision to get another phone.

That said, the Lumia 920 will only be available exclusively from Telstra at A$829, in black, white, red and yellow (where's the cyan?) while the Lumia 820 will be retailing at A$649 from Vodafone, Optus and other leading retailers. Pre-orders for the Lumia 920 from Telstra is expected to start this week (4 November). Meanwhile, be notified at

I can honestly say that with my cyan Lumia 900 in hand, I can't wait to try my hands on the Lumia 920 and experience first hand the changes.

Friday, 2 November 2012

[Opinion] Has Zynga still got what it takes to reap a bigger harvest?

(Image courtey of

A Slimmer Zynga

As Zynga Inc trims down, we look at whether its games portfolio still delivers.

Has Zynga “cut the chaff and let the wheat be still”? This is the question on the minds of many people since Zynga slashed costs across its global operations. The 5% layoff of its workforce is the big news on the stockmarket, but games and studios are also being dropped by the game company as it looks to find a way to get into profit.

Its FarmVille Facebook game is one of the company’s headliners, having wowed audiences on mobiles and desktops alike, and it escapes the cull that will hit 13 of its older games. Another of its blockbusters "Texas HoldEm Poker" will also still be relied upon to bring the social media games developer a bit of luck.

The Zynga studio in Boston, MA is for the chop, and studios in Japan and the UK may also face the axe.

The market evidently liked what Zynga was doing and responded favourably by lifting 4.5% in initial after-hours trading. But what about their games?