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NHL15 E3 Trailer

Here it is, NHL15 E3 trailer. Just seen this tonight at E3 Expo. Were you watching right here on UGP?

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Activision’s E3 Expo Lineup

With just over 24 hours till the official opening of this year’s E3 Expo, Activision have revealed what they’ll be wetting our appetites with at the show. Activision will be showcasing what they’re dubbing as “a new era” for the Call of Duty franchise with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, the latest in the innovative Skylanders series and the hugely anticipated Destiny will be playable on the show floor, as will Skylander Trap Team.

“This year’s E3 has been years in the making for us,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, Inc. “Each game we are showcasing is the result of our commitment to quality and innovation: our first 3-year development and our first new lead developer on the  Call of Duty franchise in a decade with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Our biggest innovation since we invented the Toys-to-Life category with  Skylanders Trap Team. And the result of over four years of passion, partnership and investment to bring Bungie’s vision for Destiny to life. I think this is the best slate in Activision’s history and I can’t wait for gamers to get a closer look.”

 


Call of Duty Advanced Warfare 1Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

While Sledgehammer Games had a hand in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, they’re now running the show with the development of their first Call of Duty title in the new tri-annual Call of Duty cycle. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare promises to deliver gamers a truly exceptional experience with an immersive and compelling narrative, stunning visuals and all new gameplay which will redefine how Call of Duty is played. With the power of a mechanical exoskeleton, players become an advanced future soldier empowered by an arsenal of never before seen weaponry, new abilities and gameplay mechanics to match. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the first Call of Duty is the first in the franchise to be developed with the now current-gen Xbox One and PS4 consoles as the primary development focus. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare retains its early November slot, this year releasing on the 4th on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and Windows PC.

 

Destiny_31Destiny

From the creators of the infamous Halo, Bungie brings us Destiny. An epic action-packed adventure title set in a mysterious universe that resembles our own. Destiny is trailblazing a whole new way to play first person shooters with a story-driven universe filled with single player, cooperative, competitive, public, and social activities, all seamlessly connected in a vast, persistent universe, creating the world’s first “Shared World Shooter”. Players take the role of Guardians of the last city on Earth, wielding incredible powers and exploring the extremities of our solar system. From September 9th, Destiny will be available on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. 

 

 

Skylanders-Trap-Team_Snap-ShotSkylanders Trap Team

After the roaring success of Skylanders, see  our review here, Toys for Bob are hard at work creating Skylanders Trap Team. In the next chapter of the Skylanders journey, kinds will be able to take characters out of the digital world and bring them into the real world. In  Skylanders Trap Team, Portal Masters seek out and defeat the most wanted villains in all of Skylands, taking them out the game by capturing them in Traps. Players can then send the villains back into the game where they become playable characters, fighting for good. Skylanders Trap Team will include the Traptanium Portal, a ring of magical energy that enables kids to not only bring their Skylanders to life, but also capture villains using Traps.  Skylanders Trap Team introduces new heroes known as Trap Masters and will be available on October 5th in North America for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, Nintendo’s Wii and Wii U. A completely unique version will be available on the Nintendo 3DS hand-held system.

 

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E3 Expo LIVE on UGP

E3 Expo LIVE right here on UGP!

 

E3 Expo 2014 was a fantastic event with some really awesome unveils and news coming out of L.A.

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Sony reveals E3 Expo lineup

 

Sony Logo  - Ultimate Gaming ParadiseThe list of games that Sony are going to exhibit at the E3 Expo this year has been revealed and consist of over 50 titles including DestinyDriveClub and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX.

The official Sony PlayStation press conference will be held at 6:00pm PDT on June 9 (that’s 2am Wednesday morning UK time).  From June 10, Sony will hold a 3 day live stream showcasing game demos, developer interviews and new title trailers.

“One more thing: I’m pleased to reveal a selection of fine PlayStation software that will be showing in our E3 booth,” said Sid Shuman via the PlayStation Blog”Obviously, we can’t dish on every game that we’ll be showing at E3, but consider this a conversation starter. See you Monday!”

Here’s the full list of what Sony will be giving us insight to at E3 Expo this year.

  • Aaru’s Awakening (Lumenox, PS3)
  • Akiba’s Trip Undead & Undressed (XSEED, PS Vita)
  • Apotheon (Alientrap, PS4)
  • Assault Android Cactus (Witchbeam Games, PS4)
  • Axiom Verge (Thomas Happ Games, PS4)
  • Big Fest (SCE / On The Metal Ltd., PS Vita)
  • The Binding of Issac: Rebirth (Nicalis, PS4)
  • Chasm (Discord Games, PS4)
  • CounterSpy (SCE/Dynamighty, PS4/PS3/PS Vita)
  • Danganronpa 2 (NIS America, PS Vita)
  • Destiny (Activision/Bungie, PS4)
  • Diablo III: The Ultimate Evil Edition (Activision Blizzard, PS4)
  • Disgaea 4 (NIS America, PS Vita)
  • Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes (Disney Interactive, PS4)
  • DRIVECLUB (SCE/Evolution Studios, PS4)
  • Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn (Bandai Namco Games, PS3)
  • EarthNight (Cleaversoft, PS4)
  • Freedom Wars (SCE/SCE Japan Studios SHIFT and Dimps, PS Vita)
  • GALAK-Z: The Dimensional (17-BIT, PS4)
  • Gravity Crash Ultra (Just Add Water, PS Vita)
  • Guilty Gear Xrd (Aksys Games, PS4)
  • Gunship X (Hidden Elephant, PS Vita)
  • Helldivers (SCE/Arrowhead Game Studios, PS4/PS3)
  • Hohokum (SCE/Honeyslug, PS4/PS3)
  • Home (Benjamin Rivers Inc., PS Vita)
  • Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (Devolver, PS Vita)
  • Hyper Light Drifter (Heart Machine, PS Vita)
  • Invizimals: The Alliance (SCE/Novarama, PS Vita)
  • Jamestown Plus (Final Form Games, PS4)
  • Killzone Shadow Fall Intercept (SCE/Guerrilla Games, PS4)
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix (Square Enix, PS3)
  • Legend of Raven (Nicalis, PS Vita)
  • LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (Warner Bros, PS4)
  • MechRunner (Spark Plug Games, PS Vita)
  • Metrico (Digital Dreams, PS Vita)
  • MLB 14 The Show (SCE/San Diego Studio, PS4/PS Vita)
  • Murasaki Baby (SCE/Ovosonico, PS Vita)
  • N++ (Metanet Software, PS4)
  • Nidhogg (Messhof, PS4)
  • Night in the Woods (Finji Games, PS4)
  • Nuclear Throne (Vlambeer, PS4)
  • Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty (Oddworld Inhabitants, Inc, PS4)
  • One Way Trip (Beret Applications, PS Vita)
  • Persona 4: Arena Ultimax (Atlus Games, PS3)
  • PS Vita Pets (Spiral House, PS Vita)
  • PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate (Double 11, PS Vita)
  • Planetside 2 (SOE, PS4)
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare (EA, PS4)
  • Project CARS (Slightly Mad, PS4)
  • Race the Sun (Flippfly PS, Vita)
  • Road Not Taken (Spry Fox, PS4)
  • Rogue Legacy (Cellar Door, PS Vita)
  • Samurai Warriors 4 (Tecmo-Koei, PS4)
  • Secret Ponchos (Switchblade Monkeys, PS4)
  • Shadow Warrior (Devolver Digital, PS4)
  • Source (Fenixfire, PS4)
  • Starwhal: Just the Tip (Breakfall, PS3)
  • Super Exploding Zoo (Honeyslug, PS Vita)
  • Switch Galaxy Ultra (Atomicon, PS Vita)
  • Tales of Xillia 2 (Bandai Namco Games, PS3)
  • Teslagrad (Rain Games, PS3)
  • The Crew (Ubisoft, PS4)
  • The Golf Club (HB Studios, PS4)
  • The Order: 1886 SCE / Ready At Dawn, PS4
  • The Swapper (Curve Studios, PS3)
  • To Leave (Freaky Creations, PS Vita)
  • EA Sports UFC (EA Sports, PS4)
  • Valiant Hearts (Ubisoft, PS4)
  • Velocity 2X (FuturLab, PS4)
  • Zen Pinball 2: The Walking Dead Table (Pack Zen Studios, PS3)
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PLAYSTATION NOW – Is this yet another cash cow for Sony to milk?

SONY is one of the world’s most renowned and revered technology brands. They have identified and innovated for niches that have transformed the way we live our lives. Sony is responsible for many innovations from the first-ever remote controlled BetaMax video recorder in 1977, the first Walkman in 1979, the first Camcorder in 1983 and even the first CD was invented in partnership between Philips and Sony. The end of the 20th century found Sony innovating at a frantic pace. In 1994, Sony launched the PlayStation – within ten years of launching the PS1, Sony had shipped 100 million units. The PlayStation 2, launched during the new millennium, became the best-selling home video game console ever. By 2011, Sony had shipped 150 million units. The PlayStation 3, launched in 2006, has to-date sold 80 million units. In November 2013, Sony launched the PlayStation 4 and shipped one million consoles in the first twenty four hour of sales. There is no denying that PlayStation has been hugely successful for the Sony group of companies.

Sony Logo  - Ultimate Gaming ParadiseAccording to financial data from 2012/13, Sony was “not able to return the electronics business to profitability on an operating profit basis in the fiscal year.” Sony’s entire business is bolstered by two divisions; entertainment and financial services. That means TVs, phones, laptops and other electronic items make Sony no money whatsoever – they actually lost money for Sony. In 2014, Sony wants to diversify its financial services element (Sony, as an old Japanese company, has a large pension pot it wants to invest and thus financial services have been a profitable sideline) along with its entertainment division (including PlayStation). It also wants to explore new ventures in medical equipment and security. Sony is an ever-evolving entity. This evolution means money is needed and a company with so many divisions can see profitable elements lose out to the failure of others. The transfer of capital could impact on the future development of the PlayStation along with other elements that could damage the brand.

PlayStation as a video gaming marque, has a heritage and pedigree that requires investment, research and development along with end-user nurturing that has helped make the PlayStation One, Two, Three and now Four into successful games consoles. This, with the advent of PlayStation Now, is at risk. For those who are unware, Sony has launched a new service. The service is called PlayStation Now. It’s remit is to create a streaming game service which can be played on multiple platforms – from PS4, PS3, Televisions, Smartphones, PlayStation Vita’s and Tablets. In other words, electronic things SONY sells. The process is simple – think Netflix but with games. PlayStation Now allows you to access the PlayStation catalogue of games. This service was made possible by Sony’s acquisition in 2012 of Gaikai Inc, a cloud-computing specialist firm. Gaikai will help Sony PlayStation Now by simplifying the streaming process. The move also means Sony is not at the mercy of cloud-operators like Google, Microsoft and Amazon – who are technically rivals. Therefore, by cutting out the cloud-middle-men, Sony PlayStation Now will create a better streaming experience connected to your Sony Entertainment Network account. Once the ‘app’ is installed and you are logged in, you can find the most up-to-date version of the game and all progress is saved to the cloud.

Sony argues that the move will “provide significant opportunities for further business expansion.” However, this ‘expansion’ has a cost – not in fiscal terms but in emotive capital. The mobile gaming market – which has been enthused by Android – has allowed tablets, phones and even cameras to allow you access to ‘apps’ which have created avenues for monetizing services and products – especially video games. Therein lies the issue, Sony needs the ‘entertainment’ divisions income to help further Sony (as a whole). This means future development could be stymied by a lack of investment. However, this issue seems insignificant when compared to another threat. The threat posed by PlayStation Now.

Gaming is a personal experience. It allows the individual within the context of their life to engage with visual images built around dialogue that creates a narrative. This narrative helps to define the console and gamer relationship. The issue with PlayStation Now is that it moves away from solid gameplay to throwback to (some might even argue retro) gameplay. Your Plants versus Zombies or Angry Birds Seasons are two-dimensional. The reason why mobile games can’t compete with PCs, Xboxes or PlayStations is that they don’t, as of yet, run on 64 bit architecture and as such games engines fail to really bring out the best in such a low-tech game. PlayStation Now will re-introduce older titles – with similar gameplay to the mobile market. This will create issues as the revenues will be high. That will see young developers replicate PlayStation Now titles in order to cash in. This could stymie the development of next-gen titles.

PlayStation NowPlayStation Now will make Sony Corporation buckets of cash. It will help, in all probability along with the PS4 and EMI records, to help return Sony Corp to profitability once again. However, it will impact on the future development of the PlayStation. There have been mutterings, even from members of the Sony board, that perhaps Sony needs to ‘spin-off’ PlayStation to help it refocus on it’s core business interests – personal and corporate electronics. Such a ‘spin-off’ would help Sony by initially giving it a bumper one-off cash lump sum in the billions mark. This could help Sony. It would also help PlayStation as, an individual entity, it could focus its own financial affairs in-house. Money could be re-invested into the console and games development. This issue has seen ‘activist’ investor, Dan Loeb, a Billionaire investor, with a 3 per cent stake in Sony, renew his quest for a Sony break-up. His argument is that Sony needs to focus on core products and services – the corporate structure and management is a key reason for the company’s decline. He continues by arguing the ‘shoring up’ of the electronics divisions by entertainment and finance highlights this unease. He argues that the company can be even more profitable by splitting up.

Another fiscal headache faced by Sony is the revelation that PlayStation 4, according to Reuters and CNET, will be sold at a loss. Sony executives argued the price was lowered to help compete against Xbox. They saw that Microsoft had the competitive advantage last time – when PS3 was more costly than Xbox 360. They believe that by replicating that ploy they can sell more units. They believe they can make-up the loss by generating revenue through the now mandatory PlayStation Plus services and Sony’s own launch titles. Whatever the outcome, PlayStation 4 has performed well during the Christmas and New Year periods. According to data, Sony has sold nearly five million units globally. PlayStation Now could impact on the current drive to make the PS4 profitable. The ‘nostalgia’ and ‘retro’ markets are big. However, educating gamers to the difference will be the crucial difference. A new generation of gamers could have their initial ‘experiences’ of gaming through tablets and PlayStation Now. This could impact on PlayStation 5 (and thereafter) by taking away the ‘special relationship’ between the console and the gamer. There has been encroachment after encroachment with digital services, entertainment and social media – but at it’s core its about gaming – those discs will be the cash-cow for Sony in the long term. This needs protecting from Sony’s thrust to profitise the group. PlayStation’s heritage is at risk of being eroded by executives who simply look at the next quarter and the next day’s trading figures as oppose to visionaries who created the consoles in the first place – who thought about changing a decades worth of engagement and experiences.

Sony PlayStation Now will, in the medium term, help Sony to continue it’s quest to monetize and reduce group losses. This is good – it will protect jobs, investment and growth. However, therein lies the conundrum by moving capital away from the profit-making elements to the profit-losing elements, the company could hinder future development. This possibility is made worse by the acknowledgement that each console is a ‘loss-leader’. They are ‘hoping’ to make enough digital and games revenues to recoup the losses – i.e. to break even. Protecting the PlayStation should be central to Sony’s long-term roadmap. However, the financial woes of the ailing Japanese consumer electronics and entertainment giant means PlayStation, in the short to medium term, could be manipulated in order to protect the company as a whole. This, I believe, along with the destruction of console gaming as envisioned through PlayStation Now, will create future development problems for the tech giant – problems that money will not be able to fix.

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