New gaming chair aims to be the ultimate in comfort for Japanese players

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RocketNews 24 (by Cara Clegg):

Japanese company Bauhutte has recently launched a new range of gaming chairs specifically aimed at gamers who are typically in front of their computers for long periods of time. Available in three colors and designed in the image of a car seat or cockpit to bring more realism to your gaming experience, the stable frame will support your posture for long hours at your terminal or in front of your giant TV.

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It features reclining and rocking functions and easy and convenient adjustment of angle and height. With the simple pull of lever you can set it to your desired angle or even recline it all the way back for a comfortable sleeping position that reportedly feels just like being in a hammock, perfect for taking breaks between games.

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Simple but impactful color coordination and solid and unique stitch lines aim to evoke a “near-future” design.

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Made with 100 percent polyester fabric, the seat offers comfortable support for your shoulders and back, and arm rests can be easily moved to facilitate gaming with either a keyboard and mouse or controller.

The chair went on sale in Japan this month for 34,000 yen (US$308) plus tax.

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Source & images: Bauhutte

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Nintendo celebrates its roots with traditional Japanese art stylings of their most famous characters

 

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RocketNews 24:

 

With global phenomenon like the Mario and Pokemon franchises under their belts, it’s easy to forget about Nintendo’s humble beginnings as a producer of traditional Japanese playing cards. This year the company goes back to their roots in their 2014 company brochure with beautiful artwork that celebrates both the old and the new.

Below is the hardcover book that Nintendo is distributing to students looking to work for their company. The contents are updated every year, and they’re always coming up with new ideas for it. This year it features vibrant full-page spreads of Nintendo’s iconic products from across the years, all strikingly worked in a bold and traditional art style. Judging by the Twitter comments it seems that there are people who apply every year just to get their hands on these annual brochures, and we can understand why: this one is so beautiful it looks like a collector’s item.

 

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The art style used in this year’s edition mimics the traditional hanafuda style. Hanafuda are Japanese playing cards, which can be literally translated as ‘flower cards’, which feature stylized designs of Japan’s flora and fauna divided into 12 months with 4 cards per month.

▼ This Mario and Luigi illustration is a fusion of the newest iterations of the characters, with traditional card designs in the background.

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And there’s a reason behind the hanafuda motif other than just looking really cool: many years ago, Nintendo actually began life as a playing card company! Nintendo was established in 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi as a company that made and sold hand-made hanafuda cards painted on mulberry tree bark. The whole brochure is an homage to Nintendo’s roots, showcasing their products from their modest beginnings back in the Showa period, up to the modern day where the company has become world-famous as a trailblazer in the entertainment arena.

 

▼ The brochure takes us through from old-school analog games to technological breakthroughs like their first video game consoles.

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▼ Hanafuda are still sold today under Nintendo’s brand name! This is their most popular set, the ‘daitoryo‘.

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As well as their traditional set, Nintendo has also released several character card sets that are sure to charm general card fans and Nintendo fans alike.

 

▼ Each card in this set features a character from the Mario franchise.

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▼ And here we have Pokemon, headed of course by everyone’s favourite electric rodent Pikachu.

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▼ These bright and bold designs feature adorable Pokemon hiding in amongst the plants you’d expect to find in a usual deck.

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Nintendo celebrates its roots with traditional Japanese art stylings of their most famous characters

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Nintendo characters are a perfect fit for children’s books!

Kotaku:

 

Nintendo Characters Are a Perfect Fit for Children's Books

Concept artist Joey Spiotto has an ongoing series where he mixes video game protagonists with the Little Golden Books children’s literature series, and this time, he went for Nintendo characters.

A shame that he only did the covers. Samus playing with an adorable Metroid throughout a fully illustrated book would be fun to read. (Not to mention Little Luigi the Plumber below…)

Nintendo Characters Are a Perfect Fit for Children's Books

Nintendo Characters Are a Perfect Fit for Children's Books

Nintendo Characters Are a Perfect Fit for Children's Books

Here’s a bonus: Little Akira for little kids. He has nothing to do with Nintendo (sadly), but since it’s Akira, it has to be shared too.

Nintendo Characters Are a Perfect Fit for Children's Books

For The Love of Nintendo – Little Video Game Books Vol. 3 [Joey Spiotto]

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Nintendo characters are a perfect fit for children’s books!

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HBO Go is coming… to PS3 and PS4

 

 

Engadget: 

HBO Go is en route to PlayStation. While there isn’t a release window for the premium service’s streaming app, Sony‘s VP of business development assures it’ll be “soon” for the PS3, with the PS4 version to follow.

However, we do know that as with other streaming services on the platforms (including Amazon Instant Video and Netflix), the app’s functionality won’t be locked behind a paywall, like it is on Sony’s biggest console rival.

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HBO Go is coming… to PS3 and PS4

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Sony and major Chinese investor rumored to be in talks to bring PlayStation 4 to China

 

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It was perhaps inevitable that games industry giants should start taking an interest in China the moment the country’s laws changed, permitting the production and sale of video games consoles for the first time in almost a decade and a half, but tech sites and analysts in China are now suggesting that talks held late last year between the Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group and Japan’s Sony Corporation very likely herald the official arrival of PlayStation 4 in China.

Gaming site Games in Asia cites a report stating that officials from Shanghai Oriental Pearl, including board chair Ms. Niu Wei Ping, travelled to Japan to meet with Sony Computer Entertainment’s Hiroshi Kawano late last year. Although the purpose of the visit was allegedly for the Chinese company to learn more about the games industry, tech sites are now reporting that the two companies are likely working together to bring the PlayStation brand to China.

The Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group, a state-owned enterprise, is perhaps best known for its Oriental Pearl Tower, the fifth-tallest broadcasting tower in the world, but the group also has a number of significant media investments and advertising experience, making it more than capable of handling the kind of venture that tech industry analysts are currently speculating.

▼The Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai

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As Games in Asia takes care to point out, however, tech sites in China are not known for their reputable reporting, and a number of the sources they link to offer scant detail. We suppose all we can do for now is wait and see, but one thing is certain amidst all of this rumour and speculation: with China finally saying yes to games consoles, there is potentially a vast amount of money to be made by staking an early claim to the “new” territory. We’re sure that Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are all watching the country very, very closely right now.

Source: Games in Asia

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Sony and major Chinese investor rumored to be in talks to bring PlayStation 4 to China

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One of gaming’s most-used engines arrives today on PlayStation Vita

Engadget: 

With PlayStation Vita getting Unity game engine support in today’s update, one of gaming’s most widely used game engines is heading to Sony‘s latest handheld. And that means it’s all the easier for the dozens of great Unity engine games to head to the Vita as well, to say nothing of future developments. It also means that, when games are ported, they’ll have access to the full suite of PlayStation Network features (matchmaking, trophies, etc.); previously, many developers took the PS Mobile publishing route, leaving out rich features many other Vita games enjoyed.

As content is the lifeblood of any game console, we’re thrilled to see what today’s update means for 2014 with PlayStation Vita. Unity’s also promising PlayStation 4 support in the near future, which hopefully means that applicable Unity engine games will also have crossbuy support. We can dream, can’t we?

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One of gaming’s most-used engines arrives today on PlayStation Vita

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Nintendo boasts ‘record-setting’ 16 million 3DS game sales in 2013

Engadget:

Nintendo‘s handheld business is booming right now, and the company has the stats to prove it. In its annual overview released today, the company says it sold a record-breaking 16 million 3DS games in 2013, which translates to a 45 percent increase over last year. US consumers played a big part in Nintendo’s bumper year, accounting for 11.5 million of Nintendo’s 35 million 2DS and 3DS lifetime sales.

Despite its precarious financial situation and a recent ruling requiring it to share some of its 3DS sales revenue, Nintendo reckons it has plenty more left in the tank: “We’re not slowing down in 2014,” says Scott Moffitt, Nintendo’s EVP of Sales, “the best days of Nintendo 3DS are still to come.

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Nintendo boasts ‘record-setting’ 16 million 3DS game sales in 2013

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Sony announces PLAYSTATION NOW streaming service

PlayStation Now will offer a number of PS1, PS2 and PS3 titles through a rental service, either on a title by title basis or under a subscription model. As yet, Sony has not provided a price for individual rentals or subscriptions, or divulged exactly how long a rental lasts. Also missing from the conference was an explanation of how, if at all, the service will fit into the existing PS+ platform, or their newly announced cloud-based TV service. Here is a list of PS Now’s features, from the PlayStation Blog:

Leveraging Gaikai’s advanced cloud-based technology, PlayStation Now will allow you to:

  • Play video games instantly across multiple devices, similar to the way you might stream TV, movies, and music.
  • Stream full games to all of your compatible PlayStation devices including PS4, PS3, and PlayStation Vita as well as non-PlayStation devices, beginning with 2014 BRAVIA TV models and expanding to numerous other Internet-connected devices.
  • Always play the most updated version of your game. With games hosted in the cloud, you can take your game with you – just log in with your Sony Entertainment Network account on a compatible device and your games and saved progress will be easily available.

One of the most interesting aspects of PlayStation Now is the number of ways to access the service – in addition to being accessible on PS4, PS3 and PS Vita, users will be able to play on mobile devices, select Sony televisions and tablets. It’ll also allow cross-saving between devices and trophies, messaging and online multiplayer will allow be integrated into the interface.

Sony had claimed back in Fall 2013 that their implementation of Gaikai’s technology would be available by the end of 2014, but it’s a little surprising how close PS Now is to completion; it won’t be released until this Summer (In North America), but CES attendees were able to play The Last of Us on PS4 and Vita using the service yesterday on the show floor. There will even be a U.S. closed beta as early as the end of January.

Unfortunately, House did not say anything about PlayStation Now’s release date outside the United States. There has been no official update regarding the reported broadband issues Sony was having with the PAL region back in late 2013.

PS Now is just one of the cool devices showcased at this year’s CES, which we will continue to take a look at this week.

 

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Huawei hops on the Android gaming bandwagon with Tron mini-console

 

Engadget: 

The jury’s still out on Android gaming (exhibit A: OUYA), but that’s not stopping Huawei from taking a dive into that niche corner of the industry. Its Tegra 4-based Tron mini-console, announced here at CES 2014, pairs a cylindrical-shaped hub with a Bluetooth controller that hews quite closely to the Xbox 360 mold OUYA also went after. Before we get your hopes up though, take note that Tron’s for China only — at least, for now anyway. A Huawei rep did say that the company’s looking into further market expansion, but given its track record with smartphones in the US, we have a hard time believing Tron will see these shores anytime soon.

The Tron console itself runs a half-skinned version of Android JellyBean (version 4.2.3) that presents a clean menu overlay with feature tiles for access to games, Huawei’s store, video, application, settings and featured titles. That slick menu selection comes to a screeching halt, however, as soon as you attempt to select anything other than games, bringing you face-to-face with Android’s ugly underbelly — much like on the OUYA.

Storage-wise, the Tron will come in 16GB/32GB configurations, but that space can be expanded up to 64GB via a microSD slot at its base. There’s also support for Ethernet, USB 3.0, audio out, WiFi a/b/g/n/ac and 2GB RAM to aide the Tegra 4 chip inside. The Tron console, of which there are black and white versions, is housed in a glossy plastic shell (sorry, no flashing strips of neon light) with a large power button that nearly occupies its entire top. Overall, it’s an underwhelming design — something more than one Engadget editor referred to as “wastebin-like.” You can judge for yourself in the gallery below.

The Tron controller is an Xbox 360 controller by way of OUYA. So much so, that the button placement is nearly identical save for that giant, circular touchpad smack dab in the center. Users that pick up the controller will be greeted with four actions buttons (X, Y, A, B), four shoulder triggers, as well as buttons for home, mute, view and menu. There’s even a headphone jack just tucked beneath the front face. The controller is actually incredibly light, but that lightness comes across as a con rather than an asset. It just makes the whole thing feel cheap and disposable, an impression not helped by the materials used.

Gameplay was good, not great. There was a slight latency noticeable when effecting button presses, but nothing that seemed like it’d get in the way of the onscreen action. We weren’t able to get much clarity on the openness of the platform — a Huawei rep told us games would need to be optimized for Tron before appearing in the Store — but we assume side-loading Android games wouldn’t pose any problem. 4K playback is also supported on the console and was demoed from within the video submenu.

Huawei hasn’t locked down final pricing on the Tron just yet, but we’ve heard the Android mini-console should arrive with a sub-$150 price point. Again, it’s destined for China-only in Q2 of this year, but if you really need to get your hands on it, there’s always the option to import.

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Huawei hops on the Android gaming bandwagon with Tron mini-console

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Live from the Engadget CES stage: Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan

Engadget:

Like you, we’ve always thought of Razer as a gaming hardware manufacturer. And like you, we were caught a bit off-guard when the company tossed its hat in the crowded fitness-tracking landscape. We’ll be discussing the company’s diversifying line and place in the rapidly evolving gaming landscape with CEO Min-Liang Tan.