Posts Tagged ‘UK’

Sony kills the PS2 in Japan, but keeps making games for it

Sony has stopped making the PlayStation 2 in Japan, almost 13 years after the console was launched. Could it come to the end of its long life here in the UK too?

Just because the console is no longer being manufactured doesn’t mean there’ll be no more games for it though. Sony will continue developing and selling games for the PS2 according to Famitsu, via CNET. Seriously, I didn’t know games were still being released for it.

But then I suppose it makes sense, seeing as it’s the best-selling console of all time. More than 155 million of the blighters have been sold around the world, and more than 1.52 billion games. That’s quite some user base. No wonder it’s got a back catalogue of almost 11,000 titles.

It’s also big in countries that have missed out on newer consoles, like Brazil, Russia, India and China. And those countries aren’t exactly sparsely populated.

The PS2 went on sale in the UK in November 2000. I still remember the first time I saw Grand Theft Auto 3 in action. I’m sure I’m not alone in buying a PS2 purely for that game. Or for losing hours of “study time” at university to its charms. And Vice City, that came out in my final year. That game’s got a lot to answer for.

A slimmer version of the console launched in 2004 which was smaller, thinner, and quieter than the original. Sony started this trend with the PSOne, and continued it with the slimmer PS3 just recently. Which is great, though a bit annoying if you bought the original. My first generation PS3 looks a right hulking beast next to the newer one.

What are your memories of the PS2? What were your favourite games? Do you still play them? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page. is updated several times each day with the very latest Slim PS3 news.

Posted on January 1st, 2013 by  |  No Comments »

Zynga Poker wins big as UK’s top-grossing iPhone app in 2012

Latest games console news:

Social game has been out since mid-2010, but still out-earned all its rivals according to Apple’s App Store chart

Social games publisher Zynga had a difficult 2012, but a bright spot is the news that one of its games was the highest grossing iPhone game for the year on the UK and US App Stores.

Not a new game, though. Poker by Zynga was released in May 2010, but is sitting pretty in top spot in Apple’s Top Grossing iPhone games chart for 2012.

The chart was published today as part of Apple’s traditional end-of-year iTunes recap, which has been renamed from Rewind to simply Best of 2012 this year.

More than half the 99 iPhone apps listed in the Top Grossing chart are freemium games, with Kingdoms of Camelot and Bejeweled Blitz taking second and third places behind Poker by Zynga.

Fellow freemium games The Simpsons: Tapped Out (7), CSR Racing (9) and DragonVale (10) also make it into the top 10, alongside three social apps – (4), WhatsApp Messenger (5) and Badoo (8) – and navigation app TomTom UK & Ireland (6).

The highest grossing iPad app in the UK in 2012 was Apple’s own Pages word processor, followed by The Times, Kingdoms of Camelot, DragonVale, The Telegraph, The Guardian and Observer, QuickOffice Pro HD, Smurfs’ Village, Comics and The Sims FreePlay in the top 10.

Yes, three newspaper apps in the top 10, with The Sun (21), Daily Mail (25) and Sunday Times (38) also making it into the top half of that chart.

In terms of sheer downloads (rather than revenues), WhatsApp Messenger was the top paid app for iPhone in the UK, while Draw Something Free was the top free app. The most popular paid iPad app was Pages, while BBC iPlayer tops the free iPad apps chart.

Apple’s App Store editorial team have also chosen Editors’ Choice apps, choosing private rentals app Airbnb as their App of the Year, and another travel app, Hailo, as runner up. Rayman Jungle Run is Game of the Year, followed by Super Hexagon.

On iPad, productivity app Paper by FiftyThree is App of the Year, with cookery app Green Kitchen the runner up. Puzzle game The Room is iPad Game of the Year, followed by Eufloria HD.

Apple has also compiled themed recommendations of other recommended apps from 2012, which developers will be poring over to see if their own releases have been included, and if not, to gauge which developers and apps are currently favoured by the company.

Why is this news? Because the most lucrative day of the year for app developers is Christmas Day and the second most lucrative is Boxing Day – in both cases, because people have unwrapped new devices and are actively looking for apps to download.

In 2011, mobile analytics firm Flurry estimated that 242m iOS and Android apps were downloaded on 25 December that year, up 125% on the average daily volume earlier in the month.

Apple’s recommendations are likely to mean significant sales spikes for the paid apps chosen, a big boost for in-app purchases in the freemium ones, and increased traffic for those relying on advertising.

Google has yet to launch a similar end-of-year promotion on its Google Play store for Android, although it is also likely to be mulling its store-promotions strategy for the festive period.

With Apple’s list now public, attention on iOS will turn to a week of frenzied price-cutting and big-app releases leading up to 21 December, when Apple will freeze the App Store charts and stop putting new apps live until 28 December.

Apps and games riding high in the charts when they lock for Christmas can expect a bumper festive period.

The Best of 2012 charts are country-specific, so elsewhere in the world the rankings varied, and other apps were spotlighted by the App Store editors. For example, Poker by Zynga was still the top grossing iPhone app in the US, but DragonVale beat Pages to take top spot in the iPad rankings.








Tablet computers

Stuart Dredge © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Slim PS3 is updated regularly each day with all very latest Free Slim PS3 news.

Posted on December 13th, 2012 by  |  No Comments »

PS3 news: Access TV Episode 61

The latest Slim PS3 news:

Available to download from PlayStation Store now

Messers Ratchet and Clank are back where they belong this week – on PS3 in a brand new adventure called Ratchet & Clank: Q-Force, and also on Access TV as Game of the Week in Episode 61. The Lombax / robot duo are in fine form too, returning with a tower defence twist but with all the charm, humour and outrageous weapons you’d expect from PlayStation’s premier platforming duo.

Elsewhere in the show there’s the latest on Dead Island: Riptide, as the Access TV crew head to London for a chat with the game’s developers amidst a torrent of zombies.

There’s also the small matter of the Access Game of the Year 2012 to sort out, with voting closing this Friday 7th December at 9am. There’s a rundown of the contenders in Bonus Level, but the gist is this – to have your say, head to and vote for your favourite.

As always, there’s a roundup of what’s hot on the PlayStation Store as well as all the latest news in PlayStation Briefing. Enjoy the show!

Access TV is available on the PlayStation Store every Wednesday, free to download for all UK PSN users.

To sign up for future Access events or to hang out and chat with other members of the Access community, then visit us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at 

This site is updated several times every day with the very latest Free PlayStation news.

Posted on December 7th, 2012 by  |  No Comments »

Sony patents hybrid PS Move/DualShock control

What madness is this? Our pals over at sister site Gamespot have unearthed a patent for a Sony controller that combines the standard DualShock with its Move wand.

The result looks a little like a cut and shut, but it could make for a handy space saver, giving gamers the best of both worlds.

The controller would snap together to work as a standard DualShock. But then pull it apart, and you’ve got both parts of a PlayStation Move controller, for motion-sensitive gaming. A magnetometer and accelerometer enable the motion controls, and there’s vibration feedback too. Audio would also play through an embedded speaker, which would be great for receiving radio commands from an ally in a first-person shooter, say.

The patent was originally filed in May last year, but was only published yesterday.

According to one of the diagrams accompanying the patent, the PlayStation Eye camera will work with it, too. It’s not clear whether the controller is meant for the PS3 or PS4, so we could be in for a bit of a wait before it hits the shelves. If it ever does, that is.

The PS4 is rumoured to be ‘very affordable’, unlike the PS3 and other Sony consoles before it. But that doesn’t mean it’ll scrimp on the specs. It’s said to have a Blu-ray drive, 256GB hard drive, and up to 32GB of RAM. But it could have a fight on its hands. Microsoft is said to be working on an Xbox set-top box for casual gaming, as well as the Xbox 720. Nintendo, meanwhile, launched its Wii U in the UK yesterday. It’s bringing out a Wii Mini console in Canada as well, offering casual thrills on a budget.

Would you use this hybrid controller? What next-gen console are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook. is updated frequently each day with all latest Free Slim PS3 news and hardware reviews.

Posted on December 1st, 2012 by  |  No Comments »

Wii Mini confirmed, brings cut-price gaming to Canada only

No sooner had Best Buy leaked it than Nintendo officially confirmed the existence of the Wii Mini. With a smaller physical size than the existing Wii console, the Mini cuts out various features to achieve a $100 (£62) asking price. It’s sadly only available in Canada for now though.

One of the main features the Mini loses over its big brother is an Internet connection. That means that you won’t be able to access services like YouTube or Netflix, nor will you be able to download extra games. Instead, the Wii Mini is a no-nonsense console for families to enjoy the arm-waving fun without splashing too much cash.

Oddly though, the Wii Mini will be “available exclusively in Canada during the holiday season”. Bad news if you were hoping to snag Mario on the cheap this Christmas. When I asked Nintendo to clarify if it will be permanently exclusive to Canada or not, it simply stated, “No announcements have been made regarding other regions.” I really can’t think of any benefit of restricting it purely to Canada, but evidently Nintendo has its reasons.

Along with its smaller size, the Wii Mini also comes with a bold black and red colour. A matching red Wii-mote and Nunchuk will come as standard, but presumably you’ll have to match them with other existing add-ons, most of which are white. It isn’t bundled with any games, but no doubt some stores will knock up their own package deals.

If you’re keen on a cut-price console but don’t live in Canada, keep your eyes on CNET UK. We’ll be sure to report any news of a UK launch as it happens. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts on the Mini in the comments below and over on our Facebook page. is updated frequently per day with the latest Free Sony Slim PS3 news, reviews and features.

Posted on November 30th, 2012 by  |  No Comments »

Nintendo Wii U launches without TVii streaming service – Console news

Recent news:

Nintendo’s Wii U launched yesterday in the US and will arrive in two weeks here in the UK, but the console will initially lack its TVii service, according to details in a press release about the launch.

The TVii service, which lets you watch telly on your Wii U, will be activated in December, according to the release. The streaming apps — Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Netflix and YouTube — will be arriving in “the coming weeks”. If any of our American cousins were looking forward to watching TV shows and movies on their Wii U on day one, they’ll likely be disappointed.

In the UK though, there’s no word on when we can expect to get video streaming services, as Nintendo hasn’t sealed the deals with the right partners yet. Realistically, it’s also highly unlikely it will manage to do so before the end of the month either. Head to the UK Nintendo site, and you’ll see the message that “Nintendo is working with other partners to bring video experiences to Wii U that will take advantage of the integrated second-screen experience. Additional details will be released at a later time.”

The delay doesn’t bode will, although many other features such as the Miiverse — which lets you share with friends what you’ve been up to — Wii U Chat and the web browser will be enabled at launch. You should obviously be able to play games without any problems as well.

Nintendo showed off its Wii U recently, and revealed it only has 3GB of storage, which means you’ll need streaming to be up and running if you want to store more than a handful of movies on it. It also recently aired the first Wii U advert “How U Will Play Next” on YouTube and Facebook, which you can see below.

Will you be handing over your cash on launch day? Or do you agree with my esteemed colleague Luke Westaway that the Wii U doesn’t have all that much going for it? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

Our site is updated several times each day with the latest console news, reviews and features.

Posted on November 24th, 2012 by  |  No Comments »

Slim PS3 news: Access TV Episode 59

Available to download from the PlayStation Store now

The most iconic cartoon character in history? You could say that. He’s been enchanting audiences for over 80-years and now Mickey Mouse makes his PS3 bow in Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, a brilliantly creative platformer that takes the Game of the Week spot in Access TV Episode 59.

Also out this week is the awesome PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, and there’s coverage from last weekend’s Access Live event where the PS3 exclusive brawler was the main attraction. Expect interviews with the brilliant Access community as well as Battle Royale’s Lead Designer (and all round beat ‘em up legend) Seth Killian. Plus there are people in ridiculous costumes.

And there’s more! Specifically an interview with Far Cry 3 Lead Writer Jeffrey Yohalem as we gear up for the release of the biggest open world shooter in years, plus all the latest PS3 news and a roundup of the best content currently available on the PlayStation Store, which this week includes the superb Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.

Access TV is available on the PlayStation Store every Wednesday, free to download for all UK PSN users.

To sign up for future Access events or to hang out and chat with other members of the Access community, then visit us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at is updated regularly per day with the latest Slim PS3 news and reviews.

Posted on November 21st, 2012 by  |  No Comments »

OXM Breakdown – how an official Microsoft magazine has challenged the concept of gamer videos – Console news

Released this week, the latest edition of OXM Breakdown is a hilarious take on the issue of sexism in games. Just how did an official magazine pulls this off?

For an entertainment medium that is effectively dominated by space heroes, military macho men and stocky plumbers with terrible Italian accents, the video game industry can be awfully serious sometimes. News sites speculate endlessly – and with sombre gravity – over the latest jingoistic military shooters, while video reports usually consists of re-packaged game trailers and flattering developer interviews. Believe me, once you’ve seen one clip of a dead-eyed executive producer intoning “we’re not talking about multiplayer right now” until the cameraman passes out, you’ve seen them all.

But OXM Breakdown is different.

This irregular series of videos, created by the Official Xbox Magazine, provide bizarre, ribald and hilarious commentary on games and game players. The latest episode, released last week, tackles the perennial subject of women in games, but instead of an earnest debate on the endlessly regurgitated issues, it has writer Jon Blyth donning a dress and savagely parodying all the horrendous sexist nonsense that games put us through. It ends with him shouting ‘”Oh, will you shut up and let me save you, woman!” at a bewildered female colleague. It is the funniest and smartest thing I have seen on YouTube since, well, since the last OXM Breakdown.

“With the possible exception of Mega 64, there isn’t really anybody out there doing gaming videos with a view to actually being funny,” says the magazine’s editor Jon Hicks. “There’s lots of serious gameplay analysis but we thought there was room for a bit of comedy”. Blyth has form too – a couple of years ago he was making brilliant satirical videos for IGN under the title The Blyth Report, but the series was canned and he joined the staff at OXM. Hicks decided to kick off a series of videos in the same vein and the first episode, a scathing analysis of THQ’s ridiculously macho UFC Personal Trainer appeared last September.

The impressive thing is, this is not the sort of content you expect from an official game magazine; they tend to be perfectly approachable and well-produced, but usually shy away from video content that involves staff members, say, critiquing Skyrim while standing behind the counter in a porn shop. And yet that’s exactly the sort of thing that happens in OXM Breakdown.

“The concept behind the show evolved quite organically,” says Hicks. “We’ve done episodes based on single games that we thought were interesting and that we had something to say about, and it’s moved on from there into covering issues that are being talked about in the industry. With the ‘Women’ episode, I was apprehensive about publishing it at first, but it’s good to approach such a serious topic in a way that’s not tremendously self-righteous or po-faced, which is how this argument tends to pan out”.

Laying into everything from Bioshock Infinite (an intelligent game with gratuitous cleavage) to Asura’s Wrath (a dumb game that gives the player Achievement Points for staring at some breasts), sexism in games is something Blyth has wanted to tackle for a while. Several months ago, game sites got caught up in a series of controversies about scantily clad models at trade shows as well as a trailer for the game Hitman which inexplicably featured sexy nuns. “I didn’t write it while everyone else was kicking off about booth babes,” he says. “I just thought it would be another voice thrown into the big shouty pot. So I thought I’d wait until it all died down so I could stir the pot again”.

Blyth tends to write each episode over a period of weeks, usually away from his day job on OXM. The scripts then get passed to cameraman and editor Gav Murphy. “It’s good to have someone you trust who can tell you that you’re not funny without you wanting to punch them,” says Blyth.

From here, everyone on the magazine’s editorial team tends to get roped into the filming. “The time it takes to make each episode varies a great deal,” says Hicks. “The most time-consuming element of the whole process is finding archive footage to illustrate the jokes; Gav has to spend hours trawling through royalty-free archives finding something relevant, and then treating it so it works with the HD footage that we shoot”.

And the most challenging aspect of the process so far? “Trying to find a sex shop owner who’d let us film in their store was a particular challenge,” says Hicks. “As was training Jon to be capable of doing hand movements while walking around on camera, which turns out to be more of a skill than we’d give people credit for”.

The big question of course is Microsoft make of it all. This is, after all, the official magazine and the official video of XBox gaming in the UK. “They’re a great partner, they’re extremely hands off, they kind of trust us to get on with it,” says Hicks. “The discussions we’ve had with the company about Breakdown have been positive, and they have run some of the episodes on the Xbox dashboard. They’ve always been supportive even if in some cases they probably wouldn’t endorse the things we’ve said. And Future has really expanded its digital and video output over the years, so we’ve been able to draw on internal resources to get Breakdown made.

“It’s just been nice to produce something that gets away from the stuffy reputation that official mags tend to have”.


Game culture



Keith Stuart © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds is updated several times every day with all latest Slim PS3 news, reviews and features.

Posted on November 17th, 2012 by  |  No Comments »

Nintendo airs Wii U advert: shows “How U Will Play Next”

The Wii U launches in the UK on 30 November, and Nintendo has started the advertising blitz.

The first advert is only on YouTube and Facebook so far, although it will get a TV spot at some point, AllThingsD reports. The ad is for the US launch, which happens on 18 November, but shows us what to expect.

The tagline is “How U Will Play Next”. See what they did there? It runs just over a minute, and features Nintendo’s target audience: children and families. We see the tablet control being used to watch Netflix, play games, and sing karaoke, implying that it’s very much aimed at party gaming, much as the Wii was.

Hit play on the video to take a closer look.

We were recently able to examine the Wii U’s innards, thanks to a teardown by Nintendo. Inside is a multi-core chip (a first for a Nintendo console) so it should be super speedy. You can pre-order the console now, with prices starting at £250 for the ‘Basic White’ console pack, and going up to £350 for the ‘Premium Black’ console pack with an extra game and a Pro controller.

It’s the only console from a major player launching this Christmas, though success is far from guaranteed. My esteemed colleague Luke Westaway has some reservations, for one. The Wii suffered from a lack of third-party support, and Luke fears the same will be true of the Wii U. In his hands-on, the controls also felt less sensitive than those on a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360.

And he’s not the only sceptic. In our reader poll, you let us know you weren’t too excited by the prospect of more mini games.

Nintendo posted its first ever loss in April, so it’s a crucial time for the company. Will gamers still want to gather round the telly come Christmas morning? Or has the casual games market been eaten by mobile app stores? Let me know what you reckon in the comments below, or over on Facebook. is updated frequently every day with all latest Free Slim PS3 news.

Posted on November 10th, 2012 by  |  No Comments »

Slim PS3 news: When Vikings Attack: 10 things you need to know

The Vikings are coming to PS3 and PlayStation Vita – make sure you’re ready with these fantastic factoids from developer Clever Beans.

1. Helmet hogwash

Real Vikings didn’t wear horns on their helmets, but they do in When Vikings Attack. Apologies to any Viking fans, Scandinavians, historians or anyone else who feels we have unfairly tainted the reputation of Vikings or taken liberties with historical accuracy.

The game is deliberately based only on vague, half-remembered half-truths from our school days. Real Vikings are indeed a fascinating subject, but this game is about the Vikings of common mythology, rather than history. Also, Vikings did not really invade 1970s Britain. We made that bit up too.

2. Sound effects and stolen biscuits

Many of the sound effects for the game were recorded by our sound designer Jamie Finlay during a session in an abandoned warehouse full of stolen biscuits. The warehouse was actually demolished the next day.

When Vikings Attack probably has the largest sound budget of any game that we have worked on. Almost everything in the game has a customised smashing or throwing sound, or both; many of which will make you laugh out loud. There are also countless funny vocal exclamations in various accents from all over the UK; at Clever Beans we call these “Ey-Ups”.

Jamie is a real perfectionist, and even took his laptop on holiday to Spain so that he could do some last-minute voice-over editing for us. We can only apologise to his girlfriend for this.

3. Horses are all talk

An early storyline for the game involved a talking horse with a colander on his head. We will definitely include a talking horse in one of our games, in the future. There are clearly nowhere near enough games about talking horses.

4. When Vikings evolve

In a much earlier version of the game, the player could punch, kick and jump, and also throw other characters around just like objects. The game started out as a massive bar brawl style beat ‘em up. Although we couldn’t figure out how to make this seem like a convincing fight; there were a lot of characters wandering around doing nothing, and it wasn’t clear how the player could control more than one character at once.

So we decided to have friendly characters follow the player character around. We had the idea that they were your “lives”, waiting to step in and take over when needed. From there it was only a small step to make them all controllable at once, as a team.

5. The house of ideas

In one prototype level that we built, player teams could walk on walls. It all got a bit too confusing, both to play and to design. The game feels a little bit like an iceberg sometimes: a little pile of fun sitting on top of a much larger mountain of submerged, discarded gameplay ideas.

6. Stick with it…

The characters that you see in the game are the third or fourth iteration character models. An early prototype stick man character is unlockable in the game; see if you can find him! Producers at Sony Computer Entertainment liked this little guy so much that they asked for him to be put back in, even though he was only a graphic made by one of our programmers. We got an artist to remake him with a nice smiley face, though. A later, equally defunct character model can be found near the town hall in the game, as a statue.

7. Animal magic

No penguins were harmed during the making of the Zoo level. The donkey, however, was completely bent out of shape over the course of the project. Originally built for our first prototype world, he was reused in the Sorting Office world, the Pier world and then transformed into a zebra for the Zoo. Finally, after a lot of stretching and another new paint job, he put in a stint as a giraffe, also in the Zoo. Such is the nature of indie game development – we all have to wear a lot of hats. Even donkeys have to wear a lot of hats.

8. Let’s dance

The most time-consuming special animation was the mime artist – although he was the quickest to make sound effects for. The robot is another favourite animation of ours. The track that he is breakdancing to is actually I’m in the Mood for Dancing by the Nolan Sisters. So he’s not quite as cool as you might think.

9. Duck and cover

The inspiration for the Public Information films that punctuate the game came from a series of 1970s Cold War films called Protect and Survive. These were made in case of a nuclear attack on Britain, but never broadcast – perhaps because they are so terrifying. We substituted the Cold War terror of a nuclear invasion for a load of daft Vikings. Another inspiration was a British comedy series called Look Around You. This is a brilliant spoof of 1970s educational programmes, which has excellent period sound and music effects.

10. Credit where credit’s due

When Vikings Attack has the longest credits list in the history of gaming. When you reach the end of the game, you will unlock the enhanced credits. These really are worth watching, and listening to.

Want to find out more about When Vikings Attack? Keep reading and PlayStation.Blog at for all the latest on this hilarious action title.

This blog is updated several times every day with the latest Free Sony Slim PS3 news.

Posted on November 3rd, 2012 by  |  No Comments »