Sony Moves a Step Closer to Its Game Vision

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More than a decade ago, the Sony Corp. executive credited as the “Father of the PlayStation” predicted that one day videogames wouldn’t require a console, because the hardware would eventually “melt” into a network that linked players together. All they would need, Ken Kutaragi said, is a display and a controller.

Meet the Great Tech Busts of CES

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The high-definition DVD, the Palm Pre and Lady Gaga’s Polaroid Glasses have one thing in common: They launched at the Consumer Electronics Show to much fanfare, only to disappear from sight or languish as failures on store shelves.

The annual trade show, which runs through this week, is the place where many awe-inspiring technologies have launched. The conference has been held for more than three decades and attracts more than 150,000 attendees to its nearly 2 million net square feet of convention facilities each January.

Some products have gone on to change the world. Others have fallen flat.

Halo 4 Passes Its First Crucial Test: Metacritic

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Microsoft Corp. has a lot riding on its new alien shooting videogame, Halo 4, which is part of the blockbuster Halo franchise and debuts Nov 6. (read “The Big Game Battle“). But there’s one thing over which Halo 4′s creators can breathe a sigh of relief: the game’s review score from Metacritic.com.

Metacritic, which aggregates videogame reviews from various game publications such as GameStop GME +0.04%’s Game Informer magazine and AOL’s Joystiq, gives videogames an averaged score ranging from 1 to 100. The ranking that a game receives is regarded as a barometer for whether a title will sell well, with many game industry veterans and analysts saying a game needs to score in the mid-80s to be a certified hit.

“I’d be hard pressed to buy a 60-rated game,” said Josh Holmes, “Halo 4′s” creative director. “Anything below 75–that’s the kiss of death.”

The Big Game Battle

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In a slick two-minute trailer from David Fincher, the director of “The Social Network” and “Fight Club,” a young boy is stolen from his home, turned into a surgically enhanced supersoldier known as “Master Chief,” then set loose to battle hordes of evil aliens.

The splashy preview isn’t for Hollywood’s latest major motion picture. It’s part of the elaborate build up to the release of “Halo 4,” the latest installment of Microsoft’s blockbuster videogame for the Xbox 360. When it debuts on Tuesday, the game, in development for four years, could easily end up bigger than most movie releases. Its predecessor, “Halo 3” sold $300 million worth of copies in the first week following its 2007 release.

Microsoft is pulling out all the stops to ensure that every male under 45 in America knows “Halo 4” is on its way. In partnership with PepsiCo, there will be Halo-themed Mountain Dew and Halo Doritos. Boys can wear Halo Axe deodorant while playing a Halo version of Risk.

Microsoft and Its Allies Prepare Windows 8 Marketing Blitz

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Microsoft Corp. plans this weekend to start the marketing blitz for Windows 8, the software company’s dramatic overhaul of its flagship product to catch up to the rise of mobile devices such as Apple Inc.’s iPad.

According to people briefed on the marketing efforts, Microsoft’s ads beginning this weekend will coincide with pre-orders of some computers and tablet devices powered by Windows 8. Those devices are slated to go on sale widely on Oct. 26.

It’s no small push. People with knowledge of the marketing efforts said Microsoft and its hardware allies will have blankets of ads with a cumulative price tag of hundreds of millions of dollars.