As far as I’m concerned, Final Fantasy X was the last great RPG Square Enix made. While Final Fantasy X-2 was quite as captivating, being in that world was enough for me to enjoy myself. Now sadly, FFX12 came out at a busy time in my life and I was never able to get far in the game and soon the PS3 train took over. Equally, to this day, I adore Final Fantasy 11 though I don’t consider that part of the main FF canon. Having said that, I think FF13 is one of the most atrocious RPG’s I’ve ever played though I had to finish the game because it had the worlds Final Fantasy in the title. So you can imagine my excitement when Square Enix announced Final Fantasy X HD for the PS3 and PS Vita, only to top it by revealing the same faith for Final Fantasy X-2.
It still remains unclear if purchasing Final Fantasy X for the PS3 will get you a PS Vita version though that is looking less and less likely. We do know for a fact though that Final Fantasy X-2 will be bundled with the Final Fantasy X HD remastering for PS3 and that it will be a separate purchase on the PS Vita. After the jump, a Final Fantasy X-2 HD screenshot gallery awaits you.
Oh FCC, how you can ruin many great surprises for companies. Last week, we told you about a leaked video and promotional photo of what appears to be a Sony VAIO Duo 13-inch, the hybrid Windows 8 laptop and slate. Sony already sells the VAIO Duo 11-inch so this latest model seems to offer what we’ve already come to expect from the series with an extra 2 inches of real estate space on your screen. Now, the FCC has all but confirmed the validity of the VAIO Duo 13-inch and a product through their doors means a very high likelihood of a release in the US, and soon.
It’s no secret that Sony is working on a new line of smartphones that will incorporate Firefox OS in 2014. I believe the shift in strategy is designed to help diversify Sony’s mobile portfolio and target more developing nations while lowering the companies reliance on Android. In fact, in February Sony showed off the HTML 5 based OS on the Xperia E which houses budgetary specs, exactly the segment the Firefox OS is designed to reach. Since then, things may have escalated a bit between Sony and Mozilla as the latest rumors peg that the two are working on a premium handset. Li Gong, Mozilla’s senior vice president for mobile devices has gone on record, stating that
Sony is known for quality and user experience. So they are targeting for very, very high (end). We are in joint discussions on the kind of device and what’s the product.
During their CES 2013 keynote, Sony made it clear that NFC will play a big role in their upcoming slate of new products which ranges from tablets, to smartphones, and televisions. The bet is that consumers will be vowed by NFC capabilities like being able to pair devices easily and transfer music from your smartphone to your house stereo with a tap and a click. While big devices will be the hub that support NFC like a 5.1 home theater system, it’s truly on smaller devices where NFC shows its true potential. The Sony SBh50 is the newest premium Bluetooth headset from Sony. A followup to the Smart Wireless Headset Pro, the SBH50 features stereo audio and incorporates a mic and remote with a small OLED display. The headset functionality of the SBH50 is as you would expect though Sony wants to emphasize the premium nature of it, with superior clarity. What makes the SBH50 different than other headsets on the market is the mentioned OLED display.
While the tablet market continues to expand and each week, we seem to hear about a new Android variation, there still remains one true king, Apple. Playing second fiddle to them, Samsung has continued to
copy offer new tablets and holds a respectable second place behind the Cupertino based company. Then, there is everyone else. Sony like others has continued to offer one or two tablets a year like the Xperia Tablet S and the soon to be released Xperia Tablet Z. Others like Microsoft are pouring billions into their own tablet initiative with the likes of the Surface and Surface Pro though there is little traction with consumers. While the tablet market is a highly active one, much like the smartphone segment, the game is currently controlled by Apple and Samsung. So how do you win in such an environment and gain marketshare? By offering something totally different and that’s exactly what Sony has announced with their 13.3-inch e-ink tablet.
There is little doubt about the PlayStation 3 as a superior gaming console, both in terms of quality and power. While Sony was hard at work creating a mean gaming and multimedia machine, unfortunately the rest of the company didn’t get the memo. There is little doubt in Sony’s lack of proper marketing for the console and its challenges with embracing online gaming. Sony promised that things would be different and this time around, they did right by their words. When the PlayStation Vita was announced, it was hailed and championed by gamers and developers alike. A fresh UI and all the power you could want. Yes the PlayStation Vita has not done the sales that it should and can still do but the fact is that Sony’s tempo was different this time around. Now, on the verge of Microsoft’s next Xbox console, Sony continues to show signs of a new life and energy behind the long time console maker.
The PlayStation 4 was announced on February 20th to much fanfare. Unlike past console reveals where the latest PlayStation was shown off in Japan with many Japanese devs backing the console, this time around, the PS4 was shown off in the US. While there were your traditional Japanese developers like Capcom and Square Enix, the main focus of the event was games developed by Western companies like Activision, Blizzard, Bungie, Sucker Punch, and Guerrilla Games to name a few. While the console itself was not shown during the event, it became evident early on that, this time around, Sony had gone to developers and asked them what they wanted in a next gen console. In iterations prior, Sony and other console makers have created new hardware with a top down approach.
To many gamers’ and media vets’ surprise, there was little leaked about the event and there continues to be little information about the PS4 until Sony releases it. This by itself is a huge change of pace for Sony whose products tend to be revealed in advance thanks to leaks. For Sony, this has proved to be a powerful asset as they can control the excitement around the PS4. In fact, for many months, prior to the PS4 reveal, many high level Sony execs had gone on record about no new console in sight, leading many to believe that the PS4 might not debut till 2014. Some have even suggested that these comments were more directed towards Microsoft and the reason why MS has had nothing to announce about their next generation console till weeks before E3.
Whenever a new Star Trek or Star Wars entry appears on the horizon, the fan boys and girls get into weird vitriolic discussions of which is better. It’s a silly discussion because it’s all about personal preference, but more than that the franchises have different goals. Star Wars is space opera. Broader emotional contexts of good vs. evil, with a better action focus. Star Trek is a more cerebral endeavor. Often denounced for being slower and more talky, but also being willing to delve into complex ideas of humanity and politics more fully. I get it though. It’s natural to defend your favorite, but really they are different entities. It’s just a silly argument to have. So they should all just stop.
In addition, the same director J.J. Abrams, is taking over the Star Wars franchise as well. Which is a good thing, because I am here to tell you that, after what he did with Star Trek: Into Darkness, without question…. Star Trek is better.
It generally pays to be a high tech fan in the US which has us getting new products before other territories. Announced at CES 2013 and released last month, the Sony XBR 4K televisions have been no exception. In fact, what’s been most surprising about the 55- and 65-inch 4K XBR sets has been their affordability, which fell in line with the previous XBR HX929 models which lacked 4K technology, among other things. So how affordable are the new Sony 4K XBR sets? $5,000 will nab you a 55-inch (XBR-55X900A) 4K television while those in the mood for something bigger can get the 65-inch (XBR-65X900A) for $7,000. With the 4K XBR now released to retailers for well over a month, it’s time for Sony to turn its attention to the UK.