Friday, 25 March 2011

To 3D, or not 3D(s), that is the question, or is it?

Well March 25th 2011 is a pretty big day for techy people. iPad 2 out, 3DS out, and Tomb Raider Trilogy out for PS3 ;)

However is the 3DS a gimmick too far? I've played a few of the launch titles and a few of the built in games, and i have to say i fear it may be, BUT it wont stop the 3DS selling by the bucket load and Nintendo rubbing its hands in glee.

Firstly if you've no idea what i am on about then a) how did you find this blog? b) why are you reading it? c) hope that bump on the head heals soon..

The 3DS is Nintendo's new handheld console, well i say new, its basically a DSi with a bit of a makeover. It has 3 cameras, 2 facing out (for 3d photos) and 1 facing you for geeky gaming fun. It supports SD and comes with a 2GB card which is nice.
However its now region locked, which isn't so good. You could buy the old DS anywhere, safe in the knowledge that any games bought would work on it regardless if bought in New York, Rome, or Japan. That was a key selling point of the DS, its openness.. Well that's gone. If you buy a European 3DS it will only play games from Europe etc. Will be interesting to see if this hits sales much or encourages the hackers to get it cracked quickly. Altho Nintendo have promised to be ultra hard on anyone found to be doing dodgy things with their kit (again will see how this pans out)

The main feature of the 3DS is, in case you hadn't worked it out by now, the 3D gaming it allows, sans glasses.. Now this is where it all falls down in my eyes. The 3D IS great to see, WHEN you can see it(!) The viewing angle for it is SO narrow that any movement of the deck in your hand will result in the images blurring up and you getting an instant need for ibuprofen.
Nintendo have thankfully supplied a handy slider bar for adjusting the depth of the 3D (and allows it to be turned OFF too) but i get the feeling a lot of people will play with it on for a bit, then just turn it off to save on pharmacy bills.. No longer will your friends be able to see what you see, as anyone to your side will just see 2 blurred images and not be able to work out what is going on. The 3DS is very much a 1 user console, but maybe that's Nintendo's plan. Make people need to buy it to see it :) no more sharing :)

The 3DS also plays against other 3DSs' it finds `near to it` automatically, in a very strange feature which again i don't see many using for long as after a while they will realise their battery runs out before they even get home, due to it running permanently in the background even if you set the deck to sleep. Maybe there's a `spare` battery add-on available which Ninty is pushing? ;)

This brings to me the biggest problem i have with the 3DS. The battery life is, to be blunt, horrendous. I believe i saw 3-4 hours as quoted, that's shocking, the old DS Lite would get up to 19 hours use. How is it progress that we now get 1/4 of this? This, added to the problem of the 3D only working in a tiny acute angle (which you will find yourself always moving out of whilst playing), and the constant headaches you will get (kids will be going crosseyed long before they admit it hurts) really adds up to a bit of a disaster in my eyes. However as I said it wont stop it selling huge numbers to begin with, but how long until its `updated/replaced`. There is a lot of publisher support currently but again will this last if the console gets seen as a health threat in a few months?

Time will tell, and usually does, as that is what time does best :)

So what will be the biggest seller today, iPad 2, or 3DS.. hmm *gets coin to toss* yeh its that close i think..

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Another year, another apple update

Its 2011, just over a year since Steve Jobs revealed the iPad and reinvented the wheel, and here he is again showing the world a product they never knew they really wanted/needed but will indeed flock to buy.

The iPad 2, is basically a thinner, lighter, faster iPad.. Cant fault em for that can you? Well i think i most people would have thought the iPad was thin enough as it was so wouldnt have minded the size remaining the same and the `gained` space, they've hacked off the new one, being used for a bigger battery ;)

I think Apple are slowly inventing devices that will actually be thin enough to be used as a working blade. Watch this space, if they DO suddenly release the iKnife, remember i said it first!

The upgrade to the iPad is internal only, the screen is the same as before (not a bad thing). The new CPU is a dual core A5 cpu, and the graphics chipset has been beefed up. The claimed `2x cpu` and `9x gpu` increases have yet to be proven, and am guessing thats more marketing speak then actual real world increases. Most people assume dual core actually means 2x the speed when in reality it doesn't.

Its going to be launched in week or so in the US, and the UK (ROW) end of March. So expect mass hysteria around that time, altho launching in the UK on the same day as the 3DS will be very interesting for pavement space outside some stores ;)

I think its safe to say that Apple KNOW how to market a product and get the word out there, the fact i was talking to my 83 year old grandad on the reveal day about how he was thinking about getting one says everything. :)