In this week’s Power Up! Gaming Blog, Glen Ferris takes a look at the next-gen gadgets vying to keep your fingers busy in 2012…
If gaming in 2011 was defined by the incredible quality of its software, then 2012 will undoubtedly be remembered as an envelope-pushing year for hardware. Whether it’s playing on the move, on your smartphone or in the comfort of your own home, there’s a system to keep everybody happy over the coming 12 months. Start saving up the pennies people, there’s going to be a whole lot of wanting going on this year…
Coming what seems like no time at all after the much-fanfared release of the iPad 2, the third iteration of the world’s best-selling tablet is expected to be revealed in the first quarter of 2012. Internet whispers abound that we could be seeing it as early as February 24 (which would have been Steve Jobs 57th birthday) but that date sails perilously close to the launch of the PlayStation Vita, so let’s treat that particular tidbit with a pinch of salt. While we’re on rumour control, there’s nothing to suggest that the third-gen iPad will be the same size as Amazon’s Kindle Fire or that the new screen will measure 2048 x 1536p and come with an impressive 264 pixels per inch, nor even that the current dual core processor will be upgraded to something even more powerful. What we can expect, however, is something very special to make shelling out on V3 worthwhile for everybody.
Lined up to be the first big hardware release of 2012, huge things are expected of Sony’s PSP-replacing handheld device. Hoping to not repeat any of the mistakes made by the poorly received Nintendo 3DS, the Vita aims to earn its place in a market filled with mobile gaming machines by essentially shrinking a PS3 into the palm of your hand. Packed with impressive features such as dual analogue sticks (awesome for proper console-style gaming on the go), front and rear touch screens and cameras, gadgets for motion-control playing, a built-in microphone for issuing voice commands and easy internet access, it also benefits from some brilliant launch titles (not least the latest Uncharted release) and it’s only going to set you back a reasonable £229 (for wi-fi only) or £279 (for wi-fi + 3G) in the UK.
Once again, Apple are gearing up to piss off the masses by releasing an updated iPhone soon after the launch of the 4S. Expected to arrive at some point this year, V5 will have to pull something very special out of the bag to convince people to part with their hard-earned cash – but if anybody can do such a thing, Apple can. Confirmed intel is pretty thin on the ground at the moment, but what we do know is that Siri is here to stay and a new processor is in the works, which means better graphics and smoother playing for gamers – huzzah!
The Wii is dead, long live the Wii U. Nintendo aims to follow up its remarkably successful console with something even more special later this year. Like the Wiimote before it, the major innovation this time around is with the Wii U controller. Coming replete with a touch-screen, the new controller can be used as a second screen for a variety of uses or you can even switch from playing on the telly to playing on the go. Like the Wii before it, Nintendo’s latest big idea at first glance seems like a pretty outré concept and therefore rather a tough sell, but the Japanese console giants are old hands at selling this sort of thing so we’ll happily put our trust in them.
Nokia Lumia 710
In a world where Apple is king of the castle and Android is something akin to a lowly archduke, the Lumia could well be the unlikely pretender to the throne. Techie types were singing the praises of the Lumia 800 when it was released late last year, so we should at least be a little interested to hear that the Lumia 710 is on the horizon and it’s due to feature much of the same features as its slightly more powerful cousin - including a Windows operating system, as well as a nifty display and a decent playback frame rate that will make playing games an understated joy. A great smartphone at an affordable price, the Lumia 710 could well outstrip the iPhone in terms of units shifted this year.
• We’ve known for a while that the dead will one day rise again, but now we’ve got a confirmed date - so put it in your diaries folks. On 20 November, 2012, regular zombies will be the least of your worries when Resident Evil 6 is finally released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, with a PC version to follow soon after. If the brand-new trailer (which we’ve handily pasted below because we’re nice like that) is to be believed, the mistakes of the rather limp Resi 5 will be rectified with a vastly improved follow-up that features three integrated storylines (featuring series mainstays Chris Redfield and Leon S. Kennedy and a new mercenary character), a variety of gameplay styles and even an undead president… Cannotbloodywait!
• While we’re on the subject of the end of the world as we know it, Microsoft Studios has announced the first fruits of its exclusive deal with indie developer Tequila Works, a post-apocalyptic platformer going by the name of Deadlight. Mooted for exclusive release on Xbox LIVE Arcade later this year, the decidedly cinematic-looking title centres on one man’s attempts to cross the American west coast after an as-yet-unknown plague has ravaged the land. Check out the brand-new teaser below…
• If you’re permanently set to hardcore and think newbies should stick to PEGI 3 releases, then you’ll like what Irrational Games have gone ahead and done with BioShock Infinite. Prepare yourself for something called 1999 Mode, a ‘way of playing designed for gamers who long for the days of games that demanded more of the player’. According to Ken Levine, Irrational Games’ creative director: “1999 Mode [will force] gamers to face more of the permanent consequences of their gameplay decisions. 1999 Mode will demand that players pick specializations and focus on them. In addition to these permanent decisions, 1999 Mode will feature demanding weapon, power, and health management. The mode also takes a much harder stand on player respawning. It’s not for the faint of heart.” Think you’re the ultimate gaming badass and extra lives are for wusses? Go on, we challenge you to party like it’s 1999.
- Check out the official Resident Evil 6 site
- Previous Red Bull gaming blogs
- What you'll be playing in 2012
- Glen Ferris is on Twitter