Author: Lu

With next gen consoles almost with us, we ask if Sony's financial issues will cause problems in the future, or can the PS4 help save them from becoming the new Sega?

The Microsoft Xbox One launch event will go down in marketing and video game history as how not to introduce your new product. Who knew that completely ignoring your demographic and trying to promote the TV features of a games console would go down so shockingly bad? If the term 'Epic Fail' wasn't already invented that would have been that event which spawned the phrase.

However, while Sony got all excited at their initial pre-order figures and wasted time making viral videos laughing at the Xbox One's game sharing situation and such, Microsoft may have quietly played the greatest poker face ever.


(ironically, that is now how you share games on the Xbox One also)

Sony highlighted how they listened to their fans before the launch events, and constantly talked about how they know what gamers want, and convinced everyone they got it right, however in poking fun at what their competition was doing wrong (like they have never made some serious blunders) they might not have noticed what they were secretly doing right.

We're pretty sure Sony got a worrying chill when Microsoft surprisingly dropped all of its features the fans didn't agree with such as the used game rule, 24hr online check-in, the mandatory Kineckt and such. Microsoft automatically won most of their fans back overnight, got the pre-orders they wanted and have an even more united community who now feel heard, valued and involved.

But most importantly, they lured Sony into a false sense of security, pushing their PS4 into production to secure the pre-order demand. Meanwhile Xbox were able to sit back and really pick at their console for a little longer and in doing so made even more changes (such as a better CPU) and could have spent that little extra time future proofing their console against the likes of the Red Ring Of Death (PS3's Yellow Light equivalent) who knows?

One thing Microsoft got right with the 360 was the simplicity of the Xbox's hardware and design, so getting into the guts of your machine took half the time as opposed to the PS3, and when your warranty runs out things like this are important, just look at the online support for home Xbox repairs compared to those of the PS3 (And seeing that the PS4 has a built in power supply, I think it's safe to assume getting into the guts of the PS4 will be just as annoying as the PS3). Its about the longevity, and to this day Microsoft are still dropping hints at features they might add later on down the line, such as backwards compatibility via cloud gaming etc. It's evident that Microsoft are very much playing the sensible role of the Turtle in the age old children's lesson, 'slow and steady wins the race', so could Sony's pace and confidence hinder them as they hurtle towards the finish line?

That is what's really important here, the longterm plan. Because what was an embarrassing launch for Microsoft could possibly turn into an embarrassing end of Sony completely. How? Because one thing many might not be aware of is Sony's highly worrying financial situation. The company has had it rough for a good while now, billions have been lost over the decade, in 2012 they had to reduce staff to cover marketing costs, and recently they had no choice but to sell their US Headquarters.

What with products such as the PS Vita failing to sell, their big budget movies such as 'After Earth' and 'White House Down' being huge box office flops, a lot now relies on the PS4, which is a pretty scary gamble.

The impressive PS4 specs (having the GDDR5 Ram etc) that beat what Xbox One has to offer suggest it is more expensive than the Xbox One to make, and though they have the pre-order figures to help them relax for a while, with the console currently on sale cheaper than the Xbox One, how will they cope down the line when Microsoft start dropping the price because they can afford to? Or offer great exclusive game bundles?

With Sony's big focus on indie games and lack of overly exciting, familiar big budget launch franchises set to compete with the likes of the Halo franchise things are not looking too secure.

Meanwhile, Microsoft just recently bought Nokia for $7.1 billion so in the future there could be a big mobile device push from Microsoft, a possible Xbox handheld like Nvidia's Shield down the line (not that they have had great experience with this kind of stuff, anyone who has used Windows Mobile will understand, and Zune? Jeeze). Who knows, but they have the finances for options at least, something Sony seem to lack more and more according to financial reports.

So, when it comes to the question of, who will win the console war? We're confident that the PS4 will do well at the start due to its fan base, I own and supported both consoles so its not like we're team Xbox. We just hope Sony can keep up in the years to come and that the new exclusive titles they have backed turn out to be serious competition for the powerhouse that we know Microsoft's will provide.

We believe the gamer might pick a PS4 this winter due to launch hype, but the sensible longterm investment looks to be the Xbox One.

Our Verdict? Xbox One will reign in the end.

With the launch of Samsung's new Galaxy Gear Smartwatch and Google Glass slowly edging towards the mainstream population, we can't help but wonder how this new, wearable spy-esque tech could be exploited. We love Samsung's amazing advances over the years especially their amazing cameras and TVs, but the question raised by BBC journalist Rory Cellan-Jones as to 'Why would anybody want a camera on their wrist' did bring to mind a quote from BBC2 comedy show, Coupling, in which the leading character, Steve Taylor said something along the lines of 'Man's advances in technology are all simply aimed at making it easier and better to view porn'.

samsung_galaxy_gear_smartwatch_sg_25-580x375

Now we're not even sure if this watch can view or take video files yet, but having a secret watch camera could easily lead to wrong doing more than candid photos of your mates. The internet is filled with celebrity up-skirt pictures, nip slips and the like, many taken by the large number of readily available spy cameras (google spy camera, it's shocking) could things like this see a certain rise once devices like this become readily available? Especially when it comes to technology like Google Glass. These glasses are able to record what you see, when you see it- the poor woman who's skirt got caught in the wrong gust of wind (or worse) might end up online for all to see, hosted in a foreign country with different laws where she would have no control over the content being taken down.

funny-upskirt-photobomb

Obviously we love the advances in technology that we are privileged to being part of over the past decades and beyond and are by no means saying that these advances should halt, everyone has wanted a James Bond watch and it's about damn time we got one. But the manipulating and secretive nature of some tech advances could come in handy in ways that aren't ideal. Cue funny video:

What we feel needs to be looked at, in this ever advancing technological world however, is that age old Spiderman saying - that with great power comes great responsibility, we feel the policing of such technology needs to step up...

Twitter was founded in 2006 and it is only now, seven years later that action is being taken to try and control the potentially abusive nature of the site after the trolling abuse Jane Austin suffered, despite this kind of thing happening to some of its general users everyday. Is technology moving so fast that laws and the supervision of its use can't keep up? Should it be the service providers job to keep an eye on things as part of the sales agreement or possibly the responsibility lies with the developers?

While many people argue against "big brother" keeping an eye on us all, should only the guilty really be worried about what they have to hide? Or is the right to ones privacy from everyone (even the law) more important than protecting those suffering from the crimes? Is it ignorant of us to moan about police keeping tabs on things and not granting them more control when hackers and such are already potentially watching us through our Smart TV?

When we purchase a TV we have to provide our name and address to register ourselves as a user so the TV Licence people can chase us up if we choose not to pay our bills. Would such forced registration on these tech items be such a bad idea? At least that way images taken could potentially be traced to the serial number of the device used and criminals punished?

Personally I wouldn't have a problem with it as I plan to mostly use my spy watch to take photos of the banks I intend to heist....oh wait...ignore that part.

My love for 80's & 90's Nintendo is up there with my love for pre Tommy-'boat-loving'-Lee-dating Pamela Anderson, in the list of things from my childhood that will never die. Though it was only a couple of years ago that I thought it might be fun to try and reclaim some of my favourite games & hardware from my youth for a nostalgia fix.

As with most retro shopping, it all started on eBay, finding myself a NES Zapper light gun for a few quid which, without the NES console was not the most practical purchase, but it was worth the money just to hear the distinctive and highly primitive sound of the trigger once again. Why? because the age old saying of 'it's the little things that count' plays a huge part in retro gaming, the little things can evoke the biggest memories.

Those with the tech savvy know how might use Emulators to some extent but then you're missing out on half the experience, the small important things such as the original controller and the feel of its buttons or the almost ritual cartridge blowing before slotting it in, then paired with a coin collect sound or the boss at the end of a certain level you remember defeating! it can take you back to when you got so happy with yourself you ended up doing the Carlton dance in your Batman PJ's only to have your jealous friend hit the reset button (ps, 20 years later and it's still not funny Warren...) it's all priceless.

However it turns out that retro gaming does have a price, and though there is the odd bargain around prices are constantly rising as the games become harder to get hold of. A few years ago you couldn't get a £5 trade in for an old console, but now, in the right place you could get double what you originally paid for if it's in great condition. So with the rise of all things 90's, now would be the ideal time to get your pixel passion fired up again wile the affordability window is still ajar.

One thing to remember though is that the best nostalgia moments are when you stumble across the things you forgot about, sadly Google is yet to invent the 'search my deep sub conscience' feature so there is no faster way to come across things than to just start browsing and searching. Watching retro game youtube collection roundups do help, but we found London has an alternative that goes that one step further than just seeing the game on a screen.

Retro Game Base in Streatham is a store that lives up to its name and specialises in all the things my inner child (and likely your's too is you were born in the first part of the 80's) loves. In the store you can scan shelf upon shelf of games and more to find all the goodies you forgot about and even see the games in action as the staff (when not serving you) will be hammering away on the controllers in true retro shoot 'em up style. Retro Game Base is also the ideal place to buy the important little things eBay sellers sometimes forget to include on their items (like the battery cover for a Gameboy I purchased) and if that has not convinced you to pop down, just know that they have retro arcade machines too, which you can buy or play (while trying to convince your girlfriend it would fit nicely in the corner of your front room instead of the cats bed).

And just when you thought things couldn't get any better in terms of old school gaming in London, Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes have launched an 80's and 90's Throwback Club Night (which we hope will be on going) in partnership with Retro Game Base. On the 31st of August you can head down, drink, bowl, dance to old school tunes but most of all, play SNES, Megadrive, Dreamcast, Saturn, PS1, N64 and more till 3am! I think it's safe to say you will see me there fairly tipsy challenging everyone on the original Mario Kart or attempting to pull of ridiculous Killer Instinct combos, I might even be in my Batman Pjs.

With Tablets slowly replacing laptops everywhere nowadays, we thought we would check out how the low price end of the spectrum fairs against our tablet requirements. So, we got a hold of the comfortably priced JoyTab Duo 9.7 from UK company, Gemini Devices.

To try and compare this to the leading, well known tablets would not be fair, because of course using this is going to be a very different experience, but as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. But what exactly, is missing from the tablet experience, and what does it surprisingly manage to pull off?

The Specs:

  • Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System
  • 9.7" Capacitive IPS Multi-Touch Screen
  • 1.5ghz ARM Cortex A9 Duo Core Processor
  • 1gb DDR3 SDRAM
  • Mali 400 Quad Core Open GL VE 2.O Graphics Card
  • 16gb Storage, Upgradeable to 32gb
  • 0.3 Megapixel Front Camera & 2 Megapixel rear camera
  • Mini HDMI Port
  • Mini USB Port
  • Built in speakers & Microphone
  • 3.5mm Headphone output
  • Wifi & Bluetooth Connection
  • Robust metal design
  • Weights around 632g
  • 10 hours Average Batter Life (we did not test this)

The Pro's:

  • This device comes with Android's Jellybean OS, which is something we're warming to more and more. This means you can get all those amazing Android apps such as the popular games, TV & Movie apps, music apps and more. Not to mention the cool widgets.
  • The Processor, RAM and Graphics Card in this tablet might not be able to compete with the high end tablet market, but it can still run most of the latest games to a decent standard. Though it might have taken a while to install a new and power demanding game such as Real Racing 3, it did still run and we raced a good few laps without any problems other than the obvious graphics quality limitations.
  • The screen is pretty responsive, games such as Angry Birds played perfectly and typing was fine, we noticed the tilt response sometimes seemed a bit off when playing racing games but that could have been down to some processor lag due to the game being pretty demanding on its requirements. It can also sometimes seem like it's not picking up your selections in the browser but really it's just taking a few seconds to load the page (this could have been a fault with our connection though - we'll give it the benefit of the doubt).
  • There is a MicroSD slot to expand your tablets memory, a feature sadly overlooked by the most popular tablet on the market and that always plays such a big role for those that do have it. Saving files to memory cards allows you more space to keep adding more and more to your tablet, rather than hitting limitations.
  • The screen quality is described as "Ultra Sharp" on the box, and though it has a decent 1024 x 768 resolution, we feel the pixel per inch rate (PPI) lets it down. Those that have used a high end tablet would definitely argue against the ultra sharp statement, however, to those new to the tablet world, once you've replaced the horrid default background with a high res image, you wouldn't really notice much pixelation when you're using an app and doing more than just staring at the screen. Plus the device offers 1080p HDMI output via its Mini HDMI port so you do supposedly get the option of better quality if using an external TV or monitor.

The Cons:

  • The JoyTab has attempted to follow suit when it comes to tablets in general and has gone for the stereotypical look, however despite claiming to be ultra lightweight, it's a bit heavier and bulkier than most (almost double the weight of the new iPad Mini) leading it to fail most in the looks department.
  • As mentioned, the screen is one of the main areas that highlights why this device is on the cheap side when it comes to tablets, and another thing aside from the PPI (pixels per inch) that really lets it down is that if you're not facing the tablet head on, the picture can be hard to see, so those expecting to watch a movie with you in the car will have to huddle in that little bit closer (this could be used to your advantage though in certain situations).
  • The audio is what you would expect from small home computer speakers or low end smartphones, so don't plan on using this with high end music apps expecting to be impressed. The sound is clear enough to play music and watch movies to a degree, but decent headphones would be a smart investment.
  • The Mini HDMI port as mentioned above may be a great feature, but the package does not include the cable so we didn't get to try it out. If you do wish to use this feature you're going to have to purchase your own Mini HDMI to HDMI cable. Don't go to the shops for this, some can be found on ebay for as little as £3 if you're savvy in your searching (try search Micro HDMI also).

Overall, we would personally probably rather save and pay the extra cash to get the most popular mini tablet out at the moment, mainly for overall build quality, the improved graphics, processor and audio etc but then we would be wanting it for more than just casual use. If you were buying this JoyTab for a young kid that keeps stealing your phone to play games, or if you were a casual browser that only uses the odd app such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype or Emails to catch up with friends etc then this is an ideal cheaper alternative. The cutbacks due to the price would be highly noticeable to someone who say, was brought a JoyTab as a replacement for their lost or broken iPad or Samsung Note, but to a first time tablet buyer on a budget, most wouldn't know better....until they experienced it.

The JoyTab also offers a Pro version which includes a Bluetooh keyboard (for those that hate typing on a touch screen) and is available from Argos for just £179 here.

The world has many choices that socially define what kind of person we are, such as what brand of computer we use, what football team we support, what console we play on etc…but none can define your childhood more than the simple, Star Wars or Star Trek? But even the most hardcore of Star Wars fans are not going to deny that the new Star Trek video game looks great.

We at WJ were invited to a preview of the game at London's Science Museum where Paramount Pictures Senior Vice President Brian Miller answered some of our questions. We're sorry we didn't film any of the models walking about in short and skimpy Star Trek outfits but we can assure you they looked better then the short & overweight Stormtroopers at our last Star Wars invite.

First thing you should know is that this is a co-op game, so if like me you're a big fan of games like Army Of Two, then this is a must for you. Developed by Digital Extremes (Bioshock 2, Darkness 2) The game follows Kirk and Spock around a totally new and original story written by both the films writers and God Of War BAFTA winning writer Marianne Krawczyk which is based on events after the 2009 movie. But whats most impressive about the dialogue in this game is that it is voiced by the original actors in the film, which is a feature that should secure the purchase for any die hard Trekkie.

You can explore the ship from the 2009 movie, hijack enemy ships, revisit some classic Star Trek moments, use a big selection of weapons including that of the enemies, play short mini games as your co-op partner defends you and even play some levels as the enemy for a truly unique Star Trek experience. This game is Star Trek video gaming at its best, visually stunning and fun to play, the real deal, far from Disney.

The game will be released on Xbox, Playstation and on the PC and if you're lucky enough to have yourself a nice 3D monitor/TV then this game will help finally justify the purchase to your partner as they play along with you in jaw dropping 3D.

Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.

Genre: Action

Release date: April 26th 2013

Website: Startrekgame.com