Sony Computer Entertainment America has announced the anticipated sequel to their hit series LittleBigPlanet is now exclusively available to PlayStation 3 owners. LittleBigPlanet 2 was developed by Media Molecule, and provides SackFans with new ways to play, create, and share their user-generated content. According to Sony, this type of gameplay has never been seen before, specifically in regards to level control and customization features.
“Since the launch of LittleBigPlanet, our online community has uploaded over three million levels to the PlayStation Network, with creations popping up everyday that continue to amaze,” said Scott A. Steinberg, vice president, product marketing, in a statement. “With LittleBigPlanet 2, players now have the ability to create actual games across different genres, so it will be very exciting to see what our community can come up with. LittleBigPlanet 2 also boasts a brand new story mode for Sackboy to explore that, coupled with the millions of user-created levels online, provides an endless entertainment experience that can be enjoyed by the entire family.”
The newest iteration of Sackboy’s adventures begins with a completely new story mode that provides users with a feature rich reshaped world to play in and explore. 40 story levels across 6 different themes make up the campaign, with each level influenced by cultural points in history, and presented in a visually rich environment provided via a completely revamped graphics engine. Play themes include:
- Techno Renaissance
- Steampunk and Cake
- Neon Propaganda
- Fluffy High-Tech
- Designer Organic
- Hand-made Arcade
In other words…if you thought LittleBigPlanet I was eye candy, wait until you get your eyeballs on v2.
In create mode, Sony has taken cues from previous user creations, and allowed for users to create their own games, no longer just levels. Players can completely customize their experience with the ability to reset controller buttons for any object and change the rules associated with any level using the Controlinator. New multiplayer abilities really open of the potential of social gaming, allowing for any type of game play imaginable (and creatable) including racing games, flying games, shooters, puzzle games, sports, etc. With LittleBigPlanet II, players are bound only by their creativity.
And last, but certainly not least, LittleBigPlanet II’s sharing features. The new sharing experience allows gamers to spend less time searching and more time playing…millions of new levels and games created by fellow LBP players from around the world. To facilitate this, Sony has introduced LBP.me, a new social networking platform dedicated solely to LittleBigPlanet players. Each and every level and/or game that is created within LittleBigPlanet, receives it’s own page on the site, thus allowing users to quickly and easily find and play content. But that’s only one half of the story. Players can peruse content at LBP.me from the office, the campus, on the go, etc, and add it to their queue. Once connected to the PlayStation Network on their PS3, users will see this queue, and can instantly jump to their pre-selected content.
Naturally, Sony’s tossed in a few new features for Sackboy himself to enjoy, including a Grapple hook that allows him to swing across large gaps and pulling small objects towards him. The new Grabinator can pick objects up and throw them, and the customizable Creatinator can produce just about anything under the sun.
And just for added measure, LittleBigPlanet II now features a Music Sequencer, allowing players to not only compose their own music, but to connect in-game objects to these musical compositions. Budding Mozart’s now no longer need to be pulled away from their favorite title.
For the first time ever, fans of Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue will no longer have to view their favorite bathing beauties on the pages of their Sports mag, but in stunning 3D video. The 3D eye-candy is part of an exclusive deal signed between Sony Network Entertainment and Sports Illustrated, and leverages Sony’s unique technology, content, products and services one-two punch.
Launching in conjunction with the print version, the SI swimsuit 2011 issue hits streets and screens this coming February 15th. The 3D Swimsuit video will be available for rental or purchase via the PlayStation Network’s video delivery service on the PlayStation 3 (PS3), as well as their “Video On Demand powered by Qriocity” 3D compatible and network enabled BRAVIA HDTVs and blu-ray players. While aimed at the 3D market, Sony ensures that a 2D version of the video will be available, as well as a free three-minute sneak peak will become available later this year.
“Just when you think the bar couldn’t get any higher for the Swimsuit franchise, we’ve raised it once again with our partners at Sony,” said Mark Ford, President of the Sports Illustrated Group. “Swimsuit in 3D has extraordinary potential and we’re thrilled to deliver its millions of fans a new perspective through the exciting world of 3D video.”
And if smokin’ hot ladies in binikis isn’t enough for you, Sony has tossed in the entire kitchen sink, with 12+ hours of additional footage available for rent or purchase. This additional content includes a 1 hour “Making of” segment, as well as four 30 minute shorts featuring the 2011 Swimsuit photo shoot locations, presumably, in case you’re ready to make some hot shots yourself. These additional features also focus on the history of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit issue. PS3 owners can purchase SI swimsuit focused Dynamic Themes that cover iconic SI model photos from the 1990s (mmmm…Elle MacPherson).
“The combination of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit brand with the amazing 3D capabilities of Sony’s network-enabled devices makes for a great consumer entertainment experience,” said Tim Schaaff, President, Sony Network Entertainment. “We strive to deliver unique content to our users, and are delighted to offer this first-of-its-kind high definition 3D Swimsuit video.”
Leading market research firm, The NPD Group has recently released a report from their Gaming Device Profiles sub-unit, stating that 41 percent of all gamers rely on word of mouth as a source of their video game information. The survey includes data sampled from owners of a variety of gaming platforms, including portable gaming devices, and consequently this word of mouth data varies from owner to owner.
However, collectively, the majority reported relying on what friends and others had to say about their favorite games. In second place with 31 percent, was actual hands on time with the actual game(s) in question. Least influential in gamers’ purchasing decisions? Online and Magazine ads, incentives/coupons, and social networking sites ranked least influential in the survey, barely garnering a 5 percent response.
“When it comes to developing successful games and targeting marketing and promotions, each gaming platform has its own unique challenges and opportunities to consider,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group.
There once was a time when fanboy-dom ruled, and if you were a Sega player, that’s what you played, and did NOT own a Nintendo. With the introduction of the Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3, gamers are no longer satisfied with one console, and often own at least one, sometimes two, additional gaming consoles. 32 percent of all US gamers own a Nintendo Wii. 26 percent of these Wii owners also own Microsoft’s Xbox 360, 14 percent, a PlayStation 3.
In the number two slot, 20 percent of all US gamers own an Xbox 360. Of these gamers, 42 percent reported owning a Wii, with only 18 percent own a PlayStation 3.
Rounding out the Top 3, PS3 owners make up the minority, with only 10 percent of US gamers calling the PS3 their console of choice. Of this minority, 42 percent report owning a Wii, 34 percent, an Xbox 360.
Placed side by side, the top 3 consoles are being played the most (by a slim majority) by males. The NPD report recorded that 56 percent of the top 3 console players were male, 44 percent female. The largest percentage of gamers fall into the 2-12 age group, with 24 percent, the 25-34 year old group making up 20 percent, and the 35-44 year old age segment taking 17 percent.
What are they playing?
Mimicking the current trend in online game play, in regards to genre, 51 percent of Wii users reported that Card/Puzzle/Arcade/Word games were their favorites. The Xbox 360 and PS3 saw similar results, 39 percent and 42 percent, respectively. However, while these are some large numbers, Shooters took the #1 spot in most commonly played online game genre played by Xbox 360 and PS3 users, with 59 percent and 57 percent of the vote, respectively.
While certain data correlations can be derived from the above information in regards to overall preferences by console ownership, age, and genre type, when it comes to offline play, here, each console struts it’s own individual feathers. For Wii owners, family-oriented games topped the list, with Racing and Sports games coming in at a close second/third. Xbox 360 owners saw Family-oriented and Action/Adventure titles in a tie as their number one game(s) of choice of offline gameplay. Finally, PS3 owners reported Action/Adventure games, as well as Racing titles as their pixels of choice.
“This report helps to debunk the commonly held belief that casual-type genre games are primarily enjoyed by less serious gamers. This clearly shows that PS3 and 360 users also participate with these genres quite often, even if shooters remain the most commonly played online genre,” said Frazier.
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And I know…I know…Apple is going to start shipping all Macs with a blu ray installed coming later this year, but I really couldn’t hold out any longer, as the current machine is on its last leg. So I guess we’ll just have to get a PS3 (with that super sexy Gran Turismo 5 package). Damn.