Aside from the PlayStation Move Racing Wheel and Wonderbook, Sony has one more accessory to show off at E3 — the Pulse Wireless Stereo Headset Elite Edition. Naturally, we hunted down this peripheral aimed at all-things audio to check it out for ourselves. The PWSHEE is the company’s second full-on PS3 headset to date, expanding on what it offered with its Wireless Stereo Headset from last year. As we’re told, the headset is also ushering in a new Pulse moniker for its PlayStation oriented ear-blasters, although there’s no word on what we can expect down the line. For now, this unit packs a lot on paper for its $150 price, touting key features like 7.1 virtual surround sound, PS Vita and cellphone compatibility (thanks to a detachable cable with inline remote / mic), BassImpact technology for massive low-end pulse (get it?), audio profiles, higher-fidelity drivers than the WSH and hidden noise-cancelling microphones for chatting. Does it have the potential to live up to its hype and one-up its $80 predecessor? Join us past the break for our initial impressions.
Before the craziness commenced here in Los Angeles, ROCCAT got its E3 party started with announcements concerning two gaming mice. The outfit unveiled the three-button Lua and the more high-end Kone XTD to suit gamers who prefer a truckload of programmable options and those who fancy a much simpler set-up. We grabbed some hands-on time with the pair on the show floor to see just how the two stacked up. We were particularly impressed with how both felt in the hand and how comfortable they were to use for all our gaming-related movements during the mini session. For a close look at both the Lua and the Kone XTD, stop by the gallery below or head on past the break for a few thoughts on the gaming peripherals.
Sure today’s Microsoft E3 keynote was jam-packed full of high octane explosions, but the biggest excitement from the hardware-free event was arguably SmartGlass, a new technology from Redmond that promises to help to bring together users’ diverse array of screens. When it was initially leaked ahead of the event, SmartGlass looked to largely be a somewhat straightforward AirPlay competitor. Judging by Microsoft’s flashy demo video, however, the company is clearly looking to build it into its own beast all together. Thankfully, we got to play with it a bit — albeit for a very short amount of time, given the fairly early state of the technology.
Let’s start thing off by clarifying a big question surrounding the somewhat enigmatic demo that we saw at today’s event: yes, SmartGlass gives developers the potential to turn smartphones and tablets into a controller for the Xbox 360. As suspected, it will likely be integrated into more casual games — after all, we shudder at the thought of controlling, say, Halo 4 using just a touchscreen. As is the nature of the product, the company isn’t letting the details flow too freely here, but in a demo we saw of the technology tonight, a Microsoft rep name-dropped a title called Home Run Stars — a baseball game, as you’ve likely already gathered from the fairly straightforward name.
We didn’t spot it on stage during the pre-E3 2012 press conference, but Sony’s PlayStation Blog is showing off a new PS Move Racing Wheel on the way. This framework apparently fits around the Move, featuring different grip styles with twist throttles and paddle shifters depending on what kind of racing you’d like to do. The “precise motion tracking” afforded by the Move appears to be targeted at titles like the upcoming LittleBigPlanet Karting, but it’s hard to see how this will be real wheel, or even controller, alternative for serious gamers. It certainly seems to be fair competition for Microsoft’s Wireless Speed Wheel that was introduced last year or the Nintendo Wii Wheel, but frankly we’re surprised that’s a battle anyone else wanted to be in. Either way, we expect to get our hands on it this week before it hits stores this fall for $39.99.
Still not sold on the PlayStation Vita? Then Sony’s hoping that it’s latest bundle will be more to your liking. In addition to the just-announced Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation game, it packs a limited edition “crystal white” PS Vita (WiFi only), along with a 4GB memory card. Unfortunately, you’ll still have a bit of a wait before you can get your hands on it, with the bundle only set to hit stores on October 30th (coinciding with the game’s release). No word on a price for it just yet, nor is there any word on the white PS Vita being sold separately. Not to be left out, the PlayStation 3 is also getting an Assassin’s Creed III bundle of its own, which includes the game and some exclusive DLC — no price for it either, though.
Microsoft’s SmartGlass gets official: app brings AirPlay-esque streams to Android, iOS and Windows Phone
Microsoft may not be introducing a next-gen console at E3 this year, but it is teaching its venerable Xbox 360 some new tricks. SmartGlass brings AirPlay-style wireless technology to Xbox and Windows 8 by letting you send video from your tablet or phone to your TV. It then turns that second screen into an information window giving you data of the content you’re watching. Plus, it updates the info on your mobile device as the content on the TV changes. The app also enables peripheral controls for games you’re playing — so you can scroll through different plays on your tablet while playing Madden on your big screen, for example.
In addition to providing your peripherals with contextual awareness, the SmartGlass app turns your phone into a remote and trackpad for your Xbox, in case using Kinect and regular controllers aren’t something you’re into. So, you can pinch to zoom, move the onscreen cursor and scroll to your heart’s content in Xbox’s new web browser using your tablet or phone. When will we be seeing SmartGlass in living rooms? Unfortunately, not until this fall, so our liveblog photos of the app in action will have to suffice until then.
Say goodbye to Zune, folks. Microsoft has just announced its brand new Xbox Music service during its big E3 presentation. That brings with a library of more than 30 million tracks, which you’ll be able to access across all of your Microsoft devices, including your PC, Windows 8 tablet and Windows Phone in addition to the Xbox 360 itself. Expectedly, that all comes wrapped in a Metro-style interface, but it appears to basically be a Zune rebrand beyond that, with few other surprises to be found (at least for now).
Xbox 360 software at E3: FIFA 2013 / Madden 2013 gaining Kinect voice commands; Halo 4, Fable, Forza Horizon and Gears of War showcased
No new hardware for Microsoft at E3? No problem. Clearly, this year’s all about software for the Xbox 360, with both FIFA 2013 and Madden 2013 confirmed for release with Kinect support. Aside from letting you flail to and fro in order to make plays, both titles will also support voice commands, right down to understanding multiple dialects in the former. As for Madden? There’s some pretty intense voice integration, enabling one Joe Montana to actually call plays and direct the huddle with his voice here at the E3 stage. The demo was unsurprisingly awesome, and we’re told to expect it on store shelves on August 28th. For those who aren’t exactly “sports-inclined,” there’s also Fable and Halo 4 — two titles that’ll supposedly make this year the “best ever” for Xbox 360 software.
If anything’s giving gaming juggernauts like Nintendo and Sony reason to look over their shoulders, it’s the recent uptick in mobile gaming. And much to those titans’ chagrin, Nyko’s come to stir the pot. Announced just today, the accessory maker’s outing a new line of wireless controllers made specifically for TegraZone titles. The peripherals, co-developed with NVIDIA, come in two distinct sizes: the PlayPad Pro for more traditional gaming with its dual analog controllers, d-pad and array of shoulder and face buttons, and the diminutive PlayPad with its dual analog sliders, carrying case and foldable stand for a truer portable experience. Though both controllers are designed for use with optimized Tegra 2 or 3 titles, legacy games will also be supported via the accessory maker’s free Playground app, which will also allow for customized layouts, as well as pre-sets for top titles on devices running Android 3.0 and up. No pricing or concrete release information’s been made available at the moment, with the company mentioning only a Fall launch for later this year.