Gamescom Recap: August 16th, 2011

Highlights

PS Vita – The rumored RAM downgrade has been debunked with the following hardware specs given for the system:

CPU ARM® Cortex™- A9 core (4 core)
GPU SGX543MP4+
External Dimensions Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth)
(tentative, excludes largest projection)
Screen (Touch Screen) 5 inches (16:9), 960 x 544, Approx. 16 million colors, OLED
Multi touch screen (capacitive type)
Rear Touch Pad Multi touch pad (capacitive type)
Main Memory 512 MB
VRAM 128 MB
Cameras Front camera, Rear camera
Sound Built-in stereo speakers
Built-in microphone
Sensors Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope,
three-axis accelerometer), Three-axis electronic compass
Location Built-in GPS
Wi-Fi location service support
Keys/Switches PS button
Power button
Directional buttons (Up/Down/Right/Left)
Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square)
Shoulder buttons (Right/Left)
Right stick, Left stick
START button, SELECT button
Volume buttons (+/-)
Slots/Ports PlayStation Vita card slot
Memory card slot
SIM card slot
Multi-use port (for USB data communication, DC In, Audio [Stereo Out/Mono In], Serial data communication)
Headset jack
Accessory port
Power Built-in Lithium-ion battery
AC Adapter
Wireless Communications Mobile network connectivity (3G)
IEEE 802.11b/g/n (n = 1×1)(Wi-Fi)(Infrastructure mode/Ad-hoc mode)
Bluetooth® 2.1+EDR (A2DP/AVRCP/HSP)

 
 
In addition, it was mentioned that “all Vita games will be available in the PlayStation Store,” indicating that Sony still intends on simultaneous digital/physical media releases. It was also announced that the Vita will have Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Skype connectivity via free applications downloadable from the PlayStation store.

Finally, new titles for the Vita were announced including the following IPs: Resistance: Burning Skies, Assassin’s Creed, FIFA, Little Big Planet and a brand new title called Escape Plan.

PSP – SCEE announced plans to release a new version of the PSP, which would include a UMD drive and a price tag of €99.

PS3 – A global price drop was announced, taking effect immediately.

Xbox 360 – Dance Central 2 is to be released October 21st in Europe and Asia, the 25th in North America, and the 27th in Japan. Forza Motorsport was announced to have a launch date of October 11th in North America, the 14th in Europe, and the 20th for everyone else. Gears of War 3 is to launch September 20th in North America and Europe, and the 22nd in Japan; this will be the first release to make it on shelves in Germany. Kinect Sports: Season Two is slated to launch in North America on October 25th; Asia, Australia, and New Zealand on the 27th; and Europe on the 28th. Kinect Star Wars was revealed to allow players to use the Kinect to control a Rancor.

PCAge of Empires Online launched, being free-to-play with purchasable premium content. Valve released the first trailer for Dota 2, and signups for the beta began on the official website. MMORPG The Secret World was given a release date of April 2012, and beta registration is to open on August 26th.

Mobile – A variety of new games are prepared for release on Windows Phone via Xbox LIVE Games later this year. In addition, new features are being introduced, such as the ability to purchase DLC.


Analysis: It’s been a pretty busy day at Gamescom, especially for Sony. They took the opportunity to really show off the Vita and even passed around updated specs. A lot of big-name IPs were also mentioned with regards to the device, which will hopefully mean a good launch lineup. Unfortunately, it sounds like Sony is confident that the $249/$299 price point for the Vita is well justified, so chances of a last-minute pre-release price drop are all but non-existent. That price combined with the post-holiday season launch is really going to hurt initial sales.

The most surprising announcement was the new PSP model. It looks like Sony learned from the miserable PSPGo failure, but the most surprising thing is the €99 price point. That is actually rather cheap for a European console, because the European video game market has a tendency to list products at about the same number price in Euros as they are in Dollars in the US. Since the Euro is worth roughly twice as much as the Dollar, this means consoles are generally twice as expensive in Europe. Therefore, a lower price such as €99 is a welcome change. Unfortunately, that lower price point comes at the cost of wi-fi connectivity, which means unless you connect the device to your computer, you can’t play online, download games from the PlayStation Store, or do a variety of things taken for granted on standard PSPs.

The 360 had a flurry of release dates and had some gameplay footage available. Overall, nothing of huge importance, but it is interesting to see that Gears of War 3 is actually coming to Germany. It had been approved previously, but given the issues with the prior two installments, the acceptance of the third has caught everyone, including myself, in disbelief.

The revealing of Dota 2 is supposed to take place during Gamescom, and Valve has a huge tournament planned during the event as well. Dota 2 is very big news for many PC gamers, since pretty much anyone who’s been around the PC gaming scene since Warcraft III is at least familiar with Dota. Ironically, League of Legends is already a sort of spiritual successor to Dota, so the announcement of Dota 2 turned a lot of heads. It will be interesting to see player reactions when faced with a decision between Dota 2 and LoL.

Finally, the arrival of a number of Xbox LIVE games to Windows Phone is not surprising. Microsoft intends to push their LIVE platform to as many pieces of relevant hardware as possible, and given the huge casual gaming market on smartphones, bringing LIVE to Windows Phone seems like a natural progression.

Share
Joshua Moore

About Joshua Moore

Joshua has been a gamer for a long time, starting back with the NES as a child. Since then his interests branched from game systems to general electronics; an avid fan of technology and computers, Joshua graduated with honors from the University of South Florida and now holds a degree in Electrical Engineering. His favorite games include Valkyrie Profile, BlazBlue, Left 4 Dead 2, and Ocarina of Time. Additionally, he attends various BlazBlue tournaments and tries to pick up other anime or air-dasher fighters whenever possible.