Gaming news summary for August 23, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, a thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, a Nintendo patent application suggests a future without game discs, the Kerbal Space Program will be landing on the Xbox One, EverQuest II gets a 'prison' server, and Sony cashes in on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain with some branded hardware.
Gaming news summary for July 8, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the twice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, a release date for Disney Infinity 3.0 is revealed, Riot's community management in League of Legends appears to be making players less hostile, and a new Magic: The Gathering game lands on iOS.
Upgraded version of Xperia Z3 will go on sale in June
Sony is bringing the Xperia Z4 smartphone it launched in Japan to the rest of the world, but with a change of name. Rebranded by Sony as the Xperia Z3+, the smartphone is seemingly being marketed as a slightly upgraded version of the Xperia Z3 rather than a new generation of mobile device, and considering its specifications and physical similarity to earlier models, that may be an appropriate move to make.
Sony Xperia P2 will allegedly borrow screen, processor, RAM from Xperia Z4
Sony is said to be preparing a sequel to the Xperia P, unveiled three years ago, according to a rumor. The Xperia P2 will allegedly borrow a large number of core components from the Japan-only Xperia Z4, including the 5.2-inch Triluminos 1080p display, but it will switch the body design to one where there is a larger section of bezel at the bottom of the case rather than the top, just like its predecessor.
Quiet Xperia Z4 launch avoids details of release for rest of the world
Sony has quietly launched the latest in its flagship Xperia smartphone line, in Japan. Just like the Xperia Z3 in comparison to the Xperia Z2, the new Xperia Z4 is very similar to its predecessors in terms of design and functionality, with slight improvements to some of its internals while others remain the same, such as the 5.2-inch 1080p Triluminos display.
Alleged render of Sony Xperia Z4 shows possible major changes to appearance
Sony may have two smartphones being prepared for launch in the near future, if two separate alleged leaks are true. Sony China is said to have leaked some renders of a device which some say could be the Xperia Z4, while a second leak points to a device called the Xperia Cosmos, a mobile phone that apparently focuses on selfies rather than standard photography.
The new 10.1-inch tablet makes its debut alongside the M4 phone
Sony has unveiled its new Z4 tablet at Mobile World Congress, claiming the title of world's thinnest and lightest tablet in the 10-inch class. It is also said to integrate the brightest display in the segment, with a battery that promises to last through 17 straight hours of video playback.
Sony style with an accessible price point
Sony has expanded its Xperia smartphone lineup, adding the M4 Aqua this week at Mobile World Congress. The company is not shy about labelling it a midrange Android device, promising that all of the popular features and capabilities remain mostly intact, despite its lower price tag.
Pre-Mobile World Congress leak confirms 2K display for Sony tablet
Sony has accidentally revealed one of its Mobile World Congress Xperia launches a week before it was supposed to. The company's official Xperia Lounge app briefly showed an image of the Xperia Z4 Tablet, before being pulled from view, and though few details have been revealed in the leak, it appears the tablet may end up being a high-specification device.
Sony aiming for $4.2B annual profit within three years
Sony's survival could involve Sony pulling out of more business areas, in order to concentrate on its imaging and entertainment divisions. Seemingly confirming earlier reports, CEO Kazou Hirai's new strategy will now depend on its camera sensor sales and the success of the PlayStation gaming arm to increase its operating profit 25-fold within the next three years, at a cost of minimizing its other businesses.
Sony unveils Xperia E4 weeks before Mobile World Congress
Sony has announced the follow-up to its Xperia E3, weeks ahead of an expected launch at Mobile World Congress. The price-conscious stablemate to the anticipated Xperia Z4, the 10.5mm-thick Xperia E4 sports an "OmniBalance" physical design, with curved edges and a premium-in-appearance aluminum power button, surrounding a five-inch 960x540-resolution display, featuring scratch-resistant glass.
Smartphone, television arms potentially at risk in cost-saving effort
Sony may be open to letting go of its mobile phone arm, along with its television businesses, a report claims. Officials at the electronics manufacturer allegedly close to CEO Kazuo Hirai believe the chief is thinking about getting rid of the two loss-making arms of the company, as a measure to rectify its expected full-year net loss forecast of 230 billion yen ($1.9 billion).
Three-year plan involves increasing revenues in Sony PlayStation, device arms
Sony is reducing the number of different products it will be shipping in the future, following poor quarterly financial results. The $1.2 billion loss in November has prompted the company to make a similar change as a recent Samsung announcement, but rather than just cutting down its smartphone range, Sony will also be shrinking its line-up of televisions.
Rumor claims Xperia Z4 to have 5.4-inch Quad HD-resolution display
Sony's next iteration of the Xperia mobile device line could be unveiled as early as January, according to a rumor. It is claimed the Xperia Z4 and a larger Xperia Z4 Ultra will be shown off during CES at the start of next year, barely four months after the company revealed the Xperia Z3 range, and almost two months before the first-year anniversary of the Xperia Z2's launch.
Starbucks adds Powermat wireless charging to 200 San Francisco stores
Starbucks is expanding its wireless charging efforts, by adding more Duracell Powermat charges to 200 locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, ahead of plans to offer it across the United States and possibly in Europe and Asia by next year. For customers without a compatible wireless charging device, Duracell Powermat "Rings" will be available to borrow and return for each visit, or can be bought for $10 each.
Android software updates for more manufacturers revealed
More manufacturers have revealed which of its devices will be getting the upgrade to Android Lollipop in the future. Nvidia, HTC, and Sony have all confirmed their support for Android 5.0, though a rumor suggests that Google's own Nexus 7 Wi-Fi and Nexus 10 will be the earliest existing Nexus devices to gain the software update.
Exclusive version of Xperia Z3 heading to Verizon alongside Sony SmartWatch 3
Two more Sony devices will be added to Verizon's mobile device roster later this month, the carrier has revealed. A repackaged version of the Xperia Z3 will be going on sale, a smartphone called the Xperia Z3v, while the company's Android Wear device, the SmartWatch 3, will also be heading to the carrier's stores in due course.
New line all Playstation 4 remote compatible, waterproofed
Sony Mobile Communications today introduced its new Xperia Z series flagship smartphones -- the Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Compact. The former is a 5.2-inch phone, and the latter a 4.6-incher, but both come with similar internals. The company claims that both are waterproofed, have "enhanced camera experiences and applications," and have an up to two-day battery life. Also debuted was the Xperia Z3 Tablet compact, the only tablet with PlayStation 4 Remote Play.
Xperia Z3 Compact shown in range of colors, usual Xperia styling
Details for two of Sony's IFA launches may have leaked before the company's event on Wednesday. Photographs of a smartphone believed to be the Xperia Z3 compact have surfaced, showing a range of color options for the device, while another image claims to show the complete specifications list for the larger Xperia Z3.
Two smartphones, one smaller Xperia tablet expected for Sony IFA event
Sony is starting to tease devices it is planning to show at IFA next week, with a video trailer hinting that there will be three items revealed. The video, heavily referring to the number three throughout, could be pointing to the launch of the Xperia Z3, the Xperia Z3 Compact, and a tablet which could end up being the Z3 Tablet Compact.
Sprint launches Sharp Aquos Crystal with slim bezel design
Sprint has confirmed it will carry the recently-announced Sharp Aquos Crystal smartphone on its network. Boasting a 5-inch 720p display with minimal bezel and mid-ranged specifications, Sprint will be selling the Aquos Crystal for $240 off-contract and $10 per month under Easy Pay, while the prepaid brand Boost and Virgin will both offer it for $150. Sprint did not advise of when the Aquos Crystal will be available, but the Japanese launch earlier this week points to a release on August 29th.
Accessory manual reveals name of upcoming Sony Xperia tablet
Sony may have confirmed the existence of a new Xperia tablet in support documentation. The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is refereed to by name in a user guide for the BSC10 Bluetooth Speaker with Magnetic Charging Pad, suggesting the company will be going for a smaller tablet as a follow-up to the Xperia Z2 Tablet, launched earlier this year.
Same processor, RAM, camera claimed to be used in Xperia Z3 as in Xperia Z2
The Sony Xperia Z3 has resurfaced again in rumors, this time with a list of alleged specifications. The rumored follow-up to the Xperia Z2 is said to have a 5.15-inch 1920x1080 display, marginally smaller than the predecessor's 5.2-inch version, and though it will apparently be a better smartphone, it appears the new device will only be a minor improvement overall.
Leaked images show rounded edges on Sony Xperia Z3
The Sony Xperia Z3 has allegedly resurfaced in another round of reportedly-leaked images. The shots of the follow-up to the Xperia Z2 give an all-round view of the rumored smartphone, with one image comparing its physical size against the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 suggesting it to be just as tall a device, but will have a similar narrow display to its predecessor.
Xperia C3 focuses on self-portrait photography with selfie apps
Just as rumored yesterday, Sony has launched an Xperia smartphone with selfie-friendly features. The Xperia C3 will notably ship with a front-facing soft LED flash beside a 5-megapixel wide-angle front camera, with extra functionality aimed at self portraits including the Smile Shutter, double tapping the back cover to take shots, and automatic scene recognition with HDR and automatic flash in its Superior Auto mode.
Incoming Sony Xperia smartphone claimed to have selfie-friendly front-facing flash
Sony could be preparing to launch a new selfie-friendly smartphone as soon as tomorrow, according to promotional materials and an image leak. An unnamed smartphone has surfaced in photographs, with the device apparently including a front-facing flash for better self portraits, while Sony's Xperia Twitter account is promoting a launch for tomorrow with a suspiciously-dark selfie post.
Leaked specifications suggest Xperia Z3 Compact to have similar specification to Z2
Specifications for the rumored Sony Xperia Z3 Compact have allegedly leaked. Following after a photograph surfaced purportedly showing the smaller smartphone next to the full-size Xperia Z3, the Xperia Z3 Compact is claimed to have relatively similar specifications to the current Xperia Z2 flagship, albeit with a marginally smaller 4.5-inch 720x1280-resolution display.
Leaked images suggest Xperia Z3 will use same design as Xperia Z2
The follow-up to the Xperia Z2 has allegedly been spotted in leaked photographs, next to a smaller version. The rumored Xperia Z3 is shown beside what is believed to be the Xperia Z3 Compact, with neither device appearing to stray from the hardware specifications nor the physical design language used by the company's current flagship smartphone.
Xperia T3 measures 7mm thick, uses 5.3-inch 720p Triluminos display
Sony has unveiled another Xperia smartphone, this time a mid-ranged offering in a stainless steel frame measuring just 7mm (0.27 inches) thick and weighing 148g (5.2 ounces). Following a similar construction to earlier Xperia models, the slender Xperia T3 boasts a 5.3-inch 1280x720 Triluminos IPS display using Bravia Engine 2, giving the smartphone a pixel density of 277ppi.
Sony Xperia Z2 picks up where the Xperia Z1 left off
It was only late October last year that we reviewed what was Sony Xperia Z1, which was then Sony's flagship handset. Fast forward six months and Sony is already shipping its successor, the Xperia Z2. If you already have the Xperia, you needn't fret too much as the Z2 brings with it a few, but useful, enhancements. However, it does highlight just how competitive the Android smartphone market is and just how quickly the pace of development is taking place as companies seek to gain any advantage in trying to capture a bigger slice of the multibillion dollar smartphone market.
Smaller display, body in ZL2, keeps processor, RAM, rear camera
Sony has launched the follow-up to its Xperia ZL in Japan. Where the original effectively copied the Xperia Z and slimmed the device down, the Xperia ZL2 performs a similar trick with the Xperia Z2, switching out the 5.2-inch 1080p display for a 5-inch version in a smaller body, but still manages to keep similar specifications to its full-size counterpart.
Rogers, Fido among providers to see Sony phone by month end
Canadians holding out for one of Sony's latest phones need wait no longer than the end of May. The Sony Xperia M2, a mid-range phone with Xperia Z2 styling and less power, will be making it to Canada through carriers Rogers and Fido. An unlocked version of the phone is to follow, available through Sony's online store.
Leak on sony Google+ page claimed as mistake, reveals software bundle
Sony could be offering the Xperia Z2 smartphone through Verizon in the future, according to a leaked image, though this may not be the case. Sony denies the rumor, which is based on a photograph uploaded to the company's official Google+ page before being taken down, claiming the posting was a mistake, and reiterating its already-confirmed release plans for the United States this summer.
Sony's Xperia Z2 to initially be released in US via online store
Sony has confirmed that its Xperia Z2 smartphone will be initially released in the US by way of its online store. Offering a 20.7-megapixel rear camera and a 5.2-inch screen, the latest Sony flagship phone has generated a considerable amount of enthusiasm. The Z2 will be available for purchase this summer as an unlocked version.
Xperia Z2 Tablet with 10.1-inch display initially shipping without LTE
Sony has opened up pre-orders for its Xperia Z2 Tablet in the United States, via its website and through some Sony Stores. Launched at Mobile World Congress in February, the waterproof follow-up to the Xperia Z1 Tablet will be shipping on May 4th, with the 16GB model being sold for $500 and the larger-capacity 32GB version selling for $600.
More Xperia devices added to Android KitKat update list by Sony
Sony is starting to roll out Android 4.4 to some of its smartphone range. As confirmed in November last year, the Xperia Z1, Xperia Z1 Compact, and Xperia Z Ultra are all receiving the Android KitKat update, though final timing depends on the market and carrier, with a company blog post also giving some hints as to when other Xperia devices will see the new mobile operating system.
Software bundle supplied with Samsung Galaxy S5 estimated to be worth $575
Samsung has detailed the free and discounted software and services offered with its new flagship Galaxy S5. The collection, estimated to be worth more than $575 according to Android Central, will include subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek +, LinkedIn Premium, Map My Fitness, Run Keeper, Skimble, Lark, Box, Evernote, and Bitcasa, as well as coupons for Blurb and Cut the Rope 2, among other additions.
Mid-range Xperia M2 takes style from Xperia Z2, lowers specification
The Xperia M2 and the Xperia Z2 Tablet both launched at the same time as the Xperia Z2 earlier today. One attempts to be a value-priced alternative to the Xperia Z2 in appearance and functionality, while the other takes after the name and offers a far larger surface to use. Electronista stayed at the Sony exhibit to look over the two other devices, and work out if they are worth a second glance when compared to the new flagship smartphone.
5.2-inch Xperia Z2 smartphone tested shortly after unveiling
Earlier today at Mobile World Congress, Sony unveiled the upgraded version of its previous flagship Android smartphone, the Xperia Z1, alongside two other devices. The Xperia Z2 appears to be similar to the original, but with a number of improvements. Electronista travelled to Sony's stand at the trade show to try out the device, in order to find out if it is as impressive as Sony makes it appear.
Z2 devices powered by SnapDragon 801 processor
At the Barcelona Mobile World Congress, Sony has taken the wraps off a trio of devices at its pre-expo keynote. Shown today by CEO Kazuo Hirai are the Xperia M2 midrange phone, and the premium Xperia Z2 smartphones coupled with the Xperia Z2 tablet.
Details of upcoming Sony Xperia smartphone, tablet leak
The rumored Sony Xperia D6503 "Sirius" smartphone has allegedly leaked in a new video walkthrough, showing a number of features of the device. Specifications for another Sony device has also surfaced ahead of Mobile World Congress, with the Xperia Z2 tablet, codenamed "Castor," claimed to have a 10.1-inch Triluminos display with a resolution of 1920x1200.
On-device answerphone, slow-motion video effects touted in Sirius smartphone
In a similar manner to a recent Samsung leak, images of what are claimed to be the user interface of an upcoming Sony smartphone have surfaced. Claimed to be taken from the codenamed Sirius device, the screenshots apparently show that the device being used is capable of recording video at a 4K resolution, along with an answering machine function built into the device itself, instead of relying on a carrier.
Post-CES smartphone launches from Sony offer modest specifications
Sony has launched two more devices in its Xperia smartphone range, though unlike the Xperia Z1S shown at CES, the pair appear to be more modest offerings. The Xperia T2 Ultra boasts a 6-inch 720p display with Triluminos and Mobile Bravia Engine 2 for mobile, while the Xperia E1 opts for a smaller and lower-resolution 4-inch 800x480 screen.
5.2-inch Xperia smartphone could be joined by new Sony tablet
Sony could be preparing to unveil a new flagship smartphone in the next month, according to a rumor. The codename "Sirius" device is tipped to be launched at Mobile World Congress in February, though it is possible that another device, a high-end tablet codenamed the Sony "Castor" could also make an appearance at the Barcelona-based trade show.
Upgrade takes another shot at Android market
After achieving less-than-stellar sales with the Xperia Z, ZL and Z1, Sony has introduced the revamped Z1S as its latest attempt to establish a stronghold in the high-end Android market. The handset features a faster processor and an upgraded camera, while retaining the waterproof construction of its predecessors. We spent some time using the new phone at CES to see how it compares with the competition.
Samsung updates notifications on Galaxy Gear for Twitter, Facebook, Gmail
Samsung has issued an update for the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, improving the notifications on the device. Messages and tweets from Gmail, Twitter, Google Hangouts, and Facebook Messenger can now be partially read on the wristwear, reports Pocket-Lint, with changes to Smart Relay making the switch between viewing information on the watch and a smartphone easier. The lift-and-pause gesture for activating the clock has also been improved.
International version of Xperia Z1f to have Android 4.3 onboard
The rumored Sony Xperia Z1 Mini has reportedly reached the FCC for testing, as the company prepares it for launch in the US and Europe. The filing for the smaller version of the Xperia Z1, previously called the Xperia Z1S, offers little in the way of new information for the device, except that it has the model number D5503 and given the codename "Amami."
Miniature Xperia Z1 surfaces briefly on Sony Mobile website
A miniature version of the Sony Xperia Z1 could be on its way, after a listing for a device called the Xperia Z1s appeared briefly on the Sony Mobile website before being pulled offline. The device is thought to be a rebranded version of the Xperia Z1f, a device that originally launched in Japan for NTT DoCoMo in early October.
Smartphones, smart watch sold off-contract, unlocked from Sony directly
Sony has put two new Xperia smartphones and an upgraded smart watch on sale in the United States, off-contract. The unlocked Xperia Z Ultra LTE and Xperia Z1 have gone on sale through the company's online store, and are accompanied by the follow-up to the SmartWatch, the SmartWatch 2, which also goes on sale today.
Marketing efforts also a factor in Sony's change of priorities
Sony could be relaxing its push to release smartphones in the United States, in order to protect its sales in Japan and Europe. CEO Kaz Hirai advised that, in terms of smartphone sales, Sony's "biggest priority is maintaining our share in Japan or increasing it," as it attempts to fight off the rising popularity of the iPhone in its home country.