Listen, EA, you're one of the biggest video game publishers in the world. It's not my place to tell you what to do, and far be it from me to say that you have to support Android's standard online and social gaming featureset in your games. But it would probably be a good idea. Case in point: the over-the-top basketball game NBA Jam. The title just got updated with Google Play Games support.
Going to the ball game is wickedly expensive, which is probably why aftermarket ticket services are flourishing. But they're not exactly intuitive: you have to deal with shipping or meeting the seller in person, which is often a huge barrier if you're strapped for time. Enter Gametime, an app previously limited to iOS, which tries to combine great deals on last-minute ticket sales with a friendly, mobile-focused interface.
Here's the gist: sports venues have unsold tickets to a game, which the Gametime app features with significant discounts, "up to 80% off." You buy the tickets through the Gametime app, and immediately after paying you've got a scannable ticket on your phone.
Game publishers can't debut a new mainstream console title these days without pushing out a free smartphone companion app to go with it, so here comes the latest offering. Actually, this one's a bit late, considering that NBA 2K14 launched for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 back on October 1st. Nevertheless, 2K Games has released MyNBA2K14 to enhance the experience of anyone who purchased the title for either platform.
There seem to be two distinct AAA strategies evolving in the mobile gaming world: make a premium product and charge a premium price (typified by most of Square-Enix's RPGs) or make a premium product that's free or incredibly cheap and make people pay for almost everything (Electronic Arts, Glu, and many others... including Square-Enix). With NBA 2K14, 2K Games is standing in stark contrast to EA's blockbuster Madden and FIFA series.
It's that time of the year. Flowers are blooming, temperatures are rising, and college basketball is in full swing. Thankfully, ESPN has updated its Bracket Bound app to bring fans up-to-date with the latest scores, conference standings, and forecasts for the 75th NCAA Tournament. As before, you can quickly access game results, schedules, player and team stats, video clips, and team-related discussions on Twitter. With this release, ESPN has also added a customizable list of shortcuts in the navigation menu for your favorite teams.
Manufacturers are sticking Bluetooth into everything these days: washers, dryers, ovens, cars... even a basketball. Thanks to a company called 94Fifty, the smart basketball of the future is a thing that you'll actually be able to buy fairly soon.
The ball features internal sensors that monitor everything from your dribble strength, backspin, shot arc and speed, consistency, and how long you hold the ball with one hand while dribbling. It then sends all this info back to your Bluetooth-connected smartphone with the 94Fifty app, so you can see the results.
Good news, basketball fans. Google has been gradually upgrading the Now service to include a wider range of sports teams, and today Division I NCAA basketball teams from all over the US can be manually added to your personal Now results. Go into the Google Now settings page, tap "Sports," and search for your favorite school. Only basketball is supported at the moment - here's hoping that football teams are added before the season starts.
One of the most often requested additions to Google Now's card system is college sports for the US, and it looks like at least some people are finally starting to see it. A very small number of Google Now users have seen cards appear for their favorite NCAA football and basketball teams (sorry, women's ice hockey fans, no dice). The results seem to be entirely contextual at the moment; you can't add college teams in the settings menu yet, but a few sports fans are seeing the relevant cards appear after they search for their team.
Well, that didn't take that long at all. Less than a month after we first heard about Shaquille O'Neal starring in a post-apocalyptic game that features mutant zombies (yes, you read that right), it's already released! The not-quite-sequel to Shaq Fu, a game so bad that people devote actual time and money to liberating it from existence, brandishes an entirely different gameplay style. Whereas the original was a fighting game along the lines of Mortal Kombat, this game is closer to the second week of Dikembe Mutombo's 4 1/2 Weeks To Save The World.
I'd like to start this piece Peter Jackson style: with a longer-than-necessary flashback to provide background on this story. Back in the 90s, kids were all about two things: basketball and fighting games. We loved Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Space Jam and Shaquille O'Neal. Or so the legends go. As a result, in 1994, some genius marketer aimed to put the two together to create Shaq Fu. It did not fare well.