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Posts with tag mobile-wow

The Razer Switchblade concept slithers its way to GDC 2011

Razer was on hand at the Intel booth on the GDC expo floor with a sealed-off concept unit of the Razer Switchblade, the company's new small-form gaming PC. Travis Wannlund, Razer's global community manager, gave me the ins and outs of the hardware. The unit has a touchscreen to replace the pointer and also accepts a USB or Bluetooth mouse as an input device. The keyboard is made up of small LED screens that work as contextual keys, changing to ability keys with pictures, alphabetical keys, arrows, and more.

The Switchblade was cycling through games, showing off different context-sensitive key setups depending on the game. Quake Live placed down a row of abilities ranging from grenades and rockets, alongside buttons for walk and crouch. A WASD array also popped up, and presumably a mouse would facilitate the view space. I couldn't touch it, of course, as the machine was guarded by a nefarious plastic box, but it was there, working, and impressing the heck out of everyone who stopped by.

The Switchblade looks very promising, even in its concept stage, showing that Razer intends to push a whole lot of boundaries with its new little darling. It is almost as if the machine were built with the express purpose of playing a game like WoW on the go, with other games as an added bonus. Now we just have to watch and wait, hoping this little beauty goes from concept to production as soon as possible.

Filed under: Events, Hardware

Activision Blizzard staff layoffs may nix WoW mobile

Previously we reported that a mobile version of WoW was being seriously considered at Blizzard. However, with the finalization of the Activision Blizzard merger, the odds of being able to play WoW on your iPhone just got a lot lower. The newly-merged company is laying off 53 employees in the Issaquah, Washington area by September 27, 2008. Additionally, they are evaluating whether they will keep Vivendi Games Mobile, an arm of the company which develops games for the various mobile markets, like phones. If Activision Blizzard does decide to divest themselves of VGM, you can probalby kiss your hopes for WoW mobile goodbye since the synergy and cost-effectiveness of having the mobile developers under the same roof will disappear. I'm not saying that the WoW developers aren't beyond creating their own mobile infrastructure, or even paying higher prices for it to an external company, but it will be much less likely if they don't have the luxury of teaming with folks who all report up the through same corporate food chain.

Among the other companies which Activision Blizzard says are eligible for the chopping block are Sierra Online, Massive Entertainment and Swordfish Studios, with staffing "realignments" likely at Radical Entertainment and High Moon Studios -- the loss of any of which will likely have no effect on WoW development, but may affect other games. Activision has announced that a few highly-anticipated titles are on the bubble, including Ghostusters and Double Fine's Brutal Legend among others. I sure hope they don't mess with Double Fine, since I am a huge Tim Schafer fan, but the upside is that it looks like the new company will have an even stronger focus on keeping their cash cow, WoW, healthy and grazing in the pasture for a long while to come.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Hardware

Intel technology research may lead to mobile WoW

The idea of mobile MMORPGs has come up before. Blizzard is on board with the idea of a mobile WoW interface of some sort, and have even hired mobile engineers and designers. Second Life has started down the path too. Still, for all the promise of being able to run Deadmines while you're stuck in the back of a car on a cross country drive, or churning out Netherweave Bags while you're waiting at the clinic for your semi-annual medical checkup, it seems like there's hurdles yet to overcome. The biggest one, of course, is getting a mobile device to pack enough power to render WoW's graphics and keep track of all the information that WoW needs to run.

Luckily, it looks like Intel and Comverse are on the case for us. The two companies have worked together to create a 3D streaming system that compiles and renders all the graphics and data of an MMORPG on a central server, then sends it to the mobile device. You can read their researcher's post about it on the Intel blog site. You can also see the process demonstrated with Second Life in the video above, although there's not really a good shot of the mobile device screen to show us how well it actually works, unfortunately.

Still, if they can get the technology working feasibly, it should definitely put us one giant step closer to a relatively full fledged mobile WoW client. When the day comes that we can grind dailies on our iPhones, it may be that we'll have Intel to thank.

[Thanks to Bitterzoet for the tip!]

Filed under: News items, Hardware

WoW Insider Show live tomorrow afternoon on WoW Radio


Yes, it's that time of the week again. Our illustrious podcast goes live tomorrow afternoon at 3:30pm EST on WoW Radio, and while it probably won't be as crazy as last week, we've got another fun-packed show for you. This week, Matthew Rossi will be on with Turpster and I, so we'll hear what he has to say about warriors and shamans in 2.4. Plus, we've got Love is in the Air news to cover, as well as Brutallus running rampant (and M'uru going missing), and what an official version of mobile WoW might mean.

Log in to WoW Radio tomorrow at 3:30pm EST, and log on to IRC at irc.mmoirc.com in the #wowradio channel to chat with us and all the other listeners. See you then.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Podcasting, Humor, WoW Insider Show

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