This was a big week for iPad releases and mobile gaming as a whole with San Diego Comic Con kicking off on Thursday. Here are some of the big stories that broke this week. On Tuesday, Blizzard Entertainment opened the first wing of the Curse of Naxxramas expansion for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The Arachnid Quarter is free to play, but the next four wings will cost 700 gold per wing or $6.99 per wing. There are also bundle packages available for those who want to open all five wings at once, but they do not give you early access to the remaining four wings which will be opening weekly for the next four weeks.
AMC and Next Games released a very brief teaser trailer (see below) for The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land. AMC will be previewing the game at Comic Con booth #4237.
Bandai Namco is unveiling three games in San Diego at booth #121. The games include a collectible card game called Outcast Odyssey, Pac-Man Friends and a mobile version of the 2010 Xbox Live title Pac-Man CEDX.
Apple TV isn't really known for video games, but app developer Rolocule has changed all that with a new title called Dance Party. The game is available as an iOS app that allows a player to use their iPod or iPhone as a motion controller to control the movement of a dancer on their television. The app uses AirPlay and Rolocule’s tracking technology called Rolomotion to make the magic happen.
As of right now, Dance Party only offers a limited number of songs, but it does allow you to track the amount of calories you burn while playing. The game also features a real time multiplayer mode for up to four people, and a "Global Fitness Battle" mode is coming soon.
In celebration of Comic-Con kicking off in San Diego, Marvel starting today is offering a special all-access pass to its digital library. Comic fans can now gain access to Marvel Unlimited for only $0.99. One-dollar will give you access to over 15,000 digital comics for one month. To take advantage of this deal, go to http://marvel.com/mu and use the promo code SDCC14 when purchasing a monthly subscription. The price will go to $9.99 after your first month is complete.
iOS users can use the free Marvel Unlimited app to read the digital comics on their iPad or iPhone. The service also works online with most browsers and on select Android devices. Users can save up to 12 comics on their device for offline reading. This means you're not getting 15,000 comics to keep for only $0.99, but you should be able to rip through big events such as the Age of Ultron, depending on how fast you read.
As Apple announced its third quarter earnings yesterday after the closing bell, it disclosed that iPad sales numbered 13.28 million for the June quarter, indicating a drop off of 9.2% year-over-year. Despite the disappointing numbers, Apple remains confident about the iPad's future.
During yesterday's earnings conference call, CEO Tim Cook said that iPad sales met Apple's internal expectations, but he realized they didn't meet many investors' expectations. He pointed to several factors - "our sales were gated in-part by a reduction in channel inventory and in-part by market softness in certain parts of the world. For example IDC’s latest estimate indicates a 5% overall decline in the U.S. tablet market, as well as a decline in the Western European tablet market in the June quarter."
Griffin Technology today announced the Survivor Slim for iPad Air. The new Survivor case is a sleeker updated version that provides the same protection as its predecessor, according to Griffin. The Survivor Air features a shatter-resistant shell with silicone bumper and a "touch-through" screen protector to keep your iPad's display scratch free. It also includes a built-in kickstand and flexible button / port covers to fend against dust and other debris. The Survivor for iPad Air is available now for $79.99. It is available in black only.
Amazon has added hundreds of thousands of new titles and new Prime Playlists to its newly launched music streaming service. The new tracks are from both new and existing artists including Linkin Park, Shakira and Skrillex, just to name a few. Prime Music launched on June 12 as part of Amazon's Prime subscription service.
Prime Music gives users access to over a million songs without any ads or playback restrictions. Users can also download songs from the Prime Music catalog for offline listening. The service is available on Amazon Kindle devices, iOS, Android and PCs or Macs. iOS users can download the free Amazon cloud player to access the Prime Music catalog on their iPhone or iPad. The app supports all devices running iOS 6.0 or later, and it can play songs already stored on your iTunes account.
AMC has teamed up with Next Games to create The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land -- a new mobile game based on the hit television show. The trailer posted below will also be shown at AMC’s The Walking Dead booth at Comic Con International in San Diego from July 24 - 27.
The game will allow players to experience the same zombie apocalypse scenarios as the characters on AMC's popular The Walking Dead television series.
“Our approach is to stay true to the main themes of the TV show: survival strategy, finding safety for your people, balancing between right and wrong and, of course, action when it comes to fighting against the hordes of walkers," explained Teemu Huuhtanen, CEO, Next Games.
Gaming has come a long way on iOS, especially after Apple opened its doors to allow third-party external controllers, but it is still not the same experience as playing high-quality games on a PC. This is why Nvidia has decided to bring high-quality gaming to mobile devices by releasing the Shield Tablet powered by a Tegra K1 processor normally only found on extreme gaming PCs.
The Shield Tablet was created specifically for PC gamers who also enjoy playing video games on the go. The new tablet features an 8-inch 1920 x 1200 display and it has enough power to run Unreal Engine 4 so players can access games like DirectX 12. The Nvidia Shield Tablet is equipped with front facing stereo speakers (in case you don't own headphones), two 5MP cameras and a microSD slot for up to 128GB of expandable storage. Other specs include 2GB of RAM, WiFi N with MIMI 2×2, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS w/ GLONASS.
There hasn't been much talk about the next-generation iPad mini because everyone is mostly focused on Apple's larger iPhone 6 models and rumored iWatch. However, a new report from the Chinese site UDN claims that the third-generation iPad mini will be dropping the "with Retina display" from its name in favor of the word "Air". This is because Apple is reportedly planning to launch a 30 percent thinner iPad mini later this year.
The iPad mini with Retina display is 7.5mm thin, and Apple plans to make it thinner by using a new manufacturing technique to shave off two millimeters. The iPad mini Air will also allegedly be powered by Apple's new and faster A8 processor.
If the rumor mill is to be believed, then Apple plans to release a staggering amount of new products this fall.
Blizzard Entertainment has released a preview for some of the cards from the first Hearthstone expansion, Curse of Naxxramas. The first wing of Naxxramas, the Arachnid Quarter, opens tomorrow for free, and will be followed by four additional wings each week. The four additional unnamed wings will cost 700 per wing or $6.99 per wing to open.
The Naxxramas wings will also be available in bundles for those interested in buying all five at once. The bundles do not offer any special benefits, such as early access, but they will ensure that you will get immediate access when each wing opens. Players who use gold to purchase an individual wing will also have the option to buy smaller bundles. For example, if you unlock the Arachnid Quarter wing for free tomorrow, and decide to buy the second wing for 700 gold the following week, you will be able to pay the 3-wing bundle price for the remaining wings.