My, how time flies. It only feels like a few weeks ago when we were writing our first news round-up, and here we are on the fourth instalment already. Still, there's no rest for the wicked - here's our pick of this week's headlines.
Wii and DS online shut down
They may have had a good innings, but almost a decade after the DS's launch, and a good eight years after the Wii hit shelves, Nintendo are set to pull the plug on the "Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection" on each system on the 20th May - a decision which has far ranging consequences. While flicking the switch will mean that games' online multiplayer modes, leaderboards and match making will no longer be available, meaning you won't be able to face off with your cousin on Mario Kart on the DS, or beat up your distant brother on Super Smash Bros on the Wii, it's reassuring to know that both the Wii Shop Channel, and the DSi Store will not be affected by the change - so you'll still be able to download the hundreds of download-only titles available across each console. It goes without saying that the Wii U and 3DS also won't be affected by these changes. Phew!
Xbox One price cut
After seemingly losing too much ground to Sony's cheaper (and substantially smaller) Playstation 4, Microsoft have announced a price cut for their Xbox One, just some three months after the console's launch. Bringing it down from the previous record high to a slightly more palatable £399.99, the console makers are throwing in a digital download of upcoming multiplayer only sci-fi shooter (and the Xbox One's great white hope) Titanfall as an added incentive. While outlets, including the BBC have reported this as bringing the console "in line" with Sony's PS4, it's probably worth pointing out that at £349.99, the PS4 still has £50 on the Xbox One, even with the price cut - although it does come with a "free game".
LEGO The Hobbit emerges in April
Onto somewhat happier news now, with the much anticipated (by us, anyway) LEGO The Hobbit receiving a release on 11th April. Set to hit PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PS Vita, 3DS and PC, LEGO The Hobbit takes the hairy footed action of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and the most recent Desolation of Smaug, before giving it a thoroughly plasticy makeover. Set to combine the usual block bashing, LEGO building, charming co-op action as the previous games, the game will be hitting shelves just a few months after the LEGO Movie Videogame was released, which has us somewhat concerned. With all LEGO games developed by Traveller's Tales (or sister studio TT Fusion), the two most recent games - LEGO Marvel and LEGO Movie - have both been incredible games that have been marred by bugs and random freezes. With LEGO The Hobbit having yet to be shown to the press (at least in the UK), we're hoping it's just a scheduling conflict that's prevented this one being shown. Fingers crossed it's a return to form.
Pokemon comes to Netflix
With Poke fever still bubbling away here at Everybody Plays, this is a news item that has us particularly excited. Starting this weekend (1st March), TV and film streaming service Netflix will be adding some Pokemon to its line-up. With two films (Pokemon the Movie: Black and Pokemon the Movie: White), and two full series of the TV show to boot (Pokemon Black & White and the very first series, Pokemon Indigo League), it's certainly a great start, although we still can't help but feel a bit miffed that we didn't get the amazing Pokedex Collector's Box Sets like the Aussies did.
GCHQ had eyes on Kinect
And to finish on a slightly more sinister note... The Guardian today revealed a new series of leaks from the UK's spying communication headquarters, GCHQ. Along with the revelations that agents had tapped into Yahoo webcam chats, but had had to discontinue the practice after it ran into too high a portion of dirty streams, it was also revealed that GCHQ had looked into the possibility of hacking into the Xbox camera, Kinect, as the camera would broadcast "fairly normal webcam traffic". Considering the consumer backlash when Microsoft announced that the Xbox One would require Kinect to be plugged in in order to function, and how people's privacy concerns were mostly written off, the company are likely thanking their lucky stars that this information wasn't leaked sooner, as it would have proved the consumers right... Still. Maybe it'd be an idea to stick something over the Kinect sensor when you're not using it after all?