Batman Arkham HD Collection Coming to Xbox One and PS4

When it comes to superhero video games, few did it as well as the Batman Arkham series, gripping fans as they explored the prison and then the city in the hopes of fighting crime in Gotham. If you enjoyed the games but miss being able to play them on your Xbox One or PS4 you may be in luck with leaked images showing the Batman Arkham HD Collection.

Leaked via an image sent by a reported GameStop employee, the images appear to show a release date of the 10th June, with preorders going live today (19th April). The collection will include both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City with “updated visuals optimised for Playstation 4 and Xbox One” while also letting you enjoy all the DLC that was previously released for both of the games.

With the last game in the Arkham series, Arkham Knight, giving you control over the Batmobile and a larger city, it didn’t take long before the technical problems scared people off of the game with many companies even offering refunds to anyone who had purchased it on PC. With the Arkham Knight being the last game made by Rocksteady for the dark hero, could this collection tide over fans while we await news about the next superhero series to grip our hearts?

Sony PS4 Neo May Boast 2304 Core Polaris GPU and 4K

In a move that may replicate their moves around the PS4 launch, Sony appears to be making a major and bold move with the next-gen PS4. Dubbed PS4.5 or PS4K by various sources, the latest codename to come out is Neo. In addition to a new name, the new PlayStation will also feature completely upgraded internals with improved performance. What’s more, the console may even support 4K upscaling.

According to GiantBomb, the Neo will take the current internal hardware and simply make it better. The GDDR5 stays at 8GB but faster modules bring the bandwidth up to 218 GB/s. The 8 Jaguar cores get a clock speed boost to 2.1Ghz, up from 1.6Ghz. The most drastic change is reserved for the GPU, going from 800Mhz to 911Mhz and moving to 14nm Polaris. Furthermore, the CU count gets bumped from 18 to 36.

If Polaris keeps the number of stream processors in each CU, this means the GPU will have 2304 cores. This is smack where Polaris 10 is expected to be and will be a 290X/390X replacement, crazy for a console. What’s more likely is that AMD has shrunk the number of cores per CU with Polaris which would help with the promised efficiency and IPC gains. This would give a more believable core count of 1152 to 1728, much more reasonable numbers.

Finally, the Neo will feature 4K upscaling of 1080p content. This fits with rumours of 4K support and would make the Neo better suited for 4K TV sets. Upscaling isn’t as good as native resolution but it can come performance free with dedicated hardware. This also meshes with the requirements for PlayStation VR, with the better GPUbeing able to offer console levels of detail for the headset. The biggest surprise in my mind is the low $399 cost, the same as the original PS4.

Sony Planning PlayStation VR Demos at GameStop

As we’ve mentioned and time and time again, VR is a really VR sell unless the consumer has a chance to try it. Being told over and over again about VR without a chance to experience it as a new form of content consumption won’t sell many headsets. To combat this, Sony is planning to place their PlayStation VR headsets at many retail locations, mainly GameStop it seems. What’s more, the demo will hit the floor starting June.

Honestly, an in-store demo is pretty much expected as this point. Sony won’t be the only VR vendor as they will be sharing space with the HTC Vive demo units as well. The plan is for GameStop to provide over 500,000 experiences between June and December of this year. According to GameStop, the setup for PlayStation VR is easier, allowing for more units to be set up. This isn’t a surprise as GameStop is used to hosting console demo units while the HTC Vive will require a PC.

Finally, the reveal that PlayStation VR demos will arrive in June is a bit of a surprise. This means Sony plans to have the system all finalized and enough content created by June to start displaying it. To me, this suggests that Sony won’t have production ramped up to meet expected supply till October which is when the headset will officially launch. Given the supply issues facing the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, this is not the lease surprising.

How To Make Titanfall 2 Better – Mechs With Swords!

We all love video games which stretch the imagination and add a new form of combat to the mix, be that controlling drones to spot your prey before they see you or having echo goggles to locate the biggest threat before you’ve even left your cardboard box, Titanfall did the opposite. Rather than going small, Titanfall wanted to make combat bigger, and it did so by introducing giant mechs, so how will Titanfall 2 beat this? Mechs with Swords!

Titanfall had two battlegrounds mixed into one, the fast and agile pilots running for cover amongst the giant towering Mech suits that seemed to rain down on the battlefield. When it came to combat you would often find yourself preparing a volley of rounds only to have a shield deflect them back at you, a fate which often caused pilots and mechs alike to fall, so the natural inclusion of swords will topple the shields kill count in classic mecha style!

With Titanfall 2 also offering a campaign mode, something that was sorely missing from the original, players can expect to enjoy the chaos on PC, Xbox One, and PS4.  With the original game suffering from a post-release drop in players, let us hope that Respawn, its creators, and masterminds, are able to keep the game running longer so more are able to enjoy the mecha battles that they will always crave for.

PS4 Update Sneaks in Key New Features

While most people know that the new firmware update for PlayStation 4 allows gamers to remote play via Windows PC (but not Windows 7, sadly), Sony managed to sneak through a number of appealing new features that didn’t make the headlines, including support for 4TB external drives.

Thankfully, A reddit thread has emerged, detailing all the “tweaks” introduced by the update, from those advertised by Sony to ones discovered by PS4 owners during their own investigations:

Detailed Tweaks:

  1. User Scheduled/Created Events;
  2. Play Together button – easily invite people in your party to the same game;
  3. Friend online notifications can be turned on or off on a person to person basis;
  4. Appear offline;
  5. Remote play on PC/Mac;
  6. Dailymotion Live Support for streaming, etc;
  7. Teens (13-17) can now create their own accounts with limited access to play offline games, rather than having to use a sub-account;
  8. Easier to search for communities by text, language, time zone;
  9. You can now share OTHER people’s activities so your friend’s can see it too;
  10. Tweaks to messaging – you can see short replies to messages without jumping to a different screen;
  11. You can TAG other players when sharing video and screenshots (if you have your FB/Twitter permissions enabled, the tags will carry over to the sharing on those sites);
  12. You can check the status of PSN (this is a feature? just use the website…);
  13. USB music player is back;
  14. Improvements to PS+ (improvements to managing online storage and ability to see friends who play the same games as you).

Unannounced Tweaks:

  1. You can disable the screenshot on-screen notification (in Settings under Notifications) allowing you to take multiple screenshots in a row without the screenshot taken pop-up. The sound indicating the screenshot was taken still functions as normal;
  2. Life From PlayStation Improvements:
  • There’s a search field on the game list now. Previously you had to use the “global” search, that’d return matches for everything (pre-recorded, videos, screenshots) and not just live streams;
  • You can pin up to three games that will stay on the top of the list. I watch Bloodborne and DS2 streams all the time, now I don’t have to scroll down every time to find them;
  1. You can set a party member limit now. From 2-8 people;
  2. Issue with early PS4s and >2TB HDDs has (probably) been fixed.

Sony PlayStation Remote Play Doesn’t Support Windows 7

After dropping the PlayStation 4 System Update v3.50 today, we’re now finding out more details about the new feature. Using the new Remote Play functionality, PS4 owners can now stream to PC and Max OSX systems. This expands Remote Play from just certain Sony mobile gaming devices and Xperia phones. However, it looks like Remote Play has been limited certain Windows and OSX versions only.

According to the official blog post from Sony, only Windows 10 and 8.1 are officially supported on the PC side. For OSX, Yosemite or El Capitan will be required. This means for the nearly 50% of PC users still on Windows 7, they won’t be able to enjoy Remote Play at all without having to upgrade. Lack of developer resources to target Windows 7 doesn’t seem to be the issue nor is hardware compatibility. In fact, even the 32bit versions of Windows 10 and 8.1 are supported.

With hardware requirements stretching back to the days of the Windows 7 launch, it seems lacking that Sony is supporting OS’s from 2 and a half years ago. Going forward, we may see more and more software dropping Windows 7 support, making the upgrade to Windows 10 ever more necessary. The day that Windows 7 is untenable still remains beyond the horizon for now.

PlayStation 4 3.50 System Update Arrives Tomorrow

Sony has just announced on their official blog that the latest software update, version 3.50 will be unleashed tomorrow. This includes a host of new social features and the ability to stream PlayStation 4 games to a compatible PC or Mac. Here is a detailed run-down of the changes according to Sony:

New Social Features

Appear Offline

On your Profile tab, we’ve added a new option called ‘Online Status.’ From here, you can choose to ‘Appear Offline.’ This could be useful if you want to play games or watch movies without your friends knowing you’re online. You can designate if you would like to appear offline when you log-in or at any time from your Profile, or by holding down the PS Button on DualShock 4 to bring up the Quick Menu.

Friend Online Notification

Now you can choose to get notified when your friends come online. To receive notifications, select a player on your friends list, press Options, and select ‘Notify When Online.’

On the Events tab, we’re adding the ability to schedule gameplay sessions with your friends. Just select ‘Create Event,’ and you’ll be able to make an invitation for an upcoming gameplay session. Choose the day, time, game, and send it off to your friends. When your event starts, users who registered will automatically be added to a party so you can start playing right away.

You can also share an event to a group, or a community that you’re a member of. Once shared, the event will be sent as a message, or posted to a community wall, and members can register from there

Play Together

This feature allows all members of a Party to see what each person is playing so that you can easily join a friend’s game, or start a new game together.

Remote Play (PC/Mac)

With this update, we’re expanding PS4’s Remote Play capabilities to work with Windows PC and Mac.
Remote Play on PC / Mac is compatible with the following system software:

  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 10 or later
  • OS X 10.10
  • OS X 10.11

You’ll be able to select from the following resolution and frame rate options, depending on your Internet bandwidth.

  • Resolution options: 360p, 540p, 720p (Default: 540p)
  • Frame rate : Standard (30fps), High (60fps) (Default: Standard)

You can use one DualShock 4 as the controller for Remote Play, which needs to be connected to your PC / Mac via a USB cable.

After the system software update launches, you’ll be able to download the Remote Play Installer here.

Along with PS4’s 3.50 system software update, PlayStation App version 3.50 is out tomorrow as well. The main new features of this update are as follows:

  • User Scheduled Event
  • Users can schedule gameplay sessions with friends
  • Dailymotion has been added to Live from PlayStation
  • Other players’ shared activities appear in your activities

That’s a look at some of the big additions in this update. Of course, there are lots of other refinements and improvements to the system software overall.

As you can see, this is a major system update and I’m most interested by the PS4’s Remote Play functionality. Sadly, the maximum bandwidth is only 720P but this could change in the future.

What do you think about the 3.50 system software update’s new features?

PlayStation Plus Satisfaction Rate Nosedives

Sony originally launched their PlayStation Plus service way back in 2010 to offer an enticing package of monthly games with a monetary value which far outweighed the monthly fee. This rightfully received a warm reception and helped Sony to forge a harmonious relationship with the PlayStation community. It’s also important to remember that during the PlayStation 3 days, online play remained free, and PlayStation Plus wasn’t a requirement. Sadly, this was changed once the PlayStation 4 launched and players have to pay the subscription fee to play online.

This isn’t a shocking revelation because Microsoft employed a similar tactic with the Xbox Live subscription service. Not only that, Microsoft even required this to use the Internet Explorer web browser! Thankfully, they have seen sense and granted free access to programs and media applications using a free account. It’s evidently clear that the monthly line-up of PlayStation Plus games has deteriorated in recent years and caused many users to show their displeasure. Even though indie games provide stunning experiences, consumers want to see more mainstream titles to enhance the service’s value proposition. It’s not that simple though because the PlayStation 4’s game library is pretty small compared to the PlayStation 3. Saying that, there’s more than enough third-party games and Sony IPs to keep consumers entertained.

According to a PlayStation Reddit poll, user satisfaction of the service has dropped to a miserable 21.3%. Furthermore, 65.2% felt dissatisfied by the service in one form or another. In comparison, an internal Sony poll in 2012 concluded that over 95% were satisfied. As you can see, this is a drop of more than 70% in just three and a half years. Of course you have to remember that the sample size is fairly small with 3923 responses and might not reflect widespread opinion. However, it’s large enough to provide an indication of user frustration and I wouldn’t be surprised if the results were similar using a larger sample.

Are you happy with the current PlayStation Plus service?

AMD Earnings Call Suggests New Consoles Are Coming in 2016

Even though the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are less than three years old, there’s numerous reports which indicates both console manufacturers could release refreshed models with a higher specification. This is unprecedented for the console industry as the usual business strategy revolves around long hardware lifecycles and encouraging developers to eke out every last inch of performance through optimization. Saying that, the situation in 2016 is quite different due to the rise of mobile and impressive profitability on the PC platform. Furthermore, the current consoles are technically outdated and struggle to maintain 30 frames-per-second at 1920×1080. There’s even been instances where the resolution has been reduced to 720P on the Xbox One which really does showcase the performance problems.

Arguably, Sony is creating a much more powerful version of the PlayStation 4 to coincide with the launch of PlayStation VR. Virtual reality requires a great deal of processing power and the current model will struggle to offer a pleasant user-experience. According to information acquired by Go Nintendo, AMD’s earning call predicts future hardware launches this year and reads:

“In our EESC segment, we had record shipments of our semi-custom SoCs powering the Playstation 4 and Xbox One game consoles,”

“Demand for game consoles looks strong for 2016 and we remain on track to generate additional revenue from new semi-custom business in the second half of 2016.

“Game consoles – we see units going up 2016 to 2015. We’ve also said in the enterprise embedded and semi-custom segment that we will be ramping some new design revenue in the second half of 2016. We have new products being introduced in both the businesses with the new design wins in the second half on the semi-custom side.”

It’s important to remember that this might not be a new Xbox or PlayStation 4, and could refer to Nintendo’s upcoming console, the NX. Whatever the case, I cannot wait to see the announcements during this year and look forward to testing new hardware. Also, if these reports are true, I’m eager to know how console players will react.

Xbox Chief Talks “Xbox One-and-a-Half”

Following strong speculation that Sony is to launch an advanced version of PlayStation 4, dubbed the PS4.5, to offer stronger support for the PlayStation VR headset and 4K output, Xbox Chief Phil Spencer has spoken about the potential of Microsoft jumping on the bandwagon and releasing an “Xbox One-and-a-Half”.

Speaking to press following his keynote at the Microsoft Build 2016 conference, Spencer said, “I’m not a big fan of Xbox One-and-a-half. If we’re going to move forward, I want to move forward in big numbers.”

“For us, our box is doing well,” he added. “It performs, it’s reliable, the servers are doing well. If we’re going to go forward with anything, like I said, I want it to be a really substantial change for people–an upgrade.”

While Microsoft may not be revising the Xbox One as the “Xbox One-and-a-Half”, Spencer has spoken in past weeks about offering hardware upgrades for its console as part of the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) initiative.

“When you look at the console space, I believe we will see more hardware innovation in the console space than we’ve ever seen,” Spencer said last month. “You’ll actually see us come out with new hardware capability during a generation allowing the same games to run backward and forward compatible because we have a Universal Windows Application running on top of the Universal Windows Platform that allows us to focus more and more on hardware innovation without invalidating the games that run on that platform.”

Square Enix Considering “Higher Spec” Version of Final Fantasy XV for PC

While Square Enix has not yet confirmed that its forthcoming JRPG epic Final Fantasy XV will arrive on PC, it seems that, if it does, it will be a “higher spec” version running on DirectX 12. The current version of the game, due out for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later this year, was built using DirectX 11 “generation tech.”

“The DX11 generation tech used for #FFXV is for console only,” a Tweet from the official Final Fantasy XV Twitter account reads. “Once FFXV is out on console we may look at a higher spec version for PC.”

Whether this “higher spec” PC version of the game actually see the light of day is yet to be decided, though, despite admissions from Square Enix that it is “aware of the big call for a PC version.”

“Unfortunately we weren’t able to do simultaneous development on a PC and console version for XV,” FFXV Director Hajime Tabata told Engadget. “We had to focus on the console version and our goal was to maximize, optimize everything for the HD consoles. Once that’s done, then we will definitely take a good, hard look at PC and what we need to do, and consider all our options. But right now we aren’t decided, we’re still considering a lot of things.”

The free Platinum Demo of Final Fantasy XV is available for download on PS4 and Xbox One now.

More PlayStation 4.5 Details Emerge

Following rumours that Sony is working on a 4K version of the PS4 – nicknamed the PlayStation 4.5 – designed to fully exploit the PlayStation VR headset, the Wall Street Journal has effectively confirmed its existence, revealing that the PS4.5 would be released as early as October this year – alongside the PS4, rather than replacing it – and that it would not have any exclusive games or software.

“Existing PlayStation 4 owners would need to buy the new model to take full advantage of the enhanced graphics and power, though it is likely that the current model and the coming one would share the same software catalog,” according to “people familiar with the matter.”

According to the report, Sony would continue production of the standard PlayStation 4, but its presence next to its more powerful cousin would render it more like a budget model of PS4.

The anonymous sources also claim that the PlayStation 4.5 will be announced before the October release of PlayStation VR, meaning that it could be competing for attention with the Nintendo NX at this Summer’s E3 trade fair. If Microsoft gets a move on with its UWP upgrade initiative for Xbox One, 2016 could be pivotal year for the future of consoles, and usher in the death of five-year-plus console cycles.

 

Sony PlayStation VR May Make Its Way to PC

Over the years, there has been some hardware movement from consoles to PC, with things like the Xbox controllers moving over. In what might be the biggest hardware interoperability move, Sony is considering making the PlayStation VR work with PCs. This will allow gamers to use the upcoming VR headset on not only their PS4 but also their PC if they have one.

“Since PlayStation 4 shares a lot of its components with PCs, the possibility is there. At the moment we are focused on games and we are not ready to make any announcements at this stage, but I’d say there will be an expansion into various fields.”

The PlayStation VR currently sits a bit below the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, sporting a lower resolution display. However, the Sony display is significantly cheaper than its competitors and should still allow for an enjoyable VR gaming experience. It also sports a higher refresh rate at 120Hz, more than the usual 90Hz. Furthermore, there will be synergy between the PC and PS4, with users being able to enjoy a VR experience on both platforms with a single purchase.

Furthermore, there will be synergy between the PC and PS4, with users being able to enjoy a VR experience on both platforms with a single purchase. By expanding their potential market without having to do too much extra work, Sony will be able to invest more into VR with relatively lower risk.

Sony ‘PlayStation 4K’ Probably Won’t Game at 4K

Right now, it has more or less been confirmed that Sony is working on an update to the PlayStation 4. Referred to as the PlayStation 4K by multiple sources, the console won’t be running any games at 4K anytime soon. Contrary to the expectations from its name, the new console probably won’t be able to game at 4K, with the update more of a performance bump rather than a giant leap.

From the various leaks, it looks like the update will be based on the new 14nm process AMD is using for Polaris. With the new process, Sony has a chance to use cheaper and more power efficient dies to either cut cost or grow performance for more or less free. Right now the PS4 has hardware similar to the 7870 based on GCN 1.1. With an update, Sony has a chance to jump to Polaris with GCN 1.3/4.0 along with a significant power efficiency increase, allowing the console to stuff a 7970 class GPU in the console. While not enough for 4K, this should allow many more titles to run at 1080p and at a higher level of quality. From what Sony has hinted at, the PS4K will simply be the same PS4 but with improved graphics and higher FPS. This should allow for a similar gameplay experience for users and ensuring games still work fine with the stock PS4. The update to a new architecture will also bring HDMI 2.0 support, which will allow for 4K at 60fps, a first for a console. This pairs up nicely with the Ultra HD Blu-Ray support we are expecting which will allow for 4K content at 60fps.

PS4 Gets Surprise Releases of Bully and Manhunt

With all the new releases that seem to come out on an almost weekly basis, it is hard to forget about some of the older games that paved the way for you to enjoy today’s releases. The PS4 has reminded us of two such games, with surprise releases of Bully And Manhunt now showing that some old games are worth rebuying.

Bully was released in 2006 and is kinda like a junior GTA. You play as Jimmy Hopkins, a rebellious teen who was dumped at Bullworth Academy by his parents. The Academy is no picknick, with players expected to survive against bullies, absent-minded teachers and a busy school day with everything from a slingshot to stinkbombs.

Manhunt, on the other hand, was released in 2003 and was quite controversial upon its release and still is even to this day. With a mix of violence and stealth, the game sees you play as James Earl Cash, a death row inmate who is promised his freedom in exchange for surviving in a city filled with people who want him dead.

Two games that shaped many lives are now available on the PlayStation store in Europe (they could also be released in North America when the store is next updated) and both retail for £11.99. With both games upscaled to 1080p with features such as Trophies, Remote Play and share play, it would seem that they are keen on bringing the PS2 games to the PS4 with all its modern perks. You can find Bully here and Manhunt here, with Bully already receiving 960 reviews since its release on the 22nd.

Shuhei Yoshida Defends PlayStation VR’s Basic Package

PlayStation VR’s launch price is designed to provide a more affordable entry into virtual reality technology and encourage mainstream audiences to become early adopters. However, many users have criticized Sony for their marketing policy and failure to include the PlayStation Camera with the basic VR bundle. As a result, you cannot use the headset without the camera which increases the price from $400 to $460. Arguably, this hidden cost is similar to Sony’s use of proprietary memory cards on the Vita. Despite these concerns, the President of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida explained why the company decided to take this step and told Colin Moriarty and Tim Gettys on Kinda Funny’s PlayStation podcast:

“Yeah, ‘PSVR is not $400 it’s $460!’ Yeah. I saw these comments. [Laughter] Pretty early in the process, we decided to not bundle the camera because we know that many people already own the camera. Especially people who purchased the PS4 in the first year. So those people, if we bundle, as a standard, a camera — another one — you know they would be mad. You know because they can’t do anything with it because the PS4 can only accept one camera. Maybe sell it on eBay or whatever. And the same thing with Move. The camera is required, but we know many people already own it. So we don’t put it in the basic product. This week’s announcement [GDC announcement] for us is to announce the base unit. That’s consistent globally and for people we know…who already own cameras. We don’t want them to spend more money than necessary.”

Honestly, I’m not convinced by this argument because the PlayStation Camera was always an additional extra which didn’t bring anything exciting to existing games. Therefore, I’d be interested in seeing how many people actually own the camera across various regions. Whatever the case, Sony will be releasing other bundles with everything you need to get started.

Sony Shuts Down Driveclub Developer

Driveclub was originally designed to offer an expansive world brimming with detail which showcased the PlayStation 4’s graphical capabilities. Even though the game’s visuals are absolutely incredible with some of the best weather effects I’ve seen, it wasn’t enough to keep the creator, Evolution Studios in business. Today, Sony announced that the studio will close and released a statement which reads:

“Regular reviews take place throughout SCE Worldwide Studios, ensuring that the resources that we have in such a competitive landscape can create and produce high quality, innovative and commercially viable projects.
As part of this process we have reviewed and assessed all current projects and plans for the short and medium term and have decided to make some changes to the European studios structure.
As a result, it has been decided that Evolution Studio will close.
It is regrettable that this decision will lead to compulsory redundancies. We accept that this decision will mean that we risk losing high calibre staff but by focusing on other Studios that already have exciting new projects in development we believe we will be in a stronger position going forward and able to offer the best possible content of the highest quality for our consumers.
Where possible we will try to reallocate people onto other projects. If appropriate opportunities are not possible within the company, we will assist staff in any way we can, including speaking with local employers and with other development companies.
Evolution has been an important part of SCE Worldwide Studios for over 10 years – working on ground-breaking racing titles like WRC, Motorstorm and DRIVECLUB.
This decision should not take anything away from the great work that Evolution has produced.”

Driveclub’s game director Paul Rustchynsky weighed in on the developer’s closure and said:

Evolution Studio’s community manager thanked fans for their continued support and released a touching message:

This is a major blow for the gaming industry and I hope those affected can find similar roles in another studio very soon. Clearly, the game’s turbulent development process which consisted of the PlayStation Plus version being canned had a major impact on profitability.

Is Sony Developing a 4K-Capable PlayStation 4?

With Microsoft already admitting that they want to make the Xbox One upgradable and Nintendo developing the NX, it should come as no surprise that Sony seems to have future plans for their Playstation 4 in the works. According to developer sources, Sony has begun briefing them on a new version of their popular Playstation 4 console, currently nicknamed the PS4.5 or PS4K, which will include improved graphical output as well as support for 4K resolutions.

Currently, the only things the PS4 is capable of displaying natively in 4K are photos and videos, with all of the current console’s games running at a still-respectable 1080p. Comparatively, 4K resolution includes approximately four times the pixels of 1080p, which requires far more power in order to run. Even many respectable gaming PCs are unable to run many games smoothly at 4K. A more powerful PS4 may also be able to deliver higher quality graphics to the upcoming PlayStation VR headset which may be able to bring its VR resolution and quality closer to that offered by the PC’s VR peripherals. Whether this upgrade to the PS4 will require the existing user-base to purchase all-new consoles or that current consoles will be upgradeable to the newer specification is unknown as details are thin on the ground.

It is important to remember that while a number of sources all support one another in that this new evolution of the PS4 is in the works, it may also just be a rumour. One source went so far as to say that the idea of such a mid-life upgrade for the PS4 is more of an exploratory and vague idea and may never be realized. How well such an upgrade would go down with the community may make this a risky move for Sony, as there would be many tough questions to answer, such as whether games that are “PS4.5 only” start to be released. It may only be rumours at this point, but it is interesting to think that Sony may be planning a revamped PS4 before moving onto a potential PlayStation 5.

Sony Responds To Microsoft’s Invite For Cross Platform Play

Which console do you play on? The choice is impacted by a lot of things, from being able to play those exclusive releases to the unique hardware options one console features. One of the biggest factors for consoles is often the ability to play with others, with groups of friends often getting the same console in order to play together. Microsoft wants to enable cross-platform play and recently invited others to join them in the plan, an invite Sony has now responded to.

Sony’s statement includes that they have been “supporting cross-platform play between PC on several software titles starting with Final Fantasy 11 on PS2 and PC [since] back in 2002”. The statement goes on to say that they “would be happy to have the conversation with any publishers or developers who are interested in cross platform play”.

Given that Sony and Microsoft are responsible for the leading consoles when it comes to online multiplayer it could be interesting to see the two gaming networks merge together to create a united gaming network, enabling people from every console to play games together with nothing but their skills separating them.

With friends who own one or both of the consoles, I think that creating a uniform platform for cross-console play could only put more focus on the hardware that people use and the skills they hone to play their games.

Sony Open to Considering Cross Platform Play

One of the biggest dreams of gamers has been cross-platform play, being able to play with friends on all different platforms. Shortly after Microsoft expanded some Xbox One titles to Windows 10 PCs, the software giant dropped a major bombshell, that they would allow Xbox One titles to have crossplay, provided their competitors allow it. Now Sony has responded and has said they are open to considering the idea.

Sony’s statements on the issue have been vague and hard to understand for now. In a statement to Gamespot, the company had this to say: “PlayStation has been supporting cross-platform play between PC on several software titles starting with Final Fantasy 11 on PS2 and PC back in 2002. We would be happy to have the conversation with any publishers or developers who are interested in cross-platform play”

While it appears to say that Sony is open to talks about allowing cross-play, it doesn’t really say that Sony will allow it. From the sounds of it, Sony is a bit wary of allowing unfettered cross-platform play, wanting to look at it on a game by game basis. It may well be that Sony is holding their cards close to see how Microsoft will react. Rejecting Microsoft may look bad but opening up things too much risks losing some PSN users. On the other hand, the PS4 could also gain some users leaving the Xbox and the 2 consoles still continue to cater to different audiences today.

Sony PlayStation VR to Launch October for $399

Yesterday, the focus of VR news was from AMD with their Capsaicin event and many announcements. Today, Sony is taking their turn and has announced their own VR solution for the PS4, the PlayStation VR. Priced at a relatively moderate $399, the VR headset will also require the PlayStation Move camera in order to work and may require PlayStation Move controllers as well, making the final cost higher to just under $500.

Originally announced as Project Morpheus, the VR headset was previously expected to launch in the first half of 2016 so this October launch constitutes a few months delay. The headset has a  5.7″, 120 Hz OLED display with a 100-degree field of view, running at 1920 x 1080 resolution (960 x 1080 per eye). This is somewhat lower than the 2160 x 1200 resolution the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift sport but it does have a higher refresh rate.

Even at $500, the PlayStation VR has a lower cost of entry compared to the $599 for the Oculus Rift and $799 for HTC Vive. The requirements to run the PC based solutions also cost more, with the graphics card required like the R9 390/GTX 970 costing nearly as much as the PS4 alone. The PC solutions will probably have better graphics fidelity, though.

Finally, Sony revealed that 230 developers are already lined up and working on content for the PlayStation VR. For what it’s worth, Sony also revealed that they have sold 36 million PS4s to date.

 

Microsoft to Allow Cross Platform Gaming

Microsoft is announcing a massive new feature for all Xbox owners today, Cross-platform gaming! The giant tech corporation has been hinting at the addition of this for the past few years and today it seems to have become reality. PS4, Xbox One and Windows 10 will be able to support the new feature, providing Sony and others partake. The feature will be dependent on game developers incorporating it into their game releases, chances are this will become a very large part of the releases we have ahead of us for the rest of this year.

Microsoft has confirmed that Rocket League will be one of the first games to take advantage of the new feature between Xbox One and PC players, with an open invitation to other networks such as Nintendo’s own platform, utilised on their Wii and DS products.

This change could reshape gaming’s future for the better, people who don’t have gaming rigs but own consoles can play games with others on PC’s. I think that’s awesome! Currently, you are restricted to playing games released for your platform. Opening up cross-platform networking capabilities will remove a big restriction in console gaming. Although it may open up a conversation around which titles should allow PC gamers to play against console gamers, a mouse and keyboard still have some huge advantages on most fps games so could cause for some interesting challenges for the game developers.

PDP Official Universal Media Remote for PlayStation 4 Review

Introduction


PDP are one of the biggest aftermarket peripheral brands around, having had great success with products such as the AfterGlow controllers for Xbox and PlayStation, now they’re back again with another great addition, this time exclusively for the PlayStation 4. Sony’s latest console is a great hub for home entertainment, offering a fantastic Blu-Ray player, as well as a host of multimedia applications such as Amazon Prime, iPlayer, PlayStation Video and Plex, but there’s been one glaring omission from the setup; a remote control.

The PlayStation 3 had a Bluetooth remote for ages, so it was expected that one would be made available at the console launch, or at least very close to it, but nothing came to light. Now, all this time after release, PDP has stepped in to make the officially licenced controller and while it almost feels like too little too late, I’m sure many of you are happy to see that a remote has finally been made available! The question is, is the control any good?

“Enjoy the convenience of having one remote to instantly control the endless entertainment options of your PlayStation®4. Want quick and easy access to all your favorite TV shows, movies, music, and videos? Coordinate everything with the officially licensed Universal Media Remote for PS4 and manage up to 4 devices—PS4, Set Top Box, TV, and Audio Receiver. Whether you’re listening to music, watching a video, or settling down with Netflix for the night, the Universal Media Remote for PS4 puts you in control right from the comfort of your couch.”

All the features you could hope for are here too, as you can not only control the PlayStation 4, but also up to three additional devices such as your cable box, surround sound and more, meaning the PDP controller has the potential to be the only remote you’ll need to pick up for movie night. It also promises additional support for many of the multimedia applications that are available on the PS4, which is certainly a big benefit overall.

  • Intuitive Control: Enjoy a convenient way to navigate and control your PlayStation® 4 system with ease.
  • Command up to Four Devices: Control your PS4system and up to three additional devices, including a TV, cable box and audio receiver.
  • Connects via Bluetooth: Uses Bluetooth to control your PS4 system.
  • Dedicated PS4 Buttons:   Includes the most important buttons for navigating system menus and apps including the Action buttons (triangle, circle, cross, and square), Share, Options, and PS buttons.
  • App Control:  At launch, the Universal Media Remote will be fully compatible with the following apps on PS4, with more to come later:
    • Blu-ray Disc Player
    • Crunchyroll
    • DIRECTV NFL Sunday Ticket
    • FUNimation
    • HBO GO
    • Media Player
    • NBA GAME TIME
    • Netflix
    • PlayStation Video
    • PlayStation Vue
    • Youtube

The packaging is nicely designed and shows off that official product badge proudly. PDP have a small logo on there, but overall this looks pretty much like a Sony branded package.

Again, we see that it has support for PS4 via Bluetooth, as well as other devices via IR.

In the box, you’ll find a simple multi-language user manual.

There’s not a lot here that isn’t obvious, but for setting up other devices to the control, you’ll likely need to read the booklet. Either way, it’s all fairly straightforward.

Amazon.JP Delivering Japanese Video Games Worldwide!

We all like that new game smell. Opening up the post to find that new game, the case screaming for you to open it up and slide in the disk. Sometimes the game you want to play isn’t available in your country, a case that is most common with Japanese releases. Don’t worry, as Amazon.JP has started delivering Japanese video games worldwide.

With select games and even consoles now available for international shipping, you can enjoy some of those releases that you’ve missed out over the years. Currently, the offer only applies to items sold directly by Amazon.jp with international shipping.

In order to do this, you may want to view Amazon.jp in English, an option that you can find on the right-hand side of a product page (shown below).

With fair prices for games like Dark Souls 3 costing just ¥ 6,473 (around £41 without shipping), you could soon find yourself building up an international collection of games. Some consoles these days don’t care about the region of the game, for example, the PS4 and Xbox One while others you may have to reorder to enjoy the Japanese releases (the Wii U and 3DS among them).

Are you looking forward to ordering your first game from Japan? What games are you going to pick up? Tell us your experience in international games and delivery services in the comments below.

Sony Brings PS4 Remote Play Streaming to PC and Mac

Streaming is becoming ever more a necessary feature and Sony is expanding the number of compatible devices for the PS4. Starting with the PS4 System Update Version 3.5, PS4s will now be able to stream to PC and Mac devices access an in-home network. The new feature will hit beta very quickly and will roll out to the rest of the PS4 install base by the end of the month.

Before this update, Sony had only allowed PlayStation Vita and PlayStation TV as well as certain Xperia phones, all Sony made, to utilize the streaming feature. By expanding to all PC and Mac devices, Sony will be able to counter Microsoft’s move last year that enabled streaming Xbox One games to Windows 10 and Valve’s own Steam streaming. In fact, Sony’s system is more flexible than Microsoft as it is not limited to just Windows 10, but all PCs and Macs assuming they can run the application.

With the big 2 console makers already in on the streaming game, one could expect that the Nintendo NX will probably allow for streaming as well. Of course, streaming still requires a robust home network with good WiFi speeds and high-speed router. What application that playing device needs remains to be seen.

PlayStation 4 3.50 Update Introduces PC and Mac Remote Play

Sony has revealed its latest firmware update for PlayStation 4 – version 3.50, codenamed MUSASHI – which is getting a beta release tomorrow. While the update introduces new social features, such as notifications when your friends come online and the option to appear invisible, but the most exciting addition is the ability to Remote Play your PS4 on PC or Mac.

Full list of updates and new features:

New Social Features

  • Friend Online Notification – Want to know the moment your friends come online? With this update, you can, as we’ve added an option to be notified when members of your friends list sign on the network.
  • Appear Offline – Sometimes you want to play a game or watch a movie without being bothered by friends. Now it’s easier to go incognito as we’ve added the option to appear offline. You can designate if you would like to appear offline when you log-in or at any time from your Profile or the Quick Menu.
  • User Scheduled Event – Time for a play date! We’ve added the ability to schedule a future gameplay session with your friends on the system. When your event starts, users who registered for the event will automatically be added to a party so you can start playing right away.
  • Play Together – This features allows all members of a Party to see what each person is playing so that you can easily join a friend’s game, or start a new game together.

Other New System Features

  • Remote Play (PC/Mac) – We’re bringing PS4 Remote Play to Windows PC and Mac. This feature won’t be available to test in the beta, but you can look forward to it soon.

  • Dailymotion – With this update, you’ll be able to live stream directly to Dailymotion on PS4. We’ll also support archiving live broadcasts, like we do for other streaming services.

 

 

Sony Claims PS4 is More 60% Efficient than PC at VR

With VR headsets nearing launch, the focus has turned to looking at the platforms driving them. For the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, the PC is the obvious choice but Sony will be rolling their own with the PlayStation VR. Richard Marks, the head of the PlayStation Magic Lab at Sony has recently shared more information about how VR will work on the PS4. The biggest points, however, are what Marks has to say about the performance.

“The hardware was designed and built for real time. It’s  a video gaming system so the operating system is very low latency and very tunable.”

According to Marks, the PS4 will be a better platform for VR. Most of the benefits are the usual ones that the console has, mainly the uniform hardware, setup and accessories that all PS4 owners will have. This will make it easier for developers to create games for the console. Performance is also better as the PS4 OS is designed for real-time gaming and is able to have much lower latency, in the area of 18ms. Low latency as we know is very critical to have an optimal VR experience.

“This isn’t my number, this is some middleware people said, that a console about the same specs as a PC, the console is about 60% more powerful, because of all that kind of direct access you have and knowing every piece as it should be and not having variability like this is a different process here and things like that. You can just tune things and get effectively 60% more performance.”

Finally, the main point Marks hammers home is that consoles simply perform better at VR than PCs. According to middleware vendors he has talked to, the PS4 should be 60% faster than a comparably specced PC.  This is due to the OS and the direct access to hardware the PS4 offers. Furthermore, the PS4 should be in the realm of a GTX 970 equipped PC in terms of VR.

It’s well-known that consoles are more tunable due to the direct hardware access it offers. A 60% boost might even be believable. The claim about the PS4 matching the GTX 970 though is pretty outlandish, though. That would entail an 110% boost in performance which is incompatible with the 60% figure. With DX12 and Vulcan coming as well, the PC may very well catch up to consoles very soon.