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?
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.
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.
The Kumamoto prefecture on the isle of Kyushu was first struck on Thursday evening local time by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake, which triggered a number of aftershocks. Early on Saturday morning, the region was hit again by a more powerful quake measuring a magnitude of 7.3 and triggering warnings of a potential tsunami. It was reported by NHK Television that at least 4 people had been confirmed dead as a result of the Saturday quake, compounding with the 9 deaths and over 1000 injured by the quakes on Thursday.
As a result of the quakes, Sony put a halt to work at its Kumamoto factory, which produces the digital image sensors used in many devices including Apple’s iPhone. It is currently unclear how long the factory will be out of action or if it will be long enough to affect the availability of products that rely on the sensors. Renesas Electronics and Mitsubishi Electric also possess manufacturing plants in the region which have currently been suspended with the former making chips for the automotive industry and the latter power devices. Addition Mitsubishi Electric facilities in the nearby area have also ground to a halt, including an LCD parts facility and semiconductor plant.
The worst of the earthquakes have now passed for the region, as the Japan Meteorological Agency reported that Saturday’s quake was the main quake and Thursday’s was just a precursor. We can only hope that this natural disaster-torn part of Japan and its people will start to recover soon and the region can begin working to return to normal.
Consoles come in stages, from the PS2, Gamecube and Xbox to the Ps4, Wii and Xbox One, consoles are always launched around the same time leading to a large hype in people’s purchases as new games and technologies are revealed to the gaming community. According to the COO of GameStop, the new consoles could see “imminent” launch.
The statement was made during GameStop’s 2016 Investors Day, the companies Chief Operating Officer said that the company was happy to see new technologies being introduced, stating that things like virtual reality may play a big part in the next generation of consoles. Even going so far as to say that the rumoured new console could see an “imminent” launch.
With the last generation of consoles being released back in 2013 featuring the Wii U, Xbox One and PS4, gaming and technology has come a long way since then with virtual reality and 4K content becoming more than just an occasional venture, leading people to hope that the latest steps in technology will soon be released to the console gaming market.
As the cheapest virtual reality headset, the PlayStation VR has a good chance to shape how many users will see and experience VR for the first time. For this reason, the direction Sony takes with their headset that will launch later this year is something we are watching closely. Unfortunately, it seems that Sony has closed the door on room-scale VR and is choosing to focus on seated virtual experience with their games for now.
In statement Sony gave, they noted that “We have some tech demos that allowed users to play while standing up, however all the PS VR titles we plan to release in the future will recommend that users remain seated. We will announce further details of guidelines or regulations when ready”. Givent he nature of the control Sony has over the PS4, we can expect most developers will have to follow the regulations Sony will set. The few that won’t will be likely targeting the users that got PS VR for their PC.
The reason that PS VR is going to focus on seated play is because the PlayStation Move camera simply can’t track a large enough area. Tracking will likely be limited to a short-range for the head, arms and upper body. This leaves the HTC Vive, with its superior tracking cameras, as the sole provider of large room scale VR. For me, room scale VR seems to be the most exciting part so it will be interesting to see if developers will focus on that or go the easier route with Sony and Oculus.
Virtual reality has been hailed as the next ‘thing’ that will catch consumer attention and drive innovation and growth in the technology industry. While it’s easy to see why VR might play out stronger than say 3D, the size of the burgeoning market appears to be massive. According to market analysts, Strategy Analytics, the virtual reality headset market will top $895 million. For an industry that is just really getting started, this is great news.
As expected, much of the value comes from the expensive Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony PlayStation VR which are all going to release this year. With prices of $600, $800 and $400 respectively, it’s easy to see why the market is so big. The expectation is that these high-end headsets will account for 77% of the total revenue but only 13% of shipped units. After all, around 2.2 million Sony units would be enough to match the entire market value. Cheaper headsets like those based on smartphones will continue to see more though and be the VR most likely experienced by consumers.Furthermore, Strategy Analytics expects that VR will help drive a race in display resolution, storage and GPUs. This is due to the stringent and hefty requirements necessary to run VR games. Going forward it will be interesting to see what kind of hold VR will take and whether or not it will supplant traditional forms of content interaction.
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.
The God of War franchise has to be one of Sony’s biggest exclusives, with the protagonist Kratos battling monsters and demons as he faces off against some of the biggest and badest creatures from Greek mythology. Some uncovered God Of War concept art may have revealed the next pantheon to face Kratos’s wrath, beware the Norse gods.
The concept art was uncovered by NerdLeaks who located the images on the personal website of an artist who is known to have worked at Santa Monica Studio, the development studio behind the God of War franchise, in 2015. Since the leak both NerdLeaks twitter and website have been inaccessible, but not before others had managed to grab the images for everyone to see.
With the concept art mentioning Kratos by name, it’s safe to say that it was for the game series. The image below shows sleek stone buildings, meant to represent the world of Alfheim, home of the faeries while the forests of Vanaheimr are lethal with the exception of the plants shown in the concept art, revealing several plants that could aid or assist the warrior in his journey.
Could this all be a hoax? Could it be a clever tease to gauge interest in the idea before the reveal of a new game? Who knows the answer, but with the internet seeking the answers it would seem that people want to see Kratos fight off against gods like Thor and Loki while battling giant beasts like the wolf Fenrir and even the dragon Jormugand.
You can find all the images here. What do you think? Would you like to see Kratos face off against the Norse gods or is there another pantheon that needs to face his wrath?
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
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
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 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.
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?
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”.
“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.”
Rumours have recently been spreading saying that Sony would be working on a 4K variation of their PS4. Sadly it would seem those rumours were overblown but you could soon be watching 4K Videos on demand with Sony offering its streaming service from April.
The 4K films featured as part of ‘Ultra’, their streaming service, will retail at $30, including a selection of special features and will be available through Sony’s new 4K screens. Alongside their new films, people will be able to upgrade films they’ve purchased from Sony’s online store 4K versions at a “discounted” price.
Those with Ultraviolet movies will be able to enjoy them alongside their new films with the ability to link to their UV collections meaning that all those UV codes you’ve been adding to that account may finally see some use.
With 4K players costing upwards of hundreds of powers on their own, $30 a movie doesn’t seem that bad when you compare the prices. The limited collection of movies that will include the likes of The Walk, Concussion and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, may put people off but with it building upon Ultraviolet and other systems people may decide to skip the discs altogether and stick to streaming 4K content in order enjoy the latest quality in movie experiences.
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.
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.
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.
The days of needing to go visit and arcade to play video games have long since past, you don’t even need to be at home in front of your TV thanks to mobile gaming consoles like the 3Ds and PS Vita. The most common platform to play games on those is the very same thing you have in your pocket, your smartphone. With this in mind, it looks like Sony is looking to make mobile games in order to benefit from the new market.
“ForwardWorks will leverage the intellectual property of the numerous PlayStation dedicated software titles and its gaming characters as well as the knowledge and know-how of gaming development expertise which was acquired over the years with PlayStation business to provide gaming application optimized for smart devices including smartphones to users in Japan and Asia”
So you could soon be seeing Uncharted’s Nathan Drake and Killzone Helghast storming your phone screen as you sit waiting for a bus or a friend at the cinema. Are you excited by this news? Do you play games on your phone and if so which franchise from Sony would you be excited to join the mobile games catalogue?
Yesterday, the 23rd of March, Amazon started taking pre-orders of Sony’s new virtual reality headset, PlayStation VR at 7:01 AM PST. Within just four minutes of the pre-order going live, Amazon had already sold out of its entire allotment of launch bundles. It is unknown how many of the bundles Amazon had available for pre-order, but the bundled unit was certainly more popular than the headset alone.
The PlayStation VR launch bundle is retailing for $499, making it considerably cheaper than the PC’s VR offerings and includes not just the headset, but a number of additional items to enjoy the VR experience at launch. Some of the items in the bundle are two PlayStation Move controllers, a PlayStation 4 camera, a copy of PlayStation VR Worlds as well as all the cables required to make full use of the headset. PlayStation VR Worlds itself is a compilation of a number of top VR games that have been demoed by Sony, such as The London Heist, VR Luge, Scavengers Odyssey, & Into The Deep all on-disk.
Both the headset and the bundle are on-track for a release in November, putting it behind the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but these strong pre-sales of the headset could mean good things for the future of VR on the PlayStation. We may have to wait until the end of the year to truly tell who offers the best VR experience, but if PlayStation VR sales go the same way as the pre-orders, it may be a long while before many can get their hands on one.
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.
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.
At GDC 2016 this week, during a Sony-sponsored talk on the development of its PlayStation VR headset, Chris Norden, the Senior Dev support Engineer at Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), revealed that any game for the new virtual reality headset that drops below 60 frames-per-second will be immediately rejected.
“Frame rate is really important; you cannot drop below 60 frames per second, ever,” Norden told the GDC audience (via Gamasutra). “If you submit a game to us and it drops to 55, or 51 […] we’re probably going to reject it.”
“I know I’m going to get flak for this, but there’s no excuse for not hitting frame rate,” he added. “It’s really hard, and I’m not going to lie to and say it’s extremely easy […] it’s really difficult.” Norden set down a final marker for developers: “60hz is the minimum acceptable framerate. Everybody drill that into your heads.”
Norden also revealed that PlayStation VR will aim to be inclusive of the new virtual reality ecosystem as a whole, and does not consider the hardware to be a proprietary ‘walled garden,’ saying, “We’re all friends; the VR industry is really small and really tight. The VR industry needs to succeed, and everybody inside of it needs to succeed.”
He also assured gamers that the PlayStation VR will not necessarily require large standing areas in order to play. “If you want to have a small area, if you want your players to be seated, to be standing, that’s okay,” said Norden. “Don’t feel like you’re constricted to just one thing,”
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.
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.
For a new piece of technology to pick up traction, it’s important to have a decent amount of launch content available. The same is true for VR, especially given the hefty cost of most of the headsets releasing this year. Oculus was the first to detail their launch lineup with a slew of VR ready titles for launch. Not getting left behind, Sony has made known a number of titles which will be launching with PlayStation VR, with 50 more to come between launch and the end of the year as well.
The first up is a series of 5 VR minigames made by Sony in-house as a part of PlayStation VR Worlds. These are The London Heist, Into the Deep, VR Luge, Danger Ball and Scavenger’s Odyssey. One may well expect that these titles may be bundled with the VR headset for sale.
Other titles include Until Dawn: Rush of Blood and Tumble VR from Supermassive Games. Sony Japan Studios will be making The Playroom VR while Guerrilla Cambridge is releasing Rigs. Of these, Rigs is my favourite as who wouldn’t want to battle it out in mech suits in VR? Given the VR requirements though, don’t expect any of these titles to have superb graphics or physics. Even with PlayStation 3/3.5 like graphics, these titles should still be enough to entice earlier VR users to pick up a headset.
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.
It hasn’t been long since they revealed their Future Lab program, a research and development-focused part of the company that would show off its prototypes in order to get input from the public. At SXSW, the department showed off some of their first prototypes including the rumored “Project N” wearable device.
N can be described as a neck-worn version of the Amazon Echo, admittedly with a few extra features. Like most voice-activated digital assistants, it is triggered by a phrase, in this case, “Listen up Arc!” and will await your commands, as well as synchronizing with a mobile phone for location data. Currently, it is able to tell you the weather, give you local news, local restaurant info as well as taking a photograph via a built-in camera that is hidden when not in use. It can even play audio back to the wearer in a limited zone around their head using directional speakers on the device though the quality isn’t excellent. For better audio quality, the Future Lab has you covered, offering “open-ear earphones”, which move the driver out of the way of the ear canal, providing audio through a small tube into the ear while also allowing external sound to be heard.
Other prototypes on show include two types of projectors. The first is a touch screen projector intended to be mounted above tables which turns them into interactive surfaces able to be controlled in 3 dimensions. The second was an aimable projector that can be directed to any point along a wall using a black wand-like device. The projector even contained an array of speakers able to make it sound like the source was the location that the image was projected.
Lastly was a controller with inbuilt advanced haptic feedback. The demo on show was simply a ball viewed through a touchscreen, however when the controller was tilted and turned, the user can “feel” the ball move around as if it really existed inside the device. While less exciting than the other prototypes, it seems like a solid choice for a feature to integrate into the next Playstation controller.
It is great to see a technology company willing to show off their prototypes so early on in their development, and the future of any of these products isn’t assured and may rest in the hands of the feedback they receive. We can only begin to dream what crazy technology Sony will dream up next.
Even when 3D first launched, its hold on consumers was tenuous. After all these years of struggling to put out 3D TVs and content haven’t really taken hold in most homes. A little over six years since 3D TV and content went mainstream, Samsung and Philips have given up. Both companies have dropped their focus on 3D and for 2016, will not be releasing any new 3D capable TV sets.
For Samsung, the choice was plain as “limited consumer demand for 3D, and the small amount of content being produced in this format” meant there was little point to dumping money on development. Philips went as far as to say that 3D is dead since there is no 3D content and no one really wants 3D. LG and Sony have both reduced the number of 3D capable units in their lineups and only Panasonic has any real 3D TV presence to speak of.
Personally, I see little need for 3D content other than for a few niche segments. Until passive 3D takes off and becomes relatively cheap, it’s hard to see 3D’s fortunes turning around. This is even more true for the PC space as the focus shifts to VR and its various forms like augmented VR. Unlike my thoughts when 3D first appeared, I expect VR to be much more successful despite it’s higher entry cost as it actually adds more value. It will be interesting to see if 3D will continue to limp along or will something change its fortunes in the near future.