Sony (SNE) finally took the wraps off its next-generation PlayStation 4 on Wednesday evening, and the upcoming gaming console is packed with premium specs that will help usher in the next stage in the evolution of gaming. Sony touted some great tie-ins with the PlayStation Vita during its two-plus-hour-long presentation, but its mobile ambitions extend beyond its own beleaguered portable console. Within Sony’s PS4 press release, the company announced that it will soon launch second screen experiences on the iPhone, iPad and Android devices thanks to its upcoming “PlayStation App.” Few details were provided, but the relevant section from Sony’s press release follows below. More →
2013 is a huge year for gamers. Nintendo (NTDOY) just launched the Wii U ahead of the holidays and both Sony (SNE) and Microsoft (MSFT) are expected to issue next-generation consoles before the year is through. We’ve seen plenty of rumors about both systems over the past few months, and the latest comes from Kotaku and focuses on Sony’s PlayStation 4. More →
Continuing its efforts to make buying digital content for PlayStation consoles easier, Sony’s (SNE) quietly flipped the switch on for its Sony Entertainment Network Store. The new Web store finally allows games, movies and TV shows for the PlayStation 3, PS Vita, PSP, Xperia tablets and Xperia smartphones to be purchased through a Web browser and then queued up for download to a designated device. Content can be purchased with credit cards, pre-paid cards and even PayPal. Currently available only in Europe, Sony says the new SEN Store will launch in the U.S. next week and is part of the company’s latest round of updates that put it on equal footing with Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox LIVE for Xbox 360. As gamers would know, the Xbox 360 has had the ability to buy and download games remotely from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace Web store for a while now.
Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation Store is getting a complete redesign on October 17th. Sony is replacing the old casual blue interface with a darker, more hardcore-looking design that resonates better with the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita demographic. Gone are all of the tiny little generic icons and in its place are nice big and clear tiles that prominently display how much a game, app, video or song costs. According to Eurogamer, Sony tweaked the search to make it faster and easier to use with smarter recommendations and results.
One of the more interesting technologies Sony (SNE) revealed at this year’s E3 trade show was an augmented reality book experience called Wonderbook. The idea is to combine the motion sensing capabilities of the PlayStation Move with a specially designed augmented reality book to create an immersive and interactive digital book experience. Targeted mostly at children, Sony announced on its PlayStation Blog that the first Wonderbook will be J.K. Rowling’s Book of Spells. The digital book/game will allow players to bring spells to life on the Wonderbook’s flippable pages. The $79.99 bundle is the latest PlayStation 3 product to extend the console’s reach beyond traditional gaming and on-demand entertainment. Each bundle includes a PlayStation Move controller, PlayStation Eye camera, a copy of Book of Spells, the augmented reality Wonderbook and will hit U.S. stores on November 13th. Check out the tour of Wonderbook: Book of Spells in the video below. More →
The rumor mill has gone back and forth a number of times regarding whether or not next-generation video game consoles from Microsoft and Sony will support used games. While GameStop CEO Paul Raines seems confident they will — GameStop’s business relies on the resale of used games — game developers clearly stand to benefit if consoles force their owners to purchase new copies of games rather than used copies. “From a business perspective that would be absolutely awesome,” Rasmus Højengaard, director of creative development at Crytek — the developer behind Crysis 3 and the CryENGINE gaming platform — told CVG in an interview. “It’s weird that [second-hand] is still allowed because it doesn’t work like that in any other software industries, so it would be great if they could somehow fix that issue as well.” Højengaard did not offer any insights on whether or not Microsoft and Sony actually plan to take measures to prevent console owners from playing used games. More →
Electronic Arts and Crytek announced the highly anticipated next installment of the Crysis franchise earlier this week, and the companies have now released the first Crysis 3 teaser that includes gameplay footage. Albeit brief, the teaser reel showcases a new weapon and stunning graphics that will definitely pique gamers’ interest. “Crysis 3 is a thrilling mix of sandbox gameplay, advanced combat and hi-tech human and alien weaponry that shooter fans will love,” Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli said in a statement. “Leveraging the latest CryENGINE technology, we’re able to deliver seven unique themes that offer stunning and visually loaded gameplay experiences. We cannot wait until people get their hands on the game.” The first full trailer for Crysis 3 will be released on April 24th, and Crysis 3 Hunter Edition is already available for pre-order ahead of its release in 2013. The full teaser video can be viewed below. More →
Devices like Apple’s iPad have shown the world that huge advances have been made in mobile gaming over the past few years. Featuring the Apple A5X processor with quad-core graphics, the third-generation iPad takes mobile video games to new heights on iOS devices, but technology blogs and the media tend to get a bit carried away in terms of comparisons between console gaming and mobile gaming. Gameplay itself paints an obvious picture, and the numbers do as well; Microsoft’s seven-year-old Xbox 360 console features floating-point performance of 240 Gflops and 500 million triangles while Apple’s brand new iPad is rated at a maximum of 7.2 Gflops and 35 million triangles. More →
Sony is aiming to launch its next-generation PlayStation video game console ahead of rival Microsoft, a recent report claims. Microsoft’s next Xbox console — which could be an ARM-based “Xbox lite” that will launch ahead of a true Xbox 360 successor that will be released some time later — is widely expected to hit store shelves for the holidays in 2013. According to an unnamed source speaking with VG247, Sony plans to launch its PlayStation 4 console before Microsoft’s next Xbox makes a splash. “Sony are completely in the belief that they have the jump on Microsoft this time,” the source reportedly said. The anonymous source continued, “Top line publishers already know about it. Developers working with publishers – like Ubisoft, for example – already know what’s going on. They’re already working on it.” Both Sony and Microsoft are expected to unveil their next-generation consoles during the annual E3 gaming conference next year. More →
The next generation PlayStation has reportedly been code-named “Orbis,” and it will feature an anti-used game system and offer no backward compatibility with PlayStation 3 games, Kotaku reported on Wednesday. According to multiple unnamed sources, Orbis will have some kind of measure built into the console that will prevent it from playing used games. Users will be able to buy new games for the system on Blu-ray disc or as a PlayStation Network download, and if a user chooses to buy a disc, it will supposedly be locked to a single PSN account. Users will reportedly be required to log into Sony’s network to play games, with no offline mode available. Read on for more. More →
Rumors that Microsoft’s next-generation video game console might somehow block owners from playing used games began swirling earlier this year, and gamers around the world cringed. Of course the rumor had much more significant implications for video game vendors like GameStop, and the company’s chief executive Paul Raines addressed the issue during its earnings call last week. “We think it’s unlikely that there would be that next-gen console because the model simply hasn’t been proven to work,” Raines said according to Digital Times.” Remember that used video games have a residual value. Remember that GameStop generates $1.2 billion of trade credits around the world with out used games model. So consider taking used games out of that, you’d have to find new ways to sell the games, and our partners at the console companies have great relationships with us.” GameStop accounted for between 60% and 70% of first-week video game sales as of 2010 according to ADVFN. More →
The video game industry continued to struggle in the United States last month as sales slid yet again according to market research firm The NPD Group. After dropping 34% year-over-year to $750.6 million in January, total video game hardware, software and accessory sales in the U.S. dipped to $1.06 billion in February, down 20% from the same period in 2011. Hardware sales dropped 18% to $381.4 million, software sales declined 23% to $464.4 million and accessory sales were down 16% to $215.2 million. “Outside of new physical retail sales, we estimate that the consumer spend on other methods to acquire content including used games, full game and add-on content downloads, social network games, mobile games, rentals and subscriptions accounted for an additional $550 – $600 million in sales, which would bring total content spend across both retail and these other spend methods to $1.0B-$1.1B for February,” NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier said. “Our official quarterly estimate of the total Q1 2012 consumer spend in these areas will be released in our Q1 Games Market Dynamics: U.S. report in June.” Frazier noted that Microsoft’s Xbox was the best-selling hardware platform in February for the seventh straight month. NPD’s list of the top-10 best-selling software titles in February follows below. More →
Sony’s PlayStation Vita portable gaming console launched in Japan with wind in its sails, but the device’s success appears to have been short lived. A recent report from 4Gamer suggests Sony sold just 72,479 units during the week ended December 25th, down from the estimated 324,859 units 4Gamer said Sony sold during the Vita’s first week of availability. Nintendo sold 482,200 3DS units during the same time period and Sony also sold 101,121 units of its older PSP console. Perhaps Sony will need to follow in Nintendo’s footsteps and initiate a price drop to help spur continued sales, and a wider launch ahead of the holiday shopping season surely would have helped the portable console as well. The PlayStation Vita will launch in the United States on February 22nd for $250, and a 3G-enabled version is expected to launch at a later date. More →