PlayStation

Square Enix Labels “Final Fantasy Disease” as Root Cause for Series Decline

Nothing gets me riled up more than when companies are seemingly out of touch with consumers and the general marketplace. Square Enix is one such company. The modern incarnation of Final Fantasy which began on PSone with Final Fantasy VII and lasted through Final Fantasy X was nothing short of a miracle. Not only was Square able to release hit after hit, but the public was enchanted with each new title.

Final Fantasy XI aside (which was an MMORPG), something changed with Final Fantasy XII and then went terribly wrong with Final Fantasy XIII. Everything fell off the cliff with Final Fantasy XV which has been in development for nearly a decade. Once again I’m excluding Final Fantasy XIV because that is yet another MMORPG. The culprit? According to Final Fantasy XV Game Director Hajime Tabata, it is the Final Fantasy disease.

Why the Gran Turismo Sport Trailer Fails to Thrill

I’m not sure if at this point it’s me or there is something seriously lackluster taking place with the creative team behind Gran Turismo Sport. For those unaware, Sony finally announced a November 15th release date for the long time PlayStation-exclusive franchise. The one caveat from all this is that in order to meet the deadline, the game is skipping out on their initially-announced public beta – which seems like a terrible idea to me. That aside, when Gran Turismo Sport was first revealed, I had written how fairly generic the trailer was.

 Sadly, from what should have been an easy trailer to nail, we’re left with an awkward piece that fails to thrill and opts to show us a parked Mazda Miata and its interior. 

Giving the creative team the benefit of the doubt, I’d hoped for the official trailer to enlist more emotion and excitement. After all, I’m a bit of a petrol head and have played all games (excluding GT6) in the series. Unfortunately I walked away from the trailer wanting to fire up DriveClub instead.

Sony Forecasts an 8.3% Sales Increase for PlayStation in FY16

When Sony published their Q4 2015 earnings report in late April, they were forced to delay their FY16 forecast in order to assess the damage caused by earthquakes which struck the company’s image sensor plant in Kumamoto. With the factory beginning to become fully operational again, Sony has now released their forecast guidance for FY2016 and things in PlayStation land are looking good.

Uncharted 4 First Week Sales Surpass 2.7 Million

A game that’s worthy of selling 10 million copies – or more, frankly. Asad Qizilbash, Senior Director, First Party Games, SIEA:

 Millions of fans around the world have already joined Nathan Drake on his final treasure hunt. In the first week alone, I’m happy to report that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End exceeded 2.7 million units in global sales. For the North American region, Uncharted 4 is the fastest-selling PS4 first party title to-date. 

Of course as I wrote about here, there will always be a fairly short ceiling for what a game on PlayStation can sell unless Sony redefines PlayStation with PS5. With that, hats off to Naughty Dog for creating such a masterpiece series. It’s worth noting that the 2.7 million copies includes both digital and Blu-ray sales.

Gran Turismo Sport Beta Canceled, Probably a Bad Idea

Gran_Turismo_Sport_CoverLet’s play good news, bad news. First the good news – you can finally rejoice, Gran Turismo Sport has a ship date of November 15th. This means the PS4 is finally getting a very in-depth racer in what’s sure to be a gorgeous game with no shortage of cars, tracks, and customizable options. Now on to the bad news. Because of its ship date, the Gran Turismo Sport beta has been canceled, a move that flirts with disaster. Let me explain.

Sony Unsure If There Will Be a ‘PS5′ is Much Ado About Nothing & the Future of PlayStation

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The number one question I get asked when I’m stopped in the streets is what I think about comments made that there might not be a PlayStation 5. But instead of getting into whether I actually get stopped in the streets to be asked questions about the future of PlayStation, let’s instead start off this topic as frank as possible. Will there be a successor to the PS4? Of course there will be. Sony isn’t leading with the PS4, only to abandon it in the near future. Heck, there is already a successor of sorts in the pipeline in the form of the PS4K/PS4 Neo. Refresh models aside, one of the major pillars of Sony now is PlayStation which continues to be a major revenue and profits driver for the company. It would be pretty silly to abandon that, right? It’s as if Apple is pondering if there will an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7s. Of course there will be until something eventually replaces it.

So who would have made such an outlandish comment? None other than PlayStation president Shuhei Yoshida at a private dinner with Lorne Lanning during DICE. Here is Eddie Makuch who spoke with Lanning and wrote about his meet for Gamespot:

Lanning:

 What does the PlayStation 5 look like? 

Shu:

 You mean if 

Lanning:

 Whoa. Are you willing to say that on stage? 

Shu:

 Yeah, it’s an if. 

What an outlandish statement to be made by PlayStation’s president right? Except that it’s actually not – but don’t worry, I’m not contradicting myself.

Destiny Companion App 4.1.0 Now Live With LFG Support

Destiny_Companion_App_MatchMaking_3Just a quick follow up on a post from yesterday. Bungie has now officially released the Destiny Companion App 4.1.0 update which brings with it a host of new ways to connect with new players and form fire teams for raids and Heroic Strikes. The new features are now live for iOS (iPhone/iPad) and will presumably eventually come to Android. For those looking to run The Taken King raid but don’t have a core squad to play with, this update goes a long way towards making that easier on you. Well done Bungie.

What exactly is new in the Destiny Companion App 4.1.0?

Destiny’s Companion App Will Soon Offer Official LFG/LFM Support

Destiny_Companion_App_MatchMaking_2Big news for all Destiny players out there. A long time lacking feature of the game, which the developers argue is on purpose, will soon be making its way to the game via the companion app for iOS and Android. Louis Contald writes for DualShockers:

With nearly no in-game option for matchmaking certain events (raids, heroic story missions, and the like), many ambitious entrepreneurs turned to creating their own sites — i.e., DestinyLFG’s .com and .net variations. However, according to Bungie’s weekly update, the official iOS/Android companion app will soon get a new update on the #Recruitment forum.

PlayStation E3 2016 Press Conference Schedule Revealed

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Sony has officially announced when they plan on holding their PlayStation E3 2016 press conference. Like years before, Sony will be wrapping up all the gaming press conferences come Monday, June 13th at 6:00 p.m. Pacific / 9 p.m. Eastern. Sony will also provide a live stream on their Twitch channel as they have before.

It’s widely expected that Sony will announce what’s been called PlayStation 4K or PS4 Neo. Another sure bet will be a lot of time spent on PlayStation VR. After the jump, a list of all the press conferences and times from E3 2016.

Poll: Have you started playing Uncharted 4 yet?

Uncharted_4_logoOn Tuesday, May 10th, the world awoke to (or refused to go to sleep because of) Naughty Dog’s newest installment in Nathan Drake’s saga, Uncharted: A Thief’s End. This long awaited game is already getting rave reviews, and we want to hear yours. Have you gotten in on the action of Uncharted 4 yet? Let us know in our poll!

New Gran Turismo Sport Footage Debuting Live May 19

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I’m really not sure why games developed in Japan tend to work on a near 5 year arc but we’re finally approaching the release of Gran Turismo Sport on PS4. Here is series creator  Kazunori Yamauchi:

Hello GT fans! We’re thrilled to announce that on 19th May we’ll be streaming brand-new Gran Turismo Sport footage from an exclusive London event, and sharing new details about the latest entry in Polyphony Digital’s acclaimed racing series. Not only that, but we’ll also be streaming Pre-Season Test of FIA Gran Turismo Championship Cups- the Nations Cup Pre-Season Test and the Manufacturer Fan Cup Pre-Season Test. We will also be lucky enough to have 9 full-scale Vision GT Cars and 2 ¼ size models present at the event, which is a world first!

While lacking the depth of the Gran Turismo series, to me, DriveClub is a game that in many ways was superior to GT as it fully embraced online mechanics in a fun and meaningful way. I also having a feeling that had the Evolution Studios not been disbanded, that we could have seen a second iteration of the game before GT Sport’s arrival, seeing how much regular content they pumped out during the past two years.

Celebrate Uncharted 4 Release With Amazing Fan Film – Uncharted: Ambushed

Fan films tend to go two ways – they either become cringeworthy spectacle that’s purely an exercise in passion with talent – or something delightful that at the very least is entertaining or at best, like in the case of Severus Snape and the Marauders, an intimate and more revealing look at the worlds we know and love. Luckily, in the case of Uncharted: Ambushed, the Norwegian/Danish short film manages to fall on the latter side of the equation by delivering something quite familiar yet entirely new and satisfying to fans of Uncharted. And it’s not just me raving about the film either. Here is  what Naughty Dog co-president Christophe Balestra and Uncharted 4 co-writer Josh Scherr had to say:

With Uncharted 4 now available for PS4, what better way to kick off the journey that started nearly 10 years ago on PS3 than by looking at what happens when you mix fandom and talent? Oh, and if this is how an Uncharted flick could play out, sign me up.

4 Sony Devices Find Their Place on the ’50 Most Influential Gadgets of All Time’ List

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From TIME:

 Think of the gear you can’t live without: The smartphone you constantly check. The camera that goes with you on every vacation. The TV that serves as a portal to binge-watching and -gaming. Each owes its influence to one model that changed the course of technology for good. 

This list couldn’t have come at a better time as Sony celebrated its 70th birthday on Saturday and what a 70 years it’s been. I don’t say this lightly when I say Sony is the closest any company has come to matching and perhaps even exceeding the influence that Apple has had on our lives. While the last two decades might be dominated mostly by Apple, Sony’s influence throughout the years cannot be ignored.

From changing how we watch TV with the Trinitron to how we entertain ourselves with Walkman and PlayStation – Sony has forever altered our lives with their rich products. Even today Sony is challenging the notion of how we view photography by being a champion of E-mount cameras and taking on once dominant competitors Nikon and Canon.

 Some of these, like Sony’s Walkman, were the first of their kind. Others, such as the iPod, propelled an existing idea into the mainstream. Some were unsuccessful commercially, but influential nonetheless. And a few represent exciting but unproven new concepts (looking at you, Oculus Rift). 

After the jump, the four Sony products that made the 50 most influential gadgets of all time list.

Sony to Launch Optional VR Consultation Service

Just yesterday, I talked about how Sony will be enforcing a minimum 60fps standard for games released on PlayStation VR. According to Sony Computer Entertainment America Senior Dev Support Engineer Chris Norden, any game that dips below that will be rejected. To ensure that developers are able to get everything they want from VR and deliver an overall good experience, Sony will be launching a consultation service. Once again Norden:

 We have a team of VR experts that will play the game…and look for technical correctness. We’re not going to beta test your title or anything, but we’re going to provide you kind of a report of ‘oh, this is a possible nausea trigger. Oh, here you’re dropping frame-rate. 

Sony has yet to publicly disclose any additional details but I hope this is a service that they push in a very public manner to developers because the process of submitting a game for review can be lengthy and to only have it eventually rejected on technical merits can be devastating to a project’s timeline. With a service like this to rely on, developers can be confident that what they submit to Sony will pass muster.

Games That Dip Below 60fps on PlayStation VR Will Be Rejected

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One of the best things Sony and others like Oculus can do for virtual reality is to ensure that there is a set minimum level of quality that VR games should adhere to. So much of VR depends on the initial wave of consumer sentiment over the next year as varying headsets begin to arrive at retail. One such way that Sony is ensuring there is a minimum level of quality on each game released for PlayStation VR is by enforcing guidelines for frames-per-second. Sony Computer Entertainment America Senior Dev Support Engineer Chris Norden:

 Frame-rate is really important; you cannot drop below 60 frames-per-second. Ever. If you submit a game to us and it drops to 55, or 51… we’re probably going to reject it. 

And he’s absolutely right. As flashy and fantastical a dev’s game can be, if it dips below 60fps (the threshold where consumers can begin to feel nauseated) then not only are they delivering a subpar experience with their title, but also damaging the reputation of VR as a whole.

 I know I’m going to get flak for this, but there’s no excuse for not hitting frame-rate. It’s really hard, and I’m not going to lie to and say it’s extremely easy… it’s really difficult. 60hz is the minimum acceptable frame-rate. Everybody drill that into your heads. 

VR will rise and fall together like 3D and a handful of devs could ruin it all for the entire industry. Norden once again:

 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. 

And one such way is to have certain minimum standards like 60fps. Good move by Sony.