PlayStation

PS3 production finally coming to an end

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Way back in November 2006, the PS3 was launched and since then, the powerful console has come to sell 80 million units as of November 2013. Now I’m not entirely sure why that number hasn’t been updated since then but perhaps not so coincidentally, that’s also when PS4 launched and with it, took all the wind out of its predecessor’s sails.

PlayStation dominated 2016 with 57% console market share

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For all the divisions that have troubles at Sony, there’s one that seems to be doing no wrong as of the launch of PS4. Dean Takahashi writes for VentureBeat that, according to market researcher IHS Markit,

 Sony dominated the game console hardware, software, and service market in 2016, capturing a total of 57 percent share, or $19.7 billion of spending by gamers.

That trend is expected to continue for 2017 with a slight rise to $20 billion. Typically raising that numbers a few years into a consoles lifespan is a difficult task as console prices tend to drop yearly but with release of PS4 Pro and PSVR, Sony’s had a stable release of new hardware at the $399 price point while the original PS4 price drops. 

As for the competition like Xbox One – well, what competition?

PlayStation Now will soon stream PS4 games

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In mid February, news came from PlayStation that their streaming service known as PlayStation Now would be dropping support for every platform other than PS4 and PC. This meant that you could no longer stream PS3 and older games on your Sony TV, Blu-ray player, and even select Samsung TV lineups. I’d written then:

 With the service being limited to PS4 and PC, this presumably would allow for more local processing to be done which means more powerful experiences.

It’s safe to assume that at some point, Sony would want to bring PS4 or PS VR games to PS Now 

And it looks to be the case.

No Man’s Sky – The Path Finder Update feels almost like an entirely new game, 4K HDR support for PS4 Pro

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It’s no secret that No Man’s Sky was met with mixed reviews. While some adored the idea of exploring the universe quietly by yourself, others found there to not be enough substance to keep their attention long enough and what there was to do felt too repetitive. Now months after the game’s release, a large new update is dropping, which frankly feels like a mini expansion pack that will bring hoards of new features and vehicles to the game alongside PS4 Pro with HDR support. Specifically, the Path Finder update brings with it:

Sony racks up 18 iF Design Awards, including three golds

iF_Awards_2017_LogoYou know what Sony’s amazing at? Designing products and winning awards for them. You know what Sony is terrible at? Telling the world and not regular readers of sites like SRN that they make these fantastic products.

 Today Sony is proud to announce that 18 products have been honoured with iF Design Awards, including three prestigious gold awards. The products that have won gold awards are the PS-HX500 turntable, Future Lab Program™ T Interactive Projector and PlayStation®VR (PS VR) virtual reality system for PlayStation®4, from Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE). 

Here are the products that won:

PlayStation Messages & Communities apps on iOS/Android receive minor new features

playstation_messagesPS4 and PS4 Pro weren’t the only things Sony brought big updates to this morning. After PS4 system software update 4.5 went live, the PS Messages and Communities apps on iOS and Android also received an update with some noteworthy tweaks though nothing as big as the PS4 update.

  • When you receive a Party invitation from your friends on PS Messages, now you can respond with a quick reply, I’ll join later or Sorry, I can’t join, when you want to get back to them ASAP.
  • On the Communities app, you can now easily check the PSN service status under Settings > View Status of PSN Services.
  • Also on the Communities app, iOS users can tell at a glance if there are any new posts in their community by checking the badge app icon (the number in a red circle at the top-right corner of the app’s icon).

Specifically, the update brings the following to each app:

PS4 system software update 4.5 arrives tomorrow & brings with it some massive features

ps4_pro_1The PS4 and PS4 Pro are set to get one of their biggest updates tomorrow with the officially titled ‘system software update 4.5.’  John Koller Vice President, PlayStation Brand Marketing, SIEA writes on the PlayStation Blog:

 John_KollerOur next major system software update for PS4, version 4.50 (codenamed Sasuke), rolls out tomorrow. We’ve already shared some of the key features last month, like external HDD support and custom wallpapers, but that wasn’t all this update has to offer. Here’s a look at some additional features heading to your system soon. 

Just in time for March Madness, PlayStation Vue will allow you to watch three channels at once

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PlayStation Vue continues to be one of the more curious and ambitious projects out of PlayStation that continually improves as it should. Sony has always had a checkered background when it comes to services and has seen a fair share of their efforts eventually shutter like

  • Qriocty
  • Music Unlimited
  • Movies Unlimited
  • PlayMemories Online
  • TV SideView

and more recently, even PlayStation Now, their streaming gaming service, has seen a shift in focus. What makes PS Vue different however (putting aside PS Now) is that unlike all the other services, it’s run by PlayStation, is a US effort, and people who use it typically love it, something that’s not often said about Sony services which originate from Japan. Now, the TV streaming service is gaining a big feature that’s entirely aimed at sport junkies, though it’s a also a good way to consume a lot of news at once and gauge on a daily basis how messed up the world has gotten.

Destiny 2 not carrying over gear and weapons is not news, it’s obvious

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Any game worth its lick will evolve – be it from a major expansion pack to another like you see in mega MMORPG’s like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy 14 or from one title to the next. Sure Uncharted 1-4 share a core vision but each game evolved – from mechanics, to physics, and enemy AI to name a few. A game like Destiny which features countless planets, vehicles, weapons, and gears is no different. Each of those things is designed as part of a greater arc that fits within the constructed world with specific weapons and gear not only driving a story line forward, but balanced in a way that doesn’t throw off the entire game mechanics.

PS4 Pro in short supply in the UK

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Since its October launch, PlayStation VR has been in short supply and we’ve known why – despite being the latest hardware from Sony, the company was focused on PS4 Pro which helps drive a better VR experience. With that goal in mind, PlayStation has been hard at work at not only producing PS4 Pro units, but also working closely with developers to drive better gaming experience like that seen in Horizon: Zero Dawn. Still, perhaps excluding launch week, PS4 Pro has never been hard to come by here in the US but things are apparently very different in the UK.

4K time-lapse from Horizon: Zero Dawn is simply mesmerizing

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Besides story and gameplay, I have to say that I’m an absolute sucker for visuals. After all, I didn’t buy a PS4 and now PS4 Pro to play retro games that look like better versions of their 80’s counterparts. Sorry indie developers, it’s not you, it’s me. For that reason alone, I cannot wait to get my hands on Horizon, which arrives this Tuesday. Unfortunately I’ll be waiting for the X940E to arrive so I can properly dive into the world in 4K HDR, which means I’ll be waiting a few more weeks until I can actually play the game. For all others who won’t be joining Aloy on her adventures in just a few days or for those of you want to see more from the world, I encourage you to watch all 6 minutes of the video below.

Aloy from Horizon: Zero Dawn is the “PlayStation icon of the future”

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Horizon: Zero Dawn, the upcoming PS4 exclusive from Guerrilla Games, is a very different type of game than we’ve come to expect from the Cambridge-based studio. Known mostly for the Killzone franchise, their games have till now been heavily focused on guns, grit, and men-driven action but as you’ll soon learn in a week’s time, Horizon is nothing like that. Instead, Horizon features a lush, open world game led by Aloy. Unfortunately, the fact that a AAA game featuring a female heroine is news and controversial for some in 2017 is frankly a bit sad and paints you a picture of where video game culture still lies.

At the same time, the fact that many have embraced it with beautiful cosplay like that from Anne Torstensen and that despite the risk of it, Guerrilla Games moved forward with Aloy as the lead, is also encouraging. In the same breath, the studio hasn’t been shy about their initial caution towards casting a female lead and the back and forth the studio went through before fully committing, which on its own is also refreshing. It’s so easy to come ahead of this story with how they always wanted a female lead which even if true, does a disservice to them and the hard work they had to go through to make it a reality. After all, a AAA game doesn’t pay for itself.

Luckily for Guerrilla Games, their vision lined up entirely with how Sony sees the future. Here is Sony Interactive Entertainment UK’s product manager, Jon Edwards:

PSN due for a 10+ maintenance session on Feb. 26th

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Were you planning on gaming this Sunday, February the 26th? If so, depending on your game of choice, you either need to ensure that your PS4 is marked as your primary console or be prepared to play offline titles only. Jason Dunning writing for PlayStation LifeStyle:

 Sony has announced that the PSN will be undergoing 10.5 hours of maintenance beginning at 5pm PT/8pm ET on Sunday, February 26. It’s expected to end at 3:30am PT/6:30am ET on Monday, February 27.

During next week’s PSN maintenance – which affects PS4, PS3, PS Vita, and the online store – you’ll be unable to access Gaming and Social, PlayStation Music, PlayStation Video, PlayStation Now, and Account Management. You should still be able to log in to your PSN profile and use most applications during the maintenance. 

Sony patent hints at what we can expect with PlayStation VR 2

Sony_PSVR_Patent_ViveIs PlayStation VR 2 on the horizon? Not likely. If Sony were to follow up with a second iteration, we likely wouldn’t see it until 2018 at the earliest, and even then, perhaps it might not arrive until PS5. That of course doesn’t mean Sony isn’t hard at work on a followup, which their latest patent points to. Tom Regan from Engadget:

 Sony is experimenting with its own Vive-style VR tracking device, according to a patent filing from June. The document hints at a tracker working similarly to HTC’s current virtual reality tech. Functioning as an external projector, the device would use lights and mirrors to map the player’s real world movements straight into PSVR. While Sony’s VR offering currently uses a camera to detect light from the player’s headset, the existing tracking limits users to an incredibly small space. With light often interfering with the PS4’s camera, if this new tech makes it to production it could not only give gamers more mobility but also potentially provide a more accurate and immersive PSVR experience. 

But could we actually get this updated device prior to a new PlayStation? According to the patent, we just might.

PlayStation’s Shuhei Yoshida believes Apple will announce an AR/VR product in 2017

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Ever since AR/VR became darlings of the tech industry and buzz words to throw around, all eyes have been on Apple. Would they enter the much-hyped market, and if so, when? Mind you, speculation like this has always surrounded Apple when some new form factor or product category is created with typical headlines either predicting the end of Apple for not having already entered markets like:

  • 3D
  • Netbooks
  • Smart TVs
  • Thermostats (think Nest)
  • Sub $200 phones
  • Sub $200 tablets

or wondering how they might change the landscape. As you can see from that list, Apple never bothered with any of those markets which have all since faded or have been inconsequential to them. Now Shuhei Yoshida, President of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, is taking a crack at when Apple might just enter the market.