Let’s be honest, The Game Awards should have been called the Hideo Kojima Awards, where the legendary director was honored with standing ovation. Following his speech, Kojima unveiled another teaser for Death Stranding, the PS4-exclusive title that’s set to arrive sometime in the next year or two. If you’re not familiar with the game yet, this is the best way I can summarize it:
I tend to struggle a little bit with analysts, especially ones whose opinion counts towards something and can move stock prices up or down, yet manage to strike out more often than not. In fact, it doesn’t take much to be an analyst other than guessing. At best, analysts have inside sources and great knowledge of the industry, the company they’re reporting on, and consumer trends. When those three factors are meshed together, you’re at least given a glimpse as to what may be. At worst, it’s wishful thinking or purely misguided viewpoints of a company that they have actual little understanding of (i.e. most Apple pundits and analysts).
Final Fantasy XV launched on Tuesday to high praise and with it came a new trailer called Ride Together, something that I found atrocious. As the name suggests, the trailer is all about how bro-y FF15 is and that the game is anything but an RPG, missing the essence of what makes a Final Fantasy game. Learning a thing or two from Sony’s PS4 commercials, Square has also released Final Fantasy XV Stand Together live action trailer which not only tugs at your heart strings, but also captures your imagination and reminds you why you fell in love with the series in the first place – fantasy. Hard to imagine both pieces coming from the same company.
VR is all about the experience. Yes, visual fidelity matters, yes, the narrative is important, but those are things that have already been expressed and expressed well in gaming. Look no further than Uncharted, a traditional game, as it were, yet at the forefront of storytelling and gameplay. That means in order for VR to be truly captivating, it must offer the mentioned aesthetics and then some which is where ‘experience’ comes into play. Leading up to PlayStation VR’s launch, Sony was busy getting as many people as they could to try it because they knew that was the best way to sell it.
I love posting shocking news and here’s one that’s truly shocking – if your platform is far more expensive than the competitors and there isn’t a ton of content, it won’t sell all that well. Most of you likely already know this but PS VR costs just $399 and requires PS4 which comes in at $299. As for the competition, besides needing a PC rig that costs north of $1,000, you still need to buy the headsets which will set you back another $800. But costs and much more complicated setup aside, content is king and PS VR offers an easily delivered platform to consumers and one that they’ve been accustomed to since PS3.
If you couldn’t guess the theme of the past 24 hours, it’s apparently RPG – and it makes sense. After all, even when SquareSoft was firing on all cylinders, we only would get a Final Fantasy game every few years, let alone a version that’s been in development for a decade – so in keeping with the RPG theme, here is The Last Guardian Collector’s Edition video unboxing by Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida and head of PlayStation Blog Sid Shuman. Collector’s Editions can be hit or miss for me, but for anyone who is looking forward to The Last Guardian, this one sure seems worthy and designed with thought.
Final Fantasy XV was a big and bold bet for Square-Enix. Could a game that was 10 years into development succeed? Would fans care to enter the rich worlds of Final Fantasy again in the age of online multi-player and short burst mobile gaming? If the short 12 hours or so that the game’s been on sale have been any indication, it appears that their bet is paying off – put out a game of quality, and no matter where the overall gaming trends have gone, they’ll return to a beloved franchise.
If anything, Final Fantasy 13 should have proven to Square that you can’t simply take an established series and gut it from everything that made it what it is, insert more ‘modern’ aesthetics, and ride the success wagon – because the three games under FF13 nearly ended the franchise. Sure, FF15 isn’t the Final Fantasy of the past, but it certainly has far more charm and elements of its predecessors that people have come to expect from the series. Still, that doesn’t mean Square has completely returned to its former self.
If the Final Fantasy XV Ride Together trailer is any indication, Square is still desperate to portray the game as something it’s not while trying to appear ‘hip and cool.’ If it helps sell more copies, then I can’t argue with the notion, but I also can’t help but think the trailer does a disservice to the game and its fans while at the same time selling a game that doesn’t actually exist.
After 10 years in development, which is insane by just about any account, Final Fantasy XV has finally arrived and thankfully, unlike the heartbreak that was Final Fantasy XIII, it appears to be garnering praise from reviewers and gamers. To help kick off their mega action-RPG (sorry guys, Final Fantasy is no longer an RPG), Square-Enix has spared no expense with various promotions, anime/movie tie-ins, and electronics, thanks to Sony.
Sony is releasing the Walkman A-Series Final Fantasy XV Edition in Japan tomorrow starting at 33,880 yen ($300-ish) for a 16GB model. It supports Hi-Res Audio and comes with little pixel-art Final Fantasy characters on the back.
A lot of you have wondered why Hello Games, the devs behind No Man’s Sky, have been so silent after the game’s release which was certainly met with mixed reactions from gamers and press alike. I’d hinted that with PlayStation Experience around the bend (December 3-4), it shouldn’t come as a shocker if we hear from them then and with just a week to go, that’s exactly what’s happened – and from the looks of it, they’ve been busy.
File this under shocking but deliver a good piece of hardware at a fair price and it will sell. In the case of Sony, starting with PS4, there was a clear shift in thinking – deliver what consumers want. PS4 Pro, though received quite well by the press and reviewers alike, was never meant to please them, nor was it meant to check off everything a techie would want, hence the omission of a 4K Blu-ray drive. Instead what the PS4 Pro delivers is what consumers will want – better gameplay and enriched graphics.
Are all games true 4K? No, but then again ask the average person if they can tell you if the show they’re watching is being broadcasted in 720p or 1080i and they’ll likely stare at you dumbfounded. But ask them if they feel like the quality of what they’re watching is good or not and they’ll be able to tell you all about their experience. PS4 Pro is no different – it’s not about measuring the exact output resolution but rather if HDTV and 4K TV owners are getting something better than before and so far, they’re responding with a clear yes.
Sony has put together another wonderful live action ad for PlayStation that, like the past few years, celebrates the gamers in the worlds Sony has built. I’m not entirely sure how well these ads do in order to convince somebody to buy a PS4 but putting that aside, they’re always a joy to watch. The King ad is no different though Sony is clearly pushing their slate of 2017 games like Horizon: Zero Dawn and God of War.
Two TV news in one day usually only happens around CES time but unfortunately, neither are particularly good. First, there is the case of LG 4K TVs not playing nice with PS4 Pro though a fix appears to be around the corner and now, there is news that PS4 Pro also doesn’t play nice with Sony’s own 4K TVs. As for the problem, Owen Hughes from IBT notes that Reddit user GivingCreditWhereDue, who originally reported the matter, wrote:
Sony’s 2016 Bravia line is ill-equipped to handle 4K gaming, as their flagship models have really high levels of input latency. Sony advertises their x930D Bravia model as best fit for the PS4 Pro, but users who actually have it face a severe disadvantage when it comes to competitive and even casual games like Battlefield.
But the real problem here isn’t the issue gamers are having with Sony TVs and the PS4 Pro but an apparent censorship on the matter from Sony.
PS4 Pro is off to a good start with universal praise from developers, reviewers, and consumers but not everything has been smooth sailing for the powerful new addition. John Archer writing for Forbes:
While the PS4 Pro appears to have enjoyed brisk sales since its launch last week, as I reported at the weekend it’s also been plagued by widespread complaints about its inability to connect properly with 4K and HDR-capable TVs from a variety of TV brands.
Speculation has been rife about the causes of the problems, and the problems themselves are varied, ranging from not getting any picture at all to the console not recognizing that specific TV models can support 4K and/or HDR video.
PlayStation VR has made TIME’s ’25 Best Inventions of 2016.’
In order to access the most cutting-edge virtual reality, people typically have to shell out thousands of dollars—not just for a headset (like the $800 HTC Vive), but for a computer that’s powerful enough to support it. Sony’s PlayStation VR, by contrast, is designed to work with a console that millions of people already own: the PlayStation 4. That’s a boon for gamers in search of what Sony engineer Richard Marks calls “the most intense, most extreme” action, as well as casual consumers, who now have an easier way to experience VR.
For PlayStation Vue, Sony has had a bit of a mixed bag these last 10 days. On one hand, on election day (the day where companies dump bad news in order for it to get drowned out in all the other news taking place), Sony announced that PlayStation Vue would be losing Viacom and with it, channels like Comedy Central, MTV, and Spike would go. But on the other hand, just yesterday, Sony announced the arrival of their streaming service on Apple TV which is a big deal (I’ll be writing a more in-depth piece on that in the future). As I’ve written before, losing Viacom was outside of Sony’s control and either they had to cave into the higher price tag and eat the extra costs, or pass them onto PS Vue users – a true Kobayashi Maru.