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Most Recent PS4 news

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Sony announce Virtual Reality tech development for PS4

And so it begins. The next step in the evolution of gaming well under way with Sony now entering into the fray with PS4 virtual reality technology. So far we’ve seen fledgling virtual reality (VR) like the Oculus Rift and Microsoft has announced that it is developing virtual reality technology for the Xbox One.  Now Sony are getting involved and are revealing their plans at Game Developers Conference 2014 in San Francisco. A move away from viewing on a panel towards being totally immersed in the gaming experience and using your body as the controller seems like natural progression. It won’t be long before a “gaming room” resembles Jean-Luc’s Holodeck!

Sony’s virtual reality development is named “Project Morpheus” or Morpheus for short. It is a virtual reality system designed for the PlayStation 4 that promises to take gaming into the future with a new level of immersion.  

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Shuhei Yoshida, President of SCE Worldwide Studios had this to say – “At SCE we view innovation as an opportunity to build on our mission to push the boundaries of play. Project Morpheus is the latest example of innovation from SCE, and we’re looking forward to its continued development and the games that will be created as development kits get into the hands of content creators.”

Morpheus gives developers the power to build games the generate a sense of presence, the feeling of being actually in and part of the game compared to looking in and controlling an avatar. Morpheus’ goal is to increase the emotional experience players feel as they navigate their way through a game world. A head mounted visor will deliver a seamless experience right in front of the player’s eyes, working with the PlayStation camera to do so. Head movement is tracked with pinpoint accuracy thanks to inertia sensors in the visor meaning that as a player turns their head, the game world will intuitively turn with you as you look around. To further the sensation of being in the game world, supporting games will utilise the PlayStation Move Motion Controller as a control object such as a sword or bat. In game, the player’s hand and relevant object will be recreated further blurring the divide between game and reality.

Essential to any reality substitute is satisfying the sense of sound. Morpheus adopts Sony’s uniquely developed 3D audio technology to recreate sounds from the typical front, side and rear as well as noise from above and below the player. The true third dimension will be vastly improved with an audio stimulation of above and below. Players hear sounds change depending on their head orientation creating a highly realistic and immersive 360 degree audio environment.

To date, the PlayStation 4 has vastly outsold the Xbox One, racking up over 6 million unit sales in just three and a half months. With these kinds of numbers, it’s fair to say that developers are likely to be give more attention to developing VR games for PS4 rather than any other console.

We will be keeping a close eye on how virtual reality technology progresses and will be sure to keep you informed of any developments.

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Sky Go’s a Big No Go on Xbox One

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Anyone who is waiting on the release of Sky Go for the new gen consoles and still clinging to the idea is to be sorely disappointed. Sky, categorically, has no plans to launch Sky Go on either Xbox One or PlayStation 4. Instead, wishes are for existing Sky customers to either pay through the nose for Now TV ( a Sky product) or upgrade their subscription to include a new set top box and Sky multiroom. Which isn’t a fully supported Xbox experience yet.

Just Google “Xbox One all in one entertainment system” and you’ll be presented with four xbox.com results the all reference all in one entertainment system in the page title. The official “Meet Xbox One” website page harks on about how Xbox One is the next generation entertainment system. PlayStation has never had Sky Go but this news is relevant to those who were hoping PlayStation may enjoy the same level of entertainment services provided by rival Xbox.

For many Sky customers it is the norm to have Sky in one room and the console in another and Xbox 360 users have been able to enjoy the option of watching Sky in two rooms at once with no additional charges via the Sky Go app. When I quizzed Sky on the whereabouts of a Sky Go app for Xbox One and PS4, I was told that “We enjoy a long track-record of innovating with Microsoft and look forward to the launch of NOW TV on Xbox One by summer.  As a dedicated over-the-top service, we have prioritised the availability of NOW TV, to extend the reach of the service to the main TV.  Looking ahead, we will also consider any future opportunities for Sky Go.”

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As we know, Now TV is coming to Xbox One in the Summer of this year and is there to replace Sky Go, it would appear. For non-Sky customers that’s great because now you can enjoy Sky when you want without the monthly contract. But what about existing Sky customers? Well, there’s two options. The full Sky TV package costs around £60.00 per month. Now TV, if you’re a sports fan and watch movies, will cost you around the same each month, if not more. Not an option really. A better idea is to get Sky multiroom which will only set you back £15.00 a month and a one off setup fee of £60.00. However, Sky isn’t fully supported on Xbox One so you’re still going to need that Sky remote on the arm of your chair to navigate the Sky Guide. The One Guide does not work for Sky TV, unlike Now TV which which will of course be fully supported on both Xbox One and PS4.

I wasn’t overly happy with Sky’s official line on the lack of a Sky Go app so I spoke to several different representatives of Sky in their sales and technical support departments to try and get some insight into what was going on. What I was told by one very knowledgeable and open representative was that there are categorically no plans to bring Sky Go to Xbox One or PlayStation 4. During our conversation, it was revealed that Now TV is in no way designed for Sky customers and the pricing is set to match the cost of a full Sky TV subscription, should someone use Now TV that much – i.e a football game each weekend and movies for the month. However, it can be assumed that Sky aren’t trying to push people to take out Sky TV subscriptions as they don’t support your Sky box being plugged into the Xbox One or PS4 with the  necessary software to enable the likes of voice control and the One Guide. Something USA subscription TV providers have done from launch. Gratned, it would appear that Microsoft are as much a part of One Guide integration as the provider of the TV service and Sky aren’t very forthcoming with any information on where they are with integrating their service with One Guide.

Sky+ HD boxWhat I can tell you is that existing Sky customers simply aren’t a priority with regard to watching Sky TV on  consoles. Sky’s reasoning is that the 3 million and counting Sky Go users have Sky Go as a consequence of having a Sky subscription and can just turn that on on their main TV and watch Sky like normal. This is fine but a lot of people, myself included, have Sky in the lounge and the console in another room. Sky’s focus is on increasing the mobile devices that Sky Go works on in the form of Android tablets and smartphones, plus one or two others, and getting Now TV up and running which of course doesn’t benefit existing Sky customers in anyway shape or form. Now TV is the priority at the moment and while details are still quite limited, more announcements are being promised nearer launch. What can be said for sure is any speculation that existing Sky customers will get existing customer discounted prices or perhaps be able to use Now TV as a second set top box, can be forgotten about. I can confirm that Now TV is in no way shape or form designed or meant for existing Sky customers. What would have been nice would be to use a multi room subscription through the Now TV box so that Sky customers at least have a bit of hardware that actually works fully with the next gen consoles.

So there you have it folks, there’s a serious blind spot when it comes to existing Sky customers being able to enjoy Sky TV on the new consoles. While Sky customers can, it’s going to cost and there’s no hope of Sky Go coming to relieve that anguish any time soon!

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What is the “WAR” mentality in the so-called console ‘debate’?

Okay, since 2000, Sony has shipped nearly quarter of billion PlayStations in the different guises of two, three and now four. Similarly, Microsoft, since 2000, has shipped nearly 110 million Xboxes (360/original). Nintendo, in the meantime, has sold 105 million Wii (both original and U). These numbers don’t include Vitas, DSs or any handheld games consoles. So, obviously PlayStation sold more, around double their nearest competitor. However, there are around 2,8 billion gamers worldwide, the above accounts for only a fraction of that number? It’s not as clear cut as the media like to make out.

Next Gen ConsolesYou just need to type into Google, “Xbox One versus PlayStation 4”. The response is epic! You’ll get articles on ‘Sony and Microsoft, at War’ to ‘Sony destroy Xbox’. The current batch of articles surround the notion that Sony, who shipped 4,3 million PlayStation 4 consoles over the Christmas period trounced Microsoft who “only” shipped 3,2 million units. There are factors that the press seem to be ignoring or unable to comprehend.

According to research by ParentDish, pester power over past five years (since the recession started) has seen economics beat child pester power. Therefore, Xbox could be loosing out because it is ‘so much more expensive’. However, angry PlayStation newbies have been angrily messaging PlayStation community walls with messages of PlayStation Plus membership woes – which by the way adds £40 to the bundle. The PlayStation Eye is another purchase that Microsoft Xboxers don’t have to worry about.

But these issues don’t seem to be evident in the wider reportage. Forbes, for example, has a great headline “Why Sony’s PS4 is Crushing Microsoft’s Xbox One In Sales So Far”. What a great headline. It would make any browser think Microsoft was done for! However, there isn’t a single mention by Paul Tassi, the author, about the fact PlayStation 4 consoles are sold at a loss – he mentions the extra cost of the Kinect. According to leaked memos, Sony needs to sell double the initial quota to even begin to break even. The Microsoft Xbox (including the Kinect sensor) on the other hand, has been priced so that each console has a marginal profit for Microsoft. So if Sony are selling their consoles so cheaply they’re not making any profit, which console is beating who here?

NSA spying and the Kinect has been a big issue. The ‘always-on’ element of the Xbox One has scared off many users. Think about it, a US-made camera in every bedroom or lounge in the world ‘spying’ on you. It’s ridiculous – even if PRISM was spying on me, I can’t for the life of me think why and I feel sorry for the poor analyst who has to look at video footage of me there shouting at Ryse, FIFA or CoD. But that’s for another article. In reality, the price difference and the fact Kinect hasn’t been wholly justified, has dented sales. But we are too early yet to declare winners.

nintendo-wii-u-systemIn fact, there are no ‘real’ winners. People like playing games – there will not be one dominating platform that will take over the gaming world. We like variance and variety and as such some will sell more, others will sell less but they will continue. Microsoft Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are now part of a dynamic of mobile, computer and console gaming that will continue to grow. We need to evaluate user needs and experiences alongside ‘zero sum’ game approaches to initial sales data. There is a large body of academic research that argues Hollywood was destroyed the moment it started publishing box office takings. Once it was about ‘money’ and ‘return on investment’ the artistic verve was lost. We are slowly creeping towards such a period that will see consoles and games destroyed because they ‘didn’t sell enough in the opening weekend’.

Console data is about quarter periods (i.e. three monthly periods) not weekends or months. It takes time to ship, to dispatch and sell consoles. As such, it’s wrong that it hasn’t even been a full quarter yet and we are already stating that consoles are dead and buried. Last year Nintendo was ‘dead’ and ‘buried’ because Wii U hadn’t sold enough. People predicted that Nintendo would have shut down the Wii U by 2014. It’s 2014 and Wii U is, whether you like it or not, still with us. We need to allow diversity within the gaming sector. How boring would life be if the fanboys and fangirls got their way? A beige generation of gamers would be born. I, personally, would hate for that to happen. So let’s stop thinking about wars, destruction and end-games and star thinking about consoles plural. Innovation only happens when companies compete. I know many people don’t like or want to hear this but, Microsoft needs Sony and Sony needs Microsoft – as much as Nintendo needs both Sony and Microsoft. It’s a dynamic that will continue and one that should be applauded. Last thing we want is for games to turn out like movies. “Oh, I didn’t buy Titanfall because it wasn’t in Amazon’s top 10 best seller list?” That would be a horrendous blow to great games development. So let’s try to be a bit more open-minded and help maintain the integrity of the games industry by being proactive in terms of competition.

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PLAYSTATION NOW – Is this yet another cash cow for Sony to milk?

SONY is one of the world’s most renowned and revered technology brands. They have identified and innovated for niches that have transformed the way we live our lives. Sony is responsible for many innovations from the first-ever remote controlled BetaMax video recorder in 1977, the first Walkman in 1979, the first Camcorder in 1983 and even the first CD was invented in partnership between Philips and Sony. The end of the 20th century found Sony innovating at a frantic pace. In 1994, Sony launched the PlayStation – within ten years of launching the PS1, Sony had shipped 100 million units. The PlayStation 2, launched during the new millennium, became the best-selling home video game console ever. By 2011, Sony had shipped 150 million units. The PlayStation 3, launched in 2006, has to-date sold 80 million units. In November 2013, Sony launched the PlayStation 4 and shipped one million consoles in the first twenty four hour of sales. There is no denying that PlayStation has been hugely successful for the Sony group of companies.

Sony Logo  - Ultimate Gaming ParadiseAccording to financial data from 2012/13, Sony was “not able to return the electronics business to profitability on an operating profit basis in the fiscal year.” Sony’s entire business is bolstered by two divisions; entertainment and financial services. That means TVs, phones, laptops and other electronic items make Sony no money whatsoever – they actually lost money for Sony. In 2014, Sony wants to diversify its financial services element (Sony, as an old Japanese company, has a large pension pot it wants to invest and thus financial services have been a profitable sideline) along with its entertainment division (including PlayStation). It also wants to explore new ventures in medical equipment and security. Sony is an ever-evolving entity. This evolution means money is needed and a company with so many divisions can see profitable elements lose out to the failure of others. The transfer of capital could impact on the future development of the PlayStation along with other elements that could damage the brand.

PlayStation as a video gaming marque, has a heritage and pedigree that requires investment, research and development along with end-user nurturing that has helped make the PlayStation One, Two, Three and now Four into successful games consoles. This, with the advent of PlayStation Now, is at risk. For those who are unware, Sony has launched a new service. The service is called PlayStation Now. It’s remit is to create a streaming game service which can be played on multiple platforms – from PS4, PS3, Televisions, Smartphones, PlayStation Vita’s and Tablets. In other words, electronic things SONY sells. The process is simple – think Netflix but with games. PlayStation Now allows you to access the PlayStation catalogue of games. This service was made possible by Sony’s acquisition in 2012 of Gaikai Inc, a cloud-computing specialist firm. Gaikai will help Sony PlayStation Now by simplifying the streaming process. The move also means Sony is not at the mercy of cloud-operators like Google, Microsoft and Amazon – who are technically rivals. Therefore, by cutting out the cloud-middle-men, Sony PlayStation Now will create a better streaming experience connected to your Sony Entertainment Network account. Once the ‘app’ is installed and you are logged in, you can find the most up-to-date version of the game and all progress is saved to the cloud.

Sony argues that the move will “provide significant opportunities for further business expansion.” However, this ‘expansion’ has a cost – not in fiscal terms but in emotive capital. The mobile gaming market – which has been enthused by Android – has allowed tablets, phones and even cameras to allow you access to ‘apps’ which have created avenues for monetizing services and products – especially video games. Therein lies the issue, Sony needs the ‘entertainment’ divisions income to help further Sony (as a whole). This means future development could be stymied by a lack of investment. However, this issue seems insignificant when compared to another threat. The threat posed by PlayStation Now.

Gaming is a personal experience. It allows the individual within the context of their life to engage with visual images built around dialogue that creates a narrative. This narrative helps to define the console and gamer relationship. The issue with PlayStation Now is that it moves away from solid gameplay to throwback to (some might even argue retro) gameplay. Your Plants versus Zombies or Angry Birds Seasons are two-dimensional. The reason why mobile games can’t compete with PCs, Xboxes or PlayStations is that they don’t, as of yet, run on 64 bit architecture and as such games engines fail to really bring out the best in such a low-tech game. PlayStation Now will re-introduce older titles – with similar gameplay to the mobile market. This will create issues as the revenues will be high. That will see young developers replicate PlayStation Now titles in order to cash in. This could stymie the development of next-gen titles.

PlayStation NowPlayStation Now will make Sony Corporation buckets of cash. It will help, in all probability along with the PS4 and EMI records, to help return Sony Corp to profitability once again. However, it will impact on the future development of the PlayStation. There have been mutterings, even from members of the Sony board, that perhaps Sony needs to ‘spin-off’ PlayStation to help it refocus on it’s core business interests – personal and corporate electronics. Such a ‘spin-off’ would help Sony by initially giving it a bumper one-off cash lump sum in the billions mark. This could help Sony. It would also help PlayStation as, an individual entity, it could focus its own financial affairs in-house. Money could be re-invested into the console and games development. This issue has seen ‘activist’ investor, Dan Loeb, a Billionaire investor, with a 3 per cent stake in Sony, renew his quest for a Sony break-up. His argument is that Sony needs to focus on core products and services – the corporate structure and management is a key reason for the company’s decline. He continues by arguing the ‘shoring up’ of the electronics divisions by entertainment and finance highlights this unease. He argues that the company can be even more profitable by splitting up.

Another fiscal headache faced by Sony is the revelation that PlayStation 4, according to Reuters and CNET, will be sold at a loss. Sony executives argued the price was lowered to help compete against Xbox. They saw that Microsoft had the competitive advantage last time – when PS3 was more costly than Xbox 360. They believe that by replicating that ploy they can sell more units. They believe they can make-up the loss by generating revenue through the now mandatory PlayStation Plus services and Sony’s own launch titles. Whatever the outcome, PlayStation 4 has performed well during the Christmas and New Year periods. According to data, Sony has sold nearly five million units globally. PlayStation Now could impact on the current drive to make the PS4 profitable. The ‘nostalgia’ and ‘retro’ markets are big. However, educating gamers to the difference will be the crucial difference. A new generation of gamers could have their initial ‘experiences’ of gaming through tablets and PlayStation Now. This could impact on PlayStation 5 (and thereafter) by taking away the ‘special relationship’ between the console and the gamer. There has been encroachment after encroachment with digital services, entertainment and social media – but at it’s core its about gaming – those discs will be the cash-cow for Sony in the long term. This needs protecting from Sony’s thrust to profitise the group. PlayStation’s heritage is at risk of being eroded by executives who simply look at the next quarter and the next day’s trading figures as oppose to visionaries who created the consoles in the first place – who thought about changing a decades worth of engagement and experiences.

Sony PlayStation Now will, in the medium term, help Sony to continue it’s quest to monetize and reduce group losses. This is good – it will protect jobs, investment and growth. However, therein lies the conundrum by moving capital away from the profit-making elements to the profit-losing elements, the company could hinder future development. This possibility is made worse by the acknowledgement that each console is a ‘loss-leader’. They are ‘hoping’ to make enough digital and games revenues to recoup the losses – i.e. to break even. Protecting the PlayStation should be central to Sony’s long-term roadmap. However, the financial woes of the ailing Japanese consumer electronics and entertainment giant means PlayStation, in the short to medium term, could be manipulated in order to protect the company as a whole. This, I believe, along with the destruction of console gaming as envisioned through PlayStation Now, will create future development problems for the tech giant – problems that money will not be able to fix.

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What makes gameplay epic? The essential triumvirate of emotions

A video game’s direct appeal is, in my opinion, based on a triumvirate of elements. These elements are collected together within each and every video game in a sort of tripod array (i.e. three equidistant columns that hold up when combined). The three elements are:

  • Perspective
  • Difficulty
  • Indulgence

These elements form the very basis of a video gaming experience. You might be wondering how that is even possible. Well lets break down the triumvirate and explore these elements in the context of some of the next-gen console’s latest titles?

Perspective

Perspective, in the purest contextual sense, allows a dialogue to morph into a storyline. This storyline is the reason behind the continuation of the gameplay. Therefore, perspective offers gamers a sense of ‘involvement’. This ‘involvement’ thus allows the player to engage and invest emotion into the title.

Difficulty

Difficulty, in the context of challenges, allows the attributes of gameplay to create hurdles which need to be cleared – either literally or metaphorically – in order to progress. These attributes offer gamers a sense of ‘achievement’. These ‘achievements’ thus allow players to build upon the perspective emotions by adding positive emotional capital into their gameplay behaviour.

Indulgence

Indulgence, in the context of gratification, allows the gameplay to offer-up very basic, some would even argue primitive, behaviours that are indulgent to the user. These ‘fun’ elements are divorced from the above in the sense, emotional and achievement-based experiences are not needed for pure fun. However, in tandem with the above, as indulgence allows players to invest emotive behaviours that encapsulate a form of escapism, this escapism is part of the indulgence context.

Combined, the triumvirate helps gameplay by allowing the individual gamer to blend three very important attributes into a single coherent action. Lets explore a couple of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One titles to find how the triumvirate helps enable a more enhanced and emotive gameplay experience.

 

KILLZONE: SHADOW FALL (PLAYSTATION 4)

Killzone-shadow-fall-ps4-wallpaper-in-hdThis game is probably a solid example of how such a triumvirate exists and creates the right atmosphere for excellence in gameplay activities. The perspective element, the storyline so to say, allows you to invest in a franchise that you have already – in all probability – played. You are aware of the ‘back-story’ and you know about the ‘Helgast’. As such, the investment is partially already there. That said, the game needs a storyline.  The game sees the action shift thirty years into the future. The World War has moved into a “Cold” War style rift between the Interplanetary Strategic Alliance’ and the Helghan’ people. The story allows the player to invest into the context of many different emotive involvements. There are themes which are fluid in the storyline from ‘Eurosceptiscism’ – the ‘Vekta Cityspace’ and the nuances between the ‘Helghan’ and the ‘IPA’ spaces allow for notions of ‘underclass’ and ‘immigrationary’ fears to be used in the context of gameplay. Real life fears and issues in today’s society and thus fused with a game that is pure fiction. This is the success of the first strand of the triumvirate.

The game, in the context of difficulty, also finds the right balance between the challenges of playing the game and the similarities of playing the older versions. The game has the right balance of challenges – from inner-space to inner-city – as such the rush and the drive of the gameplay allows for different players at different levels of gameplay experience the right amount of ‘difficulty’ without making it ‘piss easy’ for the pro’s and ‘dead hard’ for the noobs. The game moves away from drudge-based war games – assault after assault followed by end credits. This game uses difficulty in a way other games failed to. It uses the context of nuance – of distinction – to help elevate each and every level. This makes the game more challenging in parts – it’s not perfect but it does highlight challenging elements in a more organic way that say, Deadrising 3 does on Xbox One.

Finally, the final strand of the triumvirate is the context of indulgence. The first two parts illustrated the notion of storyline and difficulty. However, the final strand in what makes a game epic is ‘fun’. Some of the most technically brilliant games ever made have failed miserable because the ‘fun’ was missing. This, it has to be said, is not the case with Killzone Shadow Fall. The game fuses seriousness with fun. The ‘OWL’ drone has to be one of the coolest gadgets ever. The drone can do everything – stun enemies, shield you from attack and you can even use it as a zip line! The overall experience – apart from thematic and linear issues with the storyline – illustrates that technical excellence and fun can be fused to create a great title.

 

RYSE: SON OF ROME (XBOX ONE)

On the other end of the spectrum (and I mean spectrum by the way, not Spectrum the 80s computer), we see Ryse: Son of Rome. This is a Microsoft title that was given the green light to highlight what’s great and excellent about Xbox One. So let’s look at how the triumvirate worked on Ryse?  Ryse is a great example of shoddy storyline development. Developers have long avoided Rome and Greek themed titles – I remember Shadow of Rome on PlayStation 2 and that was pretty awful. This storyline has elements that seem to be mashed together in an incoherent fashion. For added flair, they have mangled Roman fables and histories into a mongrel tale. This ‘mongrel’ tale leaves little for the gamer to invest any emotion into. There are light-hearted areas – the motion capture scenes are epic. However, the collective storyline fails to incorporate the right balance of emotional and psychological allure to help develop the right relationship between game and player.

Ryse Arena  - Ultimate Gaming ParadiseThe ‘difficulty’ context of Ryse: Son of Rome is another epic failure. The game fails to create enough in the way of challenges for the player. It’s important to define what we mean by challenges. This is not about setting the difficulty level from easy to hardened. This is about the difficulty, and therein the achievement, complexity that allows gamers the emotive capital to invest into the title. Yet again, Microsoft and Crytek have failed miserably to offer the right balance in terms of challenges for gameplay achievement. The ‘rumbling’ between stages from arenas to open-spaces fails to create a sense of urgency and this at its core is about the lack of achievement-building in the wider gameplay experience.

Finally, the fun context of the game is a whole different story to the other two elements. The game is fun! There is no denying the lavish beauty of the graphics – as a visual showcase, the game at present has no equal in terms of Xbox One graphical excellence. This beauty echoes through the gameplay. As such, one part the ‘hacking away’ element is, whether it’s a good thing or not, rather fun on the whole! Those pesky Barbarians will meet the blade of your sword and it’s not going to end well for them. That said, it’s a fun game it’s just that the two other elements fail to create the complete package.

 

There. Two examples of next generation gaming and the importance of a triumvirate of essences that make video games better. They exist in the context of Killzone Shadow Fall but are miserably left out of Ryse: Son of Rome. The dynamic of the triumvirate can be seen in the successes of Call of Duty: Ghosts and FIFA 14 whereas they are epically missing from Battlefield 4 and Forza. Therefore, when looking at what next to buy for your console, why not use this evaluation tool to better engage with the right title. The triumvirate of achievement, entertainment and perspective creates the right environment for a game to flourish and therein the player’s experiences to be completely blown out of the water. This, at its core, is what gaming is about. That’s why we need to make sure we “keep it real” when gaming.

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PS4 vs Xbox One

PS4 Availability Worldwide Trumps the Xbox One

The console debate has been incredibly heated since the release of the next-gen iterations of both the Playstation and Xbox. Ranging from Sony having a better day one policy than Microsoft to the Playstation having better hardware than the Xbox, the common theme that is being driven across by media outlets around the world is that Sony’s console is surging ahead and leaving the Xbox behind in the dust.

Sony-Playstation-4And although the PS4 sold more copies of their console in November than the Xbox One, sales have been pretty tight across the board and are relatively similar to each other at the moment. This is curious when the PS4 is lauded as the new superior console by so many websites around the world. If Sony’s console was truly moving ahead as the number one console, why are sales being matched?

A theory about this involves a number game. Both Sony and Microsoft are manipulating sales figures to place themselves in a more positive light while remaining on the safe side of the line. After all, being called out as a liar right now wouldn’t be great for their image. Instead, both companies are using cliché phrases to improve their statistics. Sony has said that they’ve sold over a million devices in less than 24 hours while Microsoft says they’ve been selling a steady number of 101,000 devices every single day of their starting week. From an objective viewpoint both points are technically true, but overall sales are neck and neck in the race. It all comes down to market and audience when you consider the financial differences between the two consoles.

As it stands right now, the PS4 is available in 48 nations while the Xbox One is available in only 13. It seems as if Microsoft has elected to initially target their strongest markets, namely the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Brazil, and other popular pro-Xbox nations. Just in case your geography isn’t all that up to date, there are currently 196 countries in the world which means Microsoft is currently meeting the market expectations of a whopping 6.63% of the global economy. Sony isn’t much better on this front, but they’re doing a significantly better job of reaching different audiences by currently resting at a reach of 24.5%, so nearly a quarter of the world.

xbox-oneRather than try and tell you which way is better, I’ll leave the floor open for debate. It’s arguable that both consoles have had a boatload of troubles with their respective releases, and it’s arguable that in the end, availability doesn’t matter too much in the bigger picture unless you live in one of the countries that it’s not available in.

It’s worth pointing out, however, that even if you live in a nation that doesn’t have any retail devices, you can still purchase them online for a steeper price tag. In any case, the PS4 is being sold in markets that the Xbox One hasn’t even come close to entering yet. It’s a blow to global Microsoft loyalty and a great boost to generating consumer appreciation towards Sony. After all, Sony made sure their console was available to a smaller market, which means they care. It’s an interesting market tactic, and the next few months will definitely demonstrate whether or not it works out for them.

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Call of Duty Ghosts multiplayer glitch on “Squads” Mode Reported by Users on CoD Community Forum

The Call of Duty Ghosts Community Forum, over the past forty eight hours, has been abuzz with rumours and murmurings of a ‘squads’ mode Call of Duty Ghosts multiplayer glitch. According to several users, glitches – on several platforms including Wii U, Windows PC and Sony PlayStation 4 – have found that their ‘squad’ members would simply disappear. The initial cry came from “VoldermortGamer88”, on the Call of Duty community forum. The irate gamer claimed “my guys are disappearing in front of my eyes” and “I try to switch and plan ahead and my buddies are just plain not even there.”

Call-of-Duty-Ghosts-Squads-Screen - Ultimate Gaming ParadiseFor those who don’t know about ‘Squads’ mode, it’s a new way to experience online multiplayer gaming. The mode lets you play alongside or against teams of AI controlled soldiers. A squad consists of a ‘handful’ of AI controlled squaddies who work together to assault or defend against waves of bot-driven teams. The approach is to help widen the appeal of the multiplayer genre by allowing a collaborative individual challenge to the old single player mode approach.

Call of Duty: Ghosts, for those who are of a hermetical disposition, has been hit hard by patch updates. Launch day saw a huge patch download – even before you where allowed to play the game. Thereafter, there have been variances from 1.06 to 1.09 depending on your platform. There have been a lot of column inches on paper and in cyberspace about the development woes and the lack of BETA testing for such a headline product. That said, Activision have said a new patch will be available by the end of December.

That said, the new Call of Duty Ghosts multiplayer glitch has been in a mode that other patches haven’t really addressed. Now the game is nearly a month old, people will be moving in to explore more and more features within the game. Extinction is another game mode that has a few rumours of errors and glitches in gameplay. Therefore, just as Christmas is around the corner you can bet your ass that more gamers will vent some serious spleen over the festive period as they explore more and more content from within the buggy Call of Duty Ghosts title.

Call of Duty Ghosts customise your soldier - Ultimate Gaming ParadiseUGP earlier this week published an article on patch updates and the future threat of mass patch updates on the reputation of these next-gen platforms. This new rumour, which has yet to be highlighted by any of the Call of Duty developers, is another sign that the game was rushed. The development and subsequent release has found errors in every single variant of gameplay from “Extinction” to “Campaign” via multiplayer modes. This is just another embarrassment for Activision and co; they need to get on top of these issues. The next-gen consoles first few months are the most important for their continued development. The rumours and issues with the Wii U made developers stay away. Sony and Microsoft need to make developers publish titles that have higher standards of quality control. Only by adhering to strict standards can gamers start to expect excellent game content. Let’s hope that the developers get all this Call of Duty Ghosts multiplayer glitch sorted quickly and the game is soon working. We don’t end up with the eternal patching that we had with Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 or a game that’s taken 6 months of patches just to work like SimCity.

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