News from the video game industry for the week of October 12
Every Sunday Electronista and MacNN report some of the important news from the gaming industry across the past week. During this week's edition, we look at Final Fantasy XIV's first expansion, the download requirements for Halo: The Master Chief Collection, NPD numbers for video game hardware sales, and console updates for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
PlayStation Now will be available on PlayStation TV from October 14th
The PlayStation TV set-top box will have PlayStation Now from its launch on October 14th in North America, the PlayStation Blog has confirmed. Opening as an open beta, the streaming service will also be made available to owners of the PlayStation Vita handheld console, with the service said to offer rentals of over 150 PlayStation 3 games, with cloud storage used for save games, and online multiplayer support also included.
First expansion for Blizzard game in the works, bringing more than 100 new cards
A new expansion for Blizzard's popular online card game Hearthstone is reportedly in the works. Production Direction Jason Chayes spoke with Polygon this week, informing the publication that more than 100 new cards are being produced as a part of the game's first expansion. Chayes said that the developer has thought a lot about the pacing of not only the game, but also in how content is released. He adds that Blizzard was pleased with the reception of the Curse of the Naxxramas add-on, which only added 30 cards to the game.
Sony rolls out the open beta test of the game rental service to PlayStation 3 owners
PlayStation 3 owners wanting to get a taste of PlayStation Now finally have their chance, as Sony rolled out the open beta of the program out to the last-generation console last week. Residents of the United States and Canada with the nearly eight-year-old system can now rent more than 150 titles, rather than paying full price for games that may only be played for a few days. Pricing varies for each rental period and game, but Sony recently reduced the price for the four-hour rental period.
PlayStation TV includes PS Now, in-home PlayStation 4 streaming
Sony will launch the PlayStation TV in North America from October 14th, it has revealed. The micro-console, capable of streaming games from the PlayStation 4 similar to the handheld PS Vita, will be able to play titles from a catalog of nearly 700 games from launch day, with one report hinting that more capabilities could be on the way.
Rockstar Games title seeing enhancements for newer platforms
Rockstar Games has revealed that open-world crime title Grand Theft Auto V will arrive on next generation consoles PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on November 18. The long-awaited PC version will be a bit delayed from previous reports, and follow on on January 27, 2015.
Sony's PlayStation Music app for iOS updated, features MUiOS 2.0 redesign
Sonny's Music Unlimited -- the PlayStation Music App for iOS -- has received a redesign. Allowing account-holding users to stream over a network or download 30 million songs, games and movies are available on PlayStation systems, and music on iOS and computers.
Pre-TGS Sony event reveals 44 games, Project Morpheus prototype game
Owners of Sony's PS Vita will soon be able to watch streams of PlayStation 4 games on the handheld console, the company has revealed. Part of a number of announcements at Sony's pre-Tokyo Game Show event, the "Live from PlayStation" app will reach the PS Vita in a future update, and will let the user watch not only a live stream of a local PlayStation 4, but also gameplay from other streaming consoles.
New games from Ninja Theory, Wild Sheep Studios, updates on Destiny DLC, Far Cry 4
As with Sony's press event at the Electronic Entertainment Expo early in the year, the company's Gamescom event was a mix of hardware and games. While some of the hardware announcements were welcome, the company also released a bunch of news regarding some big-name titles coming to the console in the next year, some smaller titles on the way, and updates on some of the most anticipated games out this year.
Gamescom PS4 media event revealed PlayStation TV shipping to Europe in November
Sony is bringing the PlayStation TV to Europe, a month after its US launch, the company revealed as part of its Gamescom media event earlier today. The company also laid out its plans for future updates to the PlayStation 4 game console at the event, as well as advising that it has passed the 10 million unit sales milestone for the console, up from the 7 million it reported back in April.
Newest Assassin's Creed game coming only to PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Game maker Ubisoft has decided that it is going to add some life to the consoles of the last generation while giving fans of Assassin's Creed a little more story. Coming to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 is the new Assassin's Creed Rogue, a game that takes place between Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag in the series timeline. The game features an improved version of the naval combat system seen in Black Flag, but takes place in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean.
PlayStation 4 owners can use PS Now to rent, stream PlayStation 3 games
Sony has launched its PlayStation Now game streaming service in the United States and Canada. Previously only available as a private beta, all PlayStation 4 owners in the two countries are able to access the service in an open beta, with users able to rent PlayStation 3 titles and stream them to their console without downloading the entire game beforehand.
Company cites PlayStation Plus memberships, EA program lacks 'good value'
Earlier this week, Electronic Arts (EA) announced the EA Access program, which would give gamers access to EA games via a subscription platform. The program is currently exclusive to the Xbox One, but it appears that Sony thinks that the service wouldn't be a good fit for PlayStation 4 owners. According to Sony, a monthly program that only offers EA titles isn't "good value."
Sony's PlayStation announces upcoming 3D Blu-ray support for PS4
Sony's PlayStation has announced that its next system update for PS4 will include support for 3D Blu-ray releases. The firmware update, v1.75, is anticipated to arrive next week, according to PlayStation Europe's tweet from earlier today. This information was released in light of Microsoft's announcement of Xbox One's upcoming 3D Blu-ray support.
Free games, subscriptions offered as compensation for PSN intrusion
Sony has agreed to a preliminary settlement worth $15 million in a hacking class-action lawsuit in the United States. The agreement, which still requires approval from a judge, will see Sony handing out free games to console owners affected by the April 2011 PlayStation Network hack, which saw the shutdown of the service and Qriocity for several weeks, as well as compromising personal data and credit card information from over 77 million users.
Bungie decided to preserve the experience for players, not push each console
Bungie took on the difficult task of developing its latest game Destiny for four different consoles across two generations of technology. While this isn't uncommon near the end-of-life cycles for consoles, Bungie decided to craft the experience for each console according to their vision rather than hardware limitations. However, hardware does keep the game from advancing into cross-platform play territory, an area of play that gaming is moving into.
Developer program brings Unity to PlayStation Vita, PlayStation TV creators
Last week, Sony announced that it was bringing an official version of Unity optimized for its mobile platforms to developers. The "Unity for PlayStation Mobile" kit gives developers of games on smartphone and tablet platforms an easier way to bring their projects to the PlayStation Vita and upcoming PlayStation TV.
Exclusive games, indie titles, and franchise favorites all covered at press briefing
During Sony's two-hour press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the company introduced a long list of titles that are coming to the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and the PS Vita. Ranging from AAA titles and franchise exclusives to the console, to Playstation-first indie games, the company came out swinging with its offerings.
Hardware coming to North America, Playstation Now contains big name titles
Looking to be the first of the big three console manufacturers to make a hardware announcement during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Sony made a few modest announcements for the future. The company said that it would be bringing the PlayStation TV to North America this fall for $100. Sony also have some new details on the PlayStation Now service, which will be hitting open beta on a select devices in July.
Shipping ending in Japan following US in January, European PSP sales continue
Sony is retiring the PlayStation Portable (PSP) in Japan after nine and a half years of sale in the country, effectively signaling the oncoming end of the console's life. Shipments of the handheld game console will cease in Japan later this month, with the company instead continuing to push for sales of its successor, the PlayStation Vita.
Company expands conference experience viewing options to fans stuck at home
Sony is thinking a little outside of the box when it comes to giving people the access they need during their E3 2014 press conference. For those unable to make the trip to Los Angeles in June, the company has teamed up with movie theaters across North America to broadcast the event in high definition on over 40 screens.
Program expands to Sony's newest console starting May 20, no word on Vita
Sony has made the Playstation Now private beta test available to further testers today with news that it will be expanding the private beta to all Playstation 4 consoles. The expansion marks a second testing phase of the game streaming service from the company, and will commence on May 20. Invites will be sent out shortly for Playstation Now, which is expected to make its debut this summer.
Sony CFO hopes 2014 will be the end of restructuring and associated costs
Sony is awash in red ink for the fiscal year. While the company's sales exceeded 7.6 trillion yen ($75 billion), the company took a loss of 128 billion yen ($1.2 billion), which represents a $1.21 per share loss. Positive factors for the company include continued growth in its motion picture business, and a dramatic climb in sales from the launch of the PlayStation 4.
Handheld Sony game system is 15 percent lighter than original PS Vita
Sony has released an updated PlayStation Vita model in the United States, after introducing it in the United Kingdom in January, and its successful Japanese launch late last year. The PS Vita Slim is 20 percent slimmer and 15 percent lighter than the original version, with relatively few changes made to the handheld game console overall.
Playstation Store puts 30 games on sale for $1 each
Sony has announced a flash sale on its Playstation Store, offering 30 games on sale for $1 each. Classic titles such as Braid, Everyday Shooter, Gotham City Impostors, Plants vs Zombies and more are available for PS3, PSP and PS Vista. The Playstation Store's flash sale runs until April 21 at 7AM PST.
Xbox One continues to be outsold by PlayStation 4
Microsoft has sold more than five million Xbox One game consoles since its launch, the company has revealed. While Microsoft is celebrating the sales milestone, the game console is still far behind the leading PlayStation 4, with Sony reporting more than 7 million units sold worldwide in a blog post just one day before Microsoft's announcement.
Sony to release PS4 update, adding rich video editor and more
Today Sony announced on its blog the upcoming release of a patch for PlayStation 4. Offering the new ability to turn High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) off at any time, players will be able to record footage using an external capture device. The patch will add a video editor for users to modify their gaming footage without the need for external software, and video and screenshot content will be able to be moved to an external USB drive if desired. Sony states that in partnership with Twitch and Ustream, it will be adding the ability for Twitch broadcasts to be archived, and offered in a higher resolution of 720p. Further details are expected in the coming weeks.
Sony shifts 5.3M PlayStation 4 consoles, beats recent Xbox sales figures
Sony has sold over 5.3 million PlayStation 4 game consoles globally as of February 8th, the company has revealed. The news comes just days before the company launches the console in its native Japan on February 22nd. In comparison, Microsoft's January financial results toward the end of January showed it sold 3.9 million competing Xbox One consoles and 3.5 million of the Xbox 360.
Black-only handheld replaces OLED with LCD, smaller touchpad
The new "slim" PlayStation Vita PCH-2000 will see a North American release this spring in a bundle with popular 2011 shooter Borderlands 2. As opposed to the Japanese version with its six colors, the US bundle will come only in black. The new model is 20 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter than the existing model. Also, the OLED display in the original has been replaced by a five-inch LCD version which allows for up to another hour of battery life.
Microsoft offers $100 store credit towards an Xbox One for those who trade-in their PS3
Augmenting the launching of its Xbox One late last year, Microsoft is now promoting an offer of a $100 credit towards an Xbox One purchase upon trading in of a Sony Playstation 3. The promotion bring the Xbox One pricing down to $400, which is the same as newly-released Playstation 4. The trade-in offer is available through Microsoft's retail stores in the US, and applies to Playstation 3, as well as Xbox 360 S or Xbox 360 E.
15-percent lighter, 20-percent thinner than earlier PS Vita release
Sony has launched the PS Vita Slim in the United Kingdom, something the company teased late last week. Marking the first western release of the handheld PlayStation console after its Japanese launch, the PS Vita Slim has a few changes when compared to the original model, including a 15-percent reduction in weight and shrinking in thickness by 20 percent, and 1GB of built-in storage.
Invitations to test game streaming service sent to PlayStation 3 owners
Sony has reportedly started sending out invitations to beta test its PlayStation Now streaming service. Taking place ahead of its expected launch in the United States this summer, the private beta will allow users to play PlayStation 3 titles without needing to download the game beforehand, with players able to stream games to a console over the Internet.
Thinner PS Vita launch could take advantage of PlayStation 4 popularity
Sony will be launching a gaming device in the United Kingdom at the end of this month, and has begun to send invitations to the media. The invitation for the morning of the 30th of January, advises that it will be an "introduction to the slimmest" launch since the biggest in PlayStation history, with initial speculation claiming it to be a thinner version of the PS Vita handheld console.
Tech demoed on Vita, Bravia
After a slew of announcements yesterday, Sony waited until this morning to formally introduce its PlayStation Now streaming game technology. The system promises to bring the company's game ecosystem to Bravia TVs and eventually non-Sony hardware such as tablets. We were curious to see the technology in action, so we stopped by Sony's CES booth to try out game streaming from a Vita and a TV.
Cloud-based DVR service teased alongside Gaikai service rebrand
Sony has revealed that it is naming its online game streaming service PlayStation Now at its CES keynote address, as well as teasing the launch of another cloud-based video service. The Gaikai-powered gaming service will be accompanied by one that will offer live TV, video on demand, and a cloud-based DVR, as Sony attempts to bolster the content available for the PlayStation 4 and its other devices.
Europe launch expected in 2015
Sony is reportedly planning to bring online game streaming to its PlayStation 4 platform in the third quarter of 2014, unnamed sources have told Eurogamer. The company previously noted that the Gaikai-powered features won't be available until 2014, however the leak suggests the new console hardware will be on the market for nearly a year before the streaming feature arrives for users in North America.
The Playroom banned on Twitch due to non-gaming usage
The Sony PlayStation 4 has hit a number of stumbling blocks, just before the company launches the game console in Europe. Game video streaming partner Twitch has banned one launch title from the service outright, and European users will also be missing out on a number of social features for the days following the console's launch.
Password resets on European PSN accounts over possible irregular activity
Sony has reset the password on a number of PlayStation Network (PSN) accounts. The changes, made as a "precautionary measure" just in case the account was compromised, have taken place on European accounts just days before the company is due to launch its next-generation PlayStation 4 game console on the continent.
Sony releases official PlayStation App
Today marks the start of a new generation of home console gaming, with Sony's PlayStation 4 hitting shelves and arriving on gamers' doorsteps. Most of the hype and anticipation has rightly focused on graphics and hardware, but the newest consoles also leverage the mobile tech boom to enable enhanced second-screen experiences. Sony's new PS4 app allows just that sort of enhanced experience, connecting a PS Vita or an iOS or Android device to the new Sony console so that the user can access the PlayStation Store, receive notifications on their mobile device, and more.
Sony PlayStation 4 lands in US, Europe to wait until November 29
Sony has launched the latest model in its line of game consoles in the United States. The PlayStation 4, on sale now before a later release on November 29 in Europe, is being priced by retailers at $400 for the console alone with a single touchpad-equipped DualShock 4 controller, though unlike the Xbox One and the Kinect, the Playstation 4 Eye is an optional purchase costing $60 on top.
PlayStation 4 development team working to add music playback after launch
Sony will be adding MP3 and CD audio playback to the PlayStation 4 in the future, following an online outcry. The change in plans by the console producer comes at the same time as it releases updated companion apps for the PlayStation 4 on both iOS and Android, ahead of its launch in the United States on November 15th.
All missing features available on PlayStation 3
A frequently asked questions section posted by Sony today has confirmed the omission of several features on the PlayStation 4 that the PlayStation 3 supported. At launch, the PlayStation 4 cannot use external storage; will not be able to play audio CDs; will be incompatible with MP3 playback, and possibly most importantly, cannot be used as a media streaming receiver, as Sony's own DLNA protocol will not be supported by the device.
Sony's next console takes top spot on gamer wish lists
Sony could have a winner on its hands, according to a new poll from Reuters/Ipsos showing that the PlayStation 4 has a considerable lead when it comes to gamers' intended purchases. The new poll results come ahead of the launch of both consoles in time for the holiday season, and its results would indicate a bright future for Sony's next-generation offering. Just over one-in-four respondents said that they were likely to purchase a PS4 when it becomes available later this year.
US, Europe release of PS Vita TV could happen, states Sony senior vice president
Sony is considering releasing its PlayStation Vita TV set-top box in the United States and European markets, following a "strong response" from gamers. The move effectively reverses an earlier report, where an executive claimed the company was "not planning" to release the device further afield than markets close to Japan, such as China and South Korea.
App turns smartphone, tablet into PS4 game controller
Sony plans to offer its own answer to Microsoft's SmartGlass interface for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, in the form of the PlayStation App. The announcement of the mobile and tablet app for iOS and Android at the company's Tokyo Games Show keynote accompanies more details about the PlayStation 4 and Sony's expected sales for the device.
SCE CEO states gaming extender technically capable of cloud game streaming
The recently-announced PS Vita TV may be able to perform more functions that originally revealed. Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House revealed that the gaming device, said to be able to play games from its handheld consoles as well as act as a media extender for the PlayStation 4, is also technically able to play PlayStation 3 games.
Sony details PlayStation 4 launch in Japan
Sony has announced that its PlayStation 4 console will arrive in Japan on February 22, three months after the US launch in November, according to a Reuters report. Pricing will start at 39,380 yen (~$400 USD), or 43,980 yen (~$440 USD) with the camera accessory, which effectively matches the US prices.
Sony takes on Apple with new PS Vita TV, launches updated PS Vita
Sony has launched a surprise new product called the PS Vita TV that delivers on the as yet untapped potential of the Apple TV. The new pint-sized set top box not only streams video and music content, it can also play PS Vita and PSP titles on the big screen with controls supplied by a DualShock 3 controller. Unsurprisingly, Sony has also leveraged its upcoming PlayStation 4 console with the new device, allowing users to use it as an extender for playing PS4 titles in a different room.
Camera to be sold separately from console
Sony is reportedly preparing to support voice-recognition features with its upcoming PlayStation 4 console. The capabilities were noted in a presentation to retail staff at the GameStop Expo, highlighting the PlayStation Camera's "navigational voice commands" and facial recognition, and later confirmed in an official statement to Eurogamer.
Live game video streaming service Twitch to be included on PS4
Sony has revealed the launch dates for the PlayStation 4 game console, among other details, at its Gamescom keynote presentation. Gamers will be able to pick up the console from retailers on November 15th in the United States, while Europeans will have to wait until November 29th, with the price remaining at $399 in the US, €399 in Europe, and £349 in the United Kingdom.