News from the video game industry for the week of January 4
Every Sunday at Electronista and MacNN, we offer a one-stop look at a few of the significant events that occurred in the video game industry during the previous week. In this week's look back in the Weekly Game Replay, we discuss a new game in the Baldur's Gate series from Beamdog, the closure of Zombie Studios, Hellblade coming to PC, the lawsuit over EA using retired NFL player likenesses in Madden NFL moving forward, and Sony delaying the release of the PlayStation 4 in China.
NPD claims 1.2M Xbox One consoles sold in US in November
Microsoft has beaten Sony for the first time in a long while, in terms of console sales. Sales data from NPD reveals that the Xbox One outsold the PlayStation 4 in the United States for the month of November, with the pre-holiday spending breaking a sales streak Sony has enjoyed since the launch of its console in the country last year.
TV From Sky app goes live on PlayStation 4 in UK
British broadcaster Sky has added its streaming app to the PlayStation 4. Named TV From Sky instead of the usual Sky Go brand, the app provides online access to a number of live Sky television channels, as well as a wide selection of on-demand and catch-up TV shows via the console, for subscribers of the satellite television service.
PlayStation Vue to offer around 75 channels, cloud storage of shows
Sony has unveiled its rumored Internet TV service, one which will launch this month in the United States as a beta. PlayStation Vue will allow owners of Sony's game consoles to watch a variety of locally-available television channels, along with on-demand and catch-up functionality, and the ability to store some television programs on the cloud.
Strong sales of PlayStation 4 not enough to reclaim profitability
Earlier this week, Sony reported its quarterly earnings, missing already-bad Wall Street estimates. Friday, Sony reported a staggering $1.2 billion loss, even with the company having unloaded its television and PC operations. The only bright spot in Sony's future appears to be the PlayStation 4. Much of the bad news came from an operating loss of 172.0 billion yen ($1.6 billion) attributed to the company's mobile communications segment. This compares to an operating profit of 8.8 billion yen in the same quarter a year ago.
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.
PS3, Xbox 360 buyers get free next-gen copy for limited time, Vita remote play controls refined
With Bungie's Destiny coming out later this week, the company announced an initiative to give players still on last-gen hardware an easier way to transition to next-gen consoles in the near future. Bungie announced that players that purchase a digital copy of Destiny for the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 are eligible for a free digital version on either the Xbox One or PlayStation 4. Sony also announced a control scheme specific to that PlayStation Vita that Bungie developed for those playing the game via remote play.
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.
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.
Remake based on 2002 version of game, said to retain the same atmosphere
Capcom announced this week that it's giving one of the first hit PlayStation games a high-definition makeover for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC. Horror fans will be happy to know that Resident Evil is getting the treatment, based on the remade version that was brought to the GameCube in 2002.
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.
June console sales up 103 percent, PlayStation 4 in the lead by 476,000 units
After Microsoft provided internal figures that saw sales for the Xbox One double since dropping the Kinect and $100 off the price, NPD confirmed that the increase still wasn't enough to catch Sony's PlayStation 4. For the sixth month in a row, the PlayStation 4 claimed the top spot for console sales as the hardware market increased to $292.7 million.
Mad Catz adds 4K support, Ouya app to Mojo game console
Game peripheral producer Mad Catz has rolled out an update to its Mojo Android game console, adding support for 4K-resolution output of games and apps to compatible high-resolution televisions. The update also introduces Ouya Everywhere, giving the device access to hundreds of games hosted on the competing gaming platform, as well as allowing more games and apps on Google Play to be downloaded to the console.
Grand Theft Auto V confirmed to be released for next-gen consoles this fall
Rockstar has announced that Grand Theft Auto V will be released for play on PlayStation 4, PC and Xbox One this fall. The upgraded versions will offer improved graphics and technical elements, new gameplay features as well as additional tweaking options. Players who have used GTA Online on the PS3 or Xbox 360 will be able to carry over equivalent progress on the next-generation console versions.
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.
Playstation 4 tester streams game on Ustream, Activision scrambles to remove videos
New gameplay footage of Bungie's Destiny has showed up online, though this time it isn't from the company itself. The game had footage leaked last week when one of the game's alpha testers decided to stream during a play round on the Playstation 4. Activision has been quick to pull videos down on YouTube, but other sources are still available.
CD Projekt Red details items in three releases, sets February 2015 as official release
Word has come in from CD Projekt Red, giving The Witcher 3 a solid date for its 2015 release. The game, fully titled The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, will be available February 24, 2015 in seven different languages with full voiceover, with an additional nine languages available in subtitles. The game is set to release for PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4 in physical and digital formats on GOG.com.
Anticipated Playstation 4 alternate history shooter delayed to until 2015
The release of one of the most anticipated titles for the Playstation 4 has been delayed, according to a post on the Playstation Blog. The Order: 1886, a game which meshes Victorian-era London and Gears of War-style gameplay, was originally eyed for a fall 2014 release as a Playstation 4 exclusive title. The game is now scheduled for a release sometime in 2015.
Partnership will see console manufactured in free trade zone, companies formed
Following the lift of the ban on foreign console sales in China in January, Sony has confirmed that the Playstation 4 will be coming to the country. A deal with Shanghai-based Oriental Pearl Culture Department (OPCD) has been announced that will see manufacture of the console in the country, inside of Shanghai's free trade zone.
Announcement includes data imports from older consoles, upgrade price
Minecraft is making its way to the Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Playstation Vita this August, according to a statement from Mojang today. The company detailed some of the differences from previous console generations, including a reduced cost for buyers of previous versions and ability to import saves to next-generation consoles. The company also announced that most downloadable content (DLC) and texture packs would be available in the new versions.
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.
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.
Nokia rolls out Refocus app to all Lumia devices running Windows Phone 8
Nokia is making its Lytro-style Refocus app available to all Windows Phone 8 Lumia devices, as a free download via the Windows Phone Store. The app, which was initially released for Lumias with PureView, allows users to adjust the focal point of an image, after the photograph has been taken, with the resulting image shareable on social networks and stored on OneDrive.
First Sony VR headset claimed to beat first iteration of Oculus Rift
Sony could be preparing to reveal its own virtual reality headset at the Game Developer's Conference next week, according to a rumor. According to "developers familiar" with the device, the initial version of the headset will be shown to developers alongside a demo from a first-party studio, with the reception of the device potentially dictating if Sony will proceed to a public release.
Sony starts selling PlayStation 4 in Japan months after US, European launches
Sony has launched the PlayStation 4 game console in Japan, months after shipping it to customers in the United States and Europe. While it has already sold 5.3 million units in other markets when competing against the Xbox One, the launch in Japan will be largely uncontested, with The Verge noting no news of an Xbox One launch in the country has been issued by Microsoft, and the Nintendo's Wii-U continues to sell poorly.
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.
Moshi releases flip cover case for iPhone 5s and 5c, features embedded touch sensors
Mobile accessory maker Moshi unveiled earlier this week its flip cover case for iPhone 5s and 5c, the SenseCover. Allowing users to swipe to answer phone calls or silence alarms without exposing the iPhone's touchscreen, Moshi's touch-sensitive plates within the front cover offers a design similar to what is seen from Samsung's S-View flip cover for Galaxy handsets. Its cutout near the top lets the caller identification information still remain visible. When access to the touchscreen is desired, the cover can be folded back and kept open by its rear-mounted magnetic clasp.
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.
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.
PS4 owners can now stream music videos for free
Sony last week announced that owners of its PlayStation 4 console will now have access to thousands of music music videos for free. The company has added VidZone to the PlayStation 4, adding a feature that was already available for owners of the PlayStation 3. The VidZone app, Sony says, has been optimized for the PlayStation 4, bringing enhanced social integration features faster start-up times, and quicker navigation. In addition to music videos, VidZone also offers access to assorted television channels.
Sony lays the foundation for its gaming future with the PS4
The Sony PS4 is the most important console Sony has yet produced, especially as some observers argue that it could be one of the last dedicated gaming consoles with rise of mobile devices and high-quality casual gaming. It is Sony's proposition for why multipurpose gaming consoles still deserve a place in the home of not only gamers, but other users who might primarily be after an entertainment hub with some occasional gaming. However, to help differentiate its console from the Microsoft Xbox One, its primary competition, Sony has pitched the PS4 at the gaming heartland. So how is the Sony PS4 shaping up and is it a must-have device for your family room or study? Read on in our full review of the Sony PlayStation 4.
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.
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.
One of five Kotaku PS4s, some retail establishments stricken by limited failures
Some early PlayStation 4 owners are complaining about HDMI and display issues. Among the notable infant failures, or dead-on-arrival units, are one to gaming publication Kotaku, one to gaming website IGN, and several reports gathered by Electronista from demonstration units shipped to retail stores.
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.
TV, gaming woes cast doubt on Sony's three-pronged plan
Sony has released its earnings statement for the most recent financial quarter, revealing a weak outlook due to poor performances by its entertainment and television divisions. The Japanese electronics giant cut its full-year profit targets by 40 percent and posted a quarterly net loss of $197 million for the three months ending September 30. Things are looking up, though, for the firm's mobile division, which has seen revenue and sales of its Xperia devices continuing to grow.
PS4 will get 300MB download on launch date
Sony has confirmed that when its PlayStation 4 video game console launches in November, it will require a day-one software update. The update, approximately 300MB in size, will bring the PS4 to version 1.50 of its system software. The electronics giant says that the update will be necessary to enable a number of features.
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.
A spate of interesting and innovative products from Sony bodes well
Corporate strategies are a dime a dozen, so when Sony CEO Kaz Hirai unveiled his ‘One Sony’ vision people would have been right to view it with a healthy dose of scepticism. It certainly sounded good on paper, but “the proof of the pudding is in the tasting” as the saying goes. If there ever was a company that was crying out for a much more integrated and cohesive approach to its devices and services strategy, it is Sony, a company long viewed to be comprised of fractured and fragmented divisions often pitted against each other, rather than working together harmoniously. It must have been hard to swallow as Sony watched Apple take its crown as the maker of the coolest and most lusted after tech gadgets on the planet.
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.
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.
Manufacturing labels for Japan, China suggest high production levels
The Sony PlayStation 4 has been spotted heading through the FCC for approval. The upcoming game console, due to ship before the end of this year, is shown in the filing to have both China and Japan listed as the country of manufacture, suggesting that Sony is attempting to make sure there are as few console supply issues as possible at launch.
Next-gen console comes packed with Watch Dogs, Killzone
Amazon is riding the PlayStation 4 hype and offering gamers the chance to get their new consoles on the day the PS4 is released. The online retailer is now offering bundled versions of the PlayStation 4 with a release date guarantee. The PS4 is available in four different bundles from Amazon.
New console to see 30 titles in the first year
At an E3 announcement earlier today, Sony showed off its new PlayStation 4 console, this time demoing the actual production unit. In much the same manner as competitor Microsoft, the company also demoed and listed upcoming titles for the console. Beyond just the new console, the company also debuted a $299 bundle with a Playstation 3 and the upcoming Grand Theft Auto V title.
Blurry video reveals black base color, prominent edges in design
Sony has teased its upcoming game console, via a video uploaded to YouTube. The clip, which alternates between close-up shots and one zooming into what could be presumed to be the impending PlayStation 4, is released the day before Microsoft is due to reveal its future plans for its own replacement for the Xbox 360.