Monthly Archives: June 2013

  • Microsoft Reverses ALL DRM Policies

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    Wow. Ok this was unexpected. Let’s just recap over what happened over the last few months.

    At the dawn of the next generation consoles rumors were all over the internet that the consoles would restrict used games and also need to be connected to the internet all the time (always on). Flash forward to the Xbox One reveal and both of these traits were confirmed. Microsoft took the DRM one step ahead and thus restricted the selling/trading of used Xbox One games by attaching the games to the one Xbox Live account. And although not needing to be connected to the internet always, it was revealed that Xbox One would need to be connected at least once every 24 hours in order to even play games offline! The gamers were not happy, big surprise right?

    Flash forward a few more weeks to E3 2013, and Sony completely owns Microsoft by revealing that Playstation 4 will be exactly like the PS3 and thus will not place restrictions on used games and will not need to be connected to internet to play games offline. At E3 Sony revealed these directly aiming at Microsoft and won over the crowd. As an effect coming out of E3 2013, PS4 was named the winner and the pre-order of PS4 surpassed that of Xbox One according to Amazon.com.

    So finally we get to this, Microsoft reveals that they have decided to withdraw all of their above said policies. The Xbox One will no longer require to be connected online neither would they limit used Xbox One games. So basically, the policies surrounding Xbox One games have been set back to that of Xbox 360 games. There has been a mixed response from the community regarding Microsoft’s new change of heart.

    I guess Xbox fans will be glad to be able to continue sticking to their favored console and carry on their Xbox Live accounts to the newest generation. Others are not so happy, feeling Microsoft should not have backed down. Mainly because they took everything back, even the poorly explained “Family Sharing” plan that basically gives the ability to share the digital copy of every game bought with up to 10 “family members”. So with enough “family members” the cost of games could be cut down by 10 times!

    I for one welcome the change but would have liked Microsoft to actually explain why they insisted on DRM and the other benefits like Family Sharing that they planned to implement. Even still, I wish they did not take these added bonuses away as if they were mad to remove the DRM restrictions. But at least now PS4 and Xbox One are equal in pretty much every way except for that the PS4 comes at a retail price of $399 while the Xbox One is priced at $499.

  • PlayStation 4 Camera Specs

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    In the wake of full specs being revealed for both the Playstation 4 as well as the Dual Shock 4, the official details of the Playstation Camera has also surfaced. The official retail price of the PS4 has been set at $59 or £54. The PS4 Eye camera features a bespoke "AUX" connection to the main console which is awesome because we can then attach this 60/120/240 FPS camera directly to our PCs!

    The new tech demo for the PS4 Camera and the Dual Shock 4 really brought out some cool functionality of the peripherals. It looks just as functional as the Kinect now that it has two camera’s instead of one now. Check out the following video to see it in action:

    Dual Shock 4 + PS4 Camera Tech Demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvpCdtjTrAo

    Official PS4 Camera Specs:

    Product name: PlayStation®Camera Color: Jet Black Product code: CUH-ZEY1 Recommended retail price: US$ 59, Canada$ 59, € 49, and £ 44 External dimension: Approx. 186mm × 27mm× 27mm (width × height × depth)  (tentative) Weight: Approx. 183g (tentative) Video pixel: (Maximum) 1280 × 800 pixel × 2 Video frame rate: 1280×800 pixel @ 60fps 640×400 pixel @ 120fps 320×192 pixel @ 240fps Video format: RAW, YUV (uncompressed) Lens: Dual Lenses, F value/F2.0 fixed focus Capture range: 30cm~∞ Field-of-view: 85° Microphone: 4 Channel Microphone Array Connection type: PS4 dedicated connector (AUX connector) Cable length: Approx. 2m (tentative)

  • Dual Shock 4 Specs – PlayStation 4

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    The newest controller for the Sony PlayStation 4, the Dual Shock 4 is a pretty impressive piece of technology. So much so that Sony was more than happy to just reveal this controller itself during their first PS4 “reveal”. Since its reveal no one was actually allowed to play with the controller, even during E3 2013. But there is enough info about it available online and just recently Sony has revealed the official specs of the Dual Shock 4.

    The new controller has larger handles with a glossy cross-hatched texture, newly redesigned analog sticks with a concave surface, and a newly fashioned d-pad which according to Sid Shuman, Sony Social Media Manager is “"not too mushy, not too deep, and not too shallow." The L1 and L2 buttons have been left pretty much the same but the R1 and R2 has been redesigned to be more “hook shaped”. Now putting down the controller will not accidentally skip the movie you were watching!

    Other than these modifications to the standard features, a host of new hi-tech features have been added such as the Share button which will potentially play a huge role in the future. Mainly allowing mostly all PS4 owners to edit and upload their gaming experiences on Youtube as let’s play videos.  The addition of the front touch pad is also a brilliant addition which would offer much versatility in terms of accessibility to the system menus as well as gameplay.

    Here is the full official detail of the Dual Shock 4 as revealed by Sony:

    Product name: DUALSHOCK®4 wireless controller Color: Jet Black Product code: CUH-ZCT1 Recommended retail price: US$ 59, Canada$ 59, € 59, and £ 54 External dimensions: Approx. 162mm× 52mm× 98mm (width × height × depth) (tentative, excludes largest projection) Weight: Approx. 210g (tentative) Keys / switches: PS button, SHARE button, OPTIONS button, Directional buttons (Up/Down/Left/Right), Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square), R1/L1/R2/L2 button, Left stick / L3 button, Right stick / R3 button, Pad Button Touch pad 2 Point Touch Pad, Click Mechanism, Capacitive Type Motion sensor: Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope,  three-axis accelerometer) Other features: Light Bar, Vibration, Built-in Mono Speaker Ports: USB (Micro B), Extention Port, Stereo Headset Jack Wireless communication: Bluetooth® Ver2.1+EDR Battery Type: Built-in Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery Voltage DC3.7V (tentative) Capacity 1000mAh (tentative)

  • PS4 Official Specs Revealed

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    Sony has officially revealed their official specs however Microsoft has still to confirm. At least now we can get a better estimation of what is the real capability of the PS4. Although to most consumer’s this detail might not affect their purchase decision, for those who are deciding on which console to get based on specs alone maybe this list can be of help.

    Most of the details match what was previously speculated with the Playstation 4 featuring 8 low-power AMD cores and is based on the new Jaguar architecture. It will also have the Radeon GPU architecture which is capable of computing 1.84 TFLOPS of workload. It will also have a 500GB hard drive which can be replaced (with a bigger HDD or even an SSD) unlike that of the Xbox One as Microsoft’s console is not user-replaceable.

    The final thing that was confirmed about the PS4’s hardware is its unprecedented 8GB of GDDR5 RAM. That is also an improvement over Xbox One as it is supposed to have a 8GB off GDDR3 RAM. Considering that even the most expensive consumer-level PC graphics cards can't match this allocation, Sony must be taking a substantial financial hit on this. But I guess it is a solid move that might pay off in the long run, as a general rule of thumb, the higher the RAM the more future-proof the system is.

    Product name: PlayStation 4 Jet Black Product code: CUH-1000A series Recommended retail price: US $399, Canada $399, Europe €399, and UK £349 Main processor: Single-chip custom processor CPU: x86/64 AMD "Jaguar", eight cores GPU: 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD next-generation Radeon based graphics engine Memory: GDDR5 8GB Storage: 500GB hard disk drive External dimensions: Approx 275x53x305mm (width x height x length -tentative, excludes largest projection) Mass: Approx 2.8kg Optical Drive: BD x6 CAV, DVD x8 CAV (read only) Input/Output: Super-Speed USB (USB 3.0) port x2, AUX port x1 Networking: Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T) x1, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 (EDR) AV Output: HDMI out port, Toslink SPDIF Included: PlayStation 4 system, wireless controller (Dual Shock 4) x1, mono headset x1, AC power cord x1, HDMI cable x1, USB cable x1

  • PS Plus Details Clarified – PS3 and PS4

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    With all the hoopla about Sony not having DRM and region lock, very few actually noticed Sony slowly slipping in that PS Plus membership would be required for online gaming. Considering gamers always thought that Sony not charging membership fees for gaming online, as opposed to Xbox Live subscription, was always a plus this new reveal should have elicited a harsher response.

    But I guess Sony has been laying the groundwork for some time now. I mean the PS Plus membership is just awesome. You get a bunch of free games every month for only $5/month which includes big hits like Hitman Absolution, Saints Row III and Sleeping Dogs which was given off this month! So considering that one is likely to already have the PS Plus membership this pay to play thing is not such a big deal.

    However there are some gamers who dislike ANYTHING to be placed behind a pay-wall, rightfully so. I guess to ease customer dissonance and clear the air Sony came forward to explain everything openly. Shuhei Yoshida, Sony boss, came forward to clarify that one does not need PS Plus subscription to play PS3 or Vita games online. These games will remain free to play. This is what he had to say in respect to why they need to charge for play PS4 games online:

    "We’re focusing on new services and online, like the Share button I previously mentioned and the ability to play using mobile devices with the cloud feature. Our plan is to continue to invest in the future, but investing like this is not compatible with our previous policy that involved reducing costs by every means to keep the service free."

    He further continued to apologize for the additional cost but also highlighted the behefits of having a PS Plus Membership which include – early access to betas, discounts, cloud access/saves and a lot more in addition to the monthly free games. Lastly, he said that not all online functions will be unavailable if you don't have a Plus membership:

    "While direct competition in real time won’t be possible [without PS Plus] for instance in the case of DriveClub, asynchronous online gameplay and receiving data from other players will still be free of charge."

  • Nintendo’s New Strategy – Games!

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    Nintendo got the leg up on the competition, namely Sony and Microsoft, when they revealed their next-gen console (WiiU) a year back in E3 2013. They had pretty much everything going for them - a line-up of strong first party games like Zelda and Mario, a bunch of third party developed games including big names such as Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty.

    Even the new gameplay experience, asymmetric gameplay, made possible with the WiiU Gamepad made die hard Nintendo fan’s ignore and even rejoice the lack luster graphical capacity of the Wii U which only matched that of the PS3 and Xbox360. However it was all for nothing as Nintendo barely managed to get any games out for their new baby.

    Needless to say, without some major news they decided against hosting a press conference this year at E3 2013 simply because nothing could stand in comparison to the proper reveals of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. But contrary to rumors suggesting that Nintendo would not show up for E3, they did show up and won the hearts of the fans on the show floor.

    Nintendo seems to have heard the voice of the gamers and seem to be taking steps to ensure that they deliver whatever the gamers desire. A solid business plan that I urge all publishers and studios to follow as well! As such they have brought in a host of first party games starting from Mario Kart 8 to the new Donkey Kong and Super Smash Brothers with Megaman! Most if not all of these games were available for playing at the show floor.

    The games all looked beautiful and pretty much Nintendo fan is dying to get their hands on these. There is no point in arguing and it is pretty much obvious that this is finally a step in the right direction for Nintendo. Hope these games will really help them drive their ever diminishing sales numbers! Although it seems Nintendo might not be directly competing with Microsoft and Sony and WiiU is most likely going to be a secondary console owned by most gamers, I wouldn’t mind seeing Nintendo give the competition a run for their money. The more the competition, the better for us gamers!

  • Tom Clancy’s MMO RPG: The Division

    The-Division-620x350 I don’t about you guys, but I have always been on the fence when it came to MMO RPGs. I mean I love the massive skill trees, extensive quests, tons of loot, unique and interesting items etc. I mean there is a ton that I like. But what held me back was mainly the combat mechanics and overall lack of immersion (personal opinion). But recently I have seen a massive improvement in terms of combat. I mean Terra Online which has been out for has amazing real time combat.

    But Ubisoft swept me off of my feet this E3 with the reveal of Tom Clancy’s The Division. I have not been this excited about a game since The Watchdogs, and I believe I am way more stoked for The Division. This is the first time that the Tom Clancy universe will include an MMO RPG. If you haven’t checked the gameplay yet I urge you to do so via the following link.

    Tom Clancy’s The Division: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJgMl3BahWY

    Amazing right? Everything from the environment, interface to combat just wowed me. It looks amazing and I really can’t wait to get my hands on it. It is supposed to be a lighter MMO RPG where we can change our spent skill points on the fly. It is also meant to have elements of hardcore survival inspired from games like The Last of Us. I can’t wait to find out more and when I do be sure that I will fill you guys in!

  • Developers favor PS4 over Xbox One

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    In the past developers weren't fond of development on the PS3 and Sony has taken note. It is evident from several developer interviews that Sony really got in touch with these guys and based their next console on how easy and open they could make it for the developers. Well done Sony, well done. I know how both the game developers and gamers alike are going to give you quodos for that.

    But considering that Xbox 360 was the easier console to develop for, and that there is not much of a difference between the architecture of the PS4 and Xbox One it was a bit of a surprise to me when developers of Oddworld and Day Z spokw out about why they are more interested to see their games on PS4 than Xbox One. Well it turned out that it was not based on the hardware of the console but instead on the policies implemented by Sony and Microsoft.

    Developers Lorne Lanning and Dean Hall explained in interviews with Eurogamer, why their new games were likely to come to PS4 and not to Xbox One, at least for now. Lanning, the creator of Oddworld Inhabitants, was involved in the launch of the original Xbox (2001) with the game Much’s Oddysee told Eurogamer that why he disagree’s with Microsoft’s policy, particularly that unlike Sony, Microsoft does not allow self-publishing. I quote

    “There are those who are looking at next quarter's profits, and maybe one of these big guys looks like that's all they're doing right now," he explained. "There's one party that's making it very clear they're not interested."

    "For Xbox One [Microsoft has] granted us a license for New 'n' Tasty! but they still say you need a publisher. We don't have a publisher so we're not officially on the platform, even though we're compatible, even though we'll be ready to do it. Period.

    "Why do we need a publisher when we self-finance our games, we build our own IP, we manage our own IP and we've turned nearly two million units online as indie publishers sold – not free downloads? Why? What's wrong with us?”

    "Who's in touch with their audience? And who seems out of touch with their audience? All we know is we've tried to get our games on their platform and we can't do it – and I even helped them release the box."

    Next up Dean Hall, the creator of Day Z, shared similar thoughts when it came to his plans for the standalone version of his popular mod. This is what he had to say and I quote,

    "Yeah, we talked to both of them but, as I'm sure you're aware, Sony lets you self-publish and they don't make you pay for updates. Microsoft requires you to have a publisher. They have no digital distribution strategy and they require you to pay $10,000, or whatever it is, for updates.

    "We like [Sony]. I like what I saw on the PS4. I like what I saw on the Xbox in a lot of cases as well. I'm not s***ting on them. I'm kind of hopeful that Microsoft has just forgot to talk about its indie support. Maybe I'm being a bit naive."

    Well there you have it. I don’t know how Microsoft will deal with this in the future but for now it seems that the policies set by Sony allows more indie developers to publish their games on their console. Microsoft, if you guys realized that the way to success is by having new games then you guys might want to follow Sony’s lead here. One reason behind the PSN success are the slew of original indie games available.

  • Sony Leading Xbox in Preference & Pre-orders

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    As always, walking away from E3 someone just HAS to be named a winner. As it seems from the numerous reviews and opinions that it seems that many gamers have entitled the Sony PlayStation 4 as the new king of the consoles. IGN also conducted a poll to decide who “won E3 2013” where about 280,000 responded. According to that, Sony took the lead spot with 81%, followed by Microsoft at second place with 12% and finally Nintendo with 7%.

    Well it came as no surprise considering that Sony soundly beat Microsoft in respect to a lot of the features offered or shall we say not offered. I mean just look at the following comparison

    PlayStation 4

    Xbox One

    Price (USD)

    $399

    $499

    Used Game Restriction

    No

    Yes

    Internet Connection Required to Play (Always On)

    No

    Yes

    Considering the huge support for Sony it is not surprising when early data from major online retailers in the US shows that for approximately every 3 PS4s being sold, 2 Xbox Ones are being sold. Although this is no indication of what is to come in the future but it definitely shows that Sony has definitely hit a note with the gamers. Considering US was the stronghold of Microsoft, this is definitely a big win for Sony even if the difference in sales is marginal.

    According to the Wall Street Journal it seems that such a high demand was unexpected and as a result, Sony has increased its sales forecast. I quote WSJ “Sony Corp is raising internal sales projections for the forthcoming PlayStation 4 videogame console amid positive signs about demand for the device,” But the bad news for those who did not pre-order early is that Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House admitted that “demand may well outstrip supply.” The same was said my GameStop to WSJ.

    While Sony is in the lead at this point, this is what Microsoft Games Studio VP Phil Spencer had to say regarding the overall situation including the consumers’ concerns regarding the Xbox One requiring to be online, and the complications regarding used games “this isn't a sprint. The platform launches this November; we've got more content to share."

    You know what, I completely agree. Just because Microsoft had a bad start people are being overly harsh I guess. If they bring a solid lineup of games and other services it won’t take long for the gamers to forget the bad taste of the left behind by Microsoft’s Xbox One “television fiasco”. Plus despite what ever said and done, they are really not trailing that far behind Sony which seems to be enjoying widespread support.

  • Sony Challenges Microsoft - Used Games & Always Online Policy

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    Microsoft has been taking a LOT of heat over a few issues regarding the Xbox One. I guess it all started during the Xbox One reveal conference where Microsoft highlighted television and sports over games. Fan backlash over this has been seen all over the internet. Just check out this video of the Microsoft Press Conference highlight:

    Xbox One Reveal - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbWgUO-Rqcw

    Since the initial blunder Microsoft has not been able to get back on the horse. That is exactly why when it came to E3 2013, Microsoft made sure they said NOTHING about TV and sports and highlighted as many games as possible. But that was still not enough as Sony not only revealed their console this E3 but also brought an impressive list of games.

    Assuming that at that point if the competition was neck and neck, Sony just blew away the competition by adding one small detail – PS4 games can be shared. Just look at videos of the Sony conference and hear the fans going crazy. As the final blow they also reveal that PS4 will not need an internet connection for playing unlike Xbox One which will require players to sign in at least once every 24 hours.

    PS4 Used Games: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJ-To7WJyWs

    How to Share PS4 Game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWSIFh8ICaA

    The funny thing is that just like Microsoft, Sony was also supposed to have these limitations and there is definitely a possibility that Sony decided against them after seeing what happened to Microsoft. The way I see it is that, regardless of what Sony considered when making this decision one thing is for sure, they definitely considered the gamers. That is why I guess Sony won this E3 in my opinion.

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