Everyone keeps telling me that the PlayStation Vita is dead in the water. From our own Brendan Griffiths to James Portnow and co, it's hard to argue with the logic. Sony didn't mention the device once during their Gamescom presser, sales figures are buried in their financial reports and landmark releases have slowed from a trickle to a standstill over the last few months. If Sony hadn't nailed it to the shelves it'd be pushing up the daisies.
But there's a problem. If the PS Vita is floundering and fading as badly as many pundits believe, then why am I constantly spending every minute of my free time reviewing PS Vita games? I'd nail down the coffin lid, only there's so much new software spilling out of it! And I have to finish off my Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited and Danganronpa 2 reviews for tomorrow. And play some more Borderlands 2.
So no, dear reader, the Vita is very much alive. But the idea of the Vita, the whole philosophy behind it and even the reason many of you bought it, has radically changed. It's life, Jim, but not as we [no, stop it - Ed].
Click here to read more...
As gamers, we really hope VR takes off. Oculus Rift has impressed us since we first put the virtual reality headset on and back in March, Sony announced Project Morpheus, their own brand of VR headset that would let PS4 gamers to get involved. Which, speaking as a non PC gamer, was music to my ears as I was getting dangerously close to investing in a rig so I could play with an Oculus Rift.
But is Project Morpheus doomed to follow the disturbing pattern Sony has dragged itself through over the last few years? The main PlayStation consoles have been huge successes of course; I’m talking about the state of affairs for the PS Move controllers and the PS Vita.
The Move controller is a quality piece of hardware, proving to be a big step up from the original concept of the EyeToy on PS2 and the Wii’s controller on Nintendo’s mega-hit console. The Sports Champions games are up there with the very best of motion-controlled games and even Killzone 3 works really well with the motion/nav stick setup. But thanks to the scarcity of releases, I really have to think hard about what other games I enjoyed with the Move. It failed to get the support it so badly deserved from third-party developers, who were cautious to invest in development of anything more complicated than party minigames.
As that third-party support dried up, Sony also abandoned the development of any future projects, with Project Dawn being scrapped until its recent PS4 rebirth -sans PS Move control. This lethargic attitude to the Move controllers has carried over to the PS4, where they can only be used if gamers stump up the extra cash (£40-£60) on a new camera. But with Just Dance 2014 being the only big name title to support this setup, it’s no wonder there’s a sense of trepidation amongst gamers when faced with investing in more new hardware.Click here to read more...
"It's just beyond our imagination," said Sony Worldwide Studios boss, Shuhei Yoshida, speaking about the PS4's success. Over 10 million sales thus far, and counting.
"We are so happy. But I for one am a bit nervous because we do not completely understand what's happening. You need to understand why your products are selling well so you can plan for the future, right?"
It's a humble statement at first glance, but looking back at what's gone on over the past year or so, it's no surprise really that Sony have managed to extend a strong lead at the start of this new generation. Sony's message has remained so resolute, their communication never wavering for a second. Every step of the way they've delivered when it counts, not necessarily with perfect execution but, crucially, with more poise and appeal than their competition.
There was parity at the start of this generation -- unlike last-gen, neither Sony nor Microsoft had much of a jump on the other in terms of timing -- but being prepared counts for much, and having a solid strategy is invaluable.
So I don't believe you, Mr Yoshida, when you suggest that your company doesn't quite understand the recent success. To me, at least, it looks like a plan well executed. Here's why...
Staying on message
This has defined everything. #4thePlayers -- a motto much more than a social media hashtag, it underpins the entire philosophy behind the PS4. This isn't an all-in-one media centre, it's not one box to rule them all, it's a games console. Yoshida told Eurogamer that there was some trepidation over really focussing on games. "It defied the conventional thinking. Lots of people thought the dedicated game hardware might not be needed going forward, but still lots of people are very excited."Click here to read more...
Yesterday we ran a deal for the white PS4 Destiny bundle, which was a good price, but had one major problem. The console is utterly hideous. So if you're blessed with a sense of taste and an AV cabinet full of black devices, why not save an extra tenner and grab a black version of the bundle from ASDA instead?
Unless you want your PS4 to blend in with your kitchen appliances rather than your living room kit, that is. Remember to use voucher code CONSOLE at checkout!
Thanks to hatcher @ HUKD!
It may be garish if not bordering on the hideous, but the special edition white PS4 certainly turns heads. Especially since it also comes bundled with a physical copy of Destiny for £339.97 at Gamestop. This is a fantastic price and one that I'm not sure I can personally resist, to be perfectly honest.
Remember to join the Dealspwn Destiny Clan whatever platform you choose. My Little Dealspwny needs YOU! Thanks to roshambo @ HUKD!
Galahad's Thermite Rifle might be one of my favourite virtual weapons of all time.
Rather than firing boring old bullets, this steampunk boomstick throws out hundreds of fragile iron oxide and aluminium shells, which shatter on impact and flood the stage with thick clouds of choking gas. However, secondary fire lobs in a magnesium flare, which sets off a chemical reaction that reaches up to 2500°C.
In layman's terms: everything burns.
As such, using it is an absolute blast -- pun most definitely intended -- when The Order: 1886 actually lets you. Fighting through the neo-Victorian London streets as a latter-day Templar Knight requires you to keep your head and push forward, throwing up billowing thermite smokescreens to cover your approach and igniting them to wreathe entire squads of cockney rebels in flames.
Unfortunately, The Order 1886 is also very keen to be as "cinematic" and "filmic" as possible, meaning that much of your time will be spent gawping at what amounts to unskippable cutscenes.Click here to read more...
When PS Plus was made mandatory for online play on PS4, we wondered aloud whether or not Sony would rest on their laurels now that there would be a lessened need to attract subscribers with essential content. Instead, PS Plus has remained an absolute must-have on PS3 and Vita thanks to an Instant Game Collection that's seemingly getting better each month, and it's become a way in to many an indie title (and digital discounts) on PS4.
What is now clear, is that Sony hope to supplement that with integrated services. Services such as SharePlay, which was announced at Gamescom last week. Here's how it works:
"How it works is, for example, say, a friend has a game that I don't. I ask them to let me play it, and if they send me an invitation, I can access their PS4 and play while watching the video that is streamed," said Sony Worldwide Studio boss, Shuhei Yoshida, in an interview with Weekly Famitsu (via Kotaku). "You could call it a mini PlayStation Now."
Compatible with any game that uses the DualShock 4, SharePlay is actually fairly reminiscent of some of the digital sharing stuff Microsoft were blundering through in their garbled PR for the Xbox One ahead of the cavalcade of U-turns. It's an extension of try-before-you-buy -- a P2P streaming demo initiative that trades heavily on word of mouth. Sony have always been a bit better than Microsoft at cultivating a sense of community, and this is yet another initiative that reinforces that. SharePlay is Sony handing power over to their consumer communities and empowering gaming circles to facilitate engagement.
I can borrow a friend's game without owning it or getting off of the couch? Where the hell do I sign?!Click here to read more...
Sony’s handheld just gets quieter and quieter each passing expo season and this year was arguably its darkest yet, with Sony barely mentioning their once proud handheld. The Vita is a quality piece of kit, but it never caught the imaginations of the third-party developers in the triple A scene. Instead it has become the champion of niche and indie titles. While we here at Dealspwn love our indie games, they’re never going to be the true system sellers the Vita badly needs. That said, we’ve done some digging around at Gamescom 2014 to see what lies ahead for the PS Vita. Here’s our Top 5 most important moments we took away from this year’s Gamescom.
The device released as PS Vita TV in Japan will be available on these shores later this year for around £85, allowing gamers to stream their PS4 games to a second TV in the house. As the original name suggests though, it will also effectively be a Vita console that you play on the TV. ‘Most’ card and digital titles can be played on PSTV, we imagine the ones that don’t will be those that include a lot of touchscreen/tilt controls like Uncharted: Golden Abyss. PSTV is considerably cheaper than a Vita handheld and could lead to more Vita software sales from gamers currently on the fence. There’s still a bit of a chicken before the egg scenario going on here though as there needs to be interesting titles to entice people to buy. Because let’s face it, remote play on the Vita doesn’t exactly inspire the smoothest of experiences with using the new device to stream PS4 gameplay to another TV. We’d love to be wrong on that though.
Sony have dropped another wave of PSN deals across PS3, PS Vita and PSP, this time seeing us through until August 27th, with discounts from series such as Assassin's Creed, Bioshock, Need For Speed, and Rayman.Click here to read more...
Dealspwn are once again in Cologne for this year's Gamescom, having sent Carl & Jon to check out the upcoming titles that have been brought along to the three-day-long event... but before we get to that, our dynamic duo give their thoughts on how Sony & Microsoft did with their press conferences. We also get to hear their impressions on the upcoming build of Disney Infinity.
Stay tuned for their first proper day of highlights in our postcard tomorrow!
We know you've been keeping some stuff back, Sony. We know you love to make a splash at Gamescom. Now is the time to do it. Sony have been teasing surprises for the past week or so. Will Until Dawn be returning? Can we please have some news from Media Molecule and Guerilla Games? Is there a timeframe on Morpheus? It's time for some answers, and you can check out the Twitch embed and my live Tweets after the jump.
Jon's fashioned a list of expectations and predictions, and you can find that right here.Click here to read more...
Press Conference starts: 18:00 BST, Tuesday August 12th
Where To Watch: Sony Gamescom Hub
Just because Sony are clobbering their rivals in sales terms doesn't mean that they can afford to throttle back at Gamescom. Rather, they've got to consolidate their position over the course of 90+ minutes, and assure us that there are plenty of games big and small to look forward to over the coming months.
So here's what to expect from their presentation, both in terms of what we know will be there, a few dead certs, educated guesswork and some good old fashioned conjecture.
Sony have confirmed that Driveclub, Bloodborne, LittleBigPlanet 3 and The Order: 1886 will be playable on the show floor, and we rather suspect that they'll make an appearance in the press conference too. We can definitely expect some shameless touting of sales figures -- because if you've got it, flaunt it -- followed by another reminder that Destiny is a thing.
The official teaser shows footage of Hohokum (cross-platform) and Murasaki Baby (PS Vita), which rather leads us to believe that a great big indie splurge and some more Vita attention is on the cards.
And that's all we can call with 100% certainty. Let the wild theorising commence!Click here to read more...
The trend of having a warm-up act is well established. Timing is everything, right? You put on a gig, you want to make sure that the audience is at peak excitement, that their energy and focus levels are high, that they're engaged.
For the past few years, it could be argued that Microsoft have been the warm-up act to Sony when it comes to press conferences. But are the times a-changing this year?
We stated back in June that Microsoft's showing at E3 was the best we'd seen in years -- not that such praise is really saying much, they'd been dire the previous couple of years. But with a renewed focus upon games, with new head honcho Phil Spencer having spent the first couple of months of his tenure aggressively cleaning house and tidying up the muck that Mattrick left behind, Microsoft came out swinging and, admirably, let their games do most of the talking.
That'll stand Microsoft in good stead at a show whose motto is "celebrate the games".Click here to read more...
Place your bets, folks, but we reckon we have the answer. Or at least a theory.Click here to read more...
Would you pay $50 to rent F1 2013 for 90 days?
We threw this question around the office asked a panel of experts, and the sum of the answers we received can be summed up in the picture below:
Let's not mince words here: PlayStation Now has emerged into open beta, and its prices are still ludicrously expensive.Click here to read more...
Regardless of whether or not the sales figures for the last financial quarter are of consoles sold or shipped, regardless of the extent to which the PlayStation and Xbox numbers were muddied by last-gen console statistics, one thing is clear: Microsoft are lagging behind. By an alarming factor of three-to-one.
It's early days, of course, in terms of Phil Spencer's tenure at the top. For much of 2014, he's been dealing in damage control, and trying to turn the omnishambles that Mattrick left behind into something identifiable, something relatable, something to do with games rather than every other facet of entertainment.
It's clear that communication has hurt the Xbox One significantly. I posited in my recent article about Destiny that Sony have done a fantastic job in selling the idea "better on PS4". We've said since the two consoles launched that Microsoft have had the better exclusives thus far. We've suggested that they have the better exclusive lineup this Christmas, what with the Master Chief Collection, Sunset Overdrive, and Forza Horizon 2 edging LittleBigPlanet 3, Driveclub, and (if it's even still on track for this year) PlanetSide 2. But as Nintendo have found out to their cost, you can have some of the finest first-party exclusives around, but third-party games matter. A lot.
Last year we also stressed the importance of communication. Sony's message has been clear from day on: the PS4 is #fortheplayers. It's a games console designed to play games, be easy to develop for,squeeze out as much power as possible for as low a price as can be had, while maintaining the standard of quality that we've come to expect from PlayStation devices. By contrast, the Xbox One was first unveiled as being all about entertainment, TV, and sports. Then it was an all-in-one console -- "Xbox One. Input One". Now it's had Kinect chopped off, and Microsoft's in-house entertainment production unit is closing its doors.Click here to read more...
Sony has revealed the incoming and outgoing free games for PlayStation Plus subscribers next week. August 6th sees brand new PS4 'roguelike puzzler' Road Not Taken release free for members, joined by the critically-acclaimed Fez. Brendan acclaimed it as "a bit full of itself" in his review, though, so horses for courses.
PS3 owners will get to hunt aliens in Crysis 3 and saunter about a beautiful relaxing island in Proteus, while new platformer Metrico and LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 headline the upcoming Vita titles.
TowerFall Ascension, Strider, Vessel and more quality games will be leaving the Instant Game Collection, though, so be sure to queue up the downloads while you can! Full details below.Click here to read more...
Handbags:ˈhan(d)bags. Noun, plural
With Jon posting his hottest upcoming PS4 titles piece yesterday, something has become abundantly clear: Sony are rather on the slim side when it comes to exclusives this autumn and winter. LittleBigPlanet 3 is a game that the PS4 is crying out for, but it's being developed outside of the walls of Media Molecule's offices. PlanetSide 2 offers the expansive-yet-accessible F2P FPS that the new-gen platform has been crying out for, but why the hell has it taken so long, and will anyone care given that the game has been free and awesome on PC for years? We've struggled collectively as a team to muster even a smidgen of enthusiasm for Driveclub after a PR omnishambles and countless delays, especially given that the racing genre is packed to the gills this year and Evolution are facing staunch competition from the likes of Forza Horizon 2 and The Crew.
And I'm going to punch the next person who crows about The Last of Us Remastered like it's the sodding Second Coming.
Wightmad suggested that the Wii U is getting better exclusives than this. Looking at Bayonetta 2 and Smash Bros, I'm inclined to agree.
But, as we've suggested before, Sony are playing a long game indeed, and they're using the same weapons Microsoft employed with the Xbox 360 to do so: third-party partnerships. We could discuss the ethics of this until everyone involved is blue in the face, but the fact remains that both companies are investing heavily in cultivating third-party partnerships and bringing exclusive snippets of big-name games back from the haggling table. It could be as simple as running exclusive ads with your console appearing at the end, or something as brazen as securing a massive chunk of gameplay.
Microsoft have already done this with FIFA, essentially making Ultimate Team an exclusive piece of DLC. That's a big audience, football is massive, and people will jump ship for that. But Sony are doing something even more daring. They're going after Halo fans.
They're going after me.Click here to read more...
Sony are masters of The Long Game, and you can't fault their dedication. Instead of cutting the PS3 loose on the run-up to the PS4's launch, they instead delivered an emphatic exclusive lineup throughout 2013, which in turn means that some of their biggest first-party exclusives won't be ready until next year. "Greatness awaits."
But does that mean there's nothing to play on PS4 this year? Not on your nelly. Cross-platform releases notwithstanding, plenty of exclusives large and small are slated for Sony's slanty machine over the coming months.
So for your convenience, here are the hottest PS4 exclusives of 2014 along with European release dates.
If you made the jump to PS4 directly from PC, Wii or Xbox 360, The Last Of Us Remastered will allow you to get to grips with one of the PS3's most critically-acclaimed exclusives in a definitive edition. Sporting overhauled visuals based on cutscene assets and all previously-released content, I daresay that even diehard PS3 owners will be champing at the bit to get on board with this atmospheric, frequently terrifying and thought-provoking experience, especially since it should put the hardware through its paces.Click here to read more...