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Neoseeker's PlayStation Meeting 2013 Live Blog

69 comments Rory Young - Feb 20, 13 5:05pm (PST) Like (2) Share (1)

Sony opens the Ark of the Covenant and reveals its next-gen PlayStation

Welcome one and all to our live coverage of Sony's live PlayStation Meeting 2013! Here's where we'll be blogging updates as they come from the event. We're expecting a ton of wild and craziness, so make sure to stick around and refresh the page every now and then. I'm Rory and I'll be doing most of the commentary, but if Lydia wants to jump in I'll highlight her posts with an *L. Check out the stream: here (keep refreshing the page until it loads).

5:04 - Thanks to everyone for joining us and huge thanks to Lydia for all the great images!  Thank you for watching. If you want to watch to stream over again, it should be repeating soon  at the link above.

5:03 - Sony suit back on stage leading into the end of the presentation. "Coming holiday 2013." One last announcement? Montage right now showing off all that was shown during the event. Wow, time to step back and think about all this stuff. Lots exciting stuff.

5:01 - A couple of the top folk from Bungie being welcomed to the stage. They all look really awkward. "Both the PS4 and PS3 will be available at Destiny's launch." Also, exclusive content for Sony.

4:59 - "Last week we unveiled Destiny." A bit more in-game footage? Please, yes, and thank you. "Destiny is going to be amazing on PlayStation 4." Quite a bit more gameplay footage. It looks... kinda like Halo mixed with Guild Wars 2.

4:57 - One more partner being welcomed to the stage. Of course, it's Activision and Eric Hirshberg. Multiple blockbusters in the launch window. More information in coming months. Excited to be a part of next gen games for the next gen platform from Sony. One developer who has been out of the light for over a decade. Destiny's coming to the PlayStation 4.

4:52 - Chris Metzen from Blizzard takes the stage. "Many of you are probably wondering..." uh, yes we are Chris Metzen. Why are you here? Blizzard is a PC developer! This guy is slick. "Blizzard was originally a console developer." Blizzard is bringing Diablo III to the PlayStation 4. "Painstakingly optimized our control schemes." Look forward to PAX East for live demos.

4:49 - The protagonist makes a power supply explode from a distance and neutralizes the criminal. Now the police are on him. He pauses time and shoots out a cop car's tire. He's still running. He makes a train pause in front of him and hops on top of it. Cameras are following his movement, and the dude fails his contract because of detection.

4:47 - "Now, everybody's broadcasting." Gameplay? Looks like gameplay. Graphically impressive, as expected. Dude in a trenchcoat crossing the street. He's inspecting a homeless guy, then a pro-life activist. This dude is able to get information on anyone he wants as he walks around. Now he's inspecting a camera. "Potential Victim 30%" reads the description on one person. He follows her into an alley, finds a guy with a high crime probability, and pulls a gun on him! They start a chase and a gunfight.

4:43 - CEO of Ubisoft Yves Guillemot takes the stage to talk about creating many games across many devices. Watch Dogs? Hard to tell what he's leading into. It's Watch Dogs! This dude is kinda creepy. I think his accent is contributing to it. It wouldn't be Ubisoft if it wasn't totally awkward! Trailer go!

4:41 - Oh jeez, Shinji Hashimoto, brand manager of Final Fantasy is taking the stage. He says they are preparing a new Final Fantasy title and to be excited for E3 this year. Ubisoft coming next.

4:35 - A demo being shown on the Luminous Engine. No game announcement. Sorry Final Fantasy fans. Stream is really laggy. Ack, it might be the same Luminous Engine trailer we've seen before? It's an odd ceremony, a lady takes off her ceremonial robes, they summoned Ifrit or something. Now she's running from dudes with guns. Yeah I think this is what we've seen already.

4:34 - Square Enix taking the stage. Oh, noes.

4:30 - Codename Panta Rhei. Showing images of crazy realisitic models. No game so far though. It's an engine designed to take games in entirely new directions. A new IP being teased. It looks like a hyper-realistic Dark Souls. Tentatively titled: Deep Down. So much like a Dark Souls game. Beautiful visuals. A fantasy adventuring party going through a dungeon, happening on a dragon. "Conquer your fear, or die a coward."

4:28 - Ono is recapping Capcom's past. Ya, ya Ono. You wouldn't be here if you weren't announcing a new fighting game. Bring it on! 

4:27 - Virtually every 3rd party publisher will be supporting. Yoshinoro Ono! Capcom! 

4:23 - They're showing off... hundreds of sculptures made with the Move. Now, a full world... now four people are controlling these in-game models and making them perform, sing, dance with Move controllers. It's... rather impossible to tell how they're controlling the models... almost like marrionette puppets. Huh... that's it. Kind of amazing, but difficulty to tell what's going on.

4:19 - No game from Quantic Dream, they're working on Beyond after all. Media Molecule takes the stage. They're showing off some hand drawing, saying they'd love to put it in-game. Their solution was the Move controller. Now showing a trailer of one of their artists sculpting with the Move controller.

4:17 -  David Cage believes the PlayStation 4 can truly match CG films in gameplay, where realism is accurately captures. He's showing off an old dude displaying "subtle emotions." Indian tear. I'm crying and I don't even know why. Lydia spamming old man images at me.

4:15 - The next game will challenge your view of modern gaming. Of course it's David Cage and Quantic Gaming. He's talking in very obtuse and conceptual language.

4:12 - Very whimsical song playing, varied environments. It feels like Myst, in that there's just so much it's not even describable. Some sort of power cable mechanic for puzzles? Every environment is stacked with detail. It looks rather surprisingly beautiful.

4:11 - It's a puzzle game, but not just a normal one. Every puzzle  has an idea inside of it that communicates to you in a nonverbal way. 25 hours of gameplay. In the release window, PS4 will be The Witness' exclusive platform. Trailer starting. 

4:08 - Three new games coming up from small developers. First is indie, from creator of Braid. His next title will debut on PlayStation 4. Is this The Witness? Jonathan Blow takes the stage and is talking about his game. "The Witness takes place in an open world." "In the Witness we're trying to make the world as compact as possible." Interesting things around every corner, with everything placed with purpose and reason.

4:06 - Sucker Punch's next game, exclusive for the PlayStation 4. No official title yet. It has to be Infamous, right? Trailer is showing some superpowered beings with power over fire and what looks like wind. Infamous: Second Son.

4:03 - New games. "We all want to feel safe."  Dude is talking about cameras and mobile phones. "Our security comes at a high price. Our freedom." "Imagine if a few people developed super powers." "How much control would any of us have over our own lives?"

4:01 - This isn't cockpit, this is true first person racing. A demo is being shown that's likely entirely pre-rendered, but he's not kidding. Insane detail. Gameplay trailer now. It's inside the car, so it's hard to see everything, but it does look rather amazing. Not the car models as much as the dust, lighting and shaders. PS4's tech is very impressive.

3:59 - The FPS of driving games. Even if you aren't in first, you can help your team. Send challenges from you mobile device at any time. All races are filled from start to finish with challenges. Not really sure what that's supposed to mean. They've gone "borderline insane" adding realistic details to every aspect of these cars.

3:57 - Evolution studios is making Drive Club and it's "all about team-based racing." They trademarked the name 9 years ago. You drive the very best cars in the world in the greatest locations in the world. They just needed the technology to do it. These are the guys that made Motorstorm.

3:55 - I would say half of what we've seen is in-engine cutsccemes as opposed to just gameplay. Kind of what we expect from Guerilla Games, but it still looks great. Official name is Killzone: Shadow Fall. CAR GAME NEXT.

3:52 - Now he has his gun and he's walking around, tons of voice-over. Cover based FPS. Lots of fire everywhere. Smoke in huge plumes. Gun looks as good as any other game has made.

3:50 - Guerilla has gone out out of their way to make this demo not brown. So much blue, green, pink, tons of color. The world looks alive in ways that Killzone has never looked before. He's wandering around the city peacefully, then all of a sudden explosion.

3:48 - Killzone: Shadowfall live demo, unless it's a trick. Wow, it looks amazing. Remember Killzone tricked us before with prerendered footage posed as actual gameplay. Holy crap, though... i want to believe. It looks amazing. Waterfall in the distance, tons of dust in the air, beautifully futuristic city.

3:47 - Guerilla Games Herman Hulst. KILLZONE HERE. WE GOT KILLZONE.

3:45 - There are a LOT of developers talking about how excited they are for PlayStation 4. Hell of a montage. Michael Denny from Worldwide Studios taking the stage.

3:42 - The world has changed! Lots of recapping what's great about the PlayStation 4. It mostly has to do with "shared experiences" and connectivity between devices.

3:42 - By the way, we now have our PlayStation 4 forum and community up for Neoseeker users to join.

3:40 - READY AT DAWN STUDIOS. DOUBLE FINE. QUANTIC DREAM. WORLDWIDE STUDIOS. Everyone talking about how excited they are for the PS4.

3:40 - "It (the Gaikai Cloud) and the PlayStation 4 will change how gamers play."

3:39 - Theoretically possible to get any game, PS1, PS2, PS3 up and running via the PlayStation Cloud service.

3:37 - With Gaikai the PS4 becomes a server and the Vita a client, with virtually no lag. NETFLIX, AMAZON INSTANT VIDEO, SONY UNLIMITED.

3:36 - Vita is the "ultimate companion device" for PS4. Transfer some games via remote play to the Vita.

3:35 - Developers can interract with you during your gameplay. WAT. This is a fightening future.

3:33 - This network will be dedicated, just to be clear, to games."


3:32 - "Imagine you're in the store, you see something that catches your eyes, you can press a button and play." "Instantly experience anything you like." "Pay only for the games that you fall in love with."

3:31 - "What we're creating is the fastest, most powerful network in the world." "Imperitive the PlayStation network offers a connected experience."

3:30 - Co-founder and CEO of Gaikai coming on stage. Dave Perry. "I can't tell you how excited the Gaikai team and I are excited to be working on the PlayStation."

3:29 - "PlayStation offers the best place to play." That's what I wanted to hear.

3:28 - Stream died for a brief amount of time.

3:27 - Tons of mobile connectivity. "Bringing you closer to the games you're excited about."

3:25 - Images of the new PlayStation 4 interface for sharing. You can go through the last few minutes of your gameplay, edit it, and publish.

3:24 - Dude is bragging that loading times are going to be a thing of the past in terms in terms of system function.

3:22 - The game is named Knack!

3:20 - New game! Jennifer Hale! Very animated look. From Japan Studio. Scientists summon a little golem toy. Looks like Skylanders meets Advance Wars meets Ratchet and Clank. Odd sort of 3D Pokemon vibe.

3:29 - CPU and GPU on the same chip. Runs Unreal Engine 4! How about that? Now a Havok physics demo that... lagged.

3:18 - Controller designed in tandem a lightbar.

3:16 - They're going with 8 GB unified memory! x86 CPU, supercharced PC architecture AND A HARD DRIVE. New controller being shown!

3:14 - "What do developers want?" Architecture to fascilitate their creative abilities. "Harnessing the potential of developers." A lot of word going around that that PS4 is much easier to developer for.

3:14 - "Nothing between you and the game." "Evangelize the message that gaming was fun."

3:12 - Going over the design of the PlayStation 3, as well as going over why the PlayStation 4 is necessary.

3:10 - They're going straight into the games! Or at least, giving the stage to the creative minds of the future.

3:09 - PlayStation is the place more gamers want to play. The PlayStation 4 has been announced.

3:08 - "It's designed to make accessing the content gamers love easier." Does that mean games will be cheaper? Or LIES!

3:07 - "A new platform was required."

3:06 - House is recapping everything they won't be covering, such as growth in mobile titles and indie support. "Reconceptualizing how the next generation gamer would want to play."

3:05 - Okay I dropped the quality. Good to go. Andrew House is onstage and talking about the Vita.

3:04 - This may be the worst live blog ever, because I'm literally not getting anything here. The stream is constantly frozen.

3:02 - We're watching a Sony montage video, where we're kind of recapping the past few years of commercials and game releases. It's REALLY laggy. We're dropping footage every couple of seconds. Stream viewers are up to 400,000 people.

3:00 - We have lift off! Dramatic music and the theater is being shown off.

2:59 - That music! Now we've got a party started.

2:54 - Trying to decipher the rotating PlayStation buttons in the repeating animation playing on the livestream. I think there's a code here. I think it's saying something like, "Used games are bad. Drink your ovaltine."

2:52 - Currently 245,000 people tuned in to Sony's livestream. Reports are saying that the event is actually very small, intimate. 

2:45 - The livestream should begin in 15 minutes! I'm here shiving in excitement. I hope they announce Coolboarders 2013.

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One Dumb Question That Will Define Sony's Console Announcement

13 comments Rory Young - Feb 20, 13 2:11pm (PST) Like Share

Not "Does it have Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4" but that's important, too

Disclaimer: The opinions and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions and viewpoints of Neoseeker. 

When Sony's "PlayStation Meeting 2013" goes live today at 3:00 PST/6:00 EST there will be a single question in my mind that will influence my opinion of their next-gen console more than any other. Issues such as the controller, used games, online services, game streaming, the "Share" button, hardware specifications and price will all prove significant, of course, but there's something more pressing in my mind. Don't get me wrong, what I'm thinking of isn't some convoluted theory or baseless assumptions -- in fact, it's quite dumb. I have a single dumb question that I want to be clearly addressed.

Sony could step up and answer my question in the first thirty second of their presentation. Like I said, it's nothing complicated. It's primarily focused on Sony's attitude going into the development of the next PlayStation and then what that means going forward. As such, it may not be a simple answer, but instead a theme that's pervasive throughout the entire event. In fact, they may never address it, but nevertheless my big dumb questions will have its answer whether Sony refers to it or not.

My stupid question is: Is the PlayStation 4 going to be a video game console? I know! Totally freaking idiotic, right? There's really no other way to put it. Still, there's more to the question than whether or not it'll play games. Clearly the thing will play games, Sony isn't just throwing it's future into the ocean here. Nevertheless, the question is hugely important, because the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii in recent years have evolved in a direction where it's difficult to discern whether being a video game console is their primary focus anymore. They are consoles that play video games, but perhaps they're focus isn't on being video game consoles anymore. Freaking nonsense, right? 

Let me at least clarify my idiocy. In recent years, say the last three or four, Netflix and social media usage on consoles has skyrocketed. Sony knows this more than others, as they overtook the Wii as the leading streaming platform/gaming console out there. Another fact, Xbox 360 owners play online games more than twice as often as PlayStation 3 owners -- perhaps even worse, PlayStation 3 gamers are playing less online games and spending more time streaming media. In other words, Sony's market growth is perhaps greatest in the direction of streaming services and as a Blu-ray player.

Here comes the PlayStation 4 announcement and it appears as if Sony is at a potential crossroads. Does Jack Tretton take the stage today and say, "Here's the PlayStation 4, a video game console that will deliver the best gaming experiences for the next decade," or, "Here's the PlayStation 4, the next-generation centerpiece of the living room, fully equipped to deliver the best online streaming and social media environment of any next-gen console and also the great Sony games our fans have come to expect."

It's just a simple shift in attitude and marketing, but for gamers it might make all the difference. Look at the Wii U, who took the latter route and is now floundering without a significant game release in months. They've got a pretty exciting social hub and interesting community features, though!

There is a war approaching between Microsoft and Sony for which will be the appropriate choice for people who buy consoles to play games, but it may not even be the front-lines this time around. 

Yes, it's a dumb question, "Is the PlayStation 4 going to be a video game console?" It's dumb, but it's quite honestly the most important question to me and for a majority of you, too. I want Jack Tretton to walk on stage, point at the screen and say, "I want you on team PlayStation, let's talk about video games." The degree to which Sony confirms my question will make all the difference.

Follow Rory on Twitter @bluexy or read his news, reviews and features every day here at Neoseeker.


Rumor: Next-gen PlayStation controller caught in the wild, thick because it's packed full of the future

32 comments Rory Young - Feb 15, 13 9:17am (PST) Like Share

Update Second picture might be final version of the controller

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There's a new image making the rounds that's rumored to be a developer version of Sony's controller for their next-gen PlayStation controller. The controller's design, which features a screen in the middle where the Start/Select buttons are usually placed and a unique "Share" button, fits with the rumors we've been hearing in the past month. Of course, we won't know for sure until Sony announced their next gen console (Feb. 20).

As you can tell, the controller is a bit... err, well, fat. Let's sate those confused fears straight away and say this is rather typical of dev controller pre-release. Basically, with the controller hardware still in development, developers just shove everything into contained space and ship the things out. Hopefully the final version slims down a bit.

Otherwise, I... well, I'm not exactly sure what to think. If I had to list my criticisms I'd say the analog sticks look a bit squished and the handles are a bit too round and squat for my tastes. I'm also wonder in what way will we be able to use the center touch screen with it being so far from where our fingers will rest. It seems less like an input device that simply a secondary, smaller screen.

Notice anything other details worth mentioning? That big, blue glowing light on the back of the controller is certainly ominous. Hopefully we'll hear more about Sony's new PlayStation controller soon, like at the February 20 event.

Update: A second picture of the prototype controller has appeared online. It may just be the angle, but the second controller looks a bit thinner than the first. Of course, that may just be due to the angles of each shot. The first might be thinner than originally thought. Either way, the second picture does portray the picture in a more attractive manner.

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Rumor Roundup: Sony Meeting 2013 and the impending announcement of the next PlayStation

54 comments Rory Young - Feb 01, 13 4:44pm (PST) Like (1) Share

Ready or not, next-gen is here

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Yesterday Sony announced an event for February 20. The teaser trailer for the announcement featured iconic PlayStation imagery, floating 3D renderings of the DualShock's square, circle, triangle and "X" buttons. Social media referred to the event as "Meeting 2013" with language like "See the future" "Be the first to know." and the hashtag "#playstation2013". Needless to say, Sony is being intentionally vague about the purpose of the event.

As was likely Sony's intent, the internet is abuzz with rumors and speculation. For the typical gamer it's probably difficult to sift through all the hearsay and separate the rumors from reality. Luckily, that's my forte. Here's Neoseeker's rumor roundup for Sony's PlayStation Meeting 2013 and the impending announcement of the PlayStation 4.

The Announcement

Let's start off with the big one. Is Sony going to announce their follow-up console to the PlayStation 3 at the event?  

  • Wall Street Journal (subscriber only) - According to the Wall Street Journal, Sony is in fact planning to reveal its next-gen gaming console at the February 20 event. "People familiar with the matter," have confirmed the announcement with the Wall Street Journal. At first, this may seem like a dubious claim, but the outlet is well-known for having reliable sources.
  • Polygon - Polygon is also reporting that sources close to the situation have confirmed that Sony's next-gen hardware will be revealed during the PlayStation meeting, stating that the information was made available to them prior to the release of yesterday's teaser video.

Generally speaking, most online outlets have moved on past the point of whether or not Sony's next-gen console will be announced and started talking talking about more specific details. It was kind enough of the Wall Street Journal and Polygon to stop, take a deep breath and say, "Well, yeah. Duh. Of course it's going to be announced."

The Controller

Earlier this months reports broke that Sony would be abandoning the previous design of the PlayStation's controller in favor of a modernized device. Said to take influence from portable devices and the PlayStation Vita details on the new controller have remained mysterious, until new rumors have begun to sprout overnight.

  • CVG - The initial report on the redesign of the PlayStation controller came from CVG. They quoted a source stating that Sony was, "trying to emulate the same user interface philosophies as the PS Vita."
  • Kotaku - Last week Kotaku reported that the new controller, labeled the Orbis Development tool behind closed doors, would retain many of the aspects of the DualShock we all know and love -- four face buttons, two thumb sticks, shoulder triggers. However, there would be one key addition, a touch pad similar to that on the back of the PS Vita. The pad would recognize "two-point multi-touch" and also be clickable. Other small details include improved tilt sensitivity, vibration and an RGB LED. Also noted was the possibility of a biometric sensor, but that had not been confirmed.
  • Edge - Here are the latest and greatest rumors on PlayStation's next-gen controller. Edge's sources say the controller is essentially the same size as the DualShock on the PlayStation 3, but instead of a "Start" and "Select" button there is a touch pad like Kotaku mentioned. Different, however, is the addition of a "Share" button, which would allow players to take screenshots, or begin recording up to 15 minutes of footage and upload it online. This recording apparently has no effect on processing power, according to Edge's sources.

Fans of the PlayStation DualShock controller should be pleased to hear that Sony isn't apparently planning to deviate from the standard form. Instead, they'll be adding modern functionality and features to improve the controllers performance. 

Also, keep in mind this is simply the standard next-gen console controller that would come in the box, as opposed to the rumored Move controller upgrade.

The Launch

While many gamers are likely rather surprised that the next PlayStation is even being announced, the latest rumors and discussion on the hardware's launch are all targeting 2013. There's virtually not talk about the console being pushed into 2014, except in the case where a European launch is delayed.

  • Edge, Polygon, Wall Street Journal - These three outlets, referenced earlier in the article, have each said their sources claim that Sony's next-gen hardware will release later this year,in the Christmas/holiday season.

Not really much else to say here. If you're willing to listen to a bit of personal analysis, I'd say you can expect Sony's (and Microsoft's for that matter) new console to be released after September at the earlier. A more likely release window would of course be the weeks prior to Black Friday in November.

The Specifications

Yes, even the specifications of Sony's next-gen console seem to have been leaked. Oof, okay. I'll just cut to the chase here. Everyone seems to agree that the next PlayStation will be slightly stronger in performance than the next Xbox. Everything, and I mean everything, can be changed this earlier in development. That's just what folk are saying.

I won't copy the full text from any of these sources, as that would be too long. Here's the basic idea from each outlet:

  • Edge - 4GB GDDR5 RAM currently, but will likely get upgraded to 8GB to compete with the next Xbox. "Eight-core AMD CPU clocked at 1.6GHz" with "AMD’s ‘R10XX’ GPU architecture, alongside the so-called ‘Liverpool’ system-on-chip." Architecture much more friendly than the PS3's for development, and developers love it.
  • Wall Street Journal - Nothing new specifically, though they also confirm the AMD CPU. Of note, however, is that Sony had considered removing its optical disc drive, but changed its mind (and that Microsoft made a similar decision).
  • Kotaku - "4x Dual-Core AMD64 "Bulldozer" (so, 8x cores)", 8GB system memory, 2.2GB video memory, AMD R10xx GPU, four USB 2.0 outlets, two ethernet ports, BluRay player, 160GB hard drive. These are just the specs for the developer kit, which means the final products would likely have a larger hard drive, only a single ethernet port, and some other small changes.

Early speculation on the console's power have stated it would be like running a PC that ran Battlefield 3 at high settings. Naturally, developers have a talent for really juicing up console performance, so who knows what sort of products they'll eventually come out with.

There's the really big areas of rumors, but there are a number of less reliable smaller rumors worth considering, too. Here's the lightening round!

  • Move Controller Upgrade - Sony is potentially considering upgrading the Move controller for the next console's launch. The new controller would be much more customizable, improve communication with the PlayStation Eye, and let you turn into a Super Saiyin
  • Sony BigFest - Sony considering implementing a new social hub, improving on the fundamentals of Home, but with influence from services like Xbox Live and the Wii U's WaraWara plaza.
  • PlayStation Eye - With Microsoft working on a Kinect 2.0, Sony couldn't just sit idly by, right? Edge reports that Sony is working on an improved version of the peripheral that will have better connectivity with the Move. As to whether it will come packaged with new console or not... 
  • Gaikai - No big rumors here, but how Sony will implement Gaikai's game streaming service into their console is yet to be determined.
  • Multiple Account - Sony figuring out ways to have multiple accounts per console, moving away from the idea of one account maintaining "ownership" of a console. As each controller is plugged in, an account would be asked to log in.
  • No Backwards Compatability - Rumor is still that the next PlayStation will not have backwards compatibility with the PlayStation 3, but there are murmurs that Sony is exploring a digital solution to this problem...
  • Launch titles! ... more on this soon...

If you've noticed a rumor or some new information that we've missed, please, please, please, leave a comment and we'll happily update the post with it. As you may have noticed, this article started out as a rumor roundup, but ended up more of a summary of things that are almost certain at this point. We basically refer to them as rumors only because things can change between now and Feb. 20, and the Fall console launch after that. 

Welcome to next- gen, everyone.

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Sony teases something big for February, could very well be the PlayStation 4

40 comments Lydia Sung - Jan 31, 13 3:36pm (PST) Like (2) Share

It's coming, whatever the heck "it" is

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Sony has released a teaser on the official PlayStation website, and what a teaser it is. Greeting visitors is a brief video (below) that shows us the iconic PlayStation button symbols flashing around. It's all very hyper-modern and not that fun to watch, but the implications here are pretty exciting. This could very likely be a teaser for the next PlayStation, also referred to as "PlayStation 4" or "Orbis."

Whatever it is, the big reveal is planned for February 20, 6:00 PM Eastern. With this being Sony, I wouldn't be terribly shocked if everything got leaked in advance, but here's hoping the surprise stays a surprise.

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For those of you who love to speculate, our writer Rory has pointed out the mailing list requires a date of birth, which implies the February "meeting" might actually feature mature content, which implies gameplay from actual games.

Additionally, we'll point out that the Twitter hashtag reads "#PlayStation2013", not "PS3" or "PlayStation3."

Now then, just how excited are you? Nevermind that this would completely negate CEO Kaz Hirai's previous comments about not "going first" so as not to give competitors an edge. Unless Microsoft comes out and announces the next Xbox before then.

Categories: Sony Consoles

Rumor: Sony leaving behind Dualshock controller design for Orbis, looks to PS Vita for inspiration

35 comments Rory Young - Jan 18, 13 7:55am (PST) Like Share

... but it is a boomerang, too?

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CVG is reporting that Sony will be moving away from its classic Dualshock controller design for it next-gen console. Sources are saying the Sony has gone through several design iterations on the controller, likely more than we'd even assume, and few retain the look of the familiar controller's design. Instead, Sony is looking at the PlayStation Vita for inspiration.

According to a "senior game studio source" working on a next-gen Sony title, the new controller is experimenting with various LCD touchscreens and biometric sensor grips. Think, perhaps, a PlayStation Vita without the costly screen, built more for comfort rather than for travel. Sony is likely thinking about a myriad of small technologies they can slip into the next-gen controller so it will last for years to come.

Hopefully we'll hear more about Sony's controller for the Orbis soon. While it's difficult to say goodbye to the simple beauty that is the Dualshock, innovation is key. I don't think that after this many years of the same controller design fans would be too sore to see something new. Something... like a boomerang... with touchscreens.


Sony puts ball in Microsoft's court, asks why go first when competitor can look at your specs and do better

44 comments Lydia Sung - Jan 21, 13 4:28pm (PST) Like (1) Share

Such is CEO Kaz Hirai's logic

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Despite all the PlayStation 4 rumors flying around, Sony is apparently waiting for Microsoft to make the first move in this next-gen race.

Today, CEO Kaz Hirai told UK publication The Times what the disadvantage of going first would be. He said, "Why go first, when your competitors can look at your specifications and come up with something better?"

The statement certainly carries weight, but we've also been hearing way more about the Orbis than Microsoft's Durango, as a whole. And let's not forget the ongoing gag about Sony being terrible at keeping major announcements under wraps.

Late last week, rumors suggested Sony might be abandoning DualShock for PlayStation 4 controllers in favor of a design inspired by PlayStation Vita. Just earlier today, the Xbox 720 specs were supposedly leaked. Yep, 2013 is off to an interesting start.

Categories: Sony Consoles

Rumor: Leak shows Xbox 720 specs, should rival a high-end gaming PC

22 comments Lydia Sung - Jan 21, 13 11:03am (PST) Like Share

This is almost too good to be true

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We've seen no shortage of news and rumors surrounding Sony's next PlayStation, codenamed "Orbis," so we're really chomping at the bit here for some proper news about "Durango." Or Xbox 720, if you prefer that unofficial name. The latest development comes from a massive leak that reveals the system specs for Microsoft's upcoming Xbox, and if they're true, then console gamers who'd rather not migrate to PC should be pretty happy.

According to the leak, the Xbox 720 will boast an 8-core 1.6GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, an 800MHz graphics processor, a 50GB 6x Blu-ray disc drive, and a hell of a lot more.

Here's the whole shebang, for those curious parties out there:


  • x64 Architecture
  • 8 CPU cores running at 1.6 gigahertz (GHz)
  • each CPU thread has its own 32 KB L1 instruction cache and 32 KB L1 data cache
  • each module of four CPU cores has a 2 MB L2 cache resulting in a total of 4 MB of L2 cache
  • each core has one fully independent hardware thread with no shared execution resources
  • each hardware thread can issue two instructions per clock


  • custom D3D11.1 class 800-MHz graphics processor
  • 12 shader cores providing a total of 768 threads
  • each thread can perform one scalar multiplication and addition operation (MADD) per clock cycle
  • at peak performance, the GPU can effectively issue 1.2 trillion floating-point operations per second

High-fidelity Natural User Interface (NUI) sensor is always present

Storage and Memory:

  • 8 gigabyte (GB) of RAM DDR3 (68 GB/s)
  • 32 MB of fast embedded SRAM (ESRAM) (102 GB/s)
  • from the GPU’s perspective the bandwidths of system memory and ESRAM are parallel providing combined peak bandwidth of 170 GB/sec.
  • Hard drive is always present
  • 50 GB 6x Blu-ray Disc drive


  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct

Hardware Accelerators:

  • Move engines
  • Image, video, and audio codecs
  • Kinect multichannel echo cancellation (MEC) hardware
  • Cryptography engines for encryption and decryption, and hashing

Earlier this month, Microsoft teased a major reveal at the 2013 E3 convention. Many believe, however, that both they and Sony could be officially unveiling their next consoles as soon as next month.

Categories: Microsoft Consoles

Rumor: Sony's next-gen console "Orbis" to be announced in May, or E3 at the latest

15 comments Rory Young - Jan 14, 13 7:28am (PST) Like Share

Hardly surprising news, but it's good to have confirmation

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Considering next-gen Xbox rumors continue to spread virally, some people were beginning to wonder if Sony was going to sit 2013 out. Not so fast, ye of little faith. It appears that in an interview with Chilean outlet El-Mercurio On-Line, Sony  VP Hiroshi Sakamota confirmed the console would be announced by E3 or perhaps even May. Looks like PlayStation 4 is back on the menu, boys.

After being specifically asked whether there would be a new Sony PlayStation console announced in coming months, Sakamoto responded with this (translated):

"It's still a big secret, but our Sony PlayStation friends are getting ready. I only can say that we're focused on the games related E3 event, booked for June. The announcement can take place there or even before, in May."

To be honest, May seems a bit far out for such a large announcement. Well, that is, if Sony is planning on actually releasing the PlayStation 4 in 2013. Consider the Wii U, which was announced in April of 2011, but launched over a year later in November 2012. A prototype Wii U was shown at E3 2011 and the console was fully playable at E3 2012. Will 6 months be enough for Sony?

By comparison, however, Microsoft reveal the Xbox 360 at a May 12 event and released the console in November later that year. That is to say, a 6 month announcement to launch window isn't so impossible. Considering the secrecy war going on between Microsoft and Sony a this point, it'd probably to be expected. 2013 is going to be a good year.


Sony patent allows tracking of second-hand games and the ability to block their usage

81 comments Rory Young - Jan 03, 13 7:33am (PST) Like Share

What a wonderful digital future we have ahead of us

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After rumors about the PlayStation 4 not supporting used games flared up last March many gaming personalities chimed in with their support or disapproval. Things went quiet shortly thereafter, but it seems the discussion is about to heat up again. Sony has registered a new patent that can prevent or entirely eliminate the usage of second-hand games. 

What at first seems to be described as a way to simply track a game as it's played on different consoles ends with a rather abrupt statement:

"Consider, for example, a case where used is a game package 200 distributed in the second-hand market. Then the ID of reproduction device for the game disk 210 differs from the legitimate use device ID stored in the use permission tag 220, so that the game disk can be reproduced in a mode which is predetermined for those bought and sold in the second-hand market. Also, for example, a content key may be supplied to the reproduction device 130 and the encrypted game AP may be decrypted using the content key only if the reproduction device ID matches a legitimate use device ID. Hence, use of game APs bought and sold in the second-hand market can be eliminated."

Essentially, this patent is able to track game usage by associating a tag built into every game  with either a console or user account. Thus, if a different console or account tries to play said game, it can either be treated as a new, unpurchased product or blocked entirely. 

Imagine putting a used copy of the Mass Effect Garrus spin-off prequel into your PlayStation 4 and instead of being prompted to purchase an online pass, you're prompted to buy the entire game. Sony's patent allows them to see that your used game is associated with some other dude's account. This dude is still playing the game, because he was able to redownload it digitally without a disk, but you... well, you got robbed.

Look forward to more exciting rumors and mysteries going into 2013 as we hear more and more about how our next gen consoles will take us into the future of gaming.


Nintendo's Wii U eShop allows developers to name their price, according to Frozenbyte

5 comments Rory Young - Nov 19, 12 11:07am (PST) Like Share

Also allowed to patch their game anytime and run their own sales

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Frozenbyte, developers of the gorgeous Trine series, offered some perspective into how Nintendo is running the Wii U's eShop recently. They're claiming that Nintendo is giving developers and publishers full control with regards to pricing, as well as the ability to patch or updates games often with no basic charge. This also includes the ability for the developer to create their own sales, a level of control unfounded considering Nintendo's past online ventures.

Mikael Haveri, marketing director at Frozenbyte, summarizes the new Nintendo difference:

"That's what we love about the new eShop. We have the power to price our products as we please, with just some basic guidelines from the big guys. The step to this is purely from Nintendos's side and they clearly see that [their] previous installments have not been up to par. We can set our own pricing and actually continuing on that by setting our own sales whenever we want. It is very close to what Apple and Steam are doing at the moment, and very indie friendly."

The direct comparison to Steam and Apple is obviously quite surprising. Essentially, Frozenbyte is saying that in terms of digital distribution, Nintendo has taken the console lead. Judging from the sheer amount of full launch titles, including Darksiders II and others, available through the eShop, Nintendo has persuaded third parties that the Wii U is a welcoming place. Of course, whether that holds true going forward is another matter entirely. 

One thing's for sure, is that Nintendo is setting a precedent that the other console developers will be hard-pressed to follow up on with the Durango and Orbis. Sony has shown a willingness to work with indie developers in order to get games on PSN, but Microsoft is widely known to have very stringent regulations and charges on Xbox Live Marketplace. Nintendo is setting themselves apart in small ways and it shows. Ah, new console launches are so much fun!

"Nintendo messed up the worst last time around. Now they really know that they have to make a huge improvement to get back into the game. What I have seen and heard so far is amazing and it's definitely going in the right direction as far as small developers are concerned."

Your move, Microsoft and Sony.


E3 2012 rumors, gossip and hoaxes

17 comments Rory Young - Jun 01, 12 9:53am (PST) Like (2) Share

Update Our collection of all the biggest E3 rumors, from the legitimate to the ridiculous

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Oh, the sometimes sweet and sometimes acrid spring smell of E3 rumors fills the air. We best collect these rumors and put them out for mass consumption before they spoil, because they go quick and they go spectacularly. It's a beautiful, yet tragic annual event.

The fanbase disappointment associated with a rumor gone bad is a terrible thing, but it's also what makes E3 so exciting. The outlandish anticipation, the collapse of expectations, the surprises that drill straight to your heart and remind you why you love following E3 and gaming news in the first place.

Let's not wait a second longer.

June 1 Updates:

  • Dead Space 3 officially confirmed.
  • Castlevania: Mirror of Fate teased.
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 officially revealed with a cinematic trailer.
  • Star Wars: 1313 shown, full debut trailer on Monday.
  • Zone of the Enders sequel was not shown or teased during the Konami event.
  • Capcom, despite prior mention, was not involved in the Spike TV pre-E3 event.

May 31 Updates:

  • Leaked images from an unknown Ubisoft title, early speculation is it's related to Splinter Cell: Blacklist or Prince of Persia.


Hard Truth

Rift expansion -- In the past week, certain (larger) press outlets received a mysterious box full of an assortment of items: 4 shoe soles,  5crystal prisms, two posters referencing "raids", a measuring level with a sticker labeled with 10, 6 rusty keys and one gold key labeled "Port Tempest," and a red hood. Status: Confirmed. Rift: Storm Legion was confirmed May 31.

Dead Space 3 -- Earlier this month, EA confirmed the development of Dead Space 3 in a quarterly investor's call. Shortly thereafter, rumors of cooperative play, new side-to-side evasive rolling, telekinesis skills and alt-fire options for weapons. Status: Unofficially confirmed. Screens, including Dead Space 3's logo, have leaked internet-wide. [Update] Officially confirmed. Expect to see a full Dead Space 3 unveiling during EA's E3 keynote.

Gears of War -- Surprisingly, rumors surrounding a new Gears of War game have been surprisingly quiet. They mostly amount to, "Why not?" Microsoft could get away with Halo 4 as far as big console exclusive news, but ... why not? Show us some Gears of War, show us some Fable. Status: Confirmed. GamInformer teasing a new Gears of War game as their July cover story. The new rumor... is it a spin-off or prequel to the main trilogy. A shadowy character in manacles referencing Marcus himself at the start of Gears of War, or it could be Epic creating parallel with new character.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2 -- This rumor started as most do, with a early retail listing on an obscure website. Add to that EA referencing a new Need for Speed title due in Q3 fiscal year 2013 and this is one of the easiest rumors of the season. Status: Unofficially confirmed. Programming listings from TwitchTV clearly show a Need for Speed: Most wanted. The grain of salt? Could be some sort of remake for 3DS or Wii U.

Castlevania: Mirror of Fate -- Paul Gale Network has been touting a couple of Castlevania rumors for a year now. The first is Castlevania: Mirror of Fate,  a 3DS/Wii U title that uses the 3DS' cameras to create some unique "mirror-like" puzzles. Status: Confirmed. Nintendo Power confirmed the release of the 3DS version of Mirror of Fate, and the Wii U version is said to have become Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. [Update] Mirror of Fate was teased during Konami's pre-E3 event, but will likely have a full trailer during Nintendo's E3 keynote.

Good Odds

Sony and cloud gaming/Sony acquiring Gaikai -- This story, as E3 approaches, has slowly been becoming more specific and dramatic. In March we heard Sony was exploring the idea of not allowing used games to run on their system. That rumor has since been told as Sony exploring a digital only console, though admittedly that rumor is quite far fetched.

Recently, it sounds like Sony's next console will have a combination of digital/retail availability, and just yesterday we're hearing Sony is partnering with Gaikai -- bringing game streaming and cloud services to the next generation. Status: Likely. Both Gaikai and Onlive are saying to expect huge things at E3.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 -- Paul Gale Network has a monopoly on Castlevania news. The intitial rumor was for a Castlevania: Mirror of Fate 3DS twin on the Wii U, but the Wii U version has since become Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. Status: Likely. Konami has teased some announcements to be made at its Pre-E3 show tonight, in which one of posters is likely referencing a console Castlevania title. [Update] Confirmed. Both events last night, Spike and Konami's pre-E3 shows, featured the debut trailer for Lords of Shadow 2. Gabriel Belmont is seen using his new-found Dracula powers, and near the end of the trailer Alucard is teased.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist -- Jade Raymond's Ubisoft studio in Toronto was linked to a title named Splinter Cell: Retribution earlier this year, as part of an Ubisoft investor report document. Another retailer document from earlier this month named it Splinter Cell 6, but only in the past week has the name become Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Status: Likely. A NeoGaf poster has claimed to see a promo for Blacklist, which will be shown during Ubi's keynote at E3. The name may be up in the air, but Splinter Cell is almost certain to make a showing this E3.

Quantic Dream's Infraworld -- This rumor has appeared quite suddenly. The greater gaming community has been curious what Quantic Dreams has been working on. Our best clue is a reference to a game called Infraworld on a Quantic Dream employee's resume, a name trademarked by Sony. Status: Likely. CVG has only recently reported that a trusted source told them Quantic Dream is working on two games for Sony, and that one will be announced at Sony's E3 keynote.

Coin Toss

Wii U to support two touch-pad controllers -- When the Wii U was first shown at E3 2011 last year, it took a while for the news to slip out that at the time it only supported a single fancy touchpad controller. Most gamers were surprised, but some were very disappointed, likely including developers who would view a single fancy controller as a limitation. Only recent vague rumors have led us to believe that Nintendo listened to the frustration, and has upped its tech to support two of the controllers. Status: Likely.

Star Wars: (insert franchise here) -- We know there's a new LucasArts Star Wars game in development; we know a Star Wars game is going to be announced on Spike TV tonight; what is this mysterious Star Wars game? Rough rumors and bitter fan exclamations point towards a Battlefront reboot or sequel, but for that matter it could be a reboot of any number of old Star Wars game franchises. A calmer mindset will say it's an entirely new franchise built on tech we haven't seen before. Which is it? Who knows! Status: game, confirmed; title: difficult to say. [Update] New game is officially named Star Wars: 1313, full trailer on Monday.

Redesigned 3DS -- These are the sad facts, the 3DS is not currently performing very well. In fact, it's almost as if Nintendo has created a vacuum around the handheld, with very few game's announced  and limited amounts of the handheld available on shelves. In fact, Amazon Japan is out of stock!

We know Nintendo wants to add a second analog stick to its handheld, and considering its very unlikely they're abandoning the console in Japan -- are we looking at a huge 3DS redesign announcement at the Nintendo keynote? With a bigger screen? With a better battery? Nintendo does love its bi-annual handheld upgrades. If so, Nintendo has kept this secret very well guarded. Status: Difficult to say.

Eminem's Acid Ghost -- This rumor is quite a bit unclear, and also borderline ridiculous. GoNintendo found out about Eminem filming a commercial for a game named Acid Ghost. The kicker? It's supposed to be a mature themed game for the Wii U. What kind of game is it, how is Eminem involved, and is this Nintendo's way of trying to move back into the core market? Status: Likely.

Poor Chances :(

Starfox/Metroid Crossover -- Those internet rumor mongers teased the world with this one. They first reported a Starfox/Metroid crossover title potentially being developed, but only recently have rescinded their rumor. The game was at one point considered by Nintendo and Retro Studios, but is certainly not in development anymore and will absolutely not be at E3 next week. Nintendo giveth and Nintendo taketh away. Status: Dead. Then... what is Retro working on!?

Xbox 720/PlayStation Orbis details -- Both consoles are rumored to reach retail shelves in 2013, but is E3 2012 too early to officially announce them? Both Sony and Microsoft have said that no new console details will be revealed at E3 this year.... but you have to wonder. Will one of them try to steal the show with a teaser? Wouldn't Sony's Gaikai acquisition tie in with a new console announcement? Then again, the lack of any news regarding next-gen game announcements ensures we won't likely be seeing anything at all. Status: Unlikely.

Kingdom Hearts HD Collection -- This is one of those dark rumors that starts on 4chan or the comments of Reddit. A story popped up claiming a Kingdom Hearts HD Collection combining every single Kingdom Hearts game to date was in the works. As ridiculous as that sounds, the image was very nicely put together, and Kingdom Hearts fans so very dearly want a direct console sequel. My mailbox, however, can tell you that the only Kingdom Hearts game being focused on right now is Dream Drop Distance. Status: Unlikely.

Final Fantasy XIII Versus is now Final Fantasy XV -- Here's another great rumor that came out of nowhere. It started from a video said to be taken from a Square Enix press event which shows some Final Fantasy XIII Versus footage. What's surprising is when the footage ends and a logo for Final Fantasy XV comes up on screen, followed by logos for the Wii U and PlayStation 3. This one's unfortunately untrue. The footage has been shown before, and it doesn't help that there are only 3 or 4 people in the audience cheering. Status: Dead.

Lightning Round:

Wii U launch lineup: Expect potential news on Zelda, Pikmin, Mario, Metroid, Kirby, Star Fox, or Donkey Kong. It could be all of them, it could be none of them. 

Harmonix: Harmonix has confirmed they'll be announcing a new franchise at E3 this year. We're betting it has to do with music.

Capcom: Tonight's Spike broadcast will be sporting some Capcom news, but whether that's a new announcement or just a Lost Planet 3 trailer is anyone's guess. [Update] Capcom was a no-show on the Spike pre-E3 show.

Zone of the Enders: The new ZoE sequel was teased at a Konami event recently, but expect to see some a full-fledged trailer tonight  during Spike's pre-E3 event. [Update] Konami's pre-E3 show teased the ZoE collector's edition, but no mention of the sequel.

The No-Shows: Irrational Games and Bioshock Infinity, Rockstar and Grand Theft Auto 5, Bungie and Destiny, Respawn and whatever they've got, Valve and anything beyond Dota 2, CS:GO, or Big Picture Mode.

Wii U price: Don't expect a Wii U price announcement, as it's still in fluctuation this far from launch. in fact, the media reaction to the Wii U may have a dramatic effect on the price. Maybe we'll get some official tech specifications, however.

[Update] Leaked Ubisoft Images: NeoGaf uncovered some new images from an Ubisoft trailer. They think it might be Prince of Persia, but I'd say it's too hard to tell. Need more information!

The Speculation Pile:

Beyond Good & Evil 2 - Recent leaked screenshots may portend an actual announcement... o

Fortnite - Shown at the 2011 VGA's, this game needs to see the light of day again.

Metal Gear Solid sequel - Kojima has promised, "big things,"  at E3 this year -- and considering the distance he's put between himself and Revengeance, that might mean a big announcement. [Update] Kojima talked for a while during th Konami pre-E3 show, but only teased his studio's new Fox Engine. He says to look forward to coming months.

Dragon Age 3 - News about BioWare and E3 is nonexistant. Are they laying low, or are they setting up a huge announcement for a big franchise sequel?

Know of any rumors we might have missed, off the top of your head? Games that may or may not be announced due to some circumstantial evidence? Let us know and we'll update our list.

Rumors don't fit your fancy? Make sure to check out our official list of game's that will 100% be appearing at E3. It's five times as amazing as our list of rumors, but half has ridiculous.


Jack Tretton, SCEA CEO, said to be "opposed to used game blocking"

0 comments Rory Young - May 14, 12 11:20am (PST) Like Share

Now, does Tretton's views clash with Sony's on used games?

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In an episode of Bonus Round, infamous gaming analyst Michael Pachter recounted a conversation he shared with Sony Computer Entertainment of America CEO Jack Tretton. Of course, Pachter has been known to exaggerate in the past, so unfortunately this conversation might not necessarily be 100% accurate. Topic of conversation? Used games, and Tretton's surprising support of the market.

Contrasting rumors that the next PlayStation console would inhibit the play of used games, Jack Tretton dismisses the practice as, "anti-consumer." Used games are, "great for the consumer," and his personal opinion marks him as, "opposed to to blocking used games." Pachter also notes that these are simply Tretton's personal thoughts, and the conversation ended with this unfortunate statement, "Japan might think something different."

Unfortunate as it is that Tretton is unsure whether Sony will be blocking used games on the PlayStation 4 (Orbis), it's striking that apparently he doesn't even have say in the matter. Still, it's good to know Tretton is on consumers' side. Well, that is if Pachter can be fully believed. Hopefully Tretton can make an official statement on the subject eventually. Heck, hopefully Sony can make an official statement eventually.


Alan Wake developer hiring for "future generation consoles”

2 comments Zak Islam - May 11, 12 10:12am (PST) Like Share

Another day, another "next-gen" job listing

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Remedy Entertainment, the developer of the Alan Wake franchise, has confirmed the studio is hiring for "future generation consoles".

A slide from a presentation, which was unveiled via studio boss Matias Myllyrinne, reads:

Remedy Entertainment is looking for world-class talent to work on an unannounced project targeted at future generation consoles.

Rumors pertaining to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 successor have been spreading like wildfire since 2011. While the consoles won't receive its full unveil during E3 this year, as confirmed by platform holders Microsoft and Sony, it's been heavily speculated that they'll each see a launch by the end of 2013. Meanwhile, Nintendo's next console, the Wii U, releases during the latter stages of 2012.

As for what Remedy is working on now, a PC launch for Alan Wake's American Nightmare was recently confirmed.


Job listing from Valve geared towards "new types of input, output, and platform hardware"

10 comments Rory Young - Apr 13, 12 8:01am (PST) Like Share

What sort of competitive environment would a Steam console create?

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When Valve PR guru Doug Lombardi said last month that Valve was a long way from, "shipping any hardware," he was certainly not lying. A better question might have been, "Has Valve begun to build their own console?" A month later, Valve might be hard pressed to argue. A new Electronics Engineer job-posting on Valve's website lists the production of, "new types of input, output, and platform hardware," as its main duty.

The greater gaming news network has gone quite sensationalist over this job-listing. They might have forgotten a few other things Doug Lombardi mentioned in his interview last month.

"We're prepping the Steam Big Picture Mode UI and getting ready to ship that, so we're building boxes to test that on. We're also doing a bunch of different experiments with biometric feedback and stuff like that, which we've talked about a fair amount."

In other words, Valve likes to do various experiments with hardware. This job position could very well just be a replacement engineer to test their various hardware projects currently in the works. The likelihood they'd put out a single job-listing to announce the development of a Steam console is quite a bit short sighted. Is Steam exploring the potential market of a Steam console? Probably, but it likely started long ago and has little to with recent rumors.

What this whole dramatic rumor-mill does do is show Valve how excited gamers might be for a Steam console. That fact is definitely notable, but also odd to an extent. Steam itself is a built-in DRM system, much like the kind gamers have complained about the Sony Orbis and Xbox 720 including: no used games, online connection required, and account-tied games.

Is a Steam console, if that's actually something Valve is working on, something we want to see in the future?

Categories: Console Games PC Games

Cliff Bleszinski: "fully downloadable games" would end on-disc DLC

10 comments Rory Young - Apr 10, 12 8:29am (PST) Like (1) Share (1)

What's the solution to on-disc DLC? Why, get rid of disc

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In an interview with MCV UK, Cliff Bleszinski commented on the recent Street Fighter X Tekken on-disc DLC controversy. He states that the DLC is, "an ugly truth of the gaming industry," and sees no immediate solutions to appease consumer anger on the issue.

"When you’re making a game, and you’re getting into a ship cycle, there’s often three or four months where the game is basically done."

Bleszinski implies, without going into detail, that there is a very specific point at which point developers have to switch from producing content ready for release, to content you pay for in addition to the original game.

Could changing the development schedule so this time is spent on launch content work? Could this time go into the development of a full expansion pack as opposed to relatively expensive and exploitative DLC packs?

"If we can get to fully downloadable games, then you can just buy a $30 horror game and just have it, and that stuff will thankfully go away."

This bothers me in two parts. Firstly, Bleszinski's answer to content being made before a game's release, placed on the release disc, and then sold to you again after your retail purchase, is to get rid of the disc? The heart of gamers' problem with on-disc DLC is that they are being sold content that was made before a game was released, but cut away to be sold later. Excuse me for thinking that Bleszinski's answer of, "destroy the evidence," doesn't inspire support.

The second is the subtle implication that  current consoles aren't online enough to handle releasing full games with modern patch and DLC schedules. As if we need consoles to be more online, or perhaps unable to be offline. We heard Steve Papoutsis of Visceral games say something similar yesterday, and this is only the beginning.

There is certainly a reasonable argument to be had on this issue. Development teams need to keep working, they can't stop because of console licensing schedules, but consumers deserve more than early content cut away and sold to them at a later date. Compromise begins with admitting there is problem, breaking down what that problem truly is, and then fixing. Is this how the development side of gaming admits there's a problem?


Dead Space producer Steve Papoutsis wants consoles to "always be on and connected"

9 comments Rory Young - Apr 09, 12 11:04am (PST) Like (1) Share

Would games like Dead Space profit from a permanent online connection?

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Both the Xbox 720 and the PlayStation 4 "Orbis" are rumored to require a permanent online connection to even use the console. And since it's not something Sony and Microsoft could likely commercialize and market as a feature, one can assume it's likely coming at the behest of publishers and developers. What self-sacrificing soul would see promise in such a system? How about Executive Producer of the Dead Space series Steve Papoustis.

Gently, Steve:

"In terms of features, I hope the new system will always be on and connected, because it would be awesome to have games load up super-fast and take me back to where I was the last time I played."

Well, that wasn't as aggressive or defensive as I would have imagined. The truth is there are a number of legitimate reasons for permanent online connections in next-generation consoles. Reasons that provide developers like Papoustis better ways to interact with consumers. And perhaps Microsoft and Sony's best way of selling such a system is in honest opinions like Papoustis'.

"I’d love the convenience of installing your games like you do now but making that process automatic, as I want to avoid having to change discs. Microsoft has made a lot of nice improvements to the dashboard over the years so I’m expecting an even more refined and streamlined user interface for people to interact with when checking out stuff on the marketplace."

Current opinion on the issue is being determined by controversies like publisher imposed DRM and DLC. Developers could bridge the distance between console developers, publishers and consumers on the issue, creating a dialogue that keeps both sides' interests in mind.

Of course, perhaps the console developers and publishers could care less about compromise. After all, how much say have gamers had in previous inclusions of debilitating DRM until after the fact? Is it enough that developers may have good intentions for utilizing a permanent online connection? Or is Papoustis selling the issue short?


Just Cause 2 studio founder "looking for that silver-bullet to save the games industry"

13 comments Rory Young - Apr 05, 12 9:11am (PST) Like Share

Is the gaming industry dying?

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Last week I wrote an article on ngmoco's general manager believing the free-to-play business model was becoming increasingly prevalent in today's market. Partly in response, Avalanche founder Christofer Sundberg discussed the topic today, and added his own worries to the equation. The only consensus? Things have to change.

"What companies such as Ngmoco have been talking about very actively in the press is partly true. Traditional business models are dead and if you want to survive as an independent studio you have to think outside the box.

While I'm skeptical of the ease with which Chrisofer claims the traditional business model is dead, who am I to disagree with the founder of such a large modern developer? Is Avalanche suffering despite Just Cause 2's success? What's the next step?

"Since the recession of 2008/09 everybody has been looking for that silver-bullet to save the games industry and jumps on every opportunity there is - developing a quirky PSN/XBLA game or building your own F2P game. That is suicide."

Yikes. Someone probably should have told Harmonix about that.

"I don't believe in the F2P model either and consoles are far from dead. How we combine the traditional consoles with new business models will be absolute key to success - not one way or the other."

Exactly what Christofer is alluding to is beyond me, but I have a sneaking suspicion it might have to do with the rumors surrounding the next generation of consoles. Many are quick to blame Microsoft and Sony for potentially considering hard-wiring DRM into their systems, but it's more than likely at the behest of developers and publishers. Developers want more option, more potential business models, and that frankly isn't possible with this generation of systems.

Hopefully Christofer remains cautious however, for while he's quick to decry free-to-play and arcade releases as "suicide", the rumors around the next generation of consoles could be just as bad -- if not worse. What's the best solution for everyone?


Rumor: Next PlayStation due 2013, codename Orbis, won't play used games

59 comments Rory Young - Mar 28, 12 11:10am (PST) Like (2) Share

All games would be digitally tied to your PSN account

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The PlayStation 4 is in development and it shall be codenamed the "Orbis," new rumors indicate.  Kotaku, with its wonderful Gawker Media anonymous sources, started these rumors surrounding Sony's next-gen console this morning. What's the juice? Let's start with no backwards compatability, not even the half-hearted attempt the PlayStation 3 made, and let's follow that up with no used games.

If you choked a little bit, you might want to take a breath before continuing. No used games is only the first bite. In order to prevent the use of used games on the PlayStation 4, your console will need to be permanently connected to the Internet -- it won't even start without a connection to PSN. From there, you can either purchase all of your games digitally (and we do mean they'll all be available that way), or you can purchase a Blu-ray that will have to be tied directly to your PSN account.

There's the controversial bit, so let's move on to the pleasant console specifications. Developers are being told -- and in some cases being provided dev kits -- that the PS4 will run on an AMD x64 CPU and an AMD Southern Islands GPU. For those not in the business, they're both top of the line components and likely to come at a price. The GPU is said to provide resolutions up to 4095x2160, and allow for 1080p 3D. A bit over the top?  Not when you consider Sony is also in the business of selling TVs.

Rounding out the rumor dump is Sony's goal of a holiday 2013 release, which fits with the November/December release dates of their previous consoles. If dev kits are being sent out now that would allow for a two year cycle for launch titles.

As with all rumors, these should be taken with a grain of salt. Kotaku has reported on similar anti-used games models for the next generation Xbox, and at some point we may have to accept its inevitability. How many sacrifices are you willing to make for a next generation of consoles?

Categories: Console Games

Arc System Works announces their "Adventure Project" Xblaze

2 comments Susan Schreck - Mar 26, 12 6:20pm (PST) Like Share

Mori brings us "another Blue story"

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During a Blazblue Continuum Shift 2 national tournament, Arc System Works announced their first project under the new “Adventure Project” name, Xblaze. Along with announcing the new game, Toshimichi Mori, the series producer of BlazBlue, also stated that the second game is already under works for the project. Those guys at ASW really know how to put out titles fast, don't they?

In case you're wondering, Xblaze is expected to be out during the winter 2012 season in Japan. However, there is no information on what consoles the game will be on, and what the gameplay will be like. Instead we get a nice trailer that clocks in at almost two minutes and features character art with music.

Judging by the trailer alone, the game looks to be set in the same world as Blazblue. The reason for this is the two characters -- the sword-wielding girl and the brunette male -- both have uniforms reminiscent of the Novus Orbis Librarium (NOL for short). Not to mention the gir's design resembles Saya and her many clones from the series. The slides also refer to the game as “another Blue story,” which further suggests a connection.

We'll be looking out for more details over time on the game, along with the mysterious second game Mori alluded to as well. Let's just hope it doesn't end up being another Guilty Gear 2: Overture, Arc's unsuccessful decided to branch out.

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