The Playstation 4 sold one million copies in 24 hours. It not only shattered the previous day one sales record, but torched the one week record in a single day. Sony had some last minute bad luck with the delay of Drive Club and Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs. They were left holding the bag with only two AAA launch exclusives: Killzone Shadow Fall and Knack, both of which suffered from subpar reviews. But the Playstation 4 did benefit from a number of cross platform (and cross gen) titles including Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Need for Speed: Rivals, Battlefield 4, LEGO Marvel Superheroes, and all the usual sports games. But really, the system came out of the gate with a weak lineup. I guess most people didn’t notice.
After the jump, the games that launched a million consoles. Continue reading →
I kicked off the Playstation 4 launch just like any other day. I got up and went to work. I didn’t attend any midnight launch events. I didn’t wait in line at my local Best Buy. I preordered the Playstation 4 from Amazon back in June; I just had to wait for delivery. I had hoped the package would be waiting for me when I got home, but it wasn’t. Only later in the evening did I notice the Amazon box on my front porch. I have no idea how long it was sitting there. The UPS guy didn’t even bother to ring the bell.
It’s been seven years since the launch of the Playstation 3 and this banged up box on my front porch was the harbinger of the next generation. From press conferences to preview events, to day one system reviews, the Playstation 4 has been splayed open and laid bare. Before you even open the box you’re probably predisposed one way or another. We know about resolutiongate, firmware updates, network issues, defective HDMI ports, and poorly reviewed launch titles. But regardless of all that, here it was, this box, this new console, this is what I was waiting for.
After the jump, this is what I was waiting for? Continue reading →
Did you get your PlayStation 4 last night? Joey Chiu, the guy in the picture, did. He was first in line at the New York PlayStation launch event. He doesn’t seem as excited as those PS4 advertisements say he should be. Doesn’t he know he’s the first regular guy in the US to get the “most immersive, jaw-dropping gaming and entertainment experiences imaginable” with his new consumer hardware? His life is going to be totally different.
At least until Nov 22nd, when the Xbox One launches and offers Joey even more immersive, jaw-dropping gaming and entertainment experiences imaginable thanks to the Power of the Cloud.
It was not easy for me. I hovered over the Amazon “cancel order” button for quite some time before forcing my finger down upon the left mouse button. I love gadgets and I love technology, but I couldn’t make myself buy a PS4.
After the jump, launch woes. Continue reading →
Call of Duty: Ghosts is out now on the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. (Read Tom’s review here.) Exclusive DLC periods aside, they’re essentially identical. Control the soldier-killing dog through stealth sections, have a shoot-out in space, level up your multiplayer character. On the next-gen consoles, it’s another matter. Ghosts is rendered and output from Sony’s PlayStation 4 at 1080p, but only rendered at 720p and upscaled to 1080p on Microsoft’s Xbox One. There’s been a lot of speculation about what this means for future games in the next generation, but most of it has been answered with pure hokum dictated by the console manufacturers, as in this IGN interview with Mark Rubin of Infinity Ward.
“There’s no maliciousness, there’s no specific reason why one’s 720p, one’s 1080p. That’s just the way the optimisation came out to. To keep a smooth frame rate we needed to be 720p on Xbox One. That being said, it is being upscaled to 1080p, so it is outputting 1080p on your TV, and for the most part the game does look really good. Some people actually think the textures look a little bit nicer maybe on Xbox than they do on PS4.”
We’re getting closer to the truth in this Metro interview, but Mark Rubin puts his game face on and remains steadfast. He does let slip that he can’t tell journalists which console is more powerful because of non-disclosure agreements, but he can say that he disagrees with the idea that they’re equal:
GC: So when John Carmack and Shinji Mikami say the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are almost identical, is that something you could agree with?
MR: Hmm… I would say that’s a bit inaccurate but I wouldn’t be able to tell you any detail of why that’s inaccurate.
GC: For diplomatic reasons?
Battlefield 4 has a similar issue. It’s rendered at 900p and upscaled to 1080p on the PS4, but rendered at 720p and output at 1080p on the Xbox One.
Sony has posted the ultimate FAQ for the PlayStation 4 and there’s some disappointing news for media hounds. First, the next-gen console will not work as a client for media servers or have DLNA support for streaming movies from a PC. The system will not play audio CDs. The PS4 does not include a music visualizer feature, so no trippy light shows for your party. The PS4 won’t play MP3 files either. Wait. It won’t play MP3s or audio CDs? How does Sony expect people to play background music on their consoles? What kind of media box is this? Did Sony not get the memo about controlling the living room?
“The Music Unlimited streaming service will allow you to listen to music while you play PS4 games. A subscription to Music Unlimited is required.”
Ah. There’s the kick. Sony wants you to pay for a subscription to their media service.
I don’t know if Sony will win the Console Warz with this detail, but it’s cool to see the branding used on the tiniest component of the PlayStation 4. German tech site, Computer Bild, found these screws during their analysis of a PS4 devkit. Adorable! I guess you could argue that any Phillips-head screw in the Xbox One matches their brand as well.
Remember the kerfuffle when it was announced that the Xbox One would not be able to use any headsets made for the Xbox 360, at least until an official hardware adapter comes out? Not to be outdone, Sony’s PlayStation 4 will have the same issue. Game Informer is reporting that Bluetooth headsets that work with the PlayStation 3 will not work with the PS4.
If you have a Sony-branded PULSE gaming headset (or the elite edition of that product), you will need to wait for a system update coming in the future. It seems that those will not work at all at launch.
Any other headset that relies on bluetooth for chat will not work at all. If you have something that relies on USB for chat (like the Astro mixamps and Astro A50 wireless system), you’ll eventually be able to use those. An update will be coming in the future.
All is not lost! You will be able to use the DualShock 4’s integrated 3.5mm jack to listen to in-game audio. The PS4 also comes with an over-the-ear headset in the box, you just won’t be able to use your fancy Bluetooth unit to yell at your opponents.
The PlayStation 4 controller will have basic PC functionality. Sony’s Worldwide Studios honcho Shuhei Yoshida confirmed on Twitter that the DualShock 4’s basic button and analog stick controls will work on PC just by plugging it in the USB port. When asked if the controller would be recognized at the API level as a DualShock 4 by Windows after launch, Yoshida replied that people will have to “wait for [the] field report” for more details.
Sony will likely need to write additional software to enable the Touchpad and other features on the controller that would not be recognized natively. If that is done, then it’s likely that the PS4 controller could stand toe-to-toe with the Xbox One controller or even the newly revealed Steam controller for PC gaming.
Developers say the PS4 is about 50% more powerful than the Xbox One. EDGE gathered the opinions of a multiple developer sources that said the gap between Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One could be wider than analysts initially thought. The sources told EDGE that the power difference is significant.
One basic example we were given suggested that without optimisation for either console, a platform-agnostic development build can run at around 30FPS in 1920×1080 on PS4, but it’ll run at “20-something” FPS in 1600×900 on Xbox One. “Xbox One is weaker and it’s a pain to use its ESRAM,” concluded one developer.
One source also claimed that cross-platform games could suffer due to political pressure from publishers or hardware manufacturers to keep parity between consoles. Games could be hobbled on the PS4 to not outperform the Xbox One version.
Earlier in the week, Ars Technica analyzed comments from Microsoft’s Albert Penello downplaying the power gap between consoles. Their conclusion was that much of Penello’s statements were meaningless or needed more explanation.
Update: Microsoft’s response follows:
“Ten years ago, you could argue that a console’s power was summed up in terms of a few of its specs, but Xbox One is designed as a powerful machine to deliver the best blockbuster games today and for the next decade.
Xbox One architecture is much more complex than what any single figure can convey. It was designed with balanced performance in mind, and we think the games we continue to show running on near-final hardware demonstrate that performance. In the end, we’ll let the consoles and their games speak for themselves.”
The Xbox One console will be able to support wirelessly connecting up to 8 controllers at once. According to new data added to the Xbox One Wireless Controller page, Microsoft’s next-gen console will support double the number that the Xbox 360 could connect. Your household cephalopod will be so happy!
In related news, Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida has confirmed that the PlayStation 4 will only support four controllers at a time. Did you know that you can connect up to seven controllers to the PS3? It’s true. Very few games use more than four controllers, but you can do it. Perhaps your octopus lost one of its tentacles?
That’s the morning queue to get into Pax Prime 2013. It’s hot and stifling in this room, and about an hour before they let people into the main hall, the crowd reaches Funk-con 4. Besides smell, the other thing the image doesn’t convey is the audio experience of Mountain Dew and Doritos blasting butt-rock while someone screeches about your chance to win an Xbox One.
Yesterday’s tour of Pax Prime 2013 was a down and dirty look at the Great Northwest’s premiere gaming convention. This time, let’s check out some of the gaming goodness!
This tour of Pax Prime 2013 has been brought to you by Mountain Dew and Doritos after the jump! Continue reading →
Let’s get the big Sony Playstation news out of the way. Minecraft will be a launch title for the PS4! Whew. That’s done, so that leaves us with the ho-hum stuff.
Sony presented a lot of games at Gamescom. Killzone Shadow Fall, Watch Dogs, Rime, a reimagined Shadow of the Beast, Hotline Miami 2, Rogue Legacy, Gran Turismo 6, and a host of other promising looking titles either had trailers or quick snippets of gameplay. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was used to show off the PS4 to Vita feature.
Speaking of the Playstation handheld, Sony announced a price drop. The new price of the Vita in the US will be $199. (That’s 199 Euros as well thanks to wacky pricing math.) Sony Europe’s CEO, Jim Ryan, said there would be a price drop for the Vita memory cards as well.
Free Twitch streaming support for the PS4 sharing feature was announced. Only Ustream support had been announced at E3 for the console, so that’s welcome news for gamers with a streaming preference.
SCEA president Andrew House revealed that Sony will offer a discount plan for gamers that purchase titles on PS3 and then later wish to upgrade to PS4 versions of the same games. While he didn’t have any specifics, he did say that Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, and Warner Bros are participating.
Finally, despite rumors of an earlier than expected October release date, Sony fizzled by confirming a November launch for the PS4. The US launch will be November 15th, while the date for Europe will be November 29th.
Sony has confirmed that a Playstations Plus subscription will not be needed to use online apps such as Netflix or Hulu Plus on the PS4, and that party chat will also be free unlike Microsoft’s Xbox One which will require a Gold subscription to use. In a Playstation Access video, Sony says that the PS4 friends list can have up to 2000 members (twice as many as the Xbox One) and free-to-play games will not require a Playstation Plus subscription to play, unlike Microsoft’s current console rules.
Sony had revealed at E3 that playing online multiplayer games would require a Playstation Plus subscription, following in the footsteps of Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold requirements. With today’s video, Sony separates themselves from many of the restrictions that the Xbox 360 and Xbox One will have without Gold access.
Despite rumors to the contrary, Sony’s PS4 will not be using more than 5.5GB of its GDDR5 8GB RAM for gaming. According to Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry, the console is limited to 4.5GB allocated directly to games with another 1GB that can be used by developers depending on what the console OS needs to do.
Current PlayStation 4 dev kits have a “Game Memory Budget Mode” in the debug settings featuring two options: normal and large. The normal mode setting confirms that 4.5GB of memory is usable for game applications. The large mode increases this considerably to 5.25GB, but the docs are clear that the extra RAM here is only available for application development, presumably in order to house debugging data. From what we understand, the extra gig of flexible memory appears to work in addition to these allowances.
Unfortunately for fans of the PS4, this brings the specs closer to parity with the Xbox One. The difference of GDDR5 memory in Sony’s console versus the DDR3 in Microsoft’s could still be a key factor for developers.