When Sony announced that PlayStation 4 would be priced at $399 to an uproar of applause from the audience at its E3 press conference, it secured a critical edge over the Xbox One. But the advantage came at a cost: the PlayStation 4 camera (formerly known as the PlayStation 4 Eye). According to multiple sources, in the months leading up to E3, Sony nixed plans to include the camera add-on with every system and shave $100 off its originally planned price of $499. Most importantly, it did so quietly, informing its retail partners only of the removal of the camera, not specifying the lower price so as not to tip its hand to Microsoft.
But in its efforts to undercut the Xbox One, Sony has damned the accessory to a future of fragmented consumer adoption and inconsistent software support. The decision has also rendered a major design element of the DualShock 4 controller — the built-in LED Move tracker — largely useless.
Microsoft's decision to bundle a Kinect with each Xbox One and require it for use may be unpopular, but it guarantees that every user will have the option to try Kinect-enabled games and experiences. For developers, it means that Kinect integration is no longer a costly gamble on a small subsection of Xbox owners — motion-detecting and voice-sensing elements can be anything from a small optional game enhancement or the primary control method.
By relegating the camera to a $59.99 add-on, Sony has ensured the opposite — a climate of codependency wherein PlayStation 4 camera adoption will hinge upon compelling software, but compelling software will only arrive after PlayStation 4 camera adoption.
What's worse, the DualShock 4's integrated LEDs are now good for little more than visual flair. Per Sony, the light-up panels will help indicate the player associated with each controller and, when supported, react to in-game cues, such as blinking red when a player is low on health. Ultimately, the limited functionality of the LEDs without the aid of the Eye won't impact the player experience or even drastically diminish the overall battery life of the controller, but it's a lingering reminder of Sony's failure to support the tech.
It's possible that Sony has long-term aspirations for the PlayStation 4 camera and the DualShock 4's integrated Move technology — the PS4 is likely to be a 10 year console, after all — but launch window support is likely to be non-existent. The device was little more than a footnote at the console's debut in February and of the more than 40 demos
Sony showcased at E3, Drive Club and a tech demo Playroom were the only PlayStation 4 titles were camera-enabled.
At present, Sony's abandonment of the Eye in favor of a lower priced PlayStation 4 seems to be paying off — the company claims to be boosting internal sales estimates
and online retailers are reporting record breaking pre-sales
— but will it be able to incentivize consumers and developers to adopt the device in the future? The odds are seemingly stacked against it, but perhaps Sony has a killer app waiting in the wings.Update:
An earlier version of this story stated that there were no camera-enabled games at E3. The copy has since been updated.
The Sony PlayStation 4 pre-orders have already taken off and a release date of somewhere around November 13 is speculated. This is exactly two weeks before the expected launch of the Microsoft Xbox One. Meanwhile, speculations have emerged that the underlying operating system used in the console is based on the FreeBSD operating system.
These speculations and the identification of the operating system have not engendered from anything as outlandish as a leaked console, but from someone who had the chance to lay their hands on the development environment.
Some images posting at VGleaks clearly depict the development environment and the OS as ‘Orbis OS’. It has also been stated that based on the lists of files and libraries, Orbis OS is based on the FreeBSD 9.0.
According to the website Phoronix, the eight core AMD processor used in the PlayStation 4 and the ATI Radeon graphics are really very suitable with the FreeBSD OS.
According to them, there are not any suitable open source Catalyst drivers in the BSD world, which suggest a fair degree of compatibility between Sony and Radeon. As compared to the GNU-licensed Linux distributions, the Free BSD license is friendlier to the commercial developers. It allows Sony to sell the binaries without any obligation to release the associated source code.
These leaked images have engendered a frenzy of speculations that is Sony going to revive the option to sue the PS4 as a FreeBSD computer as well. However, these could also be rumors and a completely different story. No official statement regarding this has been made yet.
It’s video game week on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
. Yesterday, we posted a clip of Fallon and Aisha Tyler playing Watch_Dogs
. Today, we have a clip of Fallon and Elijah Wood tackling a small chunk of Call of Duty: Ghosts
Elijah Wood, if you didn’t know, is a self professed gamer. If memory serves me correctly, Wood told reporters during a press junket for one of the Lord of the Rings
flicks that his favorite franchise was The Secret of Monkey Island
. Nerd cred levels are through the roof.
On another note, this is the same demo that the press saw behind closed doors at E3 last week. I won’t lie, when the dog bursts through the door, I literally laughed out loud. Such a ridiculous moment.
What do you folks think of Riley, Jimmy Fallon, Elijah Wood and Call of Duty: Ghosts
Gamers are so worried about the upcoming generation of consoles that a handful have started a grassroots Internet campaign to warn Sony about the addition of always online DRM being installed on the PlayStation 4. Nothing official has even been stated, and Sony is finding itself on the wrong end.
Rumor got out over the weekend via GameTrailers Geoff Keighley that Sony had been considering similar ideas that Microsoft might be implementing on the Xbox One. Keighley said onGameTrailer‘s panel show, Bonus Round, that:
“The console companies are becoming the bad guys. And, you know, Microsoft is getting beaten up a lot on it. Sony, I think, has been seen as this kind of white knight so far that’s not going to restrict used games. Based on some of the things I’m hearing, I don’t think that’s entirely true, because I can’t see publishers allowing one system to do one thing and one do another.”
NeoGAF responded quickly to Keighley’s comments to let Sony know how gamers feel about these decisions.
E3 is behind us, but we’ve really just begun to talk about the games that we played (and were shown) at the big show. PlayStation’s presence was especially big this year, not only in terms of its killer press conference
, but also because it was showing off three separate platforms for the first time since PS3 launched.
PlayStation’s staggeringly large booth was perpetually busy, with PS3, PS4 and Vita vying for attention. Below are six categories that judge the PlayStation brand’s overall offerings. Keep in mind that a couple of these games were only seen behind closed doors.
Sucker Punch is back with a vengeance. Infamous: Second Son represents the third core game in their superhero (or supervillain) series, but it’s so markedly different from Infamous and Infamous 2 that it’s hard not to truly appreciate how far the studio has come with its franchise, and how outrageously promising this game is. It’s in some ways a conventional Infamous game, but it has so many twists that it’s impossible to ignore the differences.
pposite end of the spectrum from Cole MacGrath. Rowe embraces his powers. He’s brash and belligerent. He’s seems to be the anti-Cole, and while I really loved MacGrath, Rowe is clearly going to give Infamous an all-new feel. His powers are outrageously cool, too. Using smoke to quickly travel is a ton of fun, but Second Son also retains the silky-smooth combat of its predecessors. And man, those graphics!
It’s okay to be disappointed that Second Son won’t launch until early 2014, but it’s still the most promising PS4-exclusive game that we yet know about.
Best Graphics: Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4)
Anyone who’s listened to Podcast Beyond
or read IGN for the last many years knows that I’m a critic of Killzone. That’s why I was so astonished with how much I enjoyed Killzone: Shadow Fall. The problem with the Killzone games was never the way they played – they excel mechanically – it was with how they were presented. Pretty graphics aside, Killzone 2 and 3 in particular never took advantage of telling a story in a universe that should be far more exciting and interesting than it actually is.
Killzone: Shadow Fall is attempting to change all of that, and it starts with how the game looks. Gone (or at least pushed to the periphery) are the war-torn, gray-and-brown, drab environments from the Killzone trilogy. In their stead, bright, colorful graphics and unique locales never seen before in Killzone have appeared. Shadow Fall is a gorgeous game, just as you’d expect from Sony-owned Guerrilla, but with the color palette and diversity in environments the series has always craved. It’s undeniably pretty.
Killzone: Shadow Fall is a truly exciting project, and is shaping up to be the launch exclusive for PS4.
I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed when I found out I wasn’t going to be seeing The Order: 1886 being played (or get the chance to play it myself). But after the brand-new IP was shown-off at the PlayStation press conference, I was invited to an appointment a couple of days later to interview Ru Weerasuriya, the co-founder of developer Ready at Dawn and the creative force behind the game. Sure, I didn’t see the game apart from what you and I saw in that trailer, but I did learn a whole lot about it
Everything Weerasuriya told me about the game has me excited. He’s a history buff, as am I, so it was clear we were speaking the same language right off the bat. His game is steeped in fascinating alternate history, with an IP that’s made to, essentially, go beyond this one game. Victorian London is a dark, dire and outright fascinating place to set this title in particular, and its narrative-driven, third-person action mechanics sound really fun. Ready at Dawn is known for its God of War games on PSP, but the studio clearly has chops far beyond what they showed everyone on Sony’s old handheld.
You’d be wise to keep this game on your radar.
PS4 v Xbox One – was there a winner in the earliest skirmishes of the console war?
Some are calling it the best E3 in five years – others insist it's the best of all time. But whatever hyperbole gets attached to last week's gaming conference, we can all agree on the focus: Xbox One
Amid the chaos of the LA convention centre, Microsoft
pitched their stands barely feet from each other, separated only by a sliver of carpet, a no-man's land of technological rivalry. The two companies then spent three days hurling PR at each other, deafening attendees with their arsenals of mega hype. It was confusing, it was enraging, it was console war – and the first casualty of console war is sense.
So, what did it all mean? Who won, who lost? What do these machines actually do? Here is a quick guide to the next-generation as it currently stands, complete with hardware, services and game announcements. Next stop: release dates and a shift of the skirmish to a hundred thousand shop shelves. This fight has only just begun.This article has been updated to include a section on second screens.
PlayStation 4 Dual Shock 4 controller: Sony's best yet
The PlayStation 4
's Dual Shock 4 controller may look like its similarly named predecessors, but it has received a major and very thoughtful overhaul. The first thing you notice about it is that the hand-grips are much longer than those of previous Dual Shocks – which is great, especially for those with larger hands. It instantly feels great to grip.
The analogue sticks are a tiny bit stiffer than previously, but still move slickly, and the two sets of triggers for each hand are far more naturally placed than previously. But the biggest change to the controller is the touch-pad, which can also tilt slightly in any direction. In effect – as seen in Killzone: Shadow Fall – it can operate like a sort of mouse, and it offers all sorts of possibilities for developers – it supports multi-touch, so can read specific gestures. One notable absence on the controller is the Start button, whose responsibilities have devolved to the touch-pad. Force-feedback is impressive, too, thanks to the presence of two motors, one in each grip. The Dual Shock 4 is by far the best controller Sony has ever designed.
Slick presentations are all very well, but can hide a multitude of sins – there's no substitute for getting your hands on a game in order to gauge its merits. Currently, exact details of precisely which games
will be available when the PlayStation
4 goes on sale remain unknown, but at least we managed to get some hands-on time with several of Sony
's key first-party titles for the new console.