Showing posts with label sony. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sony. Show all posts

Friday, 19 September 2014

Sony's SmartEyeglass prototype makes Google Glass look chic

Sony SmartEyeWear
As Sony's smartphone division continues to struggle, the company is working out what it needs to return to profitability. Does it concentrate on the high-end market dominated by Apple and Samsung, or does it try to appeal to customers looking to get their very first smartphone? One thing you might not expect is for the company to push forward with the release its own smart eyewear, a Google Glass clone of sorts, that connects to its devices to superimpose images, videos and text into the wearers view. "SmartEyeglass," as it's known, looks like a bulky pair of 3D glasses that have been modified to include a 3-megapixel camera, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, brightness sensor, a microphone and a pretty large battery pack.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Sony wins E3 2014: Microsoft gambled on games, and lost; Nintendo did better than expected

This story has been expanded to include feedback from Nintendo’s E3 Digital Event. The original story, about whether Sony or Microsoft won E3, has been left mostly untouched.
At its press conference last night, Sony casually sauntered on stage, slipped its hands nonchalantly into its pockets, offered up an expressive French shrug, and won E3 2014. Microsoft and its legion of fans could do nothing but look on with envy as Sony unveiled hit after hit for the PS4. For all of Microsoft’s talk about games, the only platform exclusive that might be a critical success — Halo 5 — was reduced to a 60-second-long pre-rendered clip. The Division looked fantastic, but it’s a cross-platform game. There were some smaller, art game-like titles that looked good — but nothing that Microsoft felt warranted more than a scant few seconds of gameplay footage. Sony, on the other hand, essentially showed off everything a gamer could want at E3: A new white PS4 (to celebrate the release of Destiny); a release date for PS Now and the PlayStation TV streaming box; more details about the Morpheus VR headset; the beautiful art game No Man’s Sky; and actual in-game/in-engine footage from two massive exclusives (LittleBigPlanet 3Uncharted 4) and many more smaller titles (No Man’s Sky, a remake of Grim Fandango).
Nintendo, with what appeared to be in-engine footage of the upcoming Wii U Zelda title and some fun new IP called Splatoon, actually did surprisingly well. If Nintendo can deliver on its promise of an open-world, Skyrim-like Zelda title, then we could be looking at a massive hit. Likewise, Splatoon looks like it will be the funnest new game to be revealed at E3 this year. But that’s a lot of ifs and buts: I am a lot more confident that Uncharted 4 and LittleBigPlanet 3 will actually be awesome, as opposed to possibly awesome.
With all that said, it’s not unusual for one of the console companies to come out ahead at E3 — but this isn’t just Sony winning by a nose; it’s a landslide, and such huge disparities are rare at E3. How did Microsoft get it so wrong? And what can Nintendo do to stay in the game?

Games, games, games!

“Today we are dedicating our entire briefing to games,” began the head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, to huge cheers from the E3 2014 audience. But, if you put all of your eggs in one basket, you better be damn sure that you have a very strong basket — and Forza at 1080p and a pre-rendered clip of Halo 5 do not a strong basket make.
The question is, why did Microsoft decide to make games the focus of its E3 presentation, even when it knew it had nothing big to show off? Bear in mind that Microsoft almost certainly knew about all of the games that Sony intended to display, and so it knew full well that it was going to be eviscerated by core gamers for a weak showing.
But… what else could Microsoft do? Following its backtracking of every single policy and feature that made the Xbox One unique, all that’s left is games. After de-bundling Kinect, Microsoft couldn’t then take to the stage at E3 and show off some amazing Kinect-based game. Likewise, in the words of our associate editor James Plafke, Microsoft couldn’t really show off another peripheral such as IllumiRoom after the Kinect debacle.
Microsoft could’ve showed off a new console, though — if it rushed a cheap, slim version of the Xbox One, that would’ve given gamers something to talk about. Or it could’ve announced some exciting updates to the Xbox One dashboard. Or it could’ve re-introduced digital game sharing, or something else equally crazy.
Presumably, Microsoft figured if it focused on just one thing — games — it actually stood a chance at beating Sony at something. Now that Sony has shown its gaming hand, we know that isn’t the case. In short, games were the crux of Microsoft’s E3 presentation, and thus games were the crux of its failure.

Nintendo: Quirky as always

Like last year, Nintendo instead opted for a pre-recorded presentation instead of a flashy main-stage E3 event. As it turned out, this was a savvy move that kept expectations low and increased the impact of some fairly big games. The Wii U Zelda title, Super Smash BrosHyrule WarriorsBayonetta 2, and the new IP of Splatoon were all quite impressive. That Nintendo chose to unveil them in a series of quirky interviews and claymations was an interesting choice, but the overall impression is that Nintendo had a strong E3.
Nintendo has always relied on killer games to sell consoles — and right now, the Wii U only really has two games that make the console worthwhile (Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario 3D World). Individually, almost all of the games shown off by Nintendo at E3 2014, if they’re as good as Nintendo promises, would be reason enough to buy a Wii U. Personally I bought the Wii for Mario Galaxy and Twilight Princess, and I would buy the Wii U for Zelda — if it delivers. Judging by the Wii U, I doubt I’m alone in that thinking — and likewise, I suspect Nintendo is counting on it.
Unfortunately, though, the Wii U Zelda game still isn’t due until 2015 at the earliest — and Smash Bros and Hyrule Warriors aren’t due until the holiday season, either. Nintendo definitely put in a good showing at E3 this year, but I suspect it’s a matter of too little too late. Life-long Nintendo fans will pick up the console to play their favorite franchises, and Splatoon might bring in a little new blood, but we’re not going to see a crazy resurgence in console sales.

PlayStation vs. Xbox, E3 2014Swaggering Sony

While Microsoft’s E3 presentation was full of obsequiousness — “you are shaping the future of Xbox, and we are better for it,” said Xbox’s Phil Spencer — Sony oozed confidence; the kind of confidence that comes from knowing that you almost have the eighth generation of the console war sewn up. Sony already had the lead in sales and consumer confidence, but it needed this E3 to show gamers that it can capitalize the advantage — by golly, that’s exactly what Sony did.
Not only did Sony beat Microsoft in the primary arena of games, but it also won the secondary conflicts by default because it didn’t focus solely on games. PlayStation TV (previously Vita TV), PS Now, and the white PS4 are all very cool additions that will only increase Sony’s sales lead. Perhaps this is Microsoft’s biggest problem coming out of E3 2014: The only real thing that will drive more Xbox sales is Halo 5, while Sony announced at least three or four games that are have the potential to become Game Of The Year. There’s a possibility that Sunset Overdrive — the only original IP announced by Microsoft — will become a runaway hit, but I still think Sony is in the lead by some margin.

Sony reveals PlayStation TV


Sony has confirmed to T3 that the UK price of the PlayStation TV micro-console will be £84.99 when it is released here in the autumn.
T3 got some time with the new console, which is now available in black and was previously titled Vita TV, over in Los Angeles for the E3 convention.
According to Sony, the device will retail for €99 in Europe and is fuelled by Sony's PlayStation Now streaming service which launches in the States on July 31.
As well as offering a budget doorway into Sony's impressive gaming catalogue and the ability to stream PS4 games, the device will also function as a set top box or media streamer to equal the likes of Google's Chromecast.
Unfortunately, in the UK, the device won't come bundled with a DualShock 3 controller - unlike Japan. It is, however, compatible with the PS4's DualShock 4 controller.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Future DualShock 4 update for PlayStation 4 will add option to dim light bar (updated!)

It may seem like minor news, especially considering the hoopla over Sony's Virtual Reality this week at GDC, but the PlayStation 4's DualShock 4 controller is about to get a firmware fix. In an interview with Geoff Keighley of Spike TV, Shuhei Yoshida, Sony PlayStation's head of Worldwide Studios, confirmed that a future firmware update (we're not sure if it's console- or controller-specific like on Xbox One) will give gamers the option to turn off dim the controller's light bar. If you own a PS4, then you know just how preciously short-lived the DualShock 4's battery life can be. The ability to muffle that glaring light should help extend the DS4's longevity, but only slightly. Still, it's a major boon for the community, and those of us that like our controllers to be less of a night light and more of a gamepad.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Sony to sell off Vaio laptop division in effort to stem huge losses

Electronics group to make 5,000 more staff redundant and spin off Bravia TV business after losing £4.6bn in nine years
Sony Corp President and CEO Hirai attends a news conference at the company's headquarters in TokyoStruggling electronics group Sony admitted it will make another huge loss this year and revealed tough new measures to help put it back into the black, spinning off its loss-making Bravia television business and selling its Vaio laptop computer division.
The company – which will have recorded losses for six out of the last seven years – was forced to scrap forecasts for a £180m profit it made only last October and said instead it would hurtle more than £600m into the red as it absorbs the costs of making 5,000 more staff redundant.
In April 2012, chief executive Kazuo Hirai slashed 10,000 jobs, but a failed attempt to return its TV business to profitability has now prompted more drastic measures.
Sony's long-term credit rating was cut to junk last month by Moody's, over concerns at the losses in computers and television sets. It was already rated junk by Fitch.
The shake-up, announced on Thursday, is Hirai's second big attack on costs since taking office two years ago.
After 17 years in the personal computing business, the Japanese multinational has decided to walk away from laptops and focus its engineering talent on smartphones, games consoles, and its movie and music studios.
Sales of desktop computers are in decline across the industry as consumers switch their activity to laptops and phones.
The television business has not made a profit since 2004, with losses totalling £4.6bn in nine years, and Hirai said he hoped greater independence from the mother company would make the division more agile.
Sony is an increasingly distant third to Samsung and LG in televisions, with its share of global sales falling from 8.1% to 7.5% in the last quarter .
"I think we are heading in the right direction, and by making it a separate company we will speed decision-making up," Hirai told reporters in Tokyo. "As for the future, there are many possibilities, and not just for our TV business."
Sony retained its October forecast for sales of 14m LCD sets, but said the division would incur a 10th consecutive annual loss, costing the group £150m this year.
The smartphone business is also loss-making, but the group's Xperia phones are selling well and Sony has reached third position in the global smartphone rankings, according to Bloomberg. However, the forecast was cut from 42m to 40m units for the year ahead.
Some analysts, however, said Sony's moves were too little, too late: "The reform announced today comes far too late," said Masahiko Ishino, of Advanced Research Japan Co. "Sony cannot take measures ahead of changes in market deterioration. There isn't much hope to revive the electronics business overall."
Sony has had more success with gaming. Its PlayStation 4, released head to head against the Xbox One before Christmas, has sold more than 4.2m units – trumping the 3m-plus shipments for Microsoft's machine.
Box office success for American Hustle and Captain Phillips, and hopes for the latest in the Spider-Man franchise, have helped Hirai resist calls from the American hedge fund boss Daniel Loeb, who has been lobbying Sony to spin off its movie and distribution units.
Loeb wanted a separate stock listing for the studios, with 20% of the equity to be traded publicly. Instead, Sony has hired management consultants Bain & Co to advise on a restructuring.
"There's no prospect of its TV business being profitable," said Makoto Kikuchi, the Tokyo-based chief executive officer for Myojo Asset Management Co. "Sony's strengths are content such as games and movies. It cannot increase profit without moving its focus from TV production to content."
The Vaio division will be sold to private equity group Japan Industrial Partners, for an estimated £300m. A separate company will be set up to manage the business, in which Sony will retain a 5% stake. The company will retain control of television making for now, but Hirai has not ruled out a sale.
"My responsibility is to turn around the electronics operation," he said. "I'd like to say this time's reform is final but amid intensifying competition, reform may be needed going forward

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Sony and Panasonic team up on 1TB optical discs for archival storage

Sony and Panasonic team up on 1TB optical discs for archival storage
Just when you thought that the 25GB storage capacity of Blu-ray discs is large enough, Sony and Panasonic have something even better up their sleeves. Engineered for enterprise storage, the new Archival Disc storage medium comes in the same dimensions as the current Blu-ray format but will have the potential to store up to a staggering 1TB of data. In addition, the durability and readability of this medium is touted at 50 years.
While dual-layer Blu-ray discs is capable of storing up to 50GB of data, Archival Disc’s unique three layers-per-side attribute offers even higher storage capacity. Inside sources say it is expected to pepper the market by 2015 with the 300GB version. Sources say other capacities such as the 500GB and 1TB (the equivalent of 250 DVD films) versions, are also on the cards.
According to Panasonic, the Archival Disc is intended to create demand for archives that use optical discs. The higher capacities are achieved through a set of patented signal processing technologies where multi-level recording processes are deployed.
Better still, the discs eschews the need for any form of special storage requirements. End users need not worry about environmental conditions such as a constant temperature or humidity, dust and water, nor does it require special air conditioning.
These discs also beat linear tape-open technology (LTO) and magnetic tape storage format hands down. While LTO touts to have even higher capacities, its storage life is less than 50 years. Hard drives on the other hand prove to have even shorter shelf lives, and with failure rates at nearly 12 per cent after three years, it is proving to be an even weaker contender to enterprise storage medium.
Panasonic and Sony have also made these discs “inter-generational” compatible so that as optical disc formats evolve, the older discs can still be read by newer enterprise storage systems.
These higher-capacity storage discs will whet the appetite for consumers but no plans are targeted for the commercial market. A Panasonic spokesperson cites that the development is specifically geared for professional archiving – a need for long-term digital data storage.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Vaio PCG-505

Monday, 31 March 2014

Sony's latest home audio systems balance looks, price and sound quality

Here's the thing with soundbars, sound plates and every other gadget that attempts to fill the niche between a full 5.1 home theater system and the tinny speakers built into your TV -- they rarely sound great and they usually look even worse. Of course, there are always trade offs to be made, but the question that vexes us is, are they worth it? Sony is hoping that it's found a proper balance with it's latest trio of home audio setups and hit certain sweet spots on the bell curve of sound quality and design (and price).

Sony CT770 and XT1 sound bars

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First up are a pair of soundbars, the CT770 and CT370. Physically, both are extremely similar, with two-inch high bodies, angled speaker grills and displays that disappear completely into the front panel when turned off. The slimmer design allows them to be placed in front of a TV with little worry that you'll be blocking the screen, something you couldn't guarantee with their oddly octagonal predecessors. Both support 4K and 3D pass-through via a trio of HDMI inputs, along with optical and analog audio connections around back. There's also Bluetooth under the hood, with NFC points on top for quickly pairing with the Sony SongPal app which acts both as a remote and lets you stream music from any service of your choosing.

The difference between the two boils down to price, power and size. The $449 770 has a total of 330 watts of power. Inside the main unit are four two-way speakers (two tweeters, two mid-range) with diffusers for creating the widest possible sound stage. In addition, a gyroscope inside can switch audio profiles based on the position the bar is in. The ".1" of the 2.1 equation here is a 120W down-firing wireless subwoofer that, in our short experience, was capable of rumbling the floor without muddying the lows. It's also designed for larger TVs in the 46-inch and up range. The smaller, $349 CT370 drops to a 100W subwoofer and, while neither is going to stand up next to a $1,000 5.1 home theater system, they definitely deliver clear balanced audio with a consumer-pleasing focus on the higher and lower frequencies.

The $299 XT1 "TV Sound System" is a rather elegantly designed platform with a 170W 2.1 array inside. It has it's own 100W dual down-firing subwoofers and feet that elevate it off your TV bench (or sturdy crate...) to make sure the bass resonates clearly and as far as possible. The tempered glass top is designed to support the weight of a TV up to 55" or 66 lbs. Just like its soundbar cousins it has Bluetooth and NFC on board, plus a trio of HDMI inputs. The XT1 didn't produce quite as wide and even of sound as the CT770, but it was certainly a vast improvement over the speakers built into any mass market television.

All three units will be shipping in April and you'll be able to pick them up from the usual retailers.

Friday, 28 March 2014

PS4 may soon play your favorite PS1 and PS2 games in native 1080p

GTA III HD In CarDying to play classic games likeViewtiful Joe or Tekken 3 on your PS4? Well, you might just be in luck. A recent rumor has indicated that Sony is working on PS1 and PS2 backwards compatibility for the PS4 — sidestepping the need for game streaming completely. Even better, a number of “select titles” are supposedly running natively at 1080p.
Ahsan Rasheed, a noted insider in the gaming industry, made a number of tweets today claiming that Sony plans to support PS1 and PS2 titles on its latest console. While it’s no surprise that Sony is working on bringing its back catalog to the PS4, it was largely assumed that the PlayStation Now game streaming service would fill that role. Instead, we might have access to the entirety of the PS1 and PS2 library running on the PS4′s hardware itself. It’s easy to imagine Sony selling emulated classic titles on PSN, but this could also mean that PS1 and PS2 game discs could be played seamlessly.

Sony’s 13-inch Digital Paper is the first device to use a flexible e-ink display

E Ink Mobius, flexible e-ink displayAfter almost a year of agonizing posturing by Sony, the semi-flexible 13.3-inch Digital Paper has finally been unveiled. For $1100, you can get your hands on the thinnest, lightest A4-sized e-ink tablet. The Digital Paper supports stylus input, has built-in WiFi, and lasts up to three weeks on a single charge. The key technology here is the new Mobius display from E Ink, which is very light and highly flexible — though it isn’t clear how much of that flexibility made it into the final Digital Paper product.
When it comes to displays, the problem — as far as weight and flexibility are concerned — has always been the substrate. The liquid crystals, the organic diodes, the capsules of ink, the transistors, the wiring — all of the key display stuff is already light and flexible. But you have to build all of that stuff on something heat-resistant and transparent —  i.e. glass. Glass is heavy (especially at larger sizes), and it’s very brittle (especially when it’s thin, which is necessitated by weight constraints). Glass is a terrible display substrate, basically, but sadly there hasn’t been another option. Until now.
In the last few years, thanks to the development of new materials and low-temperature manufacturing techniques, it’s now possible to build displays with plastic substrates. Theseplastic displays are cheaper, lighter, and flexible (and thus more resistant to certain kinds of damage, too). Enter E Ink Mobius, which is basically the same e-ink tech as Pearl or Carta (found in various Kindles and other e-book readers), but on a flexible substrate. The E Ink website says that the Mobius display is 13.3 inches on the diagonal (i.e. the size of a piece of A4 or letter paper), with a resolution of 1600×1200 and the ability to show 16 levels of grayscale.
Sony's Digital Paper, with stylus
Sony’s Digital Paper, with stylus
When we first saw the technology back in May 2013, Sony helpfully had some of the Mobius displays outside of their chassis, so that you could marvel at their flexibility. Unfortunately, for the commercialized version of Digital Paper, there is once again a plastic bezel around the outside of the display. TheDigital Paper website says nothing about flexibility, but in the video you can see some Digital Paper prototypes that appear to be at least semi-flexible, or not entirely rigid. In all likelihood, Digital Paper will probably flex a lot more than your iPad, and it will probably survive if you sit on it, or drop a book on it — but you can’t roll it up. That’s the next step, when we commercialize flexible batteries and circuitry.
At $1100 (shipping in May), Digital Paper is being pitched at education, business, and legal environments. Digital Paper appears to only support PDFs, but the website implies that software is included to convert Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files to PDF format. Stylus input appears to be accurate and high-resolution, though e-ink’s refresh latency might cause you some mental discomfort. 4GB of internal storage and a micro SD slot should give you plenty of space for annotating textbooks and documents. At just 357 grams (12.6 ounces), Digital Paper is by far the lightest large-screen tablet on the market, too (the iPad Air is a chunky 469 grams). Hopefully this is the beginning of an exciting, flexible-and-light-weight computing revolution!

Sony's 13-inch 'Digital Paper' is just like paper, except it costs $1,100

Sony's 13-inch 'Digital Paper' is just like paper, except it costs $1,100

Despite years of development, E Ink's displays haven't yet replaced traditional paper everywhere. Sony's trying to change that with this 13.3-inch Digital Paperdevice intended for legal, educational and business environments and after we got a brief demo last year it's finally ready to go on sale in May. The only downside? Its pricetag, currently set at a cool $1,100. To answer the question of who could possibly afford or want such an expensive piece of paper that displays PDFs and accepts handwriting input, Sony is introducing Digital Paper at the American Bar Association Tech Show (which is apparently a thing) in Chicago.
The draw for Digital Paper is that it's very light at 12.6 oz and has a high resolution (1,200 x 1,600) / 16-level grayscale display with touch controls, stylus input and no backlight. That helps out easy reading in the daytime and no need to scroll or zoom around documents like on smaller tablets. Sony also claims a three week battery life with recharging via AC or USB, while documents can be loaded over WiFi and stored on its 4GB of internal memory or an SD card. It's still way out of our price range for note taking, but if Mark Zuckerberg comes knocking with a billion dollar deal in hand, it might be good to have around.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

PS4 firmware updates finally quell tyranny of the DualShock 4 light bar, disable HDCP

Not only did Sony announce its newvirtual reality headset Project Morpheus this week, but it also unveiled a number of big changes headed for the PS4 later this year. From dimming the DualShock 4′s light bar to removing always-on HDCP, these updates are going to make the PS4 better than ever, and answer some of the loudest criticisms from the gaming community.
On Wednesday, Sony made an official blog post detailing a handful of the biggest changes. First and foremost, HDCP can now be toggled off when unprotected content is being displayed. As long as you’re not watching a Blu-ray or streaming a protected video, you’ll now be able to capture high-res video over HDMI. Those of us looking to record long-form videos in HD quality can finally rest easy. This update will also include a built-in video editing suite, and allow for videos to be saved directly onto USB drives. If you’re excited about producing high-quality game videos, this update will make your life a lot easier.DualShock 4
In a firmware update scheduled for later in the year, streaming video will be improved as well. Ustream and Twitch broadcasts will now stream at a maximum of 720p, so small details like UI elements will be readable to viewers. Even better, broadcast archives will be enabled for PS4 content sometime in the coming months. Once the switch is flipped on the backend, your sweet headshots and hilarious quips will no longer be swept away into the void.
Yesterday, Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida also confirmed on Twitter that the upcoming firmware update will allow the DualShock 4′s light bar to be dimmed. For poor schlubs like me, the current brightness of the light bar can be blinding. Instinctually pointing the controller upwards to rest on my chin during gameplay is quite disconcerting in an otherwise dark room. Those of us with glossy televisions also have to deal with the obnoxious blue glare the light bar foists upon us. The dimming is not quite as useful as an on-off toggle, but my poor damaged retinas are grateful nonetheless.
Lastly, a bit of news regarding game pre-loading slipped out thanks to a tweet from the developers of Infamous: Second Son. When asked about the possibility of pre-loading the new game on PS4, the official Sucker Punch Twitter account responded that there will be “No preload on PS4 until April.” While this certainly disappointed fans of Infamous, this is happy news for eager gamers looking to play games starting at midnight on release day. Until then, we’ll all just wait impatiently as the status bar slowly fills over the next few hours.

Friday, 21 March 2014

PS4 launches in Japan, Xbox One gets price drop and Titanfall bundle

Backstage at E3 2013: Xbox One vs. PS4
Three months after the PS4 launched in North America, it has launched in its home country of Japan. The PlayStation brand has a huge presence in Japan, whereas the Xbox brand does not. The PS4 already had a comfortable sales lead, but with the Xbox One not impacting Japan, that PS4 sales numbers are going to eclipse Microsoft’s box. To combat this, Microsoft has dropped the price of the Xbox One, and included the flagship title Titanfall.
Oddly, the Japan launch appears to be a different affair than the North American launch we all survived back in November. Instead of frantic gamers running between Best Buys and GameStops on release morning, many Japanese gamers lined up to receive pre-order tickets which allowed them to go home and come back at release. Back in October, pre-order stock almost immediately sold out, however, reports suggest that the Japanese retail stock didn’t do the same upon the February 22 release. Reportedly, the PS4 still sold quickly, and used the weekend to deplete its stock. Now, Sony is already restocking units — and they’re still selling. Hard numbers have not yet been released, but it’s safe to assume that the PS4′s sales lead on the Xbox One has significantly grown since last week. In fact, Microsoft appears to have responded to the Japanese launch by releasing a new Titanfallbundle and dropping the price.
PS4 stock, in an Amazon warehouse
Unfortunately, the price drop — from £430 to £400, what amounts to about $50 – and bundle are only currently slated for the UK market, but it wouldn’t be surprising if that’s simply a testing ground for a similar price drop and bundle to release stateside. While a $450 Xbox One, Kinect, and Titanfall package is still not as cheap as the $400 PS4, the $50 pill should be easier for gamers to swallow considering the console comes with a Kinect and what is essentially the only flagship (semi) exclusive available at this time. The cheaper bundle releases this Friday.
So, while we don’t have hard numbers just yet — expect them to be disclosed soon — it’s safe to say the PS4 just gained an even larger lead over the Xbox One. Regardless of your console preference, more sales for one or the other not only means there will be a larger online community to game with, but it paints a picture for the portion of the populace that has yet to commit to a console. If the PS4 is painted as the better purchase due to the higher sales figures, then that will only snowball the sales, causing more people to assume the PS4 is the better choice. However, if Microsoft can replicate the UK price drop and bundle, the PS4′s popularity may not have a large enough effect to offset the Xbox One’s “free” game and fancy voice-control camera.

PS4 hits 6 million consoles sold, 13.7 million games; Xbox One still only around 4 million

PS4, with its top off, exposing the hard drive caddy
Bolstered by opening week sales in Japan, Sony has announced that the PlayStation 4 has sold six million units worldwide. Perhaps more importantly, Sony also says that 13.7 million PS4 games have been sold — an attach rate of almost 2.3 games per console — with Killzone: Shadow Fall leading the pack with 2.1 million units sold. The exact number of Xbox Ones sold is unknown, but it’s probably just under four million.
In an official blog post this morning, Sony took the opportunity to offload a bunch of impressive statistics. Six million units sold worldwide. 13.7 million games sold. 90% of PS4s are online — producing 3.6 million live broadcasts, 56 million spectate sessions, and 100 million social shares (via the DualShock 4′s Share button). Apparently 20% of all daily broadcasters on Twitch since January 1 have been PS4 gamers.
Killzone: Shadow Fall wallpaperSony also announced today that the PS4 had sold 370,000 units in Japan, in its first week of sales. This is obviously small fry compared tothe one million PS4s sold in the first 24 hours in the US — but do remember that Japan only has around a third of the population of the US. A better comparison is the UK, which has around half the population of Japan, where around 250,000 PS4s were sold in the opening weekend. This still makes Japan’s opening week look weak — though it’s worth pointing out that the PS3 didn’t sell very well in Japan early on, either. The Wii sold around the same number of units in its first week in Japan, and it went on to be a huge success. (The PS2 was the first and last console to truly explode the Japanese market.)
With 2.1 million units sold, Killzone: Shadow Fall is obviously doing its job as a platform exclusive. It will be interesting to see if the Xbox One’s first big exclusive,. Titanfall, which is released next week, can drive a significant increase in console sales. Though, a week later, the PS4 will get its next big exclusive: Infamous: Second Son. The release dates for other big PS4 and Xbox One exclusives haven’t yet been announced, but they are expected to play a fairly big role in deciding who ultimately sells more consoles. Microsoft might also close the widening sales gap if it released the Xbox One in some more markets — and, of course, if its price was cut to directly compete with the PS4.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

6 Reasons To Buy A PlayStation 3 Instead Of An Xbox 360

If you still don’t have a current generation video game console, you may want to consider the PlayStation 3 over the Xbox 360. Here’s why.
When it comes to console gaming, it’s close to a toss-up between Sony‘s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft‘s Xbox 360. If you’re a serious Nintendo fan, the Wii makes sense. For most gamers, however, the Wii is not a serious enough piece of hardware. The Wii U may change that, but questions linger as to whether the Wii U will be left in the dust by its next-gen competitors, and what that means for the Wii U game lineup.
Looking at just this generation hardware, assuming you’re still in the market for a new console, should you buy a PS3 or an Xbox 360? I have both, and both are great machines, but in the end the PS3 is the better buy.
While I do think the Xbox 360 controller is better for first-person-shooters, the PS3 controller is just as good (if not better) for just about everything else.
And while the Xbox Live metro-style aesthetic is nice to look at, it’s no more functional than the PS3′s UI and nowhere near as simple to use (at least until you figure it out.)
Forbes’s David Ewalt had a great story recently on Microsoft’s success with the Xbox 360, and there’s reason to believe this success will continue, at least in North America, with its next-gen successor. But that success doesn’t mean its the best choice for either hardcore or casual gamers.
Here are five reasons the PS3 is ultimately the better choice (for most of you.
1. The PlayStation Network is free. Sure, sometimes the PSN goes down or is taken down by hackers, a problem Microsoft has done a better job avoiding, but Xbox Live Gold will cost you $50 a year. That’s $50 more than you’ll pay to play online games on the PSN.
As Paul Tassi notes, if you’re paying for Xbox Live it’s not like you get a discount on Netflix or Hulu or any other app. You’re just paying twice. Fifty bucks a year isn’t a make-or-break deal, but it’s enough to buy an extra game per year ad infinitum.
If the Xbox 720 costs the same per year as the 360 does, and the PS4 maintains its free PSN access, then the next-gen decision will be just as easy to make.
2. The PS3 has a Blu-ray drive. If you’re like me and my family, most of your media these days is streaming. Still, especially for animated movies likeHow to Train Your Dragon and anything from Pixar, as well as other big-screen flicks like The Avengers or The Dark Knight series, the Blu-ray can make a big difference, both in terms of visuals and sound.
It also means there’s more room per disc for PS3 titles over Xbox 360 titles, allowing for somewhat noticeable improvements in graphics on PS3 versions of many games, and – perhaps even more importantly – allowing each title to fit on one disc. There are few things more annoying than having to stand up and switch out an Xb0x 360 disc in the middle of a game.
Next Page: Exclusive titles, controllers, and Kinect.
LittleBigPlanet Karting will have Move wheel support
3. The PS3 has better exclusive titlesUnless you’re a big fan of Halo orGears of War, PlayStation 3 simply has better Sony exclusives than the Xbox 360.
I’m not a big Uncharted fan, but if you like Indiana Jones-style cinematic games, you can’t do much better than the Naughty Dog’s adventure franchise.God of War may be stretching itself a bit thin at this point, but the action-Greek-myth hack-and-slash title is still a big draw.
Other exclusives include the LittleBigPlanet franchise, including the upcoming Karting installment, as well asPSN games like The Unfinished Swan, which is one of the most intriguing looking titles I’ve seen in a while.
Meanwhile, many popular titles like Call of Duty are cross-platform, and many Xbox exclusives are also available on PC (though not nearly enough – seriously, why isn’t every Halo game a PC title as well?)
4. The PlayStation 3 controller is rechargeable. Never underestimate how truly irritating batteries can be. I own Dark Souls on Xbox 360, and in the middle of a serious boss fight (Smough and Ornstein) my controller died.
This was my first attempt at the boss, and I’d summoned an NPC and another player to help me in the battle. Just as we entered and began doing battle my character froze up. I clicked madly at the buttons, watching my life drain before my eyes, unable to block, roll, run or fight. Then the message box appeared, saying that my controller was no longer connected.
Had this been a PS3 game I could have, theoretically, leaped from the couch, bounded across the living room, plugged the controller into the console and saved my life. Since it was Xbox 360 I didn’t even try. I would have had to find the batteries, first of all, if we even had any. Sure, it was my fault for letting the controller die, but there’s something to be said for a rechargeable controller in terms of convenience, especially for lazy oblivious people like myself.
Random question: In a fight, could the Kinect beat up the Pixar lamp?
5. The Kinect isn’t ready for the big leagues. Naturally, you don’t need to buy a Kinect or any other motion-gimmick-hardware, but the Kinect does seem to occupy an overly-large parcel of psychological real estate at Microsoft. There’s a plethora of new Kinect titles, and very few top-notch new Xbox 360 exclusives hitting the market these days. Is Microsoft placing too many eggs in its Kinect basket? If so, it’s worrisome.
For one thing, the Kinect is not nearly what it’s cracked out to be. We’ve played mostly demos for the Kinect, but it’s been a really frustrating experience for both us and our five-year-old. It constantly drops players and is about as far from precise as you can get.
Don’t get me wrong – the concept is fantastic, and some of the games are fun, especially for kids. I imagine a future generation of Kinect may be a good selling point for the Xbox 360/720/etc. but this time around, I’d worry more about Microsoft and Xbox 360 developers paying too much attention to a device that’s only half-ready, neglecting non-motion-controller games in the process.
6. Last, but not least, is the PS Vita, Sony’s latest and greatest hand-held gaming device. The world may be moving toward mobile, but the PS Vita is a really impressive gaming machine that can connect directly to your PS3. If you want hand-held games, Microsoft still has some serious catching up to do. If you go with a Vita, you’ll be better off pairing it with a PS3 than an Xbox 360.
What do you think? Outside of a handful of good Xbox 360 exclusives, is there anything else that makes that console better than Sony’s PS3? Did I miss any compelling reasons to buy the PS3 over the Xbox 360?
Final thought: Better still, build yourself a gaming PC. Sure, not every title will make it to PC, but you’ll have a much wider array of indie titles to choose from, as well as mods and customizations that make consoles pale in comparison. Still better: buy all three because, you know, you’re made out of money, right?


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