Tag Archives: ps4

PS4 Adds Console Wide Button Remapping

Ben Kuchera, Polygon:

The screen at the top of this story doesn’t look like much. It’s a simple interface that allows you to swap any one button on the Dual Shock 4 for any other button. It’s a screen that makes gaming a much better place.

“Console wide button remapping is a huge deal for physically impaired gamers. One of the most commonly requested accessibility adaptation AbleGamers receives is for custom controller’s that move buttons to more comfortable positions,” Steve Spohn, COO of the AbleGamers charity; told Polygon.

“If you have limited movement in one arm, only one functioning hand, or even limited digit movement, button positioning is everything. And even more so if you have a neuromuscular disease such as muscular dystrophy where you fatigue more easily depending on what buttons you need to press.”

The push for full customization in button mapping has been going on for years, and some companies are better than others when it comes to offering the feature. What Sony has done is make the conversation obsolete by offering the option at the console level. This is a huge deal for many gamers.

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Square Enix Profit Doubles

Gamespot:

In the home console space, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX sold well, and catalog sales were also “strong,” Square Enix said. Meanwhile, the publisher added that Final Fantasy XIV and Dragon Quest X are “making favorable progress.”

Unrelated: Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX is what prompted me to sell my PS3.

To my surprise, an Amazon shipment notice informed me that the game was on its way. The pre-order had slipped my mind as I had placed it nearly a year prior. I was already on the cusp of pulling the trigger on a PS4 when this IGN bit put me over the edge. I stuffed my unopened Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX back into the post, traded-in my PS3 and Xbox 360, and picked up a PS4.

I have no doubt that these games will end up on PS4. Worst case, another reason to subscribe to Playstation Now.

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Online-Only Consoles

Dan Stapleton, IGN:

When Microsoft announced the Xbox One in 2013, it was going to require an always-on internet connection to function. After backlash from gamers and Sony’s gloating proclamation that the PlayStation 4 would play games just fine without the help of the internet, Microsoft backed down and dropped the requirement (except for a one-time console activation). As it turns out, Microsoft’s initial approach was more realistic about the modern reality of how games are made, and what’s effectively required in order to have a reasonably stable experience with a physical copy of a game you buy off the shelf today. Your console will indeed run without a connection, but your disc-based games may not give it much to work with.

This piece started and ended exactly how I wanted it to; picking up with Microsoft’s original (and much maligned) “always-on” strategy, and ending with today’s “always-on” gaming reality.

Ben Kuchera recently spoke with former AAA developer Keith Fuller for this tragicomic piece on the instability of recent AAA titles. In short:

This sort of thing is more common than you think, and it leads to muddled, unfinished and often buggy releases. It’s not a matter of including the kitchen sink; developers are sometimes tasked with adding a hot tub at the last second as the project develops.

Stapleton touches on the fact that patches are blessing, but I seem to remember a time when there weren’t even a reality. Maybe I’m showing nostalgic naivety, but I’m having a very difficult time recalling game-breaking bugs from the pre-PS3/Xbox 360 era. But can today’s AAA, reality-verging games truly exist in a non-patchable world?

Games are more complex than they have ever been. The benefits of more powerful hardware are simply enablers. In 30+ years, we have moved from simple sketches of fantasy to unparalleled productions that now challenge reality. Global resources are required to make today’s video games. That doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of the time and resources it takes to generate cutting-edge animations and textures in highly detailed main characters, let alone randomly generated NPCs. I imagine it’s easier to create windblown hair now than five years ago, but nothing compared to the two frames it took in 1988. Just because a console “can” doesn’t make it any easier create.

As an aside, allow this 2011 piece from Gamesradar entertain you: Top 7… horrendously buggy games we loved anyway. Only one of which did not ship on a patchable console. Oh, how I wish Microsoft would have stuck with their original strategy.

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Switch to Sony

Eric Johnson, Re/code:

According to data provided to Re/code, an April Nielsen study found that 31 percent of PS4 owners did not own Sony’s previous console, the PlayStation 3, but did own an Xbox 360 or Wii. Seventeen percent did not own any last-generation console.

The people surveyed were Americans, age 7 to 54, and were a subset of a total of 1,200 “active gamers” surveyed by Nielsen between February and April.

However, there’s one big caveat to the survey, which is that it asked only what consumers currently owned at the time of the survey, not what they had owned in the past. So, people who sold their PlayStation 3 in order to buy a PlayStation 4 would’ve been marked down as non-PS3 owners.

Assuming that most people didn’t do that, though, the numbers underscore why launching at a $100 lower price point than the rival Xbox One was so beneficial for Sony.

These numbers are much bigger than I would have thought. I knew the PS4 was out pacing both the Xbox One and (not surprisingly) the Wii U, but 17% adding consoles to their homes is astounding. Sure, they may have had PS2s, Xboxes, and Gamecubes, but 17% after the longest generation cycle, I assume it’s safe to say these are new console owners… if we are assuming of course.

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‘Here’s why I won’t be playing Journey on PlayStation 4’

Colin Campbell, Polygon:

Already, just playing a few minutes of Journey on PlayStation 4, I’m reminded that the moment-to-moment playing of the game is not as mystical as the memory of it as a complete thing. That the first time I meet another player in the game is never going to match the joyous original. The nice feeling of the wind is just an echo of that last section of the game, that wraps it all up so satisfactorily.

I often tell myself that I will take another trip through the work of art that is Journey. After all, the experience only lasts roughly one-and-a-half hours. However, every time I sit down to try, I’m unable to launch the game for the same reasons Campbell discusses. I do listen to Austin Wintory’s fantastic, Grammy-nominated soundtrack frequently and I think it is enough for me to relive the majesty and memory of Journey.

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Journey on PS4

Colin Moriarty, IGN:

Graphically, the new treatment is most impressive with Journey, but maybe that’s because I only played through a brief portion of Swan’s black-and-white intro sequence. Journey was a looker on PS3; it’s somehow even more beautiful on PlayStation 4. The lighting effects, the sand, and the way your character’s robes move and sway make for an aesthetically impressive experience. Journey truly is an incredible, emotional game, and it seems that it’s set to remain so on next-gen hardware. I’m not so sure I actually want to play it again on PS4, but that’s because I promised myself I’d only play it once through on PS3. The game resonated with me so much that I’m afraid seeing it all again would ruin that experience.

John Siracusa must be excited.

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Mario Kart 8 lifts console sales more than Titanfall or Second Son

Tim Ellis, GeekWire:

According to console sales data fromVGChartz, Nintendo was selling an average of about 29,000 Wii U consoles per week prior to Mario Kart 8′s release. The week Mario Kart 8 hit store shelves, over 130,000 Wii U consoles were sold. Even three weeks after the release, sales were still more than double their pre-Luigi-Death-Stare levels. All-told, Mario Kart 8 has sold an additional 207,000 Wii U consoles in just three weeks.

But it gets even more interesting when you compare the Wii U’s big system-seller with the exclusives that have come out in the first half of 2014 on the other two consoles.

March saw the release of both Titanfall for Xbox One and inFAMOUS: Second Son for Playstation 4. The sales boost from Titanfall only lasted two weeks and moved about 94,000 additional Xbox One consoles. The sales boost from the Seattle-set Second Son lasted three weeks and moved an additional 106,000 PlayStation 4 consoles.

I can’t help myself: Hail Mario.

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Console Love?

Keith Stuart, The Gaurdian:

Perhaps the newfound respect is a sign that the industry has matured. The average age of a gamer now is 35, and you can’t refuse to talk to the marketing executive at your firm because they own an Xbox One not a PlayStation 4 so they smell. At the same time, consoles are no longer the kings of the gaming block. Smartphones have created a massive new audience of casual players, and the PC has had something of a renaissance thanks to the Steam digital games service and the rise of indie developments like Minecraft. It’s not me v you in consoles anymore, it’s us v them.

In some ways it’s a shame. Great game design, great art even (OK, let’s not go there right now), is born from conflict and chaos, not from cosy chats and shared admiration. Grudging respect is fine, but I half yearn for the days when we spent so long with our consoles of choice that they became part of our identity, and identity is always forged in opposition.

I don’t think we can be so naïve to think that the “console war” discussions of old are not still happening behind closed doors. I believe the PR for both companies are wise to the impact of negative, name-calling campaigns under the magnifying glass of social media. They are also likely to avoid the same negative lambasting mirrored in online communities, a now infamous trait of the video game industry.

Perhaps the biggest reason the battle has turned into “us v them” goes back to the HD Twins conversation. Both consoles are so strikingly similar (especially now, with the removal of DRM and Kinect from Xbox One) that there isn’t much weight behind console v console jabs. If anything, this argument now lives on in the HD Twins v Wii U conversation.

To add, the 2014 E3 press conferences for both Sony and Microsoft appeared to mirror the other’s message from the previous year. In 2013, Sony was heavy handed on games. In 2014, that message was delivered by Microsoft. Likewise, Microsoft’s 2013 E3 messaging was miscellaneous media services such as all-in-one entertainment and exclusive TV shows. This appeared to be the underlying message in Sony’s 2014 conference.

Lastly, as if I haven’t spoken of it enough, Console Wars by Blake J. Harris is an entertaining read about the Nintendo v Sega console wars during the late ’80s / early ’90s. Worth your while.

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Console sales jump 95% in May

Luke Karmali, IGN:

The NPD Group’s video game sales report for the month reveals that console sales jumped up a massive 95 percent year-on-year to $586 million, with console software sales also climbing 57 percent to $274 million.

Titles singled out for praise on the games front include Watch Dogs and Mario Kart 8, with the latter being largely responsible for Wii U sales jumping up 85 percent despite only being on sale for two days of the month. Despite this, the Wii U was edged out by Nintendo’s 3DS handheld, which took second place behind Sony’s PS4 in terms of the best-selling hardware of the month.

Software sells hardware. This is impressive for all systems considering the spike occurred before E3. I’m really looking forward to June’s figures. My money is on Wii U. Hail Mario.

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Only on Playstation, Bro

Sony has an IP problem. Short of Little Big Planet 3 and Uncharted 4, none of the other titles seemed to grab. While the exclusive experiences are interesting, their application to existing and expected titles feels lackluster. The chunk of time dedicated to the Playstation ecosystem felt like a slow, redundant message from announcements past. Sony needed to display PS4’s ease of development with ready-to-go titles rather than a collection of non-surprises releasing in 2015.

In 2013, Sony promised potential. In 2014, they are having a hard time executing.

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