PlayStation 4 Release Date Finally Announced
Sony’s Gamescom conference today brought much in the way of news for just about everything slapped with the PlayStation logo today. I’ll get to the notables in a tic, but I wanted to get it out of the way since Sony’s hour and a half conference was an hour and fifteen minutes of too much foreplay:
The PlayStation 4 is launching November 15th in North America and November 29th in Europe.
We were already treated to the revelation that a PS Plus subscription is the new requirement for online play (but, gracefully, little else, meaning services like Netflix won’t be barred from use without Plus). With your PS4 purchase, however, Sony is throwing in a 14-day trial of the service at no cost.
Additionally, Music Unlimited — the PS3’s, uh, unlimited music service — is back in a modified form where you can easily access it by pressing the DualShock 4’s PS Button, allowing you to play music in the background of any and all games. As someone who is swayed by a custom tracks option even if the PS3 version of a game is technically superior, this is a triumph (I’m sorry Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3, I cannot listen to your bullshit loop indefinitely in my eardrums).
Also, those looking for style in their accessories will be pleased as a plum to see the Magma Red and Wave Blue DualShock controllers (above) releasing alongside the console, priced at $59.99. You’re gonna earn yourself a hard, squinted look from me if you ask which one I’m springing for.
PS Vita’s Price Dropkicked
The thing that needed to happen, thankfully, went and happened. Sony’s impressive yet struggling handheld, the PlayStation Vita, has taken a $50 price cut, dropping its tag to $200. Additionally, Sony promised the bloated pricing found on the system’s proprietary memory cards will see a significant reduction in the future.
Remote Play functionality, in which PS4 games can be remotely streamed via WiFi to the handheld turning the Vita into a second-screen controller, will be found on “almost every” title according to the company.
Increased affordability and unique compatibility with PlayStation’s next household device, along with an up-spike in third-party support — yes, Borderlands 2 on the system is a humongous win — may just surge some life into the Vita (it’s a pun if you know Italian; it’s also a bad pun if you know humor).
PlayStation 4’s Launch Date Will Be Announced at Gamescom
Today I must serve to you one of my most hated forms of news — an announcement of an announcement. Before images of Xzibit’s shit-eating grin pop into your head (too late), let’s get this over with.
Sony has confirmed that they plan on sharing the PlayStation 4’s ‘release plans’ with the gaming masses at Germany’s Gamescom on August 20th, 1:00 P.M. EDT. Updates on the PS3 and PS Vita are also planned but not snazzy enough to deserve a headline.
A few weeks back, listings on Toys R Us’ UK site dated Sony’s next-gen console for December 13th while the Xbox One saw a November 29th release date. The big box retailer backed up the listings as legitimate but their partners, Sony and Microsoft, did not. What I’m trying to say is that if you have a serious addiction to betting on mundane things, your opportunity has presented itself.
So. Which console will hit retail first? More importantly, with the dawn of the next-gen upon us — GET BACK TO YOUR CORNER, WII U — which console will you folks be getting?
Flower Blooms on the PlayStation Vita
thatgamecompany may have found widespread success with a little digital diddy called Journey, but the L.A. based developer was burning up the indie scene at all four corners way before gamers were chirping and hopping the cresting dunes of, er, Journey-ville?
I’m referring to 2009’s critically acclaimed PSN download — and my personal favorite from the studio — Flower. In this motion-sensitive game, you are the wind, and as the wind, you blow a flower pedal about, interacting with the world’s flora and gathering a colorful flotilla of even more pedals as you bring brighteness and life to sometimes sparse and desolate environments. It sounds like a six gram mushroom trip, I know, but it’s actually a relaxing bout of artful, offbeat fun.
Despite co-founder and lead designer Jenova Chen’s insistence on seeing his games made as widely available as possible, the majority of TGC’s catalog is PSN-only. Today, though, brings the news that Flower is being ported to the PlayStation Vita. The Vita version will come equipped with new motion and touch controls specific to the Sony’s handheld.
A release date hasn’t been locked down but Flower for the Vita will make an appearance as a part of IndieCade’s E3 display. While Flower arguably makes tons more sense for the Vita, I think the question stands among fans whether a portable visit to Journey-ville is in store? (They, uh, they’d probably word the question differently.)
The Golden Age
Sony’s evidently bringing classy back in the nerdiest fashion possible. The great, golden console above was mailed to Notch — some know him as Markus Persson, more know him as Minecraft's daddy — as an unfathomably awesome VIP invitation to their E3 event.
As of this writing, the famed developer is unsure if the gold PSone still functions (he’s yet to dig out his cords from storage), but Sony also sending him a copy of Dungeon Master II as another “nerd bribe” seems to suggest the golden classic still has some fight in her.
So something rather intriguing happened this week. It would appear this new fangled “next-gen” officially kicked off. Well, unless you count the Wii U next-gen, which you’re completely allowed to (inversely, I get to call you wrong). That’s right, Sony finally ripped off the wraps on the PlayStation 4. Fast, socially integrated, the ability to stream games, two separate cup-holders — Sony’s future proofing their brand and the attempt is, surprisingly, not a laughable disaster.
You can find my initial reaction to the hardware’s specs hereabouts, but we’re dialing back the technophilia today and also focusing on something more important than even a brand new, highfalutin’, Facebookin’ console: the games.
Hit the jump to check out what’s in store for gamers next generation; a generation right around the corner. Oh, and welcome back to the Roundup.
Sony America Dumps PlayStation All-Stars Dev; Break Up Apparently Amicable
With neither party offering up much insight into the decision, both SCEA and SuperBot Entertainment have formally announced the end of their working relationship; a partnering that resulted in last Fall’s over-named, license bloated online fighter, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.
With PS3 version currently sitting on a critical reception of 74 on Metacritic (its Vita counterpart not far off with a 75), PS All-Stars actually fared pretty well for a game most wrote off as a Smash Bros. clone. But, considering most major publishers’ open disappointment with scores below the coveted 80 paired with the game’s middling sales performance (not to mention a below-room-temp public reception), Sony’s abandonment of SuperBot starts to make sense from a dry, business perspective.
Instead of venomous accusations and endless finger pointing, it’s the high road for SuperBot. “We are extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Sony on Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, and are extremely proud of the work we have done.”
Though they may have gained the most exposure with Sony, the studio began independently in 2009 and intends to keep trucking onto “the next chapter” of their journey. “SuperBot Entertainment will continue working on projects that reflect our passion for games and our commitment to creating award winning titles,” said the developer.
Recently having to suffer through layoffs, SuperBot says there is no further reduction plan in place but admits it is unlikely the studio can persist with its current workforce for very long.
Meanwhile, PlayStation All-Stars will see continued support from Sony’s Santa Monica Studios, including the upcoming release of character DLC meant to bolster the game’s roster.
Sony Teases the “Future of PlayStation”
Suddenly and all at once Sony’s hype machine tossed up a teaser across every major social sphere on the internet. All signs guided us to one site and a trailer fancy as it is cryptic.
The site’s address contains the phrase “meeting2013,” which apparently refers to a press junket being held in New York at the date and time up above. “What’s all this cloak and dagger shenanigans really about?” you may be astutely wondering. Well, “The Future of PlayStation,” but of course, and that’s as much as Sony is putting on the record for now.
Mighty big coincidink that educated guesses and above-whisper-level rumor mongering have been pointing to a PS4 reveal in the early part of 2013. Though, me and the rest of the internet seem to recall Sony’s Prez Kaz Harai was more than happy to allow rival Microsoft to reveal their own next-gen competitor first (“Why go first when your competitors can look at your specifications and come up with something better?” said Harai, methodically folding his hands behind his head while a sinister, all-too-knowing grin spilled across his face).
Check back in when we find out what the hell all the fuss is about on Feb. 20th.
Fresh off the heels of the supposed FCC leak of a new slimmer and sleaker PS3, these images have surfaced on Tecnoblog. Seemingly taken from the Brazilian equivalent to the FCC, this just might be our first, muddy glimpse at the Super Slim.
The documents also appear to reveal the three different hard drive sizes Sony intends on dishing out to the public: the 250GB model, a 500GB successor, and a 16GB economy model that seems to serve the same function as the bottom-tier 4GB Xbox 360’s Microsoft banks off of. The future is looking slim (er, in a good way, I guess).
Sony Revising the PS3 Again to Create the ‘Super Slim’?
Have you ever looked at your Slim line PS3 — which, by the way, was reduced 32% in size from the original models — and thought to yourself, “Look at how much room this bastard takes up. I can’t fucking live like this”? Well, your obscene prayers may soon be answered.
Documents recently filed with the FCC strongly hint at the console manufacturer’s plans to release an even teensier model of the PlayStation 3 dubbed by the media the “Super Slim”. Throughout the documents the remodeled system is simply referred to by its model number, CECH-4001x (the last run of PS3’s, the 160GB and 320GB, are apart of the 3000 series). It’s suggested the ‘x’ in ‘4001x’ is in place of how big the Super Slim’s hard drive will end up being, possibly hinting at larger storage sizes to come.
For as long as we’ve been hearing murmurs of a slimmer Slim, I’d be surprised to not see this one come into fruition. According to Eurogamer, just as the first Slim was introduced at 2010’s German show Gamescom, it’s believed we’ll see this extraordinarily slim Slim introduced at next month’s 2012 expo.
Personally, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the size of my Slim. But now that I know there’s something smaller, I understand how wrong I’ve been to own something so huge and gaudy. I’ll get on fixing that right after I get that bigger 3DS.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS3 - Holiday 2012)
You can find a great interview on the PS3 brawler with the game’s director, Omar Kendall, as well as some footage for your eyes to munch on over at the PlayStation blog.
Kendall claims his studio and staff were handpicked for having the most experience in the fighting genre and I sincerely hope they put it to good use. The gameplay looks to paint a target on the casual gamer’s forehead (much so to the point I’m shocked Move support hasn’t been loudly announced yet), but wouldn’t it be a helluva thing if there was a tech-heavy fighter beneath All-Stars' kiddy veneer?
Developer Superbot also makes mention on the PS blog that a bigger reveal is slated for this year’s E3.