Thursday, February 21, 2013

Playstation 4 Revealed

At a press conference in New York Wednesday evening, Sony officially announced their next-generation console, Playstation 4. Though the console itself wasn't shown, everything from a Holiday 2013 launch window to technical specs to upcoming games were, and all in all it was an impressive display for the company. Sony knows that they have a lot of ground to cover if they want to compete against Microsoft's upcoming Xbox, and it seems to me that they're already on the right track. 

According to PS4's system architect Mark Cerny, development of the new console started as early as five years ago, a mere two years after the PS3's troubled launch. Gone will be the days of the developer maligned Cell Processor, which is to be replaced by a new x86 CPU made by AMD. The new CPU is apparently a lot easier to program for and should allow for more parity with various ports from other consoles. Perhaps for once a game's Playstation counterpart won't be the technically inferior version on the market as we've seen time and time again with various releases (I'm looking at you Skyrim and Dishonored).

Sony's new controller, named, not surprisingly DualShock 4 features a touchpad similar to the PSVITA's rear touchpad, a redesigned D-Pad, form fitting triggers and concave Xbox 360-esque analog sticks. The new Share button was prominently featured at the conference as well, it allows "instant" uploading of gameplay footage to the internet. Finally killed a ridiculously difficult dragon in Dark Souls II? Upload the fight in order to share your strategy and help others achieve the same. The Playstation 4 looks to be social media intensified in almost every way, with a Playstation App on the way for use in matchmaking and game purchasing via your iPhone or Droid. These seem like really cool features for the Next-Gen and something that I'm personally looking forward to exploring come launch. 

One sadly unsurprising fact of the Playstation 4 is that it won't be backwards compatible in the traditional sense. Your PS3 Blu-Ray games as well as any game you've previously downloaded from the PSN will not be playable on the PS4 due to the new hardware found inside the console itself. This won't be a problem for someone like me who has 6 systems hooked up at once, but for the average consumer this might prove to be a huge stumbling block for Sony come release. However, Sony plans to at least somewhat solve this problem thanks to their recent purchase of Gaikai, a company known for developing cloud gaming services for various platforms. You should be able to stream any Playstation game, past or present, at the touch of a button, which is a pretty nifty approach in my opinion.

So sure, they didn't reveal what the actual console looks like or how much it will cost, but overall I'd say that Wednesday's conference was a success. It's smart that they didn't show everything yesterday, since I'm sure they'll want to release new information throughout the entire year leading up to the Holiday launch. 

This weekend I'll be posting some looks at the various games that were shown off, but in the meantime what did you think of Sony's big reveal? Excited? Scared? Angry? All three? Let me know in the comments here, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hotline Miami inbound for PS3/Vita

The popular "top-down, SNES-style brutality simulator" Hotline Miami is finally coming to home consoles according to publisher Devolver and developer Deannaton.

Available this spring for the Playstation 3 & PSVITA as a Cross-Buy title, this should ensure that even more gamers can revel in the strangeness of this truly unique release. Cross-Buy is great for this type of game, since you'll be able to get both versions for the price of one.

Hotline Miami was one of my favorite games of 2012, and it should be fun to have some mayhem at home and on the go.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Last Of Us Delayed

       The Last Of Us, the Spring 2013 release from Sony's first-party game studio Naughty Dog, has officially been delayed. Originally scheduled for a May 7th release, the title has been pushed back about a month to a Friday, June 14th release.

This might not seem like such a big deal to the average person, but to anyone who follows the industry, it might come as a bit of a shock. Naughty Dog have never delayed a game before, they've always had "set-in-stone" release dates that were met. This time however ND decided that in order to deliver everything they have in mind for The Last Of Us, this extra time is needed.

The developer had this to say via Playstation Blog:

As a team we pride ourselves on setting a very high quality bar for every aspect of our games – gameplay, story, art, design, technology and more. We want to make sure The Last of Us raises that bar even further – for ourselves, and most importantly, our fans.
As we entered the final phase of development for The Last of Us, we came to realize just how massive Joel and Ellie’s journey is. But instead of cutting corners or compromising our vision, we came to the tough decision that the game deserved a few extra weeks to ensure every detail of The Last of Us was up to Naughty Dog’s internal high standards.

It's sort of a bummer that I'll have to wait an extra month to play my most anticipated release of 2013, then again ND has a fantastic track record with their games. If this extra time allows them to release a game on a whole new level than what we normally get from them, I say hell yes, take your time and I'll happily wait until June 14th.

Are you upset that The Last Of Us has been delayed? What's your most anticipated release of 2013? Let me know in the comments below or contact me on Twitter @TheRealMattC.