The very conceit of PlayStation 4’s Share Play feature is futuristic as all get-out, but it has a dark side too. Take 5th grader Henry Kramer’s recent Destiny woes for example. After virtually passing his DualShock 4 to another player to access a glitch that Kramer hoped would quickly boost his characters, the other party urged him to go grab something from another room as a distraction, according to Eurogamer. Twitch viewers (Kramer was streaming at the time) watched as the nefarious user proceeded to delete two of his three characters: a nearly maxed out level 31 Warlock and a level 26 Titan, but it wasn’t until Kramer came back that he saw the damage done. You can hear him crying upon his realization in the video linked here, and, well, it’s hard to not be affected by it at least a little bit.
Developer Bungie won’t transfer any high-level gear to Kramer’s account, despite petitions from the game’s community, but in an effort to spread the word, made the video that Kramer’s mom sent in part of last Friday’s weekly update. Sadly, because Kramer knowingly gave control of his account to the troll, no wrongdoing had occurred. To Bungie’s credit, Kramer’s mom says that members of the Destiny development team have offered to play with him to make the leveling process a bit faster. What’s more, the team says it “has plans to make regrettable deletions less permanent,” as it works on new features for the game.
And the person that did the deleting? Game Informer contacted the account owner and the story isn’t as cut and dried as you might think. Turns out that the troll wasn’t the account owner himself, but a visitor. Twenty-three year-old “Adam” was in a pretty serious car accident not that long ago and as such, he’s been at home recovering and has a lot of friends passing through to spend time with him. The jerk that deleted Kramer’s save files was one such pal, but Adam says because of the amount of painkillers he’s on, he sleeps a lot while people are over and he can’t pinpoint exactly who did it.
The team says it “has plans to make regrettable deletions less permanent,” as it works on new features for the game.
So, there are a few takeaways from this. One, this could’ve been prevented with the safety measures available for kids’ PlayStation Network accounts (those that prevent Twitch streaming and limit messaging, for instance). Secondly, don’t let strangers jump into your game sessions with Share Play. Perhaps most importantly though, follow Wheaton’s Law to the letter: Don’t be a dick.
This afternoon — as we do every Tuesday and Thursday — Joystiq X Engadget Streams is taking a trip back through Greek mythology with Alien Trap Games’ Apotheon on PS4. Already available on PC, it’s one of the free games this month for PlayStation Plus subscribers and brings 2D action that’s more than a little similar to the old Metroid and Castlevania games. For a fresh twist, it’s got this pottery-art graphic style and a unique combat system. Your hosts today are Edgar Alvarez and Richard Lawler, so tune into Twitch.tv/joystiq between 3PM and 5PM ET as we give it a try.
[We’re playing a digital copy of Apotheon on Playstation 4, streamed on an Elgato Game Capture HD with Open Broadcaster Software at 720p. The game itself is much, much prettier.]
Think that downloadable game content is normally a waste? Sony will soon give you a good reason to splurge on those virtual goods. It’s launching PlayStation Heroes, a PlayStation 4 app that encourages you to contribute to charities like Make-A-Wish, the USO and the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Pay between $1 and $15 to buy a dynamic game theme (or $20 for a four-theme bundle) and you’ll not only donate to a good cause, but get one or more chances at playing games with a superstar. In March, you could win a shot at partnering with snowboarder Shaun White in Destiny; other celebs in future months will range from Snoop Dogg to Dodgers center fielder Yasiel Puig. Heroes won’t go live until February 24th, but you can pre-order the app now to get ready.
Source: PlayStation Blog
What does upgrading a PlayStation Network sub-account to a master account have in common with buying lottery tickets? Well, now both are things you can do when you turn 18. That’s right: You won’t have to start a new account (or lose any of those platinum trophies) to get an unrestricted connection to game-broadcasting, messaging and PSN Store spending limits. For now, you have to handle the process via the Sony Entertainment Network website, but the PlayStation Blog says that it’s en route to the PlayStation 4 as well. Xbox Live has had this feature for awhile, of course, so it’s nice to see Sony’s listened to its community and followed suit. Naturally, if you’re a parent and don’t think your kid is ready for unfettered access to everything PSN offers, Sony’s quick to note that this is in no way mandatory. Given some of the things we’ve seen and heard while playing online with adults, that’s almost positively one for the “win” column.
After several years years of hiatus, an official announcement, and the shockingly rapid decline of the music game market, Rock Band suddenly leapt back to life this month. Harmonix Music Systems — the studio responsible for the music game craze, and the studio that created Guitar Hero, Rock Band and Dance Central — announced new tracks heading to the Rock Band online store, which works with both Rock Band 3 and Rock Band Blitz. Why in the world is Harmonix releasing new tracks as paid, downloadable content for games that only exist on previous generation consoles? The official word is full of public relations obfuscation:
“We had an exciting opportunity to add new content to the already-massive Rock Band library with a song from Arctic Monkeys – a band that’s never been in a Rock Band title before! – as well as new music from fan favorites Avenged Sevenfold and Foo Fighters. We couldn’t pass it up. Also, we wanted to see if we could still do it. Turns out we can. It’s sort of like riding a bike.”
Great. That out of the way, what’s really happening? Companies don’t just casually release new content for years old games. That’s not a thing that happens. I’d call it “testing the waters.”
First and foremost, here’s an interesting, not exactly surprising fact: “hundreds of thousands” of people are still playing Rock Band every month. That’s what a Harmonix rep told me, and it refers to folks playing online on “all platforms where DLC is available” (there’s no way of measuring how many folks are playing offline, but let’s wager that it’s not a lot).
For those of you wondering who’s still holding onto all those plastic instruments, the answer is “a surprisingly large group of people.”
As for the rest of us, well, my house is purged of all the fake guitars, wireless microphones, and plastic drum kits that accumulated across the Guitar Hero / Rock Band years. The same goes for most of my friends, and I doubt you’re much different. Beyond the burnout that comes with releasing several junky, obvious cash-in games — Activision flooded the market with constant variations on the Guitar Hero franchise — many of us didn’t want to fill closets/basements/dorm rooms/etc. with clunky gaming peripherals.
Harmonix is actually trying to determine how you feel about those peripherals in a survey sent out via Twitter. More importantly, not only is Harmonix trying to determine if you still own old peripherals — the company is asking very specific questions about which aspects of a Rock Band game (local multiplayer? a robust on-disc song library? etc.) are most important to you. It’s also asking which current-gen game consoles you own.
Smells an awful lot like Harmonix is pretty seriously considering a re-birth of its biggest ever franchise — the franchise that both helped popularize music games and managed to get more than one Beatle on stage during a video game press conference.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that the company is being asked about Rock Band all the time. When Forbes‘ Jason Evangelho asked about “Rock Band 4″ back in October 2014 (a theoretical sequel to Rock Band 3), here’s what Harmonix publicist Nick Chester said:
“We love Rock Band, it’s in the company’s DNA. We own the IP. And when the time’s right we will absolutely come back to it. There’s a whole bunch of factors to take into consideration before jumping in that pool again, but there’s a desire for it, absolutely.”
So, given that, and Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos outright stating that Rock Band would return at some point this console generation, the question of Rock Band’s triumphant return isn’t a question of if, but of when.
Console fanboys, get ready to gloat — or mope. Actually, (nearly) everybody can be cheered by the latest data from NPD, which showed console sales up a cool 20 percent from last year to to over $5 billion. Leading the final charge was MIcrosoft’s Xbox One, which topped the charts in December for the second straight month. Its recent success can likely be chalked up to attractive holiday pricing, since Sony’s PS4 was consistently eating its lunch prior to that. Either way, it came at a good time for Microsoft, since the last two months of the year are far and away the strongest for consoles.
The news was more grim on the software side, however, as software sales were down 13 percent from last year to $5.3 billion. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare was the top selling game of the year, with Madden NFL 15, Destiny, Grand Theft Auto V and Minecraft rounding out the top 5. Super Smash Bros was Nintendo’s bestseller of 2015 in sixth place overall. Finally, Microsoft had a piece of good news in its latest Xbox Wire report: thanks to a new promotion, the Xbox One will again be on sale for $349 (sans Kinect) starting January 16th. Oh, and screenshots are finally coming “early this year.”
[Image credit: Getty Images]
Source: Xbox Wire
Dragon Age: Inquisition is an immense fantasy epic, a sprawling adventure across the many landscapes of Thedas, unapologetically mature in its exploration of politics and brazen in its combat. Inquisition is also developer BioWare’s redemption song. It’s everything that a sequel to Dragon Age: Origins should have been, and time will slip by as players enjoy the hundred hours of escapades it delivers.
The end of Inquisition‘s spectacular first act gave me chills. The last time I can recall that feeling is when the Normandy was reintroduced in Mass Effect 2. It’s the chill of being at the beginning of a grand story and anticipation for what’s to come.
One year ago today, the PlayStation 4 was released in North America. When we took a look at it in our original review, we lauded the console for its “masculine chassis” that could “compete for visual attention” in your living room, a controller that’s “damn close” to being perfect and a user interface that marks a “massive improvement” over the PlayStation 3’s. But games are the thing that can make or break a system and, while the initial games lineup had a few bright spots, the system had few “satisfying game experiences available at launch.” Regardless, we called the PlayStation 4 “worth your hard-earned money” and said it was off to “a hell of a start.”
Since then, more games have been released and plenty of people have gotten their hands on a PlayStation 4 — more than 10 million people worldwide, in fact. After such a strong start, have things gotten better? Is it still worth the money? To find out, we turned to you, our readers, who have written some great user reviews to let us know how the system performs in the wild and whether it’s living up to its potential one year after release.
In many respects, our users agreed with our review, with MasterX25 loving its “sleek design” and admdrew saying it “fits well into standard entertainment centers.” Reactions to the controller were a little mixed, with admdrew calling it “almost” perfect, save for some odd button placement and the “weird nature of the touchpad.” But REZIN8 finds it “very small for my hands” with “terrible” battery life. The graphics were more well-received, with logicrulez calling them “clear and detailed,” while nug050 says, “The gameplay is smooth at any resolution.”
But with a year under the PlayStation 4’s belt, it’s worth talking about the state of its games library. Though Saltank notes it has “some great exclusives,” many users, like aussiegrossy, were left asking, “Where are the games?” Nug050 says there are “not enough A-List games” and PaulMEdwards also feels there aren’t “a ton of titles available currently,” specifically wishing for “more cooperative 2-player games so my wife … could play with me.” But he also notes that some “really good ones are coming soon.” In fact, many of you were optimistic about future releases, with admdrew “eagerly awaiting GTA V‘s upcoming release.” However, the continued lack of games especially hurts given what Saltank calls a “poor selection of apps,” and MasterX25 says, “I can’t use the PS4 for anything apart from playing games,” while aussiegrossy even feels it’s a bit of “a downgrade.”
Despite this continuing disappointment in the PlayStation 4’s game lineup, reviewers still feel rather magnanimous toward the system as a whole, with ghost616 telling us, “I do not regret buying it.” Meanwhile, in a similar vein, admdrew says, “I haven’t regretted my choice for a second.” With so much on the horizon for the system, year two looks rather promising for those who laid down their hard-earned money, as well as making it a great time for the rest of you to pick up a PlayStation 4.
The re-release of Grand Theft Auto V on PS4 and Xbox One (PC version delayed until 2015) is just days away now. As a result, Rockstar is cranking up the PR campaign by showing and telling why it should get your hard-earned money (again). Yesterday it delivered confirmation of the leaked first-person mode that brings even deeper immersion to your criminal hijinks — according to a comment on CVG’s podcast, you can even watch the cutscenes in first person — along with a video preview of what it’s like (viewable on YouTube here and in higher quality, higher bitrate video at Gamersyde.) Today it has another highlight reel to present, showing the difference between the PS3 and PS4 version across scenes.
The high-res 1080p / 30fps experience is just the start — you can quickly see more detail in the buildings, environments and cars as a dashboard smear suddenly has working dials, a green blur on the ground becomes fully 3D-rendered foliage and more. The team has also talked specifically on its work for the PS4 version, as IGN says the jump to first person is controlled by the DualShock 4’s touchpad, while police lights cause the lightbar to flash red and blue and radio chatter to come out of the controller’s speaker. Peep the reflections on the helicopter and the realistic looking puddles for more evidence of the team’s attention to detail, although there’s some aliasing and pop-in evident in the videos too. Give them a watch and let us know if you’re convinced it’s time to make a return trip to Los Santos.
Unfortunately, the PS4 2.0 software update came packing more than just SharePlay and a better-organized home screen. For a number of users it introduced some annoying bugs, like the inability to come back from rest mode without unplugging the system. Sony just announced that version 2.01 of the software is on the way “soon,” specifically to address those rest mode issues. There’s no word on whether it will fix any of the other problems that have been reported, but this might be one of the most-anticipated stability updates so far.
PS4 software update v2.01 is coming soon, and will address issues some users have encountered when powering on the system from Rest Mode
– PlayStation (@PlayStation) November 5, 2014
Source: PlayStation (Twitter)