Own a PlayStation 4? Today’s your day: the console’s big 2.0 update is finally live. Sony’s been teasing the update for weeks, lauding the console’s new ability to play music from a USB drive, the availability of system menu themes and promising new voice commands, party options and a less crowded home-screen. The update also gives the console’s unique “share” button a little more power: the ability to upload video clips directly to YouTube and, most notably, remotely stream your games to a friend over the internet. Sony invited me to try some of these features ahead of today’s launch and, yes, they all seem to work just fine — at least in a controlled environment.
Sony walked me through the update in its Palo Alto, CA office last week, showing me the new themes, party options and even a few updated voice commands. The most interesting demo, of course, was SharePlay — the console’s new ability to stream PlayStation 4 games from one console to another over the internet. Think of it as a localized PlayStation Now between your console and a friends. This worked too, but left me with some concern: even in Sony’s controlled demo environment, I noticed a perceptible amount of lag between the monitor displaying the host console and the guest. It wasn’t enough to effect gameplay in Infamous Second Son, but a flightier residential connection could easily render the game unplayable.
The demo left me with a little doubt, but even more optimism — the feature is brimming with potential: it not only gives players the ability to test out their friends’ libraries remotely, but even join them in local multiplayer sessions in games that don’t have online multiplayer! Will SharePlay live up to its potential for the average user? Well, now’s your chance to find out: SharePlay and the PS4 System Software v2.0 is available for download today. Let us know how it works for you in the comments below.
Sony has today launched its much-anticipated, eagerly-awaited PS4 Remote Play application, which is, for those unaware, a revolutionary new feature that gives users the ability to stream games from their PS4 console to an Xperia Z3 smartphone or tablet.
The app is now available to download through the Play Store for free and is compatible with the Xperia Z3, Xperia Z3 Compact and Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact. To make playing games on your mobile device more manageable, Sony intends to introduce a new GCM10 GAME Control Mount for its official DualShock 4 wireless controller, which looks much like a suction mount on a Sat-Nav.
Configuring Remote Play is simple. All you have to do is update your PlayStation 4 to the latest software version 2.0 which is scheduled to roll out later today and download the application on your Xperia device, and then you’re good to go.
To see PS4 Remote Play in action — be sure to check out the demonstration video below:
Come comment on this article: PS4 Remote Play app now live on Google Play with support for Xperia Z3 devices
It’s been almost a year since the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 were released in North America, with sales reaching over 15 million units combined worldwide. While we reviewed both consoles, giving the Xbox One an Engadget score of 81 and the PS4 a score of 83, what we reviewed were the systems as they existed at launch, with some great features and a few kinks, but still lots of potential. Since then, plenty has happened for both machines — like Xbox One shedding its mandatory Kinect unit and the release of a few marquee titles like Titanfall and Destiny. To find out where each system stands today, we turn to you, our readers, to let us know about your own experiences with the two consoles. How many games have you bought? Which do you play every day? Do you still make use of options like voice control? Write a detailed review of the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 on their product pages to let us know, and we’ll feature a few of the most insightful comments in our roundup posts next month.
Image credit: Javier Domínguez Ferreiro/Flickr
Good things come to those who wait, and Microsoft’s now in the business of richly rewarding those capable of delaying their gratification. If you’ve yet to pick up an Xbox One, then holding off until November 2nd will see the company apply a $50 price drop across the range. That means that a Kinect-free Assassins Creed or Sunset Overdrive bundle will be available for just $349, while the limited edition Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare package with a custom console and controller will be priced at $449. The offer runs all the way through until January 3rd, although we’d imagine that price sticking around if it helps to make a dent in Sony’s reasonably healthier console business.
When next Tuesday’s 2.0 update hits for the PlayStation 4, Sony will finally turn one of the most ambitious promises it made when the console was first announced a reality. We’re talking about Share Play, of course. We know: the ability to virtually hand a controller off to a pal via the internet and have them work through a game’s tricky section for you sounds kinda like magic — the type that only Disney is capable of. But, in theory it sounds pretty simple, and the catch-up king has recently released a video that walks through the process step by step. From the looks of it, the new feature is added as an option from the DualShock 4’s Share button. Naturally. How well it all works in the wild, however, remains to be seen.
The rub of it is that every function other than screen sharing (meaning, controller passing and a virtual second player controller hand-off) requires a PlayStation Plus subscription. What’s more, these virtual sharing sessions are limited to an hour apiece. After all, Sony’s in the business of selling games — letting you stream a pal’s indefinitely probably isn’t good for the bottom line.
Source: PlayStation Blog
According to sources to DigiTimes, Sony will be launching a 12-inch tablet in quarter 1 of next year. Several other vendors are also developing large-size tablets for launch in the first or second quarters, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers. The sources say that Sony’s tablet will be high-end and come with a stylus.
Large-screen tablets are all the rage these days, with Samsung releasing its 10.1-inch Pro series earlier this year, and Microsoft releasing its Surface Pro 3.
Come comment on this article: Sony reportedly launching 12-inch tablet in 2015
The game industry is capable of building incredible worlds, engrossing us with believable characters, and empowering us to destroy (or create!) both. The unfortunate side of all that enchantment is the shaky business models that much of the industry are built on, which leads to cyclical, annualized layoffs that affect even the most successful franchises. Just look at the recent history of Joystiq‘s layoffs tag: it’s ridiculous. Why is this the case? Kotaku‘s Jason Schreier did an excellent job reporting that last year, right here, so we’re not going to duplicate efforts. This piece is about what you can do, should you find yourself being put through the wringer this holiday.
Oh, and yes, the annualized layoffs tend to happen around the holidays (which coincides with many companies’ financial quarters ending). Sucks, right?
Seattle-based animator Floyd Bishop took to his website, GameDevTalk, and laid out a list of best practices should you encounter the ever-swinging scythe of layoffs. First and foremost? Make sure you actually listen when human resources is walking you through the proceedings.
“There will be lots of information, and you’re still reeling from the initial shock. Try to write things down, if you can. If you didn’t hear something, or have a question, ask it now. They may also have some hand outs ready for you that tell you what happens next. Be nice! This is not a fun day to work in human resources.”
Okay, okay — that’s pretty general “I got laid off” advice. Fair enough. If you’re of the game developer variety, though, Bishop’s got targeted advice too. For instance, get your work online immediately, and sign up for job newsletters from the biggies. “Sites like Gamasutra, Creative Heads, and even Indeed have both job listings and job alert email lists,” Bishop points out.
Despite video games going mainstream, the industry that creates those games remains surprisingly small. As such, Bishop recommends, “Do not instantly talk trash about the studio you were just let go from.” Is it tempting? Sure is! These are the bastards who just fired you, right? Yes, they are, and they may also be the people who hire you for a new project in five years.
Bishop of course has far more detail than we’ve put in here, so we suggest heading over and reading the full piece if you’re in the regrettable position of being laid off as a game dev this holiday.
[Image credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson]
The Sony SmartWatch 3 is finally available for pre-order, but from only one place. And that place is quite surprising. If you want to be the first to get your hands on Sony’s first Android Wear smartwatch, you will have to order it through Verizon Wireless.
They are taking pre-orders for it now for $249. Shipments start on October 30. The Sony SmartWatch is the only Android Wear smartwatch with a built in GPS so it can take advantage of the new features that Google officially announced today. On top of that, it has the best ambient display in the business.
The SmartWatch 3 is on Google Play, but you can’t order it just yet. We suspect that will commence late next week when Verizon starts their shipments. Hit the source link to get our order in.
Come comment on this article: Sony SmartWatch 3 now available for pre-order from Verizon Wireless
Yes, another Sony announcement tied in with Verizon. Today the carrier has officially launched the Sony Xperia Z3v. Along with that release Verizon has also begun taking pre-orders for the Sony SmartWatch 3. The device is priced at $250 and is expected to ship October 30th.
The Sony SmartWatch 3 is a bit different from the other current Android Wear offerings. Sony took more of a fitness / sporty approach to their offering. The display is removable and you can purchase various colored bands. It is water resistant to a degree, so are some of the others. The battery is the largest at 420 mAh and is rated for 2 days of continuous usage. It charges via a Micro USB port that is found on the backside. There are two aspects to the device that I personally find useful. It offers its own GPS chip allowing you to take a run and have it track your activity without needing a phone with you. Others have pedometers, 9 Axis and heart rate monitors.
In addition to the GPS chip, the recent release of an Android Wear update that can take advantage of it, you will also find offline music support too. This will allow you to not only leave your phone at home, but also your music player too.
Head over to VerizonWireless.com to pre-order this new Android Wear device today. The Sony SmartWatch 3 will also be available on the Play Store. However, it is still listed as “coming soon”. I would image it will become available soon.
Can you smell that? It’s the aroma of game lovers’ tears everywhere as they realize their bank accounts likely can’t sustain buying every title coming out in the annual deluge of fall video game releases. That’s to say nothing of the amount of time you’d need to play absolutely everything that’s come out since September. Or even on November 18th alone! But what is each console offering exclusively this holiday? That’s a bit more manageable, and we compare them below.
With a few exceptions, nearly everything made by a third-party developer (i.e., one not working solely with Microsoft, Nintendo or Sony) is available on PC, so we’re going to leave those out of the conversation. Platform-exclusive goodies don’t count here either — adios, Far Cry 4!
Sony made its bed at E3 this year and is now getting comfy under that (likely luxurious) comforter. During its near-two-hour-long media briefing, it mentioned first-party retail games exactly three times. And in that trio, only one title was an original game for the PS4 that was coming out this year. That was none other than the adorable 2D platformer, LittleBigPlanet 3. The other two? The Last of Us: Remastered and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. While LBP3 will likely be every bit as whimsical and charming as previous efforts, it isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind as a tentpole fall release that’ll move loads of consoles — especially not when it releases the same day as Far Cry 4 and the Grand Theft Auto 5 remaster: November 18th. Not that the PS4 needs much help with that anyway; last we knew, over 10 million of them have been sold so far.
Considering what we’ve been able to experience of it, it’s pretty apparent why the already-released racer Driveclub wasn’t given any time on the stage at E3 this past June. The game is pretty in spots, but an absolute bore to play, which is all the more disheartening given that the developer’s previous work was the over-the-top (and excellent) MotorStorm franchise. That’s to say nothing of how the game’s been hamstrung by connectivity woes that render its key feature, a socially driven online experience, utterly unusable.
PlayStation’s fall commercial featured third-party games exclusively.
No one really expects a system’s launch to have amazing games, but here we are almost a year later and the PlayStation 4 still doesn’t have a killer app. Even Sony itself seems to acknowledge this with TV spots that feature third-party games exclusively. Hell, the PlayStation Twitter account’s header image is for the trio of those titles in the commercial — not one of its internally developed games. At this point in its predecessor’s lifecycle there was the first Uncharted as well as Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction to look forward to; neither Driveclub nor LBP 3 look to stand up to that legacy. Looking ahead, Sony’s got The Order: 1886 (originally scheduled for a fall 2014 release) coming early next year, in addition to the hugely anticipated Bloodborne, the next game from the Dark Souls team. For now, though, the PS4 is a hard sell when it comes to games that you can’t get anywhere else.
Super Smash Bros. Those three words alone could be enough to carry Nintendo through this holiday season, but the gaming giant has a pair of other games to help lighten Mario and Co.’s load too. Not only is Smash absurdly anticipated — the 3DS version beyond whet our appetite — but it’s also releasing on two platforms and has its own set of Skylanders-esque figurines (dubbed amiibo). Nintendo’s had a relatively good year so far, and if Mario Kart 8 was any indication, we can expect the Wii U version of its mascot-laden fighting game to flex some serious muscle when it comes to moving a few consoles come November 21st and beyond.
Then we have the just-released Bayonetta 2 (like, this week), a game that’s likely to please the hardcore crowd with its frenetic pacing and old-school approach to action and combat. Granted, it earns every bit of its Mature rating, but series fans know what they’re getting into with this one. You’re a witch who fights angels and demons on the back of a fighter jet, among other places. Seriously. Who can’t get behind a premise like that?
Taking a step away from the violent side of things is Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, a spin-off from last year’s incredibly good Super Mario 3D Land. In Captain Toad, you’re navigating the adorable, mushroom-adorned Toad through a variety of puzzles in themed worlds that should be familiar to anyone who played 2013’s Mario release. Wait, you didn’t? For shame! At least you can make up for that this year.
Surprisingly, Nintendo’s first-party line-up is incredibly strong this season. The Japanese company’s reputation rests on its ability to make games that no one else can or seemingly wants to. Even without a proper Mario or Legend of Zelda release this holiday (we’re excepting Hyrule Warriors as a side game rather than series entry), Nintendo proved that it has what’s needed to compete against the likes of its relatively younger opponents with practiced ease.
Perhaps more than any console maker, Microsoft has the most to prove this fall. Redmond came out on the losing end of a PR battle when it announced confusing (and somewhat consumer-hostile) policies for the Xbox One last year, not to mention it costing $100 more than its closest rival, the PS4. Phil Spencer and Co. responded in 2014 by doubling down on games, hoping to shed the image forged by a previous management regime. At the firm’s media event at E3 this year, it spent the entire time talking about games and a majority of that was devoted to platform exclusives and first-party titles. The company line that it was all about “games, games, games” wasn’t a hollow promise and this fall’s crop of Xbox One releases shows it.
Let’s start with Forza Horizon 2: It’s excellent. Unlike Driveclub, it’s a social-based racing game that worked as promised from the outset. Beyond that, though, it’s an absolute blast to play. From racing against a bullet train as The Clash’s “Train in Vain” blasts over your car’s stereo, to challenging a buddy’s ghost to a head-to-head race only to see it drive his Hemi ‘Cuda up a hillside in effort to gain the lead, there’s loads to see and do in the game. In fact, both Ben Gilbert and I have stopped playing Destiny to soak in as much of virtual Nice as possible. You should not miss Forza Horizon 2.
When it was first teased at E3 2013, no one quite knew what to make of Sunset Overdrive. It was a parkour-style open-world something from the folks at Insomniac Games (Ratchet and Clank and Resistance franchises for PlayStation), but that’s all anyone really knew. What a difference a year made, however. What we played of the punk-rock take on Crackdown and to a certain extent, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, though, at E3 this year made us believers. It’s unapologetically a video game; bright, stylized and flashy, with a highly saturated color palette that emphasizes cartoony fun over everything else. Hell, there’s a weapon that shoots ricocheting vinyl records at energy-drink-crazed mutants and an RPG that uses teddy bears as ammunition. It’s the best kind of ridiculous.
And how could anyone forget Halo: The Master Chief Collection? We broke the news that it was coming, and since then it’s been impossible to ignore. Microsoft is going all-out for this release and including every multiplayer map that’s ever been in a Halo game into the package, as well as fully remastered versions of classic Halo 2 arenas and a totally overhauled campaign for the sequel. What else? The other three numbered Halo releases running at 1080p and 60 FPS.
Perhaps even more than Nintendo, Microsoft was in panic mode this past year. Given the improvements that’ve been made to the Xbox One’s system software and the price drop that brings parity between it and the PS4, the Xbox One is the best environment to play games that you can’t get anywhere else this fall. If all goes well, maybe Redmond will take to touting sales numbers of its own soon enough.