Still not sold on VR? Got a PS4? But still not sure? Then you should probably test it out before laying down the hundreds of dollars (or pounds) the peripheral costs. But you probably shouldn’t have to pay to do so. But that’s exactly what UK retailer Game is doing, charging £5 (just over $6) for ten minutes of neck-craning and open-jawed gaming. You can also pay £15 for 30 minutes. Deal?
It makes sense that PlayStation VR demos are supervised: most people will need assistance fitting the Sony headset. But to the tune of five pounds, for just ten minutes?! That’s harder to excuse, especially if it includes getting fitted in — and working your way through initial tutorials in the demos themself. It certainly won’t help endear people to the beleaguered gaming chain.
Given that the basic headset costs $350 in the UK, if you think you’re going to play it more than 35 times (in five-minute intervals), you could just buy it. Or, find somewhere that lets you test if for free. Enterprising early adopters are already stepping up:
.@GAMEbromley hey lads, I’ll charge £2.50 for a go on mine. 16 minute sessions. #BeatThat pic.twitter.com/zYMKQfLDP6
— Ben Potter (@Confused_Dude) October 22, 2016
Source: Game (Twitter)
Voiding warranties is what we do best here on The Ben Heck Show, and a new game console gives us the perfect opportunity. Join Ben as he tears down the Sony PlayStation 4 Slim to find out what makes it tick, and how it compares to Microsoft’s Xbox One Slim. From creating their own Blu-ray solution (you know, just because they can) to questioning the build quality, Ben guides us through the design decisions Sony made when building the PS4 Slim. The real question you might be wondering, though, is: Can Ben turn it into a portable console? Probably yes, but more importantly, what would you like to see us do with it? let us know at the element14 Community.
Hold tight Fumito Ueda fans, your wait is almost over. Despite that long quiet period and even a recent six-week delay, tonight Sony Interactive exec Shuhei Yoshida tweeted that The Last Guardian has gone gold. That should put it on track for release December 6th, when everyone can adventure with a giant pet companion of their own. Not counting a Tokyo Game Show near-miss, we last experienced the successor to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus during E3 2016, and found it an “incomplete opus.” Here’s hoping the extra development time was enough to make everything just right.
I’ve waited a very long time to say this… The Last Guardian has gone gold! I’m so excited for you all to finally experience it ˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖
— Shuhei Yoshida (@yosp) October 22, 2016
— Shuhei Yoshida (@yosp) October 22, 2016
Source: Shuhei Yoshida (Twitter)
Sony really wants to clarify a few things about the PlayStation 4 Pro:
First, the Pro doesn’t signal the end of video game console generations, even though its specs and launch window fit a pattern that resembles PC or smartphone upgrade cycles more than traditional console releases. Second, the Pro is valuable even if you don’t have a 4K TV. Third, though most games on the Pro won’t actually be rendered in true 4K, they’re still much improved over the standard PS4.
Sony probably feels the need to clarify these points because after it revealed the PS4 Pro in September, there was some confusion over the capabilities and identity of the new console. It was pitched as a mid-generation upgrade that would usher in an era of 4K gaming, but after the scripted presentation, it became obvious that 4K was still out of reach for most developers. At the launch event, we found just one game on the demo floor that actually ran in 4K (that would be Elder Scrolls Online) while others took advantage of the Pro’s upgraded guts in other ways. Impressive ways, but not 4K.
After the reveal, it was unclear who the PS4 Pro was built for and what it signaled for the future of gaming consoles. It joined Microsoft’s Project Scorpio in blurring the generational divide, and with all of this talk about 4K, its benefits for HDTV owners were uncertain.
That’s when Mark Cerny stepped in.
Cerny is the architect of the PS4 and a highly respected veteran of the gaming industry. He introduced the Pro at Sony’s September event, and he followed that presentation with a behind-closed-doors meeting this week, diving deep into the console’s technical aspects. In other words, Cerny is Sony’s cleanup crew.
“PS4 Pro is not the start of a new generation and that is a very good thing,” he said. “We don’t believe that generations are going away. They are truly healthy for the industry and for the gaming community. It’s just that the objectives for PS4 Pro are going to be different.”
Cerny is adamant that console generations are a useful, necessary aspect of the video game industry. He repeated the line “generations are a good thing” throughout the meeting, reciting it like a mantra.
However, the definition of a console generation is changing, and right now the PS4 Pro is leading the charge. It isn’t a traditional, expected slim model with slightly upgraded specs and a fresh look — in fact, Sony just released one of those consoles as well. The Pro is bulkier and significantly more powerful than the standard PS4 or the new and improved slim version. Plus, the Pro costs $400 compared with the slim’s launch price of $300.
The Pro is a dividing line. The PS4 is not Sony’s latest and greatest piece of gaming hardware anymore: That distinction belongs to the PS4 Pro. When the console hits store shelves on Nov. 10th, there will be haves and have-nots, just as there are people who got the iPhone 6S Plus the day it came out, if only to show off to anyone who owned the suddenly outdated iPhone 6 Plus.
Cerny doesn’t see the PS4 Pro as a new generation for two reasons: It doesn’t have significantly more memory or a new CPU.
“For me, one of the hallmarks of a new console generation is the use of significantly more memory,” he said. “By contrast, the PS4 Pro is definitely part of the PS4 generation, so we took a different direction with the console. We felt games needed a little more memory, about 10 percent more, so we added about a gigabyte of slow, conventional DRAM to the console.”
The PS4 Pro uses this memory differently than the standard PS4. On the PS4, if you open Netflix and then swap to a game, Netflix remains resident in system memory, allowing for fast swapping between the two apps: Nothing needs to be loaded. The Pro, however, allocates background tasks to the 1GB of slow, conventional DRAM, freeing up more memory for the active apps (and allowing the home screen to resolve in 4K rather than the standard model’s 1080p).
Additionally, the PS4 Pro features an 8-core AMD Jaguar CPU, just like the standard model. This means it doesn’t use a brand-new CPU — another aspect that would herald an entirely new console generation, in Cerny’s eyes.
“With PS4 Pro, one of the primary targets is flawless interoperability between two consoles,” Cerny said. “We chose a different path [than a new CPU], keeping Jaguar as the CPU and boosting the frequency as much as possible.”
So there’s the technical definition of a new generation and then there’s the social distinction. Regardless of whether players view the Pro as a more powerful, generation-skipping console, Cerny is adamant that the hardware itself is not upgraded enough to be a new generation.
But that’s just hardware. Games on the PS4 Pro will also use new software tricks to beef up their graphics and gameplay across SD, HD and 4K TVs. The newest, most game-changing technique is called checkerboard rendering, a process that was first used in Rainbow Six Siege.
Checkerboard rendering changes the shape of pixels; they’re no longer square. Instead, this process relies on delineated horizontal rectangles that each include one color, one Z value and one ID buffer (the building blocks of game graphics). Using data from previous frames to fill in information gaps, checkerboard rendering enables developers to build a more complete, crisp image that, according to Cerny, is nearly identical to native 4K.
He’s not exaggerating here either. In a demo this week, he pulled up a scene in Days Gone on two separate Pros and 4K televisions, one of them natively rendered and the other checkerboard upscaled. The images were nearly indistinguishable: The native game was slightly more saturated and the textures in the grass were clearly resolved while the checkerboard grass shimmered slightly in the breeze. However, from three or four feet away, it was nigh impossible to see a difference.
Of course, not all games on the PS4 Pro will use checkerboard rendering or even attempt to hit 2160p. Even games that do support 4K won’t always reach their full potential, considering not all players own a 4K TV. For those without a 4K set, Pro games will automatically scale down to the TV’s maximum display settings.
“Requiring all titles to run at 2160p on PS4 Pro makes no more sense than requiring all titles to run at 1080p on the standard PS4,” Cerny said. “The titles are going to use the increased graphical power in a number of ways. Some developers will favor quality over resolution, some will favor resolution over quality. We don’t want to have any sort of rules that have to be followed.”
Cerny listed a handful of AAA games that prepared for the Pro via various techniques, though nine of the 13 titles on display used some form of checkerboard rendering. Days Gone, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Horizon Zero Dawn all use 2160p checkerboard upscaling, and most of these titles rely on 1080p super-sampling for HDTVs. Meanwhile Watch Dogs 2, Killing Floor 2, Infamous First Light and Mass Effect: Andromeda use 1800p checkerboard rendering. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided takes advantage of checkerboard rendering to hit variable 1800p and 2160p resolutions while Spider-Man hits 2160p via a post-checkerboard process called temporal injection and For Honor gets there via a similar version of temporal anti-aliasing.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Paragon are special cases too. Shadow of Mordor uses native rendering at dynamic resolution, meaning the resolution “can vary broadly,” Cerny said, “but typically it’s at 80 percent to 90 percent of 4K.” Paragon features a mode for HDTVs with 1080p native rendering and enhanced visuals, and there’s no direct 4K version of the game: On 4K TVs, the upgraded graphics will simply be enhanced even further.
“We know that when game creators are making the decisions on how to best use the technology we provide, the result is almost invariably better for the gaming community,” Cerny said.
Near the end of the meeting, Cerny pulled up Knack, his PS4 launch title, side by side on two HDTVs. One game was running on a PS4 Pro and the other on a standard PS4. The differences were obvious: The PS4 Pro resolved cleaner lines and animations while the standard PS4 scene had more noise, particularly in detailed areas and backgrounds.
Cerny started with the Pro, picking up the controller and saying, “So if we look at the scene, again, it’s very clean, smooth. But if I were to do this on — ” he switched to the PS4 TV and sighed. “Look at all the moiré, or all of the shimmery noise in the distance. And this is what we see when we play games on an HDTV and we’ve learned to ignore it.”
Noticeably improved graphics and new standards for developing games certainly sound like hallmarks of a new generation — at least from the player’s perspective. Technically, Cerny might be right that the Pro is a mid-generational upgrade, but it is clearly a significant improvement over the standard console (even for people without 4K TVs). Significant enough to cost $100 more than the new and improved slim PS4, at least.
How good of an NBA 2K17 player do you think you really are? Well, you’re about to find out because on Thursday, Sony announced that it is teaming up with the ESL gaming network and hosting a month-long digital basketball tournament.
The PlayStation Tournament, as it’s being called, will run from October 27th through November 26th with “Major Cup rounds” every Saturday. And since the real NBA season is kicking off, the Tournament will be based on NBA 2K17. If you manage to be one of the top three players at the end of the tourney, you’ll score a prize pack with stuff like PlayStation Gear and controllers, plus bragging rights.
To participate, you’re going to need a copy of the game (duh), a PlayStation Plus subscription and an ESL account. You will need to register for the tournament beforehand at ESL but once you do, you’ll be automatically prompted when your time to compete comes. There’s no word on how large of a player pool this tournament will have but the matches will be 1-on-1. Sony is reportedly looking to expand the scope and playstyle variety of these tournaments moving forward.
This isn’t the first time that a console maker has waded into the tournament pool. Microsoft unveiled its Xbox Live Tournament Platform back in March at GDC, which enables developers to create their own game tournaments using Xbox Live. FaceIT and ESL have both already signed on to use the platform for their upcoming tournaments. What’s more, games like Halo and Destiny have already taken advantage of the platform to create their own miniature leagues.
Source: Playstation Blog
The wireless headphone market has been shaken up so much recently that it’s hard to know where to begin when a new entry appears on the stage and announces itself as the next big thing.
Fortunately this latest Bluetooth offering from Sony is targeting a very specific market segment best referred to as “premium noise cancelation”, and the company seems pretty confident that with the MDR-1000X headphones ($400), it has got a hit on its hands.
Sony is claiming “industry-leading noise cancelation” with these luxury cans, which use ostensibly the same drivers as last year’s highly regarded MDR-1A headset made for listening to Hi-Res Audio, as supported by the company’s audiophilic Walkman range, not to mention its line of wireless home speakers and in-car audio systems.
Can it improve upon the finely honed features of Parrot’s Zik 3.0, Bose’s QuietComfort 35, and Sennheiser’s PXC 550 Wireless noise-canceling headphones? Let’s take a look.
The Sony MDR-1000X’s come in a box design and hard carry case that will seem suspiciously familiar to Bose QC35 owners, but that’s where the similarities pretty much end. I received a beige pair (also available in black) that came with a nice thick matching 1.5 meter cable sporting a gold-plated mini jack, along with a black micro-USB charging lead and an airline adapter.
The swivel-folding earcups and pivots are made of a robust, creak-free plastic, with champagne-colored rims and squishy earpads covered in smooth synthetic leather that’s pretty convincing to the touch.
The polished steel headband packs some decent padding between the adjustable slats, and Sony has decided to let the design speak for itself by keeping the branding relatively understated. The only other distinctive mark on the outside of the cups are two small grilles where the noise-canceling microphones live. Altogether the headset weighs 275 grams, so slightly lighter than the QC35’s (309g).
The left earcup contains an NFC chip for pairing with compatible devices and a micro-USB port for charging, while the right earcup has a touch-sensitive back that responds to taps and swipes to control music playback, skip tracks, change volume, and invoke Siri. Like most modern headphone gesture pads, it can also be used to take and end calls.
Around the rim of the right earcup are three physical buttons and an input jack. Unfortunately these controls aren’t particularly textured or distinctive, so expect some fiddling when you’re wearing the headphones before you get used to where they sit in relation to each other (although voice prompts helpfully accompany each press). The Ambient button lets you choose between different external sound filtering modes which we’ll cover below, the NC button lets you turn noise canceling on and off independently, while the power button can be pressed quickly for a battery level update and also activates the pairing sequence with a long press. All of the buttons have inset LEDs to indicate status.
Performance and Features
It’s worth stating right off the bat that Sony has taken noise cancelation to a new level with these headphones. This seems to have been achieved through a sustained period of self-reflection and extensive acoustics research in light of earlier shortcomings, combined with an exhaustive exercise in technological oneupmanship. In other words, Sony has pulled out all the stops in an attempt to beat Bose at its own game.
To begin with, Sony has chosen a headset design with a firmer grip than its NC rivals so that the earcups alone do a better job of isolating you from the outside world. There’s a slight trade-off here – Sony has used thicker urethane foam earpads than those found on Bose and Sennheiser’s NC cans to improve passive reduction, and they don’t feel quite as plush against your head as a result. It’s not a deal breaker by any means – they still feel lovely and squishy, and never bothered me after several hours of listening, but a few minutes back with the QC35’s was all it took to confirm they do lack the latter’s sumptuous cushiness.
Second of all, Sony’s patented Sense Engine boasts a “personal NC Optimizer”, a fancy-sounding piece of tech that’s supposed to determine your individual characteristics and wearing style to optimize the audio output just for you. Basically, Sony had the bright idea to build a microphone within each ear cup, which means the headset can sample ambient noise from both inside and out, effectively canceling out a wider range of sounds with corresponding inverted frequencies.
Hold down the NC button, and the headphone speakers emit a series of tones that bounce back and forth between the mics to analyze the shape of your head, work out whether you have big hair, wear glasses, and so on. It’s a unique innovation from Sony in the NC space – and it works, too. The only minor drawback for some wearers will be the ever-so-slightly more noticeable hiss when no music is playing. I found it pretty relaxing, kind of like distant lapping ocean waves. Your mileage may vary.
Otherwise, the NC easily stood up to scrutiny in a range of environments, including a busy bus and a crowded shopping mall. It didn’t detract from calls either, and effectively piped in my own voice as part of the conversation. The filtering is adaptive too, and corrected for changes in ambient levels as I moved around. These are also the first pair of noise cancelers I’ve worn that completely blot out my heavy-handed keyboard tapping and reduce my house phone in the same room to a barely audible, faraway whisper.
You don’t even need to take off the cans to realize just how effective the technology is, thanks to another feature unique to the Sense Engine called “Quick Attention”. Cupping your fingers over the touchpad instantly turns the volume down and lets in the outside world, allowing you to engage someone in conversation. Bring your hand back down and the music is re-instated to its prior volume. It’s genuinely useful for situations in which you’d usually be apt to take off the headphones – when a fight attendant offers you refreshments, for example.
The MDR-1000X’s Ambient button performs two further NC sound tricks. One is called “Voice mode” and lets in the range of sound frequencies the human voice normally occupies. This is also meant to let you hear in on important announcements – when you’re waiting to be called to a boarding gate, say – while still allowing you to enjoy your music in relative quiet.
I found the feature a bit overly enthusiastic, sometimes failing to filter out other ambient sounds like the rustle of bags and suchlike which then became exaggerated and annoying. The “Normal” ambient mode on the other hand worked very well, and let me stay mindful of traffic sounds as I walked the street without entirely extinguishing that insulated cocoon feeling that good NC cans do so well.
Sony’s headphones certainly have a stronger Bluetooth connection than the competition – the MDR’s didn’t drop out once in areas where rival Bluetooth headsets I’ve tested regularly faltered. The link was retained around harder corners and over bigger distances – the MDR-1000X’s even passed the ‘microwave test’ and didn’t get all glitchy as I hovered around the kitchen while my dinner was being nuked.
Wireless audio connections have their limits of course, but Sony has also included a neat sound prioritization feature in the MDR-1000X that I haven’t seen in other cans. By default the headphones automatically select the highest quality Bluetooth protocol available, but hold down both power and NC buttons for a couple of seconds and you can switch them to “Priority on stable connection” mode, which falls back to the less-demanding SBC codec. Bear in mind I’ve no idea how well it works because I never had to use it.
On the subject of wireless codecs, this headset supports them all: AAC (iPhone), aptX (Mac/Android), SBC (everything), and LDAC. That last one is a Sony special which apparently transmits up to three times more data than conventional Bluetooth for superior sound, but it only works with Sony devices, such as the company’s Xperia smartphones and Walkman digital audio players. There’s some proper science behind it and I have it on good authority (an audiophile friend) that it delivers on its promise, but I didn’t have any other Sony hardware to test it with.
To be honest though, it didn’t bother me. The MDR-1000X’s sound brilliant over bog-standard Bluetooth anyway, and certainly outperform the QC35’s thanks to a wider, more expansive soundstage. The mid-range is wonderfully balanced and the highs sparkle, while a good, chunky bass serves as a warm foundation. They sound even better when the cable is used – so long as the headphones are on. Whether this is all down to Sony’s DSEE HX processing (which allegedly recreates higher frequency signals lost in low-quality compressed music files) or simply better tuned drivers, I can’t say. Whatever the reason, the MDR-1000X’s sound fantastic, especially for NC cans.
A few other points bear noting. Unlike the QC35’s and PXC 550’s, Sony’s headphones don’t seem to be able to pair with more than one device at the same time. I had to manually disconnect my iPhone to reconnect with my Mac, and vice versa, despite the fact that the cans had no trouble auto-pairing with the last known device when turned on. Also, the 1000X’s live up to their 20 hour battery life, but they take 4 hours to fully charge – twice as long as Bose – and the battery is similarly integrated, so it has to go back to Sony if/when it comes to replacing.
Sony has pulled a fast one on its rivals here. For a company whose last serious attempt at noise canceling was the h.ear on Wireless NC headphones, the MDR-X1000’s are a huge step up in performance. Not only do they look smart and block out distraction, they also pack a ton of technology (not to mention compatibility), keep a strong connection, and deliver a beautiful sound.
It’s a sure sign that the premium NC market is maturing, and that translates to better consumer choice. For those who favor comfort, always-on NC and listening simplicity, Bose still wins. If a bigger sound and the ability to switch between multiple audio sources are your top considerations, Sennheiser’s PXC 550 cans are a great alternative. But if superior noise canceling and audio quality are more important to you than cushiness and dynamic pairing, then these new MDR-1000X headphones from Sony have your back.
- Unrivaled noise canceling
- Exceptional sound for wireless
- Multiple audio codec support
- Solid design and touch controls
- Comfy, but not Bose-comfy
- Lacks dynamic multiple device switching
- Longer charge time than other cans
- $50 more expensive than Bose QC35
How to Buy
The Sony MDR-1000X headphones come in beige or black, cost $400, and can be ordered via the Sony website.
Note: Sony supplied the MDR-1000X’s to MacRumors for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received.
Tags: Sony, review
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Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar has been teasing a new Red Dead game in recent days, and we now know what it is: Red Dead Redemption 2. The third game in the series, it’s described as “an epic tale of life in America’s unforgiving heartland.”
Where the story will pickup from is unknown. Given the events of the first Redemption, it’s likely to be a prequel. The only promotional imagery we have so far is of a band of seven characters against a sunset — with the central figure looking a lot like the series’ protagonist, John Marston. But if it is a prequel, why call it Redemption 2? Are we maybe looking at a relative, or an all-new character? We’ll hopefully have some answers on October 20th, when a trailer drops at 11AM ET.
As well as the expected single-player mode, Rockstar says “the game’s vast and atmospheric world will also provide the foundation for a brand new online multiplayer experience.” The game is due out in fall 2017 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One — there is no mention of PC support anywhere in the promotional material.
Sony today confirmed that it is working on creating more than five smartphone games for iOS and Android, all expected to launch before March 2018 (via CNBC). The games will be created through Sony’s ForwardWorks subsidiary, which it formed earlier in March of this year as a way to craft “full-fledged game titles” for smartphones.
At the time of that announcement, the company hadn’t detailed the launch plan, or specified how many games it wanted to create, so today marks the first time it talks about its smartphone gaming plans since then. Known in March and reiterated today, the Sony iOS and Android games will first hit Japan and other Asian countries, with the expectation being that each game will then slowly rollout wider after the initial release.
Despite consistently strong sales figures for its PlayStation 4 system, the company’s aim at Japan is an attempt to battle low console sales in a country where users are more likely to spend their time picking up mobile and smartphone games rather than sit in front of a home console system.
“Japan is a market where Sony and other console makers are struggling to sell units. Sony had to react. People are consuming smartphone games like there is no tomorrow,” Serkan Toto, CEO of Japanese gaming consultant and advisory group Kantan Games, told CNBC by phone.
Sony has still yet to confirm which games and franchises might receive the smartphone treatment, but any of its first party franchises published under Sony Interactive Entertainment — Uncharted, Sly Cooper, Ratchet & Clank, God of War — could be fair game. Although the company said that the experiences would be “full-fledged” games, it’s likely Sony will take Nintendo’s approach and optimize each for smartphones, like the latter company is doing in partnership with Apple for the endless runner Super Mario Run.
Analyst Serkan Toto mentioned that since Sony’s intellectual properties aren’t as recognizable as Nintendo’s, the company’s chance for failure might be higher.
“Sony doesn’t have the same power as the Nintendo IP. There is nothing that comes even close to Mario,” Toto said.
“If the first couple of games from that company just don’t work, I think the smartphone game business will see the same fate as the portable game business. Nobody talks about the Vita anymore,” the analyst added, referring to Sony’s PS Vita handheld console.
In the same vein of Sony’s announcement, back in May of 2015 Nintendo revealed that the company was working on 5 smartphone games, in partnership with DeNA, with an end-goal to launch all of them by March 2017. The first was the quickly abandoned Miitomo, followed this December by Super Mario Run.
Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem were originally planned to launch this fall, but Nintendo pushed their debut back to 2017 so as not to overcrowd the end of the year and keep the spotlight on Mario. That still leaves one unannounced Nintendo mobile title to launch before the end of Nintendo’s fiscal year — March 31, 2017 — if the company is to keep to its original promise of five smartphone games by March 2017.
Tags: Sony, PlayStation
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Sony’s PlayStation division has finally revealed how it plans to conquer mobile device. According to Wall Street Journal, the unit aims to release five to six PS games for both iOS and Android devices under the ForwardWorks subsidiary it formed in March. The company didn’t reveal a timeline along with the announcement, but it’s apparently looking to launch all of them before March 2018. All the titles will initially be available in Japan, followed by other Asian countries. Unfortunately, fans in the US and in Europe will have to wait for further info — the regions aren’t part of Sony’s current plans.
ForwardWorks is Sony’s second attempt at getting into mobile. Its first one, which offered cross-platform purchases between the PS Vita and Android, shut down for good in July 2015. As the WSJ mentioned, mobile gaming is much bigger than console gaming in Sony’s home country. It only makes sense for the company to give it another shot, especially now that its long-time rival joined forces with Apple to bring Mario to iPhones and iPads. Mobile gaming also continues to grow in the US, where it earned more money than PC and console games for the first time earlier this year.
Sony didn’t mention what it plans to bring to mobile devices exactly, but the WSJ said possibilities include the long-awaited game The Last Guardian, as well as classic titles Hot Shots Golf and I.Q.: Intelligent Qube.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Now that the PSVR has finally been released to the public, Sony can now bring new PS4 features online that take advantage of the new peripheral. A few of these come in an update to the console’s Media Player, which now lets users watch 360-degree video and photos when they don the headset. They’ve also added support for audio played in the high-definition FLAC format as well as boosting the quality of lossy music.
Any content on media servers or plugged in via USB can be accessed by switching on “VR Mode” in the Media Player’s menu, but you can’t just load up any old YouTube video and see it in glorious virtual reality. Only media that was “captured in equirectangular format by a 360-degree omnidirectional camera” and saved in a supported format can be viewed in VR. (For reference, that includes video files in MKV, AVI, MP4, MPEG2 PS, MPEG2 TS or AVCHD, as well as photos saved as JPEG, BMP or PNG.)
Sony also enhanced the Media Player’s music capabilities, introducing support for FLAC audio and automatically upscaling lower-resolution files. Compressed MP3 or AAC files will get boosted to a quality approaching that of lossless FLAC or WAV formats thanks to the company’s DSEE HX tech, previously available only in a handful of Sony’s high-resolution audio products.
Source: PlayStation blog