Valve tried to radically redesign the gaming controller with its own Steam controller, but for a lot of players it never quite caught on. Fortunately, Steam is a very flexible OS and it’s pretty easy to use your controller of choice. Like the PS4’s Dualshock 4 controller, for example: Valve just announced today that the Steam client now fully supports the Dualshock 4. That means all the controller’s capabilities can be mapped to various functions in Steam, including the trackpad and gyroscope.
Valve also notes the controllers will have access to the full range of APIs that Steam controllers have access to. There’s a whole host of other controller feature additions in this update, as well. There are settings to control the LEDs on your controller (like the Dualshock 4 has), a joystick-controlled mouse, preferences for haptic feedback, and software-based gyroscope and accelerometer integration — something that’ll specifically add extended support for the PS4 controller’s gyro input.
I’m not sure when I fell out of love with driving games. Sure, I’ll still play Mario Kart multiplayer when the occasion calls for it, but somewhere between the various Gran Turismo, Forza and Need for Speed titles I got bored. Drive!Drive!Drive!, which arrived on Steam and the PlayStation Store this morning, got me interested again.
Drive!Drive!Drive! is… different. You’re not just in command of one vehicle in a single race. No, you’re in charge of two, three or sometimes even four cars, each racing on their own track against AI opponents.
In the bottom-right of the screen, you see all of the tracks currently in play (they typically overlap), together with the current position of each of your cars. When you’re not actively controlling a car, the AI takes over, and it is awful, by design. Your job is to switch cars, and get them all across the finish line.
The AI being useless is a great mechanic. You can leave a car way ahead in first place, and within five seconds it’s driven off the edge of a track and is dead-last. That means you have to always be switching, juggling your various cars to ensure that all of them end up in a respectable position. You can either switch between cars using the d-pad, or enter a kind of pause mode to choose a particular track to race on, which is helpful when things get really hectic.
The driving part of Drive!Drive!Drive! is well executed: You race across various sky-bound neon tracks controlling various cars that handle in various ways. You can drift, you can boost; it handles somewhat like a Burnout game, in so much as you’re rewarded for aggression, for shunting, crashing and otherwise incapacitating your rivals. It all feels fun, if a little pedestrian. But that’s all it had to be given the extra mechanic of car switching.
I first played Drive!Drive!Drive! back in September at a game show, and have been looking forward to its release ever since. The main campaign is filled with plenty of variety, and there’s a robust level creation tool that should give plenty of longevity to proceedings. Today, it launches on Steam (for both Windows and Mac) and PlayStation 4, and for $19.99 (£15.99), it’s a safe bet for some fun times.
Space adventure Elite: Dangerous is coming to the Playstation 4 in the second quarter next year, completing its gaming platform sweep. The trading and combat sim will have all the latest Horizon expansions, letting you tear around the surface of planets at up to 100mph using a Surface Recon Vehicle. The game is available on VR for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but the Elite team unfortunately didn’t mention Playstation VR support for the PS4 version — at least, not yet.
The trading, combat and exploration sim offers multi- and single-player modes, and lets you explore the Milky Way galaxy at your own speed, either as a sandbox or part of a mission. The team has also accurately recreated our solar system and parts of the galaxy, letting you see “familiar constellations” and visit “white dwarfs, neutron stars and even black holes that exist in our real night sky.”
The team did leave the door open a crack for Playstation VR support, saying “we’re looking forward to telling you more about how we’re supporting PS4 in the coming months.” There’s no specific date other than Q2 2017, or a price, but the Xbox One version starts at $29.99.
Source: Playstation Blog
Disheartened that you missed out on a price-cut PlayStation 4 around Black Friday? You’re about to get a second chance. In a near-repeat of what happened last year, Sony is resurrecting its $50 discount on the Uncharted 4 slim PS4 bundle between December 11th and December 24th. Yes, you’ll still get the console for $250 in the US if you’re a last-minute shopper. And Canadians get an extra break — while the PS4 costs $330 in local currency, they have until December 29th to go shopping. You’re stuck if you’d rather buy a PS4 Pro, but this remains a solid deal if you’re not interested in 4K and just want to see what all the fuss is about.
Source: PlayStation Blog
The world’s most popular virtual reality headset makers have assembled. Google, Oculus, Sony, HTC, Samsung and Acer have come together to create a non-profit organization called the Global Virtual Reality Association (or the far snappier GVRA, for short). The association’s goal is to “promote responsible development and adoption of VR globally,” according to its website, and members will do so by researching, developing and sharing what it believes to be industry best practices.
GVRA also intends to serve as a resource for policymakers, consumers and industries interested in the medium. In a statement on the organization’s website, Google’s director of immersive design Jon Wiley said,”The GVRA is a necessary first step toward ensuring great VR experiences for everyone.” Execs from the other founding companies made similar statements, echoing the same sentiment. Although Microsoft’s HoloLens is technically an AR device, it’s a bit surprising to not see the Windows maker in this list.
Citing VR’s potential to improve “sectors ranging from education to healthcare,” as well as the resulting contributions to the global economy, GVRA also states that its founding members will work to maximize the platform’s potential and to “ensure those gains are shared as broadly around the world as possible.” Considering the clout some of these companies already have in tech, it sounds like this will be the virtual reality authority in the future.
It’s a little concerning that the only affiliates of the organization so far appear to be hardware makers. Hopefully, the GVRA will soon gain some members from different parts of the industry, including representatives who are more invested in the impact of VR on our health.
Source: Global Virtual Reality Association
Nope, we’re not done adding phones to our buyer’s guide. Hot on the heels of inducting the new iPhones (and before that, the Galaxy S7 and HTC 10), we’re tossing in both of the new Google phones, the Pixel and Pixel XL. While we’re at it, we decided the PlayStation VR deserved a spot in our gaming section right alongside other premium virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. At the opposite end of the price spectrum, the $50 Amazon Echo Dot is a great value at that price. Lastly, GoPro — a staple company in this list — earns a spot for its newest flagship action camera, the Hero5 Black. Find all that in more in our buyer’s guide, and stay tuned for our next round of additions, likely sometime after CES.
Source: Engadget Buyer’s Guide
After surpassing 40 million sales back in May, Sony has now sold 50 million PlayStation 4s. That figure includes PS4, PS4 Pro and the new slim version of the console, and represents sales to customers, rather than shipments to stores.
The 50 million milestone took just over three years for Sony to reach. For comparison, the PlayStation 3 was on sale for four and a half years before Sony had shipped the same number.
Software sales have also been fairly strong. Sony says that, as of December 4th, it’s sold 369.6 million games across retail and digital downloads. That means that roughly seven games have been purchased for every one console.
As Sony’s announcement gives only a grouped figure for console sales, it’s impossible to know exactly how many of the 10 million PS4s sold since May were the “Pro” edition. Similarly, there have been absolutely no firm figures for PlayStation VR sales. The headset came out back in October, and at the time SCEE president Jim Ryan said launch sales were expected to be “many hundreds of thousands.” Analytics firm SuperData projects that total sales of the headset in 2016 will be less than 750,000.
Microsoft stopped reporting figures some time ago. The launch of the smaller Xbox One S has revitalized sales somewhat, with the Xbox One outselling Sony’s console for several months in a row this year. Third-party estimates suggest that Microsoft has sold between 25-30 million Xbox Ones, giving Sony close to a two-to-one sales lead.
Hot on the heels of PlayStation Experience, Sony has announced the first smartphone games developed under its new “ForwardWorks” banner. The roster includes a new Everybody’s Golf title (known as Hot Shots Golf in the US), which is due to come out in spring 2017. The company is also working on a new Wild Arms game, an adaption of Arc the Lad and What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord? Looking further ahead, ForwardWorks has confirmed it’ll be working on a new Parappa the Rapper game, as well as apps based on Doko Demo Issho and Boku no Natsuyasumi.
It’s a sizeable list, though one clearly geared towards the Japanese market. While some of its chosen franchises have a fanbase in the West — Parappa and Everybody’s Golf, for instance — most are considered niche or long abandoned. Reviving them as smartphone apps is an intriguing way to measure fan interest. If the games are free, and more importantly good, it could spur demand for new, higher budget console and portable titles. Sony is taking a similar approach on the PS4 right now, having confirmed HD remakes for Parappa the Rapper, Crash Bandicoot and Wipeout.
Sony has tried to make smartphone games before. PlayStation Mobile was an abject failure, however, producing few titles with lasting appeal. It shuttered the project in 2015 and shifted focus to the PlayStation 4, a wildly successful console, and the PlayStation Vita, a brilliant but unpopular handheld. With ForwardWorks, Sony will be hoping to re-assert itself in the mobile market. That’s easier said than done, given the cut-throat competition on iOS and Android. A broad line-up could work in Sony’s favor — effectively spreading its bets — while contrasting Nintendo’s smaller, more cautious portfolio of smartphone games.
Source: Sony (Blog Post)
Sony is set to release up to six games for iOS in the financial year starting April in the hope of replicating Nintendo’s phenomenal success with Pokémon Go (via Reuters).
The upcoming titles will bring popular Sony franchises such as Everybody’s Golf to iOS devices for the first time, said the company. Previously Sony has only launched a few games for smartphones through its music entertainment division, but the new games will be “mobile designated” and be produced through its PlayStation business.
Everybody’s Golf on PlayStation 4
Sony also revealed on Wednesday that it is working on 10 mobile gaming titles, including those to be released next year. The 10 titles include PaRappa the Rapper and Arc The Lad. Japan will be first to get the games, before rollout to other Asian countries and eventually likely elsewhere, depending on initial success.
Despite its huge success in the console market worldwide, Sony is facing increasing heat from mobile in countries such as Japan, the world’s third largest game market where mobile gaming accounts for more than half of the $12.4 billion market, according to games research firm Newzoo.
The announcement comes just a week before Nintendo debuts Super Mario Run on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The endless runner game goes live on the App Store on December 15 for $9.99.
Discuss this article in our forums
From Skylanders to Amiibo, “Toys to life” have been a pretty lucrative way for video game companies to make money. Sony has been more-or-less absent from the field, but today it’s announcing something not too dissimilar: Project Field.
The company is showing off dedicated smart pads that pair with a phone or tablet to bring card games to life. Imagine a game like Hearthstone, for instance, but with physical cards that you buy in store. Or the physical and digital versions of Pokémon Trading Card Game fused together.
When a user places a card on one of the pads, it’s identified using an NFC-like wireless technology. The pad then sends the card’s exact position to the phone or tablet using Bluetooth. Once the card is in the game, the pad is able to detect movement — if you slide a card to another position, for example. The cards will be both readable and writable, meaning in-game status changes can be saved. Depending on the game, players will also be able to “grow” a character, with stats stored on the card.
Sony announced Project Field today as part of a broader push to get PlayStation games onto mobile phones, and says it has “multiple” projects planned for the platform. The first title to be announced is based on Yokai Watch, the hugely popular Level-5 RPG.
This isn’t a drastically new idea — Sengoku Taisen, Kantai Collection and other Japanese arcade games already blend collectible cards with video games. Nintendo’s Amiibo cards for Animal Crossing also have built-in NFC chips. Where Project Field differs is in portability, and potential reach. If the pads are sold at a reasonable rate, players will be able to get an arcade experience anywhere they can bring a tablet.
While Project Field is only slated for release in Japan, the worldwide appeal of Skylanders and Amiibo means an international release doesn’t seem impossible.
Source: PlayStation Japan