Category: Sony

PlayStation 4: Our Once and *Former* King?

I hold to the belief that the current ruler of the console space at any given time didn’t get there by being smart, visionary, or tactful. They got there largely for one reason: the hubris of the former ruler of the console space. Nintendo dominated with the SNES and Wii but fumbled with misjudged follow-ups. Sony dominated with PlayStation 1 and 2 but overpromised on PlayStation 3 and hobbled developers with exceedingly proprietary architecture. Microsoft took the lead for the fantastic Xbox 360 era but reneged on their promise of a digital-only future, giving disgruntled gamers only one recourse: PlayStation 4.

In all these cases, the current leader did more to set themselves back than the competition did to deftly outsmart them and Sony is just the latest example. They’ve been riding that good will gale of Xbox dejecters since 2013 but their blowhard ego is very nearly ready to shred through their own sails. The signs have been on display for years: After bolstering their meager lineups with streams of indie titles, they’ve cooled immensely on promoting smaller developers. They continue to dance around the inability to change your PlayStation Network ID name. But most visibly is their continued stance against online cross-play between rival platforms.

Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has been extending the olive branch of cross-play peace for years and Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime has most recently remained open to the idea. Sony, in comparison, seems dead set against it and they are quickly alienating themselves from the rest of the industry. This has all come to a head after Fortnite debuted on the Nintendo Switch this week and left players who had previously played on PlayStation 4 with inaccessible accounts.

The situation is upsetting enough but Sony’s response (thus far, at least) is worrying. The official statement is a self-aggrandizing one that prides Sony on being open to the PlayStation community’s wishes while completely ignoring the complaint. The statement delivered to the BBC reads:

“We’re always open to hearing what the PlayStation community is interested in to enhance their gaming experience. With… more than 80 million monthly active users on PlayStation Network, we’ve built a huge community of gamers who can play together on Fortnite and all online titles.

We also offer Fortnite cross-play support with PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices, expanding the opportunity for Fortnite fans on PS4 to play with even more gamers on other platforms. We have nothing further to add beyond this at this point.”

This, I feel, is one of those moments when you can see the tide turning, the overinflated ego unable to rebalance itself after a misstep that sends it full-tilt into oncoming traffic. PlayStation 4 is strong, but growth is slowing. If cross-platform play is where Sony digs in their heels — while more online-only games release every year that support it outside of PS4 — then by the time they reluctantly concede it could be too late.

Where would the crown go from there? Microsoft has an amazing platform but they’re still suffering from the “always-on” backlash and are missing the exciting exclusives to spark a major shift to their side. The Xbox One X hardware, the Play Anywhere and Game Pass features, and Mixer integration are a great groundwork for a fantastic leader but the games and support just aren’t there. Still, if you’re pissed at Sony and want to play The Division 2, Anthem, Fallout 76, or Rise of the Tomb Raider, Xbox is your only console recourse.

That said, I think Nintendo is poised to gain the biggest boost should Sony drive the divide between its players too wide. The Switch continues to sell well and Nintendo is still riding high on the wave of “It’s coming to the Switch” announcements. They’re also using indie Nindie releases to great effect in supporting their traditionally thin lineup.

Would enough PlayStation dissidents side with Nintendo? Would that be enough to push player and publisher support for the Switch over the already beleaguered Xbox? Look, I’m terrible at predicting this stuff but I do believe a changing of the guard is coming. I just wanted to put this out there because it’s a pattern I’ve been thinking about for a while now. What do you think? If Sony royally pissed you off, where would you go?

Resident Evil 2 Remake pays homage to the scrapped Resident Evil 1.5

Resident Evil 2 Remake pays homage to the scrapped Resident Evil 1.5

Watching Sony’s E3 demo of Resident Evil 2 with Capcom’s Mike Lunn and team, I was initially just excited to see the game in action. I’ve skipped all the previous remakes and haven’t touched the game since 1998. Nevertheless, like many, RE2 was a huge moment for me in gaming and so I’m more than happy to see Capcom focus on it instead of pushing ahead from RE7.

But almost as soon as they started running around the Raccoon City Police Department I couldn’t help but see a little bit of the fabled Resident Evil 1.5 in the updated design. This mythical prototype version of the game featured a different starring female, Elza Walker, and relied on the station’s shutter system to block or open access to the building. This version was ultimately scrapped but footage was released and so it’s become one of those gaming legends.

Now twenty years later we see Leon using those same slatted shutters to open paths around the station and possibly use them for crowd control as originally intended. Though not shown, the crew from Capcom also mentioned that boards will be available in limited supply to close off access to intruding zombies from windows or doorways. It makes me wonder if Elza might even show up or if the game’s other abandoned design elements like stat-boosting gear will make an appearance.

Whether fully intended or not, this feels like the Resident Evil team finally closing a loop on one of the series’ most mysterious developments. I’m even more excited now to get back to Raccoon City and see what I remember and what all has changed! Resident Evil 2 is currently scheduled to release on January 29th, 2019 on PlayStation 4 and Capcom’s already got a pre-order up on Amazon.

It’s Free! on the PlayStation Store for June 13th – E3 Edition!

It’s Free! on the PlayStation Store for June 13th - E3 Edition!

I was hoping for a little more excitement for this week’s E3 freebie update but, well, we got Fallout Shelter right?

It’s old news now but Todd Howard and Bethesda announced near the end of their E3 presentation that the free-to-play vault builder, Fallout Shelter, was “available… right… now” on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. While the Switch may be the most desirable place to play the game, PlayStation Plus members at least get a free pack of goodies to give their adventure a kickstart. The only other major notable is a free demo of the upcoming Shining Resonance Refrain from Sege and a free theme to commemorate the launch of Unravel 2 from EA.

Beyond that we’ve got the regularly scheduled PS+ bonus for 3on3 FreeStyle and Fortnite is giving subscribers an exclusive new outfit in the PlayStation®Plus Celebration Pack 2. Surviving Mars also has a new add-on this week, the  Mysteries Resupply Pack, which actually looks to make the game harder by adding more unexpected events.

Smartphone Labs has released a free avatar icon celebrating themselves and NBC Sports now has an official PlayStation 4 app, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Grab ‘n go… back to watching E3 trailers!

It’s Free! on the PlayStation Store for June 6th

It’s Free! on the PlayStation Store for June 6th

What a week of free stuff! You can now play a free demo of my favorite game of 2018, Metal Gear Survive, there’s an awesome PlayStation 4 PRIDE theme from Sony Europe, and there are at least 8 free Avatar icons from Fortnite. What’s more, there are a bunch of free offerings for a handful of Japanese titles this week:

BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle: Blake
Download and play as Blake Belladonna, member of Team RWBY and wielder of the powerful Gambol Shroud. Blake’s unique skills and powerful attacks make her an ideal tag partner in combat!

BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle: Platinum, Kanji, Orie
Download Cross Tag Character Pack 1 to add three new fighters to your roster! Character Pack 1 contains Platinum the Trinity from BlazBlue, Kanji Tatsumi from Persona 4 Arena, and Orie Ballardiae from Under Night In-Birth.

FINAL FANTASY® XV – Party Pack (COMRADES Exclusive)
This bonus pack includes a set of masks featuring the likenesses of Noctis, Gladiolus, Prompto, and Ignis, as well as a pair of festive Birthday Glasses. For use exclusively with MULTIPLAYER EXPANSION: COMRADES.

NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: Taishi: ‘Megohime’ Officer Facial Graphic
A special bonus for NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: TAISHI. The facial graphic of Megohime, wife of Masamune Date, who staunchly supported her husband even after she was taken as a hostage to Kyoto.

NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: Taishi: NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION Day 2018
‘Additional BGM that can be used in ”NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: Taishi” 10 pieces of BGM available for free. Allows BGM such as Fragrant Wind (Sengoku Daimyo theme), The Indefatigable (Yukimura Sanada’s theme), and Beautiful Expedition (The Siege of Osaka theme) to be used in this title. By changing the BGM, you enjoy gameplay with a different atmosphere.

NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: Taishi: Sokyu Imai Officer Data
Officer data that allows ‘Sokyu Imai,’ who was held in high regard by Oda Nobunaga and Hideyoshi Toyotomi as one of three masters of the tea ceremony, to appear in the game.

Knights of Valour: Magic Power Gift Pack
Available for PS Plus members. Receive beginner’s top-class weapon and more free items!

Contents:

– Silver Wings: Diao Chan’s exclusive purple class weapon.

– Sickle Hook: Guan Yu’s exclusive purple class weapon.

– Scale Armor: Rare armor of Green class.

– Jade Ring: Rare ring of Green class.

– Strategist’s Bag ×2: Randomly performs a magical skill.

– 100,000 Silvers.

Haaaaaaaaave fun! Cya next week with what will hopefully be a jam-packed assortment of freebies direct from E3.

It’s Free! on PlayStation Store for May 30th

Copy of It’s Free! on PlayStation Store for May 30th

There’s a springtime sprinkling of free stuff on the PlayStation Store for the week of May 30th but I’m a little too busy today to write it all up. So here’s the quick and dirty roundup:

MOTHERGUNSHIP Demo: Gun Crafting Range
Craft gun monstrosities that no reasonable person could ever lift in the official MOTHERGUNSHIP: Gun Crafting Range Demo. MOTHERGUNSHIP mixes bullet-hell intensity with the FPS genre and promises you one of the largest gun customization options seen in video games. Want to build a gun with fifteen barrels that will cover all sides of the screen? Or do you prefer a shotgun that can shoot bouncing spike balls? Go for it! The design of your destructive arsenal is in your hands.

Spintires: MudRunner – The Ridge DLC
Expand your Spintires: MudRunner experience with Free DLC, The Ridge! Roll out with 2 new vehicles in a brand new map situated on the edge of a coast. A huge mountain ridge sits in the center and travelling between the two halves of the map will be a great challenge! To complete these objectives players will have to scavenge the map searching for fallen logs at different locations.

– A new map, The Ridge
– The D-538, a heavy-duty tractor
– Spare wheel addon
– Fuel canisters addon
– A loader addon
– The B-6A, a lighter weight tractor
– Fuel canisters addon
– Utility (fuel/repairs) trailer
– Fuel trailer

PixelJunk™ Monsters 2 Golden Outfits Pack
Behold these brightly shining golden masks and shells. Feel like King Midas!
Golden Outfits Pack includes:

– 4 Golden Masks
– 4 Golden Shells

Atelier Lydie & Suelle: Everybody’s Golf Collaboration Costume
A collaboration between Sony Interactive Entertainment title ‘Everybody’s Golf’ and ‘Atelier Lydie and Suelle ~The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings~’ to commemorate the 20th anniversaries of both series! It includes Erika’s costume for Lydie and Gloria’s costume for Suelle, to make them look just like the girls from ‘Everybody’s Golf.’

Shift Quantum – Reboot Static Theme
Connected to the cyber-noir action-puzzle platformer, you will be tasked to solve puzzles and create negative space by inverting the world to transform barriers into escape routes. Shift the world, twist your environment, bend your mind to unveil its secrets and solve each brain-drilling level.

Grab ‘n Go – Extra Fast!