Recent Video Game News.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Upcoming PlayStation 5 Features And Ideas Of Next-Gen Gaming

The PlayStation 4 is barely out of its box in terms of a console life cycle.
But with so many recent advances - PlayStation Now, pre-loading games, YouTube streaming and PlayStation TV to name but a few - we're thinking about the future of black boxes under the television.
Is there one or are we just looking at Sony TVs shipping with a DualShock 4 from here on in rather than a PS5 console?
A PlayStation 5 will land in some form but what's most interesting is whether it'll be the big component packed box we've grown accustomed to heating our living rooms, a palm sized streaming device or an invisible power ever present on our televisions or even iPhones and iPads.
Gazing back 20 years to the original PlayStation and its successors – yes, you're that old – it's fascinating how little really changed until the internet explosion of the last few years.
Into each generation a whirring box under the TV was born, complete with disc support and a whole bundle of the newest components but it's only now, as we Remote Play content live to our PlayStation Vitas and play seamless online multiplayer in games like Destiny, that it really feels like the future has arrived.
When a PS5 comes a calling, this is the time for things to change. Or is it?
crash bandicoot

Disc Are So 20 Years Ago

Now that PlayStation Now and streaming capabilities should be the norm by Christmas let alone in five years' time, shouldn't we scrap the disc drive already?
We can hear it from here. Despite the magazine dropping the legendary demo disc in the middle of last year, ex editor of Official PlayStation Magazine, Ben Wilson disagrees.
"Steam on PC has taught us that disc drives are becoming less and less necessary, but I can't see them being phased out completely for a while yet," he says.
"People love their boxed products, and 'experts' have been predicting the 'imminent' demise of the CD for more than 20 years. Remind me how that one has turned out? There will always be those who prefer special editions and sexy packaging to invisible downloads, and it's those guys and girls who'll ensure disc drives live on within gaming in some form."
Looking at the ages of the people investing in technology (that's us remember, and let's be honest, we're not getting any younger) we do still have the desire to buy physical products despite their ready availability online.
But it's not just PlayStation (and better pricing on the PlayStation Store) that needs to evolve here. Our broadband speeds largely still leave much to be desired and a solid online infrastructure will have to be implemented before we depend solely on fibre-optic wires to get our gaming fix.
Adding an extra hurdle to a disc-less world, there's yet another reason why the upcoming preloading feature will be like a gift from the PlayStation gods. Size.
"I'd argue that the ever-expanding size of games would cause significant issues for a digital-only machine," says Matt Pellett, current editor of Official PlayStation Magazine.
"Both in terms of download times and the number of games people could store on their hard drive at any one time."
So far, then, we're still looking at a disc drive and an ever increasing storage space for PlayStation 5...
ps5 games

PlayStation Now is the time

Sony's PlayStation release dates

PS5 dualshock 5

  • PlayStation: 1994
  • PlayStation 2: 2000
  • PlayStation 3: 2006
  • PlayStation 4: 2013
  • PlayStation 5: ?(2020)
In swaggers PlayStation Now to fix all these problems. Game size? No problem. It's all in the cloud.
Choice? In five years or so, Sony could have filled it with every game on their back catalogue. Is this enough? Or could this pose even more problems for the future of PlayStation?
"If we end up in a place where streaming games is the norm, like it has become in the movie/box-set rental market, then the console itself is under threat," says PC Gamer's resident tech expert Dave James. "And if there's no actual console, what do the developers target and what do they develop on and how does Sony make its money?"
So a physical console still seems the most attractive prospect here for Sony. PlayStation Now seems an excellent solution as an additional feature, especially for accessing games from previous generations, saving you blowing the dust off that enormous original PS2 you've not been able to say goodbye to.
Another matter is the thorny issue of cost. If we've shelled out for the newest console, what's the sting for the back catalogue?
"The big talking point of the PlayStation Now Beta has been the price-point," says Pellett.
"Sony needs to get this right in order to be as competitive in the streaming market as it is in the console hardware market. With Sony's library of games and the ability for people to revisit the games they can't play on PS4 – and in some cases can't buy these days – it could become a hugely important part of the PlayStation family."
The suggestion of the PlayStation family here is important. As we know, Sony will be shipping Sony Bravia TVs with PlayStation Now built in but this won't be a replacement for the PS4 or any future consoles.
Too much rests on the power from our home consoles as new tech appears on the horizon. Yes, we're looking at you Project Morpheus.
ratchet and clank

4K and the VR revolution

Project Morpheus looks like the future. No, really.
The baying for an Oculus Rift consumer version has proved that virtual reality might just have a place in our living rooms after all and Sony's Morpheus announcement came just at the right time. Is the future of PlayStation inside a headset?
"Between PS Now and Project Morpheus, PlayStation 4 is well-placed to evolve dramatically in the years ahead," considers Pellett. "In five years we may well not only be buying our games in a different way, but the types of games we'll be playing in the first place could very well be different to what we're experiencing now."
So more shark based diving experiences then.
It seems clear that, like PlayStation Now, Morpheus is a strong addition to the PlayStation brand but an add-on to the main event which still happens to be that whirring console we can't get rid of. Yet as 4K televisions raise their ugly but oh-so-pretty heads, how can the PlayStation 4 cope with the extra processing power necessary for extra pixel production?
little big planet
"Given the rapid price drops of 4K TVs, and the likelihood of increased adoption, I think Sony is going to need to produce a PS4K hardware update in the next couple of years to increase the GPU horsepower," says Dave James.
"With both latest-gen consoles battling to play native games at just 1080p there is no chance of them ever being capable of running at a native 4K resolution without a serious change in components.
"Given the processor manufacturer supplying the silicon design for both consoles is constantly iterating on that technology it should be relatively simple for Sony to upgrade the components, and as it will still be an x86-based platform it would be backwards compatible. But whether Sony would want to do that, creating a two-tier PlayStation 4 ecosystem, is tough to say."
A PlayStation 4.5, rather than a 5 almost makes sense, given Sony's clear investment in the development side of things.
"Speaking with different developers it's clear that PS4 has been designed with external studios at heart," explains Pellett.
"I've been assured it's the easiest console to develop for in PlayStation history, which is as good as an open-door invitation for teams to make games for PS4."
This strong investment in the development side of things means Sony clearly doesn't think their box is going anywhere anytime soon. Any successor is going to follow in this parallelogram's footprint.
ps5 uncharted

The evolution of PlayStation

The PS Vita's Remote Play feature already hints at the miracles of new ways we can play but can features such as PlayStation Mobile extend the console experience even further?
And can future PlayStation updates deliver that?
"The thing I most want is to see PlayStation Mobile on iOS," says Ben Wilson. "The issue, of course, is that it would require Sony and Apple to clamber into bed together, which isn't going to occur anytime soon.
"But perhaps by the time PS5 rolls around, and there's even more scope for cross-platform sharing, we will see a way in which you can start a Call Of Duty 21: Robots vs Zombies campaign on console in the morning, continue it on iPad in the afternoon, and compete it on your phone at 2am while the rest of the household snores in unison."
It appears that we can't escape this idea of a home console. As a processing hub, an independent gaming power not necessarily dependent on the internet, a unit to centre our experiences around and plug extra peripherals into and a centre of the PlayStation universe.

Why the PS5 could be the cheapest console ever

First published January 2014 The PlayStation 5, whether you like it or not, will exist in some form or another and chances are it will look less like the future and more like what we already know.
"Look at the evolution of PS3 from launch day to now, and then consider that the PS4 was designed from the ground up to evolve in the years after its release," considers Pellett. "Even with simple updates, the PS4 under my TV today is going to be unrecognisable to the PS4 under my telly in 2019 – despite being the same box."
While 4K TVsSteam Machines and cool car tech are all well and good, by far the most exciting thing to come out of CES this week is the launch of Sony's PlayStation Now.
It's not only an exciting new gaming service, but also a mesmerising hint at the destiny of the PlayStation brand and the future of gaming in general. This is the beginning of a cosmic shift in the paradigm of gaming, and it's happening right here, right now. Be excited.
In case you missed the announcement, PlayStation Now is at first-sight a simple game-streaming service that will initially enable both the PS4 and PS3to stream PlayStation 3 games over the internet.
You'll be able to select a game and begin streaming it immediately, meaning absolutely no delay in getting the game up and running. Instantaneous PS3 gaming, no loading times at all. Awesome!

But there's more. Lots more.

"The PS5 could well be a cheap little streaming box with no disc drive"
Game streaming functionality will later arrive on the PS Vitaand, far more excitingly, Bravia TVs. Yep, using a DualShock 3 pad, you'll be able to play full-blown PS3 games, in HD, on your big TV, without the need to own a PlayStation console. Incredible!
But wait. There's still more.
Eventually, PS Now will offer not only PS3 games, but PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 games - not only on the PS3, PS4, PS Vita and Bravia TVs, but also on third-party TVs, smartphones and tablets as well. All without needing to own a games console. Wow.
Games will be available to rent on a one-off basis, with unlimited Netflix-style monthly PSN subscriptions a payment model Sony is likely to pursue aggressively.
That's right, the future of gaming lays entirely in software, services and super-fast internet connections and not in expensive black boxes.
PlayStation Now

What it means for gaming

Play any PlayStation game on any device with a screen. All you need is an internet connection. Amazing.
What this essentially means is that the days of paying $400 for PlayStation hardware are numbered. In fact, it's very possible that the PlayStation 5 (make no mistake, there will still be a PS5) will be a cheap-as-chips $50 set-top box that will do nothing other than stream content from the great PlayStation publishing cloud in the sky.
After all, who would pay excessive prices for a console that does nothing you can't do on your existing tech? Sony has never been able to make money from PlayStation hardware anyway, in fact it generally makes a loss. Woohoo cheap gaming for everyone!
Of course, this has long been mooted as a likely solution for gamers of the future. OnLive has already been streaming games for some time, and when Sony purchased Gaikai and it's game streaming technology in the summer of 2012, the writing was on the wall. But no one really knew what the plan was. Now we do.
So here we are, at the start of 2014 walking into a world where all Sony Bravia TVs could ship with a DualShock controller by default and offer access to every PlayStation game ever made. All you need is a robust connection, and that will certainly be the biggest obstacle to this tech becoming mainstream. That and the fact that PlayStation Now is initially only launching in a closed US trial with no worldwide launch date even hinted at. But it's coming...

The future of gaming

This news might miff some who've has just splurged a wad of cash on a PS4 or Xbox One, but don't worry - this cloud-based future is a way off yet. But it means the audience for games in the near future will be far, far bigger. It means graphics in games will no longer be bottlenecked by years-old console components.
It means more and better PlayStation games. Possibly even cheaper games as developers battle for your game-hours. The possibilities of this future really are endless and they're up for discussion right now. What's certain is that it's great news for gamers like you and me.
The games console is dead. Long live PlayStation.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Bloodborne Hands-on Preview: Dying Is a Sure Thin

Bloodborne seems to carry over this formula for the most part, but the way in which it’s presented is far more inviting. The demo I played was short, but long enough for me to understand what developer From Software is going for. At the start of the demo I was able to chose from four different character builds; A swordsman, a heavy weapons expert, a mix of swords and heavy weapons and an agile character with light weapons. I chose the heavy weapons expert which also allows the use of a revolver.

Once the demo started I was placed in a dark gothic town named Yharnam, with no instruction of what to do. Visually the game is stunning, the lighting is really well done to the point that you feel the darkness of the environment when there’s no street lamps around. The environment was empty besides the giant men and monstrous creatures lurking around. Slaying the weaker enemies in the area gave me a nice feel for the controls. I say they were weaker enemies only because they were nothing compared to what you face later in the demo. Even if they are weaker in comparison you still have to tread carefully, because swinging your weapons in an untrained manner will result in eventual death. Your timing and your ability to evade attacks will come into play a lot throughout this game, and that’s easier said than done when you’re facing multiple enemies at different angles.

After slaying the first few enemies I had my first slow moment. There were two gates which were locked, so I had to figure out a way to progress to the next area. Thankfully my delay in figuring out the way forward was more due to my slowness than the game intentionally trying to be complicated, which is usually the case with the Dark Souls games. Once I got to the next area the real challenge started, and I suffered my first death. It was here that I realized I had to approach combat with more tact instead of entering with pure aggression.
I didn’t make it much further, I’ve heard there’s a nasty boss in the demo. The fact that I didn’t even make it to him shows my lack of experience with From Software’s style of games, as well as the learning curve for new players. Still, even with the difficulty I never felt put off by the game, and I still want to play it. Dying only makes you understand what you have to do to be successful the next time.
Overall it was an extremely short demo, so its difficult to judge a game of this scope on with such little time. But from what I played I can tell this game will be popular to anybody who’s enjoyed the Souls games, particularly Demon Souls. As someone who hasn’t had much experience with the Souls games, I can honestly say I will be buying Bloodborne after playing this short demo. The difficulty makes me determined to keep playing, rather than deterring me completely.

Bloodborne's Closed Alpha Kicks Off Tomorrow

A few weeks ago Sony sent out invites to select PlayStation 4 owners with an invitation to join a "small scale" closed alpha for From Software's Bloodborne and this initial test of the game is set to start tomorrow, as pointed out by AllGamesBeta
At the time Sony commented, "The small-scale test is being conducted in order to gather community feedback and data to improve Bloodborne’s online experience.TheBloodborne Alpha Test is not final. Players may experience bugs and incomplete features that do not represent the final product. Thank you for helping us create a better experience for all fans when the game launches early 2015." 
However, the test is very limited and access will only be possible between the following times: 18:00 - 21:00 (BST)/19:00 - 22:00 (CET) on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of this week. 
In all, you'll have nine hours to play the game if you're part of the alpha. It's not a huge amount of time but it should give you a fairly comprehensive taste of what to expect and it's certainly longer than some entire campaign modes.
Bloodborne will be released in Japan on February 5th, 2015 and a day later in the West. Hopefully there will be more open tests of the game between now and then. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Video Games Are GOOD For You.

 Do you know what I didn't do this morning? I didn't run down the street, throw an old woman out of her car, take it for a joy ride then smash in windows with a baseball bat.

And yet, I've played Grand Theft Auto V.

Am I a miracle of modern science? Should I be tested in a lab, drained of bodily fluids to create an antidote to distribute to the masses? Of course not. The stigma associated with video games really is... well, it's just bloody annoying.

Just because people slay zombies, shoot bad guys, punch monsters and drive irresponsibly in the virtual world, doesn't mean it's going to turn us into real world hooligans.

In fact, I'm going to be bold and say that I think video games are good for us.

Yeah, you heard.'m going to start of with some science if that's OK.

Last year, a group of German researches published results of an experiment in which 23 adults with an average age of 25 played Super Mario 64 for 30 minutes a day for two months, while another group didn't play any games at all.

Using an MRI machine, the gaming group were found to have a rise in grey matter in the right prefrontal cortex, cerebellum and hippocampus. These are the areas of the brain responsible for memory creation, fine motor skills and strategic planning.

I'm not saying that gaming turns you into a lightning-fast, strategic savant, but keeping your noggin on its toes can only be a good thing, especially as you get older.

Additional tests on brain-teasing games have also shown how they might help slow down the mental-ageing process, in a similar way to crosswords, sudoku and other activities that give your brain a work out.

None of these studies have actually definitively proven that a game a day should be added to your fruit and veg count of course, but they do show positive effects games may have on our minds. Speaking of which...

They’re fun
Hopefully you already knew this but video games are actually fun. Very fun. Who doesn't like fun? Buzz Killington, that’s who. They're also very good for stress.

There's nothing like coming back home after a long day in the office, and losing yourself in a fantasy world in which you fight dragons, wield magical spells and buy tonnes of cheese wheels to roll down the side of a huge mountain, just because you can.

Video games are a form of escapism and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just as long as you're not letting them take over your life.

Pro tip: If you're beginning to smell, it's time to put down the controller, take a shower and go smell the roses, if you've got any.

Last night, I played Destiny for two hours with a French bloke living in Sweden, and a half Pole, half German person – both of whom I randomly teamed up with. We chatted about the usual stuff – nothing groundbreaking but it was just nice hanging around and relaxing while shooting up bad guys.

Throw in some real life mates (I have some, honest) and let the banter flow faster than the bullets. Just don’t insult anyone’s mother, OK?As long as you’re sensible – meaning you shouldn’t let little Timmy play Super Sexy Zombie Killer XXXTREME 7 – videogames are a healthy, fun hobby with plenty of benefits.

Happy gaming.

From @StuffTv

Sunday, September 28, 2014

‘Bloodborne’ is Going to Be Really, Really Hard

If you were worried that, in their attempt to make Bloodborne a more mainstream game, developer From Software would soften the unforgiving nature and steep difficulty shared by the Dark Souls series that inspired it, you can stop that now. Earlier this month, producer Masaaki Yamagiwa and marketer Yasuhiro Kitao took to the stage to reveal some surprising statistics.

As DualShockers reports, of the nearly 5,000 people who played its demo at PAX and TGS, only 60 — about 1% — were able to successfully complete it. That’s promising.

Final Fantasy 15 Demo Time Is 1 Hour,Kingdom Hearts 3 May Not Feature Frozen

final fantasy versus 13 ps3
Following the irksome and not at all surprising revelations that Final Fantasy 15 is only around 50-60 percent actually complete and with a demo build coming soon, the game’s director Hajime Tabata has revealed that the demo can be completed in around an hour or so. He says, “I think in general the play time is about an hour. However, that’s if you use the car to get around,”
However, similar to the slightly controversial Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes (which is often compared to a long demo), players can return to it for extra challenges that boost the play time. “By the way, you can also play it for additional challenges, so you can spend more time with it. For example, in order to obtain a strong weapon, you can venture into the dungeon that has monsters stronger than the ones above ground.”
Now a one hour demo is decent enough, but if you think that reflects poorly on the overall length of the game, think again. Tabata goes on to say, “I’m assuming that the actual game will take about 40 hours to clear, so comparing it in simple terms, the demo is about 1/40th of the actual game’s content.”
There have also been some revelations regarding the appearance of the Disney IP “Frozen” in Kingdom Hearts 3. These would appear to be false, having been put down to nothing more as speculation being misinterpreted as fact.
The stories of Kingdom Hearts X and Kingdom Hearts 3 are tied to each rather closely. Because of this the two games are being developed at the same time and Kingdom Hearts 3’s development cycle is moving ahead well and currently still on schedule despite having some issues with engine related design problems. This is likely a reference to Sora’s normal moving speed being too high, making players feel untouchable.
While giving considerable thought to making a HD version of Kingdom Hearts 3D and still developing Kingdom Hearts 3, Square Enix have plenty of offers and plans that they will prioritize and address first. So stay tuned for more details.