This week sees the Cold War turn hot, with the imminent the release of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. Newshogg-wrangler extraordinaire James McKibbin is trying to crush me under the weight of news bits this week, so let’s see how many I can be bothered turning into that sweet, sweet Newspice for you all.
He who controls the Newspice controls the Newniverse.
Let’s look at the news coming out of the Sony camp this week.
- Unsurprisingly, in the light of recent NSA leaks, the PlayStation 4 terms suggest that Sony can monitor your voice and text communications over PSN.
- Now is as good a time as any to look back at the PlayStation 3, and with its lifespan coming to an end this week the final tally comes in – 80 million consoles shipped.
- Sony confirms that there will be apps available at the US launch of the PlayStation 4. Remember when we called them “programs”, or even “applications”? Apps include Hulu, Netflix and some sports-related mcguffin.
- In news that will be exciting to… someone with a lot of friends – the PSN friends list will now allow you to have up to 2,000 friends. Now I just need to find another 1,990 friends.
- You know what the best thing about spending hundreds of dollars on a new console is? The literally tens of dollars of “free” stuff they throw in! With the PlayStation 4 you can expect to get 30-days of free access to PS+ and Music Unlimited, and a $10 voucher for the PSN store. North America only, so FUCK YOU IF YOU LIVE ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD YOU ABSOLUTE FUCKING SCUM. Ahem, sorry about that.
- Big ups to our Hong Kong based readers! (Now I’m tempted to load up the ol’ cPanel and see if we have a HK-based readership…). You may be happy to learn that you can expect the PS4 in your neck of the woods on December 17th – just in time for Xmas. Do they celebrate Xmas in Hong Kong? I was in Thailand for Xmas a few years back, and it seemed like they only cared about it for the sake of the tourists.
- If you’re feeling the hype for the PS4, you might be interested in Engadget’s thoughts based on their early experiences with the console, or you might be interested in Polygon’s (inherently ludicrous) review.
- If you’ve been paying any amount of attention to the Indie gaming sphere this year, apart from drowning in a seemingly-endless amount of phenomenal games, you may have heard a lot of chatter about Sony courting various indie devs to get their games on PSN and the Vita. Well, this continues into the Next Generation(TM) with both Don’t Starve and The Binding of Isaac being offered for free during the PlayStation 4 launch.
- Amazon continues to spread it’s commerce tendrils, this time launching a PSN storefront of its own. If the deals Amazon has been offering on Steam keys is anything to go by, you’ll want to keep an eye on this.
- The wait for Skynet continues, as Sony informs us the available voice commands will be limited at the launch of the PS4.
Let me ask a rhetorical question. Does anyone outside of the muppets used in commercials actually want any of this shit? Where is the killer app that justifies us being watched by robits? Where is the killer app that justifies us talking to our games like anti-social hermits that will jump at any chance to pretend they’re in a conversation?
- Sony fires a shot at Microsoft, securing exclusive content for the PlayStation version of Metal Gear Solid 5. Just remember that whoever wins, the consumer loses.
* * *
And now some news from the Micro of Softs.
- A few people received their Xbones early, with one enterprising fellow taking to twitter with some thoughts and screenshots. Moonlight Swami (if that is indeed his real name) managed to not only avoid massive repurcussions for the leak, but was in fact invited to the Xbone launch event.
- Remember Killer Instinct? I do, vaguely, but those memories are overshadowed by the Mighty Mighty Mortal Kombat 3. Anyway, a number of people are getting the entire roster of characters for the new Killer Instinct for nada as a thank you from Microsoft. I guess this means the game is F2P in the MOBA-style where you pay for characters then? Honestly, I haven’t been keeping up.
- Only the loyalest of customers, however, will get a free console.
- In the first actually useful, uhhh, use for Kinect that I’ve yet seen, your magical robo-eye can automagically enter serial codes for you. Now if only they could make it useful for the games, eh. What’s that? At launch Battlefield 4 on the Xbone will use the Kinect to simulate head tilting inside the game? Sorry, still not eating my hat over here.
- Apparently people just weren’t ready for an all-digital Xbone. It has nothing to do with people hating DRM and the controls the corporations are trying to keep on products that the consumer has previously been able to own (sorry kids, chances are you don’t actually own any of your media).
- Want to stream your old 360 games on the Xbone? _____ news everyone!
* * *
Despite a DDoS attack that saw their site go down during a funding drive, Extra Life still managed to raise a record 3.8 million dollars during their charity game marathon which ran for 25 hours. No doubt that the attention the charity gained due to people reporting on the attack helped them significantly, so some good came of it in the end.
* * *
Internet Killed the Video Star
It seems the Age of the Video Store has finally come to an end. Blockbuster in the US has announced that it will be closing 300 stores and ending its retail and mail-based business. These 300 closures follow on from 300 closures earlier in the year, so we can’t say we didn’t see this coming.
Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and (shhhhh) torrents have certainly taken a huge chunk of business away from the ol’ brick and mortar dinosaurs, but the lack of video stores could certainly lead to many gamers being unable to afford to play as many games as they have in the past. If you’d allow me to speculate, this could go one of two ways – either the big publishers pay attention to what Steam has been doing on the PC and they drastically lower prices to increase sales volume, or we’ll see even less diversity in our console games as the publishers become unwilling to take any risks. I truly hope it’s the former as we can’t afford less diversity in our big games – it’s already too much of a violent sausagefest.
* * *
Blizzards of the Best Coast
Blizzcon happened. Announcements were made. You might care?
- Duncan Jones (I still can’t believe he’s directing it) released a few details about the upcoming Warcraft movie. It’s going to be an origin story, and it’s going to follow both the Alliance and the Horde, rather than picking a side and designating them as the ‘good guys’.
- There were hints that Blizzard might tweak the pre-World-of Warcraft games to help them run on modern systems.
- World of Warcraft meanwhile, will continue to buck the MMORPG trend and not go F2P.
- Diablo III sells 14 million copies. No reports yet on how many of those were sold to China-based gold farmers. And despite the work they’ll obviously be doing on the game for the console releases, Blizzard denies gamepad support for Diablo III on PC… Which is kinda backwards really.
* * *
Bigger Piece of the (Humble) Pie
Not content with taking all of your money just through Bundle sales and the Humble Widget on developer websites, the greedy bastards at Humble Bundle have come up with a new way to take your money (in exchange for rather fine games at reasonable prices). This week they launched the Humble Store, and have even thrown in some introductory discounts to entice shoppers.
* * *
FTL: Feel The Love
weekendwarrio.rs favourite beleaguered space captain simulator is getting a massive and free update next year, as well as an iDevice release.
The new update includes a whole new sector and new events written by Tom Jubert (of FTL fame) and Chris Avellone (of Fallout, Wasteland 2, Project Eternity and Planescape: Torment fame), new ship systems including a Mind Control device, new weapons and a lot more.
If they just announce an alternative to the existing final boss battle then FTL: Advanced Edition would be a shoe-in for my 2014 GOTY.
* * *
I’ll end on a personal note – news only for anyone that follows this site closely. I shall personally be taking a step back from the site, beginning immediately (and by “immediately” I mean “a week or so ago”). After personally putting together between 3 and 5 posts nearly every week since the site launched, I’m feeling a little burnt out on gaming and plan to focus instead on my prose writing. I’ll still write about gaming when something grabs me, but expect that to happen far less often than it has this year.
Jake hopes to get more content together for the site, and I’ll still be editing everything before it gets posted, but expect things to get a bit quieter around these parts.