Retailers Braced For PlayStation 4 Launch

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Sony’s PlayStation 4, Credit: Sony

By Fraser Ryan

Retailers across the UK are preparing for the release of the latest round of next generation gaming consoles as Sony launches the PlayStation 4 this Friday.

Sony’s console will hit shelves exactly one week after rivals Microsoft launched their Xbox One unit.

A spokesperson for Edinburgh retail complex Fort Kinnaird has said the park is prepared for an increase in customer activity this weekend and in the run up to Christmas. The spokesperson said: “We have already noticed an increase in shoppers as we get closer to Christmas and with the PS4 launching this weekend, we’re expecting even more people down at Fort Kinnaird to pick up the console and avoid disappointment.”

High street chain GAME have expressed their elation ahead of Friday’s launch. Martyn Gibbs, CEO of GAME said: “The excitement and anticipation for the PS4 launch is absolutely massive. We’re stepping into the next generation of gaming and this really is a fundamental shift for the industry.”

Gibbs went onto say his company feel this console cycle will prove to be the biggest ever, and GAME have made a point to make sure its customers do not miss out. Gibbs said: “The PS4 launch is going to surpass anything Playstation has done before – our pre-order numbers are around four times higher than the PS3 and we’re seeing those numbers grow every day. We’re delighted that we are able to bring additional last-minute stock to the UK market and keep delivering for the UK gaming communities and we can’t wait for the official launch.”

Online retailer Amazon have expressed their belief the PlayStation 4 will prove to be one of the biggest must-have gadgets this Christmas. Xavier Garambois, Vice-President of EU Retail for Amazon said: “[The PlayStation 4 is] a favourite for Christmas lists in 2013, we can expect these consoles to be keeping children and adults alike entertained on Christmas day and into 2014.”

PlayStation 4 is available from Friday 29th of November.

New Consoles Launch Amid Poor Review Scores and Developer Pressure

By Alasdair Crews

Microsoft's Xbox One, which launched earlier this month.  Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft’s Xbox One, which launched earlier this month. Credit: Microsoft

The successful launch of the new Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles has been overshadowed by poor game review scores. Both consoles launched in the U.S. earlier this month with both console producers, Microsoft and Sony, proclaiming that thier machine have sold more than one million units in North America within 24 hours of going on sale.

Unfortunately, the successful sales for both machines have been dulled by a succession of poor review scores for their flagship games. PlayStation 4 exclusives “Killzone: Shadow Fall” and “Knack” and Xbox One-only offerings “Ryse: Son of Rome” and “Zoo Tycoon” have received mixed reviews across the gaming press.

The added pressure game developers are under when working with new hardware could have contributed to the poor review scores.  An assistant producer with Ninja Theory, Colin Chang,  said: “With development of those titles having lasted at least two years and working on theoretical hardware (that changed as time went on) at the beginning of the next-gen SKUs. [It’s a challenge], especially if you’re a launch title with such a constrained deadline.”

Having to develop parallel versions of games for the new consoles, as well as the consoles already being on sale, has also affected quality.  Chang said: “I can imagine this would have affected third party publishers and developers like Activision and EA the most as they would’ve shipped 4-5 SKUs of games such as Call of Duty Ghosts and Need For Speed Rivals.”

Alongside the middling review scores, technical issues have plagued both new machines. Faulty disc drives in the Xbox One have led to Microsoft offering affected customers a free game download; whilst Sony has had issues with a blue light on the PlayStation 4 causing the console to reset itself and cause other operational issues.

Both companies maintain that the issues affect less than one percent of the consoles sold so far. With both consoles expected to be top sellers this Christmas, Microsoft and Sony hope that these issues remain isolated.

Related Story: Retailers Braced For PlayStation 4 Launch

Kinect moves gamers.

By Oliver Hughes

Last night avid gamers queued for hours in the November cold to get their hands on Microsoft’s latest, and

Microsoft have bigger living rooms then most.

distinctly “hands off”, piece of technology. Kinect works using the latest in motion control technology, implementing 3D infrared cameras to sense the gamers movement and generate an in game, virtual model from over 40 points of a players body working in almost real time.

[Read more…]

Expectations rise as Kinect is on the brink of release

The new XBOX game console and Kinect bundle

By Antonia Landi

The XBOX Kinect is scheduled for release in the UK and Europe this Wednesday, 10 November. As the eagerly anticipated motion sensor arrives in stores throughout the conuntry, reactions in the gaming community remain mixed.

The XBOX Kinect is the highly anticipated motion sensor add-on by Microsoft, promising you “hours of hands-free fun where you’re the controller.” It features a camera, microphone and a depth sensor, allowing the user to play videogames without the aid of a controller. While the Kinect is being marketed as a revolution in gaming, it is in fact the product of a recent trend that has swept through the community. Consoles like the Wii and the new Playstation 3 motion sensor controller are designed to make videogames more accessible to casual gamers. While this has proven to be greatly successful, it has also created a divide between ‘real gamers’ and ‘casuals’. Christian Mugiraneze, a member of staff at Gamestation Edinburgh states that “Motion controllers will alienate real gamers” and “controllers are for ‘real’ gamers”. At HMV Gamerbase in Edinburgh there will not be any Kinects available to buy on the day of release, as the store has already sold out of them for the next two deliveries. However, there are XBOX consoles available that include the Kinect, but these are selling fast as well. Both Gamestation and HMV Gamerbase have Kinects set up to try in their stores since Saturday. A member of staff at HMV Gamerbase said “it is an expensive add-on so it’s good to try it before you buy it.”

While the Kinect has attracted a lot of people, many gamers remain sceptical. Mr Mugiraneze describes consoles that rely on motion sensors to be designed to “bridge the gap between ‘easy gamers’ and ‘hardcore gamers'”, while members of staff at HMV Gamerbase agree that “there is something nice about having a grip on something” and that “generations of people grew up playing with consoles” and this is not likely to change anytime soon. Whether the Kinect will become a ‘second Wii’ and will focus entirely on appealing to casual gamers or if it will actually innovate the way we play videogames can only be answered once games will have been released for it. But with exciting releases already in the pipelines finding this out is at the very least likely to be a lot of fun.

Useful links:

Gamestation

HMV

Click here to go to HMV Gamerbase

Official Kinect website

Gamers spoiled for choice this Christmas

by Andrew Donaldson

Around a dozen new titles are flooding the market on Friday, as the video game industry prepares itself for the Christmas shopping period.

With the big day only around five weeks away, many of the industry’s biggest hitters see this week as the perfect opportunity to release their flagship games.

Top of the pile is New Super Mario Bros Wii.

Nintendo’s first 2-D Mario game on a home console since 1992 is a safe bet to top the sales charts come Christmas Day.

Meanwhile, for the sport fans out there, the Wii versions of Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 and Formula 1 2009 are also available from today.

But if Nintendo isn’t your thing, or you’re looking for something with a little more action, don’t worry.

Xbox 360 owners can at last get their hands on Valve’s long awaited first-person-shooter, Left 4 Dead 2 – exclusive to Microsoft’s system.

Another much anticipated sequel, Assassin’s Creed 2 from Ubisoft Montreal, is also available to pick up from today, on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

Also among today’s pile of releases on PS3 and 360 are Lego Indiana Jones 2, Dragon Age: Origins and Konami’s video game adaptation of the Saw movie franchise.

For those who prefer to do their gaming on the move however, today sees the unveiling of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky for Nintendo DS.

What will be in his stocking come the 25th?

But which game will prevail as the Christmas number one?

A spokesperson for the high-street retailer, Game, said: “So far we’re selling more copies of Assassin’s Creed 2 and Left 4 Dead 2 than the new Mario game.

“We had a lot of pre-orders for Left 4 Dead 2 and expect it to sell a lot over the next couple of weeks.

“Although we’ve sold a decent number for Lego Indiana Jones, we currently sell it as part of a console bundle, so it’s hard to tell if people are only buying it because it’s part of an offer.”

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