Tag Archives: Sony

Retailers Braced For PlayStation 4 Launch

sony-playstation-4-front-kit-macro-650x0
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

Michael Jackson music stolen

Sony music confirmed today that a number of Michael Jackson tracks were stolen when their website was hacked.

The security breach occurred in April last year, and Sony announced that as many as 70 million PlayStation Network users’ details may have been stolen. The theft of the Michael Jackson tracks came shortly afterwards, but was not revealed until now.

Sony will not confirm which or how many tracks were taken. The music company paid Jackson’s estate £158million for the rights to his remaining songs, some of which it released in the album Michael in December 2010.

It has not been established whether or not tracks from other artists have been affected by this hack. Two British men are due to stand trial for computer misuse in January 2013.

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.”

Is the Traditional Paperback Being Replaced by Technology?

Nintendo, the Japanese video games company, is set to announce a deal with publisher HarperCollins to make literary classics available to view on its handheld console, the Nintendo DS.

The collection of titles available for the tiny Nintendo have been dubbed The 100 Classic Book Collection. As expected this will include works by authors such as Shakespeare and Dickens.

nintendo-ds-liteAlthough the Nintendo has been very successful primarily as a portable games console, selling two million units in Britain, how will it stand up against other e-book competition?  Fellow Japanese giant, Sony, is trying to monoplise the market with The Sony Reader. This £199, Waterstones endorsed product can hold about 160 titles and thousands are available to download from Waterstones’ website.  Online retailer, Amazon, released the kindle in America this year, a product that also offers subscriptions to newspapers.

So will these flash products catch on?  Many readers have stated that ‘the good old book’ can’t be replaced and that the new electronic readers don’t give the same experience and flow. Understandable when the small lcd screens can sometimes only display a few sentences at a time.  The other school of thought hits on the new products’ top selling points; portability, choice and convenience. Nintendo executive James Honeywell said, “When you go on holiday, or if you’re a commuter, lugging around a big paper book can be a bit of an inconvenience. Now you’ve got this whole library that you’re taking with you.”

Nintendo has already paved a way for alternative applications for the DS with ‘games’ such as Brain Training and sudoku and has captured a different type of user from the stereotypical ‘games’ player.  By continuing to provide software for a varied audience and by branching out from staples like Pokemon the DS may well succeed in the book market. The 100 Classic Book Collection goes on sale on December 26.

Traditional book sales don’t seem too affected currently.  Not compared to the impact of mp3 downloads on the sales of hardcopy music. However, in a world of ever increasing technology and peoples’ desire for online conveniences, it has to be acknowledged there is definitely a new kid on the literary block.

by Will Esland