Tag Archives: PlayStation

Coffee Time News 15/07/15

Warcraft trailer coming in November, Gotham season 2 to bring in Calendar man, and the PS store sale kicks off with Journey.

Film

Idris Elba has been confirmed for the third Star Trek film, Star Trek Beyond, in a video by Omaze for charity that sees he and some of the stars of the series talking about how you could win a walk on role in the new film. 

The Splinter Cell movie, that will star Tom Hardy, and that is being put together by Ubisoft’s own motion picture department, has gone through another script re-write, but still has the Mad Max actor attached. These rewrites are possibly a good thing, as video game adaptations are not historically amazing, and rewrites means that they’re taking it somewhat seriously.

We will see the first trailer for Duncan Jones’ Warcraft, the film based on the hugely popular MMO, some time in November, his twitter has announced.

Television

American Horror Story will be on its fourth season this year, and this one’s set in a hotel. As well as the usual cast that we’re expecting to see, however, we have a guest star checking in; Lady Gaga. 

Emerald City the NBC live action television series that will be based on the land of the Wizard of Oz, has gained itself Self/less director Tarsem Singh.

Gotham season 2 promises to bring the Joker, as well as Mr Freeze to the centre stage, but showrunner Bruno Heller has come out and said that it’s possible they’ll be introducing both Calendar Man and Azreal in the upcoming season as well.

Games

Radical Entertainment’s biological weapon/open world destructo-thing, Prototype, and its sequel, Prototype 2, are now available on next gen (this gen?) consoles, Activision announced today without much to do. The bundle features all the available content wrapped up in an HD remaster.

Jager, the development team behind the incredible Spec Ops the Line have been dropped from their current project, Dead Island 2, publisher Deep Silver have announced today. 

Playstation’s summer sale is kicking off to a great start, with Journey and N++ being the first two that are available, with preordering the games netting you a 20% discount and a 10% whole cart coupon also up for grabs.

 

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Coffee Time News 09/12/14

Film

Pixar’s Inside Out won’t just focus on the main characters emotions, and will in fact feature the emotions of the parents as well, on top of that the setting for Finding Dory has been announced, with most of the film taking place in a marine research facility.

It’s been revealed by James Gunn that the character of Guardians of the Galaxy aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. He teases a darker, less noble side to out beloved guardians in the sequel.

What We Do in the Shadows is a mockumentary from the creators of Flight of the Conchords showing the lives of four Vampire flatmates. Yeah, it’s about as odd as you’d expect given the circumstances.

Television

There seems to be no end to superhero television shows, and now David S. Goyer has announced his new project Krypton, which will be centred around the fall of house El and Superman’s grandpappy.

Mark Hamill will reprise an old role from the original Flash TV show, in this season of the Flash,  in the form of The Trickster, who’s an anarchist slash Conman. 

Games

Two big patches for you; news on the fourth patch for Assassin’s Creed Unity, which is still being worked on but will hopefully solve a lot of the lingering problems with the title. The second is the second patch for Dragon Age Inquisition, which fixes dialogue issues and the Banter bug and will be released today, though not on the Xbox One.

Check out here for a rundown of the announcements from the Playstation Experience, including Octodad, Dadliest Catch, the new Street Fighter, as well as the fantastic Bastion (from the makers of Transistor) which will be released next year.

Fans of Nathan Drake should pop over to here for a 15 minute gameplay demo with a surprise voice actor at the end.

 

Is physical media on its way out?

Last week bastion of woe, Ben Kuchera (from Polygon), wrote that the days of owning games are coming to an end. This is not the first time that someone has written that owning physical media will be a thing of the past; to be replaced by digital download, except even this is facing competition from streaming.

For me personally I feel like I’m in a unique position in regards to my media consumption. I consume my media via the range of ways previously mentioned, yet I have no fondness for strictly sticking to just one, for they all have their advantages. For example in regards to my music collection I am one of those people who still buys CD’s (I’m listening to one as I write this), but my whole music collection is also digitised. This allows me to listen to my music when away from my CD’s (which was the case for most of my time at university) and also on the go on my iPod (the one Apple product I allow in my room). I do have a Spotify account, but the concept of not “owning” a music collection is not something that appeals, especially as it restricts me to being wholly dependent on a stable Internet connection.

However Google have created a solution that almost feels as if someone there was listening directly to me. This solution being that I can “upload” all of my music to my Google account (although most music is actually just acknowledged and associated with the copy Google already has on its servers) and then I can stream my music wherever I am, or I can download albums and/or songs to my phone or tablet for offline convenience. This has allowed me to experience the best of all worlds without constricting myself to just one, allowing real flexibility with for my music consumption.

“What about videogames, I thought you wrote about them on Thursdays?” So to bring it back to videogames; they are at a crossroads. E3 2013 demonstrated this dilemma, Microsoft wanted to provide ease of access wherever you are. Say you visit a friends house, but you forgot your copy of Forza, no worries, just sign in with your account and there it is. The one problem, and it was a big one, was that Microsoft failed to allow for those instances when you can’t connect to the Internet or are unfortunate enough not to have a great Internet connection, i.e. most of the world.

Unlike Google which included some offline functionality, Microsoft wrongly assumed that those buying the Xbox One would have stable connection by the virtue of the console being at home. Microsoft tried to explain that online connectivity was a built in requirement and it couldn’t function offline. On top of this due to the way that games could be used on other systems without the disc due to being assigned to an account, used games would no longer be a simple process. If this didn’t appeal to you the only alternative, which former Microsoft games head Don Mattrick provided, was to buy an Xbox 360.

Microsoft could have at least offered people an opportunity to opt out of the benefits that the online features brought in order to have an offline capable Xbox One rather than a £425 brick. Meanwhile Sony took full advantage of the situation and made a big deal about how their console allowed you to use your physical discs in the same way as you had done in the previous generation. They took this further by creating an “instructional video” which showed  Shuhei Yoshida (Sony Worldwide Studios President) simply passing a copy of Killzone to Adam Boyes (SCEA VP of Publisher and Developer Relations) and that one step was all that was needed. It was a non subtle jab at Microsoft, but this helped place Sony in high esteem among many gamers, and this good will is still paying off for them.

The thing is Microsoft thought they were helping to move people to the future, and whilst gamers aren’t necessarily afraid of the future (much less so than the general public), Microsoft’s approach was more forceful than people were prepared to accept. Sony were already investing in a streaming based solution for games, but weren’t ready to roll this out, although they are currently openly testing its PlayStation Now service which is in beta. This is the better solution as it allows the process to be a gradual one so that people can warm to the idea whilst also not simultaneously abandoning the previous options.

What came out of E3 2013 wasn’t necessarily an attachment to physical media, but the freedom of choice. Microsoft came out as being seen to restrict what people could do, whereas Sony were seen to be providing people with options. In comparison with the PC market it is fairly safe to say that physical media is dead. No one buys a physical game on PC anymore. This is because there is freedom. Even though most people buy their PC games through Valve’s Steam service, there are alternatives available such as GoG and the Humble Store (then there is also EA’s Origin and Ubisoft’s Uplay store). What’s more is that for some time now PC games have been noticeably cheaper than their console counterparts, and then there are the infamous Steam sales, which sees people purchase a large number of games, many of which will never be played for more than an hour, if at all.

I am about to make the transition to the next gen (current gen) but I will likely still be sticking mostly to discs for the time being. The irony now being that because AAA games have gotten so big, storing games on discs seems to be a better solution than relying on storing everything on the Hard Drive. Saying this I will still be upgrading the internal Hard Drive of the PS4 before I turn it on for the sake of future proofing (and to store games I get through PS Plus). With the PSN store offering better sales I will continue to increasingly but more digital games, continuing a trend that has increased during more ownership of a PS3. Ultimately the system that is now in place allows for a form of personal choice to go with what may be more convenient or better value of money. Physical media is still relevant, but it is just one choice, rather than the default.

 

Do betas work?

Last weekend the Destiny beta was opened to everyone after having been available to those who had preordered the game. The current state of betas is interesting, as for a long time there were exclusively an internal stage of game development. Something which the developers would use to try and identify any remaining bugs and determine where additional polish can be added.

Halo 3 changed all of this. It was not the first public software beta, nor was it the first videogame beta either, but it was the first to generate a substantial amount of hype. Microsoft knew that its existence would be so popular that they included it with Crackdown in an attempt to help it sell even more copies, even though the game was good enough to warrant a purchase on its own.

The Halo 3 beta contained three maps and showed off the new items that were being added to the series. In a sense the beta created a false perception in the minds of many what a beta is. This was because the beta was perfectly polished. It felt more like a demo than something which was put out to help test the game. Of course the reason for the beta was to test out the behind the scene workings of the game, specifically the server aspects. The aim was to try and put the servers under as much stress early on so that they could get a better idea of what would be needed for launch day, which undoubtedly put the servers under the most pressure they would face.

The beta wasn’t just for the benefit of Halo developer Bungie, as it was also an important test for the games publisher (and system owner) Microsoft. Halo 2 was a massive success and helped to highlight the benefits of Microsoft’s online service Xbox Live (XBL). Unlike Halo 2 which had a gradual uptake in users joining XBL, the Xbox 360 already had a running start with owners connecting to the service. Microsoft already had a rough of idea of how many people would be logging into the service on the launch of Halo 3 and knew that this was only going to increase with many people buying a console and XBL because of the game.

Therefore Microsoft had to be ready not just for Halo 3 to work correctly on launch, but the entire XBL service as well. As it was expected that XBL would be put under the most stress so far during its lifetime. This was a correct assumption as at the time the Halo 3 launch was the biggest videogame launch of all time. Despite this the launch went off without a hitch, XBL didn’t crash and everyone was able to log in and play Halo 3 online.

Due to the success of the beta, other companies began to utilise the idea, as in the run up to the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Activision and Infinity Ward released a beta for the game. Unlike the beta for Halo 3 this was a true public beta with anyone able to join, but it also served the same purpose of finding glitches as well as helping to determine the optimum weapon balance. For a game like Call of Duty weapon balance is an important aspect of competitive play, yet the whole experience seemed to be more an exercise to generate more excitement and to reassure people about the dramatic shift in setting from the previous games in the series. Although it is odd to criticise this beta for that reason, when from my experience I found it had more disconnects and glitches than the Halo 3 beta, proving that it was still a proper beta. I also need to point out that the final game at the time had one of the best multiplayer experiences, so whilst the series no longer puts out public beta’s, it paid off in this instance to do so.

This year Bungie once again felt the need to allow people to help them test their game, but the difference this time is that it is a brand new series and it is always online, making this type of testing even more important. Furthermore now that Bungie is no longer a part of Microsoft and is now working with (but not owned by) Activision, they have been able to go multiplatform. This in part can explain the focus on testing with PlayStation systems (and quite likely behind the scenes business deals), with all PS4 users getting an exclusive alpha. This proved useful for Bungie as it highlighted aspects such as Peter Dinklage’s voice over for the ghost, which they were able to change by the time the beta was released.

Whilst the alpha was an opportunity to gage the opinions from those playing the game for the first time, the beta was all about stress testing the servers in readiness, afterall the game launches in just over one months time. With the beta mostly being available to those who had pre-ordered it also served as a form of early access to help reignite peoples excitement for the game before its release with the hope that they will spread the word. There was notable hype when the beta first launched, with my Twitter feed becoming inundated with tweets, images, and Vines from the game, and this only increased when the beta became open to everyone (although I spent more time playing then checking Twitter).

The Destiny beta was successful as it both helped Bungie in their preparation for the imminent release as well as help provide a chance for people to get a good preview of the game and help them make up their mind now whether they want to get it. Personally I have been on the fence for quite some time, but the beta has definitely helped sway me.

You can read more of mine and Joe’s thoughts about the game here.