Tag Archives: PS4

Sony v. Microsoft: The Console Wars

Over the course of the 2000s, two major companies have been competing for the attention of the serious gamer. The Xbox and the PlayStation consoles have both been integral to the advancement of not just gaming technology, but the driving force behind a few technological advancements. Sony’s PlayStation series has been known as the go-to console for most serious gamers, while Xbox focuses on being the all-in-one console. The different advertising strategies often attract different people, but with advancements in modern day systems, the main differences will be the exclusives and aesthetics.

ConsoleThe first iteration of PlayStation came out in the late 1990s, and stayed the leading console for many years. For the longest time, Sony had no competition, that is until the early 2000s when Microsoft released their flagship console, Xbox. Over the course of the next couple of years the two companies would start to sync up their release dates and start a pattern of pumping out new consoles. Every 5-6 years a new console is released but within those years are mid-cycle upgrades. For the two companies, they release a slim, and then a slightly more upgraded version (in terms of processing power) around a year later.

ConsoleOne key problem faced with these consoles is future proofing. When a new console is sent out every year there isn’t much room for improvement. Many people won’t buy a new system unless there is a significant change. With the introduction of Project Scorpio Microsoft aimed to create a system that would be one of the most powerful. With boasted true 4k gaming Microsoft’s current console, the Xbox One X, has the most powerful processor to date. As well as this they have made their newest console backwards compatible all the way to the original Xbox. Their mission is to make console gaming comparable if not better than computers.

PlayStation’s main focus is a little more different than Xbox’s, where Xbox focuses more on graphics, PlayStation focuses on content. Overall both consoles have good exclusive games, but PlayStation can brag about having a higher percentage of high reviews on their games. Sony’s newest upgrade to the PS4 is the PS4 Pro. This console says it has a 4k experience, but in all actuality it uses a process called supersampling . This process can lower the frame rate of a game, which is very bad when dealing with games that require quick responses. However, Sony’s PlayStation VR is one of the leading headsets in terms of gaming graphics. So much so that they have said they don’t want to advance any farther than they are now, so as to not scare away future competition. When asked about the future of VR in their consoles, Microsoft simply shrugged off the question and instead pointed out their new features of game sharing and backwards compatibility. Unfortunately, PlayStation is more focused on the future of gaming, so they will not be incorporating backwards compatibility.

One problem suggested with the speed of advancements in gaming technology today is that by the time a console is finished, it will already be outdated. A good point to bring up is how Sony released the PS4 pro with already next level graphics, only to be outdone by Microsoft the next year. To combat this both companies can be seen talking about producing consoles faster, or with better gear. The latter will make consoles more expensive and the former will make consoles less worth purchasing.

-Roberto Estrella

Gaming Your Emotions: Life is Strange and the Graphic Adventure Genre

I have always been far more intrigued by emotional appeal and the effects of good storytelling than by explosions, violence, or action. Perhaps that is why I was never a big gamer growing up. Now, before you eviscerate me in the comments, I am FULLY aware that games are much more than the three things I listed above, but what I am saying is this: in entertainment, I was looking for emotional appeal, and I got that mostly from movies.

All of that changed this past August, however, when I played a game called Life is Strange.

Life is Strange is an episodic Graphic Adventure game by a small production company called Dontnod Entertainment. The game revolves around a high school senior named Maxine (Max) Caulfield, who suddenly discovers she has the ability to ‘rewind’ time and alter the events of the past. The vast majority of the game is spent making decisions for Max which will ultimately affect events that occur later in the game (a staple of the Graphic Adventure genre).

I won’t go into the details of the story from there (you should play it for yourself!), but suffice it to say, I was hooked. I played the entire 14-hour story, all five episodes, in about three days. I never game that way. I was a recluse, sealed away in my dark basement with cans of 7Up piled around me, wearing PJs and headphones and only leaving to eat and (occasionally) socialize. But my time as a hermit got me thinking: why did this particular game affect me so much? And did it have the same effect on others?

I had to investigate.

life-is-strange

After finishing the game and wiping literal tears from my eyes (seriously, it’s great, play it), I took to Google to see if other people shared my experience. The results, it turned out, were astonishing. Of course, not everyone shared my experience, but it seemed like quite a few people, more than one might think, were deeply and truly affected by this game.

But, as amazing as Life is Strange is, why is it not the explosive hit that so many lesser other titles are? Shouldn’t everyone want to play this incredible, life-altering game?

The issue lies in the type of game that Life is Strange is. Graphic Adventure games lack much of what the general public wants from video games: they are lengthy, they lack action, they are dialogue and cut-scene driven, and they tend to tug at the heart strings more than the adrenal glands. They are, in many ways, video games’ answer to weird, arthouse cinema (which, incidentally, happens to be my favorite kind of cinema…). But is that a model that can still be profitable?

For the developers, yes. For the gaming industry as a whole? Of course not.

According to an article published on mcv.com, Life is Strange sold more than 1.2 million copies worldwide. This is a fantastic achievement for a little-known indie game from an even lesser known developer. But that achievement can seem minimal when compared to the successes of genre-giant Telltale Games, whose Graphic Adventure adaptations of The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and The Wolf Among Us have enjoyed massive critical acclaim and financial gains.

the walking dead promo art

But there is always another perspective. Yes, Telltale achieved a huge victory with The Walking Dead, their most successful game, selling around 8.5 million copies and bringing in more than $40 million. However, the newest Call of Duty game sold 21 million copies and brought in $840 million. So while The Walking Dead was a huge victory for Telltale, it barely ranked in the greater gaming industry. That is not necessarily a bad thing, however. As long as these games keep making money for their developers, we will keep seeing them.

What it does mean, though, is that these games aren’t going to be the huge hits we want them to be quite yet. Graphic Adventures are amazing, and people should play them, but they haven’t quite reached ‘water-cooler conversation’ status. We have a tendency to believe that, when something is really good, people should just naturally flock to that thing (we can call that the Netflix phenomena). But that’s not how pop-culture works. You need staying power, you need big money behind you, and you need a solid reputation. Telltales’ reputation is solid, yes, but it’s being shaken more and more as Telltale wades into the mainstream.

Like I said, none of this even remotely spells doom for Telltale or any other Graphic Adventure developer, but perhaps we should reign in our expectations just a tad.

So enjoy your trips to Arcadia Bay, fight your way through the hordes of Walkers, and brace yourself (winter is coming). After all, maybe we shouldn’t be so anxious for these games to explode into popularity. Graphic Adventure games are, after all, about you. Your experience, your adventures, and your emotions.

What you decide to do with that experience after the game is over, is entirely up to you.

Carrsan T. Morrissey

It’s the Only Game in Town: MLB Monopoly on PlayStation

PlayStation’s exclusive release of MLB: The Show 16 continues to stir the pot and pens of disgruntled Xbox gamers, pushing many so far as to jump online and start signing petitions at the online petitioning site, Change.org. Xboxers by the hundreds have posted, begged and pleaded their case for a baseball game to rival MLB: The Show, on the XBOX USERVOICE, the device’s feedback site. The disappointment for some can be felt from coast to coast.

mlb the show 16“Some of us have been begging for a true MLB game for years and fallen on deaf ears,” a Twitter user wrote to Xbox Head Phil Spencer in March. The executive dismissed the idea that Microsoft hasn’t heard these suggestions and claimed that a third-party game would be something Microsoft would support.

Here’s the big beef: For those without access to a PS3 or 4 they can’t play MLB: The Show 16, developed by Sony San Diego and published by Sony Computer Entertainment America. Sony has a monopoly.

But who wouldn’t want a virtual version of America’s favorite pastime? Classic stadiums, the addition of new legends hype the nostalgia prone gamer. I understand why non-PS3 and 4 owners are miffed.

Sony’s PlayStation MLB: The Show is the most popular baseball video game to ever hit the shelves. The launch date for this whopper 11th edition of the MLB: The Show franchise was on March 29, 2016. No statistics were released for Xbox’s RBI third party game, but MLB 16: The Show hit a homerun in sales compared to 2015 sales. Check out the sales numbers thanks to VGchartz.com.

mlb the show sales

Sony has hit a dinger in branding, advertising, licensing, trademarking and partnering with MLB to promote a game that is so great it nearly sells itself. Sony advertises MLB: The Show across all platforms, from T.V. commercials to online advertisements. MLB: The Show is packaged and promoted in various bundles (GameStop Bundle) or individually, enhancing total unit sales.

mlb crybabyStop being crybabies all you without a PS3 or 4! It’s not like Sony misled you. Sony has been quiet and happy with their MLB: The Show series. It’s the Xbox creators who haven’t stepped up. Sony has been more than upfront by noting, Only on PlayStation on all packaging. Xbox has come to the realization that MLB: The Show is only going to be provided on PlayStation gaming devices.

Xbox has made it clear that their answer to PlayStation’s MLB: The Show is RBI. Xbox has gone on to notice that baseball games are “not hits”. Xbox has partnered with HB Studios to create their version of America’s favorite pastime sport, and I mean past time…the graphics look like the Stretch Armstrong action figures! Check out the difference in the trailers between Xbox’s RBI and PlayStation’s MLB 16:

XBox third-party game: RBI vs. PlayStation MLB 16: The Show

Anyone who develops a product should be able to sell it to whomever they want, whenever they want and for whatever price they want. A strong product design, pitched at a loyal demographic group, will always keep gamers and customers coming back for more.

Now, back to my Monopoly reference. A quick definition check of the word monopoly gives us the following: the exclusive possession or control of something; a company or group that has such control; the market condition that exists when there is only one seller. BINGO, Sony PlayStation and MLB: The Show—thanks for continuing to hit home runs!

So my fellow players and gamers, get off the bench and splurge for a PS3 or PS4 so you too can get in on the action with MLB: The Show 16. Keep in mind, baseball is one of the few clock-less sports. And that’s how I like my gaming.

“To win, nothing else matters, and nothing else will do.” – Sanford “Sandy” Koufax, 1935, American baseball left-handed pitcher.

Don’t have a PS3 or 4, why so? Feel that you’ve been let down by Xbox? If so, why?

Marshal Lamb

Thwip to the PS4: Sony Nets an Exclusive for Their Console

Here comes Spiderman! “Only on the PS4,” says the gaming news website Polygon. So…yeah…

Why would Marvel allow a Spiderman game to be only available on the PlayStation 4 gaming console? This should come across as an outrage to everyone who owns an Xbox. Which yeah, it is.

Spiderman PS4

So, I decided to research why the new Spiderman game is PS4 exclusive, and the history Marvel and Sony have together. Spiderman PS4 was created as a AAA game with Sony, Marvel, and Insomniac Games all playing a part.

There are not many details about the game right now. GameSpot has reported that this game will not be tied to the movie Spiderman: Homecoming, but will be a completely stand-alone game with an older, experienced Peter Parker.

Marvel doesn’t want to stop just with Spiderman. They want to create an entire gaming universe. According to VentureBeat, the seeds for a video-gaming Marvel universe have been planted. Marvel seems to be connecting through mobile games and micro-transactions.

Basically, premium in-game currency will be the same for all Marvel games. This however does not really impact me because I don’t play mobile games. This could lead to more exclusive deals with Sony and Marvel for the PS4. Sure, the PS4 is not a mobile device, but this could lead to more PS4 only games.

According to CinemaBlend, the studios worked out a deal that will have each respective studio receiving the profits from the movies they make with Spider-Man.

So Marvel doesn’t have to share profits with Sony for Civil War or The Avengers. At the same time, Sony will benefit completely from the profits made by the solo Spider-Man movies, which appear to be being made under the Sony umbrella.

In essence, the two studios have agreed on a system that allows them to share Spider-Man, and each use them to their own ends. So, Sony and Marvel realized that sharing is caring.

Personally, I have a really good feeling about the new Spiderman game and movie. This could provide Marvel to gain an upper hand on the PS4 network compared to D.C. Comics. Who knows?

Marvel could completely dominate the gaming universe depending on how well the games do. More posts will be coming soon about the new Spiderman PS4 game. Hopefully we’ll get a sneak peek at the new game. Please have a really cool Green Goblin!

Feel free to comment below. What do you think about Marvel and Sony working together? Are you excited for the new PS4 game?

Kyle Konigsmark