Tag Archives: Sony

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

Cameras for Video: Wrong on Purpose?

Since photography became popular in the mid 1950’s, two major brands, Canon and Nikon, have held the top spots in the consumer camera market. But with the start of the new millennium, many users want more from their digital camera, including video capability. Within the last 5-7 years, more companies have gotten into the camera game and excelled at video. Canon and Nikon, along with Sony and Panasonic, have released cameras where video and photo abilities are of equal importance. Let’s see who is winning the video race as of Fall 2016 and what may come in the near future.

camerasCanon, Nikon, Panasonic and Sony all make great cameras for video, Canon’s top contenders are the newly released 5D Mark IV and 1Dx Mark II. Nikon has its D5 and D500 and Panasonic’s top cameras for video are its GH4 and G7. Sony’s top cameras for video are the A7s II, the A7r II and the A6300. These cameras have different sensors, both in size and megapixels, different bodies and features, and different lens compatibility, all of which make them good contenders for top quality cameras for video in 2016.

Each of these cameras have different features and specs that put them in different spots in the market. Canon’s two cameras have 4K video recording, Canon’s Dual Pixel Auto Focus. Audio in and out, as well as the ability to external record video, but only at 1080p. Externally recording video has its benefits, which can be seen here.

Nikon has similar features, but with some key differences. You still get 4K and audio in and outs, but the autofocus in video movie is not as developed. You also get to externally record, but at full 4K resolution, which is a plus.

Panasonic also retains similar features seen in both Canon and Nikon. You still get 4K video, audio in and out, and the ability to record externally in 4K, but there are some extra features as well. You get things like Zebra stripes, slow motion video and picture profiles. Video professionals insist on having these features in their cameras, so Panasonic did the right thing in including them.

Sony, the final manufacturer making moves in camera for video also includes many features for video in the above mentioned cameras. 4K video, autofocus in video mode, picture profiles, audio in and out, external recording in 4K and slow motion. A comparison with some of the cameras mentioned earlier in this article can be found here

There is more that sets these cameras apart however. Canon, Nikon and Panasonic all have a flaw that can prove fatal for those looking to buy an awesome camera for photo and video. All three of these manufacturers crop the video in order to record 4K content.

cameras  cameras

Sony is the only manufacturer to execute 4K recording properly, without the need for cropping. So it begs the question. If it is possible, why isn’t everyone doing it? A possible answer to this could be that these manufacturers do not think their consumers care enough for it. Another reason could be that the issue can be worked around, therefore it is OK that the crop is present. This article looks at the reasoning from a technical perspective.

If I were to pick a camera to user personally, it would more than likely be a Sony. The A6300 and the A7s II are my favorite. They both do everything I look for in a camera for video. There are many other aspects besides technical specs that go into the purchase of equipment. It will be interesting to see if these shortcomings will be enough to get video professionals to switch brands.

Chris Dummer

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

The Tony Hawk Franchise Fizzles Out

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is a skateboarding video game series credited with having the most successful skating video game of all time, both critically and commercially. That particular game is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, released in 2000.

Tony Hawk Pro SkateSo where did an innovative gaming franchise go wrong? Why was Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 released with barely a blip on the radar? I will share my two cents on this, along with other voices of the internet.

If anything, the development team behind this series should be celebrating the game’s history and hyping that aspect as much as they can. Instead, the release of THPS5 felt like a feeble attempt at the last hoorah of a has-been game series that tried to reinvent itself too many times, and ultimately failed to recreate the successful gameplay and excitement of its initial titles.

The promotion of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 started with a clip on instagram five months before release. The clip shows a real-life parody of the skater selection screen of the early Tony Hawk titles, where the player can change the skateboard and style of the clothes for their skater. The clip started some buzz on the rumor of a future game. Later, five separate trailers were released (Launch, Skaters, Skaters 2, THPS, Behind the Scenes), along with a spot with Conan O’Brien and Lil Wayne.

But once the gameplay was seen, it received mixed reviews. People new to the franchise may have been interested, while the general consensus of the hardcore fans was similar to Dave Roth’s sentiments below.

Dave Roth QuoteAs a fan of the series for 16 years now, I reserved my judgement until I could actually get my hands on a copy of the game to play and see for myself. Sadly, I was disappointed. It did not live up to the nostalgia of the great games from my youth. While the new game did bring some cool features, like the online skatepark, multiplayer online sandbox, format gameplay, and downloadable user created skateparks, the game was glitchy, full of bugs, and had almost zero replay value. While the game was intended to be more approachable and easy to pick up and play, it felt oversimplified, with ridiculous physics that exaggerated the arcade style they claimed to be shooting for.

You don’t have to look too far to find a theme among the reviews of the game’s quality. On Metacritic it received 31/100, with a 1.5 out of 5 star user rating. On IGN, it received 3.5/10. There are rumors from YouTube and reddit that suggest the game was rushed to cash in on one more title before Activision’s contract ended at the end of 2015. This would explain the game’s poor quality and reception from fans.

It’s easy to sell a great product, which THPS5 had the potential to be. Great products sell themselves. It is far more difficult to sell a product that is not great and has disengaged fans. Tony Hawk fans felt that the new game seemed to be catering to a new younger crowd with an easier rating and cartoon-like graphics. Unfortunately, that is what THPS5 actually was. Activision assigned THPS5 and the two previous games, Tony Hawk Ride and Tony Hawk Shred, to game developer Robomodo. Robomodo attempted to bridge the success of the originals in the series with the new gaming technology of today, but they created a mutt that didn’t get very far.

Tony Hawk Pro SkaterThe promotion for THPS1 included demo discs which fans could play months before release and voice their opinion to Activision for feedback. This engaging strategy was highly successful in the past. Had the promotion campaign for THPS5 attempted to engage its audience more proactively like this, I would likely be writing about that success, instead of one that failed to build hype and engage its fans.

With this last iteration of the series, it is rumored that THPS may be done for good, and that may be a good thing. Despite the sour taste left from THPS5, the first titles of that franchise will forever be remembered, in my mind and the minds of many, as the best skateboarding video games in history.

Devin Harschnek

Concussion: Brave New Whistleblower or Anticlimactic Copout?

Let’s get you up to speed. Concussion is Sony Pictures’ new feature film coming out this Christmas featuring Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist and neuropathologist who discovers Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in the brains of two NFL players.

Concussion Poster The trailer has already sparked interest into the story that has Will Smith like you’ve never seen him. Based on a true story, this film looks to be a hit as it showcases the controversial topic of the NFL’s safety protocol, and the controversy doesn’t stop there.

The preview reveals Dr. Omalu’s fight against National Football League executives to “tell the truth” when it comes to his recent findings. It even shows instances of Dr. Omalu being threatened and stalked by suspicious figures in attempt to coerce him into covering up his life’s work. This is juicy stuff in an era where many already question the NFL’s safety protocol when it comes to concussion prevention and treatment.

This film is expected to provide a great opportunity for us to take a deep look at how Sunday’s new devotion has put profit above anything else. After watching the captivating trailer, one would believe this film is opening the closet door to reveal what skeletons the NFL has been hiding. Or maybe at one point they were going to do that. And chickened out. You see, this is where things get sticky.

According to an article written by Ken Belson, Sony Pictures has “found itself softening some points it might have made against the multibillion-dollar sports enterprise that controls the nation’s most-watched game.” The article cites dozens of emails that surfaced by hackers between Sony executives, representatives of Will Smith, and the film’s director, Peter Landesman.

Said emails involved discussion of “how to avoid antagonizing the NFL by altering the script and marketing the film more as a whistle-blower story rather than a condemnation of football or the league.” But wait, there’s more; another email stated that certain “unflattering moments for the NFL” were either altered or removed from the film entirely. Could these signs point to Sony’s fear of uncovering their own bogeyman?

Will Smith concussionConcussion’s director, Landesman, quickly came to the defense of Sony in a statement to the Associated Press stating that the movie, “never once compromised the integrity and power of the real story.” Instead, he claims that scenes were only altered in order to tell the story as accurately as possible; as well as to prevent lawsuits against the filmmakers for fabrication. He stated that cuts were only made to make the story, “better, richer, and fairer.”

Ironically enough, it may seem that the NFL has bullied Sony into softening up a film about the NFL bullying doctors. Sensing a trend here? Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves now, as every story has two sides that deserve to be heard.

Jeff Miller NFLThe NFL has released a recent report in order to have their voice added to the mix. Essentially, this report is “a robust resource on the steps the NFL continues to take to protect players through rule changes, advanced sideline technology, expanded medical resources, investing in protective equipment, a commitment to the wellness of retired players, and a focus on the overall youth sports safety.” The report defends the League’s stance with facts about its’ lowered concussion rates, increased player safety regulations, and growing culture of safety within the game.

The NFL Senior Vice President of Health and Safety Policy, Jeff Miller, said he would willingly work with Sony to raise awareness of safety issues. This invitation may not seem so warm after all considering Sony vetoed Landesman’s attempt to reach out to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for a meeting.

Three conclusions can be drawn from this mess.

The Ending: Sony altered and deleted a few scenes, as most movies do during the editing phase. They did so to keep the story compelling throughout and to avoid any lawsuits against the creative team for fabricating any exaggeration and will be delivering an accurate, bold product come December.

Alternate Ending #1: Sony released an exaggerated preview to hype the film before it releases during the peak of the NFL season and Oscar season. Sony is worried about the new Star Wars film and is taking extreme measures to save the anticlimactic film which will be seen by millions as a letdown.

Alternate Ending #2: Sony wanted to create a film that takes action against the NFL and inspires viewers demand fairness but they ultimately cracked under the pressure of the billionaire owners and executives. The NFL successfully salvages their image once again through scare tactics.

Which ending is the most accurate? You will only be able to determine for yourself this Christmas.

-Jason Vizzini

I’ve Converted to 4K (But Should Your TV Convert, Too?)

I didn’t believe the 4K hype.

4K, or Ultra High Definition, will supposedly create a new way of shooting and viewing video images through its use of 8,294,400 pixels, as compared to high definition’s 2,073,600. This means a clearer picture with more vivid colors.

4K format size
A comparison of various video size formats.

Now I believe.

My conversion came as I stood between a 4K television and a 90-inch HDTV. The biggest television I’d ever seen looked like standard definition in comparison.

Before rushing out and buying a 4K screen, we must consider the different arguments for and against 4K and the implications 4K has on technologies such as gaming and smartphones. But first, let’s look at the basics of 4K, and at whether consumers truly want this technology…

What is 4K?

handycamThere are three components that determine the resolution we see—the content, the player, and the screen. The image will only be as clear as the lowest-definition signal. In order to get 4K, you must have content filmed (or remastered) at 4K resolution. Some films have been rescaled into 4K, and others are now being shot in 4K. Sony has created a 4K consumer camera for users to create their own UltraHD videos. In order to view 4K, you also need a 4K player in order to output UHD video to 4K screens. This can be via a device such as Sony’s 4K media player, which plays content downloaded from the Internet, or via a future device that would play 4K broadcast signals, if and when those are developed. Finally, in order to get 4K, you need a UHD screen in order to see 4K clarity.

Obviously, 4K still is far from making their products completely consumer friendly and easy to adapt.

Do People Actually Care?

Some say 4K will revolutionize media. Others think it’s a ploy to sell more products and make people believe their HDTVs are obsolete.

What my eyes saw in that television showroom didn’t lie—4K is beautiful and more realistic than any previous resolution I’ve seen.

Yet, others say the human eye cannot perceive the high 4K resolution when viewing from six to ten feet away.

Additionally, the average consumer may not even understand 4K. The Leichtman Research Group conducted a March 2014 study, finding only 30% of its subjects had ever even heard of 4K, and only one-third of that 30% had actually seen a 4K set.

However, it still appears that consumers may want 4K TVs.

“We’ve been selling quite a few. (The customers) come in and see the great picture and it’s a little hard for them to not buy it with how great it is,” said Terry Root, owner of Maximum Sight and Sound in Waterloo, Iowa. “The only thing that’ll probably keep them from buying it is the cost.”

The price of a 55-inch 4K screen at Maximum Sight and Sound is $3,000. Smaller, 40-inch models are $1,500, though Root has seen prices on all the 4K TVs dropping.

Professionals are learning to incorporate 4K into their workflows.

Prairie Lakes Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa uses a Canon 1DC 4K DSLR for their video production. They don’t distribute content in 4K, but make use of the high resolution, letting them digitally crop and zoom shots while still maintaining 100% quality. This creates the perception of multiple camera angles when it is solely the 4K camera filming.

“4K has been great for us, but it’s just a matter of upgrading the rest of our gear to work with it… I had to upgrade a lot of my computing hardware just because it’s such a huge data rate,” said Matt Miller, PLC Creative Video and Media Coordinator. “I use 128GB cards that were the fastest you could buy, and it gives me a half hour recording time.”

TVMiller feels that many people do not know what 4K means, and that consumers are generally slower to adopt what is used in the film industry.

I believe 4K technology will inevitably become the standard, such as High Definition has—but not for at least several years. Right now, 4K may be great for the user who can understand its limitations and handle its possibilities. Lower prices are more attractive, but there needs to be content, and a way to deliver that content easily before people will ride this bandwagon. But first, consumers need to have ways to view and learn more about 4K before they buy, whether this is done through advertising or increased awareness through other channels.

So what about you? Do you want 4K technologies? And will you be buying them soon?

Olivia Hottle

XBox One or PS4—What Do Gamers Really Want?

Okay, so here’s the thing, I’ve done some research in hopes of finding out what you guys really want. As a gamer myself, I know exactly what I want. I’d like to keep the console I have instead of getting a new one.

I guess I should explain exactly what I am talking about before I jump ahead of myself.

The Microsoft Xbox One will launch on November 22nd, 2013, and Sony has set the launch date for PS4 on November 15th, 2013.

PS4Most of you awesome gamers already knew the release dates. But for my non-gamers, I have to keep those guys informed too.

Let me share with you my situation. I just purchased my very own PS3 in early 2011, even though the original console came out five years. Though I am more of a PlayStation guy, I am not ruling out the concerns of Xbox users.

Now that the PS4 and Xbox One are soon to come out, I’ll be honest—I feel that I don’t need to upgrade just yet. As a matter of fact, I think it’ll be a few more years before I even think about buying a PS4.

How many of you are in my shoes? And if you are, how many of you are planning on getting one (or both!) of the new consoles anyway? Are any of you just going to sit back and chill out for a while, before purchasing the new game consoles?

And for the gamers that bought their consoles early on, do you all feel ready to purchase the new generation consoles?

As part of my research, I looked up the exclusive launch games for each console. Here is a link to the most updated exclusive release list for Xbox One, and this is the list for PS4.

After watching an exclusive gameplay look for Xbox One Dying Light, I have to admit that it looks like it’s going to be pretty sick, and should generate a good amount of sales on its release date.

Of course, I cannot forget my Sony people. Here is some gameplay for a few PS4 exclusives. Four games to be exact, except that you may choose which game to observe. The games are Final Fantasy, inFAMOUS, Watchdogs, and Killzone.

XBOX OneEach of the consoles seems to have a pretty decent line up of exclusives, though they won’t all be launched on their respective console’s launch dates. There will be new releases during the upcoming year, but according to the amazing ign.com Microsoft claims to have fifteen Xbox One exclusive games in its first year and, to my surprise, there will be twenty exclusives for the PS4!

Now the prices for these new consoles range from $500 to $600, and some even reach to about $700 (OUCH!) if you want all the perks.

Some last issues that I wanted to point out about the consoles:

  • Neither console offers backwards compatibility (boo!)
  • Xbox One now has Blu-Ray (yay!)
  • As you can see they’re pretty pricey (boo!)
  • You will need Xbox Live for Xbox One (grrr!)

Okay, gamers, with that last bit of info what are your overall thoughts? Is getting the new consoles worth it at the moment, or are you planning on buying them at a later date?

Phillip Bowie

E3 = Every Gamers Dream

At E3, being a gaming nerd is an entrance requirement.  E3 stands for Electronic Entertainment Expo, and it is one of the largest gathering of gaming software and hardware developers in the world.  The Expo takes place in sunny Los Angeles, California during the first part of June every year.  The convention lasts for three days and is filled with glitzy and impressive “first look” displays of the new games and gaming systems premiering in the fall.  This year, E3 hosted more than 47,000 attendees from over 100 countries, and 200 exhibitors that took up the better part of the Los Angeles Convention Center.  I was there with fellow Modern Media Mix reporter Freddie Dickerson, and a dozen other SIU folks.  We enjoyed playing Star Wars and Dance Central 2 for Microsoft’s Kinect, Resistance 3 for Sony’s PlayStation 3, playing many other titles, and checking out some new hardware, as well.

Here are some Game Titles coming out this fall and holiday season that were previewed at E3:

  • Batman: Arkham City  – Trailer
  • EA Sports FIFA Soccer 12 – Trailer
  • Star Wars Kinect – Trailer
  • Gears of War 3 – Trailer
  • Battlefiled 3 – Trailer
  • Modern Warfare 3 – Trailer
  • Resistance 3 – Trailer
  • Saints Row 3 – Trailer (explicit)
  • Just Dance 3 – Trailer (Anyone sensing a theme with the 3s this year?)
  • Hitman Absolution – Trailer  (My personal favorite trailer)
  • Assassin’s Creed Revelations – Trailer (2nd favorite)

Amelia Torre and Freddie Dickerson playing the Star Wars Kinect demo.

 Hardware coming out this fall and holiday season that were previewed at E3:

New hardware like a Playstation 4 or Xbox 720 are not rumored to come out for at least another year, and so this year at E3 the hottest products were the games.  At this stage in the console lifecycle, more money is being channeled into game development.  Games like L.A. Noire and Need for Speed-The Run are investing in live action capture techniques to make the games more realistic. Consumers are demanding games that are better looking and more complex, and the demos at E3 proved that the industry is listening. Check back with ModernMediaMix.com for more detailed information about E3 and what’s coming out this fall. To see a bunch more E3 pictures “like” ModernMediaMix on FaceBook!

Amelia M. Torre