Gaming news summary for May 17, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the twice-weekly post where MacNN and Electronista writes about some of the major stories in the wider world of gaming that have developed over the last few days. In today's edition, Blizzard brings back Diablo's "Cow Level" secret, Ubisoft gives up on previous-generation consoles, and Candy Crush Saga will be heading to Windows 10.
Sony rolls out the open beta test of the game rental service to PlayStation 3 owners
PlayStation 3 owners wanting to get a taste of PlayStation Now finally have their chance, as Sony rolled out the open beta of the program out to the last-generation console last week. Residents of the United States and Canada with the nearly eight-year-old system can now rent more than 150 titles, rather than paying full price for games that may only be played for a few days. Pricing varies for each rental period and game, but Sony recently reduced the price for the four-hour rental period.
PS3, Xbox 360 buyers get free next-gen copy for limited time, Vita remote play controls refined
With Bungie's Destiny coming out later this week, the company announced an initiative to give players still on last-gen hardware an easier way to transition to next-gen consoles in the near future. Bungie announced that players that purchase a digital copy of Destiny for the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 are eligible for a free digital version on either the Xbox One or PlayStation 4. Sony also announced a control scheme specific to that PlayStation Vita that Bungie developed for those playing the game via remote play.
Virtual world to close its doors March 2015, service will continue in United States, Europe
Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Asia announced that it is bringing a close to PlayStation Home in Japan and Asia regions at the end of March 2015. The service was launched as a competitor to Linden Research's Second Life, but was offered for free to any PlayStation 3 owner.
Mad Catz adds 4K support, Ouya app to Mojo game console
Game peripheral producer Mad Catz has rolled out an update to its Mojo Android game console, adding support for 4K-resolution output of games and apps to compatible high-resolution televisions. The update also introduces Ouya Everywhere, giving the device access to hundreds of games hosted on the competing gaming platform, as well as allowing more games and apps on Google Play to be downloaded to the console.
Game streaming service sees first expansion into television market, still in beta
Television owners feeling left out of the PlayStation Now beta program no longer need to be, as long as they own one of a select number of Sony televisions. The electronics manufacturer announced that on June 30, the PlayStation 3 game streaming service will come to the company's 4K Ultra HD televisions, as well as a small number of 1080p Bravia units.
Exclusive games, indie titles, and franchise favorites all covered at press briefing
During Sony's two-hour press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the company introduced a long list of titles that are coming to the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and the PS Vita. Ranging from AAA titles and franchise exclusives to the console, to Playstation-first indie games, the company came out swinging with its offerings.
Dish Network customers can access Hopper DVR through Playstation 3 app
Dish Network has teamed up with Sony to release a Virtual Joey Playstation 3 app that allows control of Hopper DVRs through the gaming console. Through the app, the Playstation 3 speaks with the Hopper DVR over an Ethernet connection. The application eliminates the need for another set-top box, but can be controlled with the Dualshock 3 controller or a Dish remote.
Invitations to test game streaming service sent to PlayStation 3 owners
Sony has reportedly started sending out invitations to beta test its PlayStation Now streaming service. Taking place ahead of its expected launch in the United States this summer, the private beta will allow users to play PlayStation 3 titles without needing to download the game beforehand, with players able to stream games to a console over the Internet.
Sony puts PlayStation 3 with 12GB flash storage on sale in United States
A rumored flash version of the PlayStation 3 has gone on sale in the United States. Costing $200 and previously available in Europe and Hong Kong, the model has 12GB of flash storage inside instead of a normal hard drive, which is said to help speed up load times for installed games, though its storage capacity can be expanded by using external hard drives.
Website listing, stockroom photo shows August 18th launch
A previously-unavailable version of the Sony PlayStation 3 has will be making its way to North America, after being available in Europe and Hong Kong for a considerable amount of time. The 12GB flash model, shown by the company late last year, has been spotted on the Future Shop website at a cost of $200, but has since been removed from view.
MetroPCS uses Vine to tease Samsung Galaxy S4 launch next week
MetroPCS is hinting at the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4 on its network next week. A teaser video, posted on Vine and shown on the MetroPCS Twitter account, shows the sum "Samsung Galaxy S III + 1 = ?," suggesting that the company will reveal the device. It is believed by Engadget that the smartphone will not have HSPA access, usable on T-Mobile, but will likely have support for its LTE network.
HTC One in red appears at UK phone retailer, on sale mid-July
A red version of the HTC One will be going on sale in the United Kingdom. Previously thought to be offered as a "limited edition" device, British retailer Phones 4U gained the rights to sell the smartphone in the country, with pre-orders starting at £33 ($51) per month ahead of a release in mid-July. Red versions of the HTC One is likely to start appearing on carriers in other parts of the world in the coming months.
Some users impacted by unknown bug, no Sony response
Sony has deployed a new firmware update for the PlayStation 3 console intended to improve system stability. Reports, however, are surfacing of some users who are unable to boot the updated console after the application of the patch, and restoring the console's file system has in those cases failed to fix the problem.
Netflix updates PlayStation 3 Player app with revised design
Netflix has updated its streaming app for the PlayStation 3. The new Netflix Player has a revised design that brings it in line with the web and mobile device versions, according to a company blog post, as well as options to change the audio and subtitles for a show or film. The design of "trickplay" mode has also been adjusted, allowing for faster-loading preview images to load when seeking for a specific scene in a movie.
New white bundle includes 18-title instant game collection
Sony has launched a new version of the PlayStation 3 in North America, this time in "Classic White." The new console bundle will also have a matching white controller, a 500GB hard drive, the console's largest ever; and a year-long membership to PlayStation Plus, including access to a downloadable collection of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita games.
Move controllers surpass 15M sales
Sony has announced that its PlayStation 3 has surpassed 70 million units in global sales, just one week shy of its sixth year on the market. The company also noted that sales of the optional Move controller, which has been on the market for two years, have already surpassed 15 million units.
Sony, Stanford distributed computing projects ends Oct 23
The partnership between Sony and Stanford University on the Folding@home distributed computing project will come to a close at the end of the month after five years. The project utilized the ‘idle’ hours on a PlayStation 3 that were donated by a user in order to harness the considerable power of the Cell processor and the console’s GPU. This helped Stanford’s researchers to crunch through reams of data to advance medical knowledge in the areas of Alzeimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and cancer.
Sony PlayStation Store to get largest redesign to date in October
Sony showed off images of what a newly redesigned PlayStation store will look like at a London press event on Thursday. The details were shared by VG 24/7 and include new features as well as an all-new look for the digital storefront that's a showcase for the latest content for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and PSP. Europe will get the update first, on October 17, while North American users will get to experience it on October 23.
Augmented reality system uses symbol-clad book, Move controller
The augmented reality book system showed at the Sony E3 keynote in June is gearing up for a holiday release. Wonderbook for the PlayStation 3 will come out as a bundle including everything that the system needs to work on the console and the first title using the technology, the Book of Spells by the author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling.
Ads would be made into miniature games
Sony recently filed a patent for a new method of ad delivery that would turn television commercials into "interactive networked video games." The patent, uncovered by Game'N'Motion, details a number of interactive commercial possibilities built on the motion and voice technologies currently available in Sony's PlayStation 3, PlayStation Move, and PS Eye devices. By interacting with commercials, users are able to progress past them more quickly, getting them back to their desired program.
Spotted documents make Gamescom reveal a probability
Sony may be coming out with a revised PlayStation 3 that is even smaller than the revised model introduced three years ago. An FCC filing seen by PocketNews shows an unknown PlayStation 3 with the model number CECH-4001X, which Eurogamer suggests is a "Super Slim" version, rumored to be unveilled at Gamescom next month.
Possible inclusion of Gaikai on PlayStation 3, future consoles
Sony Computer Entertainment has bought cloud-based gaming company Gaikai for $380 million. The announcement, previously rumored to be made at E3, suggests the possible inclusion of the technology on the PlayStation 3 and future Sony consoles. It could also signal the possible inclusion of games from the Sony Computer Entertainment back catalog on Gaikai.
Sony gets Amazon Instant Video, Prime apps
The teased new video service from just yesterday for the PlayStation 3 has turned out to be access to Amazon's Instant Video service. US PS3 owners will also get access to Prime Instant Video if they are subscribers. The former gives anyone access to about 120,000 à la carte-priced movies and shows, while the latter offers those who pay the $79 annual subscription fee unlimited access to 17,000 movies and shows.
Job ad hints DirectX 11 coming to next Xbox, PS4
Games developer Bethesda, which created Skyrim, is looking to hire a "Future Generation Console Programmer," according to a job posting. The description suggests the ideal candidate will have DirectX 11 experience, suggesting either Sony, Microsoft, or both will support the add-on in their next home gaming consoles. The company is also seeking programmers with experience on the Xbox 360 and PS3 platforms.
Early 2012 PS3 update to allow 4K still output
In a runaround way, Sony Japan revealed it will allow the PS3 to display 4K resolution photos thanks to an upcoming firmware update. The introduction of the company's VPL-VW1000ES 4K projector at CEATEC in Japan also contained mention of the PS3 update due at the start of 2012. It will allow the games console to natively output 4096x2160-resolution still images.
Drive designed for Bravia TVs, Handycam, etc.
Sony has introduced its first external hard drive, the HD-PG5. Although the drive works as a general USB-attached storage device, it also provides a number of features specific to Sony's range of devices. Users can record HD video directly from their Bravia TV, transfer video files directly from a Handycam camcorder without using a PC, or play videos and photos through a PlayStation 3 console.
Redbox video game rentals for $2 arrive June 17
Redbox has made good on its promise to bring $2 video game rentals to its self-service kiosks by announcing the service will kick off on Friday, June 17. Game rentals will be available at all 21,000 Redbox locations and include popular and fairly new gaming titles for the Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3 consoles. Some of the newer available titles include LA Noire,Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game, Infamous 2 and Brink.
50 million PS3s sold, plus 8 million Move
Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) today announced that the cumulative sales of its PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system has reached a milestone of 50 million units sold worldwide, as of March 29. SCE also announced that sales of the PlayStation Move have surpassed 8 million units worldwide as of April 3. First introduced back in November 2006, the platform now boasts 75 million registered users and tens of thousands of game, music video and movie downloads available through the Playstation Store.
Roku adds free Crackle channel to offerings
Roku this week announced it has updated its Crackle channel to bring free, ad-supported movies and TV shows. Owners of Roku's streaming players can access the channel in the Roku Channel Store. The move gives a mix both of major, usually Hollywood-made titles as well as Crackle-specific titles like Angel of Death.
Feature works via DLNA
DoubleTwist has updated its self-titled Android app with new capabilities for streaming content to game consoles. Users can now stream photos, videos and music from their Android handset to an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 over a local Wi-Fi network.
Claims some ‘updates’ are actually downgrades
The Norway Consumer Council has reportedly received numerous complaints from Playstation 3 owners unhappy with Sony’s removal of the “other OS” function in the 3.21 firmware update. As a result the Consumer Council has taken the complaints to Norway’s Consumer Ombudsman claiming that Sony has breached Norway’s Marketing Control Act. The claim argues that Sony removed a key product feature after sale. The issue only affects pre-Playstation 3 Slim models – the PS3 Slim shipped without the feature.
Company asks for restraining order
Sony has already taken the first step towards a formal lawsuit against individuals and organizations involved in the recent PlayStation 3 jailbreak. The company has asked for a temporary restraining order against hacking team Fail 0verflow, George "Geohot" Hotz, and other unnamed John or Jane Does who may have been involved in creating and publicizing the exploit.
LG devices next, others after January
Vudu has begun rolling out its new version 2.0 User Interface for its online streaming movie rental service. The first device to receive the update is the Sony PlayStation 3, which only a month ago began offering the Vudu service to its users. Also added to the update for PS3 users is the ability to now use the Move controller in addition to the DualShock 3 controller as a remote.
Thanksgiving day deals
Today is Thanksgiving, and that can mean only one thing (besides putting on a few extra pounds), it's deal time and most online retailers have heaping helpings of turkey-day deals. Save big at Buy.com's Thanksgiving Blowout sale on items like the Samsung 12MP point and shoot digital camera which offers a 2.7-inch LCD display, 5x optical zoom, scratch resistant lens and face detection technology. This digital camera was $109.99, but has been cut to $79.95 with FREE shipping.
Video streams now accessible via PSN
Vudu has announced that its streaming movie content will now be accessible from Sony's PlayStation 3 game consoles. Beginning next week, users with PlayStation Network accounts can download the Vudu application from the media category in the PlayStation Store. The PS3 utility provides a similar interface to the Vudu app already available for supported TVs and set-top boxes.
Verbatim outs networking box for the home
Verbatim has just announced the release of its new MediaShare Mini network box for the home. The device connects to TVs and/or computers and lets users stream multimedia content, or play back local files from connected USB drives. The thumb drives also automatically connect to the network, sharing their files.
Streaming service fetches $10 per month
PlayStation 3 owners may be facing more than $10 per month to access Hulu's streaming video content from the console. Although both companies have only publicly acknowledged the Hulu Plus subscription requirement, the service appears to require a PlayStation Plus account as well.
Company said to be close to a deal
Sony is allegedly close to establishing an agreement that will bring Hulu service to the PlayStation 3, several unnamed sources have told Bloomberg. Both contacts suggest the collaboration could be formally announced as soon as next week.
Seven45 to launch six-sting guitar, game
At the Gaming Developer's Conference, Seven45 Studios is showing off a guitar with six strings that functions both as a gaming controller for the game developer's Power Gig: Rise of the SixString title as well as a real electric guitar that can be plugged into an amp. The game and guitar will be sold together, and experienced guitarists will have the option of chording, which will be more challenging and actually require specific finger placement on the strings. The game will be offered for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Adds Playstation 3 support, improvements
Unity Technologies has introduced a new version of its 3D creation tool for game developers, Unity 3.0. After announcing support for Xbox 360 last year, the company is continuing its platform expansion by adding compatibility for the iPad, Android, and Playstation 3. Other 3.0 features include improved performance for faster frame rates, enhanced rendering capabilities, additional support for Bluetooth multiplayer functionality, and faster in-game GUIs.
Platform expected to outlast the Wii by five years
Sony's PlayStation 3 is expected to sell more units than any of its competitors over the lifetime of the current product generation, according to a report issued by Strategy Analytics. Rather than comparing sales numbers immediately following the launch of new devices, the analysts have placed predictions regarding overall shipments across the lifetime of the product.
Feature tweask include smart sorting
Cynical Peak has released v2.3 of Rivet, its Mac media streaming software. The app shares music, video, photo and podcast content with consoles on a local-area network, namely the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Material can be pulled direclty from Aperture, iPhoto or iTunes libraries, though video can only be streamed from custom folders.
Images taken directly from UK PlayStation site
Leaked screenshots show several new features expected in the upcoming PlayStation 3 firmware, including Facebook integration and the ability to change Gamercard colors, according to Scrawl. The images have allegedly been confirmed to originate from the UK PlayStation site, although they were quickly removed.
Nintendo Wii rumored to get Netflix streaming
Leaked images that were not made public reveal the Nintendo Wii will soon get Netflix streaming capabilities, StreamingMedia reported on Wednesday. The source is said to be someone involved with the project, who confirms the development is already in testing stages and the arrival of the service is due fairly soon.
ViewSonic intros HDTVs, some double as monitors
TV and monitor maker ViewSonic on Tuesday introduced six new LCD HDTVs, ranging from a 20-inch set that can double as a computer monitor to a 42-inch HDTV. Starting from smallest to largest, the 20-inch VT2042 has a resolution of 1600x900, the 23-inch VT2342 gets a 1920x1080 screen while the VT2645 has 1366x768 pixels in its display.
Logitech intros G27 wheel
Logitech on Monday announced the upcoming launch of its G27 Racing Wheel. Designed as a higher-end controller meant to replicate conventional cars, it replaces the sequential shifter from some previous Logitech wheels with a traditional six-speed H-pattern and a clutch pedal in the pedal box. Moreover, a new shift indicator cluster with LEDs let users know when to up- or downshift.
Sony colorful DualShock
Sony is set to release several new DualShock 3 controllers later this year, with recent images showing patriotic offerings sporting either "Metallic Blue" or "Deep Red" housing colors, according to Engadget. Other than the aesthetic changes, the controllers appear to match the current black DualShock 3 design.
Rock Band guitars outed
It's already known that The Beatles: Rock Band game and related custom controllers are due to ship on September 9th and details on the controller guitars have been recently revealed, thanks to a few product listing on retailer Gamespot's website. The Gretsch Duo-Jet and Rickenbacker 325 guitar controllers, styled after George Harrison's and John Lennon's actual respective guitars, will launch at the same time as the game itself, priced at $100 each for all three systems.
Target to get PS3 bundle
Sony will reportedly begin shipping a new PlayStation 3 bundle to Target stores starting on March 29th, set to include an 80GB console along with what are now Greatest Hits; the original MotorStorm racing game and Resistance: Fall of Man shoot 'em up. MotorStorm dates back to March of 2007 and was bundled on its own with a PS3, while Resistance is even older, having launched in November of 2006. The bundle is perceived to be a weak attempt to make the system more appealing by adding value to it, as Sony still refuses to discount, despite current economic conditions and lower-priced Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii rivals.