So yesterday at 6 pm EST, the world was first introduced to the worst kept secret in gaming, the PlayStation 4. At this point, I feel like all the “leaks” aren’t even that but carefully planned PR releases as “sources” trickle out information, some accurate and some inaccurate, to various online entities. Most of what was announced for the PlayStation 4 in terms of hardware was what we had already heard.
No surprise, the PlayStation 4 is going for power, as it should. The PlayStation hardcore take a lot of pride in the power of their system and will always use that in the unending PlayStation vs. XBox argument. But this time Sony took a lesson from the missteps of the PlayStation 3 and are focusing more on working with developers instead of just creating a powerful box for them to work with and wishing them the best of luck.
Sony announced yesterday that with the purchase of a 12 month PlayStation Plus subscription, buyers would also get an additional 3 months for free added to their subscription time. A 25% bonus is nothing to ever be disappointed in. But the question comes up if PlayStation Plus is worth the $50 yearly (now technically 15 month) price point.
“Why go first when your competitors can look at your specifications and come up with something better?”
When asked about the launch of the PlayStation 4 by UK publication The Times, President and CEO of Sony Corporation Kaz Hirai gave that as his response. This can lead us to believe that the PlayStation 4′s official announcement and possibly release as well will follow those of the upcoming next XBox console.
While last week there were leaks indicating that the PlayStation 4 may launch before the next XBox including predictions from Robert W Baird analyst Colin Sebastian, this statement from Kaz seemingly contradicts it. But there is a problem with this statement that you might miss at first glance.
As you probably noticed last week that 2012 was a momentous year in gaming, it is time we take a step back to let it all sink in. (momentary pause) Well now that that’s over, it’s 2013 and everything is ready and rearing to kick off.
The early part of 2013 is packed with huge games like Bioshock Infinite, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Lost Planet 3 and of course the juggernaut of Grand Theft Auto V. But there is a lot we don’t know about 2013 still, especially with an uncommonly light release schedule for the last few months of the year. So, here are The Flickcast Five top gaming predictions for the year, 2013.
1. Cliffy B Will Open a New Development Studio
In late 2012, Cliff Bleszinski announced that he was leaving Epic Games. During the revival of Epic Games, Cliffy B would become a figurehead for the company, making one of the most memorable E3 entrances when he cut through a wall to make his way onto stage using a Lancer. Having been with the company for so long though, Ciiff decided it was time to part ways to explore future endeavors. While we don’t think there was any bad blood between Cliff and his old team, he would have most likely been pigeonholed into working on titles that Epic wanted him to as opposed to being given the freedom to start his own new ones. While he might remain quiet for the early part of the year, before 2013 ends we think Cliff will be gathering a new team to launch his own studio. Think of it as the same scenario as the guys from Infinity Ward creating Respawn… minus all the lawsuits. With a creative genius like Ciffy at the helm, don’t expect just a Gears ofWar clone. But it is probably safe to expect things to be a little bloody.
For almost every Spider-Man fan under the age of 30, Mary Jane Watson has been the primary yin to Peter Parker’s yang. So it was a bold move by Sony and Marc Webb to go back to Spider-Man’s first love, Gwen Stacy, for The Amazing Spider-Man. A move that properly introduced a character whose ultimate fate might be as important to the web-slinger as Uncle Ben’s murder was.
With the Spider-Man reboot a general success, Sony wants to move quickly on a sequel. Variety is reporting that things might be getting sticky for Parker’s new/old flame with casting rumors of a new prominent female character:
It looks like Mary Jane Watson is back in Peter Parker’s life, as “The Descendants” star Shailene Woodley is in early talks to play the redheaded love interest in Sony’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”… Character breakdowns have gone out to talent agencies, and Electro is rumored to be one of the villains the filmmakers are considering for the next installment of the hit comicbook franchise.
Shailene Woodley is a fine actress, and even though she probably looks a bit young to be Garfield’s Mary Jane, she is one of the better choices for the role. If you are going to skew younger, at least you get the one ABC Family actress that has award nominations and discernible talent. It is sort of like finding another Anna Kendrick among the Twilight muck.
Also note that it looks like Electro might finally be getting his time to shine in the sequel, and it looks like Peter’s best friend Harry Osbourne is also going to make an appearance in the sequel.
Check out a more spoiler heavy prognostication for what the Mary Jane rumors mean for Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy after the jump.
While the gaming world somewhat anxiously awaits the release of the successor to the PS3 (aka the cleverly named PS4), Sony has something over there in its right hand to distract you. What is this something you may wonder?
Why, it’s a brand new version of the PS3 of course. That’s right, today the company announced the CECH-4000 model. It will be 20% smaller and 25% lighter than the previous model and will also ditch the slot-loading optical drive in favor of a disc-tray that slides open sideways.
The new PS3 will come in two versions: a 250GB that will sell for $269.99 and a 500GB that will sell for $299.99. The 250GB model, which launches on September 25th, will be sold in a bundle with the game Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and will also come with a $30 voucher for digital content for the game DUST 514.
Interested in the 500GB version? You’ll have to wait until October 30th for that one when it comes out as a bundle with Assassin’s Creed III.
So, anyone interested in a smaller, lighter, tray-loading PS3 or are you just gonna wait for the PS4, which is expected sometime next year? Supposedly.
In America you almost never see two films targeting the same audience released wide on the same day, this is sort of an unwritten rule among studios to make sure films don’t directly compete with the same audience. In China, film releases are programmed by a state-owned organization who are not afraid of pitting two western Box Office titans up against each other in a single weekend.
As a result, yesterday both The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises hit Chinese cinemas, both playing to big numbers. While both films did big day one Chinese business there has to be a winner, and surprisingly Spider-Man pulled in about a million more for the day.
While Spidey won the general box office, The Dark Knight Rises did do huge numbers as a 2D film and in IMAX . In fact both grosses represent a rather great opening day, suggesting that the direct competition might not have as big of an impact as you would generally think.
The big day pushed The Amazing Spider-Man to over $700 Million worldwide. The movie fell short of the Raimi trilogy’s lofty domestic numbers, but all told the Sony reboot is a tremendous success in a summer where it was overshadowed by two of the biggest comic book films of all time.
Interesting international box office numbers, which is nice to see based on how much of a dud the domestic box office has been in the last few weeks.
Before I go any further I need to disclose that I’m not a fan of Sony or its products. However, I do currently own a PS3, which I use primarily to watch Blu-ray movies. For gaming, I’m pretty much on the XBox 360 or the iPad 3.
My distaste for Sony has been a long time coming through a series of sub-par products and culminating in a very expensive XBR TV that failed just after the warranty expired and would have cost almost as much to fix as to repair. My love for Sony died that day.
This new development, highlighted over at BGR, seems destined to do little, if anything to change my opinion. According to the site, Sony plans on releasing televisions with 4K resolution.
They also plan on having the PS 4 support 4K resolution. My reaction? Who cares? I can’t even get my local cable or satellite provider to send full 1080P content to my exceptionally awesome Panasonic plasma TV let alone have worry about 4K resolution programming. Good luck seeing that in the next few years.
There’s also very few games that take advantage of 1080P on the PS3 so again, I ask, why do we need 4K? I feel the same way about 3D. Nobody really needs that at home either. I expect 4K to go the way of other failed Sony products like Betamax, UMD and the MiniDisc.
In the race to dominate the mobile gaming space we can’t count Android out even if Apple’s iPad does seem to be in the lead. Obvoiosuly, the folks at Activison feel the same way as they’ve announced a cool game for for the platform that any Android-using gamer will be happy to play: Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies.
Yep, that’s right. All your favorite zombie killing action is coming to Android. Sadly, it will be exclusive to the Sony Xperia for the first 30 days. Yeah, we know, that sucks.
Still, 30 days isn’t that long. Here’s all the scoop directly from the source:
CALL OF DUTY®: BLACK OPS ZOMBIES APP
NOW AVAILABLE ON ANDROID
Santa Monica, CA – August 3, 2012 – Call of Duty®: Black Ops Zombies, the fan-favorite app based on the popular Zombies mode from Treyarch’s and Activision’s record-setting hit Call of Duty®: Black Ops, is now coming to Android.
The Last of Us is one of the most anticipated games set to release in the next 12 months. From the creators of the Uncharted series, this new IP promises an epic story centered around a post-apocalyptic world, told in a cinematic and engrossing way.
Some crafty fans out there have marshalled that anticipation and turned it into a piece of internet gold. Using the still shockingly endless sandbox that is Little Big Planet 2, YouTuber theclassicevil has crafted a recreation of the most recent The Last of Us trailer.
As a self professed Sony fanboy, this Sony on Sony IP love fest really does things for me. However, the creativity, and general hilarity, of this video has some heavy cross over appeal. Using Little Big Planet 2 in such a creative way illustrates a key point Sony proponents like to make.
The Playstation 3 era is being defined by its boundary pushing approach to tent pole IPs. Little Big Planet and Mod Nation Racers both emphasis creativity and community in their multiplayer experience. Something that has never really existed on a console before. And on the other end of the spectrum is the games by Naughty Dog, the developer of The Last of Us, that showcase immersive entertainment experiences that give you all the best parts of playing a game, watching a movie and reading a novel all in one package.
Nintendo doesn’t sit on their laurels when it comes to their handhelds. Ever since the release Game Boy Pocket back in ’96, Nintendo can’t seem to go very long with out re-releasing and improving on their portable devices. Perhaps this ever evolving strategy is why, despite strong competition from Sony and smart phones, Nintendo has never fallen from the top of the portable gaming mountain.
It was reported that Nintendo was going to announce North American plans for the upcoming 3DS XL, but when nothing was said at their conference rumors began to spread that we might not see it officially in the states. In retrospect it was probably pretty dumb to think Nintendo wouldn’t release a new 3DS in the wake of the successful Vita launch last year.
This is an important time for Nintendo’s portable gaming division. The initial launch of the 3DS was underwhelming, and Sony’s Vita is the most impressive direct competition Nintendo has ever faced. In fact, for the first time since the SEGA Game Gear another company actually owns a respectable share of the market. A market that is shrinking in the age of smart phones and app store games providing much better value for gamers on the go.
For now Nintendo is still the king, and the launch of the 3DS XL should only solidify that. You can expect the newer, larger 3DS to hit shelves in North America August 19th, a few weeks after our Japanese and European brothers get their hands on it, July 28th.
If you were on TheFlickcast last week, you no doubt got hit with our bombardment of E3 coverage. With a convention so big, it was obviously impossible to cover everything but there are a few major things that everyone should know about this E3.
Of any of the big E, Sony had the most impressive E3 presentation because of two games. Beyond was the surprise game announcement of the show that was visually striking and has people talking, much like the trailer for The Last of Us did last year. Speaking of The Last of Us, we got to see actual gameplay this year which showed both the awesome tension and brutality of the title without even having to focus on the virus or mutations it causes and instead only showing the ongoing human versus human conflict happening in it.
Sony also brought out the Wonderbook which creates a virtual storybook, with their big announcement tied into the work of J.K. Rowling. While on paper, this sounds like an interesting concept and probably would have been a huge hit at an event like Toy Fair, it didn’t resonate with the E3 or gamer audience. Instead, it felt like it took up time on stage when gamers were hoping to hear announcements or see gameplay of other big games.
Naughty Dog is one of those developers that is just on a serious roll. Since they began making games for the original Playstation, all they have done is create three of the most popular franchises in Sony’s video gaming history. From Crash Bandicoot, to Jak and Daxter, all the way to Uncharted, Naughty Dog has been on the cutting edge of gaming.
What they were able to achieve in the Uncharted series was utilize the power of the Playstation 3 to tell a video game story in an incredibly cinematic way. The end result was an experience that some how feels like watching a movie, reading a novel and playing a video game all at once.
Now Naughty Dog is moving forward with another new IP for the Playstaion with The Last of Us, a post-apocalyptic action adventure game. We have seen a trailer for this game already, and it clearly demands out attention, but to cap off their 2012 E3 Conference Sony showed off seven minutes of game play to wet our whistles.
The footage showcases the visual beauty of this run down world, and the shocking realism of the battles. If Naughty Dog can continue to push the envelope of storytelling in a video game package, The Last of Us looks to be one of the most impressive releases of the year.
Check out the full seven minutes of game play after the jump.
Of the Big 3 press conferences, Sony had the strongest conference for gamers. This partially comes from one of the most impressive pieces of footage from a game already announced as well as an exciting new trailer as well that no one was expecting. While they did diverge slightly away from core games and put some emphasis on the move and a new peripheral, Sony definitely delivered the “gamer’s conference” when compared to Nintendo and Microsoft.
After a standard clip montage and Jack Tretton giving the same introductory speech that has been heard time and again, things started off strong with the reveal of Beyond: Two Soulsby the same studio that brought us Heavy Rain. With the lead character played by Ellen Page, Beyond promises to bring together storytelling in gaming unlike anything seen before. With the footage below, it may be the truth.
What was one of the other hotly anticipated games that followed ended up being somewhat of a letdown for those watching. The crowd was strangely silent during the demo of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale which looked generic as a Smash Brothers clone with a very boring level layout. Also announced as playable characters were Nathan Drake from Uncharted and the Big Daddy from Bioshock.
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