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Posts tagged sony

Microsoft confirms Rise of the Tomb Raider Xbox exclusivity deal "has a duration" 

Oh look. It’s the news the I (and the world) was expecting yesterday. Rise of the Tomb Raider is a timed exclusive… *sigh*. Reading the conversation Eurogamer had with Spencer it’s still clouded in PR double speak and half truths:

"When people want me to say, can you tell us when or if it’s coming to other platforms, it’s not my job," Spencer told Eurogamer. "My job is not to talk about games I don’t own. I have a certain relationship on this version of Tomb Raider, which we announced, and I feel really good about our long term relationship with Crystal and Square.

"I get the reaction I see. If I’m a PlayStation person all of a sudden I feel like, the franchise has gone. I didn’t buy the IP. I didn’t buy the studio. It’s not mine. Where this thing will go over time, just like Dead Rising or Ryse, we’ll see what happens with the game. I don’t own every iteration of Tomb Raider.

"I don’t own them building Tomb Raider on other platforms. I can’t talk about the franchise that way. I can talk about the deal I have."

So, what, exactly, is that deal?

"I have Tomb Raider shipping next holiday exclusively on Xbox. It is Xbox 360 and Xbox One. I’m not trying to fake anybody out in terms of where this thing is. What they do with the franchise in the long run is not mine. I don’t control it. So all I can talk about is the deal I have. I don’t know where else Tomb Raider goes.

Is there a time limit on the exclusivity period?

"Yes, the deal has a duration. I didn’t buy it. I don’t own the franchise."

Even reading it, and I’ve read it four times now, I get a little lost in the middle. That said, Spencer dropped the names Dead Rising and Ryse, both were recently announced to be coming to PC after being named Xbox One exclusives.

Like I said yesterday, exclusive has come to mean exclusive-ish, over the past few years.

Sony takes a victory lap with PS4 and indies, doesn't invite Vita 

The biggest news from the Sony conference yesterday is that they have already sold 10 Million PS4 consoles. Which… is huge. I’m surprised they sold 10 Million in less than a year.

To put this number in perspective, the Xbox 360 was the first console to sell 10 Million last generation and it took two and a half years. Back then Microsoft said, “History has shown us that the first company to reach 10 million in console sales wins the generation battle. We are uniquely positioned to set a new benchmark for the industry.”

The other cool thing is Share Play:

Some really cool ideas here, and let’s hope they get ripped off by other companies. On the PlayStation 4 you’ll get 10 keys with your copy of Far Cry 4, and those keys allow you to invite friends who don’t own the game to play with you for up to two hours.

That’s a pretty beefy demo and, more importantly, it shows trust in the game’s quality. The reasoning is easy to spot: Ubisoft thinks you’ll buy it after getting an extensive demo. I just see it as a way to invite my friends to play a session or two with me. Everyone wins.

The upcoming Share Play feature that will launch with the 2.0 firmware coming this Fall will also help you play with people who may not own the game you’re enjoying.

Man. I do hope that feature comes to other platforms. It’s such a cool idea.

Exclusive Has Come To Mean Exclusive-ish Over The Past Few Years

In the wake of today’s Tomb Raider news I thought it would be important to talk about the word “exclusive” and what it has come to mean.

A few days ago Editor in Chief of Kotaku, Stephen Totilo and I had the following exchange on twitter:

image

His initial link points out that Rise and Dead Rising 3 were both announced as Xbox One exclusives and now they are both coming to PC. Those two announcements (two months apart) have come in the midst of the commonly used phrase “timed exclusive”. It’s exactly what it sounds like, the game is exclusive to a platform for a set amount of time.

Activision has had timed exclusives on Call of Duty DLC on Xbox for a few years. It makes Microsoft happy because they get to say “we get this popular thing first” on stage at big events and the die hard fans of that franchise are more likely to buy the game on that platform.

But in the past when third party games were exclusive, they were really exclusive. Final Fantasy games were exclusive to Sony platforms for years, for example. So were Tomb Raider games. 

The first chink in the armor of “exclusivity” I can remember was BioShock in 2007. The first BioShock is one of the best games I’ve ever played, won tons of Game of the Year awards, and was touted as being “Only on Xbox” – words they even printed on the box.

14 months after it came out on the Xbox 360, a PS3 version was released.

This story is become more and more common. On the one hand, I love it. I love that GTA, BioShock, and Final Fantasy are playable on every platform. It’s great for gaming, it’s great for gamers, and it’s great for people who can only afford one console.

(Yes, as long as console makers continue to publish games you’re never going to get to play 100% of games released, but you can play 95%, and that’s pretty good. At least in the near future you wont be playing Halo on a PlayStation and you won’t be playing Uncharted on an Xbox.)

But on the other hand, we’ve cheapened the word.  People don’t trust the word exclusive when especially when Microsoft says it. Just look at the news about Rise of the Tomb Raider, almost every outlet reporting it casts some doubt about the length of this exclusive. Not a single report that I’ve read is certain that Square / Crystal Dynamics will publish Tomb Raider only on the Xbox. Everyone is expecting Sony to have Tomb Raider in 2016.

Microsoft has warped the meaning of the word exclusive to mean exclusive-ish, or exclusive-for-now. They’ve also cheapened the value of their console. When you look at the landscape of games coming one or two games may nudge you to choose one console over the other.

Stephen Totilo is right, “it set’s a precedent” and lying about a game that’s exclusive devalues your console and just makes your consumers upset.

It is still unclear weather the the new Tomb Raider is actually exclusive to Microsoft or if it’s just a timed exclusive. The fact that it’s been more than four hours since the news broke, and outlets still seem to be debating the definition of exclusive and what it means in this instance, is in of itself a problem. 

UPDATE: Eurogamer has confirmed that the Tomb Raider deal “has a duration”

-Creighton
@sensiblemadman

Ah. Good job, LA Times.

[via Polygon]

PlayStation 4 Reviews

It’s PlayStation 4 review day! I’ve done a little bit of the dirty work, reading reviews of the PS4. I read three to completion and pieces of two more. Here are the two I’d recommend reading right now:

  • PolygonJustin McElroy’s review is not only beautiful, but the most informed review I’ve read. There’s a also a very concise video that rounds out the whole thing. You should definitely read this review.

While Sony in 2006 was focused on driving adoption of the Blu-ray standard, envisioning another home media boom that never quite materialized, Sony in 2013 has no such distractions. The PS4 isn’t built to sell 3D TVs, or Blu-ray discs or any other corporate mandate. It’s a gaming console, a clear message that Sony has been quick to repeat.

  • Kotaku. Stephen Totilo’s review is very good. It’s the kind of thing he really likes diving into.

The PS4 is just starting, and as it is, it is hard to experience the PS4 without thinking about the machine that came before it. The PlayStation 3 made an incredible journey, from rotundResistance and Lair-playing machine to the console of The Last of UsPuppeteer and The Unfinished Swan. The console got skinnier. It got better. And it wound up playing some of my favorite games ever.

Both Kotaku and Polygon will be updating their reviews as time goes on. As the libraries change, as software is updated you’ll see the scores increase… well hopefully they’ll increase and not decrease. It’s a very interesting method to reviews, but one that I support 100%.

Bleep Bloop - Your Best Game

I’m a few weeks late posting this, partially because I’ve been busy, partially because it was hard for me to find the right words. The video above is the final episode of Bleep Bloop. 

This series means a lot to me, both as a nerd and professionally. Yes I worked on about 80 episodes of the show so I’m close to it. But even from the very start I thought of Bleep Bloop as important. Yes, the directive from Jeff was always “funny first” (after all the show aired on a comedy site), but I always felt like we were doing the community a kind of service. Even though were poking fun and prodding the industry and calling out bad games, we were also informing and speaking to a certain part of video game culture, and hopefully we expanded their horizons with our comedy video. You can see it in 8-bit Rock Band, Artsy Fartsy Games, Night Vision Goggles, Dante’s Infreno, Wii vs Kinect vs MoveiPad Games, and Uwe Boll.

As someone who follows tech and games journalism pretty closely there was really nothing else like it when I started working on the show at Episode 12 in January 2009.

Professionally, Bleep Bloop is what propelled me into a full time job at CollegeHumor. I early in my days freelancing for CollegeHumor I was brought in to shoot and edit this show. Shortly thereafter they hired me full time and I can thank CollegeHumor for seeing a producer in me and allowing me the opportunity to produce some of their highest profile content. Presently I’m a commercial / music video producer, but you can draw a straight line from freelance shooting and editing a few episodes of Bleep Bloop to where I am right now. 

So please watch the final episode of a series I have a lot of love for. Oh, and you can spot me in the last one at 10:40 choosing my favorite game of all time Zombies Ate My Neighbors.

Sony Smart Watch 2

Sony unveiled an updated Smart Watch today. I think the hardware looks really nice, but the 179 Euros (235 Dollars) is a bit high, I think. I think 199 is the killer price point for a smart watch.

I already wear a watch every day and I’m way into the idea of a smart watch. Hopefully everyone this market will continue to grow. 

[via The Verge]

During their press conference, Sony said that they “support used games,” and “that they won’t require an online check in.” Polygon is reporting a little bit of a backpedal:

“Well, I mean, we create the platform, we’ve certainly stated that our first-party games are not going to be doing that, but we welcome publishers and their business models to our platform,”

Tretton received a standing ovation at yesterday’s Sony E3 press conference after announcing that gamers would be able to share their games as they wished without worrying about licenses or 24-hour checks — policies adopted by the Xbox One that have proven fairly unpopular for Microsoft’s platform. Today’s comments seem to walk that announcement back somewhat, giving third-party publishers leverage to use their own copy protections on the platform; though the PS4 still won’t have platform-wide restrictions like the aforementioned daily online checks.

Sony responded to the Polygon article by adding:

“Similar to PS3, we will not dictate the online used game strategy (the ability to play used games online) of its publishing partners,” a Sony representative told Polygon. “As announced last night, PS4 will not have any gating restrictions for used disc-based games. When a gamer buys a PS4 disc they have right to use that copy of the game, so they can trade-in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend, or keep it forever.”

It sounds like they’re being very choosy with their wording. They’re saying they “do not dictate online used game strategy of it’s publishers.” So if Activision want’s to build in a check in every 24 hours it sounds like they are at liberty to do so. Kind of a bummer. Regardless of the policy, Sony got the applause, and the initial press saying no DRM. It’s a win for Sony, maybe not so much for gamers. 

[via Polygon]

PS4. 399. This holiday season.

I’m absolutely shocked that this is less than the Xbox. Wow. Good for Sony. They brought EXACTLY what gamers wanted. This plays into exactly what I said about their conference in February, they’re putting the gamer at the center.

I think Sony won the day. They were a little slow to start, and there was a lot of “we don’t have enough time to talk about this” in some places but, overall, we saw some good looking games and they appealed to gamers. And really, that’s what E3 is all about.

The PS4! This is what it looks like.

I’ve got to say. It looks better than the Xbox One.

EDIT: Updated with official pics from the PlaystationEU Blog.

With the official pictures, I can’t help but think that the PS4 looks a lot like the PS2. I’m into it.

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