Catching up with next gen console news out of PAX Prime

Sony Playstation PS4
Credit: Sony

Here in the US we're coming back from a long Labor Day weekend. For gamers, Labor Day means PAX Prime, the annual gaming event that's specifically for gamers rather than the press or industry professionals.

Both Sony and Microsoft had a presence there, of course, and while there were no huge press conferences, we did get a few more bits of information about the Playstation and Xbox Platforms.

Sony announced a new "Third Party Relations" group whose mandate is to help third party publishers bring their games to the Playstation platform. The first example, and apparently a project that in part spawned the program, is a port of Borderlands 2 coming to the Playstation Vita.

Additionally Sony had a bunch of new smaller game announcements, among them Spry Fox's Road Not Taken (PS4 & Vita), Zeboyd Games' Cosmic Star Heroine (PS4 & Vita), Teknopants' Samurai Gunn (PS4 & Vita) and Terry Cavanagh's VVVVVV (Vita). Sony is going all-in on embracing Indie games and I hope for their sake it resonates with fans. I'm pretty excited about this kind of variety hitting the Playstation Platform.

This past weekend also saw some discussion about voice command and facial recognition support for the Playstation 4 camera. Someone picked up on these features being teased on a slide at a recent GameStop Expo 2013, and Sony confirmed to Polygon "...that PlayStation Camera allows for voice recognition...". I guess we'll learn more about that in the months to come, but since the Playstation Camera is an optional accessory I don't expect to see the kind of support that Kinect will have on the Xbox One.

Move over to Microsoft, they didn't have a ton of news coming out of PAX but one important feature was mentioned/reiterated during the live recording of Larry Hyrb's podcast. The intention is for the Xbox One to eventually support external storage (and that seems to include running games off an external drive) via it's USB 3.0 ports, but (here comes the bad news) this functionality won't be available at launch.

Every Xbox One comes with a 500 GB internal drive that isn't user upgradable, but hopefully half a gig will be sufficient until Microsoft rolls out this feature. The Playstation 4 is designed to allow you to upgrade the internal hard drive easily (the PS3 is the same way), but it won't support external drives for game storage. Personally I think I prefer an external solution since that's adding storage as opposed to replacing it (and dealing with data migration).

Hey, it's September! Prime gaming season! We've got about 10 weeks until the Playstation 4 launch and not much more before the Xbox One launches. (Come on, Microsoft, give us a launch date!) In between now and then we've got some great games on the way for current gen. I'm looking forward to diving into Diablo 3 on console today, and GTA V is just around the corner. What are you looking forward to playing this fall?

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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