Gamescom: Filling in some Xbox and Playstation gaps

Sony Playstation PS4
Credit: Sony

Tuesday's Gamescom coverage of the Microsoft and Sony press events had some gaps and today I wanted to fill in what blanks I could.

First I talked about Sony cutting the price on the Vita handheld to $199 and that the proprietary memory cards would get a 'significant' (Sony's word) price cut too. Well Sony and I have different views when it comes to what we consider significant. The 32 GB Vita card has been cut $20 to $79.99, which is still far too much money. The 16GB is now $39.99, 8 GB is $19.99 and 4GB is $14.99. I don't understand why Sony keeps these prices so high; give us cheap storage and we'll buy more stuff from the online store, Sony!

I also talked about an upgrade program for Playstation, similar to the one that Amazon and Gamestop are doing for the Xbox One. I didn't know how much upgrading a PS3 game to a PS4 game was going to cost under this new program. Now we have at least one example: Activision says the Call of Duty: Ghosts upgrade will be $10 (same as it is over on the Xbox platform). Hopefully other publishers will follow suit and go with $10 upgrades.

One thing we still don't know a lot about is the UI of either of these systems. The Sony press conference started with a segment showing Sony's Shuhei Yoshida lounging in an easy chair messing around with a PS4 but the live stream didn't offer us a good view of what was going on. Now Sony has shared a much better video of that segment:

Microsoft isn't ready to show the Xbox One UI on video, but a few bloggers did get to sit down and check it out. One of them was Engadget. They note that the UI is tile-heavy, following the current Microsoft/Windows standard. What I found most interesting about the post is that Kinect-driven voice commands have been made much more robust. For instance, to record your gameplay you just say "Xbox, record that." You can even switch between games and adjust the volume on your home theater via voice commands.

Kinect's IR blaster seemed to impress Engadget but I'll continue to warn potential users that I strongly suspect many of us are going to have to resort to using wired IR blasters if we want to control our entire home theater system. It'll depend on how reflective the surfaces in your living room are, and where your gear is positioned.

Gamescom runs all the way to Sunday, so it's possible we'll have more info in the next few days, though I'm sure all the major announcements are behind us. I'm still surprised Microsoft hasn't announced a release date yet.

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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