November 01, 2013, 6:00 AM —
So we made it to November! It's now officially launch month. Sony fans have two weeks to wait, and for Microsoft folks it's just three. I'm experiencing a little regret about pre-ordering my consoles from Amazon; it might have been fun to head out to a midnight launch event.
Probably the biggest news this week was Sony's PS4 FAQ, but we talked about that yesterday. There's a glimmer of hope on the MP3 and DLNA support, though. Sony's Shuhei Yoshida tweeted "Thanks for the feedback to the lack of MP3 and DLNA support at the launch of PS4. I'll share with the PS4 Dev team for future consideration." I doubt anything will change for launch but hopefully a future system update will give us these features.
So what else happened in the last week? Well, way back in May I joked about someone producing a "Kinect Kover" for the XBox One's Kinect sensor after it was learned that Kinect had to be hooked up in order for the Xbox One to function (Microsoft later removed this requirement). Well someone did! The PDP Kinect TV Mount - Xbox One is a device to help you mount the Kinect 2 on top of your flatscreen, and it comes with a cover for the cameras in order to protect your privacy. I knew I should've Kickstarted the Kinect Kover!
Xbox One fans learned of another freebie they'll be getting at launch (the first being a limited edition of Killer Instinct). A trial version of Kinect Sports Rivals called Kinect Sports Rivals Preseason (it's not a demo if you give it a special name). Preseason features "wake racing" (what you and I would probably call Jet Ski racing) and players can earn a special Founder title and some other goodies by playing early. The full game launches next spring.
Staying on the Xbox, we saw two different demonstrations of the Xbox One dashboard. Here's the slickly produced Microsoft one featuring a gamer with an extremely short attention span:
I think we can all agree there was a non-trivial amount of post-production work done on that video, right?
But here's another video showing the 'snap' feature of the dashboard:
This gives a much better 'real life' look at the system. The Snap feature words faster than I expected it to, but it seems clear the controls aren't as intuitive as they might be. But we'll learn them, right?
Microsoft updated their privacy statement in advance of the Xbox One launch. If you want to glean the highlights, Polygon has a great summary up. The most interesting part to me was that Microsoft warns you that you "should not expect any level of privacy concerning your use of the live communication features such as voice chat, video and communications in live-hosted gameplay sessions offered through the Services." I'm actually fine with this because I'm guessing that this policy is to allow Microsoft employees to drop in and monitor voice and video chat after a player has been reported to be using hate speech or otherwise breaking the terms of service. They add that they "cannot monitor the entire Service and make no attempt to do so." If you want to speak privately to someone use Skype; they don't monitor Skype communications.
Last week I mentioned a rumor going around about the screen resolution of Call of Duty: Ghosts. The rumor said the game ran at 1080P on PS4 and 720P on Xbox One.
Well this rumor was confirmed by COD executive producer Mark Rubin who said:
Hey, been on the road last couple weeks so haven’t had a chance to update, but wanted to confirm that for Xbox One we’re 1080p upscaled from 720p. And, we’re native 1080p on PS4. We optimized each console to hit 60 FPS and the game looks great on both.
So there ya have it. I'm still not sure how significant this is. It's one game. If we see this turning into a pattern then yeah, it's kind of a bigger deal. I think we'll have to stay tuned for now.
I'm still bummed that Drive Club is missing the PS4 launch, but I took some comfort in a couple of super short videos that popped up this week. The game is at least looking really good. How it plays, of course, we don't know yet.
You can find more micro-clips on the Drive Club Facebook page.
Even thought we have to wait two more weeks for the Playstation 4, Sony is shipping out the new DualShock 4 already. I got mine, but I haven't played with it much. Polygon calls it the best Sony controller yet, which probably doesn't mean much if you prefer the Xbox style offset controllers. I will say the DualShock 4 sits in my hands well and I like the weight of it. I can't wait to, y'know, play some games with it.
Since the Tokyo Game Show Sony has been predicting 5 million PS4 unit's sold by the end of March. During an earnings call yesterday they were asked to share more about this prediction. The offered two reasons. Pre-orders "much, much higher" than past platforms, and solid third party support which they haven't always launched with. Dual Shockers has a bit more on this topic if you want to dig deeper.
I think that's about it for this week. If you know of any important news I missed, please do leave a comment. I'll be back next week with another wrap-up of next gen news. Until then I'll leave you with a pair of Forza 5 videos, though the second one feels a bit like an Audi ad at times.
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.