November 08, 2013, 6:00 AM —
This week's next gen gaming console news wrap-up could wind up to be heavily Playstation 4 biased, given we're less than a week from launch. I won't have my PS4 when I'm writing next week's post but by the time it gets published those of you who hit midnight launch events will be playing yours (unless something awful happens with the launch).
So let's start with the time sensitive stuff. This Sunday, November 10th, participating Gamestop stores are holding a special trade-in event. You'll get 90% extra credit for any gaming hardware you trade-in, and 30% extra on games, accessories, tablets and smartphones. Of course there's a catch: you get the bonus credit only if you're applying it towards a pre-ordered Playstation 4. To learn all the details or to find a participating store, head to Gamestop's PS4 Event page.
Next Thursday, the 14th, if you're not heading out to a midnight launch event tune into Spike TV at 11:00 PM ET to check out the PS4 All Access: Greatness Awaits launch event. If you don't have cable you can watch it on Sony's Ustream channel or on the Playstation Blog. They're promising some world premieres; hopefully that means world premieres of unannounced games and not just new trailers for titles we already know about.
Of course it's not all rainbows and unicorns in Sony land. I'm seeing a consistent number of negative comments about the PS4 that complain about the lack of DLNA and MP3 support (see this post for more details). This gave Microsoft an opportunity to be the good guys in this console war, and they wasted no time assuring the Penny Arcade Report that the Xbox One is in the process of being certified as a DLNA device, and that it can play music CDs. It won't play MP3s stored on the Xbox One but it is a Play To receiver, meaning you can stream music from a PC to your XB1.
Of course there's also Xbox Music for streaming, and there we had some confusion this past week. At one point Microsoft's Albert Penello reported that you could stream (ad-supported) music for free on the Xbox One. Unfortunately that turned out to be an error. You get 15 free songs, then you need to subscribe, same as with an Xbox 360. It's an odd choice because on a Windows 8 machine you can access Xbox Music and get a free, ad-supported stream. Anyway The Verge has a more complete rundown of this story. Bottom line though, you have to pay for Xbox Music on the Xbox One.
Are you excited for Xbox One exclusve Ryse: Son of Rome? If so, Machinima has a live-action web series to keep you tied-over until the 22nd. That link will take you to episode one, and here's the trailer:
Let's talk launch lineups for a moment.
The Xbox One lost a title in the past week. It turns out Peggle 2 won't be out in time for launch. I doubt many people will cancel their pre-orders over this.
The Playstation 4 launch line-up continues to fluctuate; it's a real indicator of how much this system is being rushed to market, I think. This week we lost Tiny Brains and Pinball Arcade as launch titles, but we gained Need For Speed: Rivals. (An important addition in my opinion;a new console demands a racing game and with Drive Club delayed...) Also added to the launch day roster: Skylanders: Swap Force, Blacklight Retribution, Super Motherload, Trine 2: The Complete Story, Warframe and DC Universe: Online.
A few of those titles (Blacklight, Warframe and DCUO) are ports of free-to-play PC titles. That means if buying the PS4 leaves you a little strapped for cash, there are still some titles you'll be able to play without shelling out any more money. DC Universe Online is a Sony product so they're really playing it up, even though the game has been around for several years. A post on the Playstation blog explores the changes coming to the game for the PS4 'relaunch.'
So you want to know what 1080P, 60 FPS gaming on a console really looks like? The best way to experience it is to download a video file rather than trying to stream it. To that end Guerrilla Games zipped up some Killzone: Shadow Fall footage for you to ogle. If you're in the Microsoft camp, Respawn has done the same thing with some TitanFall footage. I watched them both, and drooled a little.
Forza 5 is one of the Xbox One's launch titles. It's a racing game that features the kinds of cars most of us will only ever dream of driving, let alone owning. Turns out that even virtual exotic cards come with a cost. Microsoft is offering a $49.99 "Car Pass" that Forza 5 owners can purchase. It gets them access to the first six batches of add-on content. MS say that'll save you 18% over buying each batch on its own.
If you're a hard-core Forza fan I guess this is a deal, but wow, asking a gamer to shell out $50 right after they've spent $60 on your game seems a little rough. Of course I'm the type of person who rarely plays a single game for more than a couple of weeks so I'm clearly not the intended audience. Still, in order to clear your palette of that cost, let's look at some new Forza footage from this week:
Sheesh is that ever a gorgeous game.
This week an embargo expired and a bunch of journalists got to share their experiences with preview builds of some Xbox One launch titles, and most of them seemed to come away feeling like Forza 5 is one of the games to beat. I rather liked Kotaku's coverage the best, but Ars Technica's coverage was good too.
Based on what I've read I'm going to skip Ryse, definitely get Forza 5 and I'm on the fence about Dead Rising 3.
It's odd, and a little concerning, that we're not seeing big write-ups of the PS4's launch lineup yet.
Sony did launch a tear-down video of the Playstation 4. If you're wondering what's inside the box, have a look, compliments of Wired:
While it's nice to not have a power brick, I hope that fan keeps the PS4 running plenty cool!
One of the Sony PS4 launch titles is Knack and, at least in the cirlces I travel in, Sony is having a hard time getting gamers very excited about it. Yesterday they blogged about the various ways to play and shared a co-op trailer:
There's nothing too special about the trailer, but one little factoid I found interesting is that if you have a PS4 and a Vita you can play Knack co-op, with one player using the PS4 controller and the other using the Vita. Nice for those of us who are Vita owners but who aren't springing for a second PS4 controller.
There's also a tie-in mobile game for iOS called Knack's Quest. It's a fairly standard match-3 game, but by playing it you can unlock collectible items in the PS4 game. How isn't clear, but apparently there'll be an update to the app that lets you link it to your PSN account somehow. Knack's Quest is headed for Android eventually, too, but curiously isn't available on the Vita.
I think that about wraps it up for this week. If you know of any news I missed, please do leave a comment and share it. Otherwise, enjoy your final "last gen" weekend and check back next Friday for another update!
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.