February 19, 2014, 6:00 AM —
Yesterday it was announced that Sony has already sold 5.3 million Playstation 4 consoles worldwide. Prior to launch it had targeted 5 million sold by the end of the fiscal year (the end of March), so it's already made that number and it should get another good boost on Saturday when the console launches in Japan.
All signs point to the PS4 'beating' the Xbox One, for now. But that could change come March 11th and the launch of TitanFall which will be available on the Xbox One but not on the Playstation 4. That said, it'll also be available on the PC and, a few weeks later, on the Xbox 360, so whether it'll drive sales remains to be seen. I still suspect it will.
There's also been a fairly persistent string of game resolution reveals that seem to favor the PS4. This week alone upcoming titles Thief and Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes will both run at 1080P on the PS4 but at lower resolutions on the Xbox One (900P for Thief, 720P for Metal Gear).
I'm honestly not sure how much this matters in practical terms, but it's certainly good fanboy fodder for Sony. The real question is, when the two versions of a game are running side by side, does the PS4 version look better than the Xbox One version? We won't know until the finished games are in the hands of reviewers.
Last up for the Playstation 4 fanwagon is news from the GDC saying that more developers are planning to release their next game on the PS4 than on the Xbox One. That's the good spin for Sony, but the numbers for both consoles are quite small (19.66% say PS4, 16.95% say Xbox One) when compared to mobile (50.63%) or PC (52.04%). Obviously developers could pick more than one platform so the numbers don't add up to 100%.
Leaving the console wars behind and talking about games in general, Ken Levine dropped something of a bombshell yesterday when he announced that Irrational, developers of the well received Bioshock Infinite (as well as the original Bioshock) was shutting down!
Levine is going to start a new firm, still under the umbrella of 2K Games, and he's taking 15 Irrational people with him. Everyone else is getting the sack though they're getting some time to fix up their portfolios and are being invited to apply to other 2K studios.
Talking about future plans Levine says:
In time we will announce a new endeavor with a new goal: To make narrative-driven games for the core gamer that are highly replayable. To foster the most direct relationship with our fans possible, we will focus exclusively on content delivered digitally.
So is this the end of the Bioshock franchise? It doesn't seem to be. Joystiq shared this quote from 2K games:
"BioShock is one of our most beloved and critically acclaimed franchises, and we are indebted to Ken and the talented team at Irrational Games for their contributions to the series with BioShock and BioShock Infinite; the latter being one of the most decorated games of 2013. The BioShock universe remains a rich creative canvas for many untold stories, and we look forward to exploring the next BioShock experience."
So does something seem strange here? 2K has a team in Irrational that just produced a critically acclaimed Bioshock title. They want to do more Bioshock titles. But because Ken Levine wants to do something else, they're liquidating the whole Irrational team? Wouldn't it make more sense to just let someone else take over the reins? I don't think we're getting the whole story.
In any case, it's a shame to see a studio shut down and to see all those talented people lose their jobs. The game dev community is doing what it can to support these folks, starting up an #irrationaljobs hashtag on Twitter to help connect ex-Irrational people to new opportunities.
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.