We’ve written about the new ZX SPectrum – the Vega – before, and in principal, it does make Bitterwallet a bit giddy (Saboteur – what a game!). Well, Sir Clive Sinclair is giving away 12 golden ZX Vegas in a campaign that is Willy Wonka-esque, for sure.
Retro Computers Ltd, who are the company behind the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega console, will be giving away the consoles in each of the 12 weeks of… wait for it… ‘Clivemas’. We would have called it ‘Glitchmas’, after the noise a Spectrum made when you loaded a game, but there you go.
In each of these weeks, 11 golden tickets will be placed randomly into the boxes of those who buy a Vega. You can keep the golden one and give the normal one away if you win. Or keep both. Or sell one to a collector. Do what you want – we’re not your real dad.
As for the 12th ticket, one of the people who backed the Indiegogo campaign to get the thing built in the first place will get it. Very nice.
Those who are jammy enough to win will also be invited to see the Vegas being made at the UK factory of SMS Electronics Ltd, where they’ll be presented with their super rare console.
And if you’re thinking you might just sit it out and buy one of these golden Vega machines, think again – they’re never going to go on sale. Ever! Anyway, here’s a video if you want in. The music is ace on it.
Short answer to both of these questions is that, no, Sony haven’t done anything of the sort.
That thing you can see on your PS4 is just an advert, so don’t sweat it. Obviously, Sony aren’t going to be giving games away for free, and you can assume that they understand how jumpy gamers are, so they wouldn’t want to anger them by making them have a game they didn’t want or have the memory space for.
Basically, in that horizontal information bar, Sony have whacked an advert for Destiny in it, which might annoy you if you’re anti-adverts, but you can opt-out of those too if you want.
If you don’t like these ads – which Sony have been mercifully tasteful with thus far – you go to your PlayStation 4 Settings, click System, then Automatic Downloads, and there, you should untick the Featured Content box. That means no more ads, which are uniformly ‘opt-in’ as standard.
There’s a similar thing with Microsoft’s Xbox One, which has a ‘What’s New’ section. Either way, if the appearance of Destiny on your PS4 has bugged you, you now know what you need to do, to get rid.
Well, the VR headset is going to be available to everyone in the first half of 2016, according to themselves. That’s right, Project Morpheus is coming, and now, it is called PlayStation VR.
The headset itself is filled with all manner of impressive things, such as accelerometers and lights, as well as a 1080p screen and a fast screen refresh rate, to make your gaming really consuming. We’re worried that we might leave our brains in this virtual world and never come out.
“VR rewrites the rule book on how you can create games,” said Sony Computer Entertainment boss Andrew House. “You’re seeing a large amount of interest and work happening among smaller teams, because it’s possible to create something in VR that is very simple but still very magical.”
This will be clearly great for war games and the like, but Sony have shown off versions of the high school murder mystery game Danganronpa, and fight-em-up Dynasty Warriors. Oh, and there’ll be a version of Final Fantasy XIV as well. There’s also a properly creepy game where you play a teacher who tutors young girls at their house. Hmmm.
Will Sony’s headset be better than Facebook’s Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive? We don’t know, but by linking it up with the PS4 console, they stand a very good chance of trouncing the competition.
Apple TV will have a brand new operating system, and will be able to host a variety of third party apps. While a lot of the talk about next Wednesday’s Apple event has focused on a new iPhone, it is the set-top TV box that will be seeing the biggest improvements.
Naturally, you’ll be able to watch loads of shows and films with the new box, but also, it looks like it’ll be a big device for gaming.
Apple launched a new Twitter account last week, called App Store Games, and Apple TV’s remote control looks like it will be getting a microphone too, which could be incorporated into games (or at least make it easier for you to get through the menus without moving your fingers much). The remote will invariably have accelerometers, which means you could be thrashing around like you’re playing Wii Tennis or whatever.
It seems that Apple are going after casual gamers, rather than the hardcore who play games on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One console… and not forgetting the gamers on PCs.
It looks like the new Apple TV will cost around £150, as a starting price.
Now, for some dodgy practices, concerning people getting paid to say nice things about a product on the sly. It looks like Machinima paid YouTubers tens of thousands of dollars to promote the Xbox One launch in a very positive light, without actually declaring their work was actually an advertising deal.
The Federal Trade Commission found that Machinima paid a bunch of YouTubers tens of thousands to talk up the launch of Microsoft’s Xbox One, and at no point did anyone declare that the endorsements were actually a rather lucrative deal.
As part of the agreement, the videos had to “showcase Microsoft products in positive light”. You can imagine that there’s a host of popular YouTubers who talk about make-up and clothes and the like, also on the make like this.
A YouTuber called Syndicate bagged a lovely $30,000 for running sneaky adverts, while SkyVsGaming got $15,000 in a deal. Neither disclosed that they were being paid by Machinima, the streaming company.
Machinima were throwing their money around like no-one’s business, paying tens-of-thousands to people to create videos that “could not contain anything negative or disparaging regarding Machinima, Xbox One, or any launch title” and “keep confidential at all times all matters relating to [the] agreement.”
This of course, saw the FTC saying that these promotions were not impartial, “false and misleading” and not independently produced. They continued: “In numerous instances, [Machinima] has failed to disclose, or disclose adequately, that the individuals who posted the reviews were compensated in connection with their endorsements.”
“This fact would be material to consumers in their purchasing decisions regarding Xbox One and the Launch Titles. The failure to disclose this fact, in light of the representations made, was, and is, a deceptive practice.” Cheeky!
You can read the full report as a PDF here.
The ASA, the UK’s advertising watchdog, has cracked down in a ruling against online games Moshi Monsters and Bin Weevils. They’re not happy about the ways in which they pressure children to spend money.
The Advertising Standards Authority said both “directly pressured” youngsters to pay subscriptions, and that, in the case of Moshi Monsters, children were told that they’d be “super popular” if they coughed up money. Meanwhile, Bin Weevils’ options to pay subscriptions were put to children as if they were orders, rather than requests.
“Although it was possible to play the games without spending real money or sharing the game, certain activities required participation in a paid-membership system, which entitled members to additional benefits,” the ASA said.
“Both games contained language and prominent calls to action that put pressure on young players to purchase a subscription to take part in additional gameplay. We considered that text, including “Become a Member”, “JOIN NOW”, directly exhorted children to purchase membership subscriptions as well as in-game ‘currency’.”
The ASA added that Moshi Monsters used phrases like “The Super Moshis need YOU” which pressurise children. Of course, putting direct pressure on children is prohibited by the advertising code. It must be a nightmare for the ASA at Christmas eh?
The watchdog said that they’re reminding publishers to take more care with in-game purchase mechanisms aimed at kids.
Mind Candy, who publish Moshi Monsters, said it took its “responsibilities very seriously with regards to how we communicate with all of our fans, especially children”. In a statement, they said: “We have been working with the ASA to ensure that we adhere to best practice and have made changes to the Moshi Monsters game accordingly. We will continue to work with the ASA in any way possible.”
The Bin Weevils publisher, 55pixels, said: “As soon as [we] were made aware of the complaint made to the ASA about a potential breach, and once we had understood the area for concern, we changed all our membership pages to comply with their recommendations. They subsequently upheld the complaint about the original wording but referenced that we now complied, in the text of the ruling.”
If anyone is jumpy about the hacked Twitch, bought by Amazon, there’s going to be a rival to it, set up by YouTube.
Of course, YouTube is owned by Google and they’re trying to take over the entire world. With that, this dedicated gaming service will be called YouTube Gaming, enabling you to live stream your button bashings. You may recall that Google tried to buy Twitch, but failed, so consider this a retaliation.
YouTube Gaming will become available globally soon, and will have the obligatory iOS and Android apps available for download. If it is anything like YouTube’s music offerings, the take-up may not be very prompt or overwhelming.
Ryan Wyatt, YouTube’s head of gaming, said: “Gaming is so big now. We’re doing billions of hours of watch-time a month, with hundreds of millions of users. It’s astonishing.”
As well as walkthroughs, tips and whatnot from notable gamers, you can expect YouTube Gaming to broadcast gaming tournaments, not to mention gaming talk-shows. Wyatt added: “Maybe some YouTube creators who aren’t currently streaming anywhere else will start. You’ll start to see some of your favourite creators start to do live shows.”
It is a growth area. Twitch has more than doubled monthly viewers, now with 100 million at the end of 2014. That shows you just how much YouTube need to do to compete.
We have been blorting on about the rejigged Spectrum – called the ZX Spectrum Vega – for a while now.
Well, it is out next week on Monday 24th August, if you’re in the mood to buy one.
Naturally, there’s loads of emulators you can use online, but this is for the die-hard and dedicated. The console has been developed by Sir Clive Sinclair, and since it appeared on IndieGoGo, it raised over £150k.
It’ll be built in Britain too, which is obviously something that Clive Sinclair is very keen on.
So, in case you missed the chat about this, the Vega will fit the processing power of the original ZX Spectrum and over 1,000 games inside it. Not bad at all. If you want more games, then there’s a MicroSD card slot so you can get more on there.
One wonderful thing for Speccy nerds, is that this new console will allow you to program and create your own games, just like in the olden days, which revolutionised gaming for everyone.
How much to go back in time and play all these? Well, it’ll set you back £99.99. Find out more here.
We’ve had some great prices and deals on PS4 consoles on our Deals of the Day (check back daily, for those), and it looks like now is a good time to get one of the Sony devices if you’re interested in one.
That’s because Sony have announced that they’re putting the prices up (just in time for Christmas, of course). They haven’t said that, naturally – the reason for all this is to ‘provide the best PlayStation Plus experience to their subscribers’, which means charging you more.
So, while the console itself won’t be more expensive, PlayStation Plus which allows you to play multiplayer online as well as giving access to free downloadable PlayStation games, will be.
They haven’t said just how much the price increase will be, but it will be going up.
The company says: “We are dedicated to bringing PlayStation Plus members the best possible service with the most compelling content. From 1st September 2015 we will be increasing the price of monthly and three month PlayStation Plus subscriptions in line with market conditions. We will continue to invest in PS Plus to ensure an unparalleled experience, featuring the best quality games and features.”
At the moment, it costs you £5.49 a month, or a three month subscription will set you back £11.99. Rumour has it that the annual subscription of £39.99 will be staying the same.
Well, Sony have unveiled a new service called Vote to Play, where you can vote for the games you’d like to be able to get for free. The game with the most votes will be free on PlayStation Plus, and two other games will be discounted in the process.
If you are thinking that you don’t want to read this any more and get straight at Vote To Play, and get a good look at it, switch your console on and have a look at the ‘What’s New’ section, okay?
John Koller VP of Platforms Marketing at SCEA, said: “I’m thrilled to announce a new PlayStation Plus promotion that literally puts the choice in your hands – Vote to Play.”
Granted, that isn’t a fascinating insight from Koller, but it is proof that it is happening and that we’re not making things up. Whether or not the games will be any good, is another matter entirely.
This feature will be available to both PS4 and PS3 owners, and according to Sony, it will “take place at regular intervals throughout the year.” So it isn’t likely to be a monthly occurrence.
Nothing has been said about when the first votes will take place, and if you’re thinking that this is just the thing to entice you into buying a PS+ account, remember this – you stop getting access to the games if you stop paying for PlayStation Plus, so often, it is worth looking to buy the game on the cheap elsewhere.
Have you done a system update on your PS4, and found that you’re struggling to load games? Or have the discs started to get stuck in your console? Well, there’s a bunch of things you can try out before you send it in for a fix. There’s nothing (literally nothing, obviously) that having nothing to play video games on, so these fixes will be quicker than sending it away.
Is Your Disc Clean?
This is stating the obvious to some, but make sure the disc you’re using is free from fingerprints or scratches. If it is scratched to buggery, there’s nothing you can do about that, but if your disc is mucky, then give it a clean. It is up to you whether you go for the ‘Just Wipe It On Your T-Shirt’ move, or whether you get down the shops and buy a microfibre cloth and some rubbing alcohol.
Switch It Off and On Again
‘Have you tried switching it off and on again?’ This is a cliche, but it sometimes works. Switch your console off for 30 seconds and unplug all the leads out of it. Leave it a bit (go and stick the kettle on or whatever) and then turn it on again. If that doesn’t work, make sure you’re not booting it up in Rest Mode. Shut your PS4 down fully with no disc in, and then turn it on, pop the game in, and see how that suits you.
Have You Rebuilt The Database?
Okay, this sounds frightening, but it really isn’t. To rebuild the database, turn-off the PS4 and unplug the power cable. Wait 10 seconds, and then plug the cord back in. Then, hold down the power button (keep holding it down) until you hear a second beep – this starts your console in Safe Mode. Option 5 will allow you to rebuild the database. Basically, all you’re doing is building a new database for all your content. You must NOT switch your PS4 off in the middle of this and it could take a while to do, so be patient.
The screen looks like this
Is Your Game Data Corrupted?
Sometimes, the data you’ve saved is corrupted. This is an easy fix. Basically, go through your menus and delete the game, including your saved data, then pop the disc back in and reinstall it. Naturally, you’ll lose your saved game, but that isn’t the end of the world.
Is Your PS4 Disc Stuck?
Okay. This hear is a little bit trickier, as you’ll need to take your PS4 to pieces. It isn’t a hard job to do, but it might give you the fear. Get in touch with Sony PS4 Customer Service Helpline at 0203 538 2665 if you’d rather not open up your console. Read all these instructions first before diving in, to see if this looks doable to you. You’ll need a slender Phillips-head screwdriver and a torch.
If you fancy a crack at it, then here’s what you do. Fully turn off your PS4, unplug all the cables and then, on a clean, flat surface (a table is better than doing it on the carpet) place your console in front of you so the front of the system is on the left and the PS logo is on the top of the PS4, on the right – like so.
Put the palms of your hands on the glossy panel at the top and, with your fingers resting on the bit of the console furthest away from you, apply a small amount of pressure near the seam, and slide the glossy panel away from you. Be gentle. Don’t go mad, or you’ll break it and we’re not being held responsible for that.
You’ll hear a click and the panel will move about 1/4″. You can now lift the panel off, from the left side. Now, you’ll have to find the manual eject screw.
You should be able to see two sets of vents along the outer left edge. You’ll see one slot that is set apart from the rest. Use the torch off your phone (or an actual torch) and look down it. You’ll see the manual eject screw here.
Grab a slender Phillips-head screwdriver (a jeweller’s screwdriver is your best bet) and pop it into the slot, turning the screw anti-clockwise until you can see the disc peek out of the disc slot. The screw turns very easily and after 4 or 5 rotations, your disc should be peering out enough for you to pull it out by hand.
Now, you have to put it back together. So, replace the glossy panel by sliding it back into place until you hear the click. Then, connect all your relevant cables and turn it back on, and you should be away!
“Our community assigns an item a value that is at least partially determined by that item’s scarcity. If more copies of the item are added to the economy through inventory rollbacks, the value of every other instance of that item would be reduced,” say Steam’s policy.
“We sympathize with people who fall victim to scams, but we provide enough information on our website and within our trading system to help users make good trading decisions.”
Valve concludes that “all trade scams can be avoided”.
So basically, they’re saying ‘it really is your own stupid fault if you get scammed, soz like’. Seems a bit odd to put the onus on the user, but there you go.
If you’re going to trade, then you might want to do some reading up on scams first, so you don’t get burned, because they’re not going to help you out one bit
PSN has been experiencing issues that resulted in the service going offline for some time, and as of today, after some routine maintenance, everything should be back to normal, and you’ll be back to getting thrashed by 11 year olds at a variety of games.
It started off with gamers noticing that download speeds were reducing and the waiting time to complete online content transfers was far, far too long too. Gamers were also struggling to sign-in to play online, which is fine if you always play solo, but no cop if you bought a PS4 especially to take on people from around the world.
Sony said: ”You may be experiencing issues related to launching certain games or game functionality. This is due to factors external to PSN. We are tracking the progress of the resolution of the issue.”
So, today, the service was down for an hour and a half: ”Routine maintenance and improvements for PlayStation Network will be performed for approximately 1.5 hours on Monday, June 29, 9:30 p.m. PDT (June 30, 4:30 a.m. GMT) to June 29, 11:00 p.m. PDT (June 30, 6:00 a.m. GMT). Anyone who already has a PlayStation Network account can still sign in to their PlayStation Network profile, play games, and use most applications while this maintenance is carried out,” announced the PlayStation Network’s status page.”
“However, PSN account holders will not be able to access certain PSN features, such as PlayStation Video and Account Management. Users will also not be able to make purchases from the PlayStation Store or complete a transaction during this time window.”
“Sony apologizes for the inconvenience and also advises that users activate their PS4 console as the primary console prior to the start of the routine maintenance on June 29.”
This week, gaming nerds are all getting stuck into the E3 conference, to find out what is happening in the world of video games. The big news at the moment, is that Phil Spencer – he’s the head of Xbox, not Kirsty Allsopp’s mate – has announced that you’ll be able to play Xbox 360 games on your Xbox One.
So what’s the craic? Well, Xbox 360 games will start showing up automatically in your library once backwards compatibility goes live. If you own a load of 360 games and they’re gathering dust, don’t throw them out – you’ll be able to pop them in your Xbox One console, and you’ll get a free download of the game.
And, in a neat touch, thanks to the advanced technology, you’ll be able to take screenshots and do broadcasting and all that, just like it was a new release.
There’ll be around 100 titles to play from the off, and as soon as the games developers give the nod to have their games appear on the system, more will be added.
There’s news of a load of new games for the Xbox One too.
There’ll be a game called ReCore which sees a female hero and her robot dog fighting their way through a desert full of baddies. There’s also a pirate game called Sea of Thieves, which is an open world affair. The game that seems to be getting most excitement is something called Rare Replay, which is a 30 game compilation which includes Banjo-Kazooie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day and more.
Rise of the Tomb Raider was also previewed, for all the Lara Croft fans out there. There were also looks at Halo 5: Guardians and Gears 4. Sadly, there’s nothing about sorting out gamers’ vitamin D deficiencies.
We’ve spoken about PlayStation’s digital refund policy in the past, which isn’t up to much at all. Tonight (Thursday May 28th, 8pm), BBC’s Watchdog are going to be looking into it after receiving a number of complaints about the service.
They’ll be looking at the case of a PS4 owner who was refused a refund after a fraudulent purchase was made on his PSN account.
Of course, this isn’t a new complaint, but one that persists.
One of Sony’s loopholes is that they refuse reimbursement unless you can prove that the game you bought was defective in some way.
PlayStation looked into it and told the BBC: “Our investigation concluded that the serial number of the console on which these transactions were made does not match the serial number of the console you provided to us on your original call. Regrettably, as stated in the PlayStation Network Terms of Service, we are unable to offer a refund for purchases made on PlayStation Store unless the content is found to be defective.”
PlayStation have a dedicated page, which looks at refunds which you can see here. They look at purchases that your child might have done without your knowledge, automatically renewing subscriptions and people being charged of PlayStation products without actually owning a console.
The line seems to be that, regardless of your complaint, they’ll ‘investigate further’, but don’t clearly state that refunds are available. Will Sony provide a solution with pressure from a big-gun like the BBC? We’ll have to wait and see.