Nintendo are doing too well are they? Basically, hardly anyone’s bought a Wii U and everyone is dribbling over the PS4 and Xbox One now, so obviously, they’re struggling to keep the pace. The figures back this Mario malaise, with the company only shifting 3.61 million Wii U consoles.
Compare that to sales of the original Wii, whiched shifted more than 100 million, trashing the PS3 and Xbox 360.
And now, Naughty Dog co-founder and former THQ president Jason Rubin reckons that Nintendo doesn’t have a place at the table next to Microsoft and Sony in the console market. Big talk. He says: “Nintendo’s irrelevant as a hardware manufacturer in the console business.”
He added that Nintendo are indeed a “worldwide treasure” and praised designer Shigeru Miyamoto for his contribution to the gaming industry, but he is irked that big-hitters like Mario and Zelda are exclusive to Nintendo, saying: ”It is a crime that we do not play those games on the systems that we have.”
Nintendo have been slashing the price of the Wii U in a bid to reignite some interest. However, many megamarkets have stopped stocking it altogether, such is the scant demand.
Are we going to see Nintendo offering Mario and Zelda up to other platforms, like Sega did with Sonic the Hedgehog? If they don’t, we might be looking at another Deathwatch.
You can still order a PS4 from Amazon.co.uk as part of a bundle, but you’ll have to hurry yourself up as the postal service is about to start slowing up under the festive mentalness.
Loads of shops will have limited numbers of the console too, on a first come first served based.
Asda, Tesco, Argos and GAME have promised to have stock if you’re in a rush, but you can expect queues from gaming lunatics who like to stand in lines to prove how much they care about these matters. It’d be worth finding a store that is close enough to a pub, so you can at least get drunk before you queue or, indeed, have somewhere to sit if you decide against it at the last minute.
Tesco are being cagey, but they’ll be announcing their stores on this page so you can find the nearest one with PS4 stock. Argos, meanwhile, are allowing you to reserve one at this page, but they’re for collection only. Game haven’t gone into details yet, but check here throughout the day.
O2 are giving away PS4s with a new £52 a month contract on the day of release. The O2 deal requires an £89.99 up-front cost and you get some games with it too. You will be lumbered with a Sony Xperia Z1 phone too. Participating O2 stores can be found here.
Asda, meanwhile, have announced which stores will have PS4 stock. They’re open from midnight and limit purchases to 1 per customer. The list is rather long, so click over the jump to see which store near you will have a PS4 for you, should you want to pick one up in person on the day of release. For the rest of Europe, click here.
With Steam working so well, some optimists figured that with the next-gen consoles, there would be a load of cheap downloadable games we could get our hands on. However, Sony are behind the PS4 and they don’t like value-for-money.
Prices have been announced for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and the cheapest games are £50. If you’re a teenager, get a part-time job now or you’ll be playing nothing ’til the New Year.
FIFA 14, Battlefield 4, Assassin’s Creed 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts are all going for £55 on PSN (Sony’s online marketplace), which are exactly the same price as the games on Xbox Live. Even PS4 exclusives – Knack and Killzone – are only £2 cheaper at £53.
Oddly, physical copies of games are going cheaper (around the £46 mark), which is strange seeing as there’s a manual, cover, box and Blu Ray disc. One thing that might be bringing the price down is that you can’t play games directly off the disc, instead, you have to install them, thereby making the packaging a big waste of everyone’s time.
“As PS4 and PSN have not yet officially launched in this region, nothing on the PSN is final, including pricing on the store,” Sony said. ”You will continue to see some prices adjusted over the next few days in preparation for launch on Friday.”
For bargains, it will definitely be worth waiting for 2014 to roll in because, as it stands, you’ll either be forking out loads of money or getting bored of the scant games available.
Microsoft are going a bit Mary Whitehouse. They’ve said that people with an Xbox One console will be banned from Xbox Live if they’re found to be using “excessive profanity” while playing games and uploading videos of gameplay using the share function.
Gamers have already noted some heavy handed action, with some having their access to Skype restricted on their next-gen console. One user said: “I get the message ‘Choose something else to play’ simply because I assume MS was not happy about a video I uploaded.”
Microsoft confirmed their stance at TechCrunch, saying that anything uploaded through the Xbox One’s Upload Studio is monitored and that “excessive swearing” is, in their mind, a breach of terms of service.
They said: “To be clear, the Xbox Live Policy & Enforcement team does not monitor direct peer-to-peer communications like Skype chats and calls. Also, we take Code of Conduct moderation via Upload Studio very seriously. We want a clean, safe and fun environment for all users. Excessive profanity as well as other Code of Conduct violations will be enforced upon and result in suspension of some or all privileges on Xbox Live. We remain committed to preserving and promoting a safe, secure and enjoyable experience for all of our Xbox Live members.”
Whether Microsoft are using an automated service to listen in or not remains to be seen. In addition to that, it seems peculiar that a gamer can’t speak freely, especially if you consider some of the fruity language in games like Grand Theft Auto. You can bet that Sony are looking at this and rubbing their hands together as Microsoft have another awkward PR campaign to fix.
There’s a lot of concern regarding a company called Alpine Electronics. Not to be confused with the Alpine who make car accessories, but rather, a site people have spotted some bargains that appeared to be too good to be true. And, it appears they were indeed not to be believed.
The company, trading via alpineelectronicsltd.co.uk had offers on cheap consoles. After taking numerous orders, the site is now down and it appears that all orders have gone with it.
BW staff contacted the numbers that were on the site before it went down, and there’s no answer. After finding the address of the company, we called the company next door and found that Alpine Electronics had upped sticks and moved on. The person we spoke to admitted that they’d taken numerous calls regarding this matter.
Looking at scamvoid/alpineelectronicsltd, it seems this was a very new company, which makes it difficult to assume that this is anything but a scam.
Over on HUKD, there’s a lot of discussion about the company, with one user noting too many indescrepencies (see here), and lots of comments about emails going unanswered and phone calls which were vague about the company’s history. Many customers have said that they’ve received fake DHL emails about delivery.
Amazon customers have also been talking about Alpine Electronics, with many feeling they’ve been duped. Some customers have already contacted the police about the matter.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE AN ALPINE ELECTRONICS ORDER?
To be safe, it is worth getting in touch with your credit/debit card company or call Action Fraud on 0300 1232040. When contacting Action Fraud, be sure to let them know that the company has vacated their premises, which means they won’t instruct you to send a Breach Of Contract letter to Alpine. Your bank should stand the cost of the transaction, but you’ll need to contact them for more details.
Should your bank prove difficult, remind them that you are in fact protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act whenever you make a purchase for goods or services worth between £100 and £30,000 using your credit card. Section 75 states that you and your credit card provider are “jointly and severally liable” for your purchase. That means, if you’re scammed, your card provider must refund you if the retailer won’t.
Most debit card providers offer protection also. A scheme called Chargeback offers protection on purchases made using Visa, Visa Electron, Mastercard and Maestro debit cards. This makes it possible for you to claim a refund if your transaction is unsatisfactory (goods not being delivered, multiple billing, fraud). Claims must be made within 120 days of when your goods should have been delivered and ask your bank to initiate the Chargeback process and a dispute will be opened by your bank.
If Chargeback fails, take your claim to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
So, the PS4 is out and about – now it is time for the Xbox One. It’ll be a mad scramble to try and win over gamers at Christmas, so what do you need to know about the next-gen Microsoft console?
Well, here’s the five things you should know before buying.
Not Just A Console
Of course, the new Xbox is a gaming machine, however, like most consoles, it has to be more than that. The Xbox One has a HDMI-in jack and has been designed with playing music, watching TV (both live and with TV channel menus are in the box) and there’ll be access to new channels through your console (ESPN, Hulu, Amazon or Netflix are available through it). It seems that Microsoft are really gunning for users to make this as integral to your time as phones and tablets have become. Games, TV, music… everything that you look away from your handheld devices for, the Xbox One is trying to cover all these bases.
The Xbox One’s user interface has been impressing everyone who has got their hands on the console because it is very different from anything else. Although, this being Microsoft, it can be clunky in places. The UI will feel familiar to 360 users, but you’ll notice that it is sleeker, leaner and very easy to navigate. With tiles akin to Windows 8, you’ll be able to get to what you want. The much chattered about voice command element is what really grabs attention. You talk to the Xbox One and it does what you tell it. You can turn your console off with voice command, as well as launch your cable or satellite TV from set-top box, and a whole myriad of other things. You’ll probably feel a bit weird talking to your console though, unless you’ve been chatting Siri up already.
Differences With The PS4
Both consoles have eight-core processors, eight gigabytes of RAM and 500GB of storage, however, the RAM on the PS4 is better and the GPU performance trounces the Xbox One. However, most gamers won’t be able to tell the difference between, say, 720 and 1080 resolutions, so casual gamers need not worry about that. The Xbox One is bigger and heavier than the PS4, but again, there’s little chance you’ll be moving it once it finds a place in your house.
The Xbox One is getting you in the Microsoft Cloud and you can download games and TV shows. It certainly looks like Microsoft are trying to move consumers away from physical purchases and toward a downloadable media. However, this might be problematic as games developers may well sulk if they don’t get pride of place in the interface. And of course, there’s problems with buying things cheap, second-hand too. It’ll launch with other 20 games, however, if your internet connection isn’t lightning fast, you may get frustrated waiting for games to download. However, you can start playing before the download is complete, which is pretty nifty.
Before, Kinect was a near novelty for the Xbox, but now, it is integral to the system. It is included with the console and is better than the old one. As mentioned before, the UI is voice activated but also works with hand gestures too. The console will now ‘recognise’ you too, which is vaguely creepy, but will make for easier sign-ins and such. It can recognise up to six players. The controllers have been tinkered with too and have rumble in the triggers. Like the PS4, you can plug a headset into the bottom of your joypad. Everything comes with the console, so it is rather pricey. Might be worth waiting if you’re not ready to make the next-gen leap just yet.
We reported that there had been problems with the PS4, with customers complaining that it was switching off for no reason.
Sony said that problems were only affecting less than 0.4% of units shipped to date and they said in a statement: ”This is within our expectations for a new product introduction, and the vast majority of PS4 feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.” They added that they are “closely monitoring for additional reports, but we think these are isolated incidents”.
So how do you fix the issues?
First off, check your TV compatibility or your HDMI connection. Some users have noted that, after initial problems, after updating the firmware on their televisions, issues concerning a lack of audio or video have been sorted. Also, it’d be worth checking the HDMI ports on both your television and PS4, as well as checking the cable you have.
If you think it might be the PS4 power supply, you need to switch off your PS4 completely, touch the power button on the front of the PS4 for at least 7 seconds until the system beeps twice, then disconnect the plug from the socket in the wall (you must only do this when the power indicator is turned off or you might corrupt data on your console). After that, try again. You can also try the power adapter from the PS3 if that doesn’t work.
If you think it might be the PS4 hard drive, turn off the PS4 and press the power button for 7 seconds (again, until the system beeps twice) and disconnect the PS4 AC power cord from the electrical outlet. Then, when the system is completely off, detach all the other cables from your console. Then, slide the HDD bay cover in the direction of the arrow to remove it and have a look at the hard drive to make sure it is properly seated in the HDD bay. It is a pretty easy job to fix, but you are advised to check Sony’s guide on that. If you’re brave enough, you can install a new hard drive yourself.
If you think software is the problem, then try booting your PS4 in Safe Mode. Again, you press the button on your console for 7 seconds as above. There’s more on that here. In Safe Mode, you can restart the system, update the system’s software, restore default settings, rebuild the database (which scans the drive and creates a new database of all content) or ‘Initialize PS4′. The latter loses all data and settings and returns your PS4 to the stage of being fresh out of the box. If you’re doing that, read this first.
Sony have written a full guide to fixing your PS4 problems, and you can view it here.
However, it wasn’t all peaches and cream. Some customers reported that their next-gen console was switching itself off without warning, leaving Sony scrabbling around to investigate why this might be happening.
Satoshi Fukuoka, a Tokyo-based spokesman, said: “We think these are isolated incidents and represent a very small percentage of total units shipped to consumers to date.”
Sony say that problems associated with the blinking light include no picture or sound coming from the television. This seems to be a theme for newly released next-gen consoles. Nintendo were criticised when the new Wii U console required an immediate firmware update out of the box, with some users saying that their machine was damaged during the process.
That said, Sony won’t be phased as they’ve managed to get a head-start on Microsoft who haven’t released their new Xbox One console yet.
The battle for Christmas is on – which side will you choose?
GAME and STA Travel have teamed-up to offer the first video game package holiday, promising a four-week “Epic Gaming Adventure” which will take you to three continents, across eight different countries and 13 locations.
They say that this will be a “pilgrimage to the birthplace of gaming and visits breathtaking locations that have inspired some of the world’s most famous video games”.
Obviously, you won’t be going to bleak planets like Dead Space or visiting Jet Set Willy’s mansion. So where? Well, the trip kicks off in Edinburgh with a visit to GTA studio Rockstar North. You then head to London to visit Soho’s Loading Bar (a place that is designed on gaming cafes in Tokyo) before heading off to Phuket, which is home to some of the islands that appeared in Tomb Raider Underworld.
You’re then whisked off to an e-Sports Stadium in Seoul and a the Konami HQ in Tokyo, before heading of to Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Hampshire, New York, Miami and Texas, finishing up in London for something called ‘a gamer disco’, where you presumably get the chance to dance to the Tetris theme tune and completely fail to interact with other humans.
Oh, you also stop off in Havana and Nassau, as seen in Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag. STA Travel marketing manager Neil Hassall says: ”For gamers, this trip is a backstage pass to some of the most iconic settings in the world’s most famous games – a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. We’re delighted to be adding our travel expertise into the mix to introduce gamers to some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes and cities in the world.”
Prices start from £5,500 and you can find out more about the Epic Gaming Adventure over at GAME.
Xbox Live lead program manager, John Bruno, said that the cloud-based Xbox Live Compute has been in development for over a year and derives from Windows Azure tech.
On Xbox One’s cloud-based updates Bruno explained: “Once in a while, rather frequently actually, the host OS will require an update, meaning the physical machine is going to get rebooted, whether your code is running or not.”
“That’s a problematic thing for a game, and is oftentimes in the middle of a multiplayer session; we’ve worked very hard to overcome that, but that’s not to say it’s going to be a reality in every case.”
Bruno was pushed on the issue, to see how it would impinge on a game like Titanfall (which is an online-only release) and what would happen if Microsoft’s cloud servers failed altogether.
“I can’t answer that. I don’t know what the guys over at Titanfall have built into their game. It’s up to the game developer. If they want to rely more on our XBLC service, we’re happy to support that. We do provide a platform for them to persist data, but that’s up to the developer to utilize that.”
So games that rely on the cloud might not be able to run without it?
So, the PS4 is about to drop and there’ll be a lot of gamers wondering whether to upgrade to it or not. It is an expensive bit of kit, so it is worth figuring out whether you want to buy one early, or wait a while.
Sony have written a long and quite tedious post about what you’ll be getting with the new console. To save you from having to actually read it all, we’ve creamed off the most useful bits for you.
Games will not be backward compatible – You won’t be able to play anything but PS4 games on the new system, however, some PS3 or PS Vita games will be transferable. You’ll be able to download some titles for free and play them on your new system with nicer graphics and improved features. There should be “no additional charge”. You’ll also be given the option of upgrading certain games for around a tenner. Included in that are Call of Duty: Ghosts, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag and Battlefield 4.
Can you play friends who have a PS3 online, on your PS4? – Sony say, regarding cross-platform gaming, that “the functionality is technically possible and some developers may choose to support it for their titles.” However, they probably won’t.
Can you play second hand games on the PS4? – Yes. “When a gamer buys a PS4 disc, they have right to use that copy of the game, so they can trade-in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend, or keep it forever. Furthermore, users will not have to go through activation steps or be charged usage fees when playing used disc-based games on their PS4 system.”
You can charge your joypad when the system is in standby mode - It is possible to charge a DUALSHOCK 4 controller via the PS4 when not playing, unlike the PS3 when the system needs to be switched-on and in-use.
What’s the new joypad all about? – It has an inbuilt touchpad which is also clickable. It also has an inbuilt speaker. You can also connect to a PC with the DUALSHOCK 4 controller to play PC games.
What games are available at launch? - Killzone Shadow Fall, Resogun, Angry Birds Star Wars, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, Call of Duty Ghosts, FIFA 14, Battlefield 4, Just Dance 2014 , Lego Marvel Super Heroes, Madden NFL 25, NBA 2K14, Pinball Arcade and a good few more.
When does the PS4 get released? – USA and Canada: November 15th, 2013; UK and Europe: November 29th, 2013.
Watching films and listening to music – Of course, you can stream music on a PS4, but there’s some changes. You can watch Blu Ray and DVDs in a PS4 but you can’t listen to audio CDs as the console doesn’t support them.
In what ways is the PS4 better than the PS3? – Basically, the PS4 is “capable of 10x the processing power of the PS3 system” which means games developers can “build larger, more detailed worlds than they could with the PS3 system. More realistic lighting models, more complex physics and particle effects, more varied and realistic character animations, sharper environment and object textures, higher screen resolutions (up to 1080p), higher frame rates (up to 60 frames per second), larger multiplayer matches and more will be possible thanks to PS4’s next-generation hardware.”
If you want to read the whole thing, then click here.
A video has appeared online which shows a gaming granny playing GTA V. That’s cool enough as it is, however, in the clip, she goes on a mental and thoroughly wonderful rant against British Gas, getting her revenge on innocents in the game and beating the crap out of them like they put her bills up.
Warning, this video has very, very fruity language.
The lady in question is called Gamergran87 and while punching and beating several pedestrians, setting people on fire and blowing up gas rigs, she shouts things like “SCUM!” and ”20% price hike?! You thieving bastards. Have some of this!” And it is all aimed at British Gas.
Of course, it might not be strictly kosher, but we don’t want to know. Either way, ‘GAS BASTARDS’ needs to make it into everyday language.
Not long ’til the Xbox One launches in the UK so, to whet your whistle, Microsoft have released a new promotional video for those having kittens over the whole thing. Happily/regrettably, the Xbox One’s dashboard navigation looks awfully like Windows 8.
The new dash also uses Kinect-powered voice controls, which is a bit fancy (if it can understand your thick brogue that is). In the video, we see – through voice activation – a user switching the console on, loading a video, opening up an activity feed, joining a game, recording some footage, sharing said footage and loads more.
Now, have Microsoft edited the video so the whole thing looks a lot more seamless than it actually is? We’ll only know when everyone actually buys one and starts crowing or moaning on Twitter.
If you’re after one, the Xbox One will land in the shop on November 22nd and will set you back £429. Will you be getting one for Christmas and ringing everyone up through the Skype app on your Xbox or are you holding off?
Sony, as everyone knows, are buggers for having unique leads for everything so you can’t use third party cables with their devices. And now, Microsoft are having a go at the same by not allowing third party headsets into their imminent Xbox One console.
So, the next-gen gizmo will have a redesigned controller which changes the connection for the headset. The headsets you have for your Xbox 360 won’t work with the new console and Microsoft will be releasing an adapter if you want them to work.
Nice little earner, eh?
Worse still is that it looks like these adapters won’t be available ’til next year, which means you won’t be able to hurl abuse at people while playing Call Of Duty for the time being.
Basically, if you have the XO Four or XO Seven Xbox One gaming headsets, they’ll need the Xbox One Headset Adapter and the delay is being caused by the fact that Microsoft haven’t actually made them yet.
The Xbox One is set to launch on the 22nd of November and you’ll inevitably have to pay for one of these adapter or buy a new headset which will be expensive, right now. This’ll probably be the case for all old equipment you’ll be wanting to use as console makers will be trying to bleed every penny they can get in a market that is struggling.
It has been long believed that Playstation 3 games wouldn’t be compatible with the new PS4, but a tweet earlier suggests otherwise, meaning that you might not have to throw out/trade in all your old games after all!
Of course, the GAME store in Basildon might be wrong, but as they’re industry insiders, you’d hope they’d have the heads-up from Sony, which is good news for those who want to still have a variety of games at their disposal when they buy a new console.
It isn’t clear whether or not old games will be made available through emulation or not. We can only hope that this correct though, or early adopters could well be faced with a new bit of gear and hardly any games to play on it. And look what happened with the Wii U when Nintendo did that.