Playstation Now – Sony’s game streaming service goes live today


The subscription service is currently available on PS4 across North America with two subscription plans.

Playstation_Now

Playstation Now offers over 100 PS3 games (with so many more on the way) with two types of plans that are being offered: one month for $19.99 or a three-month package for $44.99 (about $15 per month).

For now Playstation Plus is available for PS3 and PS4 users with more devices being added later including Playstation Vita and Playstation TV. A free PlayStation Now theme is now available for PS4 users as well If you download the theme before January 31. Doing this gets you automatically entered into a drawing for a chance to win a one-year subscription to PlayStation Now.

psnow-subs-and-rentals

Confused?

Don’t be, those that are still slightly confused about so many subscription services should take note that Playstation Now and Playstaion Plus are seperate services entirely.

In addition to monthly subscriptions, remember that there are also a variety of rental options available. The PS Now rental catalog already has 200+ games with games being added weekly. Most games can be rented for about $1 a day for a week, or you can choose from 4-hour, 30 day and 90 rental periods available for most games. Either you choose to rent or subscribe to get instant access to an all-you-can-play catalog of 100+ PS3 games.

Start your 7-day free trial here

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Grand Theft Auto V street dates broken all over the world. Would digital copies have prevented this from happening?


Some people will do anything to get their hands on an early copy of the new Grand Theft Auto.Rockstar Games

Grand Theft Auto V, the fifth in a series of joyously violent games in which players control crime syndicates and wreak havoc upon cities, is among the most eagerly anticipated games ever released. It went on sale today and is expected to rake in $1.6 billion in sales in its first year, handsomely repaying its $270 million production budget. But some gamers have already been playing it for days, after several retailers broke an embargo set by its publisher, Rockstar Games. In Britain, a few customers who placed early orders on Amazon received their copies in the post on Saturday, Sept. 14, three days before retailers were allowed to sell the game. Another British retailer has been selling the early version for £75 ($119), a 50% markup over Amazon’s prices.

French retailers also sold the game early. Maxxi Games, a retailer in the République neighborhood of Paris, summoned customers via its Facebook page on Saturday:

It’s going on right now!!!
Come pick up your game at the nearest Maxxi games
It’s AVAILABLE!!!

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Other shops were more subtle. Le Figaro reports (link in French) that Trader Games, also in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, told its Facebook followers to “come now” and “not say more,” though that post has since been removed (broken link).  Salomé Lagresle, a French games blogger, reported via Twitter on what buying the game on Saturday was like. “There’s a line all the way down [Boulevard] Voltaire. The impression is of buying contraband in opaque bags,” she wrote, and added that ”To get the game, you must pay cash, go into a room at the back of the shop, and you come out with a purple bag.”

Another French tweeter was more explicit: ”Fuck, we’re not waiting for the 17th.”

Nique, on attends pas le 17 nous #GTAV #GTA5 http://t.co/BMfiw8fj9s
Grey Goose (@Tha_Grey_Goose) September 14, 2013

Rockstar has not responded kindly to the leaks. Early videos from the game have been taken down at the publisher’s request. Some websites report that people who played the game early on Microsoft’s Xbox gaming console and posted videos of it online had their accounts banned.

These problems stem from the fact that even though the technology used in creating games like Grand Theft Auto is cutting-edge, the technology for selling them is somewhat archaic.  While music is increasingly sold in digital form, big-ticket games like GTA still come mostly in shrink-wrapped boxes. If games publishers want to guarantee a single release date—which helps both build buzz and protect against piracy—they need to move to a digital-first distribution model, argues games writer Matt Martin. Making a download available at the same instant worldwide would prevent anyone from getting an early copy.

Yet if the industry is stuck in the past it’s also because gamers themselves seem unwilling to change their habits. In an online poll by GTAforums.com, a site for aficionados of the Grand Theft Auto series, just 12% of respondents said they would buy GTA V as a download.

That is perhaps because the industry’s efforts have so far been heavy-handed. When Microsoft announced the new Xbox in May, it was instantly subjected to a barrage of criticism because the console required players to connect to the internet once every 24 hours, an impracticality for many gamers. It also placed limits on how players could share or trade games. Microsoft eventually had to backtrack.

A more sensible approach would be to make digital versions of the game cheaper and turn physical copies into something of a collector’s item, as the music industry has done. Indeed, Rockstar has published a deluxe edition of GTA V. But it didn’t make its digital edition any cheaper.

 

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Xbox co-founder says Ouya criticisms unfair


Ouya advisor Ed Fries says system can’t be judged by old metrics, unsure what success in today’s market would look like.

Ouya

The Ouya Kickstarter was met by gamers with much enthusiasm (about $8 million worth of it), but the Ouya itself has been met with substantially more derision. In a guest post on VentureBeat today, original Xbox team member and current Ouya advisor Ed Fries spoke up to defend the system, saying it’s being judged using dated metrics that don’t apply to a new system with a new business model.

“Among the criticisms is that ‘only’ one out of three Ouya owners have purchased at least one game,” Fries noted. “While the folks at Ouya are incredibly proud of this early outcome, some have chosen to interpret this as a glass that’s two-thirds empty.”

Fries said it’s impossible to tell if that characterization is appropriate yet because a shift in gaming toward open distribution models is upending the entire industry and what works (and how) in unpredictable ways.

“Just as there was no way to compare Minecraft with World of Warcraft three years ago, today it is nearly impossible to compare Ouya with the next-generation consoles set to debut this year,” Fries said. “This is because the game has changed dramatically for the interactive entertainment industry – and so have the rules.”

While Fries admitted he didn’t know what success would look like in this drastically different industry, he stressed that Ouya is an open console with the ability “to evolve as needed.” Just as the original Xbox was straddling the offline and online gaming eras, Fries suggested Ouya is arriving as gaming evolves to more open platforms with fewer gatekeepers and an expectation of free-to-try games.

 

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Where are the Xbox One role-playing games?


Xbox One has a mammoth 23 games confirmed for release on day one in November, more than many expected – but there’s a distinct lack of role-playing games available to play.

It’s the one genre lacking from the launch lineup, which includes a number of shooters, action games, casual games, driving games and even a fighting game.

The Fable series – Microsoft’s RPG franchise – is heading in a different direction on Xbox One with the multiplayer-focused Fable Legends, and developer Lionhead has confirmed it has no intention of making a fully-fledged Fable 4.

So, what’s the deal? Has Microsoft lost faith in the RPG genre?

“RPGs for me personally, that’s the genre I grew up playing, starting with the old Ultima series,” Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer told Eurogamer at Gamescom.

“Those are games that are in my heart. When we launched 360 we invested in Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon with Sakaguchi-san. Those were really important games from us.

“RPG games take a long time. You want to make sure those games are great. Lionhead’s taking Fable in an interesting direction and we’ve been playing that game for a while. That’s a ton of fun.

“RPGs specifically, we showed The Witcher 3 at E3, but I know what you’re asking. You’re asking about the more traditional RPG. I know you will see those games come to our platform. There’s just nothing to announce right now.”

Some have wondered whether the Xbox One will be home to as many Japanese role-playing games as the Xbox 360 was. Square Enix’s Final Fantasy 15 is due out on next-gen consoles, but Microsoft’s Xbox sales struggle in Japan is well documented, and the Xbox One will not launch there until 2014.

Amid concern about Xbox in Japan, Spencer reiterated Microsoft’s commitment to the Japanese market and said JRPGs will launch on Xbox One eventually.

“Specifically about the Japanese market – and I’ll be at Tokyo Game Show in a month – the Japanese development community remains incredibly important to us, and we’re continuing to invest there,” Spencer said.

“We’re having great conversations with people. We’re not announcing anything, but I can say both RPGs and specifically the Japanese developers are really important to our ecosystem.

“I know Dead Rising 3 isn’t an RPG and is being developed in Vancouver, Canada, but I’ll just say the relationship with the publishers and developers in Japan is something we’ll continue to invest in as important.”

“You’re asking about the more traditional RPG. I know you will see those games come to our platform. There’s just nothing to announce right now.”

Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer

Mistwalker’s 2007 JRPG Lost Odyssey was published by Microsoft

Microsoft’s Xbox One launch lineup is large – at least compared to previous console launches – but some have questioned whether it lacks a killer app in the vein of Halo: Combat Evolved on the original Xbox.

Spencer said gamers will decide what Xbox One’s killer app is, using history to guide his prediction.

“Even Halo – and I was there at the original Xbox – we didn’t know [the Xbox’s killer app] was Halo,” Spencer said. “And for those who remember how Halo performed at the E3 prior to the launch, I’ll be honest, there were some issues with how Halo played.

“You never know what the hits are going to be. We build things, we put our passion and creativity into the products, and then you put forward something, and the consumers decide what are the killer apps. The gamers will decide what the killer app is.”

Spencer continued: “We’ve got a breadth of content I’m proud of: Killer Instinct; we announced Zoo Tycoon, which is a completely different genre of game; Project Spark, which is a creativity application tool/game, which I think will bring a ton of people in; Forza; Call of Duty; Battlefield; Dead Rising; Ryse.

“In the end the gamers will decide what the killer app was. There’s enough content there that everybody will pick their thing that will work. I know from a quality level – and I’m playing all the games now at home – the teams understand what the platform is capable of. We’ve got people making use of Kinect, like Kinect Sports Rivals. We’ve got some tried and true shooters and fighting games. The quality across so many genres is something we haven’t seen at launch before.”

“For those who remember how Halo performed at the E3 prior to the launch, I’ll be honest, there were some issues with how Halo played.”

Spencer, who has Xbox One’s game release schedule outlined up to Christmas 2014, said part of his job is to ensure that with Xbox One Microsoft makes a commitment to gamers that there will be a steady flow of eye-catching games.

He again pointed to the past to highlight his point, saying key Xbox 360 games Gears of War, Crackdown and Halo Wars all released after the console’s launch.

“If you look at what happened on Xbox 360, Gears of War wasn’t a launch game,” he said. “It came a little bit later. We had investments like Crackdown, Alan Wake, which came later. Then we iterated on Halo. Halo Wars. Fable was there all along. We had this collection of things people could believe in and were tried and true franchises. Some of those were first on the original Xbox. Then we had things like Minecraft later in the cycle, which came from PC. That’s sold over eight million units now, pushing nine.

“That is to me the commitment you make as a platform holder to the gamer: we’re going to continue to invest in new content. Gamers want great new games. They want to know they can play their favourites and they want to know they’re going to get surprised by the new unexpected things that will come out. That is our commitment to them.”

 

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Deep Silver Clarifies: Future Metro Games “Will Build on the Bleak, Post Apocalyptic Pillars of Atmosphere” That Set the Series Apart


metro last light

Amidst all the interviews that were posted during gamescom last week, one involving Metro: Last Light on Joystiq stuck out and worried fans of the series when Deep Silver CEO Dr Klemens Kundratitz said, “Our ambition is to absolutely continue with that brand and we will also, in the next phase, look to making it more accessible for a broader gamer audience.”

This was construed as possibly “dumbing down” the franchise in future iterations to grow its appeal, but Huw Beynon, Global Brand Manager at Deep Silver, issued a statement trying to explain what Kundratitz meant:

Whatever direction a new Metro game takes (and we are still assembling the drawing boards), it will build on the bleak, post apocalyptic pillars of atmosphere, immersion, challenge and depth that sets this franchise apart from the crowd.

However, Deep Silver will  seek to make the world of Metro more accessible to a broader audience – through a commitment to ever higher product quality; through greater strategic investment in the brand; and, in the immediate term, through the release of dedicated Mac and Linux versions of Metro: Last Light. This is just the first stage of a broader initiative to bring Metro to a wider audience, without compromising the product’s strengths.

Metro is a pulsating, radioactive gem in Deep Silver’s crown of rotting zombie flesh, and we believe we can build on the success of Metro: Last Light by doubling down on our unique brand of bleak, Russian, post apocalyptic horror.