PlayStation Vue down: Sony confirm PS4 service not working on PlayStation Network | Gaming | Entertainment

The outage is affecting not only the TV streaming service on PS4 but also on PS Vita and PS3.

Here’s the latest from Sony: “You may have some difficulty accessing some channels and features in PlayStation Vue

“Our engineers are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible, and we thank you for your patience.”

There’s has been no explanation over why PlayStation Vue is down and how long the current issues could last.

One user commented: “Vue is down and my sports apps aren’t finding my info at all.

While another added: “Down on PS3 in San Diego. Up on PS4 in San Diego. Same house, different rooms.

“Tried reinstalling app on PS3. Tried wired (>20 Mbps) and wireless. Repeated “network connection issue” errors. Great error message BTW. Yes, I’m logged in and have good bandwidth. Tried resetting date. Nothing works on PS3.”

There have been times in the past where all of PlayStation Network’s core services have gone offline but it’s not often when just one is affected.

Currently, no other PlayStation Network service is reported as not working, more is expected in the next few hours.

PlayStation Vue is a live streaming TV service with sports, news, and shows available to watch from providers, such as Sling TV.

It’s currently unclear how other devices that PS Vue is available has been affected by tonight’s outage.

“PlayStation Vue is a TV service available across all 50 United States that streams live TV, movies, and sports without a cable or satellite subscription on a variety of TV-connected and mobile devices, including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku streaming devices, Android TV, a desktop web browser, mobile devices, PlayStation 4 consoles, and PlayStation 3 consoles.

“PlayStation Vue offers a powerful in and out-of-home DVR with lots of storage and no recording conflicts, multiple profiles, On Demand programming, and premium channels that can be purchased individually or with a multi-channel plan.

“PlayStation Vue does not require a PlayStation console, and there are no annual contracts.

“PlayStation Vue airs many of the same live TV channels available on cable and satellite services, so commercials will be included. Your ability to fast forward through commercials will be similar to that on other television services.

“Any airing recorded to “My Shows” will have no restrictions on fast forwarding. You will not be able to fast forward through commercials within Catch-up or while watching On Demand programming.”

Sony Announces PlayStation 4 Star Wars: Battlefront II Bundles


There are a lot of great games coming out this holiday season. One of the biggest is sure to be Star Wars: Battlefront II. Since it’s such an important release, Battlefront II is getting the special edition bundle treatment on both PS4 Pro and PS4. Today, Sony Interactive Entertainment announced a number of bundles for North America and Europe. While most of these bundles are standard fare, one has a very unique design.

The North American limited edition Star Wars: Battlefront II PlayStation 4 Pro Bundle contains a customized Jet Black 1TB PS4 Pro console, a matching DualShock 4 controller, and a physical game copy. This system is emblazoned with the emblems for the Resistance and Galactic Empire. It also has the emblem of Inferno Squad, who you command in the game. The DualShock 4 controller has the emblems of the Galactic Empire and Resistance on both sides, as well as different Star Wars logos on the touchpad. Instead of a Jet Black finish, the European limited edition has grey coloring. The Limited Edition gives players access to Star Wars: Battlefront II three days earlier than the standard edition.

Speaking of the standard edition, this bundle comes with a 1TB standard PS4, a standard controller, and a physical version of the game. The North American edition of the standard bundle is rather basic, but the European edition is rather nice. Like the European limited edition bundle, this bundle also has a grey console (minus the emblems). As with its North American counterpart, the European standard edition bundle comes with a DualShock 4 controller and a physical game copy.

Expect the Star Wars: Battlefront II PS4 Pro bundle to drop on November 14 for $449.99. The Star Wars: Battlefront II PS4 bundle is set to release on November 17 for $299.99. You can pre-order both right now from Amazon.

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Xperia XZ1 review – Has Sony really done enough to beat the Galaxy S8? | Tech | Life & Style

Sony Xperia XZ1 reviewEXPRESS NEWSPAPERS

Sony Xperia XZ1 review

  • PROS – Good screen with HDR technology •  First 3D scanner on a smartphone • Ships with Android Oreo
  • CONS – Uninspiring design • Lacking a dual-lens camera • No edge-to-edge display

A year after Sony refreshed its lineup of devices with the launch of the Xperia XZ, the Japanese technology giant is back with the refreshed XZ1.

This latest flagship brings new features and upgraded specs with the device even able to produce a full 3D scan of pretty much any object you point it at.

However, whilst the competition continues to push the boundaries of design with edge-to-edge displays, wireless charging and dual-lens cameras, Sony is sticking with its classic, and slightly tired, design.

So can this new Sony smartphone really compete with latest and greatest devices from the likes of Samsung, LG and Apple?

Express.co.uk has been putting the XZ1 through its paces and here’s our full review.

DESIGN

Die-hard fans of the Sony brand will no doubt love the Xperia XZ1.

With a metal design made from one single sheet of aluminium, this device is well built and clearly made to last.

There’s also some very refined colours, such as Moonlit Blue, which add a huge amount of appeal to this new flagship.

However, despite some nice design touches it’s hard to ignore that it looks almost identical to last year’s XZ.

In fact, it looks pretty similar to almost all of Sony’s previous smartphones dating back to 2013.

This wouldn’t be a problem if other companies weren’t producing such groundbreaking phones.

Samsung, LG and Apple have all revealed devices in the past few months which feature incredible screens that cover almost the entire front of the phone.

Glass and metal cases have also been added to these rivals making them look and feel even more premium.

Some may like Sony’s design ethic and the XZ1 is still a good looking device, we just feel it’s time the Japanese tech firm surprised us with something different.

Sony Xperia XZ1 reviewEXPRESS NEWSPAPERS

From the back the Xperia XZ1 looks good but its overall design is stale

3D SCANNING AND CAMERA

If you’ve always wanted a 3D scan of your face then the XZ1 is the phone to buy.

This device uses its new camera and some clever software to produce renders of your face which can then be 3D printed or used in a number of apps.

It’s a nice idea from Sony but in reality it’s all a bit of a waste of time.

Firstly, scanning your friends and family isn’t that easy with the lighting needing to be perfect to get the ideal render.

Then there’s the question of what you do with it once you’ve managed to get the scan – which can take numerous attempts.

Yes you can send it away to have a 3D model made or pop it on characters which can then be viewed in augmented reality, but these really are gimmicks and it’s not a reason to buy the XZ1.

Xperia XZ1 3D ScanEXPRESS NEWSPAPERS

The XZ1 can take a 3D scan of your face and entire head

Luckily although the scanning isn’t a top feature the camera certainly is.

For photography there’s an improved rear Motion Eye camera which has been created using Sony’s knowledge from its award-winning ‘α’ and Cyber-shot camera ranges.

Although there’s no dual-lens, this new rear snapper has plenty of neat tricks ups its sleeve including the ability to shoot video is ultra slow motion.

Like the Xperia XZ Premium, the XZ1 can shoot at a speed 960 frames per second – around four times slower than the iPhone 8.

There’s also a new Predictive Capture which is able to automatically buffer images when it detects action or even a smile.

Once the shutter button is tapped, the XZ1 will give you a selection of images before and after, so you can pick the best shot.

And to help improve images even further a technology called Autofocus burst, intelligently follows your subject adjusting the focus to make sure your action shots stay sharp. 

On the front of the XZ1 is a 13-megapixel selfie snapper which uses the display as flash to brighten up images when the lights are low.

Pictures from the XZ1 continue Sony’s impressive photography form and the pictures from it are certainly as good as most of the competition.

Sony Xperia XZ1 reviewEXPRESS NEWSPAPERS

An untouched image taken on the XZ1

Sony Xperia XZ1 reviewEXPRESS NEWSPAPERS

Sony Xperia XZ1 review

DISPLAY

There’s no AMOLED or edge-to-edge screen on the XZ1 but this 5.2-inch display is still pretty decent.

Colours are bright and content looks crisp with Sony using it years of TV experience to produce something that’s definitely worth watching.

Another feature of the Xperia XZ1 is that it includes HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology which means your get razor-sharp, detailed and brighter images on the screen.

It’s a nice extra to have and Sony has partnered with both Amazon and Netflix to make sure that there is HDR-ready content available to watch on the XZ1.

We’re really not knocking Sony for this display, as we’d clearly rather have the best screen possible, but with a limited amount of free HDR TV shows, we don’t think this makes it a must-have feature just yet.

Some may also question the point of having such big-screen TV technology on such a small display.

Sony Xperia XZ1 reviewEXPRESS NEWSPAPERS

Sony Xperia XZ1 features an HDR display

BATTERY AND PROCESSOR

Sony has always had good battery performance on its smartphones and the XZ1 certainly held up well in our daily tests – easily powering us through 24-hours without needing a charge.

If things do run low there’s also the usual Stamina and Ultra Stamina modes which will help extend battery life when things get critical.

Although the XZ1 performed well in our daily test it wasn’t so impressive when put through our Star Wars Trilogy test.

Sony’s flagship barely survived the six hour movie marathon – something Samsung’s Galaxy S8 managed whilst still maintaining over 60 per cent of its power.

Although the battery didn’t impress in all our tests the processor certainly did.

Sony has packed the latest and greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor inside its flagship and you really won’t find any issues when it comes to performance.

Many of the latest top-end devices have opted for the 835 and it’s no surprise as this thing will power through everything you throw at it without breaking into a sweat.

Sony Xperia XZ1 reviewEXPRESS NEWSPAPERS

Sony has kept its fingerprint scanner on the side of the phone

ANDROID O

Sony has been incredibly smart by including Android Oreo out of the box on its XZ1.

Many smartphone makers, including Samsung, are lagging behind when it comes to pre-loading this latest Google operating system on their devices and this is one area where Sony is leading the pack.

If you buy the XZ1 you’ll be treated to all the latest Android updates long before other smartphones.

Sadly, Sony still insists on clogging up its smartphones with bloatware and you’ll find plenty of duplicate apps and things you simply don’t want when you hit the on button for the first time.

Sony Xperia XZ1 reviewEXPRESS NEWSPAPERS

Sony Xperia XZ1 review

EXTRAS

Sony was one of the first manufacturers to include a waterproof design and the XZ1 continues to be able to cope with soaking.

There’s also a fingerprint scanner neatly positioned on the side of the phone which actually works well.

We like this scanner and it’s certainly better than Samsung’s rear mounted nightmare.

Sony’s flagship ships with 64GB of internal memory but this is upgradable via a MicroSD card.

It’s also fully compatible with High-Res Audio.

PRICE

If you are looking for a bargain, stop reading now as the Xperia XZ1 is firmly in the flagship price bracket.

This phone will cost you £599 SIM-only and contracts start from around £36 per month.

This includes 1 GB of data and unlimited calls/texts.

Sony’s prices are similar to most other Android flagships but, with devices such as the £449 OnePlus 5 offering just as much at a cheaper price, Sony needs to be careful it doesn’t lose out its cut-priced rivals.

Sony Xperia XZ1 reviewEX

VERDICT

The Xperia XZ1 is a solid smartphone that will easily get you through your two year contract and beyond.

It’s built well, has an excellent screen, decent battery life and good camera.

Plus, if you really want a 3D scan of your head this new Xperia offers a relatively easy way of producing one.

With the Snapdragon 835 powering it, this is also one of the fastest Android devices you can buy – especially as it ships with Android Oreo straight out of the box.

These are clearly all great features but, sadly, there’s simply no getting away from the fact that the Xperia XZ1 simply isn’t exciting enough.

With no edge-to-edge display or DSLR-style dual-lens camera, this new Sony phone looks like every other Xperia device that’s gone before it.

If you’re a massive fan of the brand then this will be a decent upgrade but, with so many of its rivals pulling groundbreaking devices from the bag, we’re finding hard to fully recommend the XZ1.

We’re huge fans of Sony and, in the past they’ve pushed the boundaries with water resistant designs and top-notch cameras.

Let’s hope the next-generation XZ2 can go back to those winning ways.

Cái sai khi mang AirPods (và Pixel Buds) so sánh với tai Sony, Apple Watch với Rolex…

Tôi vẫn còn nhớ những tiếng cười đùa khi Apple ra mắt AirPods cùng với iPhone 7. “Nó có rơi không?” là câu hỏi được rất nhiều người đặt ra. Những tấm meme “chế” AirPods thành… khuyên tai xuất hiện. “Nghe nhạc chắc bằng 1/10 tai Sony” cùng tầm giá là nhận định sẽ được 99% người nghe “sành tai” thừa nhận. Theo nhiều cách, AirPods là một trò đùa, đặc biệt là với những người có một chút hiểu biết về âm thanh.

Gây tranh cãi không kém là Apple Watch. Chiếc đồng hồ thông minh của Táo ra mắt trong bối cảnh cơn sốt Pebble đã qua đi, Samsung đã chuyển dòng Gear sang sử dụng Tizen và Android Wear đã có 2 năm… khá mờ nhạt. Những tranh cãi về Apple và các đối thủ truyền thống của Apple nhanh chóng nổ ra, và như để đổ thêm dầu vào lửa, năm 2015 Apple tuyên bố Watch chỉ còn thua Rolex về doanh số.


Đối thủ cạnh tranh?

Đối thủ cạnh tranh?

Đến 2017, CEO Tim Cook khẳng định Apple Watch đã vượt mặt Rolex để trở thành nhãn hiệu đồng hồ nổi tiếng. Những tranh cãi nổ ra. Biên tập viên của trang công nghệ TechCrunch còn mỉa mai sâu cay: Khác gì đòi Ferrari phải bán được nhiều xe như Toyota?

Đó là một luận điểm được các anti-fan của Táo đồng tình. Còn tôi khi đọc chỉ biết bật cười.

Phép so sánh lệch lạc

Bật cười, bởi so sánh AirPods với tai nghe Sony, so sánh Apple Watch với Rolex hay cách đây 10 năm là so sánh iPhone với Vertu Signature cũng chẳng khác gì so sánh Tesla Model X (không phải là Land Cruiser) với F12. Chúng có mục đích sử dụng khác biệt nhau hoàn toàn. Một bên là những thiết bị công nghệ, được tập trung để thay đổi trải nghiệm của người dùng. Bên còn lại chạy theo những giá trị truyền thống và không muốn “cách mạng” bất cứ một suy nghĩ nào cả.

Đối thủ lớn nhất của AirPods không phải do Sony, Sennheiser hay Harman tạo ra.

Đối thủ lớn nhất của AirPods không phải do Sony, Sennheiser hay Harman tạo ra.

Tức là, khi bạn mua AirPods giá 130 USD, bạn mua một chiếc tai nghe có chất lượng âm thanh hết sức… tầm thường. Nhưng những người đã mua AirPods và cho điểm hài lòng 98/100 thì không chỉ mua AirPods để nghe nhạc: trái lại, Apple chưa bao giờ gán các khái niệm “fidelity” hay “audiophile” cho AirPods. Đổi lại, công ty của Tim Cook hứa một trải nghiệm “nhiệm màu”, và quả thật là AirPods đã chinh phục được người dùng nhờ trải nghiệm tai nghe không dây tiện dụng và dễ dàng chưa từng có. Từ cảm giác đeo, sự tiện lợi trong các khâu đơn giản như cất/tháo, giọng thu âm trong trẻo dù mic cách xa miệng, trải nghiệm Siri dễ chịu hơn nhiều so với khi chỉ sử dụng iPhone… là những lợi thế mà tai nghe hi-fi giá 130 USD từ Sony khó lòng đạt được.

Với sự kiện Google ra mắt Pixel Buds cách đây chỉ vài ngày, tầm nhìn của Apple dành cho AirPods lại càng được xác thực. Cũng giống như AirPods, Pixel Buds đắt và có chất lượng âm thanh không hề vượt trội. Nhưng Pixel Buds cũng có rất nhiều tính năng để tạo ra trải nghiệm người dùng đơn giản và tiện lợi nhất, thậm chí còn cung cấp cả khả năng dịch giọng nói trực tiếp nhờ tích hợp với Google Translate. Với một sản phẩm như vậy, Google đã ngấm ngầm lên tiếng thừa nhận rằng thị trường có tồn tại nhu cầu cho tai nghe phục vụ trải nghiệm chứ không phải là tai nghe phục vụ âm nhạc.

Đem Rolex đi chạy

Thử nghiệm Edition đã chết từ lâu. Apple Watch không cạnh tranh trực diện với Rolex.

Thử nghiệm Edition đã “chết” từ lâu. Apple Watch không cạnh tranh trực diện với Rolex.

Còn Apple Watch thực tế chỉ có 3 điểm chung với Rolex: 1, cùng có tính năng xem ngày giờ; 2, cùng được thống kê qua những khái niệm kinh tế như doanh số, doanh thu, lợi nhuận và 3, cùng được đeo trên cổ tay. Hết. Người mua Apple Watch không chờ đợi sẽ lưu lại chiếc đồng hồ này trong vòng 30 năm (dù rằng, từ bài học của những chiếc Mac cũ, có lẽ chỉ cần thay pin Apple Watch vẫn tồn tại được hàng thập kỷ). Những câu chuyện mỉa mai như “Liệu 30 năm nữa tôi có thể để lại Apple Watch cho cháu tôi?” là gần như vô nghĩa, bởi chúng không phải là lý do người dùng mua smartwatch.

Bởi người dùng mua smartwatch không chỉ để xem giờ. Họ có thể dùng smartwatch cho luyện tập, để bổ trợ tính năng cho smartphone, để nghe nhạc, nhận cuộc gọi, kích hoạt trợ lý ảo v…v… Nếu chỉ tính riêng trong lĩnh vực đồng hồ thông minh, Apple Watch đè bẹp binh đoàn Android Wear và Samsung Gear về chất lượng trải nghiệm.

Hiển nhiên, Apple Watch cũng đè bẹp Rolex trên tất cả mọi khía cạnh không phải là trang sức. Chẳng ai có thể dùng Rolex để hỏi đáp với trợ lý ảo hay theo dõi bước chạy cả – trước khi bạn thấy câu nói này là ngớ ngẩn, hãy nhớ rằng đã có người đem Apple Watch so sánh với Rolex về khả năng “khoe” đẳng cấp.


Ý tưởng để lại Apple Watch cho con cháu có khác gì đem Rolex ra kích hoạt Siri???

Ý tưởng “để lại Apple Watch cho con cháu” có khác gì “đem Rolex ra kích hoạt Siri”???

Ý nghĩa tồn tại khác biệt chính là chìa khóa giúp Apple cách mạng thị trường: sản phẩm của Apple không chạy theo những mục tiêu cốt lõi của thị trường truyền thống. Đồng hồ Rolex thông báo thời gian và thể hiện đẳng cấp, Apple Watch có nhiều tính năng hơn thời gian và chẳng thể hiện đẳng cấp gì cả (ngoại trừ số bước chạy, số vòng bơi…). Tai nghe Sony (ít nhất là các dòng audiophile như MDR) tập trung vào chất lượng âm thanh, tai nghe AirPods tập trung vào cải thiện trải nghiệm. Nghe gọi chỉ là một tính năng quá nhỏ của iPhone 2007, đem Internet nhét vào điện thoại mới là chuyện lớn.

Tức là, nếu muốn đem gán xe hơi với thị trường đồng hồ hiện tại, bạn không nên dùng Toyota và Ferrari. Trái lại, hãy dùng một mẫu Tesla nào đó để so sánh với Ferrari. Tesla có giá rất rẻ khi so với Ferarri, chất lượng nội thất hay cảm giác lái của Tesla cũng bị nhiều người chê bai khi so với xe hạng sang thông thường (BMW, Mercedes-Benz) chứ chưa nói đến các hãng siêu xe như Ferrari. Ấy vậy nhưng giá trị của Tesla nằm ở một trải nghiệm đem công nghệ làm trọng tâm. Xe Ferrari hiện tại đã tự lái được chưa?


Apple Watch và Rolex chỉ có 3 điểm chung: cùng là đồng hồ, cùng được thống kê qua doanh số và cùng được đeo trên cổ tay. Chính điểm chung thứ 3 sẽ giúp Apple đe dọa đến Swiss Watch.

Apple Watch và Rolex chỉ có 3 điểm chung: cùng là đồng hồ, cùng được thống kê qua doanh số và cùng được đeo trên cổ tay. Chính điểm chung thứ 3 sẽ giúp Apple đe dọa đến Swiss Watch.

Chưa. Nhưng người mua Ferrari cũng có thể mua luôn… vài mẫu Tesla về để trong garage. Người mua đồng hồ thì khác, không ai đeo đồng hồ cả hai bên tay cả. Liệu có ai đó vì không thể sống thiếu các tính năng quá hữu ích do Apple Watch mang lại mà quyết định không nâng cấp lên Rolex hay không? Câu trả lời hoàn toàn có thể là có, và Rolex nên lo ngại vì điều đó.

Xbox chief says Sony won’t allow cross-platform Minecraft, probably never will

The release last month of the Better Together update for Minecraft brought together Minecraft players on most of the game’s many platforms: the Xbox One, Windows 10, mobile, and VR versions of the game now all use the same engine and can all play together without borders. Servers and content will be accessible from any Better Together platform. Microsoft has also announced that this version of the game will be coming to the Nintendo Switch, and it, too, will be able to join in the cross-platform play.

But one major platform is being left behind: PlayStation 4. Minecraft players on the PlayStation 4 will only be able to play with other PlayStation 4 users. Not because of any technical constraint, but because Sony won’t allow it.

Speaking to Gamespot, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said Sony regards platform lock-in as a way of driving sales and “that reason [for blocking cross-platform play] is not going away.” Spencer doesn’t hold out much hope for things changing, either: “I’m never going to call anything a lost cause, but I think some of the fundamental reasons and certain scenarios—they’re not really going away.”

In June, Sony execs insisted that the company has no “profound philosophical stance” against cross-platform play, and it has permitted play between the PC and PlayStation 4. But cross-console play is clearly a sticking point. While Microsoft isn’t the first developer to cite Sony’s refusal to allow cross-platform play—Rocket League developer Psyonix and Gwent developer CD Projekt have both blamed Sony for the limitation—this is the first time the company has itself fallen foul of Sony’s restrictions. Moreover, Spencer’s comments make clear that Sony’s desire to create lock-in appears to be its overwhelming concern.

If one game could make Sony reconsider, the sheer size and popularity of Minecraft means that it’s surely the one. Better Together is a substantial update, and one can well imagine that it won’t be long before Minecraft players start to expect—and even demand—the ability to play on the same servers regardless of whether they’re using their consoles, their phones, or even their PCs. For now, however, Sony appears content to deny the users of its platform access to the larger Minecraft universe.

Open Source Sony PlayStation 3 Emulator Now Supports Up To 10K Rendering

Emulator fans who want to play PlayStation 3 games on their computer may be familiar with the RPCS3 emulator that has been around for quite some time. The emulator has been updated and now supports high resolution rendering. The emulator can allow you to play favorite PS3 games at much higher resolutions than the PS3 could handle, all the way up to 10K resolution.

nino af16

Gaming at 10K resolution isn’t something that we are ready for today, but there are lots of people out there who are ready for 4K gaming and the emulator will handle that. The video below shows side-by-side comparisons of games when ran in 720p, which was the native resolution for the PS3 compared to 4K rendering with 16x anisotropic filtering using the RPCS3 emulator.

The folks behind the emulator say that the difference is “quite incredible in titles that have high quality assets.” There is one catch for some of your favorite games that have Strict Rendering Mode. Games that require that setting to be enabled can’t be played in high-resolutions right now.

The RPCS3 team writes, “Rendering a modern PC game in high resolutions such as 4k, while beautiful, is quite taxing on your hardware and there is often a massive hit in performance. However, since most of the workload for RPCS3 is on the CPU and GPU usage is low, there is a lot of untapped performance just waiting to be used. All processing is done CPU side, and as far as the GPU is concerned it is simply rendering 2006 era graphics (yes, the PS3 is 11 years old now). We’re happy to report that anyone with a dedicated graphics card that has Vulkan support can expect identical performance at 4k.”

Along with the high resolution support, the emulator also added anisotropic filtering (AF) support. 16x AF improves how textured look, especially at angles says the company. The large image above is from the game “Ni No Kuni” with forced 16x AF enabled. Games can change the resolution and graphics options inside the emulator using new settings in the GPU tab of the software.

The recommended setting is to set AF at 16x due to the greatly improved visual quality of games with that setting enabled. The team recommends leaving resolution at 1280 x 720 because most PS3 games think they are running at. The improvement in resolution comes from the Resolution Scale, to hit 4k gamers need to use 300%, 200% gives 2560 x 1440 resolution.

The RPCS3 team writes, “High resolution rendering is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to improving graphics quality. In the future, we will see custom anti-aliasing, texture scaling algorithms, and maybe even game specific patches by the community. Of course, work also continues with improving the emulator accuracy and general performance to enable more games to run, and to run well.”

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Sony Unveils PlayStation-Themed Snowboard

SonyAn image of the PlayStation-themed snowboard from Sony and Never Summer.

Winter is just around the corner, and Sony is making its presence felt this early — outside of the gaming arena, that is.

The Verge reported that Sony has partnered with Never Summer, a winter and water sports brand, which they tapped to create a PlayStation-themed snowboard. The winter sports gear will be a limited edition type that carries the old rainbow PS logo as well as the old school rainbow accents.

Moreover, Gamespot reported that the snowboard is clad in gray color much like the first PlayStation console. It also sports some spots that are reminiscent of the console’s Power and Open buttons.

The snowboard takes on the “West” snowboard model of Never Summer. It features key tech like NS SuperLight Wood Core, a Rocker Camber Profile, and mid flex. The snowboard, according to Never Summer’s description, is crafted for “equally at home ripping quick turns, slashing pow or catching air.”

Gamers, as well as snowboard enthusiasts, should be quick to move as only 100 pieces of the PlayStation-themed snowboard are made. Interestingly, they cost $500 USD, which is $60 less the regular version of the “West.”

Earlier this month, Sony tweeted that huge announcements are slated in the coming days in relation to the upcoming Paris Games Week 2017. “PlayStation Live From Paris Games Week is coming. Tune in for big game announcements & updates on 30/10,” wrote PlayStation Europe on Twitter.

Festivities begin on Oct, 30 at 3 p.m. GMT in Paris, France, or at 8 a.m. ET in the United States. Meanwhile, PlayStation fans who want to keep in step with all the action can but cannot go to the event can still do so through other means.

Sony announced that fans can “watch all the fun from the comfort of your home, office or … home office, via playstation.com/pgw, Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook.” The event will likely be Sony’s venue for revealing its lineup of new and upcoming games, much like they did in the previous iterations of the Paris Game Week.

Sony PlayStation 5 Specs, Release Date And Features

UPDATE: 10-06-2017: As fans of video games await the PlayStation 5 release date, the forthcoming PS5 console may already have its first major gaming hit in the pipeline. Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios has already provided information on a major next-generation title that should land on the PlayStation 5 in the foreseeable future.

PlayStation 5
StockSnap / Pixabay

New PS5 rumor

The developer has announced that it is seeking talented individuals to work on a major new sandbox title. It was, of course, the GTA series that led to the term sandbox being coined, and the open-ended genre of gaming has certainly proved popular since.

“Avalanche Studios is currently looking for a senior programmer to join a small team developing our next generation open world / sandbox multiplayer engine,” reads an Avalanche job post, as the developer prepared for the imminent release of the PS5.

Aside from this, the developer also provided information on the components that it will prioritize for its next-generation gaming engine. Destructible environments will seemingly play a major role in Avalanche games for the PS5, with the PlayStation 5 specs upgrade ensuring that sophisticated things are possible.

The asset goes on to explain precisely what the role will entail.

“As a Senior Multiplayer Programmer you will influence the architecture and drive the implementation of all multiplayer technology in the Avalanche Apex engine. This is a great opportunity to work with some of the most complex and rewarding challenges in game development today; Open worlds, sandbox gameplay and highly destructible multiplayer environments. As with most multiplayer development, a keen sense of fun gameplay and that 6th sense for what gives the perfect “feeling” are both key aspects for this role,” the job advert comments.

There is already speculation that the new game will be a sequel to Just Cause, which is reason for a excitement among Sony and PS5 fans.

2020 release

Meanwhile, the consensus of opinion is still that the PlayStation 5 release date will come towards the end of the decade. In comments reported by PSU, industry analyst Michael Pachter predicted that 2020 would be the ideal time for Sony to consider is next-generation console release.

“I think that’s exactly when you’ll see one (PS5) 2019 or 2020, and if I had to bet, it’s 2020. Sony’s making so much money with the PS4 that I think they’ll continue to milk it as long as they can milk it. And I think the natural extension of that is the PS4 Pro becomes the default PS4, and they just knock that price down to $250 when they can and they keep selling it – a ton of those,” the analyst commented.

Pachter went on to explain his reasoning behind the delay in the PlayStation 5 release, suggesting that Sony will simply bide its time considering the current market conditions.

“The PS5 is probably going to be their real 4K device, and so it just feels to me that they’re not going to launch the PS5 until sales momentum for the PS4 slows, and it just hasn’t. So you certainly get through 2017, 2018, and I just don’t see it slowing in 2018 which should prop them to launch something in 2019. If it slows in 2019, they’re probably launching in 2020.”

No GTA 6

The complexity of modern video games and the incredibly involved development required is underlined by the fact that there has been no new GTA game on the PlayStation 4, and indeed that the PlayStation 5 release date may predate the GTA 6 unveiling. Whether the GTA 6 title could then become an exclusive for the PS5 remains to be seen, but what is certain is that the game will appear on this console in some form.

Sony is likely to continue support for both the PlayStation 4 Pro and PlayStation 4 for some time, and it it may be that the GTA 6 title will appear on both generations of the console.

Different approach

Meanwhile, it seems that Sony and Microsoft are taking radically different approaches to the PlayStation 5 and next Xbox release. Sony is looking at a major new hardware update when the PlayStation 5 is unveiled, while the Xbox manufacturer is increasingly contemplating conducting a business model akin to smartphones.

This would mean that the lifecycle of the PlayStation 5 would be significantly longer than any of the Xbox releases, but that Microsoft fans could benefit from a raft of different updates. The manufacturer will look to continually refresh and evolve its hardware, as it believes that the technology industry now moves too fast for the old console approach to be viable.

Possible features

When Sony does reveal the PlayStation 5 specs, though, this will undoubtedly be a revolutionary machine. The console must compete in a rapidly evolving marketplace, and this means that a particular emphasis will be placed on streaming. If Sony is to ensure that its next-generation console is future proof, it must enable the streaming of games to be a central facet of the device.

However, it is unlikely that the PS5 will be a disc-less machine, as this is not in the interest of the manufacturer owing to the desires of gamers.

Elsewhere, there is no doubt that the PlayStation 5 will deliver 4K gaming with aplomb, and some have suggested that 60 frames per second will even be possible at this exalted resolution.

We can also expect more wireless capabilities from the console, while the storage capacity from day one could be monstrous. There is no doubt that the PlayStation 5 will be an extremely exciting machine when it is released, in what will probably be 2020.

UPDATE: 09-20-2017: As gamers eagerly await news on the PlayStation 5, the views of industry insiders have conflicted somewhat in recent days. And one particular expert from Electronic Arts has suggested that the Sony console may not appear whatsoever.

No PlayStation 5?

Chris Evenden told interested observers at the Deutsche Bank Technology Conference that the physical console model may disappear in the immediate future. Evenden instead believes that streaming services delivered via smart televisions may be the way forward for the gaming industry.

“I think it’s inevitable that the gaming entertainment world will move in much the same way that the music and video entertainment worlds have already moved, in the sense that people have moved from an ownership model to an access model. You’ll see that in gaming, just as you’ve seen it with Spotify and Netflix in other media businesses,” Evenden commented.

Sony PlayStation 5
christianladewig0 / Pixabay

While many gamers may be opposed to this concept, the remarks are nonetheless rather unsurprising. There has been speculation for some time that the video gaming industry may move to a streaming and subscription model in the foreseeable future, and the Electronic Arts employee believes that this will happen sooner rather than later.

Subscription model

Notably, EA already delivers an Origins service on PC and EA Access on Xbox One. And Evenden believes that such platforms will become more significant in the next few years, as technology develops. Sony and Microsoft have already launched streaming services for games, based on a subscription model, and Evenden expects this to

Game on? Sony debuts PlayStation rewards credit card

by: Craig Johnson
Updated:

Gamers are well accustomed to scoring points and winning a prize or a reward each time they grab the controller. But what if that point system and rewarding experience could be segued into real life, with, let’s say, purchases?

That’s the aim behind Sony’s latest salvo in the electronics entertainment market as the company recently unveiled a PlayStation credit card in a joint venture with Capital One. Sony is spreading its wings a bit by getting into the credit game, but it seeks to expand on its strong millennial base by offering a rewards program that can be used to buy its many products (READ: Those ever-so-popular video games).

What makes the PlayStation Card so attractive to consumers is its lucrative rewards program. When you sign up for a card and get approved, you get a $50 PlayStation Store code straight out of the gate.

You also get 5X rewards points every time you use the card at the PS Store to buy digital content and 5X points on all Playstation and Sony purchases at authorized retailers. The card has no annual fee and a variable APR of 14.99%-24.99%. Currently, it’s offered with 0% APR on purchases until March of 2018.

Taking a page out of Apple’s book, Sony is finally tying its ecosystem together so that consumers can stay with the company’s products across several platforms. While Apple has perfected this with its hardware and software — seamlessly linking users’ cloud-based content to its many devices — Sony is the same script with purchasing.

And just to show how serious Sony is in trying to keep consumers in its universe, the company is letting its mobile phone customers get in on the action by having the opportunity to earn 3X reward points when they use their PS Card to pay their phone bill.

Even if you buy non-PS or Sony stuff, the company will give you 1X reward point. But let’s not fool ourselves, PlayStation is firmly going after gamers, who are accustomed to spending long hours in front of the computer and are more adept at shopping and buying online than other market segments. The company even says as much in its announcement about the new credit card.

“Working with our colleagues over at Sony Rewards and Capital One, we are excited to present a new PlayStation Credit Card with rewards designed specifically with gamers like you in mind,” PlayStation said Sept. 29 on its blog. “Beginning today, we’re inviting all of our fans to start turning your everyday purchases into a number of amazing rewards and benefits.”

Money expert Clark Howard says that the way to be a responsible card holder is to pay your balance by the end of the month. If that’s not possible, a reasonable and diligent payment plan can do the trick.

“Once you decide to make your debt a priority, you need to start paying more than the minimum monthly payments,” he says. “That will allow you to eliminate the debt faster, save money on interest — and most importantly, stay motivated to get the job done and behind you!”

Reward cards can be a boon for consumers, but you’d need to know how to use them. Here are three things you don’t want to do, if possible:

1. Carry a balance: If you don’t pay your balance in full by month’s end, the interest you pay may severely diminish any reward points you rack up.

2. Overspend to earn rewards: If you make unnecessary purchases just to earn rewards, then you’re not really saving anything.

3. Misinterpret the card’s terms: Certain cards may stipulate that bonuses can be earned only with certain purchases. Others may restrict them to particular retailers. Not understanding the fine print of a reward card’s use may cause your balance to balloon — and nullify any savings you thought you were getting.

See the other three mistakes you need to watch out for with a rewards card.

RELATED: Your guide to paying off credit card debt


Sony Launches Updated PlayStation VR With HDR, Improved Cables

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Sony’s PlayStation VR has been a quiet success, racking up over a million sales by June of 2017. Granted, that’s not much compared with the 62.6 million consoles Sony is estimated to have sold to date, but it’s not nothing, either, particularly for a new technology. The company is rolling out a modest update to its original design, and while it won’t likely persuade anyone to upgrade, new buyers waiting to see what features the second generation will bring might be enticed.

The headphone jack has moved from a cable to being integrated at the back of the headset, there’s a thinner single cable to carry data traffic to and from the additional Processor Unit Sony sells with the system, and the new headset now supports HDR. This last is a nice addition, since previously you had to pick between playing a game in SDR mode on a VR headset, or in HDR on your television. The PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro both already support HDR, so there shouldn’t be any issues with game compatibility going forward.

vr_01

The headset will launch in Japan on October 14, with a US release date at an unspecified later time. Sony also notes that there are several upcoming VR titles, including Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, and Grand Turismo Sport. The status of some of these ports is a matter of debate; one YouTuber who tested Skyrim at Quakecon dismissed it as a “complete dumpster fire.”

When asked to expand, George Weidman (the owner of the above Twitter account) clarified:

The movement is all wrong. Handled via teleporter. You blink in and out of existence. A relaxing immersive walk through Skyrim is impossible … The combat is all wrong. Handled via a waggling sword and an unlimited point-and-forget flamethrower. Enemy AI not adjusted for new controls … Adding insult to injury, it looks like they had to lower all the settings to “garbage mode” to get it working in VR.

That’s… not exactly a robust lineup, and the pickings have been pretty slim as far as major AAA support. Doom is coming to VR and plays well by all accounts, but right now the lists are still dominated by smaller studios and indie content. There’s nothing wrong with that, and VR currently likely lends itself better to short bursts of gaming then long mega-playthroughs, but it’s still a little disappointing to see the content lagging behind headset sales. Some gamers may be waiting for true second-generation hardware, or for a sign that VR is going to be central to gaming’s future.

Robust support from Microsoft would be invaluable, since game developers are much more likely to want to spend time developing content if they know they can leverage it across multiple platforms, but Microsoft is still playing coy about its own VR plans. The Xbox One X will be the most powerful console on the market, which theoretically should make it an even better fit for VR than the PS4 Pro, but the ankle chain of guaranteed backwards compatibility with the Xbox One (and PS4, to be fair) means virtual reality may not emerge as a must-have feature of either console at any point in this product cycle. At that point, it’ll just be a question of whether the capability is impressive enough for one or both companies to plan for it as a must-have feature for the Xbox…Whatever and PS5, or if it’ll die by the wayside like the original PS Wii Move, or Xbox Kinect.

After being royally burned by Kinect 2, a device practically no one used or wanted for gaming, Microsoft will likely be leery of repeating that mistake again. Kinect 2 was supposed to be the killer capability that made the Xbox One desirable. Instead, it became a poster child for bad peripherals with capabilities people actively didn’t want. And Sony, thus far, seems to be keeping VR at arms length. They’re interested to see what it can do, but they’re scarcely shoving developers to turn their titles into VR games.