Sony’s E3 2014 Press Conference Live Blog

Sony E3 2012

Worried you might not be able to watch Sony’s E3 Press Conference live on June 9th at 9:00 pm EST? No worries, we’ve got you covered here on Gamers Xtreme! We’ll be live blogging the whole event and you, as the community, will be able to interact with us throughout the whole conference! The blog is also mobile friendly so for those of you with smartphones, you’ll be able to still catch every minute of the conference through your phone. Enter your e-mail address below to be reminded of when the event is about to go live and get involved with E3!

Flower, Flow, Escape Plan, And Sound Shapes All Heading to PS4

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Recently, Sony stated that an upgraded PlayStation 4 version of Flower, flOw, Sound Shapes, and Escape Plan will hit the PSN shortly after the PS4 launches. However, the the PlayStation 4 version of Flower will now run at a smooth 60 frames per-second and in full 1080p.  Sound Shapes will be another title visually updated for the PS4 launch. However, Escape Plan and flOw will just feature reworked controls optimized for the DualShock 4. Terrifically, all four games are Cross-Buy titles, and will be available as free downloads for gamers who had previously purchased the original editions for the PlayStation 3 or PS Vita. In addition, Sony revealed that the PS Vita version of Flower will feature cross-buy support when it hits PSN this November 15th.

[Source – Playstation Lifestyle]

DualShock 4 Controller Hands-On Preview

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Several retailers, such as Amazon and Best Buy, are beginning to sell the PlayStation 4’s DualShock 4 controller nearly two weeks ahead of the console’s release. This might seem like a strange move, but it’s been confirmed that the new controller is, in fact, compatible (at least in the most essential capacities) with many current PS3 games, such as Call of Duty. Some, like myself, also wanted to make sure we have an extra controller handy on release day so our friends can get in on the multiplayer action with us on day one.

A controller is one of the most essential pieces of a great gaming experience with a console. Sony’s always managed to make waves with their line of DualShock controllers, released as far back as for the original PlayStation. Every iteration has seen streamlines and improvements on the core design while still maintaining the originality that makes the DualShock line one of the most preferred controllers in gaming. With that in mind, I was excited to get my hands around a DualShock 4 of my own, and for those of you who are still wondering how it stacks up, read on; I’ll get into the form and function, the good and the bad, and even a little hands-on time with the DualShock 4 during a few games of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

First Impressions

The first thing you’ll notice after picking up the DualShock 4 is that it feels much more solidly built than the DualShock 3. While both controllers’ internals are contained in a plastic chassis, the DualShock 4 feels much sturdier and less cheaply-built. The controller also seems a tad bit bigger than its last-gen cousin, which might throw some die-hards off at first, but adjustment comes quickly. It’s also pretty hard not to notice the new design of the control sticks, and it’s an excellent modification from the previous line. The raised lip around the edges of the top make it much harder for your thumbs to slip off when doing constant rotations and split-second flicks. The D-Pad has been improved upon too, in spite of its previous excellence. Each cardinal direction is a bit more spaced from the others, and the entire D-Pad is a bit larger overall. I’m very happy with this change – it’s a great boon for fighting fans, where the slightest false read from a controller can mean the difference between a Hadouken and a Shoryuken, and nobody wants to lose a close match over using the wrong move.

No doubt one of the most controversial changes to the DualShock 4 will be the new L2 and R2 triggers. Now, they seem to deserve the name much more than they used to, as they sport a concave curve (like an actual trigger on a firearm) rather than the convex curves of old. It’s true that the DualShock 4 may be losing a bit of its originality by making its triggers more like the ones found on an Xbox 360 controller, but coming from someone whose fingers would sometimes slip off the triggers when in use, this is a welcome change. Interestingly enough, this could change the dynamic of the default controller configuration in shooters on the PS4; whereas games previously used L1 and R1 for aiming and shooting, respectively, the new upgrades to L2 and R2 could very well make them the standard. So long as they provide the option to switch between the two setups, though, everyone should be happy.

The newer additions to the DualShock 4 – the Share button, touch pad, and light bar – are certain to make a real splash once the PS4 is released. Naturally, as of yet they have no functionality, not even the light bar (which, theoretically, should be compatible with the PS3’s existing Move system). Speaking for their position, however, everything sits right where it should. The Share button is accessible without getting in the way, and it’s unlikely you’ll accidently post a video of your most humiliating defeat unless you intend to. The light bar remains completely unobstructed when holding the controller, even if you put a finger on each of the L and R buttons simultaneously (as I’ve known some players to do). It’s safe to say that its functionality will work smoothly during even the most intense gameplay session. As for the touch pad, while it may seem out of place at first, it’s clear that it isn’t meant to be used alongside the more typical gamepad buttons. It is, however, a pleasure to interact with. The entire touch pad clicks in when pressed, not unlike the touch pads featured on many laptops today. Also of note are the inclusion of a speaker and audio-in jack on the front and bottom of the controller face, respectively, with an add-on port next to the audio jack. This is no doubt to accommodate the upcoming PS4 wired headset, but it would seem the inclusion of a speaker also expands on the audio output options available to PS4 developers, much like the WiiMote’s speaker did for its games. It may also give us an option for listening to voice chat without the need for an attached headset. Overall, these wildcards are sure to make a real splash once the PS4 makes it proper release.

There’s another quirk here that DualShock veterans may notice right away – while the familiar PS button is present in the bottom-middle of the controller face, the start and select buttons are nowhere to be found. The lone “Options” button, present opposite the Share button on the right of the controller face, seems to have replaced these two individual buttons, and it’s probably safe to say that this button will roll the functionality of the Start and Select buttons into one. If it works, I’m all for this streamlining, though it’s possible some finagling might have to happen for users who are going to subscribe to the PS4’s upcoming Gaikai service for backlogged games. Clicking in the added touchpad certainly seems like a possible replacement.

Other than these specific points, I’ve got to say that overall, the controller just sports a really solid feel. From the chassis itself to each and every button, the DualShock 4 feels like it’s built to last. Button presses are easy, yet sport an impact you can feel. The overall bigger shape and added spacing between buttons means it’s much easier to avoid pressing extra buttons by accident. And it really has to be said what a welcome improvement the new L2 and R2 triggers are.

Field Tests

In order to test the DualShock 4’s new build, I decided to play a few rounds of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 using the new controller. A few notes about this if you’re looking to try it yourself:

  • The DualShock 4 will only work when plugged in with a USB cable. The PS3 can’t pick up the DualShock 4 over Bluetooth.
  • The PS button will not work on the DualShock 4. You’ll need a PS3 controller to access the PS button’s functionality, like quitting a game.
  • The Select and Start buttons’ functionality is replicated with the Share and Option buttons, respectively.

With all of that in mind, I booted up BLOPS 2 and went into a multiplayer match. Though I hadn’t played for a month or two, I was able to quickly adjust to the new feel of the DualShock 4. To really put the controller through its paces, I played my LMG class – one of the slower, more lumbering and deliberate weapon classes in the game.

However, once I got to lining up my shots and opening fire, I was amazed by how accurate and responsive the new R stick is. Sony have really tweaked the sensitivity from the DualShock 3, and the new level of control and accuracy was impressive. Whereas I would sometimes aim too far and miss my mark with the DS3, my shots landed dead-center every time with the DS4. I also elected to switch the assignments of the L and R buttons, such that L2 and R2 are used for aiming and shooting, respectively. Though I’m still a big fan of the instant responsiveness of L1 and R1 for FPS games, I have to say that the triggers on the DualShock 4 just feel right, and are extremely responsive. There was a familiar yet fresh feeling to these triggers, and it was extremely satisfying to squeeze them and unload a hail of lead on my opponents. The switch brought back a nostalgic feel from my days with the Xbox 360 controller, and aside from accidently firing off a shot instead of throwing a grenade, the switched control setup was extremely intuitive and didn’t take long to get back into.

I made a very subtle discovery while playing with this setup – the DualShock 4 seems ergonomically designed for this sort of control setup with shooters. After a couple of games, I noticed that my hands fit more comfortably around the controller with my index fingers on the 2 triggers, while my thumbs were more relaxed on the control sticks. While I’m sure old-school fans will be just fine using the classic PS shooter setup, it seems the controller is built for this new  intended use of the triggers.

With a few games down, I have to say that the DualShock 4 really did make a difference in my game. It seems like my K/D ratio was actually higher in spite of being a couple of months out of practice, and there’s no question that the new, finely-tuned DS4 is the reason why. While I don’t yet have the chance to see what the touchpad, light bar, and share button can really do, in terms of the more salient aspects of the controller, it’s safe to say that any PS4 owner is going to have an excellent, precise, and comfortable experience with the DualShock 4.

Just for bonus points, I decided to give the new D-Pad a run too, and loaded up Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition. Here’s another game that I’ve fallen out of practice with for a few months, and so I was expecting at least a little bit of a warm-up curve; yet again, however, I was pleasantly surprised. The newer, larger D-Pad really does make a difference when executing attacks, and the face buttons seem extremely responsive as well. I was pulling off combos and stringing together special moves more easily than I ever could with the DS3. The most die-hard fighting fans will no doubt be sticking with an arcade stick for the PS4 (once one is released), but the rest of us certainly have an excellent and capable control method for fighters in the DualShock 4.

Wrapping It Up

What we’ve seen of the DualShock 4 from press conferences and commercials is certainly exciting from an innovation perspective, with the new input methods and the inclusion of a share button, but when it comes to the improvements in mechanics and build quality, nobody can just tell you how it’s improved – you’ve got to get your hands on it for yourself. After hearing a lot of talk, I was extremely impressed and excited by what I got to experience in Sony’s new controller. Finely-tuned controls, ideal button placement, and solid build quality come together in a package that’s going to improve the gameplay experience over anything Sony have come out with before. If you’re already on board for getting a PS4, I’d encourage you to get yourself a spare controller early, and start to experience how much the DualShock 4 is going to up your game. If you’re still on the fence, try to get your hands on a DS4 and see how it feels to you. The controller is a central component in a console experience, and the DualShock 4 may very well win you over.

Killzone: Mercenary Patch 1.02 Revealed

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Guerrilla Games has launched their second patch, and detailed exactly what this patch is fixing. Guerilla Games stated this today:

“You’ll see that the patch size is similar to that of the previous patch and you will need a spare 1190MB in order to download it. When this new patch installs, the first patch will essentially be deleted, but you will need the extra space initially. This download is necessary in order to pave the way for future planned revisions to the game. We are currently investigating solutions to reduce the overall size of the title and free up more of your valuable memory card space. We hope to be able to share more news on that work very soon.” 

For a the list of the exact features that were fixed check below.

  • Connectivity improvements
  • Network traffic optimizations
  • Revision to multiplayer spawn system
  • Fix for failed loadout unlock
  • Fix for failed melee medal rank up
  • Stability fixes

This sounds like great news for Killzone: Mercenary buyers and potential buyers. For more news on Guerilla’s latest portable blockbuster, stay tuned.

[Source – PlaystationLifestyle]

Sony Launches Redesigned Vita and Vita TV

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Today, Sony had two big announcements at their TGS showing. PS Vita TV was introduced, which promises to bridge the gap between Vita games and a TV screen without having to buy a Vita system. Similar to Apple TV or Google’s Chromecast device, the PS Vita TV is a small device and will price at $100. Sony is bundling the Vita TV with an impressive library of digital video games. Currently, the PS Vita TV is only for Japan, but it is clear that it will release in North America shortly after. Additionally, the Vita TV will let you stream PS4 videos onto other TV’s in your house, depending on how many Vita TV’s you have. Of course, it will also act as a second system being that it is a PlayStation Vita made for your television. Sony did state that Vita TV will support around 1,300 games to start, but none have been mentioned thus far. It is important to note that it will not be compatible with all PS Vita games due to the fact that the DualShock 3 controller lacks a touch-enabled screen and a rear touch panel that certain Vita games use. The PS Vita TV will also support services such as Hulu, Netflix and social media apps.

PS-Vita

The second announcement (which has long been rumored) was a redesigned PlayStation Vita. The new system will sustain a longer six hour battery life, as well as being 20% percent slimmer and 15% percent lighter. The new design comes with an enhanced, rounded shape, as well as a new Start, and Select button. The connector at the bottom of the system has been replaced with a standard USB micro port, which is used for charging and data backup to a computer. Unfortunately, videophiles will be skeptical that Sony has decided to ditch the original OLED screen for a cheaper LCD screen. Whether or not it will be a decrease in image quality remains to be seen, but here’s hoping it wont. Lastly, the new Vita will come in six different colors and all will have 1GB of internal memory. There has been no official date set for North America for both the new Vita or Vita TV, however rumors are pointing towards this holiday. For more news stay tuned.

[Via IGN]

New PS3 Color “Azurite” Coming to Shelves This October

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Last week, Sony announced a new 12GB PS3 model with flash memory. This week, following another electronics conference, it was revealed that there is a new colored PS3 coming as well. This October, a new blue PS3 will hit select shelves. The Azurite Blue PS3 includes an Azurite Blue DualShock 3 wireless controller and a 250GB hard drive.

The new model will be available at Gamestop stores October 8th. Starting tomorrow, Gamestop will begin pre-orders for this blue model. It will retail for $249.99 and will be available for a limited time as this is a special edition of the console.

[via Gamespot]

Sony Gamescom 2013 Press Conference Breakdown; PS4 Release Date Officially November 15th

PS4 Console

Today has been a big day for news at Gamescom and Sony provided fans with a stunning conference to say in the least. Below is a compiled list of every important detail announced today, including new exclusives, plenty of PS Vita content, price drops and most importantly…the official release date of the PS4!

  • Opens with preview
    • Shows off PS4 UI and Killzone: Shadow Fall
  • Starting with PS3
    • 8th year and still going
    • Gran Turismo 6 video
      • Release Date: Dec 6th 2013
      • New Movie based on GT in production
    • Little Big Planet Hub
      • Free to play for PS3
  • Vita
    • Mega Packs for PS Vita (Europe only), bundled with 8gb card or hardware bundle
    • Batman Arkham Origins
    • Lego Marvel
    • Football Manager
    • Borderlands 2
    • Price cut: $199 in NA and 199 Euros in EU
      • Price reduction of mem cards as well
    • 7 New IPs
      • Murasaki Baby
        • Touch controlled side-scroller
      • Big Fest – a Free to Play game
        • Manage a music festival
        • Features real unsigned bands
    • Indie devs on Vita
      • Easy to develop games
      • Sony loves Indie devs – they get along
    • Mark Cerny (lead system architect) takes the stage
    • PS4
      • Talks about hardware
      • PS4 helps support Indie devs
        • Self-publishing, financially, etc
    • New Indie titles making debut
      • Rouge Legacy – PS4 & PSV
      • Blinding of Isaac
        • PS+ members free
      • N++ loads of new content for PS4
        • Comes this winter
      • Volume exclusive debut to PS4 & PSV
      • Guns of Icarus Online debut of PS4
      • Wasteland Kings PS4 & PSV next year
      • Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number coming exclusively to PS4 & PSV
    • Sony Santa Monica, Media Molecule & Naughty Dog all working on titles for PS4
    • The Chinese Room’s new game “Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture”
      • CryEngine 3
      • Apocalyptic Theme
    • Tequila Work’s (known for Deadlight on XBLA) new game: Rime
    • Hell Divers
      • Co-op squad based shooter
      • PS3/PS4/PSV
      • Futuristic
      • Overhead shooter
    • Resogun
      • From devs of Super Stardust HD and Dead Nation (Housemarque)
      • Cylindrical Super Stardust (compared to spherical)
    • Shadow of the Beast – a reimagining
      • Only on PS4
    • Recap of some of the titles we’ve seen at E3
      • The PlayRoom
        • Pre-installed on every PS4 at launch
      • InFamous Second Son
        • New trailer
        • Shows absorption of other conduits
      • Killzone: Shadow Fall
        • Launch title
        • MP footage
          • Warzone returns
            • Lots of customizable options (like KZ2)
          • Custom and Official matches
    • Twitch coming to PS4
      • Spectate = livestream
    • Video and media services not hidden behind subscription
    • Easily listen to music behind games with Music Unlimited
    • PS+
      • Free 14-day trial to new PS4 owners
      • Assassin’s Creed 3 joining PS+
      • ONLY FOR EUROPE
        • Sign up for 1yr via store, get free 3 months
    • 3rd party games at launch of PS4
      • PSV remote play
        • Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag
        • Exclusive level to Playstation
      • Watch_Dogs Movie
      • Watch_Dogs on PS4
        • Exclusive 60 extra min for PS3/PS4
        • Costume and Buff exclusive as well
      • Minecraft at launch of PS4
      • War Thunder
        • MMO on PS4
        • Aerial warfare
    • $199 for 12GB PS3 in NA (same in EU)
    • CoD:Ghosts, Watch_Dogs, Battlefield 4, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
      • Buy ps3 version, get ps4 version at discounted price within time frame
    • 32 country release
      • NA – 15th of Nov
      • EU – 29th of Nov

PS3 $199 Model With 12GB Flash Memory Coming August 18th?

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Evidence of a new PlayStation 3 model, which features 12GB of storage and will retail for $199, has been circulating around the internet. It seems Sony could possibly be targeting gamers who traditionally buy consoles at the end of their lifespan. It has been shown that many gamers actually hold off on buying consoles till the last years of their life cycle. In doing this, they reap the rewards of cheaper consoles, and cheaper games that were $60 and AAA’s years or months before. This strip down version of the system includes a small amount of flash memory, not an actual hard drive. A similar model was released in Europe last year. Currently, the cheapest PS3 you can buy new at the moment is $269, so this might be a welcome addition to some looking for a Netflix streaming device or light gaming. Others might purchase this console and chose to upgrade the hard drive space on their own with cheaper third-party drives. We will have to wait and see if this latest iteration of the PS3 does land in American stores by next week.

[Source: Game Informer]

PS Vita Is Celebrating Japanese Vita Games with Big Sale

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Sony has released a press statement regarding a promo they will be running this month for the Vita. In celebration of Japanese game developers, many Vita games will be on sale starting today, followed by another set next Tuesday. Here’s the full list of the games being offered for each week, at each price:

August 13th – 19th

Game

Regular Price

Sale Price

Plus Price

Soul Sacrifice

$35.99

$24.99

$17.49

Gravity Rush

$35.99

$24.99

Free

*Sumioni: Demon Arts

$14.99

$10.49

$7.34

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus

$39.99

$27.99

$19.59

Guilty Gear Accent XX Core + R

$14.99

$10.49

$7.34

Atelier Totori Plus

$39.99

$27.99

$19.59

Silent Hill Book of Memories

$29.99

$14.99

$7.50

Touch My Katamari

$14.99

$7.49

$3.75

Ridge Racer

$24.99

$12.49

$6.25

August 20th – 26th

Game

Regular Price

Sale Price

PS Plus Price

Street Fighter X Tekken

$39.99

$27.99

$19.59

Muramasa Rebirth

$34.99

$27.99

$20.99

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection

$29.99

$20.99

$14.69

New Little Kings Story

$19.99

$13.99

$9.79

Dead or Alive 5 Plus

$39.99

$19.99

$10.00

Ragnarok Odyssey

$29.99

$20.99

$14.69

Dynasty Warriors Next

$34.99

$17.49

$8.75

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3

$39.99

$19.99

$10.00

Super Monkey Ball

$29.99

$20.99

$14.69

[Source: PlayStation Blog]

Microsoft’s Spring Bundle On Sale, Possible Foreshadowing?

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The Xbox 360 Spring bundle was originally released back in March of this past year, and it now seems to be seeing a $50 price drop. The spring bundle includes a 250GB 360 slim with a copy of Darksiders 2, Batman: Arkham City and a 1 month subscription of Xbox Gold. The new price for this collection will now be retailing for $249.99, only through the Microsoft Store and Amazon.com. There has been no indication as to whether this will be a limited time promo, or if this will be a permanent price drop.

With this recent announcement, one cannot think that this might be a possible new price point for the Xbox 360 250GB model as this year progresses. Right now, you can purchase an Xbox 360 for as little as $199.99, however it is only a 4GB model. In short, being that this fall there will be two new pieces of hardware on the market, I feel both Microsoft and Sony will make both of their current consoles more affordable. My own belief is that the newest 360 slim model with the 250GB will permanently become $249.99 and the PS3 will drop $249.99 or possibly even $199.99 depending on the sales for this past year.

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Both companies would be wise to lower prices as both their next-gen consoles are not backwards compatible. Many gamers are going to need to have access to their last-gen systems in order to play their amazing library of what has been released in the last 8 years. As we all know, “they don’t make’em like they used to” could not be more true this generation. I have been a victim of the Red Ring of Death two times, and the Yellow Light of Death multiple times as well. With that being said, it is going to be much easier on the wallet if gamers can buy a PS3 or 360 a year from now, knowing that they will be $50-$100 cheaper than they are now.