Ben Heck’s Hands-On With The Nintendo Playstation Prototype

Ben Heck met with and interviewed the people who found a prototype of the original Playstation. That was actually going to be a joint project between Sony and Nintendo where Sony would develop the hardware and Nintendo the software for a CD add-on to the Super Nintendo. The partnership didn’t work out between the two companies, which is why we have Sony’s Playstation competing with Nintendo’s consoles today. Heck tears down the Nintendo Playstation prototype in this video, and in the next part he’ll attempt to repair it.

Upgraded Playstation 4 Rumors Confirmed by Sony

Speaking with the Financial Times’ Tim Bradshaw, Sony’s Andrew House confirmed the rumors of an upcoming upgrade to the Playstation 4:

Andrew House, president and global chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment, told the Financial Times that the “high-end PS4” would be more expensive than the current $350 version.

“It is intended to sit alongside and complement the standard PS4,” he said. “We will be selling both [versions] through the life cycle.”

The new console, which is codenamed “Neo”, will target hardcore gamers, he said, as well as consumers with a 4K television set looking for more high-resolution content.

You should probably still hold off on buying one since pricing information (beyond that it will be more expensive) and other details were not revealed, and won’t be announced at E3 next week.

It’ll be very interesting if this is the final console generation for a long time and we end up with a more iPhone-like annual or bi-annual console upgrade cycle that maintains software compatibility.

Don’t Buy a Playstation 4

Austin Walker has the scoop on the recent rumors regarding a new half-step Playstation 4 upgrade console:

The NEO will feature a higher clock speed than the original PS4, an improved GPU, and higher bandwidth on the memory. The documents we’ve received note that the HDD in the NEO is the same as that in the original PlayStation 4, but it’s not clear if that means in terms of capacity or connection speed. Starting in October, every PS4 game is required to ship with both a “Base Mode” which will run on the currently available PS4 and a “NEO Mode” for use on the new console.

The article has many more details regarding the upgraded console and what Sony will require of developers, but it really doesn’t read like a huge upgrade to me, and it certainly won’t be true 4K. Even a high-end gaming computer can’t hit 4K at a good framerate for big 3D games.

For now, original PS4 purchasers are good, but I would be surprised if a year into the release of this new console the original “base” PS4 isn’t discontinued in favor of the NEO, and then soon after the requirement that developers target both consoles is dropped as well. Either way, don’t buy a Playstation 4 until you hear Sony give plans publicly at E3.

Playstation 4’s PS2 Emulator Disappointment

A few weeks ago there was a rumor that Sony would soon announce some kind of software support for the Playstation 4 to emulate the Playstation 2. It would be a nice favor to players since Sony very quickly dropped Playstation 2 compatibility from the Playstation 3 in order to lower the price of that console’s guts.

The rumor was based on the special edition of the Playstation 4 bundled with Star Wars Battlefront. That bundle also included a code for four older Star Wars games. Star Wars: Racer Revenge, Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, Super Star Wars, and Star Wars: Bounty Hunter. Super Star Wars originally hails from the Super Nintendo and was actually ported to the Playstation 4, the other three are Playstation 2 games running under emulation.

This was very promising. The emulator appeared to be robust in taking advantage of modern amenities like trophies and upscaling, and generic enough in its implementation by virtually mapping the Dual Shock 4 and virtual PS2-era memory cards to support a range of games instead of just the three in the bundle. The Digital Foundry article analyzing the emulator for the Star Wars games was simply titled “Hands-on with PS4’s PlayStation 2 emulation.”

Why would Sony go to all of this trouble just for three Playstation 2 games? They wouldn’t. Surely it would be for more than just those. A Sony representative vaguely confirmed the coming emulator to Wired.

Surely, surely, surely there would be a generic Playstation 2 emulator coming along any day now where you could just insert a Playstation 2 disc and receive most of these features, maybe trophies would be limited to especially popular games.

Nope.

Instead of attempting to compete with Microsoft’s recent addition of Xbox 360 emulation on the Xbox One, Sony announced that they were simply offering a short list of games for download at $10 or $15. Here’s the list:

$15 Games:
Dark Cloud
Grand Theft Auto III
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Rogue Galaxy
The Mark of Kri

$10 Games:
Twisted Metal: Black
War of the Monsters

People who had already purchased those games can’t just pop in a disc and play them, they have to be repurchased and more games are promised be added for download regularly.

It’s not completely unreasonable to charge that price for a download version of the game, and clearly it would require work per-game to support trophies, but it is incredibly boneheaded to not just drop a generic Playstation 2 emulator and leave out trophy support for games unless they are purchased again.

Almost more boneheaded is that some of these games had already been available for download on the Playstation 3 with an emulator running there, but they’ll still need to be repurchased even for people who bought those versions. I just don’t understand this strategy. Sony has been great with allowing people to purchase games online for the Vita, Playstation 4 or 3 and get the other platforms for free. They even have a goofy marketing name for it, Crossbuy. It should extend to emulated Playstation 2 games.

The only place you can still get a generic Playstation 2 emulator is on a computer with PCSX2. Using this kind of emulator is still finicky enough that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the experience. Unlike emulators for 16-bit consoles like the Genesis and Super Nintendo where you kind of just choose an emulator, find a ROM image of the game and go, Playstation 1 and 2 emulators are highly dependent upon selecting the right group of plugins to provide support for things like reading the disc, USB input, audio, and video. Sometimes this process has to change depending on the game.

Getting PCSX2 to work for your games is more complicated than sticking a disc into a Playstation 4, but Wes Fenlon has a nice introductory guide up if you’re willing to battle with the open source software and move past the disappointment of Sony’s business decision to not release Playstation 2 emulation to the public on the Playstation 4.

Playstation 4 Cloud Saves Are Terrible

Stephen Totilo:

In the comparison between PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Sony is about as behind in how they handle cloud saves as they are in getting their console to run Halo. It’s time for them to close this gap.

The difference is dramatic. While both systems allow users to save game progress to a set of external servers called the cloud, making it easier to resume games on a second console, Microsoft does it in a free, automatic and seemingly unlimited way. Sony does it in an expensive, laborious and stingy way.

Shenmue III Costs More than 2 Million to Make

Patrick Klepek on Shenmue III‘s Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign:

There’s something curious about Shenmue III on Kickstarter: it’s only asking for $2 million. It took $47 million to build the original game. What’s the deal? As it turns out, Sony’s partnering with its development.

It’s ridiculous that this partnership to fund Shenmue III isn’t mentioned on the Kickstarter page. Of course the game doesn’t cost $2 million to make, that goal is just as much bullshit as the $500,000 goal from Bloodstained. Although the Bloodstained crowdfunding campaign was good enough to mention the external investment in their video.

Playstation 4 gets DLNA Media Player

Scott McCarthy:

Hello PlayStation Nation! Every time we announce new features for PS4 here on PlayStation.Blog, I love going into the comments to answer your questions and see feedback on which features people really like and which ones people still want to see. One of those questions I have been able to count on has been, “Where is our PS4 media player?”

If you were watching our E3 press conference pre-show, you probably heard the good news — Media Player for the PS4 will be available to download from PlayStation Store this evening. A Media Player icon will appear in the PS4 content area, simply select the icon and you will be taken to the PS Store where you can begin the download.

A DLNA player for the Playstation 4, finally.

Sony’s E3 2015 News

The Playstation press conference starts now:

  • Some dude with a shitty beard is yakking it up about how awesome gaming and Playstation are.
  • The Last Guardian, the next game from the developers of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus is still on. They’re playing a trailer now. It comes out in 2016.
  • Guerrilla Games the developers of the most creatively named game since BonestormKillzone, are making something new. It has some kind of crossover between tree creatures and robot dinosaurs, looks a bit Turok-y and Heavenly Sword-y. There’s a stealth system similar to the one in Assassin’s Creed where you can crawl through bushes to keep awareness down. The protagonist lady has a laser bow that shoots rocket arrows. Also, a gun that binds the giant robot dinosaurs to the ground.  It’s called Horizon: Zero Dawn.
  • From IO Interactive, a new Hitman, seemingly just called Hitman with no colon or subtitle. No gameplay footage, just a new trailer. Playstation beta is exclusive for pre-orderers. Don’t pre-order games.
  • Street Fighter V. Exclusive to Playstation and Windows. Beta starts July.
  • Hello Games is back with more No Man’s Sky. Which predictably still looks amazing. The unpredicted is that they started off with space combat which hasn’t been shown before. I can picture the mythical publisher boss sitting in front of his desk, smashing down papers and shouting IF THIS DEMO DOESN’T START WITH GUNS YOUR GAME IS CANCELLED!  After the space combat, we go to a random planet. “Every planet in every solar system is fully destructible.” This demo is amazing. There are NPC guardians who protect the planets from being destroyed. Release date will be announced soon, but not today. Ends with a Carl Sagan quote.
  • Media Molecule is here to tell us about our dreams. You can sculpt in 3D with your regular Dualshock 4 controller and animate short films as well. It’s just called Dreams.
  • Firewatch from Campo Santo. Some kind of timed exclusive for Playstation. Still looks great. No release date.
  • Destiny: The Taken King. Another expansion for Destiny. If we don’t see Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 before the end of this press conference I will be surprised.
  • More Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. Exclusive missions on Playstation 4.
  • Final Fantasy has gone super-chibi in World of Final Fantasy. Timed exclusive for PS4 and Vita. 2016. No real information as to what it is.
  • Final Fantasy 7 remake trailer. Timed exclusive for Playstation 4. Not even a year for a release.
  • A montage trailer from Devolver Digital for a bunch of games, Ronin, Eitr, Mother Russia Bleeds, Crossing Souls.
  • Shenmue III is going to be crowd funded. It’s already on Kickstarter. 2 Million goal for the project. It’s very strange since this isn’t from Sega, instead it’s Shenmue’s creator, Yu Suzuki with a company called Ys Net. $29 for a digital copy for PS4 or Windows. Estimated release is in December of 2017.
  • We’re on to some Batman-related thing. Oh it’s just Batman: Arkham Knight with some very strange exclusive Scarecrow missions for Playstation 4. 
  • Guerrilla Games Cambridge is working on a VR game called Rigs that will work with Sony’s Morpheus VR Headset. They said IP. Stop saying IP. There were a few other games in a montage.
  • Sony’s TV subscription package, Vue, is expanding to more places and will go a-la-carte. I don’t care.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. Treyarch’s Mark Lamia is on stage to tell us about it. He looks and sounds like a car salesman who got hired to tell us about Call of Duty. Four player campaign co-op depicted in the trailer. It looks like you’ll have Bees instead of or in addition to attack dogs. Next up we’ve got some multiplayer. You can shoot people online. It comes out November 6th, 2015. Map packs come out first for Playstation this time instead of the Xbox. Pre-orderers get a beta. i made a mistake last time by getting it on Windows which was a horrible experience. Treyarch does typically do better on Windows than the other Call of Duty developers.
  • Shenmue 3 is now at $294,035 of its $2,000,000 goal. Kickstarter is going to get at least $100,000 for hosting a website if this project is fully funded.
  • Disney Infinity 3.0 Star Wars Rise Against the Empire Playset. One month exclusive on Playstation 4. The voice actor for Darth Vader sounds terrible. The Boba Fett toy is also exclusive.
  • More Star Wars: Battlefront. Nothing exclusive.
  • Awkward pause between the room going dark and the start of the Uncharted trailer. I need to go back and finish Uncharted 3. More techincal difficulties.They restarted and things are working now. The graphics look so good, but the gameplay looks like exactly what you would expect from a new Uncharted game.

That’s it for today.

Welcome to the Hall of Heroes

I recently obtained the magical and revolutionary video game, 3D Dot Game Heroes. In this RPG, you can build your own character model using the included editor. The game doesn’t really tell you where you can go to find character models created by other users, and most of the search results will get you gamefaqs or other fan operated sites that aren’t optimized for the distribution of these character models..

Atlus has us covered with their official Hall of Heroes along with instructions for importing them to your Playstation 3.

OFFICIAL 3D DOT GAME HEROES HALL OF HEROES WEBSITE.