It’s the start of a new week and that means it’s time for another news roundup. James Paton is back with the Weekly News Blast…
A selection of this week’s biggest stories brought together for your reading pleasure, starting off with a bit of good news for the Xbox One…
It emerged this week via an Electronic Arts announcement that the hotly anticipate FPS, Titanfall, would not just be a timed exclusive for Microsoft’s Xbox and PC platforms, but that the deal would in fact cover the entire life of the title. Of course, that’s not to say that its inevitable sequels wont make their way onto the Playstation 4, they probably will, with Respawn co-founder, Vince Zampella, declaring on Twitter that they will inevitably produce games for Sony’s new console at some point. It also emerged-via another tweet-that the lifetime exclusivity deal was made by EA without the consent of the studio behind the product. A very strange way to conduct business, but regardless, it was a high point for prospective Xbox One owners amid all the news regarding the native resolution debacle of its upcoming software line-up…
It would appear that developers have found it initially difficult, at least, to get to grips with the new Xbox One hardware, no doubt to due to a myriad amount of factors including its ever-changing specifications that has seen the Playstation 4 claim a slight technical advantage over the Microsoft console. It first emerged that Dice’s Battlefield 4 was running in 900p on the PS4 and 720p on the Xbox One, whilst the Xbox version compensates for this with additional anti-aliasing, the build that has been shown off was also missing the ambient occlusion effects seen on both the PC and PS4 versions. However, Dice have confirmed that this will be in the finished product prior to shipping, invariably announcing that the Xbox One build is in fact further behind in its development cycle than its competitors-although I would not be expecting the resolution to change prior to launch. Of course, they’re not the only studio that’s struggling with the tech just now, it has been confirmed that Call of Duty: Ghosts is to run 1080p native on the PS4 whilst again, the Xbox One version will only run in 720p. Both of these will run in a super smooth 60fps, so what’s the difference to the consumer? Not a hell of a lot, so Xbox fans, I wouldn’t worry too much about it – especially as other titles, such as Forza 5, are confirmed 1080p, 60fps. It seems more a case of being behind the development curve than anything else.
On the subject of the Playstation 4, there has been a fair amount of negativity around the announcements that the new console will no longer support external storage devices, audio CDs, MP3s or DLNA. Unlike its predecessor, this console will not be able to stream content from a PC and therefore will not function as a media server, an odd decision given that this was one of the strongest weapons that the Playstation 3 had its arsenal. Although perhaps it does make sense when you consider that Sony offer a 4k video streaming service that they will surely offer to PS4 owners, at a cost, of course. Gamers also wishing to listen to custom soundtracks on their console will also need to utilise Sony’s own Music Unlimited, a music streaming service whose subscriptions start of £4.99 ($7.99) per month. Sony have naturally found themselves inundated with complaints in regards to this, and the company have promised to look into it.
Better news for the Playstation 4 was the confirmation of its nineteen launch titles, these are as follows:
• Angry Birds: Star Wars (Activision)
• Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag (Ubisoft)
• Battlefield 4 (EA)
• Call of Duty: Ghosts (Activision)
• Contrast (Compulsion Games)
• DC Universe Online (Sony Online Entertainment)
• Escape Plan (Sony Computer Entertainment)
• FIFA 14 (EA)
• Flow (Sony Computer Entertainment)
• Flower (Sony Computer Entertainment)
• Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
• Just Dance 2014 (Ubosift)
• Killzone: Shadow Fall (Sony Computer Entertainment)
• Knack (Sony Computer Entertainment)
• LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
• Madden NFL 25 (EA)
• NBA 2K14 (2K Sports)
• Pinball Arcade (FarSight Studios)
• Resogun (Sony Computer Entertainment)
• Skylanders: Swap Force (Activision)
• Sound Shapes (Sony Computer Entertainment)
• Super Motherload (XGen Studios)
• Tiny Brains (Spearhead Games)
• Warframe (Digital Extremes)
It would appear that out of this list, Escape Plan and Flow wont be available at the US launch but will appear in time for its subsequent arrival in the UK. The list is undeniably underwhelming, lacking a true system seller, but at least it does offer a fair amount of choice to keep PS4 owners busy until the likes of Drive Club and Infamous finally show up.
More next-gen news for you, both good and bad, so we’ll start with the latter…
Blockbuster, the UKs leading high street rental outlet, has found itself in a particularly dire financial position and its owners will not be buying in any new stock as they look to offload the struggling company to a new owner. If this is not carried out in the very near future, the company will be entering into administration. Unfortunately, what this means is that many gamers (including myself) will no longer be able to get their next-gen console of choice, the only highlight is that they are still currently honouring credit, but should they fall into administration, history tells us that will probably not be the case. They are having a crash sale, so anyone with credit with the company should probably think about using theirs, pronto. The company did announce via Twitter that they would be able to offer refunds on deposits paid towards the PS4 and Xbox One consoles, but this requires customers to write to their head office with details of the transaction and the receipt that they received from it.
Game have announced a new scheme called Get Gaming Quicker, this allows those purchasing the new PS4 and Xbox One consoles to jump the queues on the midnight launch by heading into their nearest store at some point over the two days prior to the release of the machine to complete any trade-ins that they may need (an extra value of 20% is added to those trading in a minimum of three games). Customers can also pay up the remaining balance on their orders and therefore avoid the lengthy waiting times that normally plague console launches. For once, Game have actually done something smart.
There were several other announcements and titbits of news that filtered through the cracks:
• It appears that the Wii-U is struggling more than most would have thought possible, especially given the relative success of Wind Waker HD, but it has come out in MCV that the faltering console has only sold a meager 460,000 units worldwide over the last six months. Nintendo still believe that the platform will have a strong Christmas and hit their target of 9m sales by the end of the fiscal year. We’ll see.
• EA have now scrapped the free-to-play Command and Conquer title that was in development at Victory Studios, and dissolved the team making it. The announcement was made via Twitter.
• GTA players will have to wait at least one more week to get their first GTA Online stimulus package, a title update is scheduled to roll out at the start of the week, followed by the first $250,000 payment. Rockstar thanked its fans for their patience in an email to Official Xbox Magazine where the news was reported, and well they should!
• Finally, it would appear that Scotland is to get a new video games expo, Games Expo Scotland, which will start in October 2014 to provide a new home to both AAA releases and indie games. The event also promises to showcase retro titles and provide developer sessions to entertain attendees.
Anyway, I think that about covers the majority of the gaming news from the last seven days, so I will just have to see you on the other side of next Saturday. Adios.
– James Paton @TheBlackPage81