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Sony reverses PlayStation 3 and Vita store closure decision
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
In April, Sony revealed that its PlayStation 3, Portable, and Vita digital stores will soon become inaccessible, as the PlayStation Store will shut down across these platforms later this summer. However, after much criticism from the community, the decision has now been rolled back, though not entirely.
In a new announcement, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO and president Jim Ryan plainly said the company had originally "made the wrong decision". The PlayStation Store will continue to be available across the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita devices, however, the PlayStation Portable's digital store will close as previously planned on July 2.
Regarding how the company came to the original decision, Ryan said the following:
Sony's quick turnaround after vigorous community feedback is a similar move to what Microsoft pulled in January, where the company had to backpedal heavily on the Xbox Live Gold price doubling measures after facing a tremendous community backlash of its own.
"We see now that many of you are incredibly passionate about being able to continue purchasing classic games on PS3 and PS Vita for the foreseeable future, so I’m glad we were able to find a solution to continue operations," Ryan added regarding what had changed Sony's mind.
By Namerah S
Sony Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III price revealed on Sony Russia website
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
In a launch event that was live-streamed on YouTube yesterday, Sony announced its latest trio of smartphones under the Xperia branding. The Japanese conglomerate unveiled the Xperia 1 III, Xperia 5 III, and Xperia 10 III.
Almost all the key specifications of the three smartphones were unveiled yesterday. However, Sony chose not to share the exact launch dates and prices of the Xperia devices. Thanks to two new listings on Sony Russia's online store, spotted by Android Authority, the Russian prices are now known. These are likely to be similar in other parts of the world such as the U.S., giving people approximate figures for the phones once they launch in those places as well.
As seen on Sony.ru, the Xperia 1 III boasting a 6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, 21:9 aspect ratio and Gorilla Glass Victus is priced at 99,990 RUB ($1,313.31). The device also features the Snapdragon 888 5G chipset, a 4500mAh with 30W fast-charging, and a quad-camera setup that includes a variable telephoto lens paired with a dual PD sensor.
Meanwhile, the Xperia 5 III is selling for RUB 84,990 ($1,116.29) on the Russian site. The second Xperia device features a 6.1-inch 21:9 HDR 120Hz OLED display with a 21:9 aspect ratio and Gorilla Glass 6. It uses the same SoC as the Xperia 1 III, the SD 888 5G chip, and also has a 4500mAh with 30W fast-charging. Both smartphones have IPX5 and IP X8 waterproof certifications paired with IP6X dustproof ratings.
Pre-orders for the two smartphones are currently open on Sony Russia's online store. As for the launch date, Sony Russia has teased launch promotion on its official Instagram handle, revealing Russian release dates and pre-order bonuses for the region.
As seen in the promo banners shared by Sony Russia on the social media platform, the Xperia 1 III is set to arrive on July 20 while the Xperia 5 III is scheduled to launch on August 3. Both Xperia products will ship with a pair of Sony WF-XB700 true wireless earbuds as a pre-purchase bonus.
Days Gone launches May 18 on PC, platform specific enhancements detailed
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Sony and Bend Studio announced in February that Days Gone will soon leave its PlayStation exclusivity behind, with the action survival horror game getting a PC release this year. Now, that release has a launch date attached to it. Days Gone is launching across Steam and the Epic Games Store on May 18.
As with most other console ports nowadays, the PC version is landing with additional enhancements over the original 2019 PlayStation 4 version. Bend Studio says the new version has "increased level of detail, foliage draw distances, and graphical customization" options for much better visuals.
Support for unlocked frame rates, ultra-wide monitors, keyboard and mouse, as well as first- and third-party controllers were confirmed as well. Moreover, there will be a Super Resolution Photo Mode included here, an upgraded version of what is available in the original.
Days Gone PC pre-orders are now available across Steam and Epic Games Store for $49.99. Following this launch, and with Horizon Zero Dawn now behind it, Sony is planning to bring even more PlayStation exclusives to PC, though no specific games have been announced just yet.
Epic Games raises $1 billion in the latest round of funding
by Anmol Mehrotra
Epic Games has announced that it has secured one billion dollars in the latest round of funding that also pushed the company's valuation to $28.7 billion.
The latest funding round includes a $200 million investment from Sony Group Corporation. This comes less than a year after Sony acquired a minority stake in Epic Games with a $250 Million investment. Additionally, the round also includes investment from "Appaloosa, Baillie Gifford, Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, GIC, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Park West, KKR, AllianceBernstein, Altimeter, Franklin Templeton and Luxor Capital".
Commenting on the latest round of funding, Tim Sweeney, CEO and Founder, Epic Games said:
Epic Games has been tangled in a legal battle with Apple and Google over monopolist practices on their respective app stores. The battle started last year when Apple kicked Fortnite from the App Store after Epic decided to add a payment system that bypassed Apple's own system. Following this, Epic Games teamed up with Spotify and others to fight Apple's Store policies. The trial is expected to get underway this year with the judge calling Apple CEO, Tim Cook to a seven hour deposition on behalf of Apple on the matter.
You'll be able to store PlayStation 5 games on external storage tomorrow
by João Carrasqueira
Today, Sony announced the first major software update for the PlayStation 5 console, which will be arriving tomorrow. The update delivers a handful of new improvements for game management and social features, and it will be available tomorrow.
The most notable addition is likely the ability to store PlayStation 5 games on external USB storage. Because PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S have SSDs and a new storage architecture, games can't be played off of slower external storage, but Microsoft's console has always given you the option to store them there until you're ready to play. Sony is now catching up and enabling that feature on its own console.
What's not being added is the ability to use an M.2 SSD. Sony opted for a standard format for its SSD storage expansion as opposed to Microsoft's proprietary expansion cards, but it says it's still working to enable the feature. In the meantime, you still have to play PlayStation 5 games off of the built-in storage.
Social features are also getting improvements, with Sony enabling cross-generation Share Play. That means a PlayStation 5 user can now invite a friend on PlayStation 4 to watch a game session or even take control of a PlayStation 5 game from their own console. Additionally, it'll be possible to request to join a friend's game session on either PlayStation 4 or 5.
Sony is also updating the Game Base UI to give quicker access to parties and friends, as well as adding the ability to turn notifications on or off for each party the user is in. Additionally, it will be possible to disable game chat entirely or to individually adjust the chat volume for each of the players in your group chat.
Other improvements include the ability for games to automatically download update data in the background so they're ready to play when the user boots them up, a more customizable game library with the ability to hide or search for certain games, and new Trophy settings as well as a new Trophy Stats screen. For users with special accessibility needs, there's also a new screen magnification option.
Outside of the PlayStation 5 itself, Sony has also announced updates for the PlayStation app on Android and iOS. The company recently added the ability to save products to a wishlist, get notifications for when friends are online, and change a console's online status. Soon, it will also add the ability to join a PlayStation 5 multiplayer session, manage the console's storage, and compare trophy collections with friends, all inside the app.