PS3 Media Server / Universal Media Server Guide


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+Audioboxer

Disclamer: I don't condone piracy, and nothing in this guide is illegal in anyway. Rip your own movies. For any moderators in fear, check the official PS forums, talk about PS3 codec/file support and the programs mentioned is ok.
 

Revisions

Release 3.0 - 22/06/08 - Everything updated, cleaned out obsolete information and added PSP remote play section.
Release 2.0 - 06/03/08 - Everything updated and streamlined... PSP remote play section coming later tonight.
Release 2.0b - 24/02/08 - Quick update on the new version of MKV2VOB which does everything, GOTSent support dropped from guide. Still WIP - Rough, and some sections incomplete/outdated
Release 1.4b - 22/02/08 - Overhaul of the guide - Added new PSP section
Release 1.3 - 28/01/08 - Updated guide to reflect MKV2VOB 1.52 (ff/rw now supported)
Release 1.2.1 - 17/01/08 - Added FAQ section at bottom
Release 1.2 - 17/01/08 - Added DVD copying
Release 1.1 - 17/01/08 - Fixed spelling mistakes/added some minor additions
Release 1 - 17/01/08 - "Prone to errors version" :laugh:

Introduction:
(the read for your own good part)

What you will need:

1. PS3
2. PC (decent hardware for optimal results)
3. TVersity - http://www.tversity.com/
4. MKV2VOB - http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=131782
5. CCCP - Codec pack (clean & best there is) - http://www.cccp-project.net/

I thought I'd tie this all up in a short guide to get everyone started. Reason being it's simple to enjoy your HD content and use your PS3 as a media hub (Y)

First off, I assume you have one of the following

1. 720p HD Rip (MKV) of your Movie, taken from your Blu Ray/HD-DVD disc
2. 1080p HD Rip (MKV) of your Movie, taken from your Blu Ray/HD-DVD disc

1080p has more limitations/more complicated to play than 720p, but I'll cover that in my guide.

The next thing you have to decide is will you be wanting to stream your movies, or play them natively off your PS3 hard drive?

I'll cover converting your movies first, then streaming & hard drive playback.

Converting Your Movies:
(the time consuming part)

So, let's get down to business, this is the most important part to get done properly. The PS3 has support for lots of video/audio codecs, but it is picky with containers - Throw all your Divx/Xvid content at it and it will play them natively, but sneak an MKV in it's direction and it will make you cry.

I'm not going to cover TVersity's on-the-fly transcoding as it is not recommended to use it, and to be honest a waste of your time/your HD content quality. So what we will be covering is remuxing which means changing the container from MKV to VOB/MP4/MPG/M2TS/AVI without losing any quality on the video/audio.

The program we are going to use is MKV2VOB.

It supports every MKV file out there, AC3/AAC audio as well. 720p files work 99% of the time with no transcoding, 1080p files most of the time have to be transcoded.

Nothing we can do about it just now - Progress is being made all the time on getting ALL 1080p files working on the PS3 without transcoding.

MKV2VOB (latest version 2.24)

ps3mkv2vob1-1.jpg

First thing to do BEFORE converting any movies is to setup the program.

1. Make sure you are on the config tab.
2. The temp directory where the program does the converting - Make sure you have some free space.
3. Sets the preferred audio language. If this language is found in the mkv it is used, if not found, the first audio track in the mkv will be used.
4. Splits the final result file into smaller pieces. Use this if you want to burn onto a DVD or a removable hard drive (FAT32).
5. Sets whether video transcoding will be used. Some videos will not play without transcoding, mkv2vob detects this automatically. Recommended setting is Automatic.
6. Sets the extension of the output file. Does not effect codec or file format. MPG extension offers the most playback compatibility.
7. By enabling this option, if the mkv contains the desired subtitles, and the subtitle language is not the same as the audio language, subtitles will be enabled and the video will be transcoded regardless of the transcoding setting!
8. Sets the video codec to use when transcoding. Xvid files will be split in 2GB segments as the PS3 requires - I recommend you leave this on x264 for best quality/compression.
9. Miscellaneous options - Hover to find out more...

Lets move onto the actual converting now that the program is setup!

ps3mkv2vob2-1.jpg

1. Make sure you are on the add file tab.
2. Choose your MKV movie.
3. Choose the output folder for your new PS3 compatible file.
4. If checked the MKV you're converting will be deleted once the job is done.
5. Click to begin the process.
6. Status bar, shows progress.
7. Textual updates here.
7. Clear/Delete from the list of jobs done.

Batch converting explanation - "Add Directory Tab"

ps3mkv2vob3-1.jpg

1. Make sure you are on the add directory tab.
2. Choose your folder with MKV movie(s).
3. Choose the output folder for your new PS3 compatible file(s).*
4. Leave on default.
5. Start converting.
6. Status bar, shows progress.
7. Textual updates here.
7. Clear/Delete from the list of jobs done.

* When doing multiple movies, make sure you have adequate space in your output folder.

Now you want to know how to play the movie on your PS3? Of course you do, let's get started on the fun part! (Y)

Playing those movies through your PS3!:
(the satisfying part)

This is what it all comes down to, playing your movies through/on your PS3 on your HDTV.

You have 4 choices here - I'll cover all 4.

1. Streaming
2. Internal PS3 hard drive
3. External USB hard drive
4. DVD

Streaming (send that movie through the air)

This is a fairly popular choice, as it keeps space on your PS3 hard drive free, and also lets other devices in your house benefit! (2nd PS3 anywhere? wink2.gif)

We are going to use TVersity.

TVersity

In regards to setting TVersity up, im not going to cover that for now - There are plently of guides, and in relation to this guide we won't be transcoding any files, therefore not much has to be tinkered with in TVersity anyway. I actually believe the standard options, setup from install, are fine for our purposes.

ps3-4.jpg

Lets have a basic look at what you should see anyway...

1. The movie we converted earlier should be here, either drag n drop, or add with the green + button.
2. You MAY need to start the sharing if it is turned off - Tray icon will be red if off, blue if on.

Lets see TVersity in action on your PS3,

First thing you want to do on your PS3, go to Video and click Search for media server.
Your server should be found. If not, try restarting the TVersity server on your PC.
Back on the Video part of the XMB, your Media Server should be shown (ignore videos below for now, those are on my PS3 hard drive).
Navigate through the folders (Video -> My Video -> All Video) and the file you added to TVersity above should be displayed and is ready to play by hitting x!

Hard Drive Play (playing it safe)

You have three options here.

1. Copy the movie over the network through Tversity.
2. Copy the movie from an external drive (PC -> External USB Drive -> PS3).
3. Copy file from DVD.

All have the same conclusion, but have different pluses.

TVersity Copying to PS3's Internal Drive

Setup your media server in the exact same way as above, but this time once you get to your movie...

ps3-9.jpg

Push triangle on the file, and go to "copy"...

ps3-10.jpg

Voil?, the movie is copying from your PC hard drive, to your PS3 hard drive. This is fairly quick on a wired setup, and a bit slower on wireless.

USB External Drive Copying/Playing

When copying to a USB Portable Drive, your drive MUST be in FAT32 - The PS3 only reads external FAT32 drives.

Doing this works exactly like above, hovering on your movie of choice, and then pushing triangle and going to copy.

Small tip - if you plug in your external drive and it says no files found, push triangle on your drive and go to display all.

You can also just play your media files off your external drive.

DVD Copying

You're thinking didn't I just copy this movie FROM a DVD, why would I want to do it again? :laugh:

Two simple reasons

1. To fit 2 movies on one disc (2 x 720p rips could fit on a DL DVD)
2. You don't have a USB External Drive/Don't want to wait on a file copying over the network.

Simply burn your movie to DVD and either play from the DVD in your PS3, or copying the file to your PS3 hard drive. Works with the usual method, triangle -> Copy.

Sony PSP (Remote play):
(the connectivity that lets you watch movies, anywhere!)

The first thing to do is register your PSP with your PS3. We can't do anything until we do this.

Go to settings -> remote play settings, then register device on your PS3. Push x.

Next we have a message telling us to connect our PSP to our PS3 using the USB cable you use to charge your Sixaxis/DS3, and then on our PSP to go into USB mode. Connect your PSP now,

As said above, enable USB mode as well on the PSP XMB.

Push X on the PS3, and you should see the screen above if everything has gone well. Your PSP is registered with your PS3.

If you go into the registered device list on your PS3, your PSP should be there.

Now go to remote play on your PS3.

Your PS3 will now enter remote play, and ask you to now connect your PSP to it.

Go to remote play on the PSP XMB.

Choose "Connect Via Private Network" - Seeing as right now we are in our house and within range of our PS3, we'll just connect directly to the PS3. Connecting over the internet is for when you're outside of your house (eg Airport). I'll be adding to this guide to show you how to configure that soon.

As we're within range of our PS3, we can connect directly to it. "Devine House" is my router - As I said above for now we're just focusing on remote play in our house. I'll be covering remote play on the go in the next guide update.

Your PSP will display your PS3s XMB. Familiar sight

We can now watch all the movies on our PS3!

If your PC is on as well, you can as you'd expect connect to the TVersity media server and watch the content on your PC on your PSP.

That's it!

As I mentioned above, I'll be updating this section with a walkthrough on how to setup your router to allow your PSP to connect to it anywhere in the world where you have internet. You don't need to leave your PS3 on to do this, your router will actually turn your PS3 on for you, and then back off when you stop using remote play.

Your PS3 goes into a sleep state that uses slightly more power than standby, but far less than actually leaving it on.

Extras/Thanks/Shout Outs:
(the stuff that just needs to go here)

Let's thank the authors/guys who made this possible.

3r1c (MKV2VOB) - http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=131782
TVersity crew - http://www.tversity.com

&

Any others who created the codecs/information needed to create this guide.

FAQ:
(the members of ieXbeta chip in)

- Cleaned out for version 3.0 of the guide - (New questions from now will be added here)

 

------------

ps3-1.jpg

Guide being rewritten, for now install PS3MediaServer from here and ask questions in this topic.

Edited by Andrew G.
  • Like 8
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Huleboeren

Great guide - good work

I vote this get pinned

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PiracyX

Dude......Nice guide!!! This will become very helpful for many.

Surely this has to be sticky?

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PinkShirtGuy

Is there any good reason to rip your own movies and then play them back on your ps3 or hd-dvd/bd drive in your pc that you ripped them from? On the other hand downloading rips and watching them i can see. why can't people just admit what they're doing?

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Huleboeren
Is there any good reason to rip your own movies and then play them back on your ps3 or hd-dvd/bd drive in your pc that you ripped them from? On the other hand downloading rips and watching them i can see. why can't people just admit what they're doing?

Some people prefere having their collection stashed in a huge library on their harddrive where theyre easy to access - which they are not when on the shelf..

Oh and. . . SHHHH

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+Audioboxer
Is there any good reason to rip your own movies and then play them back on your ps3 or hd-dvd/bd drive in your pc that you ripped them from? On the other hand downloading rips and watching them i can see. why can't people just admit what they're doing?

How about not needing to have 50 cases/discs to rotate between through viewing?

It is MUCH easier to have those 50 movies on your PS3. Actually possible as well.

Average 720p rip = 4GB

50 x 4 = 200.

PS3 can support up to a 350GB drive (only limited by current laptop drive size, it should be able to go higher as laptop drives increase).

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jerzdawg
Is there any good reason to rip your own movies and then play them back on your ps3 or hd-dvd/bd drive in your pc that you ripped them from? On the other hand downloading rips and watching them i can see. why can't people just admit what they're doing?

Anyone who has the space to keep a digital copies has the luxury of just turning on his pc/ps3 and going through his movie selection.. no need to take any discs out.... not everyone is a pirate

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PinkShirtGuy

you slide a case off the shelf, open it, pop in the disc. its pretty much the same amount of time if not faster than going through all types of folders and sub folders. not to mention all the hrs devoted to converting your files.

and don't get me wrong, h'm not badmouthing downloading, but lets be honest.

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Huleboeren
you slide a case off the shelf, open it, pop in the disc. its pretty much the same amount of time if not faster than going through all types of folders and sub folders. not to mention all the hrs devoted to converting your files.

and don't get me wrong, h'm not badmouthing downloading, but lets be honest.

Being honest gets you killed(banned) in this world(neowin)

Why must you all discuss this?

Its off-topic..

Now lets move on..

Any way to get subtitles on the PS3 yet? :/

Both xvid and mkv-x264

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+Audioboxer
you slide a case off the shelf, open it, pop in the disc. its pretty much the same amount of time if not faster than going through all types of folders and sub folders. not to mention all the hrs devoted to converting your files.

and don't get me wrong, h'm not badmouthing downloading, but lets be honest.

Fair enough, but some find it less time consuming in the long run.

Can you imagine taking your PS3 away with you for a weekend/week/however long to somewhere outside of your Home?

Are you going to carry 5-10-15-20+ movies with you as well?

I see your point, but as long as no one condones piracy in here, benefit of the doubt? (Y) ;)

Plus if you go down the streaming route, you can stream your movies to multiple locations in your house - You can't play a disc in multiple locations.

Also Home is going to allow playback of media files from your PS3 to your appartment.

Now lets move on..

Any way to get subtitles on the PS3 yet? :/

Both xvid and mkv-x264

Sadly no, I don't believe so :(

Lots of people are ****ed cause they have tons of anime :p

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randomnut

Thanks a lot Audioboxer! Very well written and useful guide, will come in very handy in the future (Y)

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Doli

Taking your PS3 somewhere then a small cheap cd holder will do just fine to hold your movies and you get full quality in your HD movies.

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+Audioboxer
Taking your PS3 somewhere then a small cheap cd holder will do just fine to hold your movies and you get full quality in your HD movies.

Ok ok guys :p

Stop beating the horse to death.

It's a personal choice how you want to watch/store your movies.

The PS3 can support drives up to 350GB, so if you want to keep your movies on there, knock yourself out! If you want to carry/keep things to physical discs, knock yourself out again!

Ouch, 2 black eyes :pinch: :laugh:

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PinkShirtGuy
Fair enough, but some find it less time consuming in the long run.

Can you imagine taking your PS3 away with you for a weekend/week/however long to somewhere outside of your Home?

Are you going to carry 5-10-15-20+ movies with you as well?

I see your point, but as long as no one condones piracy in here, benefit of the doubt? (Y) ;)

very good reason to do such a thing, i did not consider it. i just always get annoyed at "i don't condone piracy" and "rip your own material" being in the same sentence or paragraph. if you have the source, why rip it, but portability is a fair reason. sorry for jumping the gun.

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Coldgunner

with mkv2vob I always get an unsupported codec error on A_AAC, any ideas?

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+Audioboxer
with mkv2vob I always get an unsupported codec error on A_AAC, any ideas?

You have a movie ripped with AAC instead of AC3.

MKV2VOB only supports AC3 DTS - 95% of movies are ripped in this.

Only choice is to go with GOTsent in my knowledge, unless someone else knows of another program.

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ynnoj

You have far too much time on your hands buddy ;)

Awesome guide man, thanks (Y)

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Julius Caro

What about burning larger files (>4gb) onto a double layer DVD? The ps3 is probably going to take half a life to copy it to its own harddrive, but I guess that could work if we use the latest versions of UDF?

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+Audioboxer
What about burning larger files (>4gb) onto a double layer DVD? The ps3 is probably going to take half a life to copy it to its own harddrive, but I guess that could work if we use the latest versions of UDF?

Doh! :pinch:

I forgot about doing that.

I'll update the guide to reflect with credit.

MP4 files will still have the 4GB limit though, only streaming beats that.

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ShawnDude

I to store my movies on my media server, because I can view any of the movies on any of my tvs throughout my house. I have only done it with my dvd's so far, as I haven't read much into how to store hi def movies onto my server.

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Julius Caro

I was obsessed with HD playback on the PS3 ever since it was released in Europe. I tried everything, read every forum when they (or should I say we) were trying to figure out what was wrong.

Two things were key: the firmware update that enabled high profile playback in the XMB and having the certainty that x264 encoded files had the level flag set to the highest by default, when it shouldn't have been like that.

If mp4 have that limit, why not use .VOB all along? Even if it's all shady and mysterious how the PS3 is correctly able to read those streams that way, .VOB supports ac3 and all that stuff, and most files come with AC3 anyway.

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gunnerhkjp

Is there any way to make the PS3 automatically play the next file in the folder after the previous file has finished playing?

It seems music files do this, but not the video files.

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Huleboeren

The reason there is a 4gig limit is because the only filesystem/format the PS3 reads through external harddrives is FAT32

Harddrives formatted in FAT32 have a limit - files cant be larger than 4gigs

If the PS3 supported other filesystems/formats(like NTFS/HFS/ext2 blah blah) through external we wouldnt be having this issue :(

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+Audioboxer
I was obsessed with HD playback on the PS3 ever since it was released in Europe. I tried everything, read every forum when they (or should I say we) were trying to figure out what was wrong.

Two things were key: the firmware update that enabled high profile playback in the XMB and having the certainty that x264 encoded files had the level flag set to the highest by default, when it shouldn't have been like that.

If mp4 have that limit, why not use .VOB all along? Even if it's all shady and mysterious how the PS3 is correctly able to read those streams that way, .VOB supports ac3 and all that stuff, and most files come with AC3 anyway.

Yup PS3 doesn't support level 5.1, only 4.1. These programs when remuxing the video, change to it 4.1 - One of the major issues for 1080p as well, it doesn't like having it's level changed.

Yeah VOB is the way to go, and it is what I use. People still stick with MP4 though if for whatever reason they must have ff/rw. Pause/Resume works fine on VOB, and if you're watching movies very rarely do you need to ff/rw. As I said though for whatever reason, 1.5x ff on VOB works.

With VOB one other thing I should of mentioned is, if you go to play a file and its a black screen, exit out, and press traingle on the movie and go to "play from beginning" - Just a small bug you might come across.

The reason there is a 4gig limit is because the only filesystem/format the PS3 reads through external harddrives is FAT32

Harddrives formatted in FAT32 have a limit - files cant be larger than 4gigs

If the PS3 supported other filesystems/formats(like NTFS/HFS/ext2 blah blah) through external we wouldnt be having this issue :(

Correct, but wouldn't make a difference with MP4 files.

MP4 files ALSO have a 4GB play limit on the PS3 regardless of what drives the PS3 supports.

This is something thats hard to explain as people get confused, I done my best in my guide to explain it.

PS3 File System - NO size limits.

HOWEVER, the PS3 will only support FAT32 formatted drives - Therefore that is a drive limit of the device you are plugging in.

Now MP4 files, they have a 4GB limit on the PS3 regardless of the file system. No one knows why, but an MP4 file over 4GB will not play on the internal PS3 hard drive.

Streaming is the only way to get an MP4 file over 4GB to play on your PS3.

Is there any way to make the PS3 automatically play the next file in the folder after the previous file has finished playing?

It seems music files do this, but not the video files.

Good question but I dont think so.

Would be useful for 2 part movies (Y)

By the way, I added a FAQ section, and im going to cherry pick the best questions you guys ask! ;)

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Keito

I'll keep alookout on the original (Dutch) GOTsent topic for you Audioboxer, as I'm also active on that forum

Also, on a side note; if you are a mac user and you're using Mac OS X's native filesystem (HFS) on an external drive, it should also work on your PS3 AND allow files larger than 4GB - note: as far as I know, this is still not something to solve the mp4 4GB issue

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      We’re at the dawn of a new era of gaming, and just like Netflix did 10 years ago, Microsoft is undeniably leading the transition to this new method of bringing games to users. But eventually, other companies will catch on, and Microsoft knows that. I feel like that brings about a ton of questions on how the gaming market will develop, and whether Microsoft will be able to leverage its head-start to stay ahead in the future.

      Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, has said that it doesn’t necessarily see Sony and Nintendo as rivals, and instead points to companies like Google, which has its own Stadia service, and Amazon, which just announced its Luna cloud gaming service yesterday. But we're still early in the cloud gaming days, and both Stadia and Luna are from offering the value Microsoft offers with Game Pass Ultimate. Neither of those companies had the experience with building games, or the relationship with existing developers to kickstart a new gaming platform with major experiences on board. A lot of that done has to be done from scratch for these companies, and it will take a while for them to even have the chance to become as attractive as Game Pass Ultimate now is.

      But then, what about the companies that do already have these relationships – Sony and Nintendo? An argument that can be made for Google and Amazon entering the race against Microsoft is that those companies have the cloud capacity to back that kind of gaming service, but I don’t think that means they have to create one such service to be successful. Amazon has a major cloud infrastructure, and it does offer Prime Video, but Amazon Web Services are also the backbone of services like Netflix. Amazon is still making money from the streaming market by offering its infrastructure to other services.

      So what’s to stop these companies from doing that again with gaming, with Sony and Nintendo coming in to create their own distribution platforms, building on their existing properties and their relationships with existing developers and publishers? I think there’s room for the market to evolve in this way.

      When other companies come into the fight, regardless of who they are, Microsoft will have to face a more serious fight, and I wonder if the company can be a leader in that market. Companies will start fighting harder for exclusive titles, and just like Microsoft acquired Bethesda, other big acquisitions could happen to rival it. At some point, the game streaming market will likely go through the same problems we’re seeing today with video streaming, and I’m not sure it will necessarily be better for consumers. You don’t see many shows running on different video subscription services at the same time, and it’s possible that more games will become exclusive to specific services in the future, potentially forcing customers to buy into more services to get access to the games they like.

      One last question I have, especially being a Nintendo fan, is what will happen to dedicated gaming hardware. Nintendo is known for two things – making a profit on hardware sales and designing games around specific hardware features. Most games can be played with traditional controllers, but a lot of the experiences Nintendo promotes involve some kind of gimmick exclusive to its hardware. ARMS for the Nintendo Switch used motion controls as its primary control method, and the minigames in something like 1-2-Switch are based on many different Joy-Con features, including motion, the IR camera, and HD rumble. While it’s not impossible to imagine the company developing games with more traditional controls in mind, I feel like that would take away a lot of what makes Nintendo unique. Maybe controllers and accessories can deliver these experiences on different devices, rather than having to be tied to a console, or, who knows, maybe Nintendo will try to live on as a console manufacturer in this new landscape.

      Nintendo's ARMS has you throwing punches in real life So, let me pass these questions on to you: how will the gaming market evolve once companies start rivaling Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass? Which companies do you see becoming players in this new landscape, and which ones do you think will drop out? Which ones offer their own services, and which ones will only make games? Will dedicated gaming hardware become unnecessary, particularly in the case of companies like Nintendo, which usually designs many of its games around specific hardware features? Will console exclusives be replaced with service exclusives and make the game streaming market as troublesome as the video streaming market? What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know!

    • By Usama Jawad96
      Football Manager 2021 is not coming to the PlayStation... because Sony didn't send dev kits
      by Usama Jawad

      The Football Manager series has been a staple among fans of the sport as well as people who enjoy simulation games in general. The first title in the series was launched back in 2004 and since then, it has followed a yearly release schedule. Over the past decade or so, it has not launched on any home console.

      Now, the latest entry in the series, Football Manager 2021 is finally making its way back to current- and next-gen consoles as well. However, support for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 is notably excluded, only because Sony didn't send dev kits to the developer.

      In a blog post, the company has announced that Football Manager 2021 is coming to Steam and Epic Games Store on November 24, and people who purchase it through these storefronts will also get Football Manager 2021 Touch for PC and Mac for free. iOS and Android versions are coming soon too, with the Switch edition expected to arrive before the end of the year.

      In a surprise reveal, the game is making a return to Xbox One, Series S, and Series X as well, with optimizations for Xbox controllers in tow along with the ability to carry saves across Windows 10 utilizing Microsoft's Xbox Play Anywhere technology. This will be the first release of the series on a Microsoft console since 2008. However, a firm release date for the Xbox Edition has not been announced as of yet.

      Interestingly, mention of the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 edition is completely absent in the blog post. Responding to curious fans on Twitter, the game's director Miles Jacobson stated that this is because Microsoft "asked" for Football Manager 2021 on Xbox while Sony did not. He further revealed that:

      It's quite interesting to see that while Microsoft was proactive about getting an arguably popular title to its current- and next-generation consoles, Sony could seemingly not be bothered to even send dev kits to the developer. With this being the title's first home console release in well over a decade, only time will tell whether the company made the right choice or not. In the meantime, those interested can head over to the pre-order page for Football Manager 2021 here.

    • By Usama Jawad96
      Going into the next generation, Sony needs to stop its deceptive marketing tactics
      by Usama Jawad



      Let me say this right off the bat: When it comes to gaming, I'm platform-agnostic. I'll play on whatever machine offers a decent gaming experience, regardless of whether it's made by Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, or any PC-maker for that matter. I strongly believe that as long as you're satisfied with the gaming experience offered by a piece of hardware, you should enjoy it regardless of whether it packs the most powerful silicon on the market.

      With that out of the way, let's start with the topic on hand. I have mostly played on the PlayStation 4 in this generation and have really enjoyed Sony's exclusives especially God of War, The Last of Us Remastered, Spider-Man, Horizon Zero Dawn, Death Stranding (which is not a PS4 exclusive anymore), and more. Sony has really built my trust in this generation and while I'm very excited about the budget-friendly Xbox Series S, the PlayStation 5 feels like a no-brainer to me as well given the absolutely incredible PS4 exclusives this generation.

      However, before I dip my toes into the next generation of consoles, I need Sony to stop its deceptive marketing tactics which were quite clearly exposed in its PlayStation 5 showcase event earlier this week.



      For starters, Sony Interactive Entertainment's Jim Ryan had been making a huge deal for the past few months about how the company believes in console generations. In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz back in May, the executive went on to say:

      Notice the emphasis on the PlayStation 5 offering features not possible on the PlayStation 4 at all. Fans were led to believe that games were going to be built ground-up for the next-gen console, offering experiences that the current-gen is not capable of.



      Following this statement, when Halo: Infinite was announced as a cross-gen exclusive by Microsoft, the company drew a lot of criticism from the online community, which claimed that the reason for the unimpressive visuals were likely due to the title being held back by current-gen hardware. Soon after this negative reception, Microsoft was forced to delay its highly-anticipated Xbox Series X|S launch title into next year.

      Because Sony had so strongly stated that it believes in generations and its games taking full advantage of new hardware, it was praised by many for taking this bold step, unlike Microsoft.

      Fast-forward to the Japanese tech giant's showcase event earlier this week, and and most of us learned via prominent game journalist Geoff Keighley - so not even via Sony directly, at first - that three of the company's supposedly exclusive PlayStation 5 titles, namely Horizon: Forbidden West, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and SackBoy A Big Adventure, are also coming to the PlayStation 4. Sony's Jim Ryan explains the company's change of heart as follows:

      While I completely agree with Ryan that it simply wouldn't make sense from a business point-of-view to abandon a huge current-gen PlayStation community, it goes against everything the executive has been emphasizing for the past few months. None of these aforementioned titles were announced as cross-gen, and all of Sony's marketing material mention them as PlayStation 5 titles only. The community has noticed this U-turn and is understandably calling out Sony for it.

      Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to sound like an entitled gamer. As the happy owner of a PlayStation 4, it's actually good to know that I'll be able to play upcoming AAA titles without shelling out hundreds of bucks for new hardware.

      What's problematic to me is the lack of clear communication from Sony's end. It's disingenuous to customers to have them lambast Microsoft's cross-gen strategy for the past few months and then suddenly announce that you're planning on following that strategy too. Is the current-gen hardware then holding back PlayStation 5 titles too? Is it worth upgrading to the PlayStation 5 so early in the generation's cadence knowing that I'll be able to play most titles on current-gen hardware? I mean, sure, better frames-per-second, ray-tracing, and 4K textures sound like things worth upgrading to, but the absence of those never stopped me from enjoying all the PlayStation 4 exclusives I mentioned at the start of this piece.

      At the end of the day, it's the offerings of the game itself that make me stick to certain hardware. If the gameplay of Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Horizon: Forbidden West is good enough for me on the PlayStation 4, maybe I don't even need to buy the PlayStation 5 for these particular games so soon.

      Overall, I probably wouldn't have minded this move as much as long as Sony had made stuff like this clear from the start rather than harping about how it believes in console generations. It's the lost trust due to unclear communication that's the problem here, not the games launching with cross-gen capabilities.

      But this is not the only place where Sony lost my trust. The other notable instance is the PlayStation 5 pre-orders fiasco. In an interview with Geoff Keighley back in July, Sony Head of Worldwide Marketing Eric Lempel stated that the company would give "plenty of time" before opening pre-orders. During the firm's showcase event earlier this week, no mention was made regarding pre-orders. Some people received emails from Sony with unique URLs to place orders for the PlayStation 5 but there was no mention of this even on the PlayStation Blog.

      Keighley once again flew in to save the day and announced that PlayStation 5 pre-orders would open on Thursday, and shortly after, the PlayStation Twitter account also announced the same. Amidst this confusion, it appears some retailers chose to open pre-orders on the same day (that is, Wednesday) and then all hell broke loose, with practically every retailer making their PlayStation 5 listings active with the console being sold out in minutes. So much for the "plenty of time" being offered to customers to place their orders.

      The thing is, this wasn't completely or directly Sony's fault. Some trigger-happy retailer decided to open pre-orders early and chaos ensued. The problem is, Sony as a major corporation launching a highly-anticipated should have foreseen this, it should have clearly announced pre-order dates beforehand, and it should have been more than a one-day notice.

      Note that as someone who lives in Pakistan where Sony doesn't even officially launch consoles, the pre-order fiasco doesn't even bother me directly. What bothers me about this is that this is yet another instance of Sony's lack of clear communication. Due to the company's mishandling of the situation and not providing customers crystal-clear instructions, potentially hundreds of thousands of customers around the globe weren't even given a chance to be among the first to get their hands on the console come November, simply because they believed that Sony would indeed be giving them ample notice, as promised.



      In the other camp, Microsoft is now capitalizing on Sony's misfires, and rightly so. It has poked fun at Sony's pre-order snafu, and just recently and clearly announced pre-order dates in various countries. With pre-orders starting on September 22, this is what I call "plenty of time" to decide whether you want to lighten your wallet right now or wait a bit.

      Similarly, the company has also uploaded videos on its Xbox YouTube channel, highlighting Quick Resume and faster loading times capabilities on the Series S. Note that these videos highlight the power of the less-powerful $299 console, not the $499 Series X. To me, this is the epitome of confidence from Microsoft's part about its faith in its upcoming consoles as well as a very clear message to customers about the benefits they can expect from investing in the company's machines. One can safely assume that the performance on the Xbox Series X will be better. This is something that instills confidence for potential customers, and it's all thanks to the company's transparent communication over the past few months. Sure you might not like the titles available on the Series X|S consoles, and that is fine, but at least you know exactly what you're getting when you buy either of the two machines. This clarity has been missing from most of Sony's marketing material.

      That said, there's still almost two months before the PlayStation 5 launches. Instead of making claims that it can't back up with its games and events, the company should instead focus on clearly telling consumers what they can expect when they purchase a PlayStation 5. The latest antics from the company have definitely fanned flames of "console wars" among the gaming community and are good for marketing, but they ultimately harm Sony's image when it can't live up to its promises. Right now, almost every Tweet by the PlayStation Twitter account is being criticized for how the company handled the pre-orders situation, and the frustration is understandable. With the next generation just around the corner, it isn't smart to alienate a loyal playerbase.

      While these latest snafus by Sony don't turn me away from the PlayStation 5 (I really want to play God of War: Ragnarok!), but the firm's - unintentionally or intentionally - deceptive marketing tactics have diminished my trust, which means that I'll have to be very careful with setting expectations for next-gen, because I can't take anything Sony says at face value anymore.

    • By Usama Jawad96
      Poll: Which next-generation console are you interested in buying?
      by Usama Jawad



      The next generation of consoles is just around the corner, and we are now aware of almost all the important details including specifications, features, launch titles, value for money, pricing, and availability.

      From Sony's end, we have two offerings: the PlayStation 5 and the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition. These siblings are the same in almost every aspect including a 3.5GHz octa-core AMD Ryzen Zen 2 CPU, a 10TFLOPS GPU, 16GB of GDDR6 RAM, a custom 825GB SSD, and games targeting up to 4K 120Hz video output. The only difference between the two consoles is that the standard PlayStation 5 packs an Ultra HD Blu-Ray disc drive, while the Digital Edition does not. The pre-orders situation has been messy so far, but the consoles officially launch starting on November 12 with price tags of $499 for PlayStation 5 and $399 for the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition.



      Over in Microsoft's camp, the situation is quite different. We have two consoles, namely the Xbox Series X and the Series S, but both pack considerably different hardware and are intended for different audiences.

      The more powerful Series X packs a 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT) octa-core custom Zen 2 CPU, a 12TFLOPS GPU, 16GB of GDDR6 RAM, a custom 1TB SSD with Xbox Velocity Architecture, and games targeting up to 4K 120Hz video output. It also packs an Ultra HD Blu-Ray disc drive.

      Meanwhile the less powerful Xbox Series S differs with a 3.6GHz (3.4GHz with SMT) custom Zen 2 CPU, 4TFLOPS GPU, 10GB of GDDR6 RAM, a custom 512GB SSD with the same architecture as its sibling, and games targeting up to 1440p 120Hz video output. It lacks an Ultra HD Blu-Ray disc drive as well and is meant to be an all-digital console.

      Given their differing internals, the Series X is priced at $499 while the budget-friendly Series S sports a price tag of $299. Pre-orders for Microsoft's offerings start from September 22, with the consoles officially launching on November 10.

      With potential customers such as Neowin readers now aware of what the tech behemoths are offering, their price tags, availability, and bang for your buck, we are interested to know: which console are you looking to buy come holiday season or later? Do you have eyes on multiple consoles rather than sticking with a single option in this generation?

      Let us know by voting in the poll below (multiple options can be selected)! We're also interested to know the reasoning behind your choice so feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section!