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By Usama Jawad96
Top 5 reasons you should buy a PlayStation 5
by Usama Jawad
Sony's highly-anticipated next-generation consoles, the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, will be available starting November 12. Although the company had a lot of trouble with pre-orders and how it handled the situation, it is safe to say that demand for the consoles is quite high.
But are you among the people who are still unsure about whether you should buy into Sony's next-generation offerings? We hope to make that decision easier for you with the top 5 reasons you should consider the PlayStation 5. Note that this list is not in order of importance.
There's no other way to say it: Sony completely blew the competition out of the water with its current-gen offerings, which included the likes ofGod of War, The Last of Us Remastered, Spider-Man, and Horizon Zero Dawn, among others.
It gained a lot of fans through these franchises, which is why gamers trust the company to deliver the same level of excellence with exclusives in this generation. Sequels to the aforementioned games are already in the pipeline with Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Horizon Forbidden West, God of War: Ragnarok, and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart confirmed for the PlayStation 5. Similarly, Demon's Souls is on track for release on the console as well.
While some of these titles will be available on the PlayStation 4 as well, and eventually even PC, the earliest way to play these will be the PlayStation 5, with performance benefits and better visual fidelity as compared to their PlayStation 4 counterparts a given as well.
Affordable Console with (almost) Identical Internals
Sony is at odds with Microsoft's console release strategy at the start of this generation. While the latter is offering two versions of its consoles as well, those come with considerably different internals, owing to the fact that they target different resolutions.
Meanwhile, Sony's PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition both pack almost the same hardware, which means that they both offer exactly the same performance. The only difference between the two consoles is that the disc drive is absent in the Digital Edition.
This entails that you can game at up to 4K resolution at 120fps on both the consoles, but you can easily knock off a hundred bucks from the retail price if you opt for the Digital Edition either for cost-savings or due to the possibility that you have a solely digital library of games. The PlayStation 5 comes in at $499 while the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition carries a price tag of $399.
PlayStation Plus Collection
To further sweeten the pot with its PlayStation 5 console, Sony has also announced the "PlayStation Plus Collection". Simply put, the company will be giving new buyers instant access to 18 PlayStation 4 titles on its new console on launch day at no extra cost. These feature both first- and third-party titles, namely:
Bloodborne Battlefield 1 Batman: Arkham Knight Days Gone Detroit: Become Human Fallout 4 Final Fantasy XV God of War inFamous: Second Son The Last of Us Remastered The Last Guardian Monster Hunter: World Mortal Kombat X Persona 5 Resident Evil 7 Ratchet & Clank Until Dawn Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End While these don't come with any known performance or visual enhancements, the collection should be of great value to gamers entering the PlayStation ecosystem or even veteran players who haven't had a chance to play some of these masterpieces yet.
Sony has announced new "DualSense" controllers for the PlayStation 5, replacing the existing DualShock branding. The company has been advertising the controller quite heavily, stating that it packs haptic feedback, which promises more realistic sensations for certain situations in games, such as "the slow grittiness of driving a car through mud". Additionally, the controller features adaptive shoulder triggers in the R2 and L2 buttons, which will reflect the tension of in-game actions, adding a degree of immersion to the experience. The controller also has a microphone array built-in, enabling voice chat features in games without the need for an additional headset.
Other than this, the controller packs cosmetic changes such as a new "Create" button, a dual-tone look, and a new design for the light bar.
With Sony placing so much emphasis on the immersive gaming experience offered by the DualSense, it will be very interesting to see how developers utilize its capabilities in their upcoming games.
Possibly more Exclusivity Deals
While Sony hasn't made a play as big as Microsoft's in terms of securing exclusivity for games on next-generation consoles yet, there have been reports from credible sources that the company has reached out to all major publishers for exclusivity deals. This was already apparent with Sony heavily marketing the "PlayStation Advantage" branding in Marvel's Avengers, owing to the fact that the title promises exclusive content not available on its console counterparts.
Rumors claim that this branding will play a major role in Sony's marketing strategy moving forward, which means that you can expect more games to feature content that won't be available for other platforms.
If you're someone who cares about this aspect of gaming, the PlayStation 5 is something you should definitely consider when purchasing your next-generation console.
What are your top reasons to purchase or consider purchasing PlayStation 5 consoles? Let us know in the comments section below!
By Namerah S
Naughty Dog celebrates The Last of Us Day with a board game, vinyl sound track and more
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
A couple of days ago, the developer of critically acclaimed series The Last of Us announced that it would be renaming its yearly celebration of the community. The annual commemoration takes place on September 26 and was previously called Outbreak Day. Due to the pandemic, Naughty Dog changed the title to The Last of Us Day this year.
In honor of The Last of Us Day, the Santa Monica-based video game maker has announced a bunch of new collectables, memorabilia and more. First off, a 2xLP vinyl version of The Last of Us Part II's original soundtrack has been announced, coupled with some limited edition posters. Pre-orders start tomorrow and close September 30, after which the exclusive posters will go out of print.
Naughty Dog has also announced a tabletop game called The Last of Us Board Game, created in collaboration with CMON. The board game is still under development and no further information is available at the moment, apart from its existence.
Collectable figurines of characters from The Last of Us and The Last of Us II have also been announced. This includes limited-edition statues of Ellie striking different poses and scale figures of Ellie and Joel which may be bought in pairs or individually. Pre-orders are open, with more information available on Naughty Dog's blog.
Following an overwhelming response from fans on the Ellie cosplay guide, an official cosplay guide for Abby from The Last of Us Part II has also been published. A high-res pdf version of the guide can be downloaded from the game's official website free of charge. As part of the festivities of The Last of Us Day, a dynamic beach theme featuring The Last of Us II for the PS4 has also been revealed and is available for free on the PS Store. Until September 28, all other The Last of Us Part II themes and avatars will also be free.
To celebrate The Last of Us day, PlayStation Gear Store will also roll out new merchandise for the franchise such as shirts, mugs and the Joel Funko Pop. Meanwhile, previously existing The Last of Us items on the Gear Store will be discounted by 40%. The PlayStation Store will also participate in the festivities, offering half-off discounts for The Last of Us Remastered, The Last of Us: Left Behind, and some The Last of Us Remastered Factions Bundles. Both sales will end on September 28 at 11:29 PM PST.
Lastly, Naughty Dog has also launched a competition called The Last of Us Part II Photo Mode Contest which will take place on its social media. Qualifying winners stand to win Ellie Edition DualShock 4 controllers while runners up will receive The Last of Us Part II Limited Edition DS4 controllers.
Further information such as pre-order details or terms and conditions about the photo mode competition can be found on Naughty Dog's blog.
Discuss: What does the future of gaming look like?
by João Carrasqueira
For decades, the gaming community, or part of it, has gotten used to the famed “console wars”. The race between each console manufacturer has, for a long time, been a topic of discussion for fans, as have the consequences of losing the console wars. Especially after the Sega Dreamcast - the company's last traditional console after a series of failures in the market - the idea of a company becoming a software-only company was a scary one. I distinctly remember how people would discuss the possibility of Nintendo going the same route during the Wii U era, and how worrying that thought was to fans like me.
But as we head into another generation of gaming consoles from Sony and Microsoft, the gaming landscape is changing, and I think it’s very fair to say that Microsoft is spearheading that change.
When it first introduced Xbox Game Pass in 2017, Microsoft gave Xbox what is arguably one of the best deals in gaming, with over 100 games available from the get-go at a monthly cost that’s a fraction of the price of a single game. It instantly gave gamers access to a huge library of games from Microsoft and third-party developers, and that was a huge advantage for Xbox consoles. But since then, it’s become increasingly clear that it’s not about consoles.
Last year, Microsoft introduced Game Pass for PC, and with that, you didn’t even have to buy Microsoft’s hardware to get access to a long list of games, once again, for a very low monthly fee. Sure, it requires a Windows 10 PC that can run games, but most gaming PCs already run Windows 10 (based on the latest Steam hardware survey), and the hardware requirements would be there even outside of Game Pass. And this month, the next step - game streaming from the cloud officially launched on Android as part of Game Pass Ultimate, and now you don’t even need a PC or a Windows license. Plus, you can play your games anywhere, and not have to worry nearly as much about the specifications of your device.
Microsoft knows this transition to cloud gaming isn’t going to be instant, so of course the new consoles still have a reason to exist, but the sales numbers for that hardware are hardly going to matter. It’s no longer a “console war”, but a more generic gaming war, and eventually maybe just a service war. And after Microsoft announced its acquisition of Bethesda earlier this week, plus bundling EA Play into Game Pass, it’s clear that it’s willing to put down the money and effort to lead the next generation of gaming. Truth be told, Game Pass is completely unmatched in terms of scope and value.
But I can’t help feeling like I’ve seen a lot of this before in another medium. At the dawn of the 2010s, Netflix was the video streaming service. You’d hardly ever hear about any other service of the kind, and almost any show or movie you could want to watch was on there. And all of that came at the low cost of $9 per month, so there was almost no reason not to use the service.
But eventually, other media companies caught on, and today, the video streaming landscape is a mess. CBS All-Access, Disney+, Peacock, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and more are fighting it out, and while most of these haven’t posed a major threat in terms of subscriber numbers, they’ve slowly chipped away at Netflix’s library, pushing the company to create more original content – resulting in more costs and potentially smaller returns.
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.