PS3 Media Server / Universal Media Server Guide


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MediocreNoob

Universal Media Server v2.5.1: Windows / Linux

This release makes libraries and files load faster, improves subtitle support, adds 2 new renderers and more!

Note: This release requires Java 7 to be installed. It will not run on Java 6.

  • General:
    • Improved subtitle support on non-PS3 renderers
    • Made library/file loading faster
    • Fixed 24-bit flac support with tsMuxeR
    • Stopped using 2 database locations for media caching on Windows
    • Allow library scanning to be stopped
    • Library scanning interface improvements

    [*]Renderers:

    • Added support for Sony Home Theatre systems
    • Added support for Onkyo TX-NR717
    • Improved Samsung AllShare compatibility

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+Audioboxer

Thanks!

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DirtyLarry

Just curious, has anyone ever experienced a crackling sound on their speakers through USM or PSM for that matter? It was not a lot, and would happen at random intervals, but it was definitely enough for me to notice. It would not happen for 10 minutes, then happen like every 10 seconds. Same deal all night pretty much.

It started happening to me last night, and I just redid all the wiring on my entertainment center last weekend so the first thing I thought of was I had a loose wire somewhere, but it turns out I was only getting the crackling with anything streaming through USM. I googled it, and it does seem to be an issue a few other people have had, but no one posted any fixes for it.

So I have a few options. Redo the audio settings on my PS3 itself, or check and see if my settings on USM are perhaps messed up.

I just installed the latest posted USM above (the 2.5.1) and I did a clean install, so perhaps that will fix it, but just wondering if anyone here has experienced the same thing and knows how to fix it?

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MediocreNoob

Universal Media Server v2.5.2: Windows / Linux

This release fixes a startup error for Java 6 users, fixes media caching and more

  • General:
    • Offer to automatically update Java on Windows from 6 to 7
    • Fixed library updating with cache enabled
    • Made detection of network speed more accurate (thanks, ExSport!)
    • Library scanning interface improvements
    • Set a higher maximum memory by default via the Windows installer for computers with 4GB+ of RAM

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jerzdawg

Just curious, has anyone ever experienced a crackling sound on their speakers through USM or PSM for that matter? It was not a lot, and would happen at random intervals, but it was definitely enough for me to notice. It would not happen for 10 minutes, then happen like every 10 seconds. Same deal all night pretty much.

It started happening to me last night, and I just redid all the wiring on my entertainment center last weekend so the first thing I thought of was I had a loose wire somewhere, but it turns out I was only getting the crackling with anything streaming through USM. I googled it, and it does seem to be an issue a few other people have had, but no one posted any fixes for it.

So I have a few options. Redo the audio settings on my PS3 itself, or check and see if my settings on USM are perhaps messed up.

I just installed the latest posted USM above (the 2.5.1) and I did a clean install, so perhaps that will fix it, but just wondering if anyone here has experienced the same thing and knows how to fix it?

Been using my ump alot more lately (finally watching Walking Dead) and have had zero audio issues. I installed the new version 2 days ago I think, also a clean install and the only issue I ran into so far was some stuttering 40 minutes in (turns out it ran out of buffer, most likely because the laptop is a pos). But no audio issues at all, only setting I changed after clean install was the keep DTS checkbox.

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DirtyLarry

Been using my ump alot more lately (finally watching Walking Dead) and have had zero audio issues. I installed the new version 2 days ago I think, also a clean install and the only issue I ran into so far was some stuttering 40 minutes in (turns out it ran out of buffer, most likely because the laptop is a pos). But no audio issues at all, only setting I changed after clean install was the keep DTS checkbox.

It just started happening this past Saturday, never saw it prior. So maybe one of my connections is lose somewhere, as I did rewire everything. I did a clean install of UMS though which I have not tried yet, so hoping that does it. It was driving me nuts.

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jerzdawg

It just started happening this past Saturday, never saw it prior. So maybe one of my connections is lose somewhere, as I did rewire everything. I did a clean install of UMS though which I have not tried yet, so hoping that does it. It was driving me nuts.

Well if you run the speaker test on your onkyo you should be able to tell if its the speakers/onkyo or the settings in ump. If the crackling is coming out of all speakers only during ump playback, its most likely not the speakers/connections (would be very rare for all of them to get messed up). Didnt you say you saved all your old versions... maybe revert back to an old one to see if it still happens.

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MediocreNoob

Universal Media Server v2.5.2.2: Windows

This is a Windows-only release.

v2.5.2.1 changes:

  • General:
    • Fixed the startup error introduced in 2.5.2

v2.5.2.2 changes:

  • General:
    • Reverted maximum memory increase

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perochan

Anyone knows how to fit the movie resolution to the TV? I play MKV from Mac to my 32 inches TV and it didnt resize to fit the screen. It just went out the edge of the TV.

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  • 2 weeks later...
MediocreNoob

Universal Media Server v2.6.0: Windows / Linux / Mac

You can download it from the front page. OS X version coming soon.

This release adds a new feature we're excited about which is Live Subtitles, so instead of having to download subtitles and put them in your folders, now you can do it all automatically! It also sets better subtitle defaults, adds H.264 transcoding support to MEncoder, improves stability and speed and more!

  • General:
    • Added "Live Subtitles" which means you can select subtitles from the Internet via your device. It can be enable on the Navigation/Share Settings page.
    • Improved layout of the Navigation/Share Settings page
    • Implemented default subtitle preferences, to use them:
      • Either use the "Clean Install" option on Windows or put "eng,off;*,eng;*,und" into the "Audio/subtitles language priority" box in the "Subtitles settings" tab on the Transcoding Settings page

      [*]Fixed DTS muxing with FFmpeg

      [*]Added new "precoder" functionality, useful for plugin developers

      [*]Added h.264 encoding support to MEncoder (when renderers specify it)

    [*]Languages:

    • Updated Czech translation
    • Updated English settings labels
    • Updated Simplified Chinese translation (thanks, lovenemesis!)

    [*]External Components:

    • Updated h2 database to 1.3.171, which:
      • Increases speed
      • Improves JDK 7 compatibility

      [*]Updated MPlayer/MEncoder for Windows SB52, which:

      • Improves audio sync
      • Improves DVD support
      • Supports filenames with uncommon characters
      • Fixes memory leaks
      • Improves sync with Real videos
      • Fixes a crash

      [*]Updated Netty to 3.6.3, which:

      • Makes browsing more stable

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DirtyLarry

Well if you run the speaker test on your onkyo you should be able to tell if its the speakers/onkyo or the settings in ump. If the crackling is coming out of all speakers only during ump playback, its most likely not the speakers/connections (would be very rare for all of them to get messed up). Didnt you say you saved all your old versions... maybe revert back to an old one to see if it still happens.

I actually did do this without ever seeing your response, and it did prove it was the software. The last one I installed I just did a clean install, and it seems to have fixed itself. I think because I always copy and pasted the configuration file on every install, it eventually maybe got corrupt or something.

Anyone knows how to fit the movie resolution to the TV? I play MKV from Mac to my 32 inches TV and it didnt resize to fit the screen. It just went out the edge of the TV.

Did you ever sort this out? I would think this is either a setting on the PS3 or the TV itself, as I do not think a setting even exists on the software side.

Thanks as always MediocoreNoob for posting the latest build, will install it this weekend. (Y)

And just a general question, recently one of the builds added support for my Onkyo receiver. It was actually in the release notes and it now shows up as a detected device. Has anyone here used just there receiver to play movies? I am wondering how it would wind up doing.

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  • 3 weeks later...
MediocreNoob

Universal Media Server v2.6.1: Windows / Linux / Mac

This release fixes several bugs, improves speed, improves compatibility with some renderers and more!

  • General:
    • Added option to toggle H.264 remuxing in FFmpeg
    • Improved stability of Live Subtitles
    • Re-enabled WMP detection
    • Speed improvements
    • Fixed transcoding to Xbox via FFmpeg
    • Added support for WTV files
    • A-to-Z virtual folders support sorting options
    • Fixed a crash with rare MP3 files

    [*]Renderers:

    • Improved Sony Blu-ray Player support (thanks, skeptical!)
    • Fixed exception on Android
    • Fixed stuttering issues with Bravia HX TVs

    [*]Languages:

    • Updated Dutch translation (thanks, leroy!)
    • Updated Italian language (thanks, nocciola82!)

    [*]External Components:

    • Updated FFmpeg for Linux to burek's 2013-04-04 build, which:
      • Is compiled statically

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richardsim7

Works great, updating all the time. LOVE this program! :D

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MediocreNoob

Universal Media Server v2.6.2: Windows / Linux

This release improves audio sync, transcoding speed, fixes lots of bugs and more!

  • General:
    • Fixed audio sync when muxing DTS via FFmpeg
    • Improved descriptions in GUI
    • Added support for the file:// protocol in WEB.conf
    • Protocols are matched before extensions in WEB.conf
    • Fixed "Can't assign requested address" bug after update to Java 1.6.0.45 on Mac OS X
    • Added installation instructions to the Linux distribution
    • Fixed incorrect server IP address when starting via UMS.exe or UMS.bat

    [*]External Components:

    • Updated FFmpeg for all operating systems, which:
      • Fixes RTMP bugs
      • Improves support for the following codecs/containers: WMV, MPEG, H.264, Matroska, AVI, AAC, AC-3, WMA, MP3, FLV, OGG
      • Improves 60FPS video support
      • Supports more audio channel layouts
      • Improves pthread support
      • Fixes memory leaks
      • Improves subtitle decoding support
      • Adds support for subtitles character encoding conversion
      • Makes duration estimation more reliable
      • Adds support for .ape files
      • Improves memory use when using hardware acceleration
      • Fixes multithreaded MPEG-4 decoding

      [*]Updated Java Runtime Environment automatic downloader for Windows to 7u21, which:

      • Has lots of security fixes and improvements

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  • 3 weeks later...
MediocreNoob

Universal Media Server v2.6.4: Windows / Linux / Mac

This release improves file compatibility on all renderers, makes file list population faster, updates all language flags and more!

This is probably our last 2.x release since we have been working hard on 3.0 which is packed with new features. We will release an alpha or beta version for testing soon.

  • General:
    • Made the menu icon on OS X grayscale to fit with most other programs (thanks, Kefran!)
    • Made file list population faster
    • Added option to ignore certain renderer configurations
    • Improved file compatibility on all renderers

    [*]Renderers:

    • Improved file compatibility on Sony Bravia TVs
    • Improved file compatibility on Samsung TVs

    [*]Languages:

    • Updated English settings
    • Updated all language flags
    • Corrected Slovak language flag
    • Added language flags for Icelandic, Lithuanian and Slovenian

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DirtyLarry

Anyone check out the 3.0 Alpha 1 yet?

Link

Version 3.0.0 Alpha 1 is released

by SubJunk ? Thu May 16, 2013 10:38 am

General:

This release has many new features like video resuming, configuration wizard, filename prettifying, 5.1 audio output for Xbox, automatic transcoding quality adjustment, better transcoding quality, more complete subtitle support for FFmpeg, better iTunes integration and more!

Download: Windows ? Linux ? OS X

Changes since 2.6.4:

General:

  • Added internal subtitle support to FFmpeg
  • Added subtitle seeking support to FFmpeg
  • Added subtitle styling (fontconfig) support to FFmpeg
  • Added "Prettify filenames" feature, for details on its use see the tooltip on the Navigation tab
  • Added configuration wizard to simplify common things like network configuration
  • Added an option to hide/show advanced options, hopefully making things less confusing/daunting for most users
  • Added VLC video transcoding (thanks, LordQuackstar!)
  • Added new options to iTunes library browsing: Browse by Artist, Album and Genre
  • Added the ability to resume videos after closing the program, for details on its use see the tooltip on the Navigation tab
  • Transcoding quality automatically adjusts for content and network speed by default, allowing wireless users an easier experience
  • Improved memory defaults on Windows
  • Improved video transcoding quality by default
  • Improved audio transcoding quality in FFmpeg by default
  • Fixed memory leaks
  • Added tooltips to several options to make them clearer
  • OS X build runs optimized Java 7 code
  • Renderers:
    • Xbox 360 supports 5.1 audio
    • Faster transcoding on Xbox 360
    • Added profile for Samsung D7000 TVs

    [*]Languages:

    • Added English (UK) to the list of languages
    • Updated Czech translation
    • Updated Spanish translation (thanks, Alfredo Ramos and uman2k!)

Upgrade Notes:

For all versions:

Some configuration options for 3.x are not compatible with the 2.x releases, so it may be wise to make a backup of your 2.x configuration.

It is recommended (but usually not necessary) to delete your UMS.conf file prior to installing this version. Windows users can choose the "clean install" option while installing instead.

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+Audioboxer

Oooo, looks good! Will try.

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DirtyLarry

Oooo, looks good! Will try.

I used it this weekend, ran flawless, and things were definitely more responsive overall. Go To worked the best it ever has, and it could just be my imagination, but DTS audio sounded really, really damn good. It also seemed to be louder than it ever has been, in a good way though. What I mean is for whatever reasons whenever I streamed movies, I had to turn the volume up, it just was not as loud as the volume coming from games for the PS3. now it seems to be the same, so I do not need to put the volume up louder. Whatever it was, the sound really did sound the best it ever has.

Also I like the little touch they added for the app itself. When you first launch it on your PC, it asks a series of questions (do you have DTS support, what is your networks bandwidth, etc. etc.) and configures everything accordingly. Although I am pretty sure I always set things up correctly manually, was a nice little touch as I said. Seems to be a very solid release.

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jerzdawg

I used it this weekend, ran flawless, and things were definitely more responsive overall. Go To worked the best it ever has, and it could just be my imagination, but DTS audio sounded really, really damn good. It also seemed to be louder than it ever has been, in a good way though. What I mean is for whatever reasons whenever I streamed movies, I had to turn the volume up, it just was not as loud as the volume coming from games for the PS3. now it seems to be the same, so I do not need to put the volume up louder. Whatever it was, the sound really did sound the best it ever has.

Also I like the little touch they added for the app itself. When you first launch it on your PC, it asks a series of questions (do you have DTS support, what is your networks bandwidth, etc. etc.) and configures everything accordingly. Although I am pretty sure I always set things up correctly manually, was a nice little touch as I said. Seems to be a very solid release.

cool, Ill install tonight, havent had much content to stream from my pc recently so havent even really looked for new version.

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Kriz

Shhweeet!! :D

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  • 2 weeks later...
Kriz

Flawless streaming so far, seems this latest update fixed a few issues..

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  • 2 weeks later...
MediocreNoob

Universal Media Server v2.6.5: Windows / Linux / Mac

This fixes compatibility with the latest Java update, updates translations and networking stability.

  • General:
    • Made sure it is possible to override thumbnails
    • Fixed RAW image transcoding and support 28 additional RAW file extensions

    [*]Languages:

    • Updated Czech translation
    • Updated Dutch translation (thanks, leroy!)
    • Updated Spanish translation (thanks, Alfredo Ramos and uman2k!)

    [*]External Components:

    • Updated MediaInfo for Windows to 0.7.63, which:
      • Adds H.265 (HEVC) support
      • Fixed some crashes with .mov files
      • Improved AVI support

      [*]Updated Netty to 3.6.6

      [*]Updated Thumbnailator to 0.4.4, which:

      • Fixes memory errors with the latest Java Runtimes

Upgrade Notes:

For versions prior to 1.5.0

It is recommended to delete your UMS.conf file prior to installing this version. Windows users can choose the "clean install" option while installing instead.

For all versions

It is recommended (but usually not necessary) to delete your UMS.conf file prior to installing this version. Windows users can choose the "clean install" option while installing instead.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Kriz

Been running absolutely flawlessly, ive introduced a few friends to this who now swear by it!

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  • 3 weeks later...
MediocreNoob

Universal Media Server v3.0.0 Alpha 2: Windows / Linux / OS X - Coming Soon

This improves transcoding quality, file support, multithreading support and fixes many bugs.

Changes since 3.0.0-a1

  • General:
    • Added manual configuration option (hide_subs_info) to hide subtitle info from filenames while browsing
    • FFmpeg starts faster
    • Improved quality of H.264 transcoding by default
    • Added H.264 transcoding quality option
    • Improved speed of list population, though initial folder may be slower
    • VLC video no longer loops
    • Added multithreading support to VLC
    • Audio files are added to the transcode folder
    • Chapter folders are hidden if the video duration is less than the chapter length
    • Improved file compatibility detection for H.264 muxing
    • Renamed a lot of configuration variables
    • Added thumbnail support to Samsung 2012 ES and EH models (thanks, dmitche3!)
    • Removed the obsolete MPlayerAudio, MPlayerWebAudio and MPlayerWebVideoDump engines
    • Fixed startup issue on OS X
    • Fixed RAW image transcoding and support 28 additional RAW file extensions
    • Fixed incorrect server IP address when starting UMS by launching UMS.exe or UMS.bat
    • Fixed layout issues
    • Fixed various bugs
  • Languages:
    • Updated Dutch translation (thanks, Leroy!)
  • External Components:
    • Updated FFmpeg on all operating systems, which:
      • Improves ASS/SSA subtitle support
      • Improves handling of aspect ratios, even when muxing
      • Fixes multithreaded MPEG-4 decoding
      • Added multithreading to ALAC decoding
      • Speeds up JPEG decoding
      • Fixes and improves MP3, AAC and DTS decoding stability
      • Fixes memory leaks
      • Fixes channel mapping with surround AAC audio
      • Improves H.264 and VC-1 support
      • Improves Vorbis support
      • Improves Matroska support
      • Improves MPEG-TS muxing
    • Updated MediaInfo for Windows to 0.7.63, which:
      • Adds H.265 (HEVC) support
      • Fixed some crashes with .mov files
      • Improved AVI support
    • Updated Netty to 3.6.6
    • Updated Thumbnailator to 0.4.4, which:
      • Fixes memory errors with the latest Java Runtimes

 

Upgrade Notes:
Some configuration options for 3.x are not compatible with the 2.x releases, and a lot of them were renamed between 3.0.0-a1 and 3.0.0-a2, so it may be wise to make a backup of your configuration before installing.
It is recommended (but usually not necessary) to delete your UMS.conf file prior to installing this version. Windows users can choose the "clean install" option while installing instead.

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      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!