GAME ON! ; Deadly rivals Sony and Microsoft have new consoles out next month. So it's.. [Sunday Mirror (England)]
(Sunday Mirror (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) IF you still think video games are the preserve of little kids and spotty geeks, think again.
A fortnight ago Rockstar Games enjoyed the biggest entertainment launch ever when ultra-violent Grand Theft Auto V grossed more than Pounds 600million in three days.
And next month Sony and Microsoft will fight an equally bloody - and lucrative - battle for your living room with near-simultaneous UK launches of their new next-gen games consoles, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Essentially custom-built high-end PCs, both promise graphics and experiences far more advanced than current consoles. Yet almost since their first unveilings earlier this year, the PS4 has been perceived as the gamer's choice.
Sony used its New York unveiling in February to explain how many of the world's best games developers helped design the PS4, which is intended to follow five principles: Simple, Immediate, Social, Integrated and Personalised.
In contrast Microsoft used its May showcase in Seattle to talk up the Xbox One's ability to control your satellite TV signal.
The truth isn't so simple.
The Xbox One will play amazing games and the PS4 is an all- singing, all-dancing entertainment system.
As well as offering streaming media services and social network integration on your TV, Sony's box of tricks will also integrate fully with your tablet or smartphone using the multi-platform PS App. As Andrew House, the British-born CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, explained at its Tokyo HQ: "The direct translation of the Japanese word for 'console' is 'dedicated game device'. That definition is now no longer viable. These are multi-functional devices that offer a wide range of network services."
Andrew had given a keynote speech - in fluent Japanese - at the 2013 Tokyo Games Show, saying he expects to sell five million PlayStation 4s in the next ym year. The PS3 sold about 3.5 million over a similar period.
Sony had its fingers, if not burnt, then certainly singed, with the previous generation, when Microsoft not only beat them to market by almost a year with the Xbox 360, but also offered a cheaper product better suited to the emerging online gaming genre.
It took Sony almost seven years to claw back Microsoft's lead but Andrew insists those lessons have been learned.
He cited the console's price - at Pounds 349.99 it's almost Pounds 80 cheaper than the Xbox One - and developer support.
"The excitement for me is, 'what's going to be next?' I firmly believe there's just so much creativity out there among game developers that there will be something fantastic. The joy is almost the anticipation of not knowing exactly what it's going to be."
We'll find out soon: the PS4 is out on November 29. Xbox One is out on November 22.
The PS4 is sleek, simple and stylish, with sharp angular lines to offset its natural boxiness. More than 20 games will be available on day one, from blockbusters such as FIFA 14, Call of Duty Ghosts and Battlefield 4 to exclusives such as racing game Driveclub, shooter Killzone: Shadow Fall and family platformer Knack.
The recently-announced PlayStation App will allow users to interact with their console from anywhere in the world. You can buy and install games from the PS Store, use your mobile device as a second screen or controller, arrange multiplayer sessions and even send voice messages from your phone to the PS4.
Sony's motion-sensing camera, which is sold separately, uses facial recognition to customise the PS4's dashboard to each individual user. The redesigned DualShock 4 controller has a built- in speaker and a unique touchpad which mimics the touchscreen interfaces of smartphones.
Your old PS3 games won't work on the PS4 but Sony bought streaming pioneers Gaikai to create a cloud service that will let you browse and play games, old and new. It's due to launch in the States next year. PlayStation Vita owners will also be able to stream PS4 games to their handheld console via wifi.
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