The Tech News Blog

December 14, 2014

Xbox One Outsells PS4 in November

Xbox One holiday saleThough the PlayStation 4 has largely outsold the Xbox One for the last year, Microsoft's next-gen console has picked up some steam this holiday season.

The Xbox One unseated the PS4 to become the top-selling console in November, Microsoft announced Friday, citing data from The NPD Group.

"November set a new record for sales of Xbox One, and Xbox One was the best-selling console in the U.S. and U.K.," Microsoft said in a statement. "Response to the holiday lineup of games on Xbox One was incredible, with Xbox One fans buying more games in November in the U.S. than any other gen-eight platform and enjoying over 357 million hours of gameplay globally." Redmond added that fans logged into Xbox Live across Xbox One and Xbox 360 more than any other month in the game system's history.

Microsoft gave its Xbox One a $50 discount for the holiday season. Earlier this year, it also started offering a version of its console without the Kinect sensor, bringing the price down another $100.

Overall, according to NPD, sales of new gaming hardware, software, and accessories in the U.S. declined 11 percent year over year last month to $2.41 billion, the analyst firm said.

December 9, 2014

PlayStation Network Restored After Hack

PlayStation Network

Sony's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad month continued when the PlayStation Network was knocked offline Sunday.

The site—now up and running again—was allegedly hacked by a group called "Lizard Squad," which recently hit Xbox Live and took credit for an August attack against several major gaming networks.

"PSN Login #offline #LizardSquad" the collective tweeted on Sunday afternoon. Several hours later, Sony's official PlayStation Twitter account acknowledged the problem, saying in a message that "We are aware of the issues some users are experiencing, and are working to address them."

Several hours later, Sony encouraged users to try again.

May 19, 2014

Sony Opens PlayStation Now Beta to PS4 Users

PlayStation Logo/Credit: SonySony on Monday expanded beta testing for its coming PlayStation Now streaming game service to users of PlayStation 4 consoles after several months of running the private beta exclusively on the PS3.

PlayStation Now, a streaming service that delivers games to PlayStation consoles with no discs or downloading required, remains on track to go live this summer, Sony said on its official PlayStation blog.

Gamers who have upgraded to the company's best-selling PS4 console will now have a chance to test out PlayStation Now ahead of its official launch, provided they've registered for the beta testing program.

"Up until this point, our Private Beta for PS Now has been available on PlayStation 3 systems. We're pleased to announce that the Private Beta program is expanding and will make its debut on PlayStation 4 systems on May 20. If you've registered for the PS Now Private Beta, keep an eye on your mailbox for a voucher code," Sony said.

The consumer electronics giant revealed that it was planning a game-streaming service for its PlayStation platform at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

March 4, 2014

Sony Surpasses 6M Global PS4 Sales

Sony PlayStation 4

Following last month's release of Sony's PlayStation 4 in Japan, the company today revealed a whopping 6 million console sales worldwide.

That figure includes the 370,000 sold in Japan since its Feb. 22 launch.

"I am absolutely delighted that PS4 is off to such a great start in Japan," Sony CEO Andrew House said in a statement. "The responses we have received for the PS4 system's integrated social capabilities have been phenomenal, and I couldn't be more thrilled that gamers are utilizing these unique features to engage, share, play, and connect with users around the world."

Software sales have been soaring as well, reaching almost 14 million copies of game titles and other software sold in retail stores globally and via digital downloads. According to a recent Sony blog post, more than 90 percent of U.S.-based PS4s are online, allowing gamers to connect and compete with each other.

"It's truly humbling to see the rate at which gamers across the globe are choosing PS4 as their next-gen console of choice," John Koller, vice president of marketing, wrote in a blog entry.

September 9, 2013

Sony Unveils Tiny PlayStation Vita TV Set-Top Box

PS Vita TV

Sony today unveiled the PlayStation Vita TV, a tiny set-top box device that will offer Japanese consumers a new way to consume entertainment.

The company also unveiled the thinner, lighter Sony PlayStation Vita 2000, which is aimed at attracting new PS Vita gamers.

During a press conference in Tokyo today, the electronics giant revealed its smallest PlayStation device to date —6.4 cm by 10.5 cm — with an equally miniature $100 (9,954 Yen) price tag. Set for a Nov. 14 launch, the PS Vita TV turns your television into an all-encompassing entertainment system, where users can play games or watch movies and TV shows - much like the Roku, Google Chromecast, or Apple TV.

With PS Vita TV, you can send Vita games to the TV and play with a DualShock 3 controller. Those who purchase the PlayStation 4, though, will be able to link up their PS Vita TV to the new console for "remote play." So, if someone wants to watch Breaking Badin the living room, you can stream a game from the PS4 there to the PS Vita TV in the basement and play down there.

August 19, 2013

12GB PlayStation 3 Debuts in U.S., Canada for $199

PlayStation 3

Want to replace your outdated gaming console, but unwilling to drop $400 for the upcoming PlayStation 4? Sony has a solution with the new 12GB PlayStation 3.

For $199, gamers can pick up the flash-based machine at a number of U.S. and Canada online stores, including Sony.

The launch comes with zero fanfare from the manufacturer; it's available via Walmart, Future Shop, and Best Buy. In addition to a 2.5-inch flash drive, the PS3 comes with a wireless controller, a Blu-ray player, and support for 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi.

According to Sony's website, the system is temporarily out of stock, but promises an email as soon as the product ships. Best Buy, meanwhile, is offering a PS3 bundle with Uncharted 3 and The Last of Us, for $259.98 — a $40 savings when purchased together.

June 11, 2013

Sony Unveils PlayStation 4 Console for $399; Won’t Have Used Games Restrictions

Sony gave gamers a pre-E3 treat when it finally revealed its next-generation console, the PlayStation 4 (PS4). 

Sony unveiled the PS4 console the night before the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) conference, which runs from June 11-13. The company dropped a few details about the console's specs, games and controller earlier this year, but didn't show off the actual console until now.

The PS4 is a nearly all-black console with the exception of a strip of purple in the tower. One portion of the console has a glossy black finish and holds the PlayStation and Sony logos on it. The rest is a matte black finish.

Also, the curves of the PS3 are nowhere to be found on the PS4. It has a rhombus shape and sharp edges, and can lay horizontally or stand vertically.

June 8, 2013

Analyst: Sony Aiming for Sub-$400 PlayStation 4 Price

PS4 ControllerSony has apparently learned its lesson from the early life of the PlayStation 3. Accordingly, analysts say, the company is planning to keep the price point of its successor console – the PlayStation 4 – as much under $400 as it possibly can.

Why $400?

If you'll tap into the ol' memory banks for a minute and think back to the initial launch of the PlayStation 3 in 2006, the cheapest possible console one could pick up in the United States was the 20-gigabyte iteration of the PS3 for a (then-whopping) $499. The sixty-gigabyte PS3 tacked on an additional $100 the cost. Together, the consoles' costs were a bit of an outlier against Microsoft's slightly less expensive Xbox 360 ($299 or $399) and Nintendo's Wii ($249).

The result? A 2008 article from Silicon Alley Insider said it all: "Sony's PS3 is dying on the shelves."

While it took a bit of time for Sony's Blu-ray capabilities to capture market interest – and, arguably, the games collection for the PS3 didn't initially have a huge batch of heavyweight exclusives that would attract a flock of gamers to the console – one of the chief reason for the console's lagging sales over the first years of its existence was its price.

Or, as Silicon Alley Insider's Eric Krangel put it at the time, "Tell yourself the PS3 has superior graphics if it makes you feel better, but a $400 console with a mediocre game library simply cannot compete against an Xbox 360 priced at $200 in this economy."

So, what happened?

Sony reworked the storage configurations and slashed prices on original PS3 consoles, which put an 80-gigabyte PS3 at $399 in mid-2008. The price dropped $100 to $299 in 2009 following Sony's announcement of its "slim" variant of the PS3 console. PS3 sales in 2009, however, were up to a total of 13 million units sold as compared to 10.1 million sold in 2008.

May 21, 2013

AMD Hits Game Console Trifecta With Xbox One

AMD Logo

It's been an open secret for quite some time, but now it's official—Advanced Micro Devices has hit the trifecta with the selection of its chips for all three of the major eighth-generation game consoles, including Microsoft's upcoming Xbox One.

The Xbox One and Sony's upcoming PlayStation 4 will both feature customized AMD accelerated processor units (APUs) integrating the chip maker's forthcoming Jaguar-class CPU cores and Radeon graphics, as well as a memory controller, video decoder, and other functionality. The Nintendo Wii U, released last November, relies on an IBM PowerPC 750 CPU but also incorporates an AMD-designed GPU.

Specs had already been revealed for the PlayStation 4, and obviously also for the Wii U, so Tuesday's Xbox One reveal by Microsoft made AMD's trifecta official.

"AMD is very excited to be working with Microsoft on their next-generation Xbox One. The Microsoft Xbox One leverages a single-chip, semi-custom AMD APU, with custom components co-developed with Microsoft designed to enable unique attributes of the system Microsoft is bringing to market," Saeid Moshkelani, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD's Semi-Custom Business Unit, said in a statement.

February 22, 2013

The PlayStation 4 Revealed – We Are Ready

By Mark Fritts

PlayStation fan or not, it’s good to be able to say that the next generation is right around the corner. On Wednesday February 20,  Sony Computer Entertainment revealed their plans for the future of gaming – the Playstation 4.

While we did not actually get to see the system physically, Mark Cerny, lead architect on Sony’s next console, did reveal some major specifications.

The PS4 will sport an 8-core 64-bit x86 central processing unit (CPU) developed by AMD.  The graphics processing unit (GPU) will be a part of AMD’s new Radeon series, which will likely be announced in the coming months.  It will also hold 8GB of unified GDDR5 random access memory (RAM).  What does all that mean?  Needless to say, it will run well and look good.

A large portion of the event was dedicated to sharing a few features that would satisfy any social network junky.

With a focus on social integration in every facet of the gaming experience, Sony seems to have innovative plans, including a “share” button built into the newly designed PS4 controller.  This will allow instantaneous uploads of your gaming experiences, photos, thoughts, and much more.  Just imagine getting a sick quick-scope on some unsuspecting foe, and being able to share that with all your friends in a matter of seconds.