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E3, the video game expo, will finally open to the public this year

 https://www.cnet.com/news/e3-2017-open-to-public/

The Electronic Entertainment Expo — better known as E3 — one of the world’s biggest video game expos, has always been closed to the public. If you wanted to get into this gaming Mecca, you had to join the video game industry. Or find a way to sneak inside.

But this year, for the first time ever, this California gaming dream is letting the public in. GameSpot reports that the show will sell 15,000 full-access, three-day tickets to the event, which runs June 13-15 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Not just anyone will be able to afford one of those tickets, mind — they’ll cost $150 a pop, a price that goes up to $250 after the first 1,000 tickets are sold. The Electronic Software Association (ESA), which runs E3, will sell them here starting this coming Monday, February 13 at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET.

Not that I expect them to stay at $250 for long! People have been dreaming of getting into E3 for years. You might find prices soar even higher on auction sites like eBay, due to greedy scalpers.

Even without scalping, it’s pricey: Tickets to Gamescom, a show in Cologne, Germany that’s roughly quadruple the size of E3 and welcomes the public, can typically be had for under 20 euros (roughly $20, £15 or AU$25). The Tokyo Game Show offers public tickets for 1,200 yen, or about $10, £8.50 or AU$14.

The bigger question is what E3 is going to be like when you actually get there. My colleague Dan Ackerman, a longtime E3 vet, has been asking the ESA to open up E3 for years. Even this past year, he argued that E3 is too good to keep it hidden away from the public.

But when I spoke to ESA comms VP Rich Taylor last year, he said opening up to the public would make E3 a very different show.

Since there’s a finite amount of space in the LA Convention Center where E3 is held, Taylor said E3 has had to cap attendees at 50,000 each year — a number typically reserved for businesspeople, press and a small number of guests (roughly 4,000-5,000 each year, Taylor said) of the exhibiting companies. Some of those folks may need to go.

More importantly, since E3 didn’t have to worry about mobs of general attendees, the ESA was able to pack exhibitors into fairly narrow rows.

“It changes a lot of things more than just a few more people in the hall, it changes the number of companies showing innovations,” Taylor told me last June.

And speaking as someone who snuck into E3 myself (it’s a fun story!) and has since attended many times as press, I’ve gotta tell you that E3 isn’t quite the place it used to be, and it might not be the way you imagine it in your head.

These days, a lot of the show has been designed with cameras in mind, not people. The lines can seem endless. Unless E3 changes an awful lot for 2017, the best seat in the house might still be your own couch at home.

Still, the 18-year-old me wouldn’t say no to a ticket.

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PS4 Update 4.50 Will Add External HDD Support, Custom Wallpapers, Boost Mode & More

image: http://cdn3-www.playstationlifestyle.net/assets/uploads/2017/02/ps4-system-software-update-4506-555×328.jpg

ps4-system-software-update-4506

Update: Following multiple leaks from the beta, Sony has confirmed that PS4 Pro’s Boost Mode is included inside PS4 update 4.50.

“Boost Mode lets PS4 Pro run at a higher GPU and CPU clock speed for smoother gameplay on some PS4 games that were released before the launch of PS4 Pro (and has not been updated to support PS4 Pro),” Sony told Polygon. Basically, games with a variable frame rate “may benefit from a higher frame rate, and load times may be shorter in some games too.”

You can see more 4.50 features below.

Original Story: With beta codes now being emailed to those who registered, Sony has detailed “some” of the new features you can expect in PlayStation 4 system software update 4.50, which is codenamed Sasuke.

As detailed below, 4.50 will simplify the Notifications list, bring 3D Blu-ray support to PlayStation VR, and add two highly requested features – external HDD support and custom wallpapers:

External HDD Support

With this update, you have the option to store content to an external HDD. Just plug a USB 3.0 HDD into your PS4, and voilà, you now have more space on the console.

This is compatible with HDDs up to 8TB in size. You can download and install applications directly to your extra storage, and the saved contents are easily manageable through the settings menu.

Also, all the applications saved in the external HDD will appear in the Content Launcher of the Home Screen so it’s easy to keep track of what apps you launched recently.

Custom Wallpapers

This update adds the ability to set your favorite in-game screenshot as the background image for PS4’s home screen. Drop-shadows on text, and the option to dim the Function Area, will help keep the system icons and texts on the home screen clearly visible even if the background image you selected is super bright.

You can also edit screenshots using Photo Mode in Sharefactory to make your one-and-only custom wallpaper.

Quick Menu Refresh

As you may know, in the last system update we overhauled the PS4 Quick Menu feature (the menu that appears after a long press of the PS button on DualShock 4).

This update brings additional improvements to make it even more accessible. Now the Quick Menu will cover even less of your gameplay screen, and you’ll be able to access handy Party features via Online Friends, like creating new parties, inviting friends, and joining parties, without transitioning to the separate Party app. The goal is to keep you in the game — and not stuck in menus.

Simplified Notification List

Before this update, the Notifications app had a variety of tabs on the left-hand side, like Game Alerts, Downloads, Uploads, and more. We’ve condensed all of the tabs to a single simplified list, making it easier to see all of your notifications all at-a-glance.

You can also quickly access the Notification settings from the Options Menu to turn off or customize which pop-up notifications appear on your screen, so you’re only being notified about your top priorities.

3D Blu-Rays on PlayStation VR

If you’re a fan of 3D movies, and you own PlayStation VR, we’ve got good news — this update adds the ability to view 3D movies in stereoscopic 3D directly on the PS VR headset.

Additionally, 4.50 will allow you to post things like text, screenshots, and gifs directly into your Activity Feed, and you can tag games or other PSN users so they don’t miss your post. Live from PlayStation will also showcase screenshots people have uploaded as a Public Activity.

Sony’s John Koller adds that there are “more features included in 4.50,” and further information about the system update, including launch timing, will be revealed in the coming weeks.

One of those features may be a Boost Mode on PlayStation 4 Pro. According to an image (update: and new video) posted on NeoGAF, PS4 update 4.50 will allow older games without PS4 Pro support to have a higher frame-rate.

Someone translated the Japanese text and it reads: “When playing games that were released before the PS4 Pro, frame-rate etc might be able to be raised playing games. If any unexpected behavior occurs during the game, please turn off this option.”

Boost Mode has yet to be announced by Sony, so treat it as a rumor for now, but we may receive confirmation as more details about 4.50 leak out during the beta.

What do you think of 4.50 so far?
Read more at http://www.playstationlifestyle.net/2017/02/03/ps4-update-4-50-will-add-external-hdd-support-custom-wallpapers/#orMyp6TBhjZuQyjf.99

PS4 Fans Are Baffled As To Why Sony Is Promoting Crappy-Looking Games

Earlier this month, the official PlayStation YouTube account uploaded a trailer for a game called “Life of Black Tiger.” The mature adventure game, which appears to be a port of a free mobile title, looks like crap—but it has sparked a discussion over the quality of games that players expect to see on consoles.

Now, the trailer for Life of Black Tiger, embedded above,  was originally uploaded on January 12th. After some backlash, the footage was briefly unavailable for mysterious reasons, though it has since resurfaced online. As of this writing, it has 711,251 views and 27,826 dislikes—all because it looks like PS1 shovelware that appears to have stolen music from an anime. “Please tell me Sony is trolling us,” one YouTube commenter wrote. “I feel so disrespected by this somehow,” another dramatically wrote.

Of course, just because something looks bad doesn’t mean it actually is. And so, YouTubers such as Jim Sterling have been giving this $9.99 game a shot, so you don’t have to. You can watch a playthrough below:

Turns out, it’s just as terrible as it looks. The thing nobody can figure out if it’s actually all a joke—we reached out to Sony to inquire about the game, but have not heard back.

“This might be the worst game I’ve ever played on a console,” Sterling said. Between the ugly graphics, shallow mechanics, and awful controls, Sterling compared it to some of the bottom of the barrel games you might expect to see on Steam Greenlight, not a console. “There are no adequate words to describe how fucking unbelievable this game is,” Sterling said.

Thing is, Life of Black Tiger is not alone. Increasingly, Sony has been promoting more games that players deem low-quality. Last year there was Solbrain: Knight of Darkness, which had a bunch of seemingly ripped-off art and music. More recently, the official PlayStation YouTube channel uploaded a trailer for Skylight Freerange 2: Gachduine, a $14.99 game that makes Life of Black Tiger look pretty good by comparison:

Here’s the official description:

Skylight Freerange 2: Gachduine is an open world RPG that takes place in Nova Scotia in 2048. Choices can impact the storyline, available quests, final battles, which of the 23 party members make an appearance and are available, and endings.

After completing the initial quest, players are given free reign to do main quests, side quests (where the player’s choices determine 1 of 3 ultimate side quests), explore world map and dungeons unassociated with quests, and engage in social situations with their allies, where they can become friends and enter relationships.

An expansion has been added for both the Playstation 4 and Playstation Vita versions, that adds Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula and an additional questline to accompany it.

Hilariously, the game is rated M for Mature—it has nudity and sexual themes, which I’m morbidly curious about.

PS4 fans have no idea what to make of all of this:

I don’t actually have a problem with games like this appearing on the PlayStation Store—I firmly believe that everyone should make games, and that not every game needs to be triple-A quality. If Joe Schmo wants to sell his small little game that he made over the weekend, hey, be my guest—so long as nobody is misled into buying a game they don’t want, it’s all good to me.

That said, games like Life of Black Tiger are drawing controversy because they appear to be endorsed by Sony itself, just by virtue of being on the official PlayStation YouTube. It’s easy for fans to look at the aforementioned trailers and wonder why Sony appears to be marketing games that just aren’t up to snuff. It’s possible that Sony is less involved with the YouTube channel than people assume, but then the question becomes, should they be stepping in to do some damage control?

This is all stuff PC gamers are very familiar with thanks to Steam, but on the latest generation of consoles, the question of “quality” is still up for debate.

Hands-on with Nintendo Switch: Jack of all trades, master of some

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2017/01/hands-on-with-nintendo-switch-jack-of-all-trades-master-of-some/

 

The Nintendo Switch is trying to be all things to all gamers. This can be a strength in some ways, but it’s starting to come off as more of a confused weakness.

This is the conclusion I’ve come to after watching Nintendo’s jarringly disjointed presentation out of Tokyo Thursday night, and then spending the bulk of Friday trying out the system in person. Nintendo is presenting the Switch as the ultimate evolution of its portable line and a high-end TV console at the same time. Switch is supposed to be a casual, socially focused system with motion and touch-screen controls, and a “hardcore” system with complex single-player epics like Zelda, Skyrim and Xenoblade. It’s a lower-powered alternative to the “top end” consoles, but also a “1080p” TV gaming machine that practically matches the competition in price. It’s a floor wax and a dessert topping.

In trying to be a jack of all trades, the Switch seems to be mastering some of those trades better than others. Your initial impressions of the system will depend largely on which of those roles you most expect it to fulfill.

The best Nintendo portable yet?

A look at some of the features of the Nintendo Switch hardware.

As the latest entry in Nintendo’s long-running line of portable systems, the Switch is an obvious leap over the aging 3DS and DS lines. That advancement comes through the moment you look at the screen, a 6.2″, 720p beauty that puts the tiny, pixelated views on the DS, 3DS, and Wii U tablet to shame. Even the entirely adequate Vita screen can’t compare. Your smartphone probably packs more pixels, but only the biggest of big phablets can match the sheer screen real estate of the Switch (and dedicated tablets don’t come with the Switch’s integrated and diversely useful Joy-Con controls; more on those below).

Playing Mario Kart 8 once on a portable Switch is enough to make you never want to play on the Wii U’s tablet screen ever again (much less play the blocky Mario Kart 7 on the 3DS). Seeing a game like Fast Racing RMX running by at a smooth 60 fps on a sharp portable screen is breathtaking. Splatoon 2 provides a convincing, console-style experience in a fully portable form factor, although tilting the entire system to utilize tilt-control aiming gets a bit annoying.

The Switch is also a leap in Nintendo’s physical portable console design. After years spent folding up Nintendo portables that look like plastic laptops designed for mice, the Switch feels like a svelte revelation. The joysticks and shoulder buttons on the Joy-Con make it a little thicker than your average smartphone or tablet, but it still looks like a beauty compared to the likes of the Wii U gamepad or a 3DS. The whole thing feels solid, but not overly heavy in the hand (Nintendo wouldn’t confirm a total weight).

Treading water in the living room console pool

Here the thing: The same system that can serve as Nintendo’s most beautiful and well-designed handheld ever can also end up being kind of disappointing as a modern home console.

Don’t get me wrong. Games like Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild look very nice on a full-sized 1080p screen. They just don’t look appreciably better than similar (or identical) games on the Wii U, a system that was already considered underpowered when it launched at $300 (or more) four years ago. Nintendo isn’t discussing the internal hardware specs for the Switch, but the Nvidia Tegra innards are likely based off of the X1 system-on-a-chip, which was never designed for top-of-the-line TV console performance.

In a way, this isn’t new: Nintendo long ago stopped competing for the top end of the console power curve. Previously, though, Nintendo’s new consoles at least improved technologically on their predecessors; the Wii U was a notable jump in power from the Wii, for instance. Viewed purely as a TV console, though, the Switch shows Nintendo practically treading water in the console horsepower race since 2012. At a time when Microsoft and Sony are racing each other to squeeze a few extra ounces of graphical power through the PS4 Pro and Scorpio, Nintendo seems fine releasing a console with graphics that were considered merely OK more than four years ago.

Perhaps we’ve reached such a point of diminishing technological returns that Nintendo doesn’t think extra graphical horsepower is a big selling point for a TV-based console anymore. Maybe the extra portability of the Switch makes up for hardware that seems to have ceased improving on a raw power basis. I’m not sure the public at large is going to agree with either of those sentiments, though.

Confounding Joy-Cons

After a day of hands-on time, I find the comfort and utility of the Switch’s unique Joy-Con controllers varies wildly across their many different modes and configurations. Holding two Joy-Cons in two hands—either separately with hands wide apart; with controllers attached to the tablet; or by attaching them to a unifying Controller Grip—feels quite pleasant. The analog sticks are big and springy, and while the face buttons are a little on the small side, they’re perfectly usable. The worst part is the front shoulder buttons, which are exceptionally thin to sit flush with the top lip of the tablet (and neither shoulder button is analog, which was a disappointment).

Used as motion controllers, the Joy-Cons are reminiscent of tiny Wii Remotes with a less convenient button layout. 1-2-Switch shows this off with a set of goofy mini-games. One requires awkwardly squeezing the “side shoulder” buttons with individual fingers to mime milking a cow. For another, you awkwardly reach for the top shoulder buttons as you mime firing a gun. It doesn’t feel as nearly as intuitive or natural as the big, friendly buttons and triggers on those Wii Remotes, and the game itself would feel gimmicky and shallow even as a pack-in (much less as the $50 standalone offering it is).

The Joy-Cons are much lighter and thinner than Wii Remotes, though, and easier to cup in a palm. They also seem to provide more precise and immediate in-game reactions with smaller movements that Nintendo’s previous motion controllers. That’s especially apparent in a game like Arms, which controls much more sharply than flail-fests of Wii Sports Boxing or Punch-Out!! on the Wii.

I wasn’t wowed by the Switch’s “HD rumble” haptic feedback, which wasn’t quite precise enough to differentiate multiple marbles shaking around a virtual “box” in my palm. Nintendo also mentioned the IR sensor atop the Switch can provide basic hand-tracking through space, but that feature wasn’t shown.

Using a single Joy-Con in two hands, horizontally, is by far the worst use case for the controller. Even with the included wrist-strap—which slightly extends the “top” edge and raises the two “shoulder” buttons in this configuration—one Joy-Con is hand-crampingly small for two adult-sized hands. Imagine an NES controller reduced by about 30 to 40 percent in all dimensions and you’ll have some idea of the feel.

In this layout, the shoulder buttons are small nubs that require twisting your finger like a claw to push comfortably. The controllers aren’t symmetrical either, requiring you to awkwardly stretch one thumb extra far to reach either the thumbstick or the face buttons. And you never realize how much you miss digital controls in a game like Sonic Mania until you functionally can’t use them in this controller configuration.

These problems aren’t a huge deal for a slow-paced game like Snipperclips, which is all about working together methodically to solve puzzles. But in games with any kind of action, holding the tiny Joy-Con like this seems like it will quickly become a pain for full-sized hands.

Where are the games?

More than the hardware, the dearth of software is the most worrying part of the Switch pre-debut so far. Only five titles have been announced as ready for the system’s March 3 launch, a number that seems paltry compared to the 22 to 24 games that were ready for the launch of the Wii U, Xbox One, and PS4 in North America. The Switch launch looks even worse when you note that two of its initial games—Skylanders Imaginators and Just Dance 2017—already came out for competing consoles late last year (the latest Just Dance even came out on the original Wii!).

A quick look at a few of the more interesting Nintendo Switch games shown this weekend.

Yes, four more Switch titles will be available by the end of March, and three more have been announced for “Spring.” And Nintendo says 80 games are in development, all told. That’s not too heartening, though, when you consider that Sony said 140 PS4 titles were development at E3 2013, many months before the system’s launch (while Switch is roughly six weeks away). That included 100 games that would end up releasing before the end of that year.

The small list of upcoming Switch games with solid release dates is also cluttered with a lot of warmed-over ports of older games (Skyrim, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe), and new titles that seem like small variations on well-known classics (Ultra Street Fighter II, Puyo Puyo Tetris, Super Bomberman R, Sonic Mania). A lot of the lineup thus far feels like it’s being rushed out to generate some extra lines in the “content” column for the Switch’s feature sheet.

Overall, third-party publishers seem to be echoing the cautious support they gave the Wii U at launch, taking a “wait and see” approach that can end up being self-defeating for a new console. With much less hardware power, Nintendo can’t count on straight ports of higher-end games made for more established console competition, and most developers seem loathe to risk many resources to titles that take specific advantages of the Switch’s unique features thus far.

The more I think about it, the more I think Nintendo should have released a cheaper, portable-only edition of the Switch. Doing so would reduce the $299 asking price (Nintendo is selling extra TV docking systems for $90 on their own) and highlight the system’s biggest strengths. But doing so would also essentially concede an essential truth: that Nintendo seems to be making a great portable console that just happens to connect to your TV, rather than a great TV console that happens to be portable. If Nintendo can focus on the Switch’s strengths, and somehow bulk up a threadbare software library, then it could still end up being an interesting part of the console market.

Nintendo Declines as Switch Leak Suggests Too-High Price

Nintendo Switch.

Source: Nintendo

Nintendo Co.’s introduction of its new Switch game machine got off to a wobbly start.

Hours before the company’s executives prepared to take the stage, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. listed the new device for C$399 ($304) on its Canadian website, a price that was above analysts’ estimates and slightly more than the cost of a Xbox One or PlayStation 4 console. Nintendo shares fell as much as 3.9 percent, mirroring a drop seen in October when the Switch was first unveiled.

Tatsumi Kimishima, Nintendo’s president, will unveil details including the price and release date of the Switch, its new game console, at an event at 1 p.m. on Friday in Tokyo.

Nintendo is counting on the Switch to end years of pain at its console division, which released a successor to the popular Wii in 2012 that flopped. Not only was the Wii U the worst-selling major home console in history, Nintendo also shunned the smartphone market for years. The Kyoto-based company’s long-awaited foray into mobile gaming got off to a rough start, with last month’s debut of Super Mario Run on iPhones disappointing fans and investors alike. That fueled concerns it was losing its ability to deliver hit entertainment products.

The price, if confirmed, would surpass most analyst estimates. Mizuho Financial Group Inc.’s Takeshi Koyama last week wrote he expects the Switch to go for around $249 to $279. Macquarie Securities analysts analysts David Gibson and Aya Haruyama wrote this week they expect a price of around $250.

At around $300, the Switch would cost more than Sony Corp.’s $260 PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Corp.’s $240 Xbox One, based on current U.S. retail pricing. Nintendo had botched the launch of its 3DS handheld console in 2011 by overpricing it at $250. It slashed the price to $170 five months later following poor sales.

The Switch is a tablet-sized device that can be used anywhere but also connects to TVs and can be played with a wireless controller. As a portable gadget, the device sports a screen, attachable joysticks and battery. Nintendo is betting that the ability to play the same titles indoors and outdoors will appeal to gamers who now play one set of games at home and a different collection on their smartphones when out and about.Still, that means the Switch will have to compete with smartphones, which most people already own and use. It’s unclear if consumers will want to carry another bulky device when smartphones already fill their spare moments with millions of games, apps and videos.

“There is a possibility that this proposed new game playing experience will not immediately be understood,” Takeshi Koyama, an analyst at Mizuho Financial Group Inc., wrote in a report last week.

Nintendo’s promise of delivering high-end graphics in a portable package also rests largely on its ability to maximize battery life. Last year’s Note 7 debacle was a reminder of the challenges even experienced hardware manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics Co. face in pushing battery efficiency.

“Our biggest concern is battery life, which we think will remain an issue,” Macquarie Securities said.

Since its Wii peak about a decade ago, Nintendo shares have slumped by about two-thirds, losing more than $50 billion in market value. In October, Kimishima told Bloomberg the Switch will play a central role in restoring operating profits to a level of around 100 billion yen per year.

Sony Announced PS4 Holiday Price Drop To $250 Next Week For A Limited Time Starting On Sunday, December 11

Sony revealed that it will lower the price of PS4 and the price drop will start on Dec. 11, 2016. Buyers should be in a hurry because the company said that it will run for a limited time only.

In the United States, the actual price of “Uncharted 4” PS4 Slim bundle is $250 only according to Gamespot. The same was also offered during the Cyber Monday and Black Friday.

Sony posted on its PlayStation Blog that it first offered the same during the Black Friday weekend and the PS4 sales are successful that is why the company realized that it needs to bring back the offer this December.

In the history of PlayStation brand, Black Friday week is the most successful. The offer of $250 for “Uncharted 4” PS4 Slim Bundle will last until Dec. 24, 2016 in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the actual price in Canada is $330 CAD and it will be on sale until Dec. 29, 2016. It is cheaper than Xbox One during the holiday season and it is said that it will be a huge risk on the part of Sony.

Microsoft, the creator of Xbox One, is also expected by fans to offer its consoles on sale. Fans are waiting to declare a price drop on its products as Microsoft did the same thing in 2015 when Sony started to drop prices. In a report, Xbox One is still the highest seller in the U.K. and U.S.

John Koller the VP of America’s Sony Interactive Entertainment of PlayStation Brand Marketing said on his statement in a report in Good News Gaming that players can treat themselves or make the console a gift for someone. The console includes the slimmer PS4 with a hard drive of 500 GB, a DualShock 4 and a copy of “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End”. PlayStation is said to be where the future of gaming lives.

Playstation 4 Pro: Everything You Need To Know

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/playstation-4-pro-everything-you-need-to-know/1100-6444653/

PS4 Pro price, release date, specs, and more.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro is set to launch later this week on November 10, but how does this new PS4 model compare to the original model in terms of visuals and physical makeup? Below we detail everything you need to know about PS4 Pro, with our in-depth review, our latest news and features, and a Q&A that answers all the important questions you might have about the console.

Be sure to check back often as we update this article with more news and features.

The Review

“The PlayStation 4 Pro represents a new move for Sony. While the company has refreshed many of its consoles before, the PS4 Pro marks the first time a mid-generational design has received a significant boost in processing power. Sony says that the Pro was primarily designed to take advantage of burgeoning 4K TVs, but is it powerful enough? More importantly, is it worth it?” Jimmy Thang [full review]

PlayStation 4 Pro FAQ

What is the PS4 Pro? The PlayStation 4 Pro is a more powerful version of the PS4. According to Sony, it doesn’t represent a new console generation but is a mid-generational upgrade.

What are the PS4 Pro’s specs?

  • CPU: x86-64 AMD “Jaguar,” 8 cores clocked at 2.1GHz
  • GPU: 4.2 TFLOPS, AMD Radeon-based graphics clocked at 911MHz with 36 compute units
  • Memory: GDDR5 8GB + 1GB DRAM
  • Storage size: 1TB (most likely 5,400rpm)
  • External dimensions: Approx. 295x55x327 mm/11.6×2.1×12.8 in (width x height x length) (excludes largest projection)
  • Mass: Approx. 3.3 kg/2.2 pounds
  • Blu-ray/DVD Drive: Blu-ray × 6 CAV, DVD × 8 CAV
  • Input/Output: Super-Speed USB (USB 3.1 Gen.1) port × 3, AUX port × 1
  • Networking: Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)×1, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 (LE)
  • Power: AC 100V, 50/60Hz
  • Power consumption: Max. 310W
  • Operating temp: 5ºC – 35ºC/41ºF – 95ºF
  • AV Output: HDMI out port (supports 4K/HDR) DIGITAL OUT (OPTICAL) port

How do the PS4 Pro’s specs compare to Microsoft’s upcoming Project Scorpio console? There’s still a lot we don’t know about Project Scorpio, but Microsoft’s upcoming console is shaping up to be more powerful on paper with its 6-teraflop GPU. It’s also releasing much later–it’s expected to launch Q4 2017.

When is PS4 Pro releasing? November 10, 2016

How much will PS4 Pro cost? $399/£349/A$560

Will the PS4 Pro work with PS4 games? Yes. The system will be completely backward compatible with the existing PS4 library.

Will there be PS4 Pro exclusive games that won’t work on the original PS4? No. Sony asserts that games made for the PS4 Pro will be backward compatible with the original PS4–and vice versa.

Will original PS4 games receive a graphical boost on the PS4 Pro? Only if game developers go back and patch their games.

Why is Sony making the PS4 Pro? Sony tells us it’s making the PS4 Pro to capitalize on emerging display technologies like 4K and HDR-capable TVs.

What exactly is 4K? In the consumer realm, it’s generally considered a resolution that offers 3,840 horizontal pixels and 2,160 vertical pixels.

Does PS4 Pro support 4K? The PS4 Pro supports 4K video playback, and some games will support native 4K rendering (3840x2160p), but Sony tells us that most 2160p titles will use an upscaling technique called checkerboard rendering.

What is checkerboard rendering? It’s a rendering technique that takes up the same spatial resolution as a native 3840x2160p image but has half the number of pixel shader invocations, which are laid out in a checkerboard pattern. Essentially, it’s a 4K-like rendering shortcut that isn’t quite as sharp or rich as a native 3840x2160p render, but it can look very close. Sony claims that checkerboard rendering looks better than games natively rendered at 1530p.

Will the PS4 Pro come with a 4K Blu-ray player? No. PlayStation president Andrew House commented: “Our feeling is that while physical media continues to be a big part of the games business, we see a trend on video towards streaming. Certainly with our user base, it’s the second biggest use case for people’s time on the system so we place more emphasis on that area.”

Why won’t the PS4 Pro come with a 4K Blu-ray player? In addition to serving as a cost-saving measure, Sony tells us that its data shows most PS4 users stream video content and don’t use the optical disc drive.

Will the PS4 Pro support HDR? Yes

The black triangle represents HDR, and encompasses roughly 75 percent of colors that the human eye can see. The Yellow triangle represents the color gamut of more traditional sRGB screens.
The black triangle represents HDR, and encompasses roughly 75 percent of colors that the human eye can see. The Yellow triangle represents the color gamut of more traditional sRGB screens.

What is HDR, exactly? HDR stands for high dynamic range. You can learn more about it here. In short, HDR displays provide a much wider color gamut and contrast ratio compared to standard RGB panels. Colors look richer, blacks look darker, and whites look brighter.

Will all games and movies support HDR? No. Games and movies must be specifically designed to support HDR.

Do I need a 4K TV or HDR TV to use the PS4 Pro? No, but if you want to fully reap the system’s benefits, you’ll want one.

Is there any benefit to using a PS4 Pro on a 1080p TV? Certain games, such as Paragon, will use the extra performance headroom to deliver higher quality graphics, as opposed to delivering a sharper resolution. Some titles will also use a technique called supersampling that will render an image at a higher-than-1080p resolution and then downsample–or shrink–the image to fit a 1080p display. The end result is an image that looks sharper than one rendered at a native 1080p.

Will the PS4 Pro use the SATA II or SATA III interface? The PS4 Pro will use the SATA III interface, which will allow solid-state drives that users can manually swap in to replace the PS4’s hard drive, to scale up to 6Gb/s. This is double the speed of the original PS4’s SATA II interface, which scales up to 3Gb/s.

Supported Games

The upcoming Horizon: Zero Dawn will feature PS4 Pro support at launch.
The upcoming Horizon: Zero Dawn will feature PS4 Pro support at launch.

PS4 Pro sports a laundry list of games that support its upgraded graphical power. With so many games to keep track of, we’ve compiled them all in the feature links below.

Comparison Features

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Below you can find in-depth features that compare various aspects of PS4 Pro against Sony’s other PS4 models and Microsoft’s Xbox One models.

Gears of War 4 runs beautifully on Xbox One, even better on PC

Gears of War was undoubtedly one of the most influential franchises of the Xbox 360 era. Originally developed by Epic Games, those blockbuster releases helped make Unreal 3 the go-to engine for the previous generation. But now that Microsoft owns the series, and a Vancouver-based studio dubbed “The Coalition” has taken the reins, many die-hard fans have been biting their nails to see if the next game will live up to its pedigree.

Set a quarter of a decade after the last installment, Gears of War 4 features Marcus Fenix’s son JD as the protagonist. A new team of soldiers will be teaming up with last generation’s hero to fight a new threat: The Swarm. After Gear 3 wrapped up so nicely, that seems as good of an excuse as any to jump back into this beloved setting.

On our sister site IGN, Ryan McCaffrey is currently in the process of reviewing the game. He enjoyed the campaign, didn’t run into any significant performance problems on either platform, and seems thoroughly impressed by this iteration of the horde mode. As such, he has tentatively assigned Gears 4 a superb 9.2/10 rating, but the final score depends on how well the multiplayer holds up in the real world.

Over on Metacritic, the Xbox One version currently has a meta score of 84/100 based on 65 reviews. The PC version only has nine reviews, but it’s sitting at a very similar 86/100. The critical consensus is clearly positive, so that’s a good sign for fans of the franchise. But if you absolutely despise the third-person shooter formula, this installment probably won’t turn you around.

Gears 4 is the first game in the series to be released on PC and console simultaneously, so many of us were worried that we’d see one of the platforms get saddled with a sub-par release. And after seeing how poorly optimized many UWP releases have been this year, it was a safe bet that the PC version would be in trouble. Thankfully, both versions of the game turned out fine — crisis averted.

Digital Foundry examined both the Xbox One and PC releases, and there’s not much to complain about. The Xbox One version uses resolution scaling to hit 30fps at almost all times, and still manages to stay at 1080p for most of the campaign. Better yet, the anti-aliasing solution, lighting effects, and texture filtering in Unreal Engine 4 come together here to make one of the best looking console games of this hardware cycle.

On the PC side, you can customize nearly anything you can think of. So whether you’re rocking a brand new GTX 1080 or an older GTX 750 Ti, you should be able to tweak enough knobs to get it running smoothly. Eurogamer tested the game on both a GTX 970 and a R9 290X, and the game seems to scale with relative ease. With that in mind, you should be fine with midrange gaming cards. Just know going in that only top-of-the-line hardware will be able to run Gears of War 4 at 2160p60. Older hardware should stick with 1080p.

‘Gears Of War 4’ Review: Into The Swarm

'Gears of War 4' is a gorgeous, colorful addition to the franchise. (Credit: Microsoft)

Gears of War 4 is the first in the franchise to show up on the Xbox One, and the first in the franchise to show up on both the Xbox platform and PC at the same time.

Indeed, purchasing a copy gets you both versions. Now you can play on either Xbox One or PC or both. In fact, you can play on the Xbox One in your living room until some other family member needs the TV, and pick back up right where you left off on your Windows  10 PC since all the save data is cloud-based.

It’s a great feature that’s long overdue, and the sort of thing that sets the Xbox platform apart from its competitors. Meanwhile, multiplayer is cross-platform, so everyone on PC and Xbox One can team up or go toe-to-toe together.

Only surface level spoilers follow (names of characters, basic premise, etc.)

Campaign

Gears of War 4 takes place 25 years after the events of Gears of War 3. Instead of Marcus Fenix, you take on the role of JD Fenix. JD is the generic white guy who is joined by Kait, the cute Asian chick, and Del, the funny black dude, as they fight their way through the dangerous world of Sera. JD is a carefree young man, with none of the rough edges that made his father such an iconic video game character.

And Gears of War 4′s story largely fits JD’s personality—it’s light-hearted at first, even when things get dangerous. It’s a handsome game, but maybe not one with much in the way of brains. Even when things get deadly serious part way in, JD, Kait and Del joke around and, for the most part, never seem too burdened by the peril they find themselves in. They’re off on a lark, wise-cracking and talking like the young invincibles they are.

In some ways, the game feels like the beginning of a classical “hero’s journey.” JD is untested. There’s no wrinkles around his eyes, nor stubble on his chin. No scars. They’ve lived a peaceful life, which only now is beginning to crumble.

This game is just the beginning of these characters’ journeys, and while we see some old faces, The Coalition is trying to start mostly fresh, without crutching too heavily on nostalgia.

Gears of War 4 (Credit: Microsoft)

Of course, there’s still plenty of that to go around, though perhaps more in terms of gameplay than anything else. Gears of War 4 plays out pretty much exactly how you’d expect.

The story unfolds over five acts, with multiple chapters comprising each act. You and your squad push forward through each chapter, encountering and destroying enemies, unblocking paths, and occasionally splitting up into two groups.

Some chapters have special gameplay mechanics—you ride a bike at one point, and at another control a mining mech—some of which are more fun than others. Mostly it’s a cover shooter, and mostly that’s what you do.

Occasionally you have to stop and defend a location, which plays out exactly like Horde mode, though with far fewer waves.

Enemy types change as you progress, and there’s quite a few new enemies in the game, from various robotic “DeeBee” soldiers courtesy of COG, to a whole new spread of aliens known as the Swarm. These include little bouncy creatures that rush at you called Juvies, which are easy to chainsaw; heavily armed and intelligent Drones that pack various kinds of heat; leaping insectoids called Pouncers; and deadly man-eating Snatchers, just to name a few (and there’s plenty more.)

DeeBees come in various shapes and sizes as well, including flying Sentinels and rolling explosive spheres called Trackers. And while the Swarm mostly uses familiar weapons—plus some new heavy arsenal—the DeeBees have all new guns to play with. I especially like the new Overkill shotgun, which packs an even stronger punch than the Gnasher. You fire your first Overkill round by pulling the trigger, and the second when you release, giving it a nice one-two-punch.

It’s great to see all these new enemies and guns, but the core gameplay and structure feels very much like what we’ve seen in the past. When Gears of War 3 released, it was widely praised as a solid third-person shooter that did just about everything right, but still felt an awful lot like the games that came before it. In a lot of ways, the same applies here.

Everything works a little better than before, or at least it feels that way, and movement and cover in particular are very slick. You can leap barriers on the fly; snapping into cover is a breeze, if perhaps too sticky at times; and combat is tight and rewarding.

Gears of War 4 (Credit: The Coalition)

Still, the campaign felt repetitive and a little lackluster, especially at first. It gets better as you get deeper into the game’s story and face off against more challenging enemies and encounters, as well as some great mini-bosses. The final chapters have a nice twist as well, though I was less thrilled by the final boss than I hoped I’d be. All told, I finished the campaign’s eight-or-so hour campaign and felt like playing again. And the new windlfares are really neat, though I wish the game did more with them.

I also played some in split-screen, which is just two players now rather than four. It works great, and is still the best way to play the game.

The campaign isn’t terribly long, terribly deep, or terribly memorable, but it still manages to be a lot of fun. It feels very much like the beginning of something bigger, and perhaps the developers really were going for the “hero’s journey” with its humble beginnings, more lackadaisical story and mood, and then up the ante when #5 comes out. I didn’t love the campaign, but I certainly didn’t hate it, either, and there’s plenty of fun to be had especially with a friend.

Graphics

The world looks gorgeous on both Xbox One and PC, though PC looks much cleaner and richer. Indeed, PC has a wealth of graphics customization options. Turning them up too high will bring even a relatively powerful gaming PC to its knees. I got a warning when I loaded the game up on PC saying my GTX 970 has compatibility issues with the game, so if you have that card you might want to consider upgrading. I didn’t encounter any of these problems, but I certainly wasn’t able to max out graphics without breaking the game.

Still, what I was able to achieve at 60 frames-per-second looked absolutely fantastic.

On both Xbox One and PC, but especially on PC, the game is stunning. And it’s not hiding behind a brown filter, either. Its colors are eye-popping, from the green of the trees to the dark red blood. (You can turn off gore and profanity in the settings but it’s more fun with blood. Such is life.)

Does it look as amazing as Gears of War did way back in the day? Of course not.

There’s so many incredible looking games today, it’s hard to make any of them stand out anymore. But Gears of War 4 is still a looker, and thankfully the game gives you enough time between killing sprees to soak it all in.

Gallery 

Gears Of War 4

Launch Gallery

8 images

 

Multiplayer

Speaking of 60 frames-per-second, that’s what’s on offer in multiplayer, which is about as slick and shiny and fun as you could hope.

While I enjoyed the campaign, I’d say it’s “good” rather than “great.” It’s the sort of campaign I’d play again, but am not itching to play again.

On the other hand…

While we won’t know how great multiplayer is until we’ve had some weeks with it open to the public, as it stands, multiplayer in Gears of War 4 is fantastic. (Note: Since the campaign has co-op mode, it is also “multiplayer” but not for the purposes of this section.)

Versus is a beautiful, violent cacophony of color and mayhem. Whichever mode you choose to play, and whichever map you land on, the quality of design shines through.

The tight mechanics make for fast, fluid action, and everything from racing across a map next to a teammate, to dying in a splatter of blood and limbs in a close-quarters fight, is a joy to behold. The Coalition has really put something special together with multiplayer, both because it’s familiar to past games, and because it still feels fresh.

Of course, not everyone enjoys third-person competitive multiplayer games (I admit to preferring first-person on the whole) but I found Gears of War 4′s multiplayer incredibly satisfying, though still tilted toward in-your-face shotgun shoot-em-ups.

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There are plenty of modes to choose from. Standard Team Deathmatch, of course, and the elimination-based Warzone to name a couple. More interesting is the new Dodgeball mode, which allows you to respawn dead players by killing an enemy and then staying alive for five more seconds. Escalation is similar to Control in Destiny. Teams battle to control three rings, scoring more points by holding two out of three. The twist? Holding all three at once means automatic victory. That adds a whole new risk/reward system to the equation. It’s a simple change, but also brilliant.

In other words, Versus is packed with content. Eight modes, ten maps, and competitive mode replete with rankings and competitive play. The Coalition and Microsoft hope to make it an eSports hit, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it became just that. It’s an entertaining and chaotic and bloody enough to make for good spectating.

Horde 3.0 brings cooperative play to multiplayer, pitting players against waves of increasingly dangerous foes. Players can build fortifications to withstand these enemies using “power” which you pick up off dead baddies. You can place fortifications anywhere you like on the map, too, which is nice.

Meanwhile, characters are siphoned into five different classes—Scout, Sniper, Engineer, Heavy, and Soldier—each with their own set of skills. It’s a lot of fun, and will be even more so when servers fill up.

Both Horde and Versus are built around a card-based system that provides everything from emblems to weapon and character skins to special XP bounties and class-based skills. You can upgrade skill cards to make them more powerful, and equip them to gain perks in matches (or make your character look cool.)

Micro-transactions are in Gears of War 4. (Credit: Microsoft)

You earn these by playing or via cash money in the form of card-filled crates, which is a bit of a shame. Micro-transactions in full retail games are always unfortunate, though at least some Gears of War 4 post-release content will be free. In particular, new maps will be free, though the free versions will be available in rotation (buying a Season Pass gets you permanent ownership of all maps.)

But even without purchasing any DLC or the season pass, there’s plenty on offer here between the campaign, Horde 3.0 and Versus.

Verdict

A decent campaign that’s nothing to write home about doesn’t drag Gears of War 4 down so much as it doesn’t really lift it up either. I wish I could sing the campaign’s praises, but the most I can offer is a shrug. I don’t regret playing it by any means, but it’s nothing particularly special. It’s a competent, enjoyable, and somewhat conservative experience.

Thankfully, the complete package is another story, offering a really great 6o-FPS multiplayer experience on Xbox One and PC, with cross-play and cloud saves that make playing on either, with or without friends, a breeze.

The amount of quality content in multiplayer, and the ability to change Horde difficulty levels and play casual or competitive in Versus, makes Gears of War 4 a terrific deal, especially given the quality of the product. Micro-transactions and a season pass give gamers with deep enough pockets and hardcore fans more options, but you won’t need to spend a penny past asking price to have a good time, especially with free rotating maps.

Add to this the fact that you get both the PC and Xbox One versions with a single purchase, and you have a pretty tremendous value.

I give Gears of War 4 a Buy rating on my Buy/Hold/Sell scale. Get in on the action while multiplayer is at its peak rather than waiting for a discount.

Gears of War 4

Platform: PC, Xbox One (Cross-buy.)

Developer: The Coalition

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Released: October 11th, 2016

Price: $59.99

Score: 8.5/10

Xbox One S launch sales beat PS4 Slim by 361%

Xbox One S launch sales beat PS4 Slim by 361%

 

Xbox One S launch sales beat PS4 Slim by 361%
Xbox One S – a bigger success than the PS4 Slim

The Xbox One S console seems to have been a rousing success for Microsoft, with sales of the PS4 Slim described as ‘slow’.

The Xbox One family of consoles accounted for 71% of all hardware sales last week, up 76% on the same time last year. By comparison the PlayStation 4 took just 19% of the market, down 66% on last year.

That’s particularly impressive given that the PS4 Slim launched on September 15, and yet apparently made little inroad on the Xbox One S – which first launched in August.

Launch week sales of Xbox One S were better by 361%, compared to the launch week of the PS4 Slim. Xbox One sales are also revealed to have increased by 989% from the week before the Xbox One S’s release.

 

Video game sales figures are never usually released to the public, but the GfK Chart-Track data was passed on to trade paper MCV. They described sales of the PS4 Slim as ‘slow’.

Although the PlayStation 4 has always been the best-selling console of this generation in the UK, its lead has always been understood to be relatively small. So if Microsoft continue with sales like this it’s perfectly possible the Xbox One could overtake it.

The gap is understood to be even closer in the US, but largely unassailable in Europe, and especially in Japan.

 

The two most obvious reasons for the success of the Xbox One S were a FIFA 17 bundle, which allowed you to play the game a week early, and the fact that it presented a new incentive for those who had never owned an Xbox One, to give Microsoft’s console a try.

By comparison, many core gamers will have already bought a PlayStation 4, and the PS4 Slim is neither cheaper nor significantly different to the original.

‘It’s great to see how popular both the Xbox One S and the FIFA 17 Xbox One S consoles are with fans, not just over the last week but since the Xbox One S was released in August. 4K video streaming and 4K UHD Blu-ray have been extremely well received by gamers and critics and we believe there is no better value right now for those looking to upgrade their console’, said a no doubt jubilant Harvey Eagle, marketing director of Xbox UK.

‘It’s a fantastic time for gamers with the range of upcoming titles appealing to all audiences, from Gears of War 4 to Skyrim Special Edition and the release this week of the acclaimed Forza Horizon 3. There’s never been a better time to own an Xbox One.’

 

 

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