Thousands of virtual avatars suddenly homeless
When PlayStation Home was first announced in 2007, it promised a free-to-play virtual space for communication, friendship and fun along with areas to display trophies, ways to play custom music and videos with friends and a plethora of games and virtual spaces to promote current games. After a period of closed betas, it opened for business in late 2008 as an open beta on the PlayStation 3.
Though it never delivered on many of those promises and went through lots of growing pains, the service it evolved into is unique and impressive in its own right.
Now, six years later, Home (still in beta) is shutting down for good.
Technically it won’t close until March 31, 2015 but its worldwide demise is imminent. A Home closure in Japan and Asian territories was announced last month and now Europe and North America will also be a part of that closure, according to Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and Sony Computer Entertainment America, respectively. All three regions’ iterations of the online social hub will close on the same date.
“PlayStation Home has been serving the PS3 community since December 2008,” says a message upon starting up PlayStation Home. “During that time, tens of millions of users around the world have grown the social gaming platform into a thriving community of creative and enthusiastic gamers. We would like to thank all of our fans for their support of the PlayStation Home platform over the years.”
For now, Home users can still purchase items and enjoy the virtual worlds, games and dance moves they’ve come to love. However, as of Nov. 12, new content publishing will end and users will no longer be able to download content after Dec. 3, 2014 when the virtual stores will be closed for business.
Sony has promised free content for loyal Homies up until the end of the service. So, get in there and enjoy your apartments before the landlord kicks you to the curb next year.
Check out the new look and feel of the WWE series as it makes its way to next-gen
It’s no secret here at Sac City Gamer that we love wrestling games.
In fact, we were heartbroken when we heard WWE 2K15 is being pushed back on next-gen consoles to a Nov. 18 release date as opposed to its original Oct. 28 release date.
And though the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game will still make it into wrestling fans’ hands on Oct. 28, having to wait three more weeks for the next-gen version is going to be torture. But we get it, development and polish takes time. As long as the game is as amazing as it looks in the trailer, we can forgive 2K for the delay.
On the other hand, 2K has been pretty tight-lipped when it comes to details about the game thus far, with only bits and pieces of information leaking out by fans who attended shows like Gamescom and GameStop’s California expo. That is aside from the partial roster reveal 2K and WWE hosted recently and some official screenshots and images released by the company.
Well, the moment we’ve all be waiting for finally arrived yesterday as IGN exclusively debuted the next-gen WWE 2K15 gameplay trailer. Weighing in at two minutes and six seconds in length and being accompanied by pure gameplay, entrances, new OMG moves and a plethora of tiny new detail reveals (like the inclusion of Rusev who was previously unannounced for the game’s roster), the trailer is pretty amazing.
Graphically the new game is on a whole other level than what we’ve seen before in a wrestling game. Gameplay looks smooth and 2K seems to be delivering on its promise of lots of new motion-captured moves, full body scans (look at those Wyatts!) and more.
Time will tell if WWE 2K15 will go down in history as one of the greatest wrestling games ever created when it drops on Oct. 28 (PS3 and Xbox 360) and Nov. 18 (PS4 and Xbox One), but for now enjoy some leg drops, dropkicks and powerbombs in the trailer below.
Recaps of weekly news and events in the gaming and entertainment world from SCG’s founder
You heard that right! I’ll be launching a podcast soon. The show will be one hour-long (usually) and feature recaps of news and events from throughout the week, my feelings on the current state of the gaming industry and some other entertainment news when it pertains to video games (like news about the Last of Us movie).
I’d love to hear from the SCG readers about what topics they’d like covered each week. Details on when the podcasts will be posted and other such things will be posted soon, so stay tuned to SCG.
Take a look at these hysterical videos and find out!
Anyone who has followed SCG for a while knows I’m a huge wrestling fan, – and more importantly wrestling game fan – so when I came across this hilarious post over at GameSpot, I knew I had to share it with the SCG readers.
Below are two videos done by YouTube member TheBlueOwlPlays that feature audio clips of long-time WWE commentator Jim “JR” Ross shouting his famous lines during wrestling matches but dubbed over footage from other video games. It is absolutely hilarious! Don’t take our word for it though, check out the videos below!
There’s also a bonus video with footage of the new EA UFC game that features hysterical commentary dubbed over footage of the game’s best glitches.
SCG’s founder weighs in on why the Xbox One is an underwhelming console
I recently decided I’d purchase an Xbox One, but this isn’t a story about how much I enjoyed it or even one about how epic its game library is, it’s a story about why I ultimately decided to return it to the store.
After E3 and Microsoft’s underwhelming showing (let’s be honest, all the companies had underwhelming showings) I was thinking about wanting to pick up an Xbox One and deciding in my own mind whether they sold me on the machine.
I already own a PlayStation 4 and love it. I also own a Wii U and it’s a great system because it has enjoyable single player games, but also plenty of games I can play with my wife. I also have a PS3, Xbox 360 and a Vita, so another game console is not an essential purchase for me. In fact, that’s a lot of systems for a student that works part time to dedicate time to, so each one needs to keep my attention enough to warrant a place on my entertainment center.
As I thought about how I felt about Xbox One, post-E3, I had one game floating through my mind: Sunset Overdrive. The gameplay that was shown at E3 was amazing and as a huge fan of Insomniac games, I was super hyped. I also was really enjoying the new footage of Forza Horizon. I began considering how much I’ve been dying to try out the new Forza 5. I also thought about how cool the new Crackdown looked and how I wanted to check out Dead Rising 3, despite not being a fan of the first two games.
So, I decided to make the investment in the new Kinect-less Xbox One. I picked up Forza 5 with it and headed home. I opened the box and was impressed with Microsoft’s packaging. The controller is absolutely a dream. It took everything about the previous iteration and made it that much better.
My first complaint about the One, however, is the size of the machine. I had a to clear a significant amount of space on my entertainment center to make it fit and even then it was cramping my other game systems. I live in a 500 square-foot apartment and don’t have a lot of room so space is important to me. The size of this machine is ridiculous. What’s in there? An airport?
I hooked up the system and had to wait for a lengthy update. I”m used to this by now, so that’s no big deal. I’m also one of those gamers that isn’t bothered by updates. I enjoy them, in fact. I love that publishers and console makers care about their games and systems enough to update them and fix issues.
Once the system started up, I popped in Forza 5 and took it for a spin. I enjoyed the new rumble function of the controller, but by-and-large the game felt exactly like Forza 4. The Drivatars were a cool new feature but I didn’t notice much of a difference from AI drivers of past games. I played about 20 races and most of the Drivatar action was random and weird, like in one race where one of the other cars randomly drove off the course into a wall. It gave me a good laugh though, because above the car was the Xbox Live Gamer Tag of one of my friends.
I understand these games all feel pretty similar, but when they’re on the same system, like Forza 2 to Forza 3, that’s acceptable. I expected a bigger jump in gameplay, modes, cars, graphics, etc. and it just wasn’t there. The graphics were decent, but certainly not as good as videos and screens made them out to be. Besides, graphics only go so far, especially in a racing game where gameplay is always number one priority. The game didn’t feel different enough to warrant playing it on a next-gen system. I feel like it could have been done on the 360.
Next I played a few demos. I was disappointed with Dead Rising 3, but like I said I’ve never been a huge fan of the series so that’s to be expected. However, what really shocked me was the terrible graphics. The game looked bad. I’ve played several PS4 games and expected it to be on par with next-gen Watch Dogs, Metal Gear Solid and games like Infamous: Second Son, but it wasn’t. It looked bad. The gameplay felt nice with the new rumble function but overall I didn’t really like the game.
I played a few other demos and games: Zoo Tycoon, Powerstar Golf (which felt like nothing more than a Hot Shots Golf clone, not a bad thing, but it gave me more of the ‘nothing new’ feeling) and then I played some Killer Instinct. Now, let me explain that this was another one of the major reasons for me buying the Xbox One so it was a big let down that the game wasn’t very good. I played one fight and was not only bored with the game, but I was also extremely underwhelmed. I wanted it to be great, but it just wasn’t. Then when you take into account the pay wall for more fighters, it just didn’t seem worth it. I have a whole shelf full of fighting games and this game didn’t do anything different.
Next I played Halo: Spartan Assault and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, both of which were free on Games with Gold. Halo was a great little game and Max was interesting. However, despite them being free on Xbox One, they are both available on Xbox 360 if I really wanted to play them.
Basically, where I’m going with this is that as I played around with the system and tried out some games, I began to realize I made a mistake buying this system. It’s just so much of the same.
And to be fair, so is the PS4, but at least the PS4 is promising new titles in the series I love most like Little Big Planet, Uncharted and more. At least PS4 will have new games like Drive Club, a game that isn’t just the same ole racing game reiterated with a new number on the end of the title. At least I know as someone who enjoys Uncharted, LBP and Infamous over games like Halo, Fable and Gears of War (nothing against these series, I’ve just never enjoyed them, not even on 360) that I’ll have plenty to play in due time with the PS4.
Not to mention the UI of the Xbox One wasn’t very good. It felt very much like 360’s and had a lot of errors while I was using it. Also, the hitting the B button to go back to the previously played game function is an annoying feature that caused me to accidentally start up Forza 5 about 10 times when I wasn’t intending to do that.
It turns out that the Xbox One just isn’t for me. Not right now. Sunset Overdrive and the new Crackdown look great, but they are pretty far off. Forza 5 is a great game, albeit even if it is so similar to Forza 4. Dead Rising 3 could even be fun to kill some time with when it drops in price. And of course, the Games with Gold program will continue building up my library between now and the time that some of those other games release.
Please understand, I’m not knocking the Xbox One. I didn’t even try the TV functions or try out Snap or any of those features and I didn’t buy a Kinect so I can’t comment on those things, but overall it just felt like more of the same, the games just aren’t there right now and I ultimately decided I’d rather wait to spend the money until I can get some more enjoyment out of the system.
Still the same, if Microsoft doesn’t realize they need more than just rehashes of the same ole series to win fans back and sell Xbox Ones, their new console is going to continue to trail Sony.
At least Sony did a good job of introducing some new titles like The Order and Bloodborne, Drive Club, The Witness and more, but they too need to stop riding the coat tails of the same series they’ve made money on before. Gamers want new, unique experiences, especially when it comes to sinking money into those expensive new consoles.
The biggest problem I had with the Xbox One was that there weren’t any experiences I couldn’t have elsewhere. None. Sunset Overdrive won’t be enough to hold up the entire system. They’ll need to do better.
Maybe MS and Sony should take notes from Nintendo, they’re starting to get the idea…
It’s only been a couple of days, but we already have multiple controversies at E3 2014, some of which are old news to those keeping up with the industry, but all of which are still irritations to those who love the interactive art form.
A lot of the controversies have to do with the continuing gender relationship problems the games industry brings upon itself. Danielle Riendeau of Polygon wrote about how there were more severed heads than female presenters onstage this year, just like last year. This misrepresentation likely wouldn’t be an issue if more women were onstage, of course.
But what seems to have caught the most traction and attracted the most anger is Assassin’s Creed Unity. Ubisoft’s next installment in the yearly franchise features a cooperative mode in which up to four players can interact within the same game. Despite the ability for players to customize their outfits, players can’t choose to be female assasssins, and the situation only got uglier for Ubisoft after the company issued a statement declaring why you can’t play as a woman.
“It’s double the animations, it’s double the voices, all that stuff and double the visual assets,” Creative Director Alex Amancio told Polygon. “Especially because we have customizable assassins. It was really a lot of extra production work.”
Another Ubisoft employee claimed it would take 8000 extra hours, but this statement encouraged Assassin’s Creed III Animation Director and current Naughty Dog animator Jonathan Cooper to refute Amancio’s claims:
In my educated opinion, I would estimate this to be a day or two's work. Not a replacement of 8000 animations. http://t.co/z4OZl3Sngl
— Jonathan Cooper (@GameAnim) June 11, 2014
His educated opinion comes from working as a Animation Lead or Director on the Mass Effect, Uncharted, and the Assassin’s Creed series, all of which have featured women in past games. Assassin’s Creed: Liberation even focused itself around a female protagonist, and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Revelations both had playable female characters in multiplayer.
Cooper wasn’t done with this bit of insight, either. He also tweeted:
Fun fact: in our last prototype together, entering your name as @Aleissia allowed you to play as a female character.
— Jonathan Cooper (@GameAnim) June 11, 2014
And this, in reference to Assassin’s Creed: Liberation‘s female protagonist:
Fun fact #2: Aveline de Grandpré shares more of Connor Kenway's animations than Edward Kenway does. pic.twitter.com/lFHHnBfLht
— Jonathan Cooper (@GameAnim) June 11, 2014
At this point, it’s still a question of why Ubisoft decided against playable women, because its given excuse does not hold up to scrutiny.
Nintendo’s digital presentation was this morning, find out what they announced!
Stay tuned here at Sac City Gamer all day today for E3 coverage. If you missed them, check out the home page for Microsoft, Sony, EA and Ubisoft.
The final conference was Nintendo’s direct event this morning at 9 a.m. Throughout the rest of the week, we’ll be bringing you the biggest news and information. Keep it locked and support local journalism! E3 is the Super Bowl of gaming, so sit back, relax and enjoy! Here’s to some awesome announcements from all of the major players in the video game industry today and all week!
Nintendo’s E3 2014 Nintendo Direct Results:
Super Smash Bros. Wii U (new gameplay with Miis and Nintendo’s NFC action figures) coming holiday 2014 (Palutena also announced to be in the game)
Super Smash Bros. 3DS (new footage) coming Oct. 3, 2014
Amiibo is the name of the new Nintendo figurines, can be used in Smash Bros, Mario Kart 8 and more. These are figures that put a character into the game and can be played as or against, leveled up, customized, etc. Several characters were shown include Samus, Yoshi, Mario, Donkey Kong, Kirby, the trainer from Wii Fit and more. These will be releasing in the first series alongside Smash Bros. this holiday.
Yoshi’s Wooly World (new game in the style of Kirby Epic Yarn)
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker (new game for Toad, based on his puzzle levels in Super Mario 3D World)
Legend of Zelda Wii U (new early footage, will have open world) coming 2015
Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire coming to 3DS Nov. 21, 2014
Bayonetta 2 (Exclusive) (new footage, game will include original Bayonetta)
Hyrule Warriors (new game set in the Zelda universe with a mix of Zelda and Dynasty Warriors) coming Sept. 26, 2014
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (new game, sequel to Canvas Curse) coming to Wii U in 2015
Xenoblade Chronicles X coming in 2015
Mario Maker (new game, footage shown – similar to Mario Paint. Players can create their own Mario 2D levels using retro style Mario or New Super Mario Bros U style).
Splatoon (new game announced, 8 player multiplayer action game – this is a shooter using colored ink and it features humans who can turn into squid)
Not shown during Nintendo Direct:
Star Fox coming to Wii U
Devil’s Third to be Wii U Exclusive
Mario Party 10 coming in 2015
Gamecube controller adapter to cost $20, new Smash Bros Gamecube controllers coming for $30
Art Academy coming to Wii U
Fantasy Life coming to 3DS from Level-5
Project Guard coming to Wii U (new tower defense game)
Project Giant Robot (Rock ‘em, Sock ‘em game) teased
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright coming to 3DS Aug. 29
Check out everything Sony has to offer for the PlayStation brand (Update: It’s over!)
Next up, we’ll have coverage of everything Sony announces at its press conference today, beginning at 6 p.m. Then throughout the day, we’ll be bringing you the biggest news and information. Keep it locked and support local journalism! E3 is the Super Bowl of gaming, so sit back, relax and enjoy! Here’s to some awesome announcements from all of the major players in the video game industry today and all week!
Sony’s E3 2014 Press Conference Results:
Tetris Ultimate coming to PS Vita along with PS4 this fall
Killzone Intercept (new trailer)
Destiny (new trailer, play first on PlayStation) – Beta July 17 – Alpha on PS4 this Thursday (game coming Sept. 9) – several pieces of exclusive content on the PlayStation brand
The Order: 1886 (new trailer/gameplay)
Entwined (announcement, gameplay) – available tonight for $9.99 (will have crossbuy with PS3 and Vita soon)
Infamous First Light (stand-alone DLC announced)
Little Big Planet 3 (gameplay demo) coming in November (will include access to entire back catalog of over 8.7 million levels, including upscaled graphics)
Bloodborne (Exclusive) coming to PS4 in 2015 by From Software
Far Cry 4 (new gameplay) (can play co-op with friends who don’t have the game on PS3 or PS4 version, only on PlayStation)
Dead Island 2 (announcement, trailer) – exclusive beta and exclusive content on PS4
Diablo 3 Ultimate Edition to feature The Last of Us enemies
Battlefield: Hardline (new trailer)
Disney Infinity 2 Collector’s Edition featuring Hulk, exclusive to PS4 and PS3
Paradox Interactive partnership with several exclusive games coming to PlayStation including Majika 2
Tim Schafer’s Grim Fandango remastered coming exclusively to PlayStation
Devolver Digital games coming first to PlayStation, including Hotline Miami 2 and more
Let It Die (Exclusive to PS4) (Suda51)
Abzu (announcement, trailer) coming first to PlayStation
No Man’s Sky (new trailer)
More free Playroom DLC coming this summer (will allow you to create a broadcast set)
Planetside 2 and more among over 25 Free-to-Play games coming by the end of the year to PS4
PS Now open beta begins July 31 on PS4
Disney Infinity 2 coming to Vita and PlayStation TV
Mortal Kombat X (first gameplay video)
Remake of original Ratchet & Clank coming to PS4 by Insomniac Games
The Last of Us Remastered (new trailer) coming July 29
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (new-ish trailer)
Grand Theft Auto V coming to PS4 – saves can move over to PS4 from PS3 and Xbox 360
Batman Arkham Knight (new trailer) – with bonus Scarecrow missions on PS4
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (new trailer) coming 2015
New white PS4 coming in Destiny bundle
Project Morpheus (mentioned, some games available on the E3 show floor)
YouTube coming to PS4 for sharing
PlayStation TV coming to the U.S. for $99
Powers coming to PlayStation (new super hero TV series, exclusive to PlayStation) along with more exclusive programming – Powers free for Plus subscribers
Ratchet & Clank movie trailer