Train2Game News Develop 2014 keynote speakers

DevelopAndrew House, President and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI), and Mark Cerny, Lead System Architect for the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, have been confirmed as the keynote for the Develop in Brighton conference which takes place at the city’s Hilton Metropole from 8-10 July 2014.

House and Cerny’s in conversation keynote, 20 Years of PlayStation, 40 Years of Console Games, and 100 Years to Come, will see these two industry heavyweights look over the history of PlayStation and how it propelled console gaming into the mainstream.

The pair will explore what the company has learnt along this journey, how these principles were applied to PlayStation 4 and what the future holds, both in terms of the opportunities PlayStation 4 presents and the long term direction of the industry.

Andrew House has been President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) since September 2011.  Working closely with Sony Corporation’s senior management, as well as business units and regional management teams, he is responsible for the development and growth of the PlayStation business globally.

House joined the Sony family in 1990 and in those 24 years has held a number of positions including Executive Vice President, Sony Computer Entertainment America and, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chief Operating Officer of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and Chief Marketing Officer, Sony Corporation.  He has been part of the PlayStation team virtually since its inception.

Since joining Atari Games in 1982, Mark Cerny has had a long and storied career. He has worked variously as a producer, programmer, and game designer, in the US and Japan, in arcade games and console games. He is best known for his collaborations with Naughty Dog (on Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter, and Uncharted) and Insomniac Games (on Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet & Clank, and Resistance).

Most recently Cerny served as Lead System Architect of the PlayStation 4 system, guiding the development of the hardware and system software over the course of its six years of development.

“It is hard to believe it has been 20 years since the arrival of the first PlayStation,” commented President and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., Andrew House. “Mark Cerny and I will look back over this fantastic period in which console gaming became mainstream, how our experiences shaped PlayStation 4 and where the industry will go from here.”

“We learnt a lot of lessons over the past 20 years which shaped the decisions taken in designing PlayStation 4,” said Mark Cerny, Lead System Architect on PlayStation 4 and President of Cerny Games. “The Develop in Brighton conference is a wonderful opportunity for us to share some of these experiences with the industry and discuss what the future might hold.”

“Following the rave reviews and accolades PlayStation 4 has received we are honoured to have Andrew House and Mark Cerny deliver the Develop in Brighton this July,” said Andy Lane, managing director of Tandem Events.

Registration is open at www.developconference.com with passes starting from as little as £75. Entry to the Expo is free.

Train2Game News PlayStation 4 hits huge landmark

PS4PlayStation 4 has passed seven million units sold worldwide as of April 6th, Sony has confirmed today. Sony’s console is outselling Microsoft’s Xbox One by more than a third.

Microsoft said earlier this year that its console has been selling more quickly than the Xbox 360 and original Xbox when they debuted, but has admitted that it needs to be in more markets. The console will be coming to 26 more countries in September.

The Xbox maker last gave firm sales figures of 3.9 million in January, but with the March release of Titanfall MCV reported a sales spike of 96 per cent.

“The response from the global gaming community for PS4 has been overwhelming and we are truly humbled that gamers are selecting PS4 as their next generation console of choice,” said SCEI president and group CEO Andrew House.

“The PS4 journey has just begun, and although we are still facing difficulties keeping up with the strong demand worldwide, we remain steadfast in our commitment to meet the needs of our customers, and surpassing the wildest expectations of gamers by delivering new user experiences that inspire and engage.”

For PS4 owners, of more interest than sales figures will be the 1.70 firmware update that’s coming to consoles next week. Sony said includes a new video editing tool called ShareFactory. The app will allow users to more easily edit their recorded footage, adding transitions, commentary and custom soundtracks.

The update will also let users automatically download games they’ve pre-ordered, a feature that may help relieve server crashes on game launch days.

Train2Game News: Sony announce PlayStation Now

PlayStation NowSony announced PlayStation Now last night, a streaming game service that will allow people to play PS3 games on PS4, Vita, and Bravia TVs via cloud-based technology.

The service will first be available on PS3 and PS4, which should alleviate some criticisms of Sony’s latest console not being backwards compatible. Streaming games between Sony devices is only the beginning, however, as the company is aiming to expand into third-party hardware.

“Eventually the service will expand beyond PlayStation platforms and Sony devices, allowing users to stream PlayStation games on numerous other Internet-connected devices,” the console manufacturer explained in its announcement. “SCE’s vision for PS Now is to enable users to instantly enjoy a wide range of full games on the Internet-connected consumer electronics devices they use every day.”

The idea is that people will be able to play the same game on all their online devices and it will seamlessly transfer trophies, messages and save data. Intriguingly, Sony noted this service will be used to rent games, though it didn’t go into detail on exactly what the options will be for that.

“Gamers can rent by title for specific games they are interested in, or they can choose a subscription that delivers additional value with the ability to explore and play many games available across a wide variety of genres,” Sony stated.

“PS Now will allow users to engage in the world of PlayStation, whether they’re existing fans or have never owned a PlayStation platform,” said president and group CEO of SCE, Andrew House.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about PS Now but we do know it will increase the popularity of Sony if they can bring their back catalogue to smart phones and tablets as well.

Train2Game News: Sony announcements at Gamescom

PS4Sony have announced at Gamescom the release dates of their next generation console the PlayStation 4.

The PlayStation 4 will launch in North America November 15, with a European release to follow two weeks later on November 29. The system will roll out in a total of 32 countries this holiday season.

Before announcing the dates, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House also touted the company’s success in building anticipation for the system. To date, he said the PS4 has attracted more than 1 million preorders globally.

House also used the event to unveil a new next-gen upgrade program, saying gamers who purchase the PS3 versions of select games will be able to buy digital versions of their next-gen counterparts at “a significantly discounted price.”

Games already confirmed for the program include Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. House said Sony is also working to expand the number of publishers participating in the discount deals.

In addition to the date being announced, it was also announced that there would be a price cut on the PS Vita and the 12GB PS3. You can now buy these consoles for $199 or €199 in North America and Europe. No word yet on a UK price however but you have to hope it’s not far behind.

Train2Game News: New IP “absolutely critical” for game development say Sony

It’s extremely important for Sony to support new IP and encourage new ideas.  That’s according to SCE CEO Andrew House in an interview with MCV.

“It is absolutely critical. We’ve always felt that the strength of our platform has been a kind of symbiotic relationship between the platform being created and strengthened by new experiences. And then that reinforcing the strength and one hopes the longevity of the platform overall.” said House.

“I’ve heard conventional wisdom in the industry that says – and it is kind of like an American presidency – that the first two years in a lifecycle is the only chance to innovate with a new audience. We take a different view,” he continued.

“It is part of the role of a platform holder to have the confidence and to make the investment where necessary to show that six years into a lifecycle, there is a significant audience that is going to actively peruse new IP. And the onus on that is to deliver on those expectations.” the Sony boss added.

E3 saw the announcement of new IPs including Watch Dogs, while other brand new games due for release in the relatively near future include Dishonored from Arkane Studios and The Last of Us from Naughty Dog.  The latter are responsible for one of the most successful new IP launches of this console generation, Uncharted.

Of course, it isn’t just PlayStation 3 games that Sony publish, with the PlayStation Vita also on the market.  Indeed, Sony are actively encouraging indie developers to produce games, new IP, for the handheld.

There’s more Sony news here on The Train2Game Blog.

What are your thoughts on Sony’s views on new IP? Are they encouraging for you?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Discs vs Digital

Digital distribution of games might be becoming more popular, especially on PC, but according to Sony, “Disc based content is still very much what the consumer is used to and wants”

Speaking to the PlayStation blog about content delivery, SCEE President Andrew House acknowledged that while discs are still popular, improved technology is making digital downloads an increasingly attractive option.

“There has been a change in attitude and technology that is making digital delivery far more feasible and far more attractive. It is our job to ensure that consumers have the choice between the two where possible.

How this area will evolve, I can’t really say at this time, as we are relying on many things outside of our control, such as broadband speeds. Things are changing quickly and we have to make sure we are ready for those changes.”

So while discs remain the dominant force on consoles for now, it appears Sony will be keeping a close eye on how the ability to distribute digital content delivers in future. Indeed, only this week it was revealed that the PSP2 could be a download content only device.

However, at this moment in time it seems farfetched that a PlayStation 3 or an Xbox 360 could become completely download only. Industry analyst Michael Pachter even goes so far to say that there’s “No chance in hell” of this happening, and explained:

“PCs are probably about 95% connected to the internet but my guess is with the Xbox 360, it’s maybe two-thirds, with the PS3 it might be as high as 85%. And with the Wii my guess is it’s below 50% but probably closer to 35%, so it’s all the guys that are NOT connected that are going to keep games from ever being mandate downloadable.”

He raises a good point. Perhaps the PC market could become a fully digital industry at some point in future just due to the very nature of how a computer works. A brand new PC has a massive hard drive and this can easily be upgraded as time goes on in order to store more content. Consoles on the other hand have limited space. What would happen to a game that needed to be uninstalled to make room for a new one?

It’s this question that’s one of the main reasons that I personally prefer to buy my games on discs. I can access them any time I want just by picking them up off the shelf. It’d be an incredible hassle to constantly have to re-install older games I may want to go back to.

Of course, both the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live allow you to download smaller independent games – one a Train2Game student could develop – but even this can take a long time. It could therefore take most of a day to download and install, say a digital version of Red Dead Redemption onto a console.

Yes, I occasionally use digital distribution through Steam to download PC games, but at the end of the day, I still prefer to have physical copies available on my shelf not only for me to pick up and play whenever I want to, but also just to sit there and look nice in exactly the same way books or DVD’s would.

Digital distribution does have advantages, a cheaper price for the consumer and an easier way for an aspiring Games Developer, Games Designer or Games Artist to get their work out to the market. But personally, I believe that discs will be around for a long time yet.

How about you? Do you prefer to buy games as a physical disc in your hand? Or as a digital download? How do you think this will develop in future?