Headline Of The Week

The PlayStation 4 has now officially launched in North America. Because I live in the UK I would like to try and avoid covering too much next-gen console release news before the PS4 and Xbox One are actually out here in Europe, but of particular note at the American launch is that a small percentage of consumers are reporting that faulty HDMI ports are preventing them from using the console. Amongst the complaints were two consoles received by gaming news sites Kotaku and IGN, who both reported manufacturing problems that was making some of the pins required for HDMI connection unavailable. Other individuals have been discovering problems by using different cables to the ones provided in the box.

PS4 owners - your HDMI port should look like this. If it's bent or broken, you may have problems...
PS4 owners – your HDMI port should look like this. If it’s bent or broken, you may have problems…

Isolated reports of console hardware errors on day one are nothing new, but at this early moment in time it is difficult to gauge how many launch units may be affected by this problem, and indeed as to how Sony managed to come up with a figure that 0.4% of the consoles are currently affected by this problem. Expect a lot more clarification on the issue in the coming days; and if you do happen to get a PS4 just make sure to double check the HDMI port before you get set up for the first time.

In Other News…

Away from hardware issues, Sony took the opportunity to promote upcoming games and exclusive content via a ‘All Access’ stream on Spike TV this past Thursday. Amongst the headline news:

  • The beta for Bungie’s latest project Destiny will be available first to PS3/PS4 owners (in the UK you will need a pre-order from Amazon, Blockbuster or Tesco for beta codes)
  • The PlayStation versions of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes will feature an exclusive mission called ‘Déjà Vu’ allowing you to play as Classic Snake from the original Metal Gear Solid
  • The new story DLC for The Last Of Us entitled ‘Left Behind’ will act as a prequel to the main game following Ellie prior to the events of the main story
  • Infamous: Second Son (the one game that might make me consider a PS4 purchase) has a confirmed release date of 21st March 2014, with a new trailer to demonstrate how protagonist Delsin can absorb light for visually awesome Neon powers
  • Finally, Naughty Dog confirmed they are working on another installment of the Uncharted series for the PS4, promising a ‘big jump in visual quality’

The Football Manager series has always been a quiet success; not necessarily grabbing the headlines each year but certainly selling enough copies to be highly ranked in the end of year sales charts. Turns out however that last year’s installment, Football Manager 2013, which was the best selling version of the game yet was also illegally downloaded just over 10,000,000 times, according to statistics by developers Sports Interactive. Tracking the IP address of people logging into pirated versions of the game, SI estimate that the most downloads were in China (3.2 million), followed by Turkey and Portugal. Strangely enough, there was also a single illegal download coming from the Vatican City.

The iOS and Android versions of the latest entry into the series, Football Manager 2014, are now available for download for all you wannabe managers on the move.

Bubsy 3D is quite possibly the worst game I’ve ever played. And this week, an independent gaming group based in Los Angeles decided to purchase the domain for Bubsy3D.com to share the misery with the whole of the world. So now, for your entertainment purposes I present to you Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits The James Turrell Retrospective! It’s a browser game that requires Unity Web Player, and sees the annoying bobcat protagonist walking around a weird exhibition with talking frogs and pointless collectibles. Hilariously, it actually somehow controls better than the original game – play at your own peril…

Deals And Offers

Not content with offering the occasional Bundle and a regular weekly sale, the Humble Bundle organization have set up a new storefront where you can purchase indie titles and help charity out at the same time. It works slightly differently from the normal sales you might be acquainted to; whereas normally you name your price and select what cut goes to charity/organizers/developers, games on the Humble Store have a fixed price and 10% of that price is given to charity. Over the past week there has been a special set of 24 hour sales with some naturally excellent offers – although the best offer so far, an astonishing 75% off Guild Wars II, was restricted to American customers. Bugger. Anyway, if you wish to browse some of the offers, visit www.humblebundle.com/store

Call Of Duty: Ghosts inevitably walked to the top spot of the UK Game Sales Charts this week, but for the first time in years the series can no longer boast of record breaking sales – managing only the third biggest launch of the year behind Grand Theft Auto V and FIFA 14. Versions of the game for the Wii U made up less than 1% of all copies sold.

Top Ten For Week Ending 9th November 2013 (from GFK/Chart-Track)

1 – Call Of Duty: Ghosts (Infinity Ward)*

2 – Battlefield 4 (DICE)

3 – Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Ubisoft Montreal)

4 – FIFA 14 (EA Canada)

5 – Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar North)

6 – Batman: Arkham Origins (WB Games Montreal)

7 – WWE 2K14 (Yuke’s)

8 – Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (4J Studios)

9 – Football Manager 2014 (Sports Interactive)

10 – Skylanders: Swap Force (Vicarious Visions)

(* signifies a new chart entry)

And Finally…

For my recent MA dissertation, I decided to write a history of SEGA. This week, another guy called Darren has decided to do the job better.

For SEGA and videogame history enthusiasts, this Kickstarter project may well be of interest; an officially licensed history of the Mega Drive/Genesis console. Celebrating twenty five years since the console’s birth, SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works features exclusive interviews with some of the most important men in SEGA’s history including Yu Suzuki, Yuji Naka and Michael Katz, as well as artwork, development sketches and design plans extracted from SEGA’s own archives in Japan.

Projects like this give me extended faith that the study of the history of videogames will continue to thrive
Projects like this give me extended faith that the study of the history of videogames will continue to thrive

It looks like it would be a fascinating book to own, especially with the access to material which has previously been available only in Japan and has long since been out of print, and from the Project page it appears to be an exceptionally well organized proposal. The good news is that as I write this, it’s already well past its initial funding goal of £30,000. If you want to read a more in depth proposal and pledge some funds towards the project, you can visit the page via this link.

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