“The Xbox One is finally out!” It’s almost patronising isn’t it? Of course it’s out. You know that because you’re into video games. Apologies for underestimating your intelligence. It won’t happen again. But did you know this? Away from the launch of Microsoft’s new console, there were other events shaking the games media. The build up to the release of the PlayStation 4 for one… You’re right. I’m sorry. Here’s Blog: Unlocked’s rundown of the most important news stories from November 18-22, 2013.
1. The Worldwide Launch Of Xbox One:
MCV’s coverage of Xbox One’s launch week included an in-depth interview with Xbox’s head of UK marketing, Harvey Eagle. In it, Eagle talks about the u-turn in pitching the console as a games console rather than an entertainment centre, the challenges of releasing the Xbox One the week before the PS4 hits the UK and the TV ad starring Spock, Gerrard and an armless zombie. Bad news swiftly followed good for Eagle when Amazon predicted that Microsoft’s next-gen console would be the biggest and fastest selling console ever, only to be overtaken by the PS4 during its launch week (MCV). At the time of press, Sony’s machine claimed the top spot in the online retailer’s PC and video games pre-order chart. The Xbox One sat in fifth. Continuing to turn the gears of the hype machine, MCV interviewed Call of Duty executive producer Mark Rubin and Activision UK MD Roy Stackhouse on the importance of Ghosts for the next-gen and vice versa.
Unfortunately those hoping to broadcast their Call of Duty gunfights using Twitch on the Xbox One will have to wait until early 2014 (Xbox Wire). However, you can now download the new Xbox SmartGlass app for iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices (Xbox Wire).
It’s been revealed by VentureBeat that Microsoft spent a whopping $100M on the research and development of the Xbox One controller. Looking at the pricing of the console’s digital games catalogue, it’s likely Microsoft will make that money back two hundred-fold and then some (Videogamer.com).
As the Xbox One dawned over Australasia one Dan Livingstone was the first person on the planet to own the new machine (Phil Harrison’s Twitter). In another MCV interview, Xbox VP Phil Harrison hinted that demand for the Xbox One might just outstrip Microsoft’s ability to supply the console. Adding weight to these claims came GAME whose chief digital officer foresaw that the new Xbox’s launch day sales would far exceed those of its predecessor (MCV).
And finally, after the Xbox One went from filling every square inch of dedicated shelving to immediately leaving stores looking a little light on merchandise, it was announced that the new console matched the PS4’s day one sales (Xbox Wire). Of course the PS4 is yet to be released in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
2. UK PlayStation 4 Launch Countdown Begins:
A week into the life of the PlayStation 4 and already Sony is engaged in a spot of damage limitation. The failure rate of the PS4 has been altered from 0.4% to ‘under 1%’ (TechRadar). In light of this, the electronics giant has released a list of fixes for consoles suffering from a blinking blue LED bug (PlayStation Community Forums).
Gamers picking up Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag with their new PlayStation will be able to pirate the seas in native 1080p resolution, but only if they download a patch (Ubiblog). Unlike Microsoft, Sony is expecting to meet the demand from early adopters keen to play as Edward Kenway on the PS4 (Game Informer).
Success on the new PlayStation platform is already being registered by a number of game publishers. EA is claiming one in three of every PS4 game sold is one of its IPs (Peter Moore’s Twitter) while Activision declared Call of Duty: Ghosts the best-selling game on the console in the US (MCV). On a different battle ground, Paddy Power has put its money where its mince pie hole is and tipped the PS4 to be the best-selling console of Christmas 2013 (Paddy Power).
As the PlayStation 4’s UK launch date draws near, keep an eye on Channel 4 for some very special idents celebrating its release (Channel 4). Sony’s UK MD Fergal Gara has reassured PlayStation fans that the company will not be repeating mistakes during the early years of the PS3 (see. PS4 price point) (MCV). Folk intending to buy a PlayStation 4 and a PS Vita may want to delay their purchases as Sony has revealed it will be bundling both console together in time for Christmas (MCV).
It looks like launch week isn’t of much interest to many prospective next-gen gamers. Research company Kantar Worldpanel surveyed thousands of PS4/XO interested customers and discovered that many are happy to wait before they splash the cash (MCV).
Gran Turismo 6 isn’t even out yet and already series creator Kazunori Yamauchi is talking up the possibility of installment seven appearing on the PlayStation 4 as early as 2014 (Top Gear).
To sign off, here’s a gamer metamorphosing into a three-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner:
The perceptive among you will notice I’ve neglected to mention the one single story that shook the games industry to the core; the appearance of KSI at the UK Xbox One launch. Krime Scene Investigates deserves its own story. Look out for a separate post coming soon.
And so here we are, in the void. No man’s land. The unknown. The gap in space and time between one new console launch and the next. The first salvos may have been fired but we will only know if they travelled straight and true in the coming days. Will the enemy rise up, trade blows and claim the spoils of this console war? Yeah I’m talking about the Xbox Vs. PlayStation battle for the living room. I’ll shut up now. Bye!
Dean Samways // @Deanways