PS Access Lounge for the PS4 UK launch

The year is 2013 and a war is being waged in cyberspace. Two corporations exchange blows in a bid for world domination. But exactly when did this battle of technological might begin? On Friday 29 November at 00:00am; the UK launch date of the PlayStation 4. Now that both consoles are out, consumers can back their platform of choice with their hard-earned cash. Read all the news from the PlayStation 4 UK launch as Blog: Unlocked delivers the next-gen news from November 25 to 29, 2013.

1. Man Your PlayStations:
Tinie Tempeh in the PS Access Lounge for the PS4 UK launchAs expected, news around PlayStation 4’s UK launch ramped up in the week of its release. First CVG revealed prices for a number of PS4 digital titles. With EA titles marked-up at a massive £62.99 it wasn’t long before the publisher backtracked and reduced the price of FIFA 14, Battlefield 4, Need for Speed Rivals and others by three whole English pounds; £5 more than the same titles cost on Xbox LIVE (MCV). However, the publisher soon realised the error of its ways and brought parity to their digital pricing (Eurogamer). Independent high street retailers looking to compete with the big chains as well as digital are already claiming a victory for Sony in the next-gen console war (CVG).

Tinie Tempeh may have ushered in the new era for PlayStation but punters attending the PS4 Lounge in Covent Garden, London, were probably more excited that Sony had secured extra stock for purchase on the night (MCV). Unsurprisingly Game had extra PS4 stock in 300 of its stores as well as online (MCV) and there were pictures from MCV to prove it. Supermarket ASDA, followed suit by stocking PS4s on a first-come, first-served basis on launch day. O2 is also supplying the PS4 as a contract sweetener (O2). Sony however, is keeping some stock for itself just in case any PS4’s come back faulty (Eurogamer).

Demand for the PS4 was set to put it ahead of the Xbox One in terms of UK sales (MCV). Of course now we know that sales of the smashed even the long-standing record set by the PSP let alone those of the Xbox One. A report by The Telegraph suggests the PS4 is beating the Xbox One on the social battleground too. The Sun joined the mainstream media party by giving up page three in the name of Sony’s next-gen machine (MCV).

Before Tinie picked up his mic, Sony execs spoke candidly to MCV about the lessons learned from the PS3, PS4 stock and the future of the PS4/Vita relationship. In another MCV interview Sony CEO Andrew House said maintaining a status quo with the PlayStation business model made sense, a clear nod to the trouble Microsoft had after E3.

IGN has created a dedicated games news app for the PlayStation 4 UI, one of ten apps available at launch (PlayStation Blog Europe). Hopefully you were still able to use the launch apps despite PSN falling over a bit on November 29 (Eurogamer). No surprise there.

2. Xbox, One Week On:
Forza 5The Xbox One had a great first week of life doubling the 360’s sales over the same period (MCV), selling 150K units in 48 hours (MCV). However, with good news came bad as it appeared Microsoft’s console developed its very own launch fault (MCV), this is on top of some minor UK TV integration issues (HDTVtest). Microsoft is offering a free game to customers suffering the noisy disc drive fault on their new machines (Polygon).

Microsoft has signed a deal with Japanese developers to bring games made in the Far East to gamers in the West, something the platform was perhaps not seen to favour on the 360 (Kotaku). In the same piece, Phil Spencer admitted Microsoft is still learning about microtransactions and free-to-play. Other Xbox heads have begun the new era by ruling with an iron fist, sanctioning 24 hour Xbox LIVE bans for anyone caught swearing in videos they upload (CVG).

Not all the news coming out of Redmond is about the Xbox One. Phil Harrison gave an exclusive interview to MCV about the Xbox 360 console and why it’s eight-year lifespan was ‘just right’.

3. The Great War (Continued):
Call of Duty: GhostsActivision is claiming domination across all next-gen platforms with Call of Duty: Ghosts selling best for key retailers all over the globe (Activision). Regardless of the console, it seems free-to-games play will continue to be an experimental work in progress during this new console cycle (MCV). Microtransactions remain controversial, so it’s good they remain on the periphery of video game culture, otherwise UK Ubisoft boss Rob Cooper may not be seeing the return of the “lapsed gamer” as he predicts (MCV).

The results are in and games on the 3DS, Wii-U and Vita are better than those on the PS4 and Xbox One (MCV) but it seems nobody told Nvidia that power and capacity doesn’t necessarily breed quality (MCV).

Thank you to MCV for 90% of the stories this week.

Dean Samways // @Deanways

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