Tag: playstation

Virtual Reality Is Very Real (and so is Hacking)


Record VR Sales Across The Holidays

The 2021 holiday season was a big one in terms of virtual reality systems and games, with the Oculus app topping the Apple App Store on Christmas, beating TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram.

Meta doesn’t release sales numbers for Quest headsets, so we can only piece together how popular it is through unofficial data points. So the Oculus app being at the top indicates a strong uptick in new headset usage. But that’s not all, Rec Room, a free social virtual reality experience has reported record numbers over the holidays, with over 1 million VR players logging in over a 60 hour period.

Apps such as Hand Physics Lab, Golf+, Eleven Table Tennis, and Loco Dojo Unleashed, have also reported a similar spike in new users.

 

PS5 Explains Their New VR2 System

PlayStation have announced the names for their new virtual reality system for the PlayStation 5 console. PlayStation VR2, and the new virtual reality controller, PlayStation V2 Sense controller.

PlayStation VR2 promises to take virtual reality gaming to a new level of presence and escapism, with new hardware features, greater depth of immersion, and new worlds being built. PS5 VR2 offers the following:

4K HDR 110-degree field of view, combined with an OLED display, means a display resolution of 2000×2040 per eye and smoother frame rates.

Inside-out tracking, with the player and their controller being tracked through cameras embedded in the VR headset, eliminating the need for an external camera.

Brand new sensory features, combining eye tracking, headset feedback, 3D audio, and the VR2 Sense controller to pull you deeper than ever into virtual reality. The most significant hardware feature being the motor in the VR headset that can vibrate to offer tactile feedback.

VR2 will detect the motion of your eyes, allowing the player to interact more intuitively with their environment.

PlayStation has announced that Horizon Call of the Mountain will be coming to the PlayStation VR2, making it one of the biggest franchises for the potential lineup available for the VR2.

Activision Sues Call of Duty Cheat Maker

Activision has asked a court to take action against EngineOwning, a cheat maker selling cheats to Call of Duty: Warzone players. This latest case is another battle in Activision’s war against hackers in their online battle royale, accusing EngineOwning for causing “irreparable damage to its goodwill and reputation”.

Activision alleges that the cheat maker has hurt sales through the distribution of aimbots, triggerbots, and other cheats. Other than allegedly ruining the online experience for thousands of players, Activision says that EngineOwning has infringed on their copyright, and violated its terms of service, and claims that “tens of thousands’ of players have been caught using EngineOwning’s tools over the past year.

And now for some upcoming game releases!

January 10:

  • Super Sami Roll (XSX)

January 12:

  • PUBG: Battlegrounds Free to Play (PC, PS4, XBO, Stadia)

January 13:

  • The Anacrusis (PC, XSX, XBO)
  • Mushroom Wars 2 (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)

Stalking NFTs, Winning Games, and Gaming Bytes

Stalking NFTs
With big brands like Nike and Adidas jumping on Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs, it would seem like a mistake for game developers not to do the same. However, Ubisoft’s experimental NFT sales for Ghost Recon Breakpoint appear to have sold just 15 NFTs since their release on the 9th of December.
Jumping on this bandwagon, GSC Game World, developer of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl, announced on the 15th of December their intention to introduce NFTs via auction in January of 2022 and later. These NFTs would range from “genesis” collectables to the rights to be scanned using photogrammetry and inserted into the game as an NPC “metahuman”. Within 24 hours after the publication went live, GSC Game World was hit with community backlash and responded with a tweet saying, “Based on the feedback we received, we’ve made a decision to cancel anything NFT-related in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2.” but not before doubling down in a now deleted tweet attempting to reason with the community.
It must be noted that in the third quarter of 2021, NFT games such as Sky Mavis’ Axis Infinity reportedly generated about 2.32 billion US dollars in revenue, paving the way as further incentive for future developers to integrate NFTs into games.

Winning Games
In an unprecedented year for games, Hades now sits alongside Oscar-winning Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond’s Colette for being the first game to win a prestigious industry award in 2021.
In this year’s Hugo Awards, the World Science Fiction Society used its bylaws to create the one-off 2021 Best Video Game award. Many games were nominated with Spiritfarer from Thunder Lotus Games and Animal Crossing: New Horizons from Nintendo coming runners-up to the award winner Hades from Super Giant Games. While Super Giant Games were unable to be there, Greg Kasavin, Creative Director and Writer of Hades had the following to say on twitter.

“We are incredibly honoured to be the first-ever recipient of a Hugo award in the category of best video game. We, myself included, grew up experiencing these classic works of science fiction and fantasy, from Ursula K. Le Guin to Philip K. Dick, what have you. That’s when we first came across the Hugo Awards name, of course, as kids.
“To have earned this distinction all this time later, especially alongside such an incredible slate of nominees, games of all shapes and sizes, from teams big and small, it really means the world.”

Keep an eye out in the future as there are rumours floating around online that this gaming category may become an annual Hugo event.


Now for some Gaming Bytes:

Finishing First
HowLongToBeat’s stat breakdown of game releases in  2021 show that Resident Evil Village is the most completed game this year with 2.6 thousand completions of the game so far narrowly beating Metroid Dread with 2.2 thousand completions.

CD Projekt Settles
CD Projekt has settled with suing investors over the release of Cyberpunk 2077 to the tune of 1.85 million US Dollars. The lawsuit accused CD Projekt of misleading investors over the release quality of the game and suing for damages incurred by this.

North America Unionises
North America finally has its first ever video game studio union, formed at the Vodeo Games Studio, developers of Beast Breaker that released for PC, Mac, and Switch this year. The Vodeo Workers United union formed to protect independent contracted workers and salaried staff to maintain a fair and equitable workforce and lock in some of the perks they love… like the 4-day work week they currently enjoy.

Sony Faceplates Finally
After exerting legal pressure to stop the creation of personalised faceplates for the PS5 late 2020 and more recently against dbrand in October of this year, Sony has finally released their own personalised faceplates with 5 different colour offerings of Midnight Black, Cosmic Red, Nova Pink, Starlight Blue, and Galactic Purple.

Now in upcoming games:
On the 23rd of December the 3D platformer puzzler Scarf released by Uprising Studios has you forming an unbreakable bond with your dragon who is also your scarf on PC and Stadia. Teratopia and Tunnel of Doom are releasing their Switch ports on the 23rd.
On the 24th Tunnel of Doom is also porting to the Xbox One and releasing on the 28th of December, the Switch port of Lacuna.

Consoles, NFT Trades, Accreditation, and Unionisation.

Nintendo’s Direct Announcement
This week’s Nintendo direct announced a stack of new Animal Crossing content coming in the free 2.0 update. Long awaited Brewster will be serving coffee at the Roost, new boat tours with Kapp’n, Cooking, Farming, Gyroids and so much more. However, with some of the content spoiled by datamining as early as 16 months ago, the announcement has left some gamers jaded.
In the same direct, Nintendo announced the Animal Crossing Happy Home Paradise DLC, and its inclusion in the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack. While the DLC includes long awaited jobs for Animal Crossing it also carries the Nintendo 64 and Sega Gensis emulation and libraries including the games; Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Banjo-Kazooie, Ecco the Dolphin, Streets of Rage 2, and Sonic 2, to name but a few. Later that same day, the pricing of the Expansion pack was released with it costing at least another $30 on top of the current yearly subscription plan. The video announcing this is currently the most down voted video on the official Nintendo YouTube channel with over 80 thousand dislikes at the time of writing.
In other Sega news, with last month’s closure of the legendary Ikebukuro Sega store after three decades of operation, it was rumoured to mark “the beginning of the end of the golden age of arcade gaming.” However, on October 16 Sega announced via twitter the opening of a new Ikebukuro store to open Friday October 22nd and teased more surprises to come.

Console Truce?
In further console news, a report from Hub Entertainment Research shows more people than ever owning both a PlayStation and Xbox with over a third of respondents reporting to own both. And for those searching for one of the consoles, Sony has created an online lottery for those still clamouring to buy a PS5 in the US. By registering their PSN account through Sony they can choose to elect either the standard or digital edition. Sony will then allocate available stock through quoted “previous interests and PlayStation activities” and will inform people via email when their console is available for purchase.
For those waiting for an Xbox Series X or Xbox Minifridge, sadly you’re out of luck with US, UK and Europe selling out of the fridge within 30 minutes of release and the Xbox Series X still hard to find in Australia except through scalpers on eBay.

New Home for NFT Based Games.
On October 15th Age of Rust developer SpacePirate announced that Steam was “kicking *all blockchain games* off the platform, including Age of Rust…” due to Valve extending the policy to ban games with items with real world monetary value to include NFTs. While Valve has not made an official statement, Steamworks onboarding Rules and Guidelines have been updated, now stating that “Applications built on blockchain technology that issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs.” should not be published on Steam
Epic Games’s Tim Sweeny announced the next day via Twitter that the Epic Games Store would allow NFT titles but not cryptocurrencies with the caveat that they will follow relevant laws, disclose their terms, are age-rated appropriately, and use their own systems to process payments.

Accreditation and Unionisation.
The long-awaited Metroid Dread’s release has been marred by developer MercurySteam refusing to credit employees who worked on the project for less than 25% of the games development time. MercurySteam stated that those who “had significant creative and/or technical contributions” were credited even when they did not meet the 25% minimum. Other developers have faced similar criticism with Ubisoft relegating former Far Cry 6 devs to the “special thanks” section of the credits.
In other business news, Paizo, publisher of the Pathfinder series, a popular tabletop paper and pencil RPG, have had over 30 of their employees form the United Paizo Workers union after the firing of Sara Marie for “undisclosed reasons”. After the fallout, Paizo president Jeff Alvarez, promised vague improvements. The union’s press release claims coverups “by those at the top”, that workers are underpaid, and “subjected to untenable crunch conditions on a regular basis.” The union urges management to voluntarily recognise the union as it “…pushes (sic) for real changes at the company.”

Now for some upcoming games!
On Thursday the 21st, try the 2D biopunk point and click Growbot, or travel the sand seas of Sands of Aura, both coming to PC. Also, Resident Evil 4 VR is coming to Oculus Quest 2, and the Victorian puzzle platformer Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is coming to PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch.
The third in The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes comes to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox on the 22nd.
On Tuesday the 26th, release your inner necromancer in the roguelike The Unliving or the antique restorer within in Workshop Simulator, both coming to PC. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy also comes out on the same day for PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch.
And finally on Thursday the 28th Age of Empires 4 is coming to PC and GamePass, the fifth of the Fatal Frame series Maiden of Black Water comes to the PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch, and the extreme multiplayer sports game Riders Republic comes to PC, PlayStation, Xbox and Stadia.

In Community Announcements:
Springfield Gamers are organising an event to encourage veterans, serving personnel and their families to check out gaming as a hobby. They are a face-to-face gaming club for gamers of board games, tabletop games and roleplaying games.
The event is free for general admission, with a range of demo games like Kings of War, and Gaslands, a board games library, and tournaments of Warhammer 40k, Flames of War & Teamy Yankee happening alongside modelling tutorials. The event will be taking place Saturday October 23rd from 9am to 5pm at the YMCA Springfield Central. Click here for more info or to head over to their Facebook page.

Activision Blizzard Settles with EEOC, Xbox Cloud Coming to Oz, & Game Trials Coming to UK

Activision Blizzard strikes $18 million settlement with US employment watchdog
Less than a day after the federal lawsuit from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the $18 million settlement, subject to court approval, will be used for payments to employees who have experienced sexual harassment, sex discrimination or retaliation while working at the Californian video game publisher.
Any remaining funds will be split “between charities that advance women in the video game industry or promote awareness around harassment and gender equality issues” Activision Blizzard said in a statement. This settlement is separate from a lawsuit filed in July by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing against the publisher.

Microsoft launches cloud gaming in Australia, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico
After several months of testing, Xbox Cloud Gaming has been released in 4 more countries, expanding the service to 26 in total. This service allows members of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate access to over 100 titles over the cloud, meaning that you can stream titles such as Gears 5 or Sea of Thieves on something as simple as an android or apple device. No hardcore gaming PC’s or consoles required!
“Since cloud gaming is powered by custom Xbox Series X consoles, that means these games are being played by an Xbox in the cloud, bringing faster load times and improved frame rates to the gameplay experience” Catherine Gluckstein, Microsoft’s head of Project xCloud.

Playstation introduces a new feature – Game Trials
Sony has introduced an interesting new feature this week in the UK, offering timed trials on selected Playstation 5 titles. At this stage only two games, Death Stranding Director’s Cut, and Sackboy: A Big Adventure are included, allowing players 5 to 6 hours to try them out before making the decision to purchase.
The feature is limited to Playstation 5 users, and can only be used once per account, per game. Should this feature make its way to our shores, there is one problem, the trial starts when you click download. Given our average internet speeds, that could pose a problem for some gamers.

Upcoming Gaming Releases
October 7
   • Age of Darkness: Final Stand
   • Far Cry 6
   • The Lightbringer
   • Moonglow Bay

October 8
   • Knockout Home Fitness
   • Lego Marvel Super Heroes
   • Metroid Dread
   • Tetris Effect: Connected
   • Nintendo Switch OLED

October 11
   • Book of Travels

October 12
   • Back 4 Blood
   • Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
   • Ori: The Collection

Who wants to play Monopoly?

Sony Lawsuits & PlayStation 5 Shortages

A group of gamers is gearing up to file a lawsuit against Sony this week, arguing that the company runs an unlawful monopoly that limits where players are able to purchase digital copies of PlayStation games to only Sony online stores. This group has said that Sony’s monopoly on digital games means, “they are allowed to charge supercompetitive prices for digital PlayStation games, that are significantly higher than their physical counterparts sold in a competitive retail market.” This lawsuit is designed to hopefully encourage Sony to create a more consumer friendly environment by suggesting a more competitive retail market that doesn’t result in players paying up to 175 percent more for digital games.

Sony are also expecting massive PlayStation 5 shortages that is predicted to last into 2022. Sony have been having some supply issues that don’t have an end in sight. According to Sony’s CFO Hiroki Totoki said, “If we secure a lot more devices and produce many more units, our supply wouldn’t be able to catch up with demand.” Despite supply shortages Sony has sold more than 7.8 million units since November last year. Similar to Sony, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and S are also struggling with supply constraints until after June 20th this year.

Filmmaker claims Capcom took Designs for Resident Evil Village

Filmmaker Richard Raaphorst who directed a horror film Frankenstein’s Army in 2013 has shared online a comparison of images from his movie and Resident Evil Village’s character designs. Many fans of the horror film continue to find similarities. Raaphorst said, “It’s a crazy monster movie filled with my own creature designs, one of which has been used – completely without authorization or credit in the newest Resident Evil game.” For now, there doesn’t appear to be any legal action from Raaphorst just that he wished they’d given him credit. If you’d like to take a look at the images (SPOLIER WARNING) click here.

E3 2021 is coming up fast

Starting on June 12th and running for three days until the 15th E3 Expo is only a month away. Coronavirus has had a massive impact of industry events however hopeful we are that they will return soon we still have a way to go and because of this, E3 2021 will be embracing all the virtual technology it can to bring us closer to the exhibitors this year. There are some big game announcements to come that are currently kept secret as well as more sneak peaks into big releases such as Halo: Infinite, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, Starfield, Final Fantasy 16, a potentially new Sonic game, not to mention the anticipation for Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. If you’d like to get updates on what’s happening as well as where everything is to be streamed head over to www.e3expo.com to sign up, it’s totally free.

Game Releases this week:

May 13th: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids comes out on all platforms
May 14th: Famicom Detective Club (Nintendo Switch), Mass Effect Legendary Edition (PC, PS4, XBO), Quantum Replica (PS4, XBO, Switch), Subnautica (Switch), Subnautica: Below Zero (PS4 & 5, XSX, XBO, Switch).
May 18th: Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Dry Twice (PS4, XBO, Switch)

The Good, the Bad, and the Lucrative

Cost of Epic Game’s Giveaways Revealed

As part of its ongoing court battles, Epic has published a document detailing it’s game giveaways from the start of the promotion until September 2019. This revealed the total cost, the individual cost, and the amount of players they drew in through the scheme. Over this period, they gave away just over 11 and a half million dollars in free games. Still, this scheme has drawn in a huge amount of new players for Epic and is likely well worth the cost. Big hitters were Batman Arkham, Subnautica, and Mutant Year Zero, each costing over a million for Epic. Smaller indie games cost much less, some costing only around 50 thousand dollars. This does not mean they didn’t pull in their fair share of new players and for player retention, all at a fraction of the cost. This list may provide some ammunition for indie games while bargaining their worth.

Riot Games to begin recording in game voice chat

Riot Games has announced a new tool in it’s arsenal to combat toxic behaviour. A new privacy notice will be implemented next month and, along with it, they will begin to record in-game voice chat in Valorant. Audio is stored on a secure server and will not be accessed unless a report is made and, if no disruptive behaviour is found, will be deleted. “We’re committed to creating our games better for everybody who plays them,” Riot said. “This is another step toward tackling disruptive behaviour across the board, starting with Valorant.” This system will first be trialled in North America before being spread to Oceania and elsewhere. For many who have been exposed to toxic teammates while online gaming, this new system could signal a huge step in the right direction but many still have been quick to point out the privacy problems this poses.

PlayStation announces partnership with Discord

“Together, our teams are already hard at work connecting Discord with your social and gaming experience on PlayStation Network,” Sony said in it’s announcement. The details of this partnership are still somewhat vague, but they did say the goal is to “bring the Discord and PlayStation experiences closer together on console and mobile starting early next year, allowing friends, groups, and communities to hang out, have fun, and communicate more easily while playing games together” and that more information would be released in the coming months. As cross play becomes more commonplace, the possibility of seamless voice chat between PS5 and PC players is quite exciting. This partnership strikes some as odd since Discord has previously turned down many buyout offers, including Microsoft’s recent 10-billion-dollar bid. Sony won out and now holds an undisclosed stake in Discord.

Zed Games Podcast – Episode 262


262
In studio: Lee May, Jody Macgregor, Candi Payne and Razor.

This week: Razor talks about Final Fantasy Type-0 HD(PS4/XB1) an action RPG ported from the 2011 PSP version. Jody review Three Fourths Home (PC) a visual novel about a conversation that a family has while driving home from a holiday. Lee provides some first impressions of Final Fantasy XV‘s demo, Episode Duscae (Bundled with FF Type 0 HD).

Aired 25 March 2015.

Subscribe to the Zed Games Podcast on iTunes