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Sony PlayStation 4 gamers have experience trouble with the PlayStation Network, and company officials recently apologized for the sporadic problems. More than 13.5 million PS4 units have been sold since the console's launch, and the PSN's struggling network isn't too surprising - and Sony is scrambling to try to prevent additional network problems in the future.
"Listen: We're really, really apologetic," said Michael Ephraim, SCE Australia managing director. "Dealing with network and digital - I'm not trying to spread or deflect anything, but dealing on such a robust network is a tricky experience. The good thing is we've launched 2.01, which has fixed the Rest Mode, and has fixed the YouTube app. It was very unfortunate. We hate that. The network was down during the 2.0 release. It's very unfortunate. Those things are gonna happen over time. We're not bulletproof on those things."
Sony and BioWare have worked to fix a serious bug that hit Dragon Age: Inquisition gamers, with the PSN blamed for the problem.
The Sony PlayStation 4 outsold the Microsoft Xbox One in October, with sales growing 59 percent year-over-year, racking up $273.6 million, according to the NPD Group. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have all declined to release sales figures of their respective consoles in October, indicating it was a rather lackluster 31 days of sales.
"Overall sales across hardware, new physical software, and accessories were essentially flat in 2014 compared to October 2013," according to the NPD Group's Liam Callahan.
However, the Xbox One price cut has helped the console's sales triple, as it approaches 10 million units sold since launch, and looks poised to better compete against the PS4.
After teasing it for so long, Sony has finally unveiled PlayStation Vue, its cloud-based TV service. PlayStation Vue is locked to the PS3 and PS4, but it has no contracts, and no pesky hidden fees - all without Sony giving out any pricing on it.
PlayStation Vue will allow people to save their favorite TV shows to the cloud, where it stays there for 28 days. You can receive on-demand access to the last three dasy of TV programming. The company will be holding an invite-only beta sometime later this month, where 75 channels will be made available. Sony is currently offering up CBS, Discovery, Fox, NBC Universal, Scripss Networks Interactive and Viacom, with the promise if more network partners being announced soon.
Sony is poised to fully release PlayStation Vue sometime in the first quarter of 2015, where it should eventually find a home on non-Sony devices like tablets and smartphones.
The creator of Mario and Zelda, Shigeru Miyamoto, isn't a big fan of the "boring" sameness type of video games that are being pushed upon gamers time and time again. Nintendo has struggled to keep up with Sony and Microsoft in recent years, but continues to push ahead with video games that appeal more to casual gamers - and isn't afraid for employees to speak their mind.
"What the other companies are doing makes business sense," Miyamoto recently said. "But it's boring. The same games appear on every system. At Nintendo, we made an environment where game creators can collaborate and think of ideas for gamers that could have never happened before."
Nintendo officials have become more vocal in their criticism of the PS4 and Xbox One - even though the two consoles dominate the sales charts - as all three companies look ahead to a potentially busy Christmas holiday shopping season.
After being battered on the console sales charts by the Sony PlayStation 4, it looks Microsoft can finally be happy about the Xbox One. There have been almost 10 million Xbox One game consoles sold since launch, and with holiday shopping expected to be a major success in 2014, Microsoft should easily top that figure. The $50 price cut earlier in this month has helped sales triple over the past two weeks, with that sales trend carrying towards Christmas.
In a rather surprising twist, some are wondering if now is the time where Microsoft can outsell Sony during the holidays, when one month ago, that would have seemed like an illogical discussion.
It's good for Microsoft to see Xbox One sales increase, but it would appear that gamers are the true winners. In addition to both the Xbox One and PS4 - which have helped drive game sales - PC gaming, with extremely powerful hardware, has seen an impressive rise, just a couple years after many wondered if PC gaming was dead.
Microsoft has seen a spike in Xbox One sales, pushing it close to the 10 million mark, with the company saying sales have "more than tripled" in the US over the last week alone.
The 10 million milestone reflects the number of consoles Microsoft has sold to retailers, not consumers - but over the holiday season, I'm sure retailers won't have too many problems getting rid of the Xbox One consoles. The tripling in sales, represents a week-to-week comparison. The Redmond-based everything giant says that the boost in Xbox One sales is thanks to a bunch of new games.
We've seen Assassin's Creed: Unity, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Sunset Overdrive, as well as the Halo: Master Chief Collection, all launch in the last couple of weeks.
Even though they're fighting against each other in the console race with the PlayStation and Xbox range of consoles, the companies are still friends in other forms of business. The latest news is that Sony has asked Microsoft for help when it comes to protecting its multimedia content on its PlayStation line of devices.
Sony has reportedly put up a listing asking for someone to join the company who is proficient in Microsoft's PlayReady, the Redmond-based giants content protection DRM solution, on its three major PlayStation devices: PS3, PS4 and PS Vita. Microsoft first launched PlayReady in 2007, which rode the back of massive investment and over 10 years of innovation. It allows content providers to deliver content, such as music and video, that limits users' options of sharing it around, without any proper authentication.
Sony is looking for a Principal Engineer who specializes in PlayReady, with this person joining a team that will bake the technology into multimedia applications across the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PS Vita.
The current console market is fully consumed by the Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One devices, though many often overlook Nintendo's Wii U. It's true that there are similarities in the game catalogs for both the PS4 and Xbox One, but that's because game developers want their titles on the two more popular consoles.
Here is what Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said: "If you look at the other two competitive platforms, fundamentally, what's the difference? They have a lot of shared content. Look at it from the standpoint of, what don't they have? They don't have our games. They don't have Mario and Zelda. I'd much rather be where Nintendo is, with a differentiated platform, differentiated set-up experiences that we can provide uniquely to the consumer."
It's true that the PS4 and Xbox One don't have Mario or Zelda - but a counter to that argument is that many game studios would rather develop games for Sony and Microsoft. Nintendo relies heavily on a small handful of game franchises, while the PS4 and Xbox One can provide a diversified product offering.
We already know that there should be a new Xbox One next year, based on AMD's shrunken 20nm system-on-chip, but thanks to Sony using the same APU from AMD, the PlayStation 4 should receive a similar upgrade.
Rumors are now floating around that Sony will adopt the 20nm SoC sometime next year, which should see Sony release a refreshed PS4 sometime in 2015. We're already seeing 16nm technology on the other side of the fence, so a shrink down to 20nm for the consoles would usher in more performance, slimmer consoles, and reduced power consumption. Right now, both consoles are using AMD APU's based on the 28nm process.
Microsoft and Sony haven't had any competition in the console space this year, but 2015 is going to be a very different year for the two tech giants. Oculus VR is positioning itself to release their first consumer version of the Rift VR headset, and Valve should usher in the Steam Box, Steam OS, Steam Controller and much more - competing in the living room directly against the likes of the Xbox One and PS4.
Sony has reported a nice $2.77 billion in sales for its Game and Network Services division, which is where the PlayStation just so happens to live. These sales represent an 83.2% increase year-over-year, which is all thanks to the PlayStation 4.
PlayStation 4 shipments totalled 3.3 million for the quarter, reaching a total of 13.5 million. When it came to operating income for Sony's Games and Network Services Division, it was at $195 million, compared to the $43 million for the last quarter, and up from the $37.6 million loss from the same three-month period of 2013.
Sony may be seeing success on the gaming side of its business, the company as a whole isn't doing too well, with operating losses of $766 million. The Japanese company has increased its loss forecast in September, pegging the blame on lagging smartphone sales.