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You spoke, they listened - Microsoft pulled most of the crap that made people hate the Xbox One, something we've written countless pieces on now. The PS4 from Sony was at the top of the Amazon best-seller chart, but it has now been replaced by the Xbox One.
Last week we reported Amazon's poll, which the PS4 demolished with 38,984 votes leaving the Xbox One with a piddly 2,162 votes. The 180-degree turn from Microsoft has obviously helped, and now gamers are pre-ordering the Xbox One like its hotcakes on sale for 10c each. I still haven't pre-ordered an Xbox One, but I'll be pre-ordering a PS4 shortly and I think that will do me for now.
While far from official, one European retailer has outed November 13 as the day the PlayStation 4 will be available in Europe. The only official launch date we've received from Sony is that it will launch for $399 sometime in 2013, likely towards the holiday season.
According to some user reports, Media Markt employees actually confirmed the November 13 date with customers. While it is possible the store knows when the console will launch, it probably is more of an educated guess simply because Sony wouldn't be too happy with them posting the date up.
The Wii U launched last year in November and November makes a great time for a launch as it is 4 to 8 weeks before Christmas. This would allow time for parents to shop for their children. As with all unofficial reports, take this date with a grain of salt.
NVIDIA's project SHIELD has been one of the most talked about handheld gaming consoles of the year as well as possibly being the most anticipated handheld of the decade. Unfortunately not all of the talk was as good as NVIDIA had hoped. Many reports were good, but issues with ergonomics arose frequently.
During the last few months, NVIDIA has put SHIELD in the hands of the professional press as well as thousands of gamers at events like PAX East and has taken their feedback and went back to the drawing board. The result is a handheld Android gaming console that is nothing short of amazing.
They've helped us build a better product. Feedback from gamers is why SHIELD's triggers have the perfect throw length. Why SHIELD's buttons have just the right amount of give. Why SHIELD's thumb sticks are so satisfying to flick. Why playing games on SHIELD's pure Android software feels so slick.
This morning NVIDIA announced that SHIELD's price has been dropped to $299. This pre-release price drop is the direct result of thousands of gamers telling NVIDIA that "if priced at $299, Shield will be a homerun!" The company says that if you pre-ordered SHIELD at a higher price, you will only be charged the new $299 price.
Sony has pulled the PlayStation 3 update 4.45 after it caused a "small number" of machines to be bricked. Sony is unsure of why this happened but is investigating the issue. Meanwhile, Sony encourages users to wait for an official fix rather than trying to fix it themselves.
This could put a damper on the positive press that Sony has been receiving after E3 from the media and gamers alike. One gamer wrote, "You'd think they test these things out, right?" Unfortunately for gamers, Sony has limited resources and time to test updates. Considering it has only affected a "small number" globally, it's unlikely they would have caught it, even with extensive testing.
Sony will hopefully find the problem--and a fix for those affected--quickly. Until then, Sony asks that you wait for an official fix and adds that it "apologizes for the inconvenience."
Microsoft has decided to reverse course on their controversial DRM requirements that have drawn heavy criticism from gamers and the media alike. Microsoft has confirmed reports by other media outlets that the 24-hour check-in policy has been dropped, along with various other changes.
Microsoft probably explains it best:
So, today I am announcing the following changes to Xbox One and how you can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360. Here is what that means:
An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games - After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.
Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today - There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.
In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console - there will be no regional restrictions.
GameStop has officially stopped accepting pre-orders for the upcoming Xbox One because they have hit their limit. What's interesting about this is that it shows that Microsoft may not be having too much of an issue selling the Xbox One, despite numerous issues raised by the media and still unanswered by Microsoft. GameStop is still taking pre-orders for the PlayStation 4, however.
So, is the Xbox One truly that hot of a commodity? It would appear that it's not. Microsoft has given way fewer allocations to the individual stores than Sony has given PS4 allocations. For instance, one store that received just 16 Xbox One units also received 60 PlayStation 4 units. It's not clear whether Microsoft is facing supply issues or if they are attempting to make the illusion that the Xbox One is popular.
If you are interested in getting the Xbox One, GameStop will no longer accept pre-orders unless they receive a larger allocation. You might want to get your pre-order in with someone who still has units while they still have those units.
Sony recently released a firmware patch for its PlayStation 3 console. Normally this is not too noteworthy, but this latest patch is rendering the consoles dead in the water. Sony has taken the patch down, but just in case do not download any update or patches with a version number of 4.45.
The patch was originally supposed to add support for turning off achievements and trophy notifications, however after updating and rebooting, many users found that their PS3 would no longer boot into the main menu of the console. A smaller portion of users reported that they were not able to even turn off the box after the update and the only option was to pull the power cable.
Sony has released a statement to address users who have been affected by the problem:
"We are aware of reports that the recent PlayStation 3 system software update (version 4.45) has caused the XMB to not display on a small number of PS3 systems. We have temporarily taken 4.45 offline and are investigating the cause of the problem. We will announce when the system update is available for download as soon as possible. We apologise for the inconvenience."
The video game industry continues to flounder ahead of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 going on sale later this year. Data from NPD Group shows that retail sales of hardware, software, and gaming accessories fell around 25 percent to $386.3 million during May.
Also included in the data is the fact that the Nintendo 3DS outsold the Xbox 360, making it the top selling platform across hardware and portables. Software sales for the 3DS were up 60 percent year-over-year.
Despite poor sales, Nintendo has said that it has no plans to drop the price of the Wii U.
Likely as another shot at Microsoft, Sony has confirmed that PS Plus will not be required for PlayStation 4 users interested in using the social aspects, entertainment apps, or auto-updates. Xbox 360 users will know that Xbox Live Gold is required for Netflix, Hulu, and social aspects of the console.
It's possible that streaming PlayStation 3 games to the PS4 may require PS Plus, but it seems like that is still up in the air. Unlike the PlayStation 3 which required PS Plus for automatic updates, PlayStation 4 users will find that they get this feature for free.
It seems like some of the PS Plus details for the PlayStation 4 are still under discussion inside the company and are subject to change. This would explain why Sony has detailed the system and PS Plus fully. PS Plus will apply across the PlayStation 3 and 4 for no extra charge.
The true next-gen consoles were fully unveiled in the last couple of weeks in the form of Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One, but Nintendo's Wii U is still here, right now - but sales aren't doing well.
Gamers have been hoping for Nintendo to drop the price on the Wii U, but during an interview with VentureBeat last week, Nintendo marketing executive Scott Moffit said that Nintendo have "no plans to change the price of the Wii U." He added that the Wii U is "great value" for gamers, expecting sales to increase once some shiny new Nintendo games are released - such as Mario, Zelda and Super Smash Bros.