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We've heard rumors of a redesigned, or slim PlayStation 4 to be announced in the future, but Samsung looks like it has just unveiled what will turn out to be one of the new components of the refreshed PS4 console: high-density 8Gb GDDR5 memory chips.
Samsung's latest GDDR5 VRAM chips are built on the company's 20nm technology, and are the first 8Gb density modules to hit mass production. Not only could these chips find their way into Sony's PS4 console, but it will also be a great next step for gaming laptops, as they can start baking mass amounts of VRAM into them.
Joo Sun Choi, the Executive Vice President of Memory Sales at Samsung electronics arm said: "We expect that our 8Gb GDDR5 will provide original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with the best graphics memory solution available for game consoles as well as general use notebook PCs". In the company's press release, Samsung said: "Combining only eight of the new 8Gb chips will achieve the same density as the 8 gigabytes (GB) needed in the latest game consoles". So we can see from these two quotes, game consoles seem to be a big part of the announcement of the 8Gb GDDR5 VRAM chips, which is an interesting turn.
Microsoft was pushed around by Sony throughout much of 2014, as the PlayStation 4 handily outsold the Xbox One, but that changed to end the year. Microsoft outsold the PS4 in hardware sales and video games in November and December, with a strong focus on carrying the momentum in 2015.
"Bundles were a major driver of hardware sales this December compared to last with 71 percent of hardware unit sales stemming from bundles including software, which compares to 32 percent of hardware sales last December," said Liam Callahan, analyst at The NPD Group, in a press statement.
The PS4 sold 18.5 million PS4 units in 2014 - and Microsoft hasn't updated its numbers since November, after saying it surpassed 10 million units shipped.
The Sony PlayStation 4 dominated the console market in 2014, outselling the Microsoft Xbox One throughout the entire year. The PS4 racked up 18.5 million PS4 sales worldwide, dominating every month except for November and December, The NPD Group said.
"PlayStation 4 was the top-selling console in the US and globally in 2014," a Sony spokesperson told GamesBeat. "And [it is] the fastest selling console in PlayStation history with 18.5 million sold through after just 14 months in the market. We are humbled by this success and want to thank gamers worldwide for helping us achieve holiday sales of more than 4.1 million across 123 countries and regions."
However, Sony has faced increased pressure from the Xbox One to close 2014, as Microsoft has offered competitive price cuts - and gamer bundles - as gamers have a lot to cheer for. Sony will face increased pressure from Microsoft in 2015, so it cannot bask in its 2014 success for too long.
Microsoft owned the holiday season with the Xbox One and its $349 price tag, but then the price went up to its normal $399 as Microsoft removed the discount. Well, it's been 12 days, so Microsoft is discounting the Xbox One by $50 once again, but this time for a much shorter amount of time.
As of tomorrow (Friday, January 16) the company is dropping the price of the Kinect-less Xbox One by $50, but Microsoft isn't sure when this sale will end. When asked why Microsoft is cutting the price again after 12 days of it returning to normal, Corporate Vice President of Marketing for Xbox, Michael Nichols told Polygon: "Over the last year we made a bunch of moves to engage fans better. Included in that was a real lead up to the holidays".
Not only will the price cut take place, but Microsoft plans on throwing out new games, improvements to Xbox Live, and much more. Nichols added "It was really about positioning ourselves to have a breakout holiday. We were as aggressive as we could be to see how people would react. The results were staggering, it was a terrific response to the changes we made".
Do you plan on getting the Xbox One again now that it's cheap? Or will you be holding off for some new games, or a new bundle?
Rolling out to Xbox One preview members today, Microsoft has finished work on a brand new update for their champion console. With regular users to receive this in February, there have been some new features listed and improvements made.
One of the main improvements is the apparent upgrade to the TV functionality, alongside adding new game hubs - a new section for each game, displaying your friends that this title, DVR clips and broadcasts and a VIP view that will highlight popular Twitch.TV streamers. Thanks to the new game hubs, you can also launch the game with a party, track achievements or broadcast game play in snap mode.
As for the TV component, Microsoft have added a OneGuide rollout for the Netherlands, added support for new AV receivers and set-top boxes and have also added Live TV trending for France, Germany, Brazil and Mexico. This Live TV streaming service will also be supported on Windows Phones and Android for Xbox One Digital TV tuner customers in France, the UK, Germany Italy and Spain.
First we covered the Xbook Duo, which placed a non-backwards compatible Xbox One and an Xbox 360 into a single package - now we've got the Playbox. Developed by the same modder, he's thrown a PS4 and an Xbox One into the same shell - confusing and worrying elitists worldwide.
In the lead up to these two creations, Eddie Zarick has thrown a PS4 and Xbox One into their own separate shells, but as the famous saying goes "¿Por qué no ambos" (why not both?). The Playbox hosts the PS4 component on the left side of the system and with the Xbox One on the right.
Both consoles are powered by a single cord, however they don't function at the same time due to overheating constraints. You can flick an easy-to-reach switch on the back to help change from one console to another at your will.
The Nintendo New 3DS XL will finally be released in the United States on February 13 with a $200 price tag, and includes a number of hardware improvements for gamers. The new gaming unit has better face-tracking 3D, a more powerful processor, additional shoulder buttons, built-in NFC and a second analog mini-stick for gamers.
Nintendo also decided not to include an AC adapter with the New 3DS XL, so owners will get home and find they don't have a bundled charger. All new units will have a 4GB micro SD card, as Nintendo moved from standard SD to micro SD, due to changes in the internal layout of the new 3DS XL's hardware.
Unfortunately, Nintendo isn't releasing the New Nintendo 3DS in the United States, despite it launching in Japan and Australia.
Microsoft has captured an Emmy Award for Television Enhancement Devices, as the Xbox One captured award during the 66th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards last week during CES. The Xbox One has a number of different apps supporting streaming video, premium content channels, and other video services.
In addition to CD, DVD and Blu-ray disc playback and apps, Microsoft included MKV and DLNA support, so downloaded videos are supported - and features an Interactive TV Guide.
"Microsoft is in good company with the likes of fellow award recipients Apple, Roku, Sony, and TiVo, and we're proud to be awarded this honor by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences," Microsoft said in a blog post.
Nintendo has confirmed it has pulled the plug on video game and console sales in Brazil, facing challenges that were ultimately too difficult to overcome.
"The current model was unsustainable," said Bill van Zyll, Nintendo general manager of the Latin America division, without going into detail. However Nintendo offered a more-detailed statement in an email to Polygon:
"Brazil is an important market for Nintendo and home to many passionate fans, but unfortunately, challenges in the local business environment have made our current distribution model in the country unsustainable," Nintendo said in an emailed statement to Polygon. "These challenges include high import duties that apply to our sector and our decision not to have a local manufacturing operation. We will continue to monitor the evolution of the business environment and evaluate how best to serve our Brazilian fans in the future."
Sony has confirmed it is pushing back the expected Jan. 11 launch date of its PlayStation 4 game console in China, and must deal with "various factors" that caused the rescheduling. The Japanese electronics company plans to initially file for 30 game licenses with the Chinese government, and begin expanding its software offerings inside of the country.
Both Sony and Microsoft face long-term issues selling their consoles in China, as PC and mobile gaming have become more prominent - and the Chinese government has strict censorship rules in place, so it's possible leading titles in the US and European markets can't be sold in China.
The Chinese Ministry of Culture, the regulatory body responsible for video game content, is never in a hurry while approving licenses for foreign video games that will be sold inside of China. It is suspected for the Microsoft Xbox One launch also being pushed back, as there are restrictions on video games that have extreme violence, political content, or otherwise seen as profane.