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Microsoft's Xbox Live and Sony's PlayStation Network are clawing their way back to full functionality, a couple of days after crippling distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks by the Lizard Squad hacking group.
The Xbox Live service, which has almost 50 million global users, was working significantly better by Friday evening - but the PlayStation Network, supporting almost 110 million users, still had significant problems, preventing users from logging on.
In a tweet issued Saturday morning, Sony had this to say: "Update: PS4, PS3, and Vita network services are gradually coming back online - thanks for your patience." A follow-up statement noted: "We are seeing reduced reports of network issues. We'll continue to monitor."
Sony may be going through some trouble over its hacking scandal, but Walmart is here to the rescue offering the PlayStation 4 for just $329 - a decent $70 off the usual retail price.
Walmart is offering the PS4 for $329 as an in-store pickup only deal, but you can still order it online, it just means you have to find a store where it's in stock, and then run down and pick it up. While it's cheap by itself, Amazon is offering a PS4 bundle that includes The Last of Us Remastered and the PlayStation Camera, for $439.
While most news for Sony is about the hack against it by North Korea, or so the US government alleges, the Japanese giant is out there teasing its next-gen console. Yes, the PlayStation 5 has been mentioned, and it's about damn time.
Sony Computer Entertainment Executive Vice President, Masayasu Ito, talked with the online version of the Nikkei Shinbun, talked about his thoughts on the next generation PlayStation. He said that he thinks there will be a PlayStation 5, but he's not sure in what form it'll arrive. He teased that it could be a physical console in the form of the PS5, or it could be an even better device sitting in the cloud.
Ito said "I think there will be a PS5. However, I don't know what form it'll have. It could be a physical console, or it could be in the cloud. But even if the form might change, PS5 Games will be born. This is what we want." Now I'm two minds about this, especially with what has happened lately with Sony. On one hand, being in the cloud would stop a lot of the hardware issues holding us back, seeing a next-gen console barely do 1080p 30FPS would just be disastrous. On the other hand, if everything is in the cloud and Sony gets hacked... well, we know how that has turned out lately.
Microsoft and Sony are clashing with their Xbox One and PlayStation 4 game consoles, while Nintendo quietly develops ideas for a new generation game console, according to Shigeru Miyamoto. It's not uncommon for companies to quickly begin development of a new game console while actively promoting its current offering - but plans typically remain quiet, with company executives not discussing anything with the media.
"For the time being, our focus is on the Wii U hardware, but Nintendo as a whole has groups working on ideas for new hardware systems," Miyamoto said in an interview with the AP. "While we're busy working on software for the Wii U, we have production lines that are working on ideas for what the next system might be."
It's possible the next Mario game could be saved until the next Nintendo console platform is made available - but the gaming world will have to wait for confirmation.
It will be fun to see analyst sales figures for console sales after Christmas, as Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House admits the Xbox One is giving the PlayStation 4 a run for its money. Even though sales are described as "in line" with Sony's previous expectations, the cheaper price tag for the Xbox One has led to a significant sales bump for Microsoft.
The Xbox One starts at $350 in the United States, while the PS4 is available starting at $400. The $50 price cut was announced in November and will continue to January 3, 2015.
It appears to be a good time to be a console gamer, as both companies also have several appealing console/game bundles available. Expect continued price cuts and increased competition from both companies in 2015, while they try to woo gamers to their respective platforms.
Sony has been in the headlines for all of the wrong reasons in recent weeks, but at least the company's gaming unit has something to cheer about. The PlayStation 4 has seen such high demand in Europe, Sony reportedly has struggled to keep up with European demand.
"If I look at Europe I think it is potentially, for the second year running, going to be quite inventory challenged," said Andrew House, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO, in a statement to Reuters. "I'm not going to say you won't be able to find a PlayStation 4. I think it's going to be kind of hand to mouth in terms of that market."
In the United States market, however, Sony admitted to "tougher" competition due to Microsoft's aggressive Xbox One game console. However, Sony believes sales through Christmas are still in line with its preliminary expectations - and reports will likely be published in early 2015.
Busted! Oscar Ramirez, 48, was caught by Port Authority Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials trying to smuggle a .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun inside of a Sony PlayStation 2 game console. Ramirez was attempting to fly from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City to Mexico City Mexico, but the Brooklyn man was caught before getting onboard.
Things didn't look right when the console went through x-ray, and officers found the weapon's hand grip and other parts inside of the bottom of the console housing. Ramirez now faces a weapons charge for trying to take the hand gun with him.
The TSA has found 2,100 weapons during airport checkpoints so far in 2013, a 16 percent increase year-over-year.
The Microsoft Xbox One rolled out Pandora, Vevo, Popcornflix, Telemundo Now and Bravo Now apps for gamers, in time for Christmas. Pandora previously wanted to run a custom Pandora music service app built by HTML5 for television screens - while largely ignoring game consoles.
Rolling out a native Pandora app is a good effort for Microsoft, which has been promptly outsold most of the year by the Sony PlayStation 4 game console.
Microsoft has been quick to roll out apps for Xbox One owners, including HBO GO, MLB.TV, Twitch, and Plex - the company is embracing apps to help keep users running entertainment and media services through the console.
Sony is preparing to release the PlayStation 4 in China, jumping into a fresh market that Microsoft has enjoyed to itself with its Xbox One game console. To prepare to be competitive when the additional competition arrives, Microsoft will offer an $80 price cut to ensure gamers remain interested in its console.
The Xbox One without Kinect launched in China for $600 and $694 with a Kinect unit. However, after the price drop, the unit will cost $517 without the Kinect and $614 with a Kinect. It will be curious to see if the price drop will be enough, as the PS4 will cost $468 immediately when it launches.
"As with many global products, specific pricing, promotions and offers vary by market," a Microsoft spokesperson told GameSpot regarding the price drop. "In China, Xbox is running a special promotion that began on Nov. 11, 2014."
It looks like Nintendo has a product in its pipeline that could be really quite interesting, where the Japan Times is reporting Nintendo is interesting in purchasing "free form" LCDs from Sharp.
According to Japan Times' sources, Nintendo would use Sharp's shape-shifting LCDs in a new successor to the Nintendo 3DS, or a sleep mapping device, or something else entirely. Sharp's new display technology rearranges circuitry throughout the display, which allows for screens to form in shapes that completely break the usual square or rectangular shape we've all become accustomed to over the years.