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PS4 leads US hardware sales in February, but by narrow margin

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February was a good month for games, with strong sales for almost everybody regardless of platform.

For overall console sales, the NPD reports, “PS4 led hardware sales in February 2014, but by a narrow margin with Xbox One selling over 90% of what the PS4 sold in terms of unit sales. However, with Xbox One’s higher price point it led hardware sales on a dollar basis.”

And Microsoft also clarified specific numbers in a separate press release stating that the Xbox One sold 258,000 consoles “surpassing Xbox 360 sales by over 61 percent at the same point in time.” Microsoft also wrote that, combining the 360 and Xbox One, “The Xbox platform sold more hardware than any other home console platform,” which would put it above the PS3/Vita/PS4 and Wii U/3DS combinations.

But regardless of the spin, it’s good news for both companies. The NPD wrote, “Within console hardware, we continue to see strong year-over-year increases due to the success of the Xbox One and PS4,” and “The majority of hardware platforms experienced double-to-triple digit increases compared to January 2014.”

Software sales were also very positive; the NPD reported that game sales for both the Xbox One and PS4 were up 80% “when compared to the combined first four-month sales for the Xbox 360 and the PS3.”

Despite strong sales of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, which Nintendo reported earlier, the NPD clarified that the game “did not rank in the top ten when looking at title-level sales.”

February 2014 Top 10 Games (New physical retail only across all platforms, including PC)

Call Of Duty: Ghosts (Activision Blizzard)
The LEGO Movie Videogame (Warner Bros. Interactive)
NBA 2K14 (Take 2 Interactive)
Thief (Square Enix)
Grand Theft Auto V (Take 2 Interactive)
Battlefield 4 (EA)
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Ubisoft)
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (Square Enix)
Minecraft (360–Microsoft)
Bravely Default (Nintendo)

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PS4 or Xbox One: Which Game Console is Best for Non-Gamers?

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Finally, the major game consoles are getting updates with the Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One releases are right around the corner. There will be plenty of awesome game titles for both the PS4 and the Xbox One, but even if you’re not big into gaming, these systems might have something to appeal to you. After all, the PlayStation 3 was one of the first widely popular Blu-ray disc players, and the Xbox 360 was one of the first home entertainment devices to offer Netflix’s streaming video services. And the latest-gen consoles have even more entertainment .
What the PS4 and The Xbox One Can Do
Both the Xbox One and PS4 are fully functional Blu-ray players. Microsoft only supported DVD playback for the 360, but the Xbox One will finally make the jump to Blu-ray formats, and that means you’ll be able to watch high-definition movies on your system of choice.

Both systems will also have access to online media services, like every other major gaming platform (including handhelds). You’ll be able to access Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and other services to watch television and movies and listen to music on either system.

And they both will have access to large libraries of on-demand movies, television shows, and music, but this is where they start to differ. On the Xbox One, you’ll be able to rent or buy content from the Xbox Live Movies & TV and Music Stores. PS4 users will be able to rent or buy content from the Sony Entertainment Network and access Sony’s Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited on-demand services. The availability of movies, music, and television shows might differ slightly between the two services, but they’ll both carry most major releases from studios and labels.

What Xbox One Does More
The Xbox One goes much further in home entertainment value with its television integration. The system has an HDMI pass-through and infrared blaster that you can connect to your cable or satellite box to integrate TV watching into the Xbox One. The process and features are explained in more detail in How to Watch TV on Your Microsoft Xbox One, but it basically lets the Xbox One take control of your cable or satellite box so you can browse programming alongside online media services in the Xbox One OneGuide and change channels using your voice and the Kinect. The Xbox One also lets you use apps and services while watching television; apps can be snapped to the side of the screen so they don’t obscure the television signal.

We’ll have to play with the Xbox One and Kinect ourselves to see how well this feature works, but the idea of switching between your favorite channels and shows with your voice and watching TV alongside the different apps and features of the Xbox One dashboard sound very useful. This could turn the Xbox One into the real killer in non-gaming applications, and makes it stand above the PS4 as a pure home entertainment hub.

These features come at a price, though. The Xbox One already retails for $100 more than the PS4, and using online media services requires a subscription to Xbox Live Gold, which costs $60 per year. You can use all of the PS4’s media features without subscribing to PlayStation Plus, and the system itself retails for $399 to the Xbox One’s $499. If you watch a lot of television, and perhaps watch TV far more than you’d even care about playing games, the Xbox One is a better bet.

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PS4 System Software Update 1.50 Details

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We wanted to shed some light on system software update version 1.50 for PS4, which will launch simultaneously with the system’s official North American launch on November 15th, 2013. By updating to system software version 1.50, you’ll be able to experience a variety of new features in addition to the basic functions of PS4.

The system software update 1.50 is approximately 300 MB, and will include the following features:

Remote Play
Users will be able to access PS4 titles displayed on their living room TVs and play them on a PS Vita system over Wi-Fi networks by using PS4 Link (Depending on network environment or titles, remote play performance may vary outside of the home). We anticipate that most PS4 titles will be playable on the PS Vita system through Remote Play. The latest PS Vita system software version, to be released soon, will be required to use PS4 Link.

Second Screen
Users can use the PS4 Link application for the PS Vita system, and PlayStation App for iPhone, iPad, and Android-based smartphones and tablets, to use these devices as second screens in supported titles. PlayStation App has the ability to enable users to interact with games with their mobiles devices. For example on The Playroom, a title pre-installed in all PS4 systems that requires PlayStation Camera, users can draw pictures on their mobile device screens and flick them towards the TV. The images then appear as a 3D object within the game.

Record, take screenshots, and upload gameplay effortlessly
The PS4 system provides dedicated, “always on” video encoding systems that enables seamless uploading of gameplay. Users can share their epic triumphs by simply hitting the Share button on DualShock 4, take screenshots or scan through the last 15 minutes of gameplay, tag it and return to the game—the video uploads as the user plays. At the PS4 system’s launch in North America, users will be able to share their images and videos with friends on Facebook and screenshots with followers on Twitter, though users will need to sign up for individual accounts to use Facebook and Twitter.

Broadcast and spectate gameplay
The PS4 system also enhances social spectating by enabling users to broadcast their gameplay in real-time to game fans around the globe, using Ustream and Twitch live internet streaming services (users will need to sign up for individual accounts to use Ustream and Twitch). There are two ways for users to view live broadcasts. First, the Live from PlayStation application on PS4 aggregates streams from all PlayStation users. Second, users can spectate friends’ PS4 gameplay from PCs, and applications such as Ustream, Twitch, and browsers, which are installed on their mobile devices. These applications can be easily started up via PlayStation App, and users can also use these applications to post comments to gameplay broadcasts. Furthermore, users with PlayStation Camera can stream camera images and microphone sounds along with their live gameplay broadcast.

Play as you download
This feature enables users to play supported digital titles as they are being downloaded. The time it takes to begin playing will vary depending on game data size and network environments, and not all titles will support this feature When a game is purchased, users can start playing after PS4 downloads a portion of the data, while the rest of the game is downloaded in the background during actual gameplay. Games may be downloaded in stand-by mode.

Multi log-in
A maximum of four users can log-in to a single PS4 system simultaneously. These players can use their own save data to play games, and also earn trophies on their own Sony Entertainment Network accounts even when playing a multiplayer game together on a single PS4 system.

Party (Voice chat)
By using the Mono Headset bundled with the PS4 system, users will be able to chat with up to eight friends enjoying different applications or games. Furthermore, users can use Party to chat between PS4 and PS Vita systems.

Face recognition and voice commands
Users with PlayStation Camera will be able to register their facial image onto their PS4 system, and login to their system using facial recognition instead of DualShock 4. Furthermore, users can use either the microphone of the Mono Head set connected to DualShock 4, or PlayStation Camera to navigate through the PS4 home screen (PlayStation Dynamic Menu) with voice commands to start up games and shutdown the system, among other features; please refer to PS4’s online manual for recognizable voice commands.

Background music player
Users can enjoy gameplay while listening to music in the background with Music Unlimited, a cloud-based digital music service. Users can also voice chat with friends while listening to music. Learn more about Music Unlimited here.

Online Multiplayer
PlayStation Plus members will be able to play PS4 titles online with other players via the network. PS Plus makes it easy for members to join available online multiplayer matches in a variety of ways, including the ability to easily join a game from a live stream broadcast or Party voice chats.

Blu-ray Disc and DVD player
Users can enjoy not only gaming on their PS4 system, but also Blu-ray and DVD video contents. When using for the first time, users must connect to the internet to activate this feature.

Some features will not be available at launch, such as “suspend/resume mode” which is a feature that keeps the PS4 system in a low power state and promptly takes users back to their game. We will provide additional information about system software update version 1.50 and features available at the PS4 system’s North America launch, and features that will be available after launch, in the near future.

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Playstation 4 Units May Sell Out Quickly

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When Sony’s (NYSE: SNE [FREE Stock Trend Analysis]) released PlayStation 3 in 2006, the company shipped a mere 200,000 units to America.

This was half the number of units that Sony had expected to ship. At the time, Sony estimated that there were one million consumers vying for those consoles.

To prevent another system shortage from occurring, Sony was rumored to bring 16 million PlayStation 4 units to retail in 2013. Not all of these consoles would be allocated to the United States, but a significant number would surely come stateside, preventing a repeat of the PS3 debacle.

That was just a rumor, however. Now, just weeks before the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo, another rumor is contradicting the last one.

According to DigiTimes, Sony “may have trouble achieving shipments of 12-16 million units in 2013 as expected, as the related upstream supply chain has not yet received any shipment instructions from the Japan-based vendor, implying a possible delay in the game console’s mass shipment schedule.”

Even in the best-case scenario, it seemed hard to believe that Sony would ship 16 million units.

Hardware manufacturers traditionally ship a few hundred thousand units to each territory (Japan, Europe, the United States, etc.) before flooding retailers with an overabundance of consoles. In doing so, they can increase demand (or make it appear that demand is higher than it actually is) and prevent any excess units from sitting on store shelves.

Nintendo (OTC: NTDOY) pioneered this strategy when it created the first massive system shortage in 1996. At the time, Nintendo shipped a very limited number of Nintendo 64 units, creating a shopping frenzy as consumers rushed to get one before Christmas.

In 2006 — 10 years after Nintendo 64 arrived at retail — Nintendo found itself in a similar situation even after shipping millions of Wii consoles. The demand was so great that the system shortages continued in 2007, particularly around the holiday shopping season.

If PlayStation 4 proves to be even more popular (and thus in higher demand), Sony could easily produce and sell 16 million units during the console’s first year of release. In a quarter, however, that is not possible.

First of all, game consoles are not smartphones. They are not adopted and replaced overnight. While there may be eight million people who are already interested in buying PlayStation 4, it will take time before Sony can persuade 16 million individuals to open their wallets.

Thus, even if Sony could manufacture 16 million units this fall, it is very unlikely that the company will ship all of them at once.

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The DUALSHOCK®4 controller

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The DUALSHOCK®4 controller incorporates a new highly sensitive six-axis sensor, as well as a touch pad located on the top of the controller, which offers gamers completely new ways to play and interact with games.

The newly developed PlayStation® Camera for PlayStation®4 incorporates two high-sensitive cameras that have wide-angle lenses with 85-degree diagonal angle views which can recognize the depth of space precisely.

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Injustice: Gods Among Us

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What if our greatest heroes became our greatest threat? From the indomitable DC Comics and the makers of the definitive fighting game franchise Mortal Kombat comes Injustice: Gods Among Us, a bold fighting game featuring a large cast of favorite DC Comics icons. Set in a world where the lines between good and evil are blurred, players will experience heroes and villains engaging in epic battles on a massive scale. A deep, original story compliments the fighting action that pits many of the great heroes and villains from the DC universe against each other — Batman, Harley Quinn, Solomon Grundy, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman and many others lose their allegiances and fight for Injustice!

Release Date: April 16, 2013
RP-T+ for Rating Pending, Targeting a Rating of Teen or Above:
Genre: Fighting
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Developer: NetherRealm Studios

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