[ Shihiko° × Game。]

About Games. by Shihiko°

September 14th, 2011

December 17th will be the day that Japan will receive the PlayStation Vita. It is also the date a friend of mine is getting married… So highly unlikely I will be able to be in Japan at the launch to purchase the system myself.


In other news Minna no Golf NEXT has now received a new official title and will now be known as Minna no Golf 6, this practically ensures that my prediction of the next Minna no Golf title will be cross platform and available to both systems in the future. However for the launch it won’t be happening, it is probably going to be as late as after the launch of PlayStation Vita outside of Japan.

Sony would want to use the game to bait and sell their new system… I do feel that with the amount of launch titles that they have prepared [26 titles], we are looking the system selling out at launch. Hopefully the 3G models are less sought out for and I will be able to ask a few favours to snag one in all the commotion.

May 27th, 2011

Tomorrow the PlayStation Network in Japan is restored and so will most of Asia’s PlayStation Network services… Despite Sony taking longer to bring back the PlayStation Network for Asia, it seems like Japan also gets the short end of the stick for the Welcome Back Package.

I still standby that Sony should have given everyone store credit and decide on what the customers want. Core PlayStation users will already have most of the things they are offering… I can’t believe the おいでよLocoRoco!! BuuBuu Cocoreccho! screensaver game is being offered as a free title. Imagine you had all the games that were being offered? The titles on offer for the Japanese PlayStation Network users are as follows:

PlayStation 3:

  • The Last Guy
  • おいでよLocoRoco!! BuuBuu Cocoreccho!
  • Echochrome
  • WipeOut HD
  • Hustle Kings

PlayStation Portable:

  • 勇者のくせになまいきだor2 PSP the Best [What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord? 2]
  • みんなのスッキリ [Minna no Sukkiri]
  • パタポン 2 ドンチャカ♪ PSP the Best [Patapon 2]
  • Little Big Planet Portable
  • LocoRoco -Midnight Carnival-

There is of course also the free 30 day period of PlayStation Plus. From the outside it doesn’t look like there is much difference between the packages offered for the Welcome Back Packages offered by the different regions. However the Asian network was down longer and when they return they are offered equal or less? Seems a little unfair… Let’s see where it isn’t so great.

About all the games offered for the PlayStation 3 are non-disc based games. This means they are games that are already distributed digitally… The only games that are probably worth picking up based on their replay value is WipeOut HD and Hustle Kings as they have Online mode. LocoRoco on PS3 actually isn’t a game either, I remember when I first got it I read it was supposedly a screen saver… The reality is it is a screen saver. Takes forever to beat the game and there is no saving your progress for next time.

Other regions have on offer mostly disc based games instead of a small handful of downloadable games. Not saying that disc based games are better, but will likely give more content than a downloadable game. Dead Nation, inFAMOUS and LittleBigPlanet are all great disc based games. Even the downloadable games on offer are better… WipeOut HD + Fury and Super Stardust HD. WipeOut HD + Fury? Notice that the Asia pack does not contain + Fury?

The PSP Games on offer however, I would slightly lean towards the Japanese package as Patapon series is a great game and has good replay value. Other than that the PSP packages feels evenly matched with what is on offer for the other regions. So moving along… PlayStation Plus… not good enough.

At the end of the day, does having PlayStation Plus really matter? Logically speaking, those who had PlayStation Plus would have had probably 2 months of service that was unavailable for them to collect their Plus content from. Since each month a Plus subscriber needs to go Online to collect some free content… On top of that, some Plus subscribers who had subscriptions expiring during the down time meant that their content would stop working and they wouldn’t be able to play those games until they are able to renew the subscription.

The free Plus service feels more like a marketing gimmick that makes us think we are gaining, but instead it is a Plus trial for every PlayStation user to let them try out what Plus is all about. This can work both ways for Sony as they may be able to sign up more people on Plus. At the same time if the service doesn’t feel as if the customers are gaining anything they may lose more potential future subscribers than they are expecting to return…

From my previous Plus Experiment and hopes for the service, there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly special about Plus at the moment. All the talk about XMB Cross-Game Voice Chat when Plus was announced, never has come around right? I always expected Plus to be beneficial to customers who were willing to spend more on the PlayStation Store content… Except that every month was always disappointing titles for free and more old games on discount offers.

Personally I reckon the way Sony has done this has been very poor. It started out poorly handled, then went well when they started announcing the issue which I was willing to let that slide if they were willing to make up for it… Which is great of course that they are trying… Then I find out all the good games they offer are practically games that I already own, so it really doesn’t do the job of making up for others who maybe in the same boat as me. I still stand that they could have gotten away with less by offering us a an small amount of PSN credit in our accounts.

Case to point. Hopes for a great come back from Sony has been shattered… Guess it’s time to face the facts that Sony really does hurt themselves by holding back their own potential. :P

Source: 日本のお客様向け「感謝とおわびのパッケージ」詳細

May 17th, 2011

Anyone else think the packages aren’t so great? I mean sure, if you’re not a regular PlayStation customer these packages maybe good enough to win you back. However for those who already own some of these games being offered in the package the only real thing that is of value is the free Plus subscription.

I think if you already have Plus you probably have the best value in the deal which is great. Though I some how feel that if Sony had just given everyone some credit in their wallet this would just smooth over. Again I guess this goes back to the thing I was talking about back when I was doing the Plus experiment… If they had just given you more options to select for the package then everyone would feel a little more satisfied. According to articles on other sites, the price Sony thinks you’re worth as a customer is somewhere around a hundred dollars. Oddly enough I reckon 50 dollars in PSN credit would have probably done the job for most people.

Letting the customers buy what they feel would satisfy them is better than saying what customers are allowed. Example would be that not everyone wants the Plus service, which essentially is worth around 5 dollars for the 30 days and 10 dollars for the 60 days of pre-existing Plus users. Then the price of 2 PSN games being around 20 dollars each seems to add up to around 50 dollars right? So really if we were to choose what we wanted, instead of 2 PSN games we could have bought some add-ons for games that we already own. Example Little Big Planet is already a game I own, I could use that money and buy more costumes right? I already have WipeOut HD so if I had the money I could use it to buy the Fury add-on if I wanted to right?

It would have been a lot cheaper for Sony and probably more satisfying for customers if they were to do it this way. At the same time they wouldn’t need to also offer a package to PSP owners as the credit would be shared on the PS Store. Then again the way this offer is set up, I think we are lead to believe it is worth up to 100 dollars but really the base value is around 50 dollars as Sony is the publisher for the games on offer… Well either way the offer is nice, but could have been better for less is all I’m saying… Seems to be the case with most of Sony’s attempts at these things.

Also the whole deal with Japanese Government not letting Sony restore the service for Asia is quite interesting. Hopefully Asia will receive a more interesting welcome back package for us…

May 15th, 2011

So with the PlayStation Network coming back, it’s interesting to see what will happen from now. Personally I didn’t have any Credit Card details in my accounts and I was on holiday so mainly not too affected by this whole incident. I do wonder what happens to people who have extra accounts or multiple accounts created for the purpose of having another alias… There will be a Welcome Back Package given to all PSN users, does this mean even dummy accounts will receive free PS+ Service and free games? Will this mean out of the few games you are able to choose for free you get to collect them all if you had multiple accounts?

I bought a new PS3 for a friend during the time the hacking and downtime happened. Do they receive any of the services if we create a new account for them? It would be interesting if that is the case, but from a business point of view if you didn’t have an account before the hacking then you probably shouldn’t be eligible for the Welcome Back Package. Since you aren’t a returning customer…

One last thing I do think maybe an issue is the Secret Question and Answer. Though we maybe prompted to update our passwords and some details, the original PSN didn’t let you change your Secret Question and Answer… So if they don’t allow us to update this, then wouldn’t hackers or people who buy the information of customers from the hackers have the answer to the question and still be able to access your account? Also I forgot the answer to one of the accounts I made since I gave it a really stupid question… it would be nice to have that one changed haha… Well here is to a good PSN rebirth and Sony to have everything working right for their customers as soon as possible. :)

I watched this video earlier… felt different seeing Kazuo Hirai do this well rehearsed speech from a office desk… though yeah I guess better than seeing a Kevin Butler spin off. :P

February 7th, 2011

Of course that isn’t the official name, it is the code name for the PlayStation Portable 2. The Neo Geo Pocket… Umm Next Generation Portable, was announced last week at the Sony press event in Japan. Though I did mention a few things in the list of potential the device has… I did not expect size to come into play. The NGP is actually quite large, as in larger than the original PSP and has the same style of look and feel of the original.

Technically I am really into the device specifications, makes me really want to design and develop games for it… However the size and the product so far doesn’t sit right with me when it comes to the controls. Anyone else feel that the size seems too large to be portable? Sony might be putting this up as a device that is going to be up against the iPad and the 3DS, so actually it is smaller than the iPad but it is powerful and more capable than the 3DS. While the PSPhone [XPERIA Play] is put up against the iPhone… If that’s the case I’m all in for it being large, but then why design it to look similar to the original PSP?

I can see the design of the PSPGo being more suited for the idea, as it means some games can just utilise the touch panels to play… Think of a game similar to LocoRoco with only the L and R buttons exposed while also having the touch panels on the back and front of the NGP along with the Gyro, Sixaxis and Accelerometer… These are plenty of inputs for a intuitive game don’t you think? Also means the device will be more balanced for when you are to stick your finger out to touch the screen. When holding the original PSP, if you were to let go of one hand and try to press buttons while touching or poking the screen you notice that the hand still on the device actually needs quite some energy to support the weight of the device while pressing buttons. NGP being a larger device might be more strain on the hands during touch gaming and may ruin the experience.

Also if the result is a thicker device so they can fit true analog sticks, I’m sure people will still be fine with it when slid open as the thickness will probably be the same as the current design with a less wide approach. Even if they decide not to go with the slide design on this iteration, hope the future slimming designs will receive the PSPGo treatment because I quite like the idea of being able to sit down the device in a cradle and connect up the Bluetooth DualShock 3 and play a game with that mini-console feel. Again this goes with my theory that future game consoles should all go mobile as the more powerful home consoles become, the more expensive it is to develop for and high good quality games will be out of reach to small developers and big developers won’t risk the investment anyway so it just becomes a huge waste to the industry.

Alright back on topic… Design aside, if they were to sell the device as it is now… I would probably still buy it because I would want to play Minna no Golf NEXT [Development Title]. Which you can read about at the Mingol Community site. Though the price would still be an issue… I am speculating the cost of the device to sit around 45,000 yen at the moment. However maybe by production or release it will be around 40,000… or the 3G version will be 45,000 while without it will be 40,000 yen. A little steep to sell if it is at that price, but if the future of home gaming consoles end here… then the price may not be too bad.

The potential of the device still stands. I don’t have much to add from the previous points other than what I mentioned here… but over all the impression Sony has given to the gaming industry from the press conference seems to be a positive one and seems to have brought a large portion of attention to their side. With the 3DS release coming later this month, I would say they played this one well.

[I'll come back and edit this with a few images.]

September 16th, 2010

So the Tokyo Game Show 2010 started today… I haven’t been following the news and press release closely, but I do see a few things I look forward to trying this weekend. Ni no Kuni, Patapon 3, Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, GranTurismo 5, Little Big Planet 2, PlayStation Move and also up coming 3D games. I don’t think they will be awesome but might be a good experience and enlightening to what 3D may or may not be capable of.

Minna no Golf 5 had a short 3D display… I wonder if that means they are planning to patch the current game?

Anyway doesn’t seem like an awesome line-up of things to come but it is interesting none the less. :D

August 20th, 2010

So today’s about a month since my PlayStation Plus Experiment… How’s it going so far? Well I have received three months worth of premium avatars and a few games which I already have or aren’t that fun. Quite dissappointed with the service so far, still no news about cross-game voice chat and no premium dynamic themes to keep.

Continuing on however… According to next month’s schedule they don’t look all that great at all. For the Japanese PSN The next free title will be Warhawk… A game that is over two years old. Also there is no premium dynamic theme or avatar lined up to collect so I maybe skipping next month’s subscription.

Now what have I learned about this so far? First off the experiment works of course… I have received three months worth of avatars and games for only one month’s payment but none of the games were that interesting or worth my time or I already have it.

Subsciptions need to be unsubscribed once you have started it otherwise it will automatically renew and charge your credit card or PSN wallet at the end of the period. The service can to be unsubscribed from the Account Manager menu.

Once it reaches the end of the period you will automatically lose your Plus icon from your online status. Apparently there is a bug that allows free PSone games to continue to work even after the subscription period. However there were no PSone games for free on the Japanese store for me to test this.

As for the service so far, well there really is no benefit for power users so far… It seems you’d probably get or benefit out of this service if you were a casual PlayStation gamer and didn’t own that many games because you’d be getting essentially a new game that you have never played before. Since the service also offers automatic update, it basically allows you to set and forget your system and whenever you boot it up you’ll be ready for and game or any online networking since it would have kept your system up to date for you no matter how much you neglect gaming on it.

Well that’s the report on the experiment so far… More to come as time goes on… Hopefully they will improve the service alot more but I really done see it as a service that makes users feel they are missing out on something special…

August 14th, 2010

Looks like all the predictions and talk in the past is finally coming to fruit. Sony are really going forward with the PlayStation Phone. This can work out really well for Sony if they play it right … Rumour has it that the design is quite impressive and is a sliding touch screen with the PlayStation buttons featured like the PSP Go. Since there isn’t much to go by other than that, let’s see what points could make or break this phone for the hardcore gamer.

Games

No doubt this is the most important part of the phone and it is the selling point that will be pushing this device out to the consumers. It will be important that games created for the device are well supported and fully functional console quality games… No gimmicky games that people release on the other phones just to make a few bucks and bloat the online store or system. Keeping the system catering to more polished games will give it a more exclusive and upper class feel so that games purchased are well worth the money and there won’t be a top ten lists populated with dollar deal games and more quality games.

Hardware

Looking around at what other devices are out there that this would be competing with, this smart phone-portable console hybrid will need to ramp it up a little in order to catch the market that it needs to succeed. Firstly the hardware must support the current collection of PSP/PSone games, this isn’t an option it must be done… However this is not good enough, the device apart from featuring the ability to play PSP/PSone games also needs a refresh or update. The PSP Go failed because of this, people don’t want to pay more for a device that actually does less while despite having a nicer design and some software features. If they say they have learnt their lesson from the PSP Go, then I expect to see a brand new series of hardware that can possibly be a new type of PSP. Clue: Dual Analogue Sticks, L2 + R2 buttons, Camera, Capacitive Touch Screen, Accelerometer, Compass, GPS, Gyroscope, High Resolution Screen… pretty much anything and everything that it needs to stay on par with a high end smart phone. It would also need an awesome battery life… another thing PSP Go failed at despite the new chips and removal of the UMD drive, they decided they will reduce the size of the battery so that you end up with the same battery life as a standard PSP Slim. There is clearly more that can be said about the hardware, but I think if they wish to keep the phone competitive, they will have to have base hardware requirements for the series and refresh and update the hardware over time. However only changing the appearance, design, memory and storage so that games are designed for all systems throughout the system’s life cycle.

Software

Now this is where Sony usually struggles and dies trying. Rumours have it that the phone will be using Android 3.0, most likely skinned and modified to work how Sony wants it… similar to the Xperia X10. I’ve used an Xperia before, and well it ain’t no iPhone, even the new Samsung smart phones are nicer to use with Android 2.0. Sony needs to get the software for this right or it will crash and burn. No one wants to use a device that lags and struggles to respond no matter how beautiful it may look. A new and improved XMB would work, especially with a multi-touch screen should provide a good combination between using the directional pad and selecting icons on screen quickly. A quick example would be using the XMB menu then selecting the Photos menu on the PlayStation 3 then seeing it tile on screen which allows you to scroll with the directional pad or touch each tile for viewing. Being an Android phone, apart from supporting Android games it should also have it’s own propriety format so the games stay exclusive and will only work on the PSPhone. I’m sure this part is already thought of and clearly separates the system’s abilities from a normal Android phone… if not well then this will clearly be another lost cause.

PlayStation Network

Really, who is the market that will be buying this device? PlayStation owners and hardcore gamers. A fully functional and always connected PlayStation Network client on the phone would mean a lot to these people. If Sony wants the device to keep these people gaming, the community must be there and even though mobile devices isn’t the best idea for staying connected as connection dropping is or can be expected, it should not mean this shouldn’t be included. Most people are in the hardcore category with their portable consoles usually spend the majority of their time playing their games at the comfort of their own homes and usually have a stable internet connection there anyway. Just provide a warning that they may lose connection if the player chooses to play their games over the mobile network. The PSP had the PlayStation Network added later in it’s life cycle which meant it was slightly limited, however not being able to communicate with your friend’s list while on the PSP version of the PlayStation Network kind of defeated the purpose of signing in. So a fully functional PSN could turn it into a must have device for the daily PlayStation gamer.

Marketing

Lastly, probably another place where Sony tends to over look or do weirdly is the marketing of their devices. All I can say is, keep it simple and make sure you cover the market targeted and also the related markets such as multimedia audience and the casual gamer smart phone market. Show what it does… I think the recent advertising teams are doing better, but really that’s comparing it to what was already considered bad advertising. They will need to push this one hard if they want it to expand beyond just the gamer that doesn’t like having to carry a phone and their portable console.

Summary

I’m all for this idea, and it seems the general online feedback for it is quite positive as well… the downside is Sony has done this sort of thing in the past and failed to live up to the hype and advertising of some of their products which is why they don’t pick up as well as some of the other products and devices out on the market. Hopefully they will get this right and actually innovate again instead of only improving technology and hoping people will buy it on the specifications alone.