Tag Archives: PS3

The Next Gaming Generation

The results of the Xbox 360 / PS3 / Wii generation of console gaming are in and they all won depending on how you keep score. The next generation of console gaming has already started with the release of the Wii U. The Wii U has had a difficult time gaining traction and this is mainly due to the underpowered main processor and graphics. At this point, it’s main draw is the Nintendo software and that’s something that losing value with each month without a Wii U Smash Bros game. For all practical purposes, the Sony PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One are the only two consoles still in the hunt to be the winner of the next generation.

Xbox One vs PS4

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Cutting the Cord – Part 2

In my first post on the topic, I looked at accessing the “over the air” HDTV signal in our area. That went pretty well. That brought me to the next question, how will we get the shows that aren’t on the “free TV” channels (ex. Mythbusters). Not only do we need them in a timely fashion, but also we need to be able to see them from all over the house. Oh, and it needs to be easy enough for a child to access (as easy as Netflix).

Step Two – Verify that we can access purchased media from different locations around the house.

The biggest source of content (shows and movies) for the family is Netflix. We have both the streaming and the movie subscriptions. With that we have most of the content from previous years. The current season of shows aren’t on Netflix though, so we need another way to see shows from the current season (the next day after they air on the TV). The first things that came to mind were iTunes and the Xbox Video Marketplace.

The problem with iTunes is that we don’t have an all Apple ecosystem. We do have an iPhone and an iPad, but no Mac computers or Apple TVs. Even the two Apple devices that we have are linked to different iTunes accounts. In the past, people would use the same account on all devices. With iCloud, you need separate accounts so that your email and calendars don’t get mixed up.

The problem with XBox Video Marketplace is also that the content will be tied to a specific account and you can’t have simultaneous logins on different XBoxes at the same time. This is definitely something that Apple, Google and Microsoft will have to figure out if they want their ecosystems to flourish.

One company that isn’t dependent on their hardware is Amazon. They do have the Kindle, but it isn’t so popular that they refuse to allow access from other devices. Just the opposite is true. They provide Amazon Instant Video clients for the XBox, PS3, Computer, Kindle, Blu-ray players and Smart TVs. They also have season passes (show ready next day after airing on TV) for most popular shows. Another option from Amazon is their Prime subscriptions. This bundles a set of TV shows & movies with an ebook library and free 2 day shipping for $79 per year. I don’t think it provides enough value for us yet, but we could easily pay for it with the savings from cancelling cable.

There may be other options out there (Vudu comes to mind), but Amazon Instant Video library should do the trick for us. It’s cheap enough and easily accessible.

Sony Launches the PS Vita

I know this might come as a surprise to many, but Sony launched their new hand held gaming platform in North America yesterday. It was announced last year and release in Japan and the end of last year. It has enjoyed a decent amount of success there selling around 600,000 devices.

To me this seems like one of the most competitive markets (hand held gaming) to be in these days. Not only do you have the traditional gaming devices such as the Nintendo DS (and variants), PSP and now 3DS, but you also have cell phones, tablets and the non-3G iPod Touch. So does Sony have any hope of carving out enough of a niche to be successful? Time will tell, but here are a few of my observations.

The good news for Sony is that Microsoft doesn’t have a serious contender in this category. Even though their XBox Live service is doing very well, the only XBL mobile option is the Windows Phone 7 and it hasn’t caught on in the market. The bad news (in terms of competition) is that both the Nintendo and Apple brands are very strong right now and they are in the market. Apple has both the iPhone and the non-3G iTouch which is not a traditional gaming handheld, but is enough for many casual gamers. Since it’s price drop, Nintendo’s 3DS is picking up steam. So Sony finds itself squeezed on both sides (casual and hardcore). Because of this, it’s going to be tough for the PS Vita to gain steam.

The device itself is pretty nice. It has a great OLED touch screen and a quad core ARM based cpu  (w/ dedicated gpu to go with it). It’s a very solid device with dual control sticks making it very easy to use for hardcore gamers. It has an option for 3G service via AT&T at a reasonable rate (similar to a smartphone). It has a GPS and it has cameras on the front and back. It even has a rear touch panel for added control. It’s even made the switch to flash based media storage (no optical storage). At launch, they had some nice apps as well: Skype, Facebook, Netflix, and a few others. It has good integration with the PS3. There’s a lot to love in the device, but there’s not enough love to buy it if you have one of the other options (listed above).

So good luck Sony! I hope you do well. You certainly have a nice device, but time will tell if people are willing to part with $300 to pick one up. The world is moving the way of casual gaming and social apps and their aren’t enough hardcore gamers out there to swing a product to the “success” category.

Netflix Gets Easier

Over the past year, Netflix has grabbed a huge share of the market for video entertainment. One of the big reasons why is their excellent streaming features. We’ve been enjoying it immensely. Not only us, but a lot of others as well. When I check my friends list on the XBox, I regularly see a couple of others watching Netflix as well.

This week, both the Sony PS3 and the Nintendo Wii added disc-less support for their Netflix player (along with some new features like searching). So no more swapping disks. This  makes it much more convenient and it also probably saves a few game discs as well (getting scratched during the swapping). For the PS3, the option is on the main screen already. For the Wii, you’ll need to go to the Nintendo Shop channel and add the Netflix channel (which is free).

Last week I got to use the Netflix player embedded within a Blu-ray player and I was really impressed. It looked and worked great. Other ways you can access Netflix?

  • Televisions are now coming out with Netflix support (great for that TV mounted on a wall)
  • Roku (HD XD) players are now as low as $60
  • Apple TV supports Netflix in its newest version
  • Blu-ray players a plenty now have support
  • Wii, PS3 and XBox 360 all have support for it (XBL Gold required for the 360)
  • iPhones and iPads support it via the Netflix app

The single biggest problem that I think Netflix will suffer comes due to their own success. It’s not going to be the bandwidth requirements that will hurt them, but I think it will be the Hollywood studios that will threaten them. When they occupy a larger chuck of the entertainment pie, the content producers will require they they pay more (justifiably so). The question is whether the two will be able to work out an arrangement that they can both live with. That remains to be seen.

Update: It seems that I was right on target with Netflix being driven by the streaming side of the business. This little chestnut comes right from Netflix CEO:

“Q3 represents our fourth consecutive quarter of more than one million net subscriber additions.  This growth is clearly driven by the strength of our streaming offering.  In fact, by every measure, we are now primarily a streaming company that also offers DVD-by-mail,? said Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder and CEO.

Don’t get cocky Netflix.

E3 2010 – The Aftermath

It’s been a couple weeks since E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) and even though it covers more than just video games, that’s the info that I was after. E3 is a very common venue for companies to display their new technology and software. This year you had Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo all providing a glimpse of what we can expect this holiday season. One thing they all had in common was new games. These are the big name titles that everybody has been waiting for and now we know the “when”.

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