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PS5: what will the Sony PlayStation 5 be like and when will we see it?

Uncategorized November 30, 2016

Peering into our crystal ball in order to gain an insight into what we can expect from a PlayStation 5 may sound like an odd exercise given that Sony has just launched its first mid-cycle console variant in the form of the PS4 Pro and countless pundits are predicting the imminent demise of the old console lifecycle model as we know it. However, now we’ve had a chance to get to know the PS4 Pro, and concluded that it feels very much a stopgap fuelled by quicker-than-expected uptake of 4K TVs, we would argue that it’s the perfect time to turn our thoughts to Sony’s next console.

When Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, was asked about the PS5, he responded that he thought the PS5 was a question of ‘if’ rather than ‘when’

 Microsoft may be about to throw a spanner into the works of the console arms-race with its Project Scorpio (due in late 2017), but there are good reasons to believe that Sony is less comfortable with the idea of taking a mobile phone-style “upgrade every year” approach to consoles in the future. Not the least of which is economics: it’s well documented that the longer a console can persist on the high-street shelves, the more profitable it becomes, as economies of scale reduce manufacturing costs, while a large installed base means publishers can sell more copies of their latest games.

 But helter-skelter change is the hallmark of these times, so we shouldn’t assume a PlayStation 5 will necessarily take a similar form to its predecessors. And Sony is definitely prepared to think radically – when Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, was asked about the PS5 by Oddworld developer Lorne Lanning, he responded that he thought the PS5 was a question of ‘if’ rather than ‘when’. 

What we can do, though, is detail what we, and all keen gamers, would like to see in a PlayStation 5.

We’ve got the TVs: can we have proper 4K gaming?

The PS4 Pro offers a tantalising hint of what 4K gaming could be like. But the stark fact remains: it still doesn’t have the grunt to do 4K properly. 

Its “checkerboard” technique of taking single pixels and using each to render four pixels in 4K resolution is clever, but now 4K TV sales are gaining traction, it’s reasonable to expect console technology to advance to a level at which it can display 4K output natively. 

Chris Kingsley, CTO and co-founder of developer Rebellion, dangles an even more ambitious technological carrot in front of a putative PS5: “Obviously new hardware should be able to support 4K TVs and possibly even 8K TVs at a push!” 

Native 4K support, surely, will be a basic requirement of the PlayStation 5? And if Sony cracks that particular problem with alacrity, it could even mean that a PlayStation 5 will arrive sooner than anticipated.

ps5 games

The VR effect

Sony recently became the first console manufacturer to embrace virtual reality, thanks to the PlayStation VR, but if you examine PlayStation VR closely – and observe how it operates on the PS4 Pro – it invites speculation about how a PS5 might take VR to a new level. 

Currently, PlayStation VR operates at lower resolution than the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive – but, as it stands, even its current incarnation almost pushes the base PlayStation 4 beyond its limits. Running a PlayStation VR on a PS4 Pro brings improved frame-rates, which are very handy indeed in terms of the overall VR experience, but even the PS4 Pro can’t overcome the resolution constraints set by the PlayStation VR headset.

Sony will want to return to the market with a second, markedly higher-tech iteration of PlayStation VR

 So it’s a good bet that, presuming PlayStation VR is successful (and it already appears to be catching on) Sony will want to return to the market with a second, markedly higher-tech iteration: which would provide an obvious selling point for the PlayStation 5. 

And if a PlayStation VR 2 headset could be sold without an external black box, it should be markedly cheaper, further accelerating VR’s march into the mainstream.

 Rebellion’s Kingsley makes another good point about second-generation VR. “Anything that reduces the leads has to be a good thing,” he says. 

The umbilical cord which currently attaches VR headset-wearers to their consoles or PCs obviously goes against VR’s entire immersive nature, and we’re already beginning to see, for example, a third-party implementation for the HTC Vive that renders it wireless. It’s a safe bet that the capacity for running a wireless PlayStation VR 2 will be built into the PS5. 

But Kingsley’s PlayStation VR 2 wish-list goes further: “Wide vertical and horizontal field-of-view would be top of my list, and of course, that would require 4K resolution per eye, and high dynamic range would be great too.” 

HDR and wider fields of view should be achievable but sadly, we don’t reckon full 4K VR is likely to be a possibility even for the PS5. As Kingsley points out, that would require 4K rendering per eye, which equates to 8K rendering overall, which we expect to be beyond the PS5’s capabilities. 

That said, perhaps Sony will find some clever technological bodge to get around that before it releases its fifth PlayStation console.

ratchet and clank

What form will the PS5 take?

It has been suggested that future consoles could take radically different forms to current ones, thanks to advances in cloud computing bringing about the ability to stream games, thereby doing away with the components that make consoles so bulky. But we don’t reckon Sony will take a more Nintendo-like approach and put the PS5 in a tiny box. 

One reason for that is that with the PS4, Sony has only just committed to using what are basically the innards of a PC – the first three PlayStation variants used proprietary components which, in the PS3, were so esoteric that the console flopped. Developers, certainly, are massively relieved that the PS4 took the PC route. 

“We always want fast CPUs and GPUs, but lots of fast RAM is also very important – it’s no use having fast processors if they are starved of data.”

Chris Kingsley

“Developers want the ability to make the best games using the minimum amount of effort. We want to focus on being creative and getting things to just work,” Kingsley says. “So the hardware should be based around current console hardware, which is in turn based on PC hardware. We always want fast CPUs and GPUs, but lots of fast RAM is also very important – it’s no use having fast processors if they are starved of data.” 

All the above are achievable, but will the PS5 still have a hard disk? 

Sony Computer Entertainment President and CEO Andrew House spoke at the PS4’s launch about how deciding to put hard disks and 8Gb of RAM in the PS4 were both “Billion-dollar decisions”. Yet any PS4 owner will tell you that the aspect of the console they hate most is its wilful inability (unlike the Xbox One variants) to accommodate external USB hard disks. 

Given that 4K games by definition contain much more data than 1080p ones, that issue will become exacerbated if a native 4K PS5 arrives. Any PS4 owner would put support for external USB hard disks top of their wish-list for the PS5, but given that Sony (inexplicably) declined to let the PS4 Pro support them, we aren’t hopeful of that.

Streaming games

Of course, if games were just streamed to the PS5 that problem would disappear entirely, and Sony already has a game-streaming service in the form of PlayStation Now

So why isn’t this more of a definite feature rather than something on our wishlist? Well, Sony is remaining tight-lipped about PlayStation Now uptake figures, but we suspect they are pretty unimpressive. It has certainly had issues with setting the right subscription charges, given that PlayStation Now effectively gives backwards compatibility – a “luxury” that was previously free for owners of PlayStation 2s and 3s. 

There would be nothing to stop Sony launching a small form-factor cloud-based version of the console for those with mega-fast broadband

But the biggest issue is broadband speeds. Even 4K TV requires a minimum of 25Mbps broadband in order to provide satisfactory streaming, and it’s doubtful whether 4K game streaming – with extra information on top of the visual side – would even work reliably at such speeds. There would be nothing to stop Sony launching a small form-factor cloud-based version of the console for those with mega-fast broadband, perhaps with a mobile phone-style subscription model that has an upfront hardware costs. 

But for the PS5 to sell anything like its predecessors, there would have to be a conventional version with similar innards to the PS4

In his recent autumn statement, chancellor Philip Hammond announced an infrastructure investment aimed at bringing fast broadband and 5G mobile data to the UK. But the earliest that would have an impact would be 2021, and the PS5 will almost certainly arrive before then. Perhaps its first mid-cycle update, though, will be a streaming version which takes advantage of burgeoning 5G networks?

Optical discs or not?

The rise of download games, which continue to eat into the physical disc market, means that pundits have been predicting that consoles will go discless for about a decade now. However, our guess is that the PS5 won’t be the first system to risk venturing down that road, at least not until it catches wind of Microsoft doing the same thing. 

Sony has taken a lot of (justifiable) flak for not putting a 4K Blu-ray drive in the PS4 Pro – making it a less attractive purchase for film and TV buffs than the Xbox One S

Surveys continue to show that gamers are still attached to the possibility of buying games on physical discs – not least because they can then sell them (a practice that the games industry hates), and due to their persistent hard disk space issues, although it’s only the current generation of consoles which has insisted on installing entire contents of Blu-ray discs onto hard disks. 

If Sony were to axe the Blu-ray drive from the PS5, gamers would expect several terabytes of storage in compensation. 

Kingsley gives a developer’s view on the topic: “I think the days of delivering films and games via disc are on the decline, as most people are going digital; however, some people like physical discs, so who knows  whether that decline will level out and remain present but at a lower level than now?”

Upgradable or not?

Microsoft has revealed its biggest weapon in its crusade to consign the console cycle to oblivion. Project Scorpio, due at the end of 2017, will include some form of upgradability. Which, bearing in mind how little we know about the console at this juncture, may be required in order for Project Scorpio to run games in full native 4K, or could perhaps pave the way for it to run HD or 4K VR games in future. 

It would be easy for Sony to take such a route with the PS5, since it will share PC architecture with Microsoft’s consoles. But even for Microsoft, with its PC legacy, an upgradable console is quite a punt: the components which would be the most likely candidates for upgrades, the CPU and GPU, would themselves come in at roughly the cost of an entire new console, and telling gamers that can only run certain games in all their finery if they upgrade their consoles is a very alienating ploy. 

Sony is much more comfortable with the concept of console cycles, which means it is less likely to add upgradability to the list of the PS5’s attributes. But, that said, it will closely watch what Microsoft does with Project Scorpio.

So when can we expect the PS5?

Given that the PlayStation 4 was launched in 2013 and Sony’s previous consoles arrived in six-year intervals, it would be easy to project that it will launch the PlayStation 5 in 2019. The sort of technology available then should easily allow full native 4K games without saddling the PS5 with a massive price-tag and, by 2019, 4K TVs will be the norm, rather than the exception, in the average household.

2020 might be the year in which Sony unleashes the PS5 on the world, as the first native 4K console with wireless VR … as long as Microsoft doesn’t get there first

 So it would be a surprise if Sony doesn’t want to capitalise on that at the earliest possible juncture. However, Kingsley points at the PS4 Pro, and reckons that could have an effect on the length of the current console cycle: “It’s a difficult one to judge, but overall I think it’s fair to say that the overall cycle will lengthen slightly.” 

Especially if the PS4 Pro wildly outsells the base PS4, which admittedly isn’t something we anticipate happening once it has reached a critical mass of households with 4K TVs. 

So perhaps 2020 might be the year in which Sony unleashes the PS5 on the world, as the first native 4K console with wireless VR … as long as Microsoft doesn’t get there first.

Source: TechRadar

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This NES Classic Edition controller adapter could solve your short wire woes

Uncategorized November 30, 2016

Sitting inches away from the TV might’ve been normal when we were tots, but eyestrain thanks to the NES Classic Edition‘s super-short cables just isn’t cute anymore. Thankfully, third-party controllers are here to help!

There are already some wireless controllers to go with Nintendo’s nostalgia-fied machine, but 8Bitdo’s Retro Receiver for the NES Classic Edition – on sale through Amazon for $39.99 – is definitely among the more versatile options out there.

We’ve seen 8Bitdo make retro new again before with its limited edition Apple II-compatible wireless controller. Additionally, the company’s other Retro Receivers can talk with other classic systems like the original Nintendo Entertainment System and SNES.

With the new NES Classic Edition version of the Retro Receiver, you can play the console cable-free using any of 8Bitdo’s Bluetooth controllers, as well as the Wii U Pro Gamepad, Wii remote, PS3, and even a PS4 controller.

One controller, many options

If playing the original Metroid on a Dualshock 4 seems too anachronistic to you, the Retro Receiver for the NES Classic Edition also comes bundled with an authentically rectangular NES30 controller.

Not only does the NES30 work with the adorable lil’ NES Classic Edition, but can also connect via Bluetooth to Macs, PCs, iOS devices, Android and “many next gen systems,” making it especially useful if you like playing retro games on platforms besides Nintendo’s micro-machine.

While a number of 8Bitdo’s other products are available globally, it appears the NES Classic Edition Retro Receiver – much like the console it’s built for – is currently available only in the US. 

Via The Verge

Source: TechRadar

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12 picture-perfect gifts for your photographer friends

Uncategorized November 30, 2016

2016-gift-guide-photographer Welcome to the 2016 TechCrunch Holiday Gift Guide! We’ll be rolling out a bunch of guides leading up to Christmas, hopefully making your holiday shopping a little easier. Looking for gifts for others on your list? Check out our full 2016 Gift Guide Hub. Photography is a habit that tends to attract passionate people, who are very particular about their gear. Tech can help shutterbugs, but… Read More

Source: TechCrunch

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Google launches App Maker

Uncategorized November 30, 2016

templatelibrary-2 Google today announced the launch of App Maker, the newest entry in the low-code, drag-and-drop app building market. Like its competitors from Microsoft and numerous startups, App Maker promises to make it easy for anybody to quickly develop basic apps that serve a very specific purpose inside an organization. The new service features a cloud-based drag-and-drop development environment that… Read More

Source: TechCrunch

155 total views, 0 today

The connected car and another fragmented market

Uncategorized November 30, 2016

connected-car As any new industry takes shape, technical fragmentation occurs. The connected car is new and hot and, like markets prior, there’s a huge land-grab unfolding in front of all consumers. It feels very much like the early days of smartphones: Everyone was trying to be a player. All companies built their own flavor of software and, as a byproduct, all hardware (smartphones) was weak, at best. Read More

Source: TechCrunch

169 total views, 0 today

Zero is a mobile automation app for email addicts

Uncategorized November 30, 2016

img_0305 Email apps are a dime a dozen. There are the regular emails apps that come with our phones, there’s Gmail and Spark and there’s 50 others that all offer just about the same thing. Zero is trying something different. Think of Zero as an AI-enabled email system. It reads your messages as they come in and allows you to do all the regular stuff – move emails into trash, snooze… Read More

Source: TechCrunch

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The cheapest place to buy Final Fantasy XV

Uncategorized November 30, 2016

It’s been ten years in the making, and now Final Fantasy XV has finally launched on PS4 and Xbox One. We know when you’ve waited this long you’re likely to want to throw money at the first copy you see to get it in your console as quickly as possible, but we think that since you’ve been so patient you deserve to get the best deal possible. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best deals around.

Day One Edition PS4

The cheapest place you’re going to be able to pick up the Day One Edition of the game for PlayStation 4 is Tesco or Amazon at the moment. 

That said, it’s worth bearing in mind that if you want something a little more special in the form of a steelbook cover, Argos is charging only a few pounds more for the keepsake. Perhaps even more worthwhile, though, is ShopTo which is offering additional weapons via DLC with the game for under £40. 

Day One Edition Xbox One

For some reason that we’re not aware of, there are price differences between the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game. You can get your hands on the Xbox One version cheaper at Zavvi than anywhere else for £37.99. There’s still the steelbook cover option at Argos for £42.99, though, and that weapon DLC offer at ShopTo is also available on Xbox One for £39.82. 

Deluxe Edition PS4

The Deluxe Edition isn’t available from your local supermarket but there’s a great deal on the PS4 version at GameSeek where it’s only £57.83

Deluxe Edition Xbox One

GameSeek is also offering a great deal on the Xbox One version of the game, pricing it at only £54.01.

Source: TechRadar

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Microsoft Office 365 catches up a bit more with Google’s productivity apps

Uncategorized November 30, 2016

Microsoft has announced a bunch of new features for Office 365 users, including the extension of real-time co-authoring beyond just Word, with the company now bringing it to PowerPoint.

Yes, when you’re collaborating with someone over a slide, you’ll now be able to see their changes appear live in PowerPoint for Windows on desktop PCs (although note this is only for Office 365 subscribers who are Office Insiders – in other words, it’s still in testing).

The feature is also available in the PowerPoint Mobile app on Windows tablets.

Microsoft has also brought a welcome change to Outlook, giving users the ability to take a traditional attachment to a message, and change it into a shared cloud-based document directly within the email app. You can also specify permissions to view or edit within Outlook.

This feature is available in Outlook on Windows for Office 365 subscribers, and also for Outlook on the web.

Notifications across the nation 

So what else is new? The Word, Excel and PowerPoint mobile apps will now give you notifications to let you know when shared cloud documents have been edited, or shared with others – so you can keep on top of things when on the move, and make sure nothing goes awry.

At the moment, notifications are only live for Office Insiders using the Android and Windows Mobile apps, with the functionality coming to iOS in December. These are only for consumers at the moment, mind, with commercial customers getting them in the ‘coming months’ according to Microsoft.

Other tweaks include the introduction of a Shared with Me tab in Word, Excel and PowerPoint, which is a handy list of all the files which have been recently shared with the user for quick access purposes. This is available for both Windows and Mac Office 365 subscribers – and it’s also on the iOS and Android apps, and will soon be gracing the Windows Mobile apps.

Source: TechRadar

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Twitter now lets mobile users make their own Moments

Uncategorized November 30, 2016

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-12-32-10-pm Earlier this fall, Twitter opened up access to its storytelling feature “Moments” to all Twitter users, allowing anyone to create their own stories using tweets and photos uploaded to the service. At the time, Moment creation was only available on the web, but the company promised that mobile support would arrive soon. Today, it has – Twitter has announced that the ability… Read More

Source: TechCrunch

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Cyber Deals Week iPhone 7 deals: save £125 with these cheapest ever voucher deals

Uncategorized November 30, 2016

If you’re looking for a super hot iPhone 7 deal before Christmas, now is the time to strike. These iPhone 7 discount vouchers were originally set to expire on Monday, but they’ve been extended for a few days. Act quick though because they won’t last forever.

These hot Christmas iPhone 7 deals are to be found at reliable phone retailer Mobiles.co.uk – sister site to Carphone Warehouse – and no other site can match it on price. Against highstreet prices, it’s an order of magnitude cheaper.

We’ve spoken to all of the UK networks and resellers like Carphone Warehouse and can confirm that these are the cheapest iPhone 7 deals you’re going to get around Cyber Monday this year. There will be no more deals, there will be no more discounts. So the longer you delay, the more chance you’ll miss out.

The best iPhone 7 deal of the lot comes via Mobiles.co.uk and EE and offers a great value 5GB tariff with a £125 upfront saving via voucher code. This is THE Cyber Monday deal for the iPhone 7 – it won’t get any cheaper and it’ll only last as long as the available stock lasts.

It’s also one of the first deals to work out cheaper than buying the phone separately with a SIM only deal.

The iPhone 7 Cyber Monday deal in full:

iPhone 7 32GB |  £200 £75 upfront |Unlimited calls and texts | 5GB data | £30.99 per month – save £125!
This iPhone 7 deal stands head and shoulders above the other options. Use the voucher code BLACKNOV125 to wipe £125 off the upfront cost of the phone and get it for £75 upfront. Then pay just £30.99 per month on EE for 5GB data and unlimited calls and texts. This is the Cyber Monday iPhone 7 deal we’ve been waiting for. You will be able to keep your number with this deal – just ask your current network for a PAC code which you can then give to EE and your number will be swapped over. Total cost over 24 months is £818.76

View this deal: Black | Silver | Gold | Rose Gold
Voucher code: BLACKNOV125

iPhone 7 Plus Cyber Monday deal:

iPhone 7 Plus 128GB |  £359.99 £150 upfront |1000 mins | Unlimited texts | 2GB data | £33.99 per month – save £209.99!
Mobiles.co.uk and EE have teamed up to offer this massive discount on the iPhone 7 Plus. It comes on the superior 128GB version which means you get loads of storage space for pictures, music and movies. Use the voucher code BLACKNOV210 to wipe £209.99 off the upfront cost and get the phone for £150 upfront. Then it’s just £33.49 per month for 2GB data on EE!  You will be able to keep your number with this deal – just ask your current network for a PAC code which you can then give to EE and your number will be swapped over.

View this deal: Black | Jet Black |Silver | Gold | Rose Gold
Voucher code: BLACKNOV210

Read more: The best iPhone 7 deals in November 2016

Source: TechRadar

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