Tag Archives: sony

In Japan, Man Arrested For Modding And Reselling PS3

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Forty-four-year-old Tadaaki Abe has been arrested in Kagawa, Japan, for modding a PlayStation 3 and then selling it.

According to NHK, Abe is accused of jailbreaking PS3s so game discs could be copied and then played without re-inserting them. He was arrested for selling a modded PS3 for 15,555 yen ($145) to a Tokyo man in his 40s.

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Not only does this violate Japanese trademark law, but it also violates the country’s Unfair Competition Prevention Law, which protects the rights of companies to sell their products.

The modded PS3 was sold last year through an online auction site. Abe, a part-time worker, was arrested yesterday. In an affidavit, he said he did this for income.

Authorities found 40 PlayStation 3 consoles in his apartment and are currently investigating whether or not they have been modded.

Source: Kotaku.com

Do Not Underestimate The Power Of The PlayStation Lunch Box

In Japan, there is an official PlayStation 1 lunch box. It’s a crane game prize and comes in packaging that looks like the cardboard box for the first PlayStation. How cool is it?

Very cool!

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While you might think here’s a difference in nuance between “lunch box” and “bento box,” the packaging reads ランチボックス (ranchi bokkusu or lunch box). It’s being widely referred to as a bentoubako (弁当箱) or bento box.

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While Dengeki Hobby reports that this is a game center prize, some online sites in Japan are also carrying the lunch box, selling it for 1,780 yen ($16.60).

Source: Kotaku.com

PlayStation Now Price Drops To $10 A Month, Adds New Games

Sony’s streaming game service has been slowly improving since it launched in 2014, transforming from a library of older games with ridiculous pricing into a nice selection of old and new games with questionable pricing. Today Sony cut PlayStation Now’s $20 a month subscription fee in half and added a handful of high-profile games like God of War to boot.

Sony’s been trying to nail down pricing on PlayStation Now for half a decade. Today’s dramatic price drop brings the streaming game service as close to reasonable as it’s ever been. Here’s how pricing breaks down by region.

  • US: $9.99 – monthly / $24.99 – quarterly / $59.99 – yearly (from 19.99/ 44.99/ 99.99)
  • EU: €9.99 – monthly / €24.99 – quarterly / €59.99 – yearly (from 14.99/ (N/A)/ 99.99)
  • UK: £8.99 – monthly / £22.99 – quarterly / £49.99 – yearly (from 12.99 / (N/A) / 84.99)
  • JP: ¥1,180 – monthly / ¥2,980 – quarterly / ¥6,980 – yearly (from 2,500 / 5,900/ (N/A)

That’s not bad. A $9.99 charge from Sony for something you forgot you subscribed to is a lot less shocking than a $19.99 charge popping up. There’s something soothing about single digits.

Along with the new pricing plans, Sony is adding a selection of big-name PlayStation 4 games to the service for a limited time, including God of War, Grand Theft Auto V, inFamous: Second Son, and Uncharted 4. These four games will be available on the service now through January 2020, and more games will be rotated in and out on a regular basis.

Sony is so excited about the price changes it’s made a minute-long commercial.

First a lot better, now a lot cheaper. Nice moves, PlayStation Now.

Source: Kotaku.com

Shawn Layden, Head Of PlayStation’s Game Studios, Departs

Photo: Charley Gallay (Getty)

Sony has announced that Shawn Layden, chairman of SIE Worldwide Studios and a mainstay of PlayStation’s E3 press conferences, will be leaving the company. No reason was given for his departure, and a successor has not been named.

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Formerly president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America (until Sony’s regions were brought under one roof in 2018), Layden had been with Sony since 1987, serving in roles like vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and president of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan.

When Sony consolidated its worldwide PlayStation divisions into a single unit in 2018, Layden was no longer president of Sony Interactive Entertainment America, and the company said he instead would “concentrate his focus” on leading Sony’s game development studios.

Source: Kotaku.com

Three Hours With The Last Of Us Part II

I emerged from my three-hour The Last of Us Part II demo session tense and anxious, a coiled fire hose of pent-up adrenaline. I’d just piloted a now-19-year-old Ellie through peril after peril, amassing a grisly body count along the way. Few of those kills were clean. Many were desperate knife flurries, death by a thousand sinew-snapping stabs and cuts. Human enemies mourned their fallen comrades, bellowing their names at me with bestial fury while charging to the same pointy end. And yet, after I finished the demo, I walked into a nearby bathroom, stared into a mirror, and asked myself “Did it work? Do I care?”

Developer Naughty Dog wants The Last of Us Part II to be a lot of things. Where the first game was about the overriding, sometimes destructive power of love, Part II is about hate. Last time, we played as Joel—a more nuanced bearded man than your typical action game star, but an archetype nonetheless. This time, players will control Ellie, a young queer woman trying to find life in Last of Us’ zombie-infested world. It’s a story about being a teenage girl and becoming an adult, navigating a strained relationship with your father figure, and falling in love. But ultimately, as director Neil Druckmann said at a preview event in Los Angeles earlier this week, The Last of Us Part II is a revenge story. “How far would you go?” he asked ominously during a presentation before the hands-on session.

The demo’s first section took place early in the game, with Ellie and new character Dina—who shared the most natural-looking kiss in video game history during a 2018 E3 trailer—riding on horseback through a snowy landscape, doing patrol duty for their Jackson, Wyoming settlement. For the first 15 minutes or so, the two chatted (and bantered) back and forth about plans, people they knew, and relationships while checking in at a station and scavenging some abandoned houses. The tone was light and flirty. At one point, Dina asked Ellie what she was planning to do that night, clearly angling for something. Ellie said she was thinking about watching a movie with Joel, which drew a surprised reaction from Dina. “Oh,” Dina said. “Are you two… cool?” Joel did, after all, basically sacrifice humanity’s future to save Ellie at the end of the first The Last of Us—though it’s unclear whether Ellie knows that or not. The tension quickly dissipated, however, when Dina asked what kinds of movies Ellie and Joel liked to watch. Joel is big into cheesy martial arts flicks, it turns out. But even this conversation was tinged with melancholy, as Ellie pondered if, somewhere out there among all the desolation, there were people still making movies.

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Ellie and Dina came across a hollowed-out mess of a moose corpse that had doubtless been peeled to the bone by zombie-like creatures, called Infected. From there, the level transitioned into a pretty traditional Infected-centric level that wouldn’t have felt out of place in the first game. As Ellie, I had to stealth through a series of increasingly Infected-overrun offices and warehouses en route to an abandoned supermarket. This section served largely as a tutorial, reinforcing the first game’s conventional wisdom that while you can open fire on Infected and pray that you emerge from the ensuing fray with all the meat still attached to your clavicles, it’s a better idea not to. Instead, I crouched down and used the “listen” ability, which makes a return from the first game, to “hear” (read: see an outline of) where enemies were. Then I had Ellie creep up on fast, relatively weak Runner Infected and blind but much more powerful Clicker Infected and quietly and methodically carve their necks open. Dina, when she could do so without alerting other Infected, followed suit.

The Last of Us Part II is a sound design tour de force. Clickers screeched, wailed, and of course, clicked with characteristic inhumanity, lacing even sure shot stealth kills with dread right up until the moment I finally did the deed. But it’s not like successfully ending the walking embodiments of “What if athlete’s foot, but too much” felt much better. Any time I shoved my shiv into Infected, metal scraped against wet flesh and bone while the Infected flailed and wailed, their death gurgles so piercing that it was as though they were screaming in my ear. I was never sure if other Infected had heard, and thi kind of tension is baked into every element of the sound design. Even breaking the glass on a vending machine to grab a candy bar led to a shattering sound that nearly made me jump out of my seat, even when I was certain there were no surviving Injected to hear the sound and come running.

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The section also introduced me to the game’s expanded crafting and customization systems. This time around, you can find supplements—pills, basically—and spend them on ability upgrades spread across three trees. Abilities included increased listen mode movement speed, increased throw distance, increased health kit usage speed, and, toward the top of the stealth-focused tree, craftable silencers that could be applied to guns and improved. Part II also contains an expanded crafting system that lets you create various attachments and improvements for guns. Like in the first game, you collect scrap to purchase these upgrades. As someone who prefers to strike from a distance, I saved up until I could snap a scope on my hunting rifle to give me more distance from my Infected targets. The scope, of course, was no insurance against Infected near me hearing the sound, but it gave me a small, if false, sense of safety. While there’s nothing like headshotting one Infected from two hundred feet away, I am resolutely not a fan of being eaten by the three other nearby Infected that react to gunshot sounds like Pavlov’s dog does to bells

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With their supermarket cleanup complete, Ellie and Dina decided they were done with patrolling for the day and wanted to head back to the settlement. Unfortunately, a blinding snowstorm picked up, and the two got separated. Just when it seemed like all hope was lost, Dina emerged and led Ellie into what appeared to be an abandoned daycare. Before long, the two discovered that it was once the secret hideaway of their now-deceased friend Eugene, who’d had the good fortune to die of old age—a rarity in The Last of Us’ world. As I explored and read through notes and other belongings Eugene had left behind, Ellie and Dina learned more and more about a man they only thought they’d known.

Halley Gross, Part II’s head writer alongside Druckmann, said the goal of the game’s worldbuilding is to enrich characters and, in some cases, fully explore characters the player never actually meets. “You never meet this man, but by the end of this level, you’ve learned he’s got a grow house, he likes to smoke some weed, he used to be a Firefly [the series’ militia], was involved in some terrorism, left his family, and left his kid to go pursue this mission he thought was bigger and greater than the individual,” said Gross.

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The level ended with Ellie and Dina discovering Eugene’s secret underground weed den, left to fall into disrepair after his passing. It was a surprising moment, sprinkled with levity. I came across a gas mask (crucial for avoiding infection) with a bong attached. “God,” quipped Dina, “Eugene was so smart.”

After rummaging around, Ellie and Dina settled on a couch and—with nothing better to do while waiting for the storm to pass—lit up. Dina then worked up the courage to ask Ellie a question. “So, on a scale of one to ten, how would you rate our kiss last night?” she asked. While asking this question, Dina bit her lip and moved her eyes furtively. It was far and away some of the most detailed digital acting I’ve seen. When Ellie mumbled out a non-response, Dina continued: “I’d give it a six. A solid six.”

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“You’re infuriating,” said Ellie.

“Have you met you?” replied Dina.

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Then they made out, of course. The first portion of the demo closed on this moment, a heartwarming end to a series of harrowing scares. The whole scene left a smile on my face. It was a rare moment of authentic warmth in a big-budget action game. It was easy to imagine from there how this relationship, with its believable tender moments, might play out. The two would banter, bicker, fight, and make up. It’d become a running (though playful) joke between their friends. They’d explore together. Watch movies together. Ellie would eventually find the courage to play music—original music, even—for Dina. Maybe they’d stay together. Maybe they’d break up and go their separate ways. Young love is fickle like that.

But The Last of Us Part II is a revenge story. It is about hate, not young love.

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Naughty Dog will not say if Dina dies at this point, though the studio has heavily implied it multiple times by depicting intimate scenes between Ellie and Dina followed immediately by a solo Ellie performing shockingly realistic acts of violence against humans from opposing factions. In the game’s first trailer, she said she’d “Kill every last one of them,” and in subsequent trailers as well as the demo I played, she seems to be making good on her promise. She is taking revenge for something. Do other humans kill Dina? Or is this Naughty Dog setting up an almost too-obvious bait and switch? For now, it’s impossible to say.

What I do know is that the second half of the demo found Ellie all alone. It took place later in the game. Ellie was in the overgrown, eternally-overcast ruins of Seattle, Washington, surrounded by derelict salons, tattoo parlors, and coffee shops. She was looking for Tommy, a returning character from the first The Last of Us, who was seemingly in conflict with a local faction, the xenophobic Washington Liberation Front.

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Seattle, perhaps even more so than the Wyoming location in the first portion of the demo, was dense with detail. Stores were littered with notes and other items. I could explore at my leisure, though I was always ultimately be funneled down a set, linear path. It wasn’t long before I ran into members of the WLF, who were not at all happy to see me. Fortunately, I had new stealth options on my side. The area was overrun with tall grass, in which I could go prone and crawl around. This rendered me almost invisible, allowing me to set up some gnarly, knife-y ambushes. But I could never just chill and take in the scenery. Most of the WLF members had dogs, and these dogs could track my scent. Usefully, going into listen mode allowed me to see that scent, so I could at least know what I was dealing with.

I struggled to acclimate to this system, dying often. Initially, I tried to play this section like I would any other stealth game, figuring out patrols and then closing in for the kill. As I moved in, however, a dog would sniff me out or start barking. This would alert or attract enemies, and I’d charge them in a panic, plunging my knife into any available body part. It was chaos. Each slash produced rivulets of blood and stringy hunks of flesh. Dogs barked. Both Ellie and my opponents grunted and yelped in anguish and exertion. I’d win one of these desperate melees, drop into the grass, and apply a health kit. Ellie would groan, as though bringing herself back from the brink took a little more out of her each time. It was not pretty.

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When another enemy discovered a body I’d left behind, they’d shout in alarm and, more pointedly, grief. Usually, they’d say the person’s name. They all have names. In one of the most surprising moments of the demo, I quietly dispatched somebody while their dog was distracted. Upon noticing, the dog proceeded to nudge their person’s arm, then pull on it, and then mournfully whimper. Later, I half-jokingly asked Gross what Naughty Dog has against dogs, given that I’d just killed a bunch of them and given even more traumatic separation anxiety. She replied that the goal throughout all of this violence and strife is to humanize the people Ellie is facing off against. It’s part of an effort to explore real-world issues like tribalism.

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“I think when you have any sort of close-knit tribe, you have this danger of becoming tribal. This idea of the other,” said Gross. “So we have these enemies where, you see one of the dogs clawing for its owner, or one of the fallen soldiers calls out his name. So much of what we’re trying to do is create empathy for the other. We make this enemy, and then how do we make you feel for them? So much of this game is about developing an understanding of where other people are coming from… We want to put you in a situation where you have to make hard choices. You didn’t have to kill any of them. None of them are mandatory to get through that level. So it’s a question of ‘How much is it worth’ to kill them?”

I probably would’ve been better off if I hadn’t killed any of them—at least, from a resource management perspective. But these people and animals were obstacles on my path toward standard video game goals, and before long, I was treating them like any other video game enemies. I killed some and spared others. When I killed enemies and nobody noticed, it felt good. Great, even. The level had a fantastic sense of forward motion to it, with Ellie scrambling through houses and leaping out half-rotten window frames, all as part of a larger downhill slope toward Tommy’s location. Enemies were everywhere, and their dogs would find me if I stayed in one spot for too long. I had to be stealthy, but I also had to move. I felt tense and alarmed when I got spotted, though not out of any feeling for my enemies. Rather, I was in danger and didn’t want to have to open the menu and choose the “reload checkpoint” option again if I screwed up so badly that the run was unsalvageable.

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I won a bow and arrow from a thrilling close-range fight against a special Infected. The bow is a silent, long-range, exceedingly deadly weapon. I laid in the grass and picked my shots. Nobody could touch me. Heck, most of them couldn’t even find me. I don’t remember any of their names.

I began to wonder if enemies shouting names and dogs mourning their owners was less a humanizing element and more a tool of only briefly effective emotional manipulation. In response to this, Gross said that there’ll be more nuance to depictions of enemy characters in the final game.

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“What we’re trying to do is create a holistic approach to empathy,” she said. “So “there’s the NPCs that you meet very briefly, but even in that moment we’re naming them. We’re also occasionally giving them human conversations. As you traverse by, you’ll overhear their conversations about things back home, their fuller lives. But also we have these enemies that Ellie is hunting, and as with all characters in the Last of Us universe, we’re trying to make everybody as multifaceted as possible and everybody as diverse as possible so that we can try and create challenges for empathy and then reach out toward them.”

The demo ended with Ellie dropping down into another portion of the level, only for some mysterious pair of meaty dad arms to pull her aside. At first, she struggled. Then she turned around and asked “What are you doing here?” It was Joel. “I couldn’t let you do this on your own,” he replied. That was it. Demo over.

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That was when I stood up, walked over to the nearby bathroom, and took stock of everything I’d experienced. I was still full of adrenaline from all the close shaves, melee throwdowns, and dog murders. The Last of Us Part II is shaping up to be a very exciting stealth-action game. Its mechanical additions to the first game’s formula are smart; the studio isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, but rather to further emphasize what made the original stand out and give players a little more wiggle room in terms of choice.

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But those brief moments of Ellie and Dina awkwardly fumbling through the early goings of a relationship were what stuck with me more than the usual Video Game Emotions of tension, anxiety, anger, relief, exhilaration, and “Oh no, I killed a dog.” I wanted to see more of that story, more of love finding a way to survive and even thrive in a dying world. But this is a story about revenge, and so, I found it hard not to hearken back to Heather Alexandra’s 2018 piece about how queer characters in video games rarely get to be happy and how their backstories often center around tragically deceased partners. The Last of Us, it should be noted, has already done this on a couple occasions, with multiple characters. This includes Ellie in the first game’s prequel Left Behind DLC.

Again, I do not know if Dina will die. Maybe she’ll instead betray Ellie and everybody else at the Wyoming settlement. Or maybe Ellie will go on a revenge quest for reasons entirely unrelated to Dina. But it seems clear that Ellie ends up very unhappy. Gross said that there’s a very deliberate purpose to putting Ellie into this kind of narrative. She believes that Part II is not just another post-apocalyptic story about characters being sad, another member of a very crowded club. It’s a story that she hopes will reflect on the real world in unique ways and give people something positive to hang onto during times of strife, xenophobia, and hate.

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“What I want to be feeling is resilience,” she said. “We do live in a difficult time, and Ellie lives in an incredibly difficult time, an incredibly hostile world. I want to feel inspired. I want to feel inspired by a character that is going to get knocked down and is going to pick herself back up, because that’s what I want to see. That’s what I want to feel when I go out the door every day to engage with how hard things can be right now.”

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I asked her if she feels like the game is deliberately political in that respect. She replied that it depends on your definition of the word. “We are 100 percent trying to engage with the world around us,” she said. “Our games are super diverse, and that’s because we want to reflect the world we see around us. Our games are about strong people dealing with hard times. So many of our characters are about like ‘Is it OK to be strong and to be vulnerable? Is it OK to make mistakes and pick yourself back up?’ So if that’s defined as political, then fuck yeah we’re political.”

Ultimately, Gross’ goal is to do right by Ellie’s character and write somebody that she and others can relate to through good times and bad.

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“I love seeing more women protagonists,” she said. “I think it’s wonderful. I think we’re doing ourselves a disservice when those female protagonists are impervious, when they’re too strong. I can’t relate to them. What Ellie did [in the first The Last of Us] is show me this vulnerable, scrappy girl who’s having an incredibly hard life, but who’s incredibly great—who picks herself back up and is willing to go the extra mile for people that she loves. To me, that’s the humanity of her. That’s what makes her so relatable. And that is something I really wanted to honor.”

Source: Kotaku.com

A Modern Warfare Game Option Is PS4 Exclusive Until October 2020

The practice of platform holders securing console exclusives took a new and weird turn yesterday, when Sony and Activision announced that Modern Warfare’s Survival Mode—a mode within a mode, as it’s part of Spec Ops—is appearing exclusively on the PS4 until October 1, 2020.

Spec Ops, first introduced in the original Modern Warfare 2, is a series of short scripted missions that can either be played solo or co-op. They’ve been missing from the last few Call of Duty games, so their return here has been seen as a welcome move by longtime series fans.

That excitement from PC and Xbox users will be a little tempered by yesterday’s announcement, though. While the core Spec Ops experience will appear on all platforms, Survival Mode—basically a Horde mode for Call of Duty, available as an option within Spec Ops—won’t be turning up outside the PS4 until October 2020, which conveniently is right around the time the next Call of Duty game will be due.

This isn’t the first time Sony has secured an exclusivity deal for Call of Duty content, but those have previously been for a matter of days. To lock something down for almost an entire year (the game is due out on October 25) is a little more drastic.

You can see the exclusive announced twice in the video below, once at the beginning in small print, and again near the end.

Source: Kotaku.com

New Death Stranding PS4 Has A Controller Based On The Weird Baby

There’s a limited edition PS4 Pro coming based on Death Stranding, and it’s a very fetching shade of white. The drippy black handprints on the top are a nice touch, but nowhere near as nice as the decision to base the accompanying controller on the game’s Bridge Baby.

The console launches alongside the game on November 8, and is a 1TB version of the PS4 Pro. It’ll be $400.

The controller has a partially-transparent orange casing, letting you see the insides. Sadly there’s no room in there to add a floaty baby, but the execution on a cool concept here is still one of the best for an official controller I’ve seen in years.

Source: Kotaku.com

Video Game Companies Vow Action On Climate Change, But Critics Say They Need To Do More

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Within a couple generations, after climate change has more visibly ravaged the Earth, the easiest way for humanity to interact with lush forests and icy glaciers might be video games. It’s a bleak, maybe science-fiction potential future, but not an improbable one; according to some analyses, we have just 12 years to suppress catastrophic climate change.

Yet at the same time as games present themselves as tempting vehicles for environmental escapism, the hard reality is that the games industry is a significant contributor to the demolition of our planet.

Gaming consoles rely on minerals mined using techniques that can leave behind toxic water. Factories for hardware produce massive amounts of energy and chemicals. Console and game shipments rely on supply chains networked across the globe, which, in turn, rely on fuel for airplanes and trucks. Every year, PC gamers use 75 billion kilowatts hours of electricity—25 power plants’ worth, according to retired Department of Energy Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist Evan Mills. And then there’s e-waste. When the PlayStation 5 comes out, your PlayStation 4 might become e-waste, reintroducing chemicals back into the environment. According to Greenpeace, in 2017, there was enough e-waste to bury San Francisco under 14 feet of used electronics.

Against this background, it’s hard to envision a world where video games are anything but disastrous for the environment. And yet, yesterday, during the United Nations Climate Action Summit, 21 gaming companies, including Sony and Microsoft, announced an industry-wide initiative to combat climate change called Playing for the Planet. In what might be a brilliantly-timed PR move or an earnest effort to change the tides of global climate catastrophe, these companies have made pledges ranging from reducing supply chain emissions by 30 percent by 2030 to, a little less impressively, “putting green nudges” into games’ plots.

Playing for the Planet says commitments they received from gaming companies will help reduce CO2 emissions by 30 million tons by 2030. Here are some of the major ones, as detailed in Playing for the Planet’s press release:

  • Sony Interactive Entertainment will unveil new progress and plans to utilize energy efficient technology (on-track to avoid 29 million tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2030), to introduce low power suspend mode for next generation PlayStation, to assess and report their carbon footprint and to educate and inspire the gaming community to take action on climate change.
  • Microsoft will announce the expansion of its existing operational commitment to carbon neutrality, established in 2012, into its devices and gaming work. It will set a new target to reduce its supply chain emissions by 30 per cent by 2030–including end-of-life for devices–and to certify 825,000 Xbox consoles as carbon neutral in a pilot program. In addition, Microsoft will engage gamers in sustainability efforts in real life through the Minecraft ‘Build a Better World’ initiative, which has seen players take more than 20 million in-game actions.
  • Google Stadia, which is set to launch later in the year, will produce a new Sustainable Game Development Guide as well as funding research into how “green nudges” can be effectively incorporated into game play.
  • Supercell (Clash of Clans) will offset the entire footprint of their community, Rovio (Angry Birds) has offset the carbon impact from their players charging their devices, and Sybo (Subway Surfer) and Space Ape (Fastlane) will offset 200 per cent of their studio and their gamers’ mobile energy use. Guidance documents will assist other companies to take similar actions.
  • Wild Works (Animal Jam) will integrate restoration elements in games and, like Green Man Gaming, they will focus on restoring some of the world’s forests with major tree-planting initiatives.
  • Ubisoft will develop in-game green themes and will source materials from eco-friendly factories.
  • Sports Interactive will eliminate 20 tonnes of packaging by switching from plastic to a recycled alternative for all future Football Manager releases.

Commitments from Nintendo, Take-Two Interactive, Activision Blizzard and King—four of the biggest gaming companies—are notably absent from the list. Kotaku has reached out to these companies for comment on why and has not heard back.

Evan Mills, a retired senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who has studied the environmental impact of gaming, applauded the alliance’s effort in a press release while pointing out that Intel, AMD and NVIDIA were absent from it. “The focus seems to be mostly on the console-gaming space, which is meaningful since consoles use much more energy in aggregate than desktop gaming. That said, missing from the participants are leading makers of desktop and console gaming componentry,” he said. Gaming companies are often allergic to taking a stance.

Of the herd, Microsoft and Sony announced some of the most sweeping changes. In a blog post earlier this week, Microsoft justified its decisions to reduce its supply chain emissions and shift from carbon neutral operations to carbon neutral products with the statement that “It’s clear, given the science, that targets should be even more ambitious than the Paris Accord targets, which mapped to a 2 degree rise.” Sony’s blog post says that the PlayStation 5 will “will include the possibility to suspend gameplay with much lower power consumption than PS4.” If one million users enable it, it added, “It would save equivalent to the average electricity use of 1,000 US homes.”

The initiative’s report on how gaming “can deliver for people and the environment” goes quite easy on companies that make consoles and games—in its words, “fastest growing sub-segment of data usage.” “The video game industry is making a tidal shift towards sustainability,” the report begins before stating its two main directives: goals for restoration of forests and reforestation, and ‘nudges’ that move companies and individuals towards more planet-friendly choices.” Most of the report deals with how the content of games can be leveraged to make gamers more aware of climate change. The report never once references the word “minerals,” and doesn’t meaningfully discuss gaming’s carbon footprint until page 20 of 25.

There’s a question of accountability. Commitments are good, but not without follow-through. Although the alliance consists of a lot of different members, ranging from game developers to retailers, UN Environment representative Sam Barratt told Kotaku that Playing for the Planet says that accountability is possible. “The alliance will facilitate the sharing of best practices, ensuring commitments are met and then bring in other key partners in this industry.”

When asked whether Playing for the Planet’s report or the commitments made to the initiative went far enough, Gary Cook, author of the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics, told Kotaku, “Largely, no. It’s great you have a mix of companies saying, ‘Hey, we are concerned about climate change and want to be doing something,’ but the actions they’re taking here, for the most part, are not going to move the needle and are not reflective of the significant impact the gaming industry has on the environment.” Cook thinks that, unless gaming companies acknowledge that significant impact, “they’re just giving lip service to a problem without actually doing anything.”

Cook’s biggest concerns are the manufacturing, use-phase power-suck and impact of the waste (less than 20 percent of electronics are recycled, according to a United Nations University report, which impacts the demand for mined materials like cobalt). Cook cited a recent study claiming that gaming takes up five percent of electricity consumption for residential use. And although some companies like Google aim for a future where the processing burden shifts from home electronics to the Cloud, Cook says, “Your local energy use might not have changed, but you’re consuming as much power as one or three refrigerators from the Cloud side.” (Google recently made the biggest renewable energy purchase in history, however, the impact of Cloud gaming is not mentioned in the Playing for the Planet report.)

“A lot of their future customers are really concerned about climate change and are demanding that governments and corporations take action and treat it like the emergency it is,” said Cook of gaming companies.

Yesterday, when 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg uttered the words “How dare you!” to the room of international world leaders assembled for the United Nations climate summit, Gen Z’s damned future felt nearer than ever. Her speech rode on the tails of the enormous, worldwide Global Climate Strike, led by millions of youth. Gen Z is stepping up and pressuring leaders to do the right thing, at the same time as they’re known as the most tech-addicted generation yet.

Gaming companies will need to reflect the concerns of their consumer bases. At the same time, they ought not to shift the onus to subvert climate disaster on their customers when the companies constitute the “structure” in “structural change.” 

Source: Kotaku.com

Everything PlayStation Announced In Today’s State Of Play

Sony’s Nintendo Direct-style State Of Play livestream series returned today, with a deep look at The Last of Us II as well as short updates about other games coming to PlayStation, including Civilization 6. Here’s a rundown of the news.

The Last Of Us Part II will be released on February 21, 2020.

A demo of the upcoming remake of the PlayStation 1 game MediEvil is available today. You can get a special item in the full game by playing the demo. Full game’s out next month.

A limited-edition Death Stranding PS4 Pro bundle is coming on November 8 with a cool dripping-handprint design.

Enhance Games and Tha Ltd. are making an intriguing-looking game called Humanity, coming 2020.

Wattam, the next game from Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi, will be released in December.

Arise: A Simple Story, a charming cartoon action adventure game, is “coming soon” to PlayStation 4.

L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files is available now for PlayStation VR. A PSVR sizzle reel showed clips of upcoming games. Espire 1, Stardust Odyssey, After The Fall, and Space Channel 5 Kinda Funky News Flash.

Civilization 6 is coming to PS4 on November 22.

October’s PlayStation Plus lineup will include MLB The Show 19 and The Last of Us Remastered.

Correction 5:05 p.m. ET: The original version of this story read “Civilization 4;” this has been corrected. Kotaku regrets the error.

Source: Kotaku.com

The Persona 5 PlayStation 4 Looks Beautiful

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To mark the release of Persona 5: The Royal, Sony is releasing a special Persona 5 themed PlayStation 4 Pro. It looks quite nice!

The Persona 5: The Royal PS4 Pro Limited Edition will be on sale between September 12 and December 25 in Japan. 

Source: Kotaku.com