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Court approves settlement over Sony’s 2011 PSN breach

The US District Court for the Southern District of California approved a settlement for the class action lawsuit resulting from Sony’s 2011 PSN data breach. The settlement may result in Sony doling out as much as $ 17.75 million, which includes an…
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Analysis – Sony’s PlayStation Now Beta Pricing Is Overly Expensive

At E3, Sony announced that PlayStation Now will be going into open beta later this summer. Since then, users in the closed beta have noticed some changes, namely that there are prices associated with content rentals now. The problem is that the cost for renting games doesn’t make much sense.

Before we get into the weeds, it’s important to note that this is a beta and, therefore, final pricing might be more realistic in relation to other purchasing options. In fact, it needs to be, because out of eight games we sampled at random (approximately half of those available), there are less expensive options for owning.

In an email to beta participants, Sony says that pricing is set by developers and publishers. Based on what we’re seeing, it’s clear that content owners are charging prices for rental that they know exceed the purchase price. (The moral is that you should do your research before starting a rental.)

PlayStation Now allows users to rent games that are stored on the server and streamed to a PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and eventually a PlayStation Vita and PlayStation TV. This is similar to the concept behind OnLive and different than having a game locally on disc or on your system's hard drive. Sony will be offering a variety of rental periods, which it is testing along with prices during a beta period. 

Title 4 Hours 7 Days 30 Days 90 Days Retail* PSN
Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don't Know  $ 5 $ 8 $ 15 $ 30 $ 25 $ 40
Alpha Protocol $ 3 $ 6 $ 8 $ 15 $ 5 NA
Deus Ex: Human Revolution $ 5 $ 7 $ 15 $ 30 $ 7 $ 20
Final Fantasy XIII $ 3 $ 6 $ 8 $ 15 $ 14 $ 13
Final Fantasy XIII-2 $ 5 $ 8 $ 15 $ 30 $ 15 $ 20
Guacamelee $ 3 $ 5 $ 8 $ 15 NA $ 15
Saints Row: The Third $ 5 NA NA $ 30 $ 21 $ 30
Stick it to the Man $ 3 $ 4 $ 7 $ 10 NA $ 10

*Surveyed from a Amazon and GameStop (note: GameStop is Game Informer's parent company).

There are benefits to PlayStation Now that go beyond the price, though. If you don't have a PlayStation 3 (or PC or Xbox 360) on which one of the titles is available for purchase, a PlayStation 4, Vita, or even a PlayStation TV will be compatible with the rentals. This also means that you'll be able to play these games across devices using your account.

Put simply, Sony needs to insist that rental prices do not exceed the cost of purchasing a game via PSN. Additionally, ownership pricing via PSN should be clearly disclosed on the PlayStation Now page. It's up to the user to check retail pricing (just as it is with digital purchases now), but for the sake of transparency, Sony needs to display its digital storefront pricing options (and related limitations, like only being able to play on one type of device) in one place.

It's also important to note that Sony is currently testing durations. The four hour option is an absurdly short length for a relatively exorbitant price across the board. Spending four hours with Final Fantasy XIII or XII-2 (or even Deus Ex: Human Revolution for that matter) won't give you much insist into the games. Why anyone would choose that over spending an extra $ 1 – $ 3 is beyond me. 

Publishers should reject that duration as it will likely harm them in the long run. Can someone who played Final Fantasy XIII for only four hours really make a fair assessment of the game? Probably not.

On paper, PlayStation Now is a good idea, but if this pricing scheme is a portent of things to come, it's likely going to die on the vine. Rental, especially at these prices, won't be appealing to many users. It certainly won't incentivize positive word of mouth, and if publishers don't start seeing benefit from the service, they'll have little reason to commit to it for the long-term.

Sony has a lot riding on PlayStation Now, starting with the $ 380 million purchase of Gaikai, continuing through technology and marketing investments, and concluding with consumer faith in one of Sony's key promises from the February 2013 PlayStation 4 reveal. Sony can't afford to mess this up, and that means this pricing needs to change before the public launch.

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Dead Rising Movie Adaptation To Me Made For Sony’s Crackle Service

Legendary Pictures is creating a movie based on Capcom's Dead Rising franchise which will release first on Sony's video-on-demand service Crackle.

Variety reports that the film will be produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura (who had a hand in creating the blockbuster Transformers film franchise) in partnership with Contradiction Films, which did the Mortal Kombat: Legacy digital series.

The Dead Rising film will later be released on physical formats and other video-on-demand services but will premier on Crackle.

"Dead Rising has a built-in fan base and rich characters and plotlines that are ideal for digital storytelling and on target for Legendary's brand," said Legendary Digital chief Tom Lesinski. "Crackle and Content are adept at distributing cutting-edge digital content and we look forward to delivering a highly engaging and cool series for a global audience."

[Source: Variety via Polygon]

 

Our Take:
I'm not exactly dying for a Dead Rising movie, but the zombie craze doesn't appear to be going away and the property does have a certain gonzo humor that I hope the filmmakers preserve. It will be interesting to see how large an audience it reaches; I don't know anyone who uses Crackle on a regular basis.

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Sony’s Freedom Wars spins single player in the US in 2014

Freedom Wars outwardly looks like a near and dear family member of the Japanese monster hunting clan. Grand pappy Monster Hunter set the trend on PSP, and descendants like PS Vita’s Soul Sacrifice and Toukiden have carried it forward with aplomb….
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Sony’s “Project Morpheus” freaks out Jimmy Fallon!

Just in case you don’t watch late night talk shows, there has been a surge of hosts trying out new video games and console options in the past year (I’m looking at you, Conan O’Brien). While all of them have been moderately funny to just embarrassingly boring, last night’s The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon showed a hilarious and genuine reaction to VR gaming from both Jimmy Fallon and Channing Tatum.

While I am wide-eyed and scouring the net for E3 news already (just 3 more days!), I really hope Sony’s response to the Oculus Rift isn’t going to be their prize pony this year. There should definitely be a level of excitement for this new step in gaming, but gimmicks don’t make games worthwhile. The Kinect and entire Wii systems have proven that. And before you throw accusations around, I own and play them both!

Now skip ahead to 2:05 to see the live demonstration of Project Morpheus! My favorite part aside from Fallon screaming like a girl? How Tatum calmly focuses on how to gain control of the battlefield…by shooting a bolt through Fallon’s VR head.

 


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Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida and Mark Cerny reflect on the state of the industry

Sony’s Worldwide Studios head Shuhei Yoshida spoke with Mark Cerny about his career last month at the Computer History Museum, and the full talk is now online for your viewing pleasure. …


Gamasutra News

Sony’s Yoshida has advice for Japanese developers: Do what you do best

Speaking last night with veteran developer and PlayStation 4 architect Mark Cerny, the head of Sony’s Worldwide Studios looked back at his career and shared insights. …


Gamasutra News

Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida to reflect on his career, in conversation with Mark Cerny

This Thursday, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Sony’s Worldwide Studios head Shuhei Yoshida will speak to Mark Cerny about his career. …


Gamasutra News

Sony’s super cereal [April Fools!]

It’s been plainly obvious for ages that the Vita’s in need of a power source that doesn’t get in the way of mealtime. The newly unveiled Sony Power Food is the answer to the question that everyone’s been asking.

Remember, this method of powering up…
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Sony’s Biggest Stars Get Blocky Today In Minecraft On PS3

A new update hit the console version of Minecraft last week, but that isn’t the only new addition if you play on the PlayStation 3. Mojang announced on the PlayStation Blog that Minecraft PlayStation 3 edition is receiving new skin and texture packs today.

Skin Pack 1 includes a lineup of some of Sony’s biggest stars, including Nathan Drake (Uncharted), Heavy Rain characters, Killzone characters, and Sly Cooper. The other announced skin pack is titled Battle and Beasts, which includes koalas, a Cleopatra look-a-like, an octopus, and a few cavemen.

In addition to the skin packs, PS3 users can also download two texture packs. The City Texture pack makes Minecraft look more modern and clean, while the Plastic Texture pack will make everything appear more plastic. 

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