‘PlayStation 4.5’ May Be a Fool’s Errand

There’s a lot of smoke around Sony releasing an upgraded PlayStation 4 this year. The rumored machine would be able to play content at a 4K resolution, hence the nickname ‘PS4K’ or ‘PS4.5’ given by players online.

When a piece of hardware like this is rumored, the first question that needs to be asked is: Why? Why does there need to be a PS4 that plays 4K content and why would I need to buy it? From Polygon’s report, it would seem the aim is simply to be able to play 4K blu-ray content. That’s a thing, if you didn’t know. But is there more to it than that?

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Personally, I’m someone that isn’t quite sold on 4K yet. That’s not to say it isn’t the future, because I believe it is. The natural progression in video production is for technology to continue improving the resolution, clarity, and refresh rates of the video that the average consumer watches. Thus, it’s only a matter of time before we’re all watching the most mundane of broadcasts or streams in 4K resolution in true 60 frames per second, or better. From The Price is Right, to Monday Night Football, to CSPAN; that should be the future.

Still, that doesn’t mean we’re equipped for that yet, nor does it mean we can afford it. Even compressed, 4K footage is large and the cost to produce it for creators as well as the cost for consumers to view it is high. Something as simple as viewing a 4K blu-ray – a stand alone experience – takes a 4K television or monitor. Something a lot of people don’t have and aren’t looking to get yet.

If the PS4.5’s only improvement is giving this option, it simply seems like a waste of money. Don’t think for a second that you’re going to be playing console games at 4K any time soon. Getting a 1080p, 60 FPS game on the PS4 is a treat as it is (when it does happen).

Perhaps if the PS4.5 does something else, like improving on the PS4’s hardware capabilities, can I see myself purchasing one. After all, there’s the New Nintendo 3DS to take lead from. The second model of Nintendo’s current handheld didn’t just add a few more buttons, it improved on what was under the hood; making some games exclusive to the N3DS and older games run more smoothly on it. Imagine if you would, a game that runs at 900p on the launch PS4 but 1080p on the PS4.5.

This is all just speculation, of course. As far as Sony is concerned, the PS4.5 is still unofficial. So any report of it offering a better experience with games or being better equipped to run the upcoming PlayStation VR platform is just that. Rumors.

Meet Caligula, a New JRPG From the Writer of Persona 1 & 2

What’s Caligula? Another niche weeb game for the Vita? Perhaps. But it sure does look interesting.

It’s being directed by Tadashi Satomi, who was responsible for writing the stories and characters of Megami Ibunroku Persona, Persona 2 Innocent Sin, and Persona 2 Eternal Punishment.

It would appear to be a combination of action and turn-based JRPG styling starring high schoolers and a bizarre other world – shocker, that last one. According to DualShockers, the white haired idol, a vocaloid by the name of “μ” (the lowercase Greek letter pronounced “Mu”), is a software that developed its own heart and travels the world of Mobius seeking to bring happiness to others.

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Credit: DualShockers and FuRyu

I know the concept of Japanese youths coming together for the sake of friendship and defeating enemies isn’t exactly a JRPG concept exclusive to Persona, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a modern Persona vibe from that trailer. And that’s a good thing. When I think back of the only works I’ve enjoyed from Satomi, I think of the growing pains P1 and P2 had compared to their eventual successors. That’s not to say they aren’t good games. Diehard Megami Tensei/Persona fans will let you hear it if they think you’re disrespecting the originals and championing P3 and P4.

My point, rather, is that it’s exciting to see that perhaps technology has finally caught up to the point where Satomi’s creativity is coming to life in ways the original PlayStation couldn’t provide. As much as I love old games, or “retro gaming” as some refer to it, this is one major plus as the industry progresses. Artists are being allowed advantages not seen previously. To a game designer, it must be similar to a new spectrum of colors being discovered to a painter.

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It’s been quite awhile.

Caligula is slated to release on June 23rd in Japan exclusively for the PlayStation Vita. There are no plans for localization yet, but let’s hope that changes in the future.

Uncharted 4 Gets Another Small Delay

Still grasping for a release date.

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Naughty Dog’s much anticipated Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End will now be releasing on May 10th. The game was originally scheduled for March, but was pushed to April 26th a few months back. With a couple more weeks tacked on, PS4 owners will have to remain just a bit more patient for the next entry in PlayStation’s signature franchise.

The delay is a little suspicious, to tell the truth. When you think of delays when it comes to AAA titles, it usually means months. Take Mass Effect Andromeda for example. Uncharted 4 getting pushed back just a couple of weeks for “manufacturing reasons” right after it was announced that there would be an open beta for the multiplayer this weekend makes me wonder. I sense the two are related, which would be a small shame. No offense to anyone out there greatly looking forward to it, but I couldn’t care less about multiplayer in a franchise that prides itself on the single player campaign.

Sadly, this news has been a reminder of just how toxic people on the Internet can be.

Listen, I don’t have this game pre-ordered. The whole model of pre-ordering in the gaming industry is a separate lengthy discussion. But if I were as big of an Uncharted fan as some, I’d feel pretty comfortable buying this game upfront. The last four major releases by Naughty Dog have an average of 92.75 on Metacritic. Dare I say, there is not a single developer in the western hemisphere that has been as consistent as them over the last ten years.

Getting your panties in a bunch over this game coming out just two months later than it was originally intended is childish and petty. I think Naughty Dog knows what they’re doing and they should have earned more trust than they’re getting. It’s not as if Naughty Dog has been lying about where their game is in development and been trying to bamboozle people out of their money, like someone I know. And if Uncharted fans really think they have it bad, I’d like to present them with the following:

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R.I.P PlayStation TV

Remember the PlayStation TV? Who am I kidding; you’ve probably never even heard of it.

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Credit: Sony

The PSTV, or PlayStation Vita TV as it’s known in the Nippon, is the micro-version of the PlayStation Vita that’s meant to be played on your TV via HDMI. It launched in late 2013 and made its way to the U.S. the following year. It seemed like a novel idea at the time – playing Vita games on your TV. However, the console has been a massive flop.

For one, there’s the reality that the regular Vita has sold significantly less units in its lifetime than its predecessor, the PlayStation Portable. The Vita’s struggles are both caused by and are in relation to its lack of first-party support from Sony. A weak library for the Vita equals an even weaker library for the PSTV.

I say “weaker” because the biggest issue the PSTV has is that it isn’t even compatible with every Vita game. The Vita is a unique piece of hardware. It has a touchscreen, two built in cameras, and a touch sensitive back panel. Games that make use of any of these features don’t translate to the PSTV due to it just being black box that plugs into your television. In fact, the biggest first-party title for the Vita, Uncharted Golden Abyss, is one of many Vita games that aren’t compatible with the PSTV.

News that the PSTV is no longer being sold on Sony’s official Japanese site is hardly surprising. At launch, the console went for $99 in the U.S. and now it’s not uncommon for it to sell for as low as $40 from retailers that haven’t unloaded all of their units yet. I suppose that’s good news for some late adopters out there.

Being truthful, I actually have a fondness for the PSTV. As a content creator, I value anything that provides an avenue for capturing footage from handheld games. A PSTV plus an HDMI splitter (have to get rid of that pesky HDCP) will net you 720p or 1080i footage of Vita games. But best of all, the PSTV allows me to experience Persona 4 Golden – the best game ever made – in full screened magnificence. Yes, thankfully, the Vita’s most highly acclaimed game and sole justification of its existence, P4G, is compatible with the PSTV. Speaking of which, these two things are exactly how my P4G playthrough on the channel is being made possible starting April 11th.

So au revoir, PSTV. You may have been a niche product that no one had interest in buying, but I shall always love you and we will always have Persona 4 Golden.

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PlayStation TV: 2013-2016