PS4 First Impressions

[sc:hardware-category ]Sony announced the PS4 last week and I have been a loyal PlayStation owner since the beginning.  But I think that’s just about done.

Over the last couple of years my gaming has moved from minimal to zero.  I don’t even remember the last time I actually played a game on either my PS3 or Xbox.  I guess it’s time to admit I’m no longer a gamer 🙁

So really, what would I use a PS4 for?  Streaming video and playing BluRay’s.  On that count I can find much cheaper alternatives than the PS4 (even though they haven’t announced a price yet).  Ok, but beyond the fact I probably won’t buy a PS4, what did we find out about it?

Ah, not much really:

  • New controller that looks kind of boxy.
  • 3D camera, AKA Sony admitting Move failed and Connect won.
  • 8 core processor and 8 gig of RAM.
  • BluRay support (as if that wasn’t going to be there, Sony owns the standard after all).
  • Flashy demo’s that won’t turn out to be real games like every other PlayStation announcement.

In the end we didn’t even get to see the hardware.  And why are they announcing it 8 months early?  I know Sony stock is in the tank and they need a big win, but really?  All they’re going to do is demolish their PS3 sales.

Honestly it doesn’t really interest me anymore, it looks to be impressive hardware but not something I’ll be investing in.

Maybe if they put it in to a standard AV chassis instead of some stupid custom form factor I might get one just to play with it, but otherwise I think it’s a pass.

HMV Digital Canada

[sc:entertainment-category ]I have to admit I came late to the MP3 party, not using them, but buying them.  iTunes was not a store I wanted to shop at and most of the other big ones were not available in Canada.  That changed a couple of years ago when HMV opened an MP3 store.

I’ve used for a couple of years but when I went to the site recently I found they were no longer selling MP3’s, but instead had gone to a digital subscription service.  There was no indication of the old MP3 store and no sign it had every existed.

One of the things I do remember noticing when I first started using was that while it was a front end, the back-end was actually powered by 7digital.  Thinking that perhaps 7digital held the accounts as well I went to and voilà, I could login and get to my purchase history again.

Perhaps HMV might want to at least put a pointer for its loyal customers over the years to where they can get access to their old accounts in stead of just trying to get them all to sign up to a new monthly plan.

And honestly, I don’t want to pay a monthly fee to listen to music.  Nor do I want to stream it from the cloud.  There’s nothing wrong with “owning” (I use the term loosely) your music and having it on your local system.  It makes much more technical sense but I guess it doesn’t make the companies as much money…

Windows Phone Artist Info

[sc:mobile-category ]Way back in July of 2011 when I talked about Windows Phone 7 as an MP3 player, I mentioned that the artist information pages from the Zune player hadn’t made the transition to WP7, which it turns out was only a half truth.

In reality this information did exist for US users just not for anyone outside of the US.  Apparently Microsoft has finally gotten around to enabling it for more regions as last week the end-user license agreement was updated for the Marketplace and after that the artist Bio’s now appear.

Of course the artist pictures that the Zune had still haven’t shown up, but I guess getting licensing for the photos was harder than the bio’s 😉


Game Conosole Form Factors

[sc:hardware-category ]Sony recently announced their latest redesign of the PS3 but my pet peeve with games consoles is their form factor.

First off, it’s a game console.  It’s designed to work in your home entertainment center but it’s form factor makes that problematic.  Curved surfaces look cool, but makes it so you have to dedicate an entire shelf to them.  Most other home entertainment electronics conform to a standard size and shape (some manufactures’ don’t of course but there are lots of options in things like DVD players and if you don’t like the size/shape of one you simply buy one that you do).

Game consoles don’t have any choice, they are ALL at odd angles and designs.  Many people have 2 or 3 of the major consoles, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to stack them all on to of each other, looking nice and clean?

No suck luck.

Perhaps I should start a kickstarter to build replacement cases for the PS3…

Xbox 360

[sc:entertainment-category ]Way back in this post, I mentioned I had picked up and Xbox Gold membership and that I would eventually write a post about it, well, eventually has arrived 😉

At the end of last year, the big retail electronics chains here put up the 4g Xbox 360 on sale for $130, so I bit the bullet and picked one up.  Mostly to see how Microsoft had implemented the Metro design in the fall 2011 update.

In general the Xbox has a really nice interface to it, better than the PS3 and Microsoft continues to extend the 360 in to other areas.  This really underscores the difference in philosophy between Sony and Microsoft in this generation of game consoles.

The good side of those design choices is the better interface and the extended support for applications etc.  The downside is the Xbox Gold membership.  Without forking over the cash for a gold membership, the Xbox is virtually useless.

Microsoft’s MSRP is something like $99 on a 12 month membership, which seems high until you realize nobody actually pays that.  Every retailer has a $59.99 12 month membership and they go on sale once in a while as well.  I found one for $49.99 that included a copy of Lego Star Wars, so effectively free.

Once you activate the gold membership pretty much everything becomes available, from the apps to on-line saves and game play.

I’m impressed with the 360, it’s a nice piece of hardware with a great interface, I think Sony really needs to re-think its strategy on the Playstation, Microsoft has a vision of what living room entertainment should be and Sony is still thinking of only gaming.

Having said that, I still use my PS3 most of the time and honestly since I acquired the gold membership I think I’ve turned on the Xbox maybe half a dozen times tops, but when the next generation of consoles comes out, it’s going to be a hard choice as to which one I pick up.