Shawn Layden States Fans Will “Likely See Us Start To Make More Noise In The New Term” When Speaking On PlayStation Multiplayer

Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studio CEO Shawn Layden has been reemerging from Sony’s overall silent end of 2018 by speaking more to multiple news outlets. With much of Sony’s road map of 2019 for the PlayStation 4 being relatively unknown outside of the upcoming Days Gone from Bend Studios in April, one area Layden mentions fans should expect to see a higher emphasis on is multiplayer.

Speaking Business Insider, the long term Sony gaming staple touched on a multitude of topics, such as the staggering units sales that the PlayStation 4 has accumulated, which currently has surpassed 91 million lifetime units sold. While the positives for the gaming company rolled, the PlayStation guru was given a somewhat devil’s advocate approach: for all of the success this past year (and the overall console generation), what is something that PlayStation has whiffed on? “For all of the advances we’ve made, and the high bar we’ve focused on in storytelling” Layden began. “I mean, I dare anybody to experience something like The Last of Us and not feel emotional about it; and with God of War, that story of a father and son; and Horizon: Zero Dawn, and the power of Aloy, the protagonist. All of these things, I believe we’ve done quite well. I’m very happy with the Spider-Man game that went out last year. And looking forward, Days Gone is coming in a couple months. That’s not only compelling and gripping, but it will emotionally try you very hard. I think all those things we do really well. What we don’t do so much in is multiplayer.”

Admittedly, while PlayStation has been the go-to home console for many gamer’s needs this generation, they have seen a distinct drop in first party multiplayer based games. Many Sony owned franchises such as Killzone and Twisted Metal that rely heavily on multiplayer aspects, have laid dormant for year; with the former of the two last releasing in 2013, with Killzone: Shadow Fall on PS4. While they haven’t necessarily been hurting because of it, due to the immaculate resume of their single player, first party experiences, it is something that Layden has noticed and looks to address moving forward.

When asked for clarification on if he meant local or online multiplayer, Layden specified his intentions on online multiplayer. “Couch co-op — I mean that’s a whole category I think the industry needs to look back at. We have that with sports titles, and some racing titles, but not with much else. And I think that speaks to the power of the internet on the one hand, but otherwise we might wanna revisit that to get more family engagement in the gaming experience. But, no, I was referencing more with the things like GTA 5 Online, or you look at Call of Duty, or Fortnite, or any of those experiences. Worldwide Studios, like I say, we’ve been going really heavy into story-driven gaming. The power of the narrative. Big, spectacular experiences. But not a whole lot in the multiplayer side of things, I think. That’s an area where you will likely see us start to make more noise in the new term.”

With confirmation of Sony’s departure from this years upcoming E3 event later last year, both media and consumers remain optimistic of the Japanese tech giant’s 2019 year, but the mystery surrounding its releases does make some cautious. Layden has gone on record via a tweet stating “see you in the new year” when pressed about the upcoming year, but many releases outside of April’s Days Gone still don’t have dates attached, including The Last of Us Part II, Death Stranding, and Ghosts of Tsushima. Hopefully by Layden’s recent media presence it means that more information on PlayStation’s 2019 isn’t that far in the distance.

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Shawn Layden on ‘Fewer, But Bigger’ Sony First Party Games, Acquiring Studios, and More

The eighth generation of video game consoles have been nothing short of a grand slam for Sony and the PlayStation 4, selling over 91 million units in its lifespan so far. With the newest generation of consoles looming on the ever closing horizon, many have found it interesting to see that the Japanese tech giant has decided to take the year off from attending E3 2019, the biggest gaming expo and press event of the year, leading speculation to run wild on what Sony could have up their sleeve. At the helm of the company’s gaming endeavors, chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios, has remained overall silent outside of his ‘see you in the new year’ tweet late last year. Now, the Sony executive is starting to reemerge in the public, ahead of his upcoming keynote speaking role at tomorrow’s DICE Awards.

In an interview with CNet, the long time Sony staple touched on a number of topics, including the company’s current mindset on how they go about producing first party titles with current trends in mind. “I think we’ve done a lot over the last three or four years to get us to a place right now where we’re building fewer games per year than ever before, but we’re spending more time, more energy, certainly more money, on making them” Layden touched on. “So we’re striking on all the beats that we want to, and we’re getting both critical and commercial acclaim. Let’s see now what we might add to our arsenal. I’ve looked at some opportunities in the past, it’s an opportunity to look for the ones that are the best cultural fit.”

Naturally, his answer led to a follow up surrounding the company’s decision process in terms of acquiring studios. “We’re always exploring opportunities” Layden continued. “If we found a partner or a team or a game that we felt was particularly meaningful and interesting in a service area, we will look to bring that in. We’re always open to that kind of experience. We try to make it really easy for our teams to focus on what our vision is for the future. And we have simplified it to ‘first, best or must.’ If your title is going to be “first” and creating a genre, or “first” and creating a new game activity, let’s look at that. If you’re going to make an action adventure game, It better be “best” in class. And we have the third category called “must,” which is we must support the platform, we must be present when new technology comes out.” First party studios and an emphasis on exclusive titles has always been a sticking point for the now fourth generation gaming hardware company, but competitors have began to take notice of their secret formula. Currently, Microsoft now owns fourteen game studios, with seven of them being added in the past year.

Layden also emphasized that Sony still is putting accessibility in mind first and foremost when delving into a eventual streaming-based future of gaming. While he confirms that PlayStation does have a great ecosystem set in place for those who are interested in streaming with PlayStation Now, Layden promises that the company still views their perspective as “we can leave no gamer behind”. When the PlayStation 4 was first in development, talks of a web based system were plentiful, but the company wanted to keep the system accessible to everyone possible, using the example of military members using the hardware. Many wouldn’t have access to internet when on deployment (or internet that was stable enough to download/stream info consistently), so disc based hardware was important.

While Layden remained tight lipped on the rumors surrounding the inevitable PlayStation 5, it is a good sign to see the company begin to emerge as the new year is in full force. With upcoming first party blockbusters such as The Last of Us Part II, Ghosts of Tsushima, and Death Stranding still possible to all release this year on current generational hardware, along with the upcoming Day’s Gone, Sony fans should buckle their seat belts; the rollercoaster may be just about to start.

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Telltale’s The Walking Dead: The Final Season To Get Physical Release March 26th

Skybound Games has announced that the final season of the now defunct Telltale Game’s The Walking Dead will be seeing a physical release starting March 26th, 2019 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

In a blog post from the publishing arm of Skybound, the company announced that the physical release of the game would accompany the release of the game’s final episode, Take Us Back, to complete not only the season, but the entirety of Telltale’s vision of the story.

“We’re excited to announce that when Episode 4, Take Us Back, launches on March 26th, we’ll be releasing a physical boxed edition that includes the entire Final Season for Xbox One, PS4, and Switch” Sally Jack of Skybound stated. “This version will be available at all major retailers, including right here in the Skybound Shop. So, for fans looking for a great gift to give, or to actually hold the final chapters of Clem’s story in your hands, well, you’ll soon have that chance!”

Skybound Games officially took over development of the final season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead series, in October 2018, after the latter studio announced a major closure less than a month earlier. While it is unclear what the studio’s plans are with The Walking Dead IP once the final episode is released, there seems to be optimism surrounding the future of the series in some capacity within the new developer/publisher.

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WarGroove Has Already Covered Development Costs In Its First Three Days Of Sale

The indie smash hit WarGroove hit an important milestone, by already covering development costs in its first three days on sale.

In a blog post from developer Chucklefish, the indie darlings touched on a number of topics, but started their release by acknowledging the financial mark. “First of all, I want to say how humbled and thankful we all are here at Chucklefish for the incredible launch weekend. It’s truly been amazing, we’ve already covered the cost of development and are throwing ourselves into improving the game further.”

Along with the announcement, the team behind the 2D tactical strategy game also laid out their plans for the game. In the really short term, the team is currently waiting for approval on their first post-launch patch that has been submitted to each platforms respective stores. The patch includes various bug and stability fixes. A number of quality of life fixes are currently being addressed by the team as well, including the ability to skip battle scenes more quickly and the ability to force fast map movement to ‘always on’. Lastly, the team also announces they have began looking into a larger content update, DLC and more, but preface that it may not arrive for a bit.

WarGroove is now available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC (Steam).

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Sony Patents New Backwards Compatibility System, Could Include Full Lineage of PlayStation Consoles

Sony Japan has just registered a new patent centered around backwards compatibility that could allow their next generation hardware to have retro-compatibility on all of Sony’s previous home console. While there is no direct confirmation that the patent is specifically for the inevitable PlayStation 5, the timing seems to all but fit the forecast of 2020 that many analysts and insiders have predicted.

The patent, which was published on January 31st, 2019, shows an intricate system that could be applied to future hardware (more than likely the unannounced PlayStation 5), allowing the system’s processor to ‘interpret’ the CPU of previous compatible systems. As pointed out by Spanish site HobbyConsolas, Mark Cerny, designer of the PlayStation 4’s structure, developed the patent which has been filed under #2019-503013.

The primary focus of the patent is to perfectly execute previous hardware’s games and software on future hardware, helping to eliminate bugs and errors that could permanently damage said games or hardware. For example, given the processing power of newer and future consoles, data could accidentally overwritten and compromised on the older software and emulated hardware, and in turn could damage the current hardware as well.

This patent comes on the heels of a rumor that many of Sony’s first party studios have began focusing on projects for their next generation of consoles, which seems to point that the popular line of home console will be seeing a new iteration in the very near future.

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Super Smash Bros Ultimate Sells Over 12 Million Units, Fastest Selling Nintendo Home Console Game Ever

Nintendo has officially released sales numbers for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and the results are staggering. Currently, the ‘ultimate’ iteration of the storied arena fighter has sold 12.08 million units, resulting in the title becoming the fastest selling Nintendo home console game in the company’s history.

In a flurry of announcements pertaining to the company’s fiscal results of its previous quarter, it is important to note that these results end on December 30st, 2018, meaning the game achieved this feat in a matter of 23 days.

Previously, the title of fastest selling Nintendo home console game was held by New Super Mario Bros. for Wii, selling 10.55 million. In comparison, the Wii iteration of New Super Mario Bros. hit that sales statistic between its November 11th, 2009 release date and December 30th, 2009; over a month and a half sales period.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate released on December 7th, 2018 to critical and consumer acclaim. Nintendo announced plans for multiple DLC packs coming to the game through February 2020, in the form of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighters Pass. The pass in total will include five new fighter, five new stage, and additional music tracks, with packs of one fighter, one stage, and chunks of music tracks releases throughout the scheduled time frame. Each pack will be individually sold as well, outside of the Fighters Pass. With a stead flow of additional content on the horizon, things only look positive in terms of sales for Nintendo’s newest Super Smash Bros. entry.

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Blizzard Announces New Overwatch Map, Paris

Blizzard Entertainment has announced that their hit hero shooter Overwatch will be receiving a new map soon that is set in Paris, France, and it is currently live on the game’s Public Test Region for PC players.

Announced through the game’s newest set of patch notes along with a tweet from Overwatch‘s official Twitter account, the new map themed around the famous European city is an Assault map, which pits teams against each other by capturing and defending a pair of points throughout the map. ‘Begin your journey at the Cabaret Luna, where the velvety alto voice of preeminent diva Luna charms movie stars, revolutionaries, locals, and tourists alike” described Tom Powers, Community Manage of Overwatch within the patch notes. “After the encore, step outside to see the sights and seize victory. Artisanal shops line the streets as you approach the first point, so duck in to sample a macaron or escape enemy fire. Battle through alleys and corridors before clashing with your foes on the banks of the Seine. Once you establish dominance over your adversaries, make your way to Maison Marat and deliver the coup-de-grâce.”

Paris will be the first map to hit Overwatch since the addition of Busan in September 2018, along with the first Assault map since June 2017’s Horizon Lunar Colony.

While Blizzard has not released a specific date on which the map will go live from PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One players, normally the test period lasts a few weeks before integrating them into the game’s main map rotation. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the map go live by the end of February (if not earlier).

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