Kaz Hirai has outlined his New Deal for Sony, and gaming is at the heart of it.
"Sony is positioning digital imaging, game and mobile as the three main focus areas of its electronics business and plans to concentrate investment and technology development resources in these areas," read a Sony statement issued this morning.
"By growing these three businesses, Sony aims to generate approximately 70 per cent of total sales and 85 per cent of operating income for the entire electronics business from these categories by FY14 [2013/2014]."
Sony revealed that PS3, Vita and peripheral sales are "generating steady profit".
Specifically, on the topic of "Game":
"In the game business, Sony continues to deliver exhilarating entertainment experiences through PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and its unique combination of hardware, software, PlayStation Network (PSN) and range of accessories and peripherals," declared Sony.
"These will form the foundations on which Sony will target further sales and profit expansion in the game business.
"Sony estimates that the headcount across the entire Sony Group will be reduced by approximately 10,000 in FY12."
"The Company also aims to increase sales by enriching its catalogue of downloadable game titles and subscription services available through the PSN platform, and also by expanding the line-up of PlayStation Suite compatible devices and content."
Sony wants to earn 1 trillion yen (£7.74 billion) from game business sales by financial year 2014.
Hirai's other key initiatives to transform Sony's business, besides "strengthening core businesses (digital imaging, game, mobile)", are "turning around the television business", "expanding business in emerging markets", "creating new businesses and accelerating innovation" and "realigning the business portfolio and optimising resources".
Expanding on the latter, Sony confirmed that 10,000 jobs will be cut worldwide at Sony between now and March 2013.
"In addition to this business portfolio realignment, as Sony moves to strengthen its core businesses and shift resources to growth areas, it will also restructure its headquarters, subsidiaries and sales company organisations in order to further enhance operational efficiencies," outlined Sony.
"As a result of these measures, Sony estimates that the headcount across the entire Sony Group will be reduced by approximately 10,000 in FY12.
"This includes employees expected to transfer outside the Sony Group as part of the sale of businesses and other realignments resulting from business portfolio optimisation. Sony anticipates that many of these businesses will have future growth opportunities outside the Sony Group, and Sony will consider various measures to secure continuity of employment for employees at their new destinations."
Going forwards, Sony will operate under a "One Sony" mantra - i.e. a more streamlined management hierarchy. Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony Network Entertainment and Home Entertainment & Sound are divisions that will report directly to CEO Kaz Hirai, the former Sony Computer Entertainment boss.
Choice slides taken from Sony's presentation are below.
EA has been accused of copying Warhammer 40k tanks for its browser-based real-time strategy game Command & Conquer Tiberium Alliances.
Users on Reddit noticed a number of tanks in C&C, developed by German studio Phenomic, are pretty much carbon copies of tanks in the famous Games Workshop tabletop game.
C&C's Forgotten Grinder Tank is compared to the Ork Bonecruncha, created by Games Workshop for Warhammer 40k in 1995. An image highlighting the similarity is below.
And the Forgotten Bombard Tank is almost indistinguishable from the 1995 Baneblade design. Again, an image comparing the two is below.
EA and Games Workshop are yet to comment on the matter. Interestingly, the Baneblade appears as a unit in the THQ published, Relic developed PC exclusive RTS Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War - under license of course.
It always pans out the same way. You turn up a bit late and slightly sweaty, because in East London every street looks the bloody same. You then get shown a Powerpoint presentation extolling the virtues of 'Big Shooter Next' multiplayer, and soon after you and your fellow journalists are herded next door where sixteen glowing screens are humming in darkness waiting for you.
It's great, not least because you often get free posh sandwiches, but because it's a perfect way to judge a multiplayer game's potential. Online gaming is about shared enjoyment - so when you hear the gasps, the shouts, the swearing and have someone level an accusatory finger at you then call you an arsehole, you know a game has potential.
Far Cry 3 is going all out to encourage those yelps. Everything about it is being built to encourage teamplay - to keep your side fighting the good fight together. For example, myself and my cohorts were at one stage approaching a Domination point - a lonely spot caught halfway between a wrecked submarine that sits in a murky green dock and the dark interior of a network of jungle caves.
Rather than simply rush in all guns blazing, however, we all took a quick moment to congregate behind a boulder - where I slammed down on both thumbsticks to issue a rallying call. This is a buff, essentially, to prepare everyone in the direct vicinity for the coming s**tstorm - in this case granting my companions a deeper health reservoir, and for which everyone automatically showed their appreciation with a fist-pump. Manly motions didn't last long, however, since an enemy pirate had chosen that boulder as a good spot for a hidden triggered explosive - but our tactical build-up was, at least, excellent.
Rewarding those who kill together and stick together is currently high on the agenda for most shooter developers (a game like MW3 was all about rewarding team players as much as lone wolves) but Far Cry 3 is knuckling down and making it a focus. You build up Team Support Points (so TSP, the stuff my Grandad used to smell of) by saving downed allies, issuing battle cries and grabbing objectives - and they can then be spent on fun things like heavy weapon drops and the Far Cry variant on a UAV. Alternatively Psyche Gas turns the viewpoint of enemies to woozy-vision, makes every player look like a scary-eyed demon and conveniently flicks the Friendly Fire toggle into a more dangerous setting.
Overall the pace of the game itself is refreshing - wide levels give you breathing space post-spawn, but also never keep you too far from danger. A lot of Ubi-thought, meanwhile, has clearly been directed at keeping every map's location variety and encouraged play-styles in balance. The wrecked sub map, for example, features a rickety up-close fishing village, a network of tunnels and an ammo dump beneath a wide downward vista perfect for sniping - or just messing around on a rope slide and firing pistol potshots at the campers below.
Throughout, meanwhile, the Far Cry 3 engine (here running on a PC with a 360 controller attached) excels in its explosions, flames and the way palm fronds are buffeted and burnt by explosions. In fact, it's this that's central to Far Cry 3's most extravagant multiplayer mode. Governmental whispers about Firestorm's abuse of gasoline could cause a panic that'd leave your local petrol station running on fumes for months...
You're out to set light to your enemy's two fuel dumps, the trick being to make sure they're both simultaneously aflame, while the bad guys do their darnedest to do the same to you. Once the skies are full of black smoke (your character is too tough to cough, or for his eyes to start watering) the second stage of the mode begins - a Headquarters-style timer starts ticking down to the grand opening of a radio capture point.
The team who've just ignited half the map need the radio to call in a plane with a cargo hold full of petrol to cause even more destruction (for reasons unknown), while the team that's on the back-foot need a plane full of water to douse the flames and reset the battle. Far Cry's fire system is rarely anything but a pleasure and it's certainly a tense mode to play - but you'd certainly worry that its bottleneck finales are destined to provoke drawn matches, while it's a shame that most of the fighting takes place away from the blazing infernos themselves.
Of more concern, perhaps, is the irritating dialogue that bookends every game - Far Cry 3's edginess seems to be of the variety that's desperate to use f**kwords to impress. Before bouts your inspirational faction leader encourages lollygaggers to "Die like f**kin' deserving dogs", while once you've taken (or doled out) enough bullets for the cause a sequence plays out that sees a winning player choose to show mercy or deliver further punishment to captured losers.
I'm firmly of the opinion that swearing can be big and clever (often both simultaneously) but rarely in cases when dialogue is laced with swears like they've been fired from a machine gun. Why would two groups of men who've been repeatedly killing each other for ten minutes suddenly want to show the enemy leader mercy anyway? A war crimes tribunal at The Hague wouldn't buy it for a second...
Another concern, perhaps, is that the game currently has a wants cake/eating it issue with showing you a confusing death-cam of the shots that left you bloodily sunbathing, and simultaneously showing you lying there hammering the gamepad to ensure that you stay conscious long enough for a life-saving injection of magic-juice. You'll spend a lot of time horizontal in Far Cry 3, and generally not in the good way.
There were yelps and occasional real-world battle cries of 'You got me, you bastard' during this play session, then, but no war stories that anyone would necessarily find themselves telling their grandchildren. It very much feels like an adjunct to the main game, rather than a star attraction in itself. The feel of the weapons and the scenery (and indeed the ways the two combine) bode extremely well for the solo experience - but extra spit and polish will be required if Far Cry 3 multiplayer truly wants its place in the sun.
Critically-savaged survival horror misfire Amy has just received a major patch aimed at making the game a little easier to work through.
Here's the full list of tweaks:
"According to the tests we carried, Chapter Five is now much easier with these changes," the developer added.
The game scored a meagre 2/10 from Eurogamer when it launched on PC, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade back in January.
"Amy fails on all counts," read Dan Whitehead's Amy review.
"It's plagued by jerky movement, poor scripting, weak puzzles and shoddy checkpointing, but it's also a characterless mess of themes and ideas swiped from a dozen better horror titles."
Tekken Tag Tournament launches on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 this September, publisher Namco Bandai announced at a Las Vegas event today.
The console version will feature a number of extra characters in addition to the 44 featured in the arcade original. No names have yet been announced, though Namco has confirmed the roster will boast over 50 fighters in total.
There'll be a feast of game modes available, including 1-on-1, 2-on-1 and 2-on-2, while a new Fight Lab feature will help beginners learn the basics and advanced players hone their skills using a customisable bot fighter.
From Software's pioneering action RPG Demon's Souls goes offline on 31st May, three years after it first launched, US publisher Atlus has announced.
As reported by Game Informer, its core single player element will be unaffected though the various multiplayer features will no longer function.
"It has been a tremendous honor and privilege for all of our staff at Atlus to have been involved with so innovative and groundbreaking an interactive entertainment experience," read a statement from the publisher.
"It was also of the utmost importance for us to sustain the game's online experience as long as possible, even beyond the point at which sales could help to offset the expense. Regrettably, the online servers cannot be sustained forever and now the end draws near.
"Thank you to the unparalleled passion and support of the Demon's Souls community throughout these last two and a half years. The online adventure may end soon, but the memory of it - just like that of every boss strategy, every level floor plan, and hidden secret - lives on in the gamers for whom the game was so special."
It plans to hold two separate World Tendency events next month to mark the occasion - from 1st-15th May and 16th-31st May, based on fan voting. It also encouraged all existing players to get online on closing day.
We've asked European publisher Namco Bandai whether servers on this side of the Atlantic will remain open. Look out for an update soon.
While Demon's Souls might be winding down, its spiritual successor Dark Souls is still in rude health - an expanded PC edition arrives on 24th August.
Fondly-remembered PS1 RPG The Legend of Dragoon arrives on US PlayStation Store from 1st May, Sony has announced.
The game's producer Shuhei Yoshida - who is now Sony Worldwide Studios boss - broke the news in a post on the PlayStation Blog.
"I still occasionally hear from fans of The Legend of Dragoon, and many want to know if there is a sequel," he wrote.
"LOD2 was put into preproduction after I left the Japan Studio, but was eventually cancelled for some unknown reason, and the team members moved on to different projects. Some people still work in the Japan Studio, so we talk about the memories of developing LOD when we see each other at company functions.
"It's great to see the game being prepared for release as a PSone Classic on PSN, which means that fans can revisit the world whenever they want. Maybe it'll make a new fans, too. Long live LOD!"
Alas, a European release has not yet been confirmed, but we're chasing Sony for clarification now.
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition launches for PC on 24th August, publisher Namco Bandai has announced.
The expanded take on From Software's acclaimed action RPG will support Games For Windows Live. There's been no mention of a console DLC release for the new content.
Check out the new trailer below for a glimpse of some of the new bosses and areas added to the game. We'll have more details from Namco's reveal event in Las Vegas soon.
Namco Bandai has just announced a new Kinect-friendly Dragon Ball title for Xbox 360 at an event in Las Vegas.
Community manager Rich Fantegui broke the news via his Twitter feed.
"Dragon Ball Z KINTECT Coming 2012 !! - FIREBALLS IN REAAAAL LIFE! - DBZ + Kinect = punch, kicks and kamehameha's!!!!," he wrote.
The title will apparently feature a QR reader that will unlock new in-game content.
The publisher also confirmed that PlayStation 3 anime crossover One Piece: Pirate Warriors will be heading West.
We'll have more info and trailers when they're made available.
Bethesda is attempting to trademark The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim dragon shout "Fus Ro Dah!".
As reported by Fusible, the developer has submitted six separate trademark applications for the shockwave attack call-out with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, covering categories ranging from computer game software to entertainment services.
When approached for comment by Game Informer, a Bethesda rep stated that it was "just protecting our brand."
The clip below should provide education for the uninitiated.