Sony Says Virus Disruptions May Hit Profit, Delay Reporting – Bloomberg

Sony Says Virus Disruptions May Hit Profit, Delay Reporting by Takashi Mochizuki for Bloomberg

A Sony spokeswoman said it doesn’t see any notable impact on the launch of its next-generation game console PlayStation 5 planned at the end of this year.

Encouraging to hear, in light of everything going on. As my buddy Logan pointed out to me when we were chatting about this statement, of course Sony would say this now. While the release of this console (and the Xbox Series X) are still a ways off, the production of these systems should start soon. We shall see just how difficult the PS5 is to come by when Holiday 2020 rolls around.

‘In praise of the iPadOS 13.4 cursor’ – Six Colors

In praise of the iPadOS 13.4 cursor – Six Colors by Jason Snell at Six Colors

It’s delightful. It’s like a little cartoon character, the plucky dot who is up to any challenge, even if it means contorting itself into whatever form is required.

I don’t have an iPad, but the all-new addition of cursor support on the iPad seems amazing. It’s been fun to listen to the Apple community ask for it, get it as an accessibility feature in iPadOS 13, and then receive full-blown support in a mid-OS update. Apple seems to have crushed it with making a cursor uniquely iPad-focused. Just take a look at it in action in Jason’s article.

‘God of War No Longer Contains “Only on PlayStation” Label on Official Web Page’ – DualShockers

God of War No Longer Contains “Only on PlayStation” Label on Official Web Page by Logan Moore at DualShockers

It wouldn’t surprise me if this came to pass. With Horizon Zero Dawn making the leap this summer, the possibility of more PlayStation exclusives making the leap makes sense. I am curious how Sony decides which exclusives make the leap and which don’t. I like Greg Miller’s theory on PS I Love You XOXO: Put the older games out on PC before announcing their sequels on PS5. But wouldn’t those PC fans just wait for the presumably inevitable PC port? Or maybe the pull of the sequel is too strong? We have to wait and see if God of War comes to PC first.

Horizon Zero Dawn is Coming to PC

Hermen Hulst Q&A: Interview with Head of PlayStation’s Worldwide Studios – PlayStation.Blog

PSB: Speaking of experimentation, there have been rumors of a Horizon Zero Dawn complete edition that might be coming to PC… can you confirm or deny that?
HH: Yes, I can confirm that Horizon Zero Dawn is coming to PC this summer…. There will be more information coming from Guerrilla, from the new studio directors [Michiel van der Leeuw, JB van Beek, and Angie Smets] pretty soon.

Last one from the backlog of news I mentioned last week. Had a reason for getting it out today.

It strikes me as funny that The PlayStation Blog is “asking” a question like this. The blog is a total promotional platform for PlayStation, obviously. Seems like a roundabout way to announce a major port, but Sony has been playing 2020 at the beat of their own 100+ million strong drum.

The bigger and more exciting news is that the Decima engine gets to spread its PC wings twice this summer. Very exciting times for Sony Worldwide Studios.

Announcing Chasing the Stick

I’ve been writing the history of Naughty Dog during the PS4 era. It is far and away the largest editorial I have ever written. I’ve been working on it for a month now (two months if you count replaying the Uncharted series in my research) and still have another two to go, if The Last of Us Part II releases on time in May. I’ve wigged out my pal Logan by sharing the ever increasing word count.

It started out as “I should write a history on The Last of Us Part II.” Not an entirely foreign format for myself: I wrote a history on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and one for Super Smash Bros. before Ultimate released. I love chronicling and researching games. I’ve been doing it since I made Power Points to convince my parents I was old enough to play Zelda and Pokémon.

My curiosity swelled my ambition. So it has turned into a history, analysis, and commentary on my all-time favorite game studio and their development during the years 2013-2020. I can’t wait to share it with you around the time The Last of Us Part II releases. Thanks.

Daring Fireball: ‘How to Correctly Use a Computer’

Daring Fireball: ‘How to Correctly Use a Computer’ by John Gruber

Earlier this week, Apple revealed a new iPad Pro, alongside other hardware updates. Since getting into weekly Apple coverage and discussion last year, I have been seriously into the idea of swapping my laptop for a desktop and getting an iPad for my mobile computing. The new iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard looks like a dream.

John talks about one of the new fun ads for the iPad Pro and rather than share my two cents, I like how John put it.

The King of Custom – PS5 Specs Revealed

The Road to PS5

Sony finally gave their own presentation regarding the PlayStation 5. After the two Wired articles last year, details surrounding Sony’s next-gen system have been scarce. In what was supposed to be a GDC 2020 talk with developers, Mark Cerny shared his guiding vision that helped shape the PS5.

By now, you may have seen the headlines comparing teraflops between the PS5 and Xbox Series X. All the hot takes have been spewed out onto the Internet. I wanted to take my time (mostly since I was working during the presentation) and share my thoughts on the tech power ing the PS5. If you want the hard, cold numbers, Digital Foundry whipped up the essential table over on Eurogamer. For a technical discussion of the specs revealed, their video does a bang up job too.

Custom and Approachable

The through line for the whole talk was how customized the PS5 actually is. The SSD is custom. The CPU and GPU are custom. The I/O board is custom. Beyond parts you’d need to build a gaming device, Sony has developed and incorporated their own custom silicon to aid those cornerstone components. There is a custom flash controller for the SSD, which helps prioritize and free up lanes for information to go through. There is a custom “Kraken” decompressor. Kraken is a compression tool that is supposed to be popular amongst many game developers. This custom decompressor unpacks that format with the power of nine Zen 2 cores. These are not chips you can buy off the shelf and slap into a PC.

All of these custom components surround the cornerstone chips that make game consoles possible. Instead of forcing developers to conform to a custom standard, this hardware seems to alleviate hardware work loads and assist developers. It strikes me as the inverse of the PS3 and its Cell architecture. It took developers quite a bit of time to adapt to the Cell processor: It was notoriously tricky to work with. The PS5 is using a custom AMD  Zen 2 processor, which seems to be an industry standard.

Even with storage and expanding it, Sony seems to be taking the same custom, but approachable design. The SSD sounds blazing fast with a 5.5GB/s RAW data throughput (which is more than double the Series X, for the number crunchers out there). Apparently, commercial NVMe drives on the market right now can’t match that speed. So where Microsoft went the proprietary memory stick route, Sony is going the consumer choice route. The catch there is that the NVMe cards need to meet the requirements/specs of the PS5. So it won’t be locked to some Sony exclusive card, but it is locked to the standards. Not quite a catch-22, but we will have to see how the options unfold.

I thought the most custom element was the 3D audio tech that Mark detailed. Sony wanted to offer great audio for all players, not just those with fancy sound systems or headphones. So they went ahead and built custom hardware to help create 3D audio from any set of speakers (eventually). Headphones are the gold standard due to one speaker per ear, but Mark even talked about generating 3D audio from TV speakers. With it included in every single PS5, that gives all players and all devs the opportunity to experience/use 3D audio. It reminds me of the leap from standard definition to HD, but for our ears. Pardon the pun, but it sounds bonkers.

Future Proofing the Baseline

The big, immediate comparison is the calculated teraflops. Bo Moore wrote a great piece for IGN one what teraflops actually translate to for the end user by interviewing multiple game developers. What I understand to be the other side of that coin is the managing the power consumption and cooling of the CPU and GPU. For the PS4, Sony opted for a constant frequency with a variable power supply; power increases or decreases based off the needs of the system. This fluctuation in power generates different levels of heat, which is why your PS4 Pro sounds like a jet engine when you play God of War: The fans are trying to cool the hardware. For PS5, it seems that Sony has gone for a constant level of power and a variable frequency. They know what level they have to cool and optimize noise for, while having a slightly varying frequency on the processors. Mark talked about how the frequency will adjust as needed, but not by much and it won’t impact performance in a significant way, as far as I could tell. I like the way Ryan McCaffrey put it on Twitter.

My “Xbox is a V8, PS5 is a turbocharged V6 – both get to a similar overall performance place” analogy from an earlier tweet seems like it’s probably gonna hold up pretty well…

What Developers are Saying

When it comes down to it, these decisions have to empower developers to make great games. The response I’ve noticed on Twitter seems to be overwhelmingly positive from first to third parties. I wanted to round some of those tweets up here.

PS5 details will finally be made public tomorrow. My TLDR version – It’s awesome.

Billy Khan, Lead Engine Programmer @ id Software via Twitter

This is just days before DOOM Eternal released.

Dollar bet: within a year from its launch gamers will fully appreciate that the PlayStation 5 is one of the most revolutionary, inspired home consoles ever designed, and will feel silly for having spent energy arguing about “teraflops” and other similarly misunderstood specs. 😘

Andrea Pessino, Founder and CTO of Ready at Dawn Studios via Twitter

Ready at Dawn has made some great PlayStation second-party exclusives on both console and handheld. While a dollar is not a lot of money, the language is significant. “Most revolutionary” catches the eye, but I am certainly willing to join the “misunderstood specs” club. I’m not trying to decide which box is better before we even see what they can do, but others certainly are.

As I’ve been saying, this is the sentiment I keep hearing from people who make games:

Jason Schreier, News Editor at Kotaku via Twitter

While not a game developer, Jason does have sources to talk to. His tweet I quoted is in regard to Andrea’s dollar bet. I like this because Jason calls out that first, second, and third party developers are sharing similar sentiments. Plus, its from actual people who make games, not brand loyalist.

Just saw the new @PlayStation #PS5 presentation. Great job @cerny! Since I routinely have to explain to people why I’m excited for an SSD for rendering I thought I’d write a little thread to explain. Case in point: Uncharted 1 to Last of Us transition:

Andrew Maximov, Founder and CEO of Promethean AI, Former Technical Artist at Naughty Dog via Twitter

Andrew whipped up a chart that showcases what Naughty Dog was able to do on one generation of hardware then goes on to explain the potential with being able to load highest resolution assets in immediately.

Thinking about that PS5 SSD. #gamedev

Michael Barclay, Game Designer at Naughty Dog via Twitter

There’s a pretty good GIF attached to this tweet.

100x loading speeds? Bruh.

Kurt Margenau, Game Director at Naughty Dog via Twitter

A few dogs from the Kennel got in on the PS5 praise train.

Still tripping about this #PS5 SSD spec. Like, people don’t even know how big of a leap in terms of game design can be made, especially for 1st party that doesn’t have to design to lowest common denominator. By far the biggest leap in my career. Can’t wait.

Kurt Margenau, Game Director at Naughty Dog via Twitter

Kurt elaborated a bit later. The fact first party won’t have to design for a lowest common denominator is incredibly exciting, just like it always has been. First parties, at any platform holder, always find a way to squeeze all the power and performance out of the hardware. Look at Nintendo and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe; a six-year-old Wii U game looks and runs beautifully on a tablet, better than plenty of games on PS4 and Xbox One.

Most crucial part of the @cerny presentation imo. The SSD in the PS5 (and all the associated IO hardware) is going to fundamentally change how we design videogames by removing limitations we’ve been working around the last two gens.

Anthony Newman, Game Director at Naughty Dog via Twitter

“Fundamentally change how we design videogames” sure is an exciting idea!

This is just a small sample from tweets I caught over the passed two days. The sentiment revolving around how revolutionary the PS5 will be is drumming up immense hype. When I think about the PS5, it’s not the numbers on a sheet of paper, but the games it will let me play. Naughty Dog will eventually harness every ounce of power out of this box. Second parties will make fantastic exclusives. Third parties will be able to make games across both boxes that have never been done before. It’s all about the games and the people making them seem pretty excited.

Exporting Creations from Dreams

Dreams Beta Evaluation

It is nice for Media Molecule to come out and try and plainly spell out some details for creations in Dreams. Right off the bat, creators own the IP they create in Dreams. What does that mean when Sony uses people’s creations in, say, an ad for Dreams? How would people protect their creations and IP?

Media Molecule is upfront about their lack of letting millions of users export and sell creations for business reasons. There is a beta application for creators to fill out that would open up an opportunity to seemingly export their creations off of Dreams to use them externally. It seems that the turn around for exporting Dreams may be sooner than I expected.

It’s no secret that I think Dreams is a part of PlayStation licensing out some of their game engines. I think the idea of a PS4 and Dreams as a dev kit is exciting. $200-300 for a PS4 and $40 for Dreams is far cheaper than a PC and licensing game software.

Ghost of Tsushima Japanese Story Trailer

Ghost of Tsushima Story Trailer (Japanese)

A couple weeks ago, Sucker Punch and Sony blew the doors wide open on Ghost of Tsushima. I am shocked that the game is scheduled to come out on June 26. When Sony said the game was set for “Summer 2020,” I would have guessed late summer. It is wild that the two swan songs for the PS4 are less than a month apart.

The story trailer is rad. The link at the top is the story trailer with the Japanese voice over. While the game is being made by Bellevue’s own Sucker Punch, the game will have Japanese voice-over with English subtitles. The studio seems to be going all in on authenticity. Although, I did find it funny that the lips don’t quite sync up because the trailer is meant for English. Like an inverse on Japanese films or anime being dubbed with English. Subbed vs dubbed has taken on a new form. I think playing with the Japanese track would be dope. For those that want to watch in English, here you go.

The Last of Us is Coming to HBO

Look for the light.

@clmazin and @Neil_Druckmann to develop the series adaptation of #TheLastOfUs, coming soon to HBO:

HBO via Twitter on March 5, 2020

I have heard great stuff about Craig and HBO’s Chernobyl series last year. I actually just picked it up on sale as some homework. I know The Last of Us movie was in production turmoil. A television series makes so much more sense for adapting a video game. I wonder what sort of lessons and challenges there will be adapting a story told so heavily via gameplay to a more passive medium like TV. Gameplay lets players develop a stronger sense of empathy and identity. The show has a unique challenge ahead of itself.