TIME Video Games

5 Reasons to Buy a PlayStation 4 Right Now

Sony Corp. PlayStation 4 As Game Console Goes On Sale In U.S.
Bloomberg—Getty Images A logo sits on the front of a Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4) games console, manufactured by Sony Corp., in this arranged photograph taken in London, U.K., on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013.

To date, it's the fastest selling game system in history

On the sales front, the PlayStation 4 rules the roost. Sony’s flagship game console pulled off a high octane launch in late 2013, and it’s since beat both Nintendo’s Wii U and Microsoft’s Xbox One in global systems sold.

It also looks nothing like a first-gen console, designed by architect Mark Cerny to resemble the sort of quiet, elegantly slimline revision we’re more likely to see three or four years into a console’s 10-or-so year lifespan. And that’s without trading down, power-wise.

Here’s a roundup of reasons to consider buying the PlayStation 4, mid-2015 edition:

It has the best versions of cross-platform games

This applies more to earlier games than recent ones, but on balance, cross-platform titles tend to look better on Sony’s hardware. That’s because third-party studios struggled out of the gate to optimize for the Xbox One’s architecture, running into performance snafus that forced them to make visual compromises. If you’re a strict videophile who pores over graphics comparisons at pixel-scrutinizing sites like Digital Foundry, the PlayStation 4 brooks little argument here.

Popularity

Everyone not tied down by a massive exclusivity deal wants to be on Sony’s hardware. It’s snowball math: the more people buy a game console, the more studios want to develop for it, the more people buy the game console. Sony’s PlayStation 4 soared past 22 million units sold in March—more than twice the Xbox One’s last reported “shipped” figure—and it’s either close behind or in lockstep with Nintendo’s original Wii for the honorific “fastest selling console of all time.” If you want the near-future-proofed game console, it’s the PlayStation 4 by a country mile.

Bloodborne

One of the finest action roleplaying games ever made lives on Sony’s system and no other. Its outrageous challenges and endless combat loops won’t resonate with everyone, but if you’re an aficionado of studio From Software’s Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls games, the PlayStation 4 is a slam dunk buy for Bloodborne alone.

Share Play

Both Sony and Microsoft let you stream video of what you’re doing through services like Twitch, but only the PlayStation 4 lets you invite viewers (who also have a PlayStation 4) to play games you own but that they don’t. Before you shrug because you and your friends are going to buy the same games, consider the “remote assistance” feature, which, if you’re stuck in whatever game, lets you turn control over to a remote player, either in an instructional capacity or to simply get you over the hump.

PlayStation Now

Sony’s game-streaming technology isn’t the same thing as true backward compatibility, and game streaming can be visually glitchy if your Internet connection hiccups. But since older PlayStation 3 games look diminished on native 1080p resolution TV screens, does it matter? For $20 a month, PlayStation Now gives you unfetteredun access to over 100 PlayStation 3 games, and the list is growing.

TIME Video Games

Watch Arnold Schwarzenegger Recreate Famous Terminator 2 Scene With Wrestling Stars

Schwarzenegger is back in the video game 'WWE 2K16'

Arnold Schwarzenegger is joining the roster for 2K Games’ WWE 2K16, and the Terminator himself celebrated his arrival by recreating one of Terminator 2: Judgment Day’s most famous scenes.

Schwarzenegger, a WWE Hall of Famer, steps back into the metal boots of the T-800 to recreate his bar entrance from the second film. Though this time around, he walks in to a room full of WWE stars, not anonymous bar patrons.

Schwarzenegger as the T-800 from both Terminator and Judgment Day will be playable in the upcoming title. Both incarnations of the character will be playable for those who pre-order the game from specific retailers. There’s no word on whether the pre-order bonus will become purchasable following release, though it would not be a surprising move if that came to pass after the game debuted.

WWE 2K16 will be available on Oct. 27 for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME Innovation

How Using Data Could Stop Deadly Police Encounters

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. Can police use data to prevent deadly encounters?

By Larry Greenemeier in Scientific American

2. Malaria kills half a million people every year. A first-ever vaccine is one step closer to reality.

By Alexandra Sifferlin in Time

3. NASA has discovered an older Earth-like planet. Can it tell us our future?

By Sarah Fecht in Popular Science

4. You can help verify the code that runs our nation’s defense — by playing these browser games.

By Paul Rubens at the BBC

5. Is it time to say goodbye to tipping?

By Twilight Greenaway in Civil Eats

 

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Video Games

Professional Video Gamers to Be Tested for Doping

Games League of Legends
Mark J. Terrill—AP The team of SK Telecom T1 competes in the second round at the League of Legends Season 3 World Championship Final on Oct. 4, 2013, in Los Angeles.

The Electronic Sports League will begin testing gamers for performance enhancing drugs from August

Professional video gamers will soon be subjected to the same scrutiny as professional athletes.

The largest and oldest professional video game organization, the Electronic Sports League (ESL), announced in a statement Thursday that starting in August they’ll begin testing gamers for performance enhancing drugs.

“As the world’s largest and oldest esports organization, ESL has an ongoing commitment to safeguarding both the integrity of our competitions and that of esports as a whole – we wish to ensure we can provide a fair playing field for all participating players,”a post on ESL’s website reads.

The first tests will be administered at the ESL One Cologne event in August, according to the statement.

Sports Illustrated reports the announcement comes in the wake of a scandal surrounding a team that admitted to taking the anti hyperactivity and attention deficit correction drug Adderall during a recent competition.

TIME destiny

This Video Perfectly Captures What It’s Like to Lose Your Mind Over a Video Game

Everybody needs a friend commentating like this

Ah, Destiny. Bungie’s massively multiplayer shooter inspires great devotion and exasperation in players. But, at it’s best, it can be an addicting, adrenalin-pumping experience. Take the above video—warning it contains some profanity, you may want to wear headphones—the colorful commentary in which was supposedly accidentally recorded by the player’s Playstation 4. Kyle, who was watching a friend play, can be heard egging him on and generally commentating on the increasingly bonkers state of the match in Destiny‘s Crucible multiplayer mode. Everybody needs a pal like Kyle now and then.

[Source: Reddit]

TIME Video Games

Here’s When You Can Get Nintendo’s Sweet New Amiibo

The nostalgia factor is very high

Nintendo has taken the wraps off several special editions of Super Mario Maker, its make-your-own-Mario game slated for released later this year. The company also confirmed the release date for two of its most anticipated Amiibo figurines of its iconic Mario mascot.

The figurines, which connect to various Nintendo digital titles, will come in two variants, the traditional NES Super Mario Bros. in brown and red and referred to as “Classic Colours” and one in current shades dubbed “Modern Colours.” Classic Colours Mario Amiibo will be available as a standalone product September 11 in Europe and September 12 in Australia. The Modern Colours version will be available October 23 in Europe and October 24 in Australia.

A special-edition Nintendo Wii U bundle will pack Mario Maker in with a console. There’s currently no word on U.S. release dates.

 Mario Amiibo
NintendoOne of Nintendo’s new Mario-themed Amiibo.
TIME Video Games

Here’s Why Everybody Loves This Bizarre New Soccer Game

It's the weirdest, wildest demolition-derby you can imagine

It’s like soccer with race cars. That’s the elevator pitch for San Diego studio Psyonix’s Rocket League, a zany ball-punching demolition derby for PC and PlayStation 4. The game arrived without ceremony two weeks ago, but it’s already clinched over 5,000 “overwhelmingly positive” reviews on Steam. It’s now pretty much what everyone’s talking about.

Imagine Hot Wheels with something like Moon-gravity physics: swarms of splashy, customizable rocket-propelled dragsters that can leap into the air like tumbling ultralights. Players scoot or soar over futuristic astroturf fields honeycombed in weird symbology and enclosed within translucent hexagonal domes. The goal: to chase down a gargantuan ball (bigger than the vehicles themselves) and send it careening into soccer-style goal posts. And like soccer, it’s all about finessing assists and saves, but with a kind of outré elegance that’s like watching four-wheeled ballet dancers glide, plummet and pirouette.

MORE: Here’s Why Valve’s Virtual Reality Controllers Are So Vital

It’s weird, no doubt about it, and at first tends to play as bizarrely as it sounds. Figuring out how to best avail yourself of subtle variations in vehicle mass and momentum becomes as essential as sussing the statistical differences between top footballers in FIFA 15. But once you get the hang of the controls—and you will, it’s just a matter of your brain doing that thing brains do when recalibrating to alt-gravity physics—it becomes second nature. Stunts that look impossible in clips, say leaping into the air, rebounding off the dome and arrowing across the field, then flipping your hind end around at the last minute to smack the ball as it crosscuts your trajectory and score a goal, become eminently possible.

Rocket League, it’s worth mentioning, is a kind of sequel to a 2008 game clumsily titled Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars. But the latter was only available for PlayStation 3, and didn’t generate the critical buzz Rocket League‘s been getting. What’s more, Rocket League supports cross-platform play, allowing PlayStation 4 and Windows players to square off across ecosystems.

Think of it as football unbound, and another example of the power of games to bring totally ridiculous ideas (that turn out to be pretty darned good ones) to life.

TIME Virtual Reality

Here’s Why Valve’s Virtual Reality Controllers Are So Vital

HTC Vive
HTC HTC Vive

Everything gets infinitely more immersive

As of last week, I’ve finally tried all three major, high-end virtual reality headsets: Oculus VR’s Rift, Sony’s Morpheus and HTC/Valve’s Vive. From a new user’s perspective, all three experiences felt mostly similar. I’m convinced that when these headsets start hitting the market next year, a winner will be crowned based on available content, not differences in underlying technology.

But the Vive demo had something I hadn’t experienced yet, and it made the virtual reality experience much more immersive: VR-tuned controllers.

Before I tried the Vive, my experiences in virtual reality were mostly hands-free. I could look around various digital domains, but actually interacting with the ersatz world around me was largely either impossible or meant using the same kind of controllers designed for traditional video games (or, worse, a keyboard and mouse). The Vive demo, however, featured new controllers that look a bit like a sword hilt, designed specifically to let users manipulate objects and other elements in virtual reality.

What VR controllers actually let you do depends on the simulation you’ve got loaded up. In the demo I tried at a downtown New York City hotel on July 16, that meant a combination of clearing tiny fish out of the way of my scuba mask to get a better look at a humpback whale, grabbing the right ingredients out of a fridge and placing them in a pot to make soup, and failing miserably at rebuilding a broken robot. And all of these things felt incredibly natural and intuitive after just a minute or two.

HTC’s Vive won’t have a monopoly on virtual reality controllers; the Facebook-owned Oculus has announced a pair of its own, too. That these companies realize the importance of actual interaction in virtual reality is great news for fans of the medium. While modern VR totally blew me away the first time I used it, I was getting a little bored by the concept come time to put the Vive on. But the controllers added an entirely new element that’s got me thinking about much more complex possibilities in the virtual space, like adventure games (virtual reality Myst, anyone?), puzzlers (VR Monument Valley, yes please) and action titles (VR Star Wars: Lightsaber Battle, shut up and take my money).

Now, more than ever, I can’t wait to see the inevitably crazy ideas actual VR content creators cook up.

TIME Video Games

Go Ahead and Treat Yourself to 90 Gorgeous Seconds of No Man’s Sky

A new trailer. More wonder

No Man’s Sky, the massively open space exploration game coming to PC and Playstation 4, is creeping closer to reality. Though an official date hasn’t been announced, more information about the Hello Games-developed title has been made available throughout the month of July. (A big source has been IGN’s great video series; The New Yorker also ran an excellent profile of the studio working on the game.) The title promises to let players explore a vast universe of procedurally generated worlds, discovering new species, mining resources, trading and fighting with one another. And check out our impressions and hopes for No Man’s Sky here.

TIME Virtual Reality

Watch the Demo That Will Make You Want Virtual Reality Right Now

Mind-blowing, totally mind-blowing

One of the most talked-about virtual reality products, the Vive developed by games giant Valve and smartphone maker HTC, has been making the rounds with a particularly enticing demonstration: a brand new game in the massively popular Portal universe. Clips of what players see during the experience have cropped up here and there; now, you can watch the entire play through in the video above. In the demo, players find themselves inside a workshop tasked with assembling one of the game’s wisecracking robots, among other tasks. One of the important distinctions of Valve’s VR implementation is its unique controllers, which can be seen being used in this clip.

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