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Similarities between PS4 v Xbox One and PSX v Saturn

No I’m not mad, though I do have to admit that it’s almost impossible to be as stupid as Sega were when they released the Saturn (even if they made up for it with their Dreamcast).

Anyway, there seems to be more than a passing resemblance between the situation with the PS4 and Xbox One, and with the Playstation 1 (PSX) and the Saturn.

Here’s my list:


1. E3 1995. Sega announced that they would release a new console on September 2nd 1995 though to the annoyance of both retailers and consumers, secretly shipped the console the night before. In what has become known as one of the greatest stand ups, Sega famously touted the Saturn and its apparent affordability of $399. When Sony took the stage all that was said was something along the lines of “Sony Playstation. $299” to rapturous applause.

Similarities with the PS4 and Xbox One?
PS4 – $399
Xbox One $499

2. The Sega Saturn was notoriously difficult to develop for because late in the development stage having heard about the PSX’s capabilities, they decided to throw in another CPU to try and double its performance output. It turned out that only around 1 in 100 coders had the ability to fully utilise the dual CPU set up, meaning that it was too much bother to develop any games for. Sony’s Playstation on the other hand only had one single chip that was a lot easier to work with.

Similarities with the PS4 and Xbox One?
PS4 – Like the Xbox One, it will feature an x86 84 architecture instruction set, but Sony have learned from their lessons with the PS3 being quite difficult to develop for but giving the PS4 8GB GDDR5 unified memory taking this a step further.

3. Sega began to lose the plot as early as the Mega Drive/Genesis (what with their numerous add-ons).

Similarities with the PS4 and Xbox One?
PS4 concentrates on games, while the Xbox One seems to have a fascination with entertainment and the integration with its Kinect controller. Who cares about entertainment when the main reason we buy these things is to play games? If I wanted anything to do with any other form of entertainment I’d go online, use the smartphone or use my TV and Blu ray player. It’s safe to say Microsoft have lost the plot here. In this sense it actually has more in common with Philips CDi –
multimedia entertainment platform indeed!


4. As previously mentioned, Sega began strapping on as much as they could afford onto the Saturn to match the purported abilities of the PSX.

Similarities with the PS4 and Xbox One?
Microsoft basically cocked up big time when it first announced the Xbox One, leaving many gamers asking questions about the direction Microsoft was taking the Xbox brand. However after this they refused to reveal any more details about the machine until June 2013 (obviously having waited for what Sony would announce at E3 that same year). Following this obvious lack of preparation and thought on Microsoft’s part, they then discreetly started copying Sony’s PS4 overall model, first by denouncing their earlier intention to run hourly checks in order to play any games and the used game fiasco, but then by deciding to make the Xbox One region free. What’s also interesting is that the basic set up is fairly similar (on paper) to the PS4 including the RAM, but it’s pretty obvious Microsoft hadn’t given it as much thought as Sony had.

Sony forced Microsoft’s Hand


Xbox One like PS4 Region Free

I wrote an article recently about regional lockouts and how in this internet age (where we can order goods from 1000 miles away) we should be allowed to purchase games from other territories. Well good news. It seems for the first time ever, console manufacturers have decided to allow their consoles to do just that for their major consoles – allow you to play games from other regions. It’s been nearly 30 years coming but they finally got there.

Now I do tell a small lie when I say it’s the first time one of the major consoles has been region free, because the original Xbox did allow gamers to play games from other regions, however it depended on whether the publisher allowed it. In most cases the publisher didn’t though there were a few exceptions like The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind for example.

Things That Sucked at E3

Who, what, why: Are tech goods cheaper in the US than the UK?



Proof that Cornettos have gotten much smaller

Alright so we had some nice weather here in the UK recently (for a change), and I decided to have a cheat day by buying some Cornetto ice creams. Well I was flabbergasted when I saw the size of them let me tell you!

I heard that they used to same excuse that Cadbury used with their Creme Eggs – “we as consumers were getting bigger (we were now grown up) and the product only appeared smaller when it wasn’t”. Bullsh*t!

I’ve got proof here. In the first picture is an advert from 1982 which depicts some guy trying to snatch the ice cream from the lady. Now here is just one screenshot of the poor quality video, and the full video.

Lady with Cornetto from 1982

Next we see the size of Cornettos nowadays and even though it’s being held by men, the size difference is quite obvious.


Ridiculous isn’t it?

A consideration for future consoles…

Sorry bahahaha

It’s been a while but I was thinking about something recently.

I recently got hold of a PS One console again and the PS One LCD Screen. Now I still have my original PSX console and used to have the PS One when it first came out, but I cannot remember what happened to it (I was still a kid back then so I probably traded it in).

Anyway the PS One LCD screens are not exactly cheap to buy any more as they came with a limited run, but of course the console by itself is useless without the games right? Luckily I still had lots of PSX games lying about the house, but something else came into my mind – the ability to play games from foreign regions that I hadn’t been able to get before.

Now most of you will know that generally speaking, console manufacturers like Nintendo, Sony, Sega and Microsoft, have traditionally included a regional lock on their machines (either within the circuitry or a physical lock) in the hope of being able to better manage the sales of each particular region (North America, Europe and Japan being the main ones). The difficulty of having a realistic indication as to the sale of particular games within these regions would more or less be exacerbated were gamers from Europe (for example) able to buy games from any of the NTSC regions and vice versa.

I said ‘generally speaking’ because handheld consoles have never really been afflicted by this issue, as someone buying an official UK version of the GameBoy Advance was (and still is) able to buy a Japanese or American game to play on their machine.

PS One

It dawned on me however that the PS One – a redesigned PSX that came in a much more compact form) was only released a few months before the release of the PS2, but that its manufacturing run ended 4 years later (December 31st 2004 to be exact). That means that Sony were still manufacturing the original Playstation under its new guise 4 years into the Playstation 2’s run.

I do remember that Sony still managed to shift a hell of a lot of PS Ones as the general public began to warm to its successor, but I now feel that with the PS One they could have gone a little further by disabling the regional lockout.

There are a number of reasons for this:

1 – The Playstation One was inevitably entering into its final death throes, and thus Sony would have had nothing to lose by expanding its library of games to its fullest extent.

2 – It would have encouraged more gamers to try and get hold of the games they never managed to play due to (in a lot of cases) a particular game never having been released in that region. For instance Parasite Eve 1 was never officially released in Europe (though Parasite Eve 2 was), and so therefore many gamers may have wanted to experience the original before the next generation of games hit the market.

3 – It would encourage sales and renew interest when the market would otherwise have been stagnant and dying thanks to subsequent machines.

There are other reasons, but I think you get the message here. You could turn around and say that this idea is kind of a waste of time when we have virtual machines, emulators, backwards compatibility and things like Playstation Store and Xbox Live Marketplace, but how many of their old games have actually been released? Taking a quick look over at the Playstation Store, I could only see a tiny fraction of the number of games that were released on the PS One (and when it comes to PS2 games don’t even bother going there).

Xbox 360 Region Lock

Backwards compatibility has proven to not be in the interests of the console manufacturers for whatever reason as demonstrated for instance when Sony dropped it in the later versions of their PS3 console, but I think there is still a market to be had by selling the games on their intended machines at the end of its life – see Richard Leadbetter’s brief look Silent Hill HD for instance.

It should also be taken into consideration seeing as the new redesigned consoles provide a good opportunity to launch such an incentive, as it saves them having to redesign the original from scratch or asking that those with older models convert them. It encourages them to purchase the new variation because of the prospect of playing the games they always wanted to. What have Sony, Microsoft or even Nintendo got to lose by doing that?

Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 Riding Crest of Wii U’s Failure

Though it’s too early to comment on the subject until the PS4 and Xbox 720 is released, it does indeed seem that the Wii U is doing quite badly sales-wise. You only need to look at the number of reviews on Amazon (one of the largest and most popular points of sale for gadgets) to get an indication as to how badly things have become, with a pathetic 28 reviews out of the potential 574 ‘Likes’.



Also refer back to my earlier post that offered my rationale as to a possible Wii U failure – something I don’t usually do as I usually support the notion that only fools try to predict the future course of technology. In the case of the Wii U however it was pretty obvious to me.

Syberia: Video Game Art

Syberia 1 & 2 should be recognised as art in themselves.

Syberia Series so far….

First part of our Syberia coverage.

Wreck-It Ralph. One word – Awesome!!



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