PlayStation 4 Pro Pre-Orders Going Strong

Sony is pleasantly surprised, with PlayStation 4 Pro pre-orders going strong despite an initial mixed reaction to the new system. With the Microsoft Scorpio coming out next year, one would think that the PlayStation 4 Pro, which releases this year, would see stellar, but not spectacular sales. This is not the case. It is dominating Amazon and pre-orders are strong in both North America and Europe. Sony Europe chief Jim Ryan is actually surprised by the strong PlayStation 4 Pro pre-orders.

“I’ve been told, just before we had this conversation, that pre-orders in the UK are looking pretty good.

“I can’t give you the numbers yet, but I’m pleasantly surprised.”

According to Sony there will be plenty of stock for the holiday season. While the system won’t be as powerful as the Scorpio, Sony is pinning high hopes for the system and is forecasting their largest PlayStation 4 fiscal year yet. While the PS4 Pro isn’t next-gen, the system specs are impressive and will please tech-savy fans.

PlayStation Plus Membership Price Increases

Sony has confirmed on their PlayStation blog that starting on September 22, the PlayStation Plus membership price increases from $49.99 to $59.99. This increase in price matches that of the cost for an Xbox Live membership. The rising cost is only confirmed for America and Canada at this time, and it is unknown if PlayStation Plus membership price increases will be seen worldwide.

To justify the price jump, Sony had this to say:

“PlayStation Plus strives to enrich your PlayStation experience through a world-class service built for our fans. This marks the first time that PS Plus membership prices will increase in the U.S. and Canada since the launch of the service in 2010. The new pricing reflects the current market conditions while enabling us to continue providing exceptional value to our members.”

The fact of the matter is that the PlayStation Network sill pales in comparison to Microsoft’s Xbox Live service and offers less incentives to justify the extravagant cost. Gamers are not just seeing a jump in yearly membership rates, but also the three-month plan, which will rise from $17.99 to $24.99. While the US monthly rate will remain at $9.99, Canadians will see a spike to $11.99 CAD.

It is unknown how this will affect membership renewals going forward, but Sony doesn’t offer as much value as Microsoft with their free monthly games (PlayStation Plus required) and Sony online play has never quite lived up to Microsoft’s.

If there’s any time to buy a stack of yearly PlayStation Plus membership cards, it’s now before the price increase goes into effect.

Fans Demand No Man’s Sky Refund

A number of fans who purchased No Man’s Sky from the PlayStation store are demanding a refund from Sony, according to reports. The space epic from Hello Games is causing issues from persisting game crashes, motion sickness, and even feelings that the game failed to deliver on promises made by advertising and statements from the developers themselves.

While one man was told he was eligible for a No Man’s Sky refund, as the digital version crashed on him three separate times in an hour and a half, he was told if he was refunded, he would never be able to play the title again, not even the physical version. He ultimately didn’t go through with the refund due to this fact. This is quite a shady business practice, as the underlying technical issues could have to do with the digital version itself and the physical version may rectify it. Fans experiencing these issues deserve a No Man’s Sky refund and should be able to re-purchase the game once the issues are fixed.

“I would happily re-buy the game at a later date if it improved, if the features promised were put in, if the crashing was fixed, because these things do get fixed over time.

“But I didn’t really want to get my money back and then never be able to play it again. It just seems counter-productive.

“It’s like they put a gun to my head.”

Another man felt like he was misled by the game’s advertising and promised features that were ultimately missing from the game. He too experienced game crashes, and he too was told he was eligible for a No Man’s Sky refund, but he too was told he would never be able to play the game again if he went through with it.

“I really do like the game, but I feel as though I paid £50 for a game that isn’t finished.

“But I don’t want to give up the right to ever play No Man’s Sky again. That seems really extreme to me.”

Ironically, Sony’s refund policy does allow users to re-purchase games at a later date if they are refunded, according to a statement provided to Eurogamer by the company.

“Players are entitled to receive refunds in line with the published refund policy on PlayStation.com.

“In instances where players receive a refund, they will of course be able to re-purchase the game at later date and play.”

No Man’s Sky was bound to be a disappointment to some gamers, given the sheer amount of hype surrounding the game; this is usually the case with all highly anticipated titles. Some feel the game is guilty of false advertising, which is a serious problem.  This will cause gamers to be even more weary of purchases in the future, fearing the same outcome of No Man’s Sky. Regardless, this situation needs to be rectified and Hello Games needs to be held accountable.

Top 5 Games of E3 2016

E3 2016 has wrapped up, and along with it, our coverage is finally nearing its end. Before we finish things up though, we want to package everything that we saw together in order to give you our top 5 games of E3. It wasn’t easy choosing; there was so much shown at the show that literally blew our minds. While there were a lot of amazing reveals and a lot of games shown, we are going to limit our list of games to those that we were able to experience at E3 2016. As a full disclosure, there are no VR games or experiences on our list for one simple reason: they make me incredibly sick due to an eye condition, so unfortunately, I was unable to truly experience those games with any enjoyment, although I know I’m probably in the minority. That being said, here are our top 5 games of E3 2016.

Top 5 Games of E3 — 5. Mafia III

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It’s really hard to place Mafia III at the bottom of the list (although even making this list is an accomplishment), but we simply experienced so many games that we’re excited for. Mafia III is one of our top 5 E3 games because of the compelling narrative, fun gameplay, the open-world experience, and most of all, the fact that your choices ultimately shape your experience. You could play the game multiple times but based on certain choices you make, you could wind up with a completely different experience each time, which not only gives it a lot of replayability value but intrigues us as to what our experience will be with Mafia III.

Top 5 Games of E3 — 4. Horizon Zero Dawn

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Horizon Zero Dawn was one of our favorite games at E3 2016, but the only reason why it is rather low on this list is simply because the demo that we were given was so compact and didn’t take advantage of the open world that Aloy explores during the game. Sony and Guerrilla Games probably didn’t want to show too much, and this is fine, but we were very constricted. We wish that we were able to explore a bit of this world, even for the brief 10 minutes or so that we had with the game, as this is one of the main allures of the title. That being said though, Horizon Zero Dawn is magnificent which is why it is on our top 5 games of E3 list. The controls are very tight, the combat is incredibly fun and takes some strategy, which we like, and from what we saw of the world it is incredibly enticing. Although we wish there was more to the demo, we were beyond thrilled to be able to go hands-on with the game and it is our most anticipated PlayStation title in years.

Top 5 Games of E3 — 3. Gears of War 4

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Gears of War 4 promises to be a very special game. While we were treated to a beta of the multiplayer aspect of the title earlier this year, which disappointed us just a little bit, we were thrilled to be able to view a hands-off demo of the Gears of War 4 campaign. As we said in our preview article, it brings something old yet something new, and this is something that we think will prove to be a successful formula. With some brand new gameplay mechanics, new characters, unique weapons, and a somewhat different atmosphere, Gears 4 has all the makings of a classic and is the game that the Xbox One has been waiting for, which is why it is one of our top 5 games of E3.

Top 5 Games of E3 — 2. Batman The Telltale Series

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Telltale Games are master storytellers. We were left incredibly impressed with the first half-hour of the first episode of their Batman series, which is one of the most unique takes on the Dark Knight that we have seen to date. It’s not the Batman aspect of the character that intrigues us the most though — it’s the Bruce Wayne persona. He’s portrayed so differently than we have ever seen and we are very excited for Telltale to delve into the psyche of who this man is and who his true self is. Is Batman the mask, or is Bruce Wayne? This is a pivotal question and we have no doubt Telltale will explore this further. The game aims to split the Bruce Wayne scenes and Batman scenes 50/50, and while we have a little bit more to share with our interview with Richard Iggo of Telltale Games, which will be coming shortly, Batman The Telltale Series promises to be both character and action driven, sparking a perfect balance of the two. This is why it is number two on our top 5 games of E3 list.

Top 5 Games of E3 — 1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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Like there ever was any doubt. Breath of the Wild quite literally took our breath away. The world, the landscape, the story (from what we know), the gameplay — everything was as close to perfection as could be. For the first time since Ocarina of Time, the controls for Zelda are completely different and we actually haven’t anticipated a Zelda game this much since Ocarina of Time. While we loved the previous console iteration of Zelda, Skyward Sword, Breath of the Wild is almost its antithesis, and this a good thing. There’s a freedom to be found in Breath of the Wild that hasn’t been found in a Zelda game in maybe 30 years. By giving us two immersive demos showing off two different aspects of the game, Nintendo was able to give us an experience that simply has us craving for more. March (presumably?) cannot come soon enough and this is easily our most anticipated title from any home console in the last 10 years or so, at least. Nintendo put on a masterful performance at E3 and Zelda was by far the game that everyone wanted to play (the line proved it), which is why it is our top game of E3 2016.

E3 2016: Horizon Zero Dawn Preview — The PS4 Game We’ve Been Waiting For

Horizon Zero Dawn was first unveiled at E3 2015 as a brand new IP from Sony developed by Guerrilla Games. While last year we had the chance to witness a hands-off demo of the title, this year we were able to go hands-on with the game for our very own Horizon Zero Dawn preview. While the demo was short but sweet (roughly eight minutes long), it was full of action and beautiful scenery which dwarfs anything found on the PlayStation 4 to date.

Horizon Zero Dawn Preview — A Prelude

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Before going hands-on with the game for our Horizon Zero Dawn preview, we were first shuffled into a room for a brief hands-off demo to preview what we would soon play. Sony and Guerrilla Games explained some of the basic mechanics of the game to us and a few pointers that would help us out while play the demo, especially in terms of combat. While the Horizon Zero Dawn is an open-world action RPG, we didn’t get to see much of the world, although what we did see took our breath away. The demo was really more about the gameplay and getting to experience the game’s combat and mechanics rather than Horizon Zero Dawn’s scenery. Once the introduction was over, to my surprise, we were whisked away and able to get our hands on the game, which was incredibly exciting as it is one of the most anticipated games coming out for the PlayStation 4.

Horizon Zero Dawn Preview — The Experience

Like we mentioned earlier, our time with Horizon Zero Dawn was short but sweet. The area that encompassed the demo was very compact, and I received a warning many times that I was leaving the demo area because I was eager to explore the world, as the backdrop looked incredible. You play as Aloy, a young woman who ventures into this vast and dangerous world in order to discover her destiny. It is filled with robot-like creatures and creativity. That, combined with the brief narrative given in the trailer made us incredibly intrigued. During our Horizon Zero Dawn preview we didn’t experience any of the narrative and everything was about the game’s mechanics, but that was okay, as too much story could have ruined it for us.

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We thought that combat would be a bit easier, but surprising it was actually a bit of a challenge. We never died during the course of our Horizon Zero Dawn preview, but these machines are not push overs. Aloy had a few weapons at her disposal during the demo, but we mostly stuck to projectiles like the bow and arrow. There was one machine that we mounted to the ground in our Horizon Zero Dawn preview and tamed, being able to ride it like a horse. Unfortunately, there weren’t very many enemies to fight during the demo. We also used both heavy and light melee attacks for close-range combat, but that proved to be rather risky and made us more susceptible to damage. After an enemy is defeated you are able to gather loot and materials, which can be used for crafting and upgrading weapons. Stealth is another aspect of combat, especially during the full game where you are surrounded by enemies; if you go in gung-ho, you’re heading towards a certain death. Sneaking up on enemies is a crucial gameplay element and while we didn’t fully utilize it during our Horizon Zero Dawn preview, it is something that will be quintessential while playing the final build of the game.

Horizon Zero Dawn Preview — The Ultimate PlayStation 4 Experience

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Although the demo of Horizon Zero Dawn was rather short, it gave us a taste of what promises to be one of the greatest PlayStation exclusives in years. The game’s controls are tight, the world is enormous, the story, from what we know, is very intriguing, and it’s an incredibly unique concept. For those looking for the ultimate single-player experience on the PlayStation 4, look no further than Horizon Zero Dawn. Although the game was delayed, we are thrilled to get our hands on the final copy and experience Aloy’s journey in full, which looks to be an unforgettable experience.

Get ready to go on a miraculous adventure with Aloy on February 28, 2017.

E3 2016’s Most Anticipated Games

E3 is nearly upon us, with only eight days left, we at Video Game Culture HQ have come up with our own E3 2016’s most anticipated games list. As we are attending the show, we are incredibly excited to see what each company has in store and while there are more than just five games that we are looking forward to, these are the five that have piqued our interest the most.


Zero Time Dilemma

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While Zero Time Dilemma, published by Aksys games, will be released on June 28, it will make an appearance at E3 and tops our E3 2016’s most anticipated games list. We will be reviewing the game in short time, but Zero Time Dilemma is a game that should not have even been made. A sequel to both the Nintendo DS’s 999 and the Nintendo 3DS’s Virtue’s Last Reward, Zero Time Dilemma is the final installment in Kotaru Uchikoshi’s masterful trilogy. The game did not do well in Japan, but sold very well in the United States. Uchikoshi always envisioned the series as a trilogy, but the series was dead in the water after the second installment. All hope was lost, but last year, it was announced that a third installment in the series was finally coming out for the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita. With a gripping story, a vast mythology, and mind-numbing puzzles, this promises to be one of the best 3DS games of 2016.

Horizon Zero Dawn

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Last year we were fortunate enough to attend the PlayStation Experience at E3 2015 and view a live demo of Horizon Zero Dawn, which is why it is one of our E3 2016’s most anticipated games. The world is absolutely gripping, the story seems incredibly unique and engaging, the combat looks excellent, and visually the game is second-to-none. While there hasn’t been much released about the game since its reveal at E3 2015 and it has supposedly been pushed back for a 2017 release, it is sure to make an appearance at this year’s E3 as it is the PlayStation 4’s most interesting exclusive. Hopefully we’ll be able to get some hands-on time with the game as it looks like it will be a blast. It seems very Zelda-like as well with regards to its world. We were told last year that everywhere you can see, you can actually visit, and the world is absolutely massive.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

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With so many people leaving Bioware in the middle of the development for this game, I’ve been a bit skeptical, and to be honest, a bit afraid for this title. Still slated for a Q1 2017 release, I am cautiously optimistic for the next installment in Bioware’s Mass Effect series, although it’s not even for the aforementioned reasons. I loved the original Mass Effect trilogy. In fact, it is the very reason why I bought an Xbox 360 to begin with. It was such an emotional journey filled with wonderfully complex and dynamic characters, and while some may have thought the ending fell flat, I saw perfection. Shepard was the perfect protagonist and the Reapers were absolutely epic; I just don’t know how Bioware can top that. That being said, Bioware has proven themselves time and time again as a top-notch development team and Mass Effect: Andromeda will no doubt be an incredible game which is why it is a part of our E3 2016’s most anticipated games list. I really hope it is hands-on and more information is released, as this is one of the most beloved franchises from the last console generation.

Gears of War 4

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While the beta of the Gears of War 4 beta did disappoint us, we are hopeful that these problems are fixed at E3 2016 as Gears 4 is one of our E3 2016’s most anticipated games. Gears was revolutionary in terms of both third-person shooters and cover shooters. The mechanics were nothing short of brilliant and I am very excited to see how far the game has come since the beta. It’s not even known if the beta we were playing was the build the development team had; they could have been much further ahead in the process. The Gears Ultimate Edition was brilliant and I have no doubt in The Coalition’s ability to get the job done. What is just a little concerning though is that the game is coming out this year but the beta was still mired with a number of issues. Hopefully these are fixed though and Gears 4 will be as enjoyable as the previous installments, as it is one of Microsoft’s staple franchises.

The Legend of Zelda for Wii U

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The Legend of Zelda for Wii U is our most anticipated title appearing at E3 2016. Make no mistake about it: this is the game that people have been waiting for ever since the Wii U came out. In fact, if the game had come out closer to the Wii U’s launch, the system might have sold much better. Regardless of that though, and regardless of the fact that the game is also coming out for the Nintendo NX in March, The Legend of Zelda for Wii U is our E3 2016’s most anticipated game. It is not only going back to the roots of Zelda, but it is also promising to completely change the conventions of the series as well. Many are disappointed that the release of the game has been pushed back, but it is only by a few months, which is actually not that bad. Nintendo is betting it all on Zelda this year, which is fitting considering it is the series’ 30th anniversary. The game looks amazing from a visual perspective, appears to have an enticing world, and, well, it’s Zelda. It looks to be the most gripping Zelda since Ocarina of Time and hopefully it is the most revolutionary entry since the aforementioned title as well.


While this is our list of E3 2016’s most anticipated games, there are plenty more to look forward to, some not even announced yet and will be showcased during each company’s press conferences. E3, once again, will be a magical experience where the gaming community comes together and showcases what they have been working on so hard for this year and beyond. There are no losers here; everybody wins.

E3 is Not a Contest

Many look at E3 as a contest; which company has the best showing, who beats who, etc., when it comes to the big three (Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo). Newsflash: E3 is not a contest. While fans may see it as such, if one company may not seem to do as well as the others, that doesn’t mean they lose or are the “loser.” Every company has up and down years, but ultimately E3 is an industry trade show where companies have the opportunity to showcase what they have to offer for the upcoming year and beyond. This is no easy feat and companies are now taking a massively different approach to E3, such as Nintendo. EA and Activision aren’t even holding booths this year. If one company doesn’t do well (not from a fan perspective), ultimately it is everyone who loses.

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Last year many lamented that Nintendo had a very poor showing at E3. Being at the show, sure, it was a disappointment that Zelda was not present, but there was something special about the Nintendo E3 booth: it was a lot of fun. Everyone had a smile on their face and I saw no sign of disappointment from the attendees or the press who were present at the event. Sure, Nintendo didn’t have the killer showing that they had during previous years, but Super Mario Maker went on to sell over 3 million units worldwide on a system that has an install base of just under 13 million. That is pretty impressive.  Nintendo may have had a bit of a down year and even had a ridiculous petition started over their Metroid 3DS game, but they only showed what they were coming out with during 2015, as opposed to the other two big companies. Their strategy was completely different and their booth was magical.

There is no doubt that Sony and Microsoft enjoyed a wonderful E3 last year and they had several announcements that blew people away. That is absolutely wonderful and is great for the industry as a whole, but to declare them the “winners” of E3 last year and even years before is a bit of a disservice to the Electronic Entertainment Expo as a whole and to the industry. If one company has a horrible showing, it is actually bad for everyone. Each company has their strengths and weaknesses and each innovate in their own ways. To label E3 as a “contest” is a horrible marketing ploy by fans and journalists alike because E3 is not a contest.

There are no winners or losers when it comes to E3. The dynamic of the show is shifting and each company is taking a massively different strategy than years past. E3 gives companies the showcase to present press and gamers with what they have to offer for the future, and with regard to that, everyone is a winner. E3 is not a contest. If a company is faltering or has a bad showing, it is ultimately bad for the industry and in turn it is really bad for everyone. Innovation is the key term and each company has something special to bring to the table.

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This E3 will be especially interesting considering Nintendo is trying something massively different and it is unknown how Sony and Microsoft will react. They will surely have a wonderful showing and hopefully have some wonderful software and possibly tech to show off, which will be great for everyone, but it is my personal hope that they focus on what is coming out this year and this holiday season as opposed to things coming out in a year or beyond. Many companies are shifting away from E3 and bypassing press in order to bring their future products straight to the consumer at conventions and other events they are setting up, such as EA this year with EA Play. E3 will always be integral to the gaming industry but this shift is important to keep in mind when considering companies’ future approach to the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

E3 is not a contest. If one company falters, we all lose. Each company has something unique to offer and if the industry isn’t moving forward then it hurts us all. There is such a focus by the media and gamers alike on who the “winner” is, but within the industry there is probably a massively different outlook. This year’s E3 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting in recent memory and even if fans want to lament about who is “winning” and who is “losing”, we’re all winning in the end.