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Sony owes Xperia owners a refund over faulty water resistance

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 23:09:00 -0400

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When you buy a phone billed as water-resistant, you generally expect it to survive accidental dunks. Some Sony phone owners have a very different story, though -- their supposedly resistant phones took water damage that required an expensive fix. If you're one of them, we have good news. A preliminary settlement in a class action lawsuit will offer a 50 percent refund of the retail price to US customers who bought a water-resistant Sony Xperia device and had to file water damage claims. The list of affected hardware covers a whopping 24 phones and tablets sold in the US, ranging from the Xperia Z1 through to relatively recent devices like the Xperia Z5.

Via: Android Police

Source: Xperia Waterproof Settlement




Sony Music taps Dubset to monetize samples in remixed songs

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 16:10:00 -0400

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It's tough enough for artists to make sure they're paid for every stream of their songs, but what about remixes? There is a system in place from Dubset called the MixBank Rights Management Platform, and it helps rights holders identify samples in songs that belong to them. Apple Music and Spotify already use the platform to help pay sampled artists for their contribution to streaming remixes. Sony Music has just opted into the system, making it the first major label to use Dubset's platform. This enables Sony to manage its massive catalog and monetize the use of samples on streaming services.

Via: Billboard

Source: Dubset




Sony 'won't allow' cross-platform dino survival in 'Ark' either

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 15:02:00 -0400

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Stop me if you've heard this before: The makers of a huge multi-platform game want to unite their disparate users so everyone can play together, regardless of whether they're playing on PC, PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, and Sony is blocking that. This time, it's Ark: Survival Evolved. Lead designer was answering questions on Twitter recently and when someone asked if cross-network play would ever happen, he replied with the following. "We have it working internally, but currently Sony won't allow it."

Via: Eurogamer

Source: Jeremy Stieglitz




PS4’s next update finally lets you squelch notifications during movies

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 12:35:00 -0400

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We knew a few things PlayStation 4 owners would be getting with the system's next big software update thanks to a leak last week. But it goes beyond enabling PS4 Plus owners to stream on Twitch in 1080p at 60 frames per second. While only pre-selected users get to enjoy the new additions as the update rolls out in beta today, Sony released a list of features for the console's greater playerbase to look forward to.

Source: PlayStation Blog




What we're playing: 'Tacoma,' 'Final Fantasy' and 'A Dark Room'

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 14:00:00 -0400

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Welcome back to Gaming IRL, a monthly segment where several editors talk about what they've been playing in their downtime. This month, we've enjoyed (to varying degrees) two flavors of Final Fantasy, explored Fullbright's new game, Tacoma, and lost ourselves in a "button-tapping mash-up between an idle-clicker and a text adventure." To open proceedings, UK Bureau Chief Mat Smith talks about how, when it comes to Final Fantasy XII, third time's a charm.




Pixel art RPG ‘Songbringer’ arrives on PS4 September 5th

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 12:22:00 -0400

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Fans of retro games have been looking forward to Songbringer, a pixelated sci-fi RPG, for awhile now. Today, PlayStation announced the game's release date: You'll be able to play Songbringer on your PS4 on September 5th.

Source: PlayStation Blog




Ron Gilbert's 'Thimbleweed Park' adventure is coming to the Switch

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 00:46:00 -0400

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Ron Gilbert has had his fingers in quite a few adventure games over the years, including Lucas Arts' Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, along with Hothead Games' Penny Arcade Adventures, Death Spank, and Dobule Fine Productions' The Cave. He also spent some time at Humongous Games, making educational titles like Blue's 123 Time Activities and Spy Fox in Hold the Mustard. Gilbert's latest genre entry, in collaboration with longtime partner Gary Winnick, is Thimbleweed Park, funded on Kickstarter back in 2014. Released to Windows, Mac and Xbox One in March, the title is coming to PlayStation 4 on August 22nd and Nintendo's Switch sometime in September.

Source: Ron Gilbert




PS4 Pro owners get 60FPS Twitch streaming in next update

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 20:32:00 -0400

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Sony has been hinting at a big version 5.0 firmware update for the PlayStation 4, but... what does it entail, exactly? Eurogamer has an idea. The site has obtained release notes that hint at at least a few tangible upgrades. To start, PS4 Pro owners will have the option to broadcast their gaming on Twitch at a brisk 60 frames per second. That's nothing new for the PC crowd, of course, but it's a big deal if you want to showcase a fighting game or shooter at the same frame rate you see on your TV.

Source: Eurogamer




'Myst' studio's crowdfunded 'Obduction' hits PS4 August 29th

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 11:31:00 -0400

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If you're a die-hard Myst fan, you've probably at least heard of Obduction, the new game from Cyan. You may have even supported its Kickstarter. Today, CEO Rand Miller took to the PlayStation blog to announce that the game will be available for the PS4 on August 29th; it will include a PS VR update, though that may not be available at launch time. You can preorder it now.

Obduction is much like the worlds of Myst and Riven. It centers on solving puzzles, and features a gorgeous, immersive and intricately crafted world. You are essentially kidnapped from Earth and taken to an alien world called Hunrath, which features a strange mix of Earth tech from different periods combined with unrecognizable pieces. There's also a message that this has happened to people before; you're not alone on this world.

The developers of Obduction are intent on making it one of the most extensive VR games available. You can currently purchase it for Oculus Rift, as well as the HTC Vive and Touch. It's also available on PC and Mac. The company promises that, while this is the first VR game from Cyan, it certainly won't be the last.

Source: PlayStation Blog




Sony will use blockchain to beef up school cybersecurity

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 09:28:00 -0400

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The folks at Sony Education are worried that some schlubby kid that's gonna fail gym could hack their school and change their grade to a pass. It's why the company is teaming up with IBM to use blockchain to create a secure academic platform for storing records. The idea is that every scrap of data about your kids' schooling goes into a record that can then be stored securely. No kid, you gotta learn to climb that rope or else you can kiss that scholarship to Harvard goodbye.

Source: Sony




The best apps and streaming services for students

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 12:30:00 -0400

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It's true that most of Engadget's back-to-school guide has comprised, well, gadgets, but as every nerd knows, a piece of hardware is only as good as the software it runs. That's why, to close out our guide, we wanted to highlight some apps and services worth downloading or subscribing to.

On the media front, this is as good a time as any to see if you can survive in the adult world as a cord-cutter -- it's not like you're going to have a cable subscription in your dorm room, after all. If your parents are willing to share (or at least foot the bill), we recommend loading up on subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and HBO Now -- you'll want different programs from each at some point. If you're a gamer and own a PlayStation, Sony's PS Now service is also worth the extra bucks, while Xbox One owners might want to pony up for EA Access. Music lovers will enjoy either Apple Music or Spotify, but your choice will come down partially to the other devices you own.

As for schoolwork (yes, that thing), Google Drive is our favorite cloud-storage service, while Evernote and Bear both rank highly against other note-taking apps. Adobe's Creative Cloud could be worth it (or even necessary), depending on your major. Oh, and if you're worried about the "freshman 15," try MyFitnessPal -- it's a free app many of Engadget's own editors use to keep their calorie intake in check.

Source: Engadget's 2017 Back to School Guide




'Horizon Zero Dawn' add-on 'The Frozen Wilds' lands November 7th

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 10:51:00 -0400

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Guerilla Games still isn't saying much about what Horizon Zero Dawn's upcoming The Frozen Wilds expansion will contain, but at least you know when you'll get your hands on it. The studio has revealed that its big DLC will arrive on November 7th -- appropriately, just ahead of winter. You'll hear more about Frozen Wilds closer to launch, but the company is teasing "new, highly lethal machines" for Aloy to fight in addition to the namesake tundra and a fresh story. All we know for sure: if Guerrilla can maintain the production quality from the base game, you'll have something to look forward to in several weeks.

Source: PlayStation Blog




'Scape' mode in 'GT Sport' is basically Lightroom in a racing game

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 18:58:00 -0400

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Even if you're garbage at racing games, this fall's GT Sport has a lot to offer beyond absurdly detailed cars. Case in point: "Scape," the game's insanely deep photo mode. More than just freeze-framing the action during a race, Scape will let you drop any of those ridiculously detailed cars into some 1,000 backdrops and then use DSLR-equivalent adjustments like shutter speed and aperture to get your photo just the way you want it.

Source: PlayStation Access (YouTube)




Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium will play Netflix in HDR

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 13:22:00 -0400

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In May, Netflix began opening up its HDR streaming feature to smartphones with HDR-capable screens. At the time, only LG G6 users could make use of it, but now those with a Sony Xperia XZ Premium can too. Netflix supports two different standards of HDR for each of the phones -- Dolby Vision for the G6 and UltraHD Premium for the Xperia XZ Premium -- but, regardless, it means both have access to vivid, high-resolution viewing. For those wondering why the feature hasn't rolled out to the popular Samsung Galaxy S8, which also has an HDR-capable screen, it could be that it supports a third HDR format -- Mobile HDR Premium.

Via: Android Police

Source: Netflix




The best gear for building a home theater in your dorm

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 12:30:00 -0400

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To the extent that your shoebox of a dorm will be your home for the next nine months, you should do whatever you can to make it feel cozy and inviting. To that end, we've included some home-theater items in our back-to-school guide, and we've ensured everything is reasonably compact (you can hold off on your first 65-inch set until you have your very own pad). From media streamers to speakers to a handful of small- to medium-sized TVs, you have options if you want to upgrade from watching Netflix off your 13-inch laptop.

Source: Engadget's 2017 Back to School Guide




With Funimation deal, Sony's PS4 will be a must-have for anime fans

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 09:45:00 -0400

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Japanese animation has exploded in popularity over the past few years, thanks to increased availability on streaming services like Crunchyroll, Hulu and Amazon. It was popular enough for Funimation, which specializes in translating anime for American audiences, to launch its own service in 2016. It's no surprise that larger media companies came looking for a piece of the pie, with Sony grabbing a 95 percent majority stake in Funimation this week.




Sony and IBM created 330TB data tapes for a massive analog archive

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 14:16:00 -0400

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Storing data on magnetic tape is back, baby. Sony has announced that thanks to a partnership with IBM Research in Zurich, the pair have developed a magnetic tape cartridge capable of storing 201 gigabytes of data per square inch for a total of 330 terabytes per cartridge. Previously, IBM's analog storage maxed out at 123 gigabytes per square inch.

Source: Sony




Three new 'Persona' spin-offs are coming, including 'Q2'

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 13:14:00 -0400

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Atlus has just announced a trio of new Persona spin-offs. Following on from the 2015 PS Vita rhythm game Persona 4: Dancing All Night are a pair of new Dancing titles based on Persona 3 and Persona 5. A pair of trailers show Aigis and co. bopping to the Persona 3 soundtrack in Dancing Moon Night, while the Persona 5 team shows of its moves in Dancing Star Night. Both games will come to the PlayStation 4 as well as Vita.

Via: Polygon

Source: Persona Dance, Persona Q2




The best audio gear for students

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 12:00:00 -0400

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There's a strong case to be made for investing in quality audio gear at any period in your adult life. For college students in particular, though, a good set of speakers can be icebreakers as much as gateways into audiophilia. As such, we've included three options in our back-to-school buyer's guide, along with a turntable and amplifier, should you be more creatively inclined. Content to just listen to music and podcasts on the way to class? We have a few headphones you should check out, too.

Source: Engadget's 2017 Back to School Guide




Sony's turnaround strategy is working

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 04:51:00 -0400

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When Sony nominated Kaz Hirai to lead the corporation, he laid out an ambitious strategy that he titled One Sony. Hirai identified three key markets where he wanted Sony to be a leader: digital imaging, gaming and mobile, with the trio pushed accordingly. Five years later, and Hirai's managed to hit two out of three targets, with Sony's most recent financial reports vindicating his plan.

Source: Sony (.PDF)




Sony is acquiring anime distributor Funimation

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 02:37:00 -0400

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Turns out the partnership Sony and Funimation forged to create the latter's streaming service wasn't a one-off thing. Sony Pictures is currently in the process of buying 95 percent of Funimation for $143 million, putting the anime distributor's value at around $150 million. Funimation's streaming website, which launched earlier this year, has over 400 titles on offer, including Dragon Ball Z, Cowboy Bebop, One Piece and Attack on Titan. While the service is new, the company itself has been selling anime DVDs and merchandise for over two decades.

Source: Sony Pictures




The best VR headsets and accessories for dorms

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 12:00:00 -0400

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We'll be the first to admit that a virtual-reality session isn't terribly conducive to bonding with new friends in the dorm. But, hey, a few of us here at Engadget are introverts, so you don't need to explain to us the value of strapping on a headset and momentarily blocking out the stress of classes and meeting new people. Included in our back-to-school guide are many of the usual suspects, like the Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and Daydream View. We also recommend the optional Rift and Gear VR controllers, as well as games like Rock Band VR and Farpoint. Enjoy your escape from the real world, but remember to take a social break from time to time.

Source: Engadget's 2017 Back to School Guide




'LawBreakers' open beta runs all weekend on PC and PS4

Sat, 29 Jul 2017 20:58:00 -0400

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We've had a few cracks at LawBreakers, the futuristic cops vs. robbers game from Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski and Boss Key Productions, but now anyone can play on PC and PS4. An open beta test runs until 10 AM ET Monday morning, which should be plenty of time to see if it's a worthy competitor to the likes of Overwatch. There are some new wrinkles in this beta test like direct integration with Twitch and the PS4 version is tweaked for better play on the console, so go ahead and dive in (after checking out a few tutorials) before the game officially launches on August 8th.

Source: PlayStation Blog, Boss Key Productions, Lawbreakers Patch Notes




Sony raising the price of PlayStation Plus in Europe

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 07:01:00 -0400

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Do you enjoy firing up your PS4, playing a few online matches and maybe checking out what free games and discounts are up for grabs? Well, we hope you really enjoy doing all that, because you're about to pay that bit more for the privilege. Sony has today been sending out emails to PlayStation Plus subscribers in Europe, informing them that the cost of their subscription is going up on August 31st. In the UK, the monthly price is increasing from £6 to £7, the quarterly cost from £15 to £20, and an annual pass is rising from £40 to £50.

Via: Mark Brown (Twitter)




Sony's A7S II camera shot 4K video from outside the ISS

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 11:41:00 -0400

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Sony has revealed some dazzling 4K video shot by its low-light champ A7S II from the ISS, showing the US and Japan by day and night. The mirrorless, full-frame model is not the first 4K camera on the International Space Station -- the 6K Red Dragon preceded it -- but it's the first to capture images from outside of it, Sony says.

Source: Sony