Microsoft don’t release official numbers as PS4 sells over 5 million during holiday 2015

Sony sold over 5 million PS4 consoles over the holiday period in 2015, but this doesn’t mean Microsoft were beaten either.

Microsoft didn’t release their official hardware sales numbers, giving no indication of who exactly won the sales war in 2015’s holiday period.

Microsoft did say that first party titles like Halo 5, Forza Motorsport, and Gears of War combined to sell over 1 million copies.

It has been revealed that Sony sold exactly 5.7 million PS4 consoles during the holiday period, taking the all time sales figure to a tick under 36 million since releasing back in November 2013.

In case you didn’t know, the “holiday season” for sales is measured between November 22nd and January 2nd.

Sony say that PlayStation Plus subscriptions have risen by 60% this year, while Microsoft has revealed that on December 28th 2015, more people logged into Xbox Live than at any other point in Xbox history.

Charging for PS2 games could hurt Sony’s current dominance

For all the excitement about Sony’s ‘backwards compatible’ promises, the end result has left a lot of PS4 gamers furious.

It isn’t just a case of putting an old PS2 favourite like GTA: San Andreas into the PS4 console and playing, yes Sony are allowing gamers to play these old gems, but at a price.

A selection of classic PS2 games are available for purchase and download from the PlayStation Store, but it is requiring gamers to shell out additional money for the pleasure of playing a game that they have already brought.

Simply saying that gamers should keep their old systems is entirely beside the point.

Sony is winning the latest console war, and by a big margin. They aren’t in a position that requires charging gamers a price to download old games, most of which were released onto the market well over 10 years ago.

A lot of YouTubers have stated, quite rightly, that Sony is being greedy in this latest ploy.

How is it that the PS4, a far more powerful console than its rival Xbox One, is not able to provide gamers the luxury of playing old classics for free? Is this the beginning of Sony’s arrogance that will lead to a failed next generation?

It appears that nothing Sony does comes without a cost in 2015.

Microsoft Surface: A modern day laptop that can’t justify hefty price

Microsoft may have delivered a quality piece of hardware with the range of Surface tablets, but the high price with additional expenses just doesn’t fit the budget of the average consumer.

The Microsoft Surface is one of the most popular, but pricey, tablets on the market in 2015. In short, Microsoft has released a tablet that does everything a laptop can but compacts it down into a small easy carry device that can be used anywhere… literally anywhere.

Minus a disk drive, the Surface has a front and rear camera for apps like Skype, a built in microphone, and a USB port can be found on the tablet where an additional bank of storage can be used.

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64GB of storage space comes with the Surface, and Microsoft 10 is built in.

The Surface also supports a headphone jack.

The battery life that the Surface packs impresses, more than adequate for office work like word processing or spreadsheets and sustainable enough for apps or games that use a lot of power. The Surface’s battery has been designed with gaming in mind, but like all other tablets on the market, the Surface is meant for creativity, social media, and day-to-day tasks, all of which the battery life supports.

8-hours can be achieved for the average user, the hardcore can expect a little less.

The Surface doesn’t come cheap however, the lowest price in NZ is $800 for the Surface 3, and this isn’t counting the keyboard cover case and Surface pen that are extras which really turn the Surface into the laptop like product it advertises itself as.

An additional $200 will get you the keyboard cover case, an expensive add on that truly turns the Surface into a modern day laptop with the tablet capabilities to boot.

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The keyboard attaches to the bottom of the Surface via a magnetic clip.

Typing on the keyboard feels different to what you would get on a traditional laptop like the Macbook Pro of HP. It is more difficult to type quickly and the buttons feel like cheap plastic under your fingers, there is no support for the wrists to aid with comfort, and you often wonder how Microsoft can justify the keyboard (which is also a nice looking cover) in terms of its price.

The Surface Pen does what you would expect, but the lack of functionality with programmes like Microsoft Word make it a tough justify for purchase, because even built in software like One Note can be used without the pen which retails at NZ$80.

To hold the Surface up, a three level stand can be pulled out from the back casing, but it feels cheaply built, with too much force it could be easily snapped off.

Final Thoughts:

If you have the money, the Microsoft Surface should be the tablet/laptop you buy this holiday season. The Surface is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s iPad, and in many ways it is a much better device with a similar price tag.

However, the Surface is being marketed as a “next generation” laptop of sorts, so why the additional $200 for a keyboard case? There are bundles where these additional items are bundled together, but it ramps the already high price up even more.

In terms of the performance of the Surface itself, you get the quality that you pay for, all running on Windows 10.

Will Sony & Microsoft’s new consoles be revealed sooner?

Believe what you will, but one online source claims that both Sony and Microsoft are already well underway in the development process of PS4 and Xbox One’s successors.

Due to their inability to play 4K games, Sony and Microsoft may push past releasing an updated version to their current consoles, aka the PS4 Slim, and go straight to the next generation launch.

The sudden demand of VR technology is another factor at play.

Sony will soon release their VR Headset, called PlayStation VR, but some in the industry believe that only a new console with far more power can run virtual reality gaming at the standard required.

Back in September, Sony shot down rumours of a PS4 slim releasing anytime in the near future.

The next big event for Sony and Microsoft to reveal any new hardware plans would be at E3 in Los Angeles next year.

Reaction: Strong E3 for Sony but nothing mind blowing

E3 was another strong outing for Sony in 2014, but it didn’t leave gamers with anything too memorable, and it certainly won’t see many go rushing to the pre order stands.

2013 was arguably Sony’s greatest E3, but with no new hardware reveals or groundbreaking sequels on the horizon for this year, PlayStation’s conference was never going to be as strong as last year and it was pretty much a case of interesting new announcements, games that look cool, but nothing that has bettered Sony’s position over Microsoft going forward.

Destiny is Sony’s big release this year, and the game will launch with a white PS4 bundle on September 9th. The white PS4 design looks amazing, and it will sell well.

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No word was mentioned about DriveClub which surprised many, but the announcement of Dead Island 2 was one of the most memorable moments from this years conference. Like it did last year, indie developers took up much of the conference, too much in fact, with some cool looking games coming to PSN but nothing that had anybody terribly overcome with excitement. There was no mention of the rebooted Abe’s Oddysee either which had me a little disappointed. Other games which were shown yesterday include BattleField 5, The Order: 1886, Last Of Us Remastered, Mortal Combat, and Metal Gear Solid.

One of the most pleasing moments of the conference was the announcement that GTA V was coming to PS4, and it was confirmed that GTA Online data will carry over to the next gen systems, and that will no doubt see the higher quality version of GTA’s most popular installment ship many copies.

It wouldn’t be a Sony conference at E3 without Naughty Dog making an appearance, and to close out the show, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was revealed. It seems that the next game in the series may be the last, as much of the trailer showed Nathan Drake, a seemingly older Nathan Drake, be going back to Sully for “one last time”. If this is to be the final chapter in the Uncharted series then it will be a sad but bittersweet release for the PlayStation faithful, but hopefully A Thief’s End will be just as enjoyable and groundbreaking as all the other games the series has given.

In closing, Sony had another strong E3 in 2014, and their conference clearly outdid Microsoft’s. The PS4 is in a good position as Microsoft continue the fightback for brand surpremecy with Xbox One, but despite a strong E3 which promises some great things in 2014/2015, Sony haven’t really improved on anything that they came into E3 with.