Jetsetter, Digital Trends’ weekly column devoted to import gaming and the world of gaming outside the US, is an anthropological pursuit as much as anything else. It’s fun to track how design and audience trends pop up and spread across the globe. It wasn’t that long ago that it was common to see games made in a self-contained market like India, Japan, the U.S., or the U.K. and then stay stubbornly exclusive to that given region. As video games have transformed over the past ten years into a truly global pastime, games and gaming hardware are more and more likely to cross regions.
It’s fascinating to see how video games’ globalization has changed the identity of certain machines. From the start, Sony wanted the PlayStation console to be a worldwide heavyweight, and it became just that thanks to the combined efforts of engineers like Ken Kutaragi and savvy, passionate producers like Brit Phil Harrison (now a head honcho in Microsoft’s Xbox division). For all its international success though, PlayStation has remained a deeply Japanese brand. From the PlayStation to the PS Vita, Sony game consoles have always released in Japan before anywhere else. The PlayStation 4, however, is a different machine for a different era. Which brings us to Jetsetter’s lead story:
Sony delivers “the news you’ve been waiting for” at Japanese PlayStation 4 event.
The PlayStation 4 news has been focused on the United States and Europe first and foremost. From the New York City debut event in February, to E3’s price announcement blow out in LA, to Sony’s US/EU release date announcement at Gamescom in Germany, the West has dominated Sony’s dialogue surrounding the new console. That ends on Sept. 9 when Sony hosts its pre-Tokyo Game Show event in Japan. The company is expected to not only announce the PS4’s Japanese release date, but also reveal a number of new games for the box.
As noted by forum posters at NeoGAF (via The Sixth Axis), a note from Sony delivered via its Chinese social media outlet taunts the company’s fans: ” The news you’ve been waiting for, and the information beyond your expectation will both be revealed officially,” reads an English translation. Is Sony going to finally unveil Fumito Ueda’s mythical The Last Guardian as a PS4 launch title? Probably not. It’s likely just a release date tease, promising that PS4 will still come to Japan in 2013. Still, it’s fun to rev the speculation engine!
Xbox Live game prices drop below PlayStation Network prices in India.
After nearly a decade of annoying players across the planet, Microsoft finally abandoned the dreaded Microsoft Points virtual currency system in 2013. Now people can buy downloadable games at regular old rates in local currency. The shift has had an unusual effect in India though. New downloadable Xbox 360 games are cheaper on Xbox Live than on the PlayStation Network. As noted by MCV, brand new titles are significantly cheaper on Microsoft’s platform. Payday 2, for example is just Rs 1,700 (about $26) on Xbox Live whereas it’s Rs 2,400 (approximately $36) on PlayStation Network. Other brand new big names like Saints Row IV, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, and Dead Island: Riptide are also marked further down after the shift from Microsoft Points. It’s unclear if publishers will allow the new prices to remain in effect after the conversion or if digital prices will be equalized across platforms. In the meantime, Microsoft has an unexpected leg up in India, whose market is typically dominated by Sony.
French developer resurrects The Mysterious Cities of Gold.
Mysterious Cities of Gold, a brief animated series from 1982, was actually a collaboration between French and Japanese animators about a Spanish boy in the 16th century travelling to what is now South America. He went on adventures with Mayan and Incan natives as he searched for his lost father and the titular cities. The show actually aired in the U.S. on Nickelodeon early in the network’s lifespan. Now, France’s Ynnis Interactive is actually bringing Cities of Gold back as a game called The Mysterious Cities of Gold: Secret Paths. The game is going to be puzzle-solving adventure akin to Ron Gilbert’s The Cave. Ynnis is raising funds for the game on Kickstarter and it’s already met the goal of $30,000, so the game will hit PC, 3DS, iPhone, and Wii U sometime later this year. Unless the team raises $40K, though, you’ll have to know French to play the game. English and other languages are currently stretch goals.