The consumer culture event of the year is upon us. The launch of the PS4 and Xbox One has drawn a great big target on the back of the games industry leaving it open to much parodying. This South Park sketch is probably the best of the bunch so far.

On November 15 2013 Sony launched the good ship PlayStation 4 in The US; waters that proved a little choppy for the tech giant’s third console. The success of the Xbox 360 across the pond means that territory is still very much uncharted, but early signs suggest it might be plain sailing from up-anchor for the PS4. [Yes I'm slaying the naval metaphor a little late. Assassin's Creed IV was released back in October but I've started so I'll finish.] See if the shipping forecasts for the PlayStation 4′s launch were accurate and get all the other PS4 and XO news from the week that was 11-15 November 2013 in Blog: Unlocked’s next-gen news round-up.

1. PlayStation 4 Lands In The New Country:
Sony PlayStation 4 US LaunchFor an insight into the goings-on around the PlayStation 4 US launch including some fantastic social marketing work and community outreach, have a read of CVG’s Rob Crossley’s excellent blog piece ‘PS4 launch report: Love is in the air‘.

Sony’s US launch week could’ve got off to a better start after it released an updated version of its software T&Cs. They highlight that the company may ‘monitor and record text communications’ on PSN (uk.playstation.com). After the new terms spiked fresh concerns over CRM intrusions, though not on the same scale as Microsoft felt after E3, SCE Worldwide President Shuhei Yoshida tweeted to reiterate that they will not affect gamers’ ability to sell and share games. Two games PlayStation Plus members won’t have to share to enjoy for free are Don’t Starve and The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (Joystiq). It’s emerged early adopters will be able to start these two high-profile games using voice commands but not much more after Sony confirmed this function will be limited at launch (Engadget).

Some research bods have thrown a dart at a board of numbers and guesstimated that the PS4 will have outsold the Xbox One to the tune of 11M units by 2017 (MCV). This prediction was given a little backing by Ubisoft, which believes the PS4 is outdoing the Xbox One in terms of pre-order numbers (CVG). A pole carried out by another research firm also indicates that the PS4 might have the advantage going into the eighth generation of games consoles (MCV). Speaking at 2013′s London Games Conference. analyst Michael Pachter believes this generation will go to Sony, full stop (MCV).

Crystal ball gazing aside, those buying the console on launch day should know the PS4 will not be able to play 3D Blu-rays (thesixthaxis). No need to cry over the loss of three-dimensional HD movies because Resogun’s already critically-acclaimed voxel shattering beauty will be freely available as part of the PlayStation Plus Instant Games Collection from November 29 (MCV). In other game news, Bungie has revealed the open beta test of its space shooter Destiny will go to PlayStation owners first (MCV).

Though the PS4 launched to much fanfare in the US there have been a number of hardware problems Sony is already investigating, though the company does say the 0.4% fail rate is within expectations (IGN). As excited gamers started booting up their new slanty black boxes, it wasn’t long before the PlayStation Network was groaning under the weight of the new online activity (MCV).  In an attempt to divert our attention away from the teething issues PlayStation put some pretty lights up on the OXO Tower in London in anticipation of the UK launch at the end of November (MCV).

BONUS NEWS: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is to get extra PlayStation content that could be the ultimate trip down memory lane (MCV).

Videos Of The Week #1:
Xbox One is snap happy but why you would want to watch a racing tutorial video while you play Forza 5?:

2. Xbox, A Week Before Global Public Unboxing:
Xbox One CloudWe’re now five days away from the launch of the Xbox One but Microsoft will want to forget most of the news that has broke in the run up to the new generation. Where Sony has indicated that The Cloud might be used to play PS3 games on the PS4, Albert Penello told Polygon that approach has proven too problematic for the Xbox One. Like the PS4 however, the Xbox One won’t be playing 3D Blu-rays, right now anyway (CNET).

Next-gen titles, massive as they are, are expected to fill up the 500GB Xbox One HDD if they’re downloaded (MCV). Thankfully the delayed Now TV app (new release date summer 2014) means there’ll be a little extra room to fit all your launch day titles on the hard drive (Videogamer).

It seems anti-business for senior figures within Microsoft to be discussing the sell off of Xbox on the brink of a new generation but that’s exactly what’s happening (MCV). Curious considering Microsoft’s PR machine is gearing up for a very busy time with 10,000 UK retailers poised to shift Xbox One units under a flurry of ‘surprise performances, celebrity appearances and gameplay’ (Xbox Wire). It’s unsurprising then that Xbox UK MD Harvey Eagle should tell MCV that this is ‘bigger than anything we have ever done before’ (MCV). Going on, Eagle expects supply to dwindle in the face of demand and is already talking apologetically and expected console shortages (MCV).

In other news, Xbox’s Major Nelson has confirmed that the popular Games With Gold will be making the jump from Xbox 360 to Xbox One (Major Nelson’s Twitter).

Videos Of The Week #2:
Sony released a new TV advert for the PlayStation 4 into the world. Can you spot all the easter eggs?:

3. Next-Generally:
Middle-earth: Shadow of MordorThough Facebook will be fully integrated for content sharing both new platforms, neither will be receiving a dedicated app for the social network (Polygon). Gamers will need more than a group of Facebook friends or even a fellowship of halflings, elves, dwarves and gruff humans to get through Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, coming to the next-gen soon (Game Informer).

As if emerging from the poisonous volcanic plumes of Mount Doom, framerategate came in the aftermath of ‘Res-Hate‘ (MCV). Perhaps the resolution and frame rate issues this generation is already facing are the reasons why it’s unlikely Oculus Rift will be coming to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (TechRadar). At least with the much coveted virtual reality peripheral out of the picture consumers will turn their attention to buying AAA games for their new machines, at least EA hopes so (MCV).

Videos Of The Week #3:
The epic saga of the mass-murdering, silver tongued relic hunter Nathan Drake is set to continue onto PS4:

4. Next-Gen Ready Retail News:
Xbox OneUS customers who received their new Xbox consoles early thanks to a mistake by retailer Target will be disappointed when they find out they won’t be able to play them until the day one patch is released (Kotaku). Yes, some customers were lucky enough to get their consoles early, but it seems others will not be so fortunate as Amazon announced orders placed after November 13 in the UK are not guaranteed to arrive before Christmas (Amazon). Asda has injected a little Christmas cheer into preceedings though as the supermarket secured more day one PS4 and Xbox One shaped stock (MCV).

Videos Of The Week #4:
inFAMOUS: Second Son is shining bright in a new ‘Neon’ trailer complete with a cover of a Nirvana track. Cobain would not approve:

Next week’s round-up will be sandwiched between the launches of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Should be eventful. Happy XO launch everyone!

Dean Samways // @Deanways

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