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It seems like everyone is starting their own premium gaming service these days. It can be tough for parents to be able to tell the difference between Xbox Live, PlayStation Plus, and all the others. We can’t let that stand here at EFG so we wrote up a big ol’ guide for all of the premium services so our readers can tell them all apart and understand the costs and benefits of each one.

Take a look below for our guide to PlayStation Plus!

The Pitch

PlayStation Plus is a subscription service for PlayStation that is required in order to play online multiplayer games over the PlayStation Network. The service also includes periodic discounts on digital purchases through the PlayStation Network. It also includes a suite of free PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3, PlayStation  Vita, and PlayStation VR games that are available for free each month.

How Does it Work?

PlayStation Plus is a subscription service that must be maintained in order to keep using it. The service grants its members access to the following:

  • Online Multiplayer gaming using the PlayStation Network platform
  • A suite of free games available for download each month for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. These games can be downloaded to the PlayStation 4 hard drive at any time, but you can only play them if you have an active PlayStation Plus subscription.
  • Periodic discounts on digital games sold on the PlayStation Marketplace. The games you purchase using a discount made available during a PlayStation Plus subscription will remain playable even after the subscription expires.

How Much Does it Cost?

PlayStation Plus can be purchased yearly, every three months, or monthly.

Advice

There isn’t much advice to give. If your family owns a PlayStation 4 console then this is required for online play. It is, however, a pretty good value because over the course of a year the free games available through the program will add up to a significant value.

Other Guides

There are a ton of other premium video game services out there so we wrote guides for all of them.  Take a look below:

A Parent’s Guide to EA Access

A Parent’s Guide to Xbox Live Gold

A Parent’s Guide to Xbox Game Pass

A Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Now

A Parent’s Guide to EA Origin’s Access


Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Sony has announced the lineup of free games being released as part of the PlayStation Plus program for August 2017. The list includes six games: two for the PS4, 2 for the PS3, and 2 for the PSVita. It is worth mentioning though that a lot of the PSVita games are “crossbuy” which means that you can also download then on the PS4.

This month’s lineup of games isn’t terribly good for families. The biggest game on the list is Just Cause 3. It’s a good game, but it is an action game where you explore, destroy a Mediterranean island. That, generally, places it in the “after bedtime” category for most families.

Take a look below for the list of upcoming games!

PlayStation 4

  • Just Cause 3 – M for Mature
  • Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry – M for Mature

PlayStation 3

  • Super Motherload – E 10+
  • Snakeball – E for Everyone

Vita

  • Downwell (crossbuy with PS4) – E for Everyone
  • Level 22, PS Vita – E 10+

 

What do you think of this lineup? Sound off in the comments!

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There really isn’t any way around it. video games are an expensive hobby to get into. The consoles are all hundreds of dollars each and the games themselves can cost $60 or more! It is no wonder, thanks to prices like that, that parents are nervous to bring consoles into the house. Saving up the money for the console itself isn’t enough because games are coming out constantly.

Fortunately, families who own an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4 have a few services available to them that can bring in a steady stream of games into the house that doesn’t require dropping a paycheck every month.

Xbox Live Gold

Xbox Live was originally designed as the Microsoft multiplayer service. It still serves that purpose today, but it has been expanded to include a suite of free to download games each month. Xbox Live Gold members are given access  one game each for the Xbox One and the Xbox 360 from the 1st to the 15th of each month, and then a second pair of games for the second half of the month. That adds up pretty quickly. Even better? The Xbox 360 games carry value for Xbox One owners because of the impending backwards compatibility update.

It is true that some of the Games with Gold are not family friendly, but it is infrequent that a month will pass by without at least one of the games being fine for families to play.

Xbox Live Gold members also get special discounts on games each week that can add up over time!

The service can be purchased monthly, but it is at its least expensive when it is purchased annually for $59.99 (or ~$45 on Amazon here.).

PlayStation Plus

Xbox Live came first, but PlayStation was the first company to start incentivizing people to purchase the service by giving away free games. They give out multiple games each month for PS4, PS3 and the Vita. Many of these games are available on all three systems are “cross buy” so it is not infrequent that you will be able to get a whole bunch of games

The service is required to enable multiplayer on the PlayStation 4, but this is largely an afterthought once you consider the value added by the instant game collection. Members also get special discounts on games each week that can add up over time!

The service can be purchased monthly, but it is at its least expensive when purchased annually for $49.99.

EA Access

EA Access works differently, but it is still  worth mentioning because it is a subscription gaming service that carries a significant amount of added value for some families. It is a program that is exclusive to the Xbox One that grants the following benefits.

  1. A 10% discount on the digital purchase of EA titles.
  2. The chance to play up to 10 hours of each EA title before it is released.
  3. Access to every game in the EA Vault. This is a list of games that is growing regularly. It includes all of the sports titles from the previous years as well as games like Plants vs Zombies:  Garden Warfare and Peggle 2. This is a value that will only grow with time as more and more games are released.

The service can be purchased monthly, but it is at its least expensive when it is purchased annually for $29.99.

As you can see, these services may seem intrusive, but they pack a huge amount of value.

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The PlayStation 4 is easily Sony’s most profitable home console to date, so where does the Japanese giant go after winning the 8th generation of gaming? The obvious path to continued success would be to just stick to their strengths, which in Sony’s case is the production of high quality, story-driven single player exclusives that court a more mature audience. But is that all that PlayStation can exceed at, or is there still room for innovation and the potential to reach an even broader audience with their next console? Here are the top 5 things we want to see from the PlayStation 5:


1. PROMOTE MORE ALL AGES CONTENT

Sony has undoubtedly taken notice of the massive success that the Nintendo Switch is currently enjoying, and there are at least two lessons that can be learned from this. The first lesson is that all ages content is a viable path to profitability. While it is unlikely that any platform holder will achieve what Nintendo has in the family-friendly video game market, Sony should not cede this territory completely to Mario and his posse of cute and cuddly mascots. 


Nothing quite matches the pure endearment and nostalgia that gamers feel towards Nintendo’s stable of characters, but many forget just how deep Sony’s bench of kid-friendly properties really is. Ape Escape, PaRappa the Rapper, MediEvil, Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, Sly Cooper, Little Big Planet, LocoRoco, and Patapon are just a few of the more whimsical franchises that could make a big comeback on the PlayStation 5. While some of these titles, such as Jak or Ratchet, are not not quite as innocent as Pikachu or Kirby, all of them fall under the general umbrella of being family-friendly. Sony could easily leverage the cross generational potential of these titles by appealing to both kids and their nostalgic parents. 


The biggest hurdle here isn’t making the games, but the company’s commitment to marketing them properly. Sony has in fact released several family-friendly first party titles on the PS4, such as Concrete Genie, the MediEvil Remake, Everybody’s Golf, Dreams, and Astro Bot Rescue Mission. It has been shown time and again that while Sony is willing to produce these games, they never seem to allocate much of their marketing dollars to any of these titles, which in turn forces almost all of them to fly under the radar. It may be true that these games will never reach the sales heights of God of War or The Last of Us, but Sony must have noticed that the recent Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy, which was a timed exclusive on PlayStation 4 and which features a character that is strongly associated with the PlayStation brand, has gone on to sell over 10 million copies worldwide. Clearly, the market is there.


2. PORTABLE DEVICES AND REMOTE PLAY

The second lesson that Sony can learn from the success of the Nintendo Switch is that people like to take their home console games on the go and are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a device that allows them to do so. To be clear, Sony is no stranger to the portable gaming space, as they have released two handheld consoles, the PlayStation Portable and the PlayStation Vita. The Vita in particular shares many similarities with the Switch, suchas the ability to play console-quality video games outdoors as well as the ability to play on a home TV, via PlayStation TV. While these features are not quite as refined as those on the Switch, the Vita was far more ahead of its time than many realize. Unfortunately, the device was a financial flop for Sony, mostly as a result of its overpriced and proprietary memory cards and the company’s inability to effectively market the product. 


It is unlikely that Sony would attempt another handheld console with its own dedicated library of games, but a companion device built around remote play on the PlayStation 5 would be a fantastic option for those gamers who enjoy the versatility of the Switch, but who also prefer sort of games that are available on PlayStation. Remote play is already a feature that is available on the PlayStation 4, but the experience is unreliable to say the least. It is unclear which devices are best suited for this feature, and even those that work require gamers to take a DualShock 4 with them on the go. Couple this with unreliable wifi connections in public spaces, and the ability to jump into a game like Horizon Zero Dawn for fifteen minutes while on your break at work is fantasy for all but a very select few. Even for those who can connect, devices like smartphones or tablets, which are not build specifically with gaming in mind, are poor substitutes for something like the Nintendo Switch.
Rather than leaving the hardware side of remote play to the whims of third party manufacturers, I think the best option for Sony is to release their own dedicated handheld companion device for the PlayStation 5. Like the Switch, and specifically the Switch Lite, the screen and controls should be built into the device itself as a single unit to eliminate the need for any additional hardware. If at all possible, the device should have the ability to log into one account on the console remotely while allowing family members logged into a different account at home to use the console uninterrupted. 

While Sony has not made any public statements regarding plans to produce such a device, there are signs that they may already be considering something along these lines. Months ago, a patent filed by Sony for a Switch-like device leaked online and was met with widespread excitement from fans, hopefully signaling to Sony that commercial interest for a dedicated handheld device is there. Combine this with Sony’s acquisition of Gaikai, a company created with the specific purpose of developing streaming and remote play technology for video games, and Sony may very well be gearing up for some kind of third foray into the portable gaming market.


3. INNOVATIVE FEATURES THAT MATTER

Few consoles emerge from a generation without at least some gimmicky features or peripherals to their name, and the PlayStation brand is no exception. These experiments occasionally yield true consumer-pleasing features, such as the dual thumb-sticks on the original analog PlayStation controller (later refined to become the DualShock controller) or the PSone’s portable LCD screen, but more often than not end up as little more than cute but forgettable novelties, as is the case for the PocketStation, EyeToy, and many others. This is due in large part to the fact that the way in which players interact with their games has been iterated upon for decades and has arrived at a place in which more refinement just doesn’t seem necessary. The graphics have gotten better, the AI has gotten smarter, and quality of life features have improved, but the core of what it means to play a game is roughly the same now as it was at the launch of the NES, which renders many “new and unique” features tedious or annoying, both to players and to developers.


For the past few months, Sony Interactive Entertainment and PlayStation 5 lead architect Mark Cerny have been touting the new DualSense controller and its advanced haptic feedback technology as a major leap forward in player immersion, claiming that gamers will feel resistance in the trigger buttons when pulling back a bow, or that gamers will feel a noticeable difference when driving on a smooth surface rather than a muddy one. While this technology sounds promising, the most important factor here is whether or not developers will take advantage of these features. In recent memory, Sony has invested in PlayStation Move controllers, a finger track pad on the back of the PlayStation Vita, and both a touch pad and light bar on the DualShock 4. With the exception of the Move controllers, which have found new relevance with PlayStation VR, all of these features have gone underutilized by most developers (the touch pad is little more than a large rectangle-shaped button in the middle of the controller), which begs the question: what is the point of investing in these kinds of features?


None of this is to say that these features are inherently bad, or that Sony should be discouraged from pursuing them. To the contrary, the DualSense controller sounds quite interesting and has the potential to increase player immersion exactly as Mark Cerny has described. We as players are more than open to new and innovative features that can help create previously unknown gaming experiences, but the features have to actually accomplish that, not merely show potential in the abstract. The reality is that most developers design games for multiple platforms, and they generally cannot commit the time or dollars necessary to fully utilize the unique features of a single platform. This means that it will be up to Sony’s first party studios to realize the potential of the DualSense controller and any other unique features that the PS5 may have. It’s easy to see how the feel of the changing texture of the road can be used in the next Gran Turismo game, or how the tension of pulling back a bow can be used in something like The Last of Us. But matters are further complicated when we consider the inevitability of more Sony-produced games going to PC or other platforms, as we are now seeing with Horizon Zero Dawn, Death Stranding, and future installments of MLB The Show. How long will Sony’s first party studios really spend capitalizing on unique features once the PlayStation ecosystem expands to PC and beyond? Only time will tell. 


4. SEPARATE PLATINUM TROPHIES FROM MULTIPLAYER MODES

Long time gamers will know that there is a difference between beating a game and seeing everything that it has to offer. Most games offer much more content outside of the main campaign, including side quests, collectibles, and difficult enemies that can only be defeated after a player spends hours upon hours honing their skills. Trophy hunting is not for everyone, nor should it be, but there is something innately satisfying about extracting every bit of value from a particular gaming experience. Within the PlayStation ecosystem, a “platinum trophy” is the trophy that players earn only after every other trophy for that game has been unlocked. Earlier in this article, we went over how most of Sony’s first party games tend to be very story-driven single player titles. But many of these titles also feature additional multiplayer modes, which means that the game will include trophies tied to the multiplayer. As previously stated, a platinum trophy cannot be earned unless all of the trophies for that game are unlocked, which presents a whole host of problems for players.  


The most frustrating byproduct of tying trophies to multiplayer modes is that the ability to earn the platinum trophy for a game becomes entirely dependent on the existence of an online community which will inevitably dwindle over time. This puts a virtual timer on a given game, and makes unlocking platinum trophies near impossible for people who revisit these games, or visit them for the first time, years after their release. This is bad enough for online-only games like Warhawk, but at least in that case people went into the experience knowing that the game is entirely dependent on multiplayer. The same cannot not be said for The Last of Us, which is a game known primarily for its world, story, and characters, and yet requires the player to participate in approximately one hundred and sixty online matches to earn the platinum trophy. In practice this forces primarily single player gamers to sign up for PlayStation Plus just to have access to the necessary multiplayer matches. Not only is this frustrating for people who don’t like multiplayer, but they must now pay extra money just to have the ability to potentially unlock the platinum trophy for a game that is known almost entirely for its single player campaign. 
The simplest solution would be for Sony to mandate that all games with both a single player and multiplayer mode, whether they are from PlayStation Studios or third party, must separate the multiplayer trophies from single player ones. It’s actually not uncommon for a single game to have different sets of trophies, as downloadable content usually comes with its own trophies rather than adding to the trophy list of the base game. Multiplayer games could simply ship with this separation in place from the start, and maybe even include a second platinum for the multiplayer mode alone. This kind of feature may actually be coming, as Sony has already spoken about how consumers will have the option to download only single player or only multiplayer content of a particular title onto their console if they so choose. This is likely a memory-saving feature to allow for more space on the console’s solid state drive, but it does  indicate that Sony is aware of the difference in priority between single player gamers and multiplayer gamers. Hopefully that awareness will extend to the trophy system as well. 

5. LEGACY   

With digital game purchases on the rise, the further refinement of streaming technology, and even platform holders like Sony and Microsoft putting their first party titles on PC, the next generation of video game consoles may in fact be the last. While Sony is still likely to release a product called the PlayStation 6 sometime within the next ten years, the PlayStation 5 may be the company’s last traditional console, and as such, it should place a special emphasis on the legacy of the brand. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, such as through the revival of long dormant franchises or through legacy backwards compatibility. There are many gamers who grew up on the PlayStation 1 and 2, and who perhaps fell out of gaming during the PlayStation 3 and 4 era, that are now adults with young children of their own with whom they want to share their childhood games. The launch of the PlayStation 5 would be the perfect time to capitalize on this market, as older millennial gamers with misty-eyed memories of the good old days are primed and ready for a shot of nostalgia to the heart.   

Focusing on the past should not be done at the expense of creating new franchises, but there is no denying that the recent string of remakes of popular PlayStation 1 and 2 games is a strong indicator of what the audience wants. People seem to really love the Final Fantasy VII Remake, so why not bring back the Legend of Dragoon or Wild Arms? Everyone is hyped for the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 Remakes, so why not bring back Cool Boarders or Jet Moto? Call of Duty Warzone seems to be a hit, so why not bring back SOCOM U.S. Navy Seals? Tetris 99 came out of nowhere and people loved it, so how about a new Lumines or Fantavision game packed in free with every PS5? Or what about rebooting long dead, but cult classic franchises like The Getaway or Primal? 


Even if Sony isn’t willing to spend money on reviving some significant number of their old franchises, giving players the option of backwards compatibility would go a long way. It’s already been revealed that PS4 games will work on the PS5, but the mostly credible insider known as HipHopGamer has gone on record saying that the PS5 will feature full, enhanced backwards compatibility with all legacy consoles as well. In addition to this, we did see a few patents leak online a year or so ago that would indicate that Sony was seriously pursuing legacy content on the PS5. Will this be done through remasters? By putting legacy content on PlayStation Now? By allowing for some or all PlayStation 1, 2, and 3 discs to run on the PS5 console directly? We’ll just have to wait and see. The possibilities really are endless for Sony to capitalize on their legacy catalog, and there has never been a better time to get the gang back together again. 


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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The Holiday season is fast approaching! Games are coming out so fast that it can be very difficult to keep track. We take  time every year to list the very best family games of the year that came out on every console.

Take a look below for our list of the best video game gifts for PlayStation 4 owners!

(Full disclosure: These Amazon links are affiliate links. Purchases made using these links will help us earn revenue.)

Spider Man – PlayStation 4

Spider-Man may well be our game of the year this year. It is a fantastic game that features a character that kids love. It is rated T for teen and earns that rating thanks to frequent combat with gun toting enemies, but it is a great story that features interesting takes on long time villains and heroes. I can’t understate how wonderful the movement feels though. Web swinging through Insomniac Games’ s interpretation of Manhattan is invigorating. This is a must own for PS4 owners this year.

Dragon Ball FighterZ – Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

Dragon Ball FighterZ is one of the best fighting games and the bestDragon Ball of the year. It is a three on three tag team brawl with a character roster than pulls from the deepest corners ofDragon Ball lore. It was developed by Arc System Works, a company known for high quality animation and flashy combat.Dragon Ball FighterZ is a beautiful game to watch thanks to its tag and assist system, but the real fun starts when you take the controls yourself. This is a very accessible fighting game that is great for tweens.

Ni No Kuni 2 Revenant Kingdom – PlayStation 4, PC

Ni No Kuni 2 is an adventure role playing games set in a world with both anime and western fantasy appeal. The art style and thematic soul of this epic comes from Level 5 studios working with the same studio headed by Hiyo Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle). The story of a fallen leader’s return to power after a sudden betrayal features a supporting cast that would be just as home in Redwall or [The board game about mouse soliders?] The story and game play is more approachable to younger adult gamer than its original title, replacing an in game strategy guide and Pokémon style monster collection with a more organic tutorial and explanations centered around a steady cast of playable characters. This game was loads of fun to play and has themes and stories for both parents and children alike, if you can get through all of the puns that show up in the supporting cast and side missions. Definite Recommend for this holiday season.

Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 and 2 – Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

Purchase these games on the PSN here!

Mega Man is a well loved character and Mega Man 1 through 10 are the reason why. These two collections include 10 devilishly challenging platformers that have inspired a generation of gamers. This is a must own for families that have an interest in gaming history.

Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 and 2 -Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

You can also purchase just the first collection digitally here!

Mega Man X is one of the best platformers on the Super Nintendo and it spawned a series of sequels that kept ramping up the action. Capcom released two Mega Man X collections this year. The second collection falls flat, but collection 1 included Mega Man X through X4 and is a great value.

Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion – Xbox One, PlayStation 4

Adventure Time may have come to an end on September 3rd, but there are still adventures to be had. Pirates of the Enchiridion is a great way to keep the fun going. It is an open world RPG where you explore the land of Ooo one last time with a party of classic Adventure Time characters. The animation is of particular note here as it captures the irreverent nature of the show perfectly.

Sonic Mania Plus – Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

Sonic Mania was a big deal when it came out initially. Many critics lauded it as the best Sonic the Hedgehog game in decades. (Some went so far as to say it was the best Sonic game of all time). Sonic Mania Plus is a re-release that also includes two new characters: Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel. They both move differently from Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles and have different powers.

Dragon Quest 11 -PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

Sometimes you just want to play an epic-length, gorgeous, JRPG. Dragon Quest XI is just that. DQXI is a simple game that rewards exploration and experimentation. The cast of characters is interesting and different enough that everyone will have their favorites. This will be a great game to help spend some of the cold winter days that will come after the Holidays.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 -Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch

Valkyria Chronicles 4 is the spiritual successor to the popular PS3 title after two offshoot titles launched for the PS Vita. The game is a tactical strategy game set in an alternate, and more fantastical, version of Europe during the Second World War. The game unfolds in a series of journal entries placing the battles in context of a series of well told cut scenes and storyboards. Game play alternates between battles where you control each character in a unit as you advance and fight your way to an objective, and coordinating and upgrading your ever increasing squad in an offstage headquarters. This is a family friendly title that bridges the gap between the popular title XCOM 2 and Mario + Rabbid’s Kingdom Battle. It also has a playable demo with a save that can be rolled over to the full title. A strong title for strategy or warfare fans.

Mega Man 11 -Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch

It’s been eight years since the release of a new official Mega Man game and we have been long overdue. Mega Man is one of the essential franchises that gave birth to the platforming genre, and this newcomer to the Mega Man family is a most welcome addition. It promises new mechanics and challenges that will push the series to new heights. If you are a fan of the series or a fan of retro platforming games, then Mega Man 11 is a no brainer.

Starlink: Battle for Atlas -Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch

Starlink: Battle for Atlas was my game of the show at E3 this year. I was stunned to see a toys to life game (not called Skylanders) in 2018 and I loved it.

This is releasing this holiday season on all three major consoles and on PC, but the best place to play Starlink is going to be on Switch where it will feature exclusive content based on the legendary Star Fox franchise.

Just Dance 2019 -Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

What is there to say about Just Dance that hasn’t been said before? This is becoming one of the most venerable franchises in gaming. Just Dance is released every year with new dance routines and new songs to very little coverage from gaming sites. Just Dance 2019 has a large audience and you’ll know if your family falls into it. Do you love music? Do you love dancing? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then this should be on your radar.

Spyro Reignited Trilogy – Xbox One, PlayStation 4

Spyro is more than just a Skylander. He was the mascot for a whole bunch of 3d platformers. His games where some of the first in the genre though so they are both well loved and in need of a fresh coat of paint. Vicarious Visions has rebuild the first three Spyro games with loving detail. I went hands on with the Spyro collection while I was at E3 and I loved what I saw so far. This is going to be a great gift for your family. This is especially true if you are a parent who loved the Spyro games in the past and want to share them with your kids.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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It seems like everyone is starting their own premium gaming service these days. It can be tough for parents to be able to tell the difference between Xbox Live, PlayStation Plus, and all the others. We can’t let that stand here at EFG so we wrote up a big ol’ guide for all of the premium services so our readers can tell them all apart and understand the costs and benefits of each one.

Take a look below for our guide to PlayStation Now!

The Pitch

PlayStation Now (PSNow) is a Netflix-esque streaming service for PlayStation 4 and PC. Subscribers have unlimited access to stream a collection of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 games over the internet on their PlayStation 4 console or PC.

How Does it Work?

Subscribers have access to the massive catalog of games for as long as their membership lasts. The games are streamed over the internet so there is no downloading involved. This makes the service.

How Much Does it Cost?

PlayStation Now (PSNow) can be purchased in 12-month, 3-month, or 1-month increments.

12 Month subscription – $99.99

3 Month subscription – $44.99

1 Month subscription – $19.99

Advice

PlayStation Now (PSNow) is entirely dependent upon the strength of your internet connection. The games are streamed over the internet so they will run poorly if you can’t get a good enough connection. Sony customer support recommends that your internet service has a download speed of at least 5mbps (megabytes per second) to use the service. Tests performed by other sites like ArsTechnica have shown that it takes closer to 9 mbps to really take advantage of it.

Troubleshooting

Sony technical support has provided a few tips for folks who have the recommended download speed and are still experiencing issues with the service:

Use a Wired Connection

Many homes have their consoles hooked up to the internet via a wireless connection (wifi). This does hamper the quality of the connection between your PS4 and the modem. One way to correct this is by using an ethernet cable to connect your PS4 to the modem directly. This may not be possible for everyone, but it is at least worth mentioning.

Reduce the Number of Applications Using the Network

Your home network only has so much data that it can download from the internet at once. Applications that are sharing that download speed and can hinder each other’s performance. Its like traffic coming into your house. We’d get everywhere faster if we were the only car on the road.

Some applications you might consider shutting down are:

  • Streaming video applications (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube)
  • Cloud backup or sync applications (Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud)
  • Content downloads (BitTorrent, software, games, movies, or music)
  • Video/audio communication apps (FaceTime, Skype)

Try Off-Peak Hours

Your download speed can also be hurt if you try to use a shared (or public) connection during the busiest hours of the day. Try using the service during off-peak hours like evenings and weekends so there may be fewer people using the service.

Other Guides

There are a ton of other premium video game services out there so we wrote guides for all of them.  Take a look below:

A Parent’s Guide to EA Access

A Parent’s Guide to Xbox Live Gold

A Parent’s Guide to Xbox Game Pass

A Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Plus

A Parent’s Guide to EA Origin’s Access


Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Sony is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the PlayStation with a HUGE sale of popular PlayStation games from across the breadth of the various consoles’ life-cycles. The sales are HUGE and are up to 75% off for PlayStation Plus users. The list below is large, but it includes all of the relevant games that are rated T or less on the list.

I have highlighted the best games of the bunch so take a look and download your favorites on the PlayStation Store!

The format for the list below is as follows:

Game title -> PlayStation Plus Price-> Sale Price-> Regular Price


PlayStation 4

FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn $19.99 $23.99 $39.99

FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn Collector’s Edition$29.99 $35.99 $59.99

Need for Speed Rivals $12.00 $20.00 $39.99

Rocksmith 2014 Edition $41.99 $44.99 $59.99


PlayStation 3

BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma $16.00 $20.00 $39.99

Burnout Paradise Super Bundle $7.50 $12.00 $29.99

CHRONO CROSS $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

CHRONO TRIGGER $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

Dragon’s Crown $20.00 $25.00 $49.99

FINAL FANTASY IX $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

FINAL FANTASY VII $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

FINAL FANTASY VIII $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn $12.49 $14.99 $24.99

FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn Collector’s Edition $22.49 $26.99 $44.99

Jak and Daxter Collection $8.00 $10.00 $19.99

Jet Moto $2.40 $3.00 $5.99

Jet Moto 2 $2.40 $3.00 $5.99

LittleBigPlanet $8.00 $10.00 $19.99

MediEvil $2.40 $3.00 $5.99

Might & Magic Clash of Heroes $7.49 $8.99 $14.99

Okami HD $6.99 $8.39 $13.99

Outland $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

Ratchet & Clank: Collection $12.00 $15.00 $29.99

Rayman $2.40 $3.00 $5.99

Rocksmith 2014 Edition $41.99 $44.99 $59.99

SSX $5.00 $8.00 $19.99

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix $5.99 $6.99 $9.99

The Sly Collection $17.99 $20.99 $29.99

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD $6.00 $7.50 $14.99

Ultra Street Fighter IV $16.00 $20.00 $39.99

WipEout $2.40 $3.00 $5.99


PlayStation Vita

BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger Portable $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma $16.00 $20.00 $39.99

CHRONO CROSS $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

CHRONO TRIGGER $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

Daxter $3.99 $4.79 $7.99

DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY $9.99 $11.99 $19.99

Dragon’s Crown $16.00 $20.00 $39.99

FINAL FANTASY IV: The Complete Collection $9.99 $11.99 $19.99

FINAL FANTASY IX $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

FINAL FANTASY VII $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

FINAL FANTASY VIII $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

Jet Moto $2.40 $3.00 $5.99

Jet Moto 2 $2.40 $3.00 $5.99

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita $7.20 $9.00 $17.99

LocoRoco $5.55 $7.50 $14.99

Lumines Electronic Symphony $10.80 $13.50 $26.99

MediEvil $2.40 $3.00 $5.99

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite $8.00 $10.00 $19.99

Ratchet & Clank: Collection $12.00 $15.00 $29.99

Rayman $2.40 $3.00 $5.99

Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

TACTICS OGRE: Let Us Cling Together $9.99 $11.99 $19.99

Tearaway $14.40 $18.00 $35.99

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky $8.00 $10.00 $19.99

WipEout $2.40 $3.00 $5.99

Ys: The Oath in Felghana $6.00 $7.50 $14.99


PlayStation Portable (PSP)

BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger Portable $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

CHRONO CROSS $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

CHRONO TRIGGER $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

Daxter $3.99 $4.79 $7.99

DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY $9.99 $11.99 $19.99

FINAL FANTASY IV: The Complete Collection $9.99 $11.99 $19.99

FINAL FANTASY IX $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

FINAL FANTASY VII $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

FINAL FANTASY VIII $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

Jet Moto $2.40 $3.00 $5.99

Jet Moto 2 $2.40 $3.00 $5.99

LocoRoco $5.55 $7.50 $14.99

MediEvil $2.40 $3.00 $5.99

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite $8.00 $10.00 $19.99

Rayman $2.40 $3.00 $5.99

Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

TACTICS OGRE: Let Us Cling Together $9.99 $11.99 $19.99

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky $8.00 $10.00 $19.99

WipEout $2.40 $3.00 $5.99

WipEout Pure $4.99 $5.99 $9.99

Ys: The Oath in Felghana $6.00 $7.50

метандростенолон
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Sony made several new announcements regarding hardware and service during their E3 2014 media briefing.

photo of the Sony PlayStation TV hardware

PlayStation TV

Playstation TV, which launched last year in Japan, was their most significant hardware announcement. It will be coming to the US for $99. It is a small set top box, similar to a Roku or AppleTV, that will allow users to stream their PlayStation 4 games to a separate television in the house thanks the PlayStation Remote Play feature. Playstation TV will also play Vita game cards and downloadable Vita and PS1/PS2 classics from the Playstation Network. Sony also announced a bundle with the PSTV, a PS3 controller, HDMI cable, and an SD card for $139.

PlayStation Now logo on blue Sony background

PlayStation Now

Playstation Now, the game streaming service announced after Sony’s acquisition of Gaikai in 2012, is now slated for beta on PS4 starting July 31st and will eventually come to PS3 and Vita. No game consoles? Not to worry. Sony announced you’ll also be able to pick up Playstation Now enabled TVs. No pricing structure for renting/streaming games was announced, but Sony said they’d experiment with different options.

Powers, a graphic novel

Powers, a graphic novel that is NOT for children being made into a television show.

They also announced that PlayStation Plus members will be given free access to a new original series based on the graphic novel “Powers.” The show will be produced by Brian Michael Bendis (a very talent comic book writer who is responsible for a lot of the current Marvel content).

It is worth noting that the Powers graphic novel is not appropriate for children so it is reasonable to expect that the show will follow suit. We mention this here in part because it is interesting that Sony is developing original programming, but also as a casual notice to parents that not all comic books are “kid stuff.”

 

Overall this was a successful showing for Sony. They introduced a lot of great games and these hardware items are a wonderful addition. The future is definitely bright!

 

 

 

http://traveldeals.coolwptemplates.org/
tissot china
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The Pokémon Company has finally revealed the details for Pokémon Home. It will launch in February 2020 on iOS, Android, and on Nintendo Switch.

 The Pitch

Pokémon Home is a subscription service that acts as a replacement to Pokémon Bank. The service is both a mobile and switch app. The core purpose of the service is to allow players to start the Pokémon they have captured or bred in various Pokémon games in the cloud and upload them into compatible games.

How Does it Work? 

Subscribers can connect their Pokémon Home account to a Nintendo account. Once that is complete then they will be able to connect to compatible games and services to transfer Pokémon into their “home.” They can then transfer those Pokémon from their “home” into compatible games.

The games that Pokémon Home can currently connect to are:

            Pokémon Sword

            Pokémon Shield

            Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu

            Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee

Pokémon Home cannot currently connect to Pokémon Go, but that functionality will be added in the future.

Pokémon Home can also connect to Pokémon Bank. This is the only way for players to bring their Pokémon from Pokémon games on the 3DS and earlier into Home.

Features

Trading

Pokémon Home serves another purpose aside from acting as cloud storage for your Pokémon collection. It allows you to trade your Pokémon to help fill out your Pokedex through a bunch of different methods.

Wonder Box

Wondertrading in Pokémon is the act of offering up a Pokémon from your collection in exchange for a random Pokémon that someone else has offered up using the same feature. This is one of my favorite features in Pokémon games because I am always surprised at the interesting things that people are willing to give away. A lot of times I will end up receiving Pokémon that competitive players have been bred that don’t have perfect stats. This is great for casual fans who aren’t concerned with stats and just want to build a collection.

The free version of Pokémon Home allows you to Wondertrade one Pokémon at a time. The premium version bumps that number up to three.

GTS

The Global Trade System (GTS) allows you to offer up one of your Pokémon and list it online requesting to trade it for another specific Pokémon. This is a good way to build your collection if you are looking to catch ‘em all, because you can put up duplicates of rare Pokémon you own to trade specific Pokémon that you need to complete your collection.

The free version of Pokémon Home allows you to put one Pokémon at a time into the GTS. The premium version bumps that number up to three.

Room Trade

Another of Pokémon Home’s great features is Room Trading. You can use the apps to create rooms that nearby friends can join to trade their Pokémon. Anyone can join a Room, but only Premium Subscribers can create one.

Friend Trade

Friend Trade is a feature that allows you to trade Pokémon with players who you have become friends with on the service.

Other Features

Trading isn’t all though. There are several other useful features in Pokémon  Home to consider.

National Pokédex

Any Pokémon  you bring into Pokémon  Home will be registered to your National Pokedex. This will bring you one step closer to catching them all!

Mystery Gifts

Mystery gifts are a big part of the Pokémon experience. The Pokémon Company regularly distributes them as part of events and sometimes just for fun. The Pokémon home service lets you redeem the gift codes you find without having to get out your Switch. There will even be Mystery Gifts that exclusive to Pokémon  Home.

Judge Pokémon

Premium subscribers have access to the Judge function. This is a tool that lets you carefully examine your Pokémon  to determine how strong they are. This is a must for competitive players who are looking to build the perfect team.

How Much Does it Cost?

There are three purchase options for the Premium Subscription.

  • 1 month (30 days) – $2.99
  • 3 months (90 days) – $4.99
  • 12 months (365 days) – $15.99

Advice

The free version of Pokémon  Home is a no brainer for anyone with more than one Pokémon  game. It adds limited functionality to your games for no charge.

The premium version of the service is a tougher nut to crack. You need to evaluate your activity level and your enthusiasm for Pokémon to determine if it is worth it. I think the biggest question is if you have Pokémon in the Pokémon bank. If you do, then the premium service is the only way to access them and bring them forward.


Do you have a question we didn’t address here? Leave your question in the comments and we will reply and add to the guide!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

Other Guides

There are a ton of other premium video game services out there so we wrote guides for all of them.  Take a look below:

A Parent’s Guide to EA Origins Access

A Parent’s Guide to EA Access

A Parent’s Guide to the Xbox Game Pass

A Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Now

A Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Plus

A Parent’s Guide to Nintendo Switch Online

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!h

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The Nintendo Switch is wildly popular, and Nintendo is pairing it with an online subscription service similar to both Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus. Their service, called Nintendo Switch Online, launched in the fall of 2018 and is a great value for families looking to get more out of their Switch experience. 

The Pitch

Nintendo Switch Online is an annual subscription service that is required into order to play Nintendo Switch games like Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online. It also includes bonus features like access to cloud saves, and access to a suite of NES and SNES games. Subscribers also get access to exclusive sales offers and Switch online exclusive games like Tetris 99. 

Nintendo Switch Online is an annual subscription service that is required into order to play Nintendo Switch games like Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online. It also includes bonus features like access to cloud saves, and access to a suite of NES and SNES games. Subscribers also get access to exclusive sales offers and Switch online exclusive games like Tetris 99. 

How Does it Work? 

Nintendo Switch Online is a subscription based service that can be purchased annually, or in smaller increments. The service needs to be maintained in order to continue the benefits and maintain access to the features. 

The service includes: 

Online Play – Online multiplayer gaming using the Nintendo Switch Online platform

NES and SNES – Nintendo Switch Online – Nintendo Switch Online members have access to curated library of more than 60 NES and Super NES classic games. The collection initially only includes NES games, but was updated a year later to include SNES titles. The curated library of games will grow over time. These games also include online competitive/cooperative play with friends. Certain games (like Super Mario Bros.) even include the ability to virtually pass the controller back and forth.

Save Data Cloud – Subscribers can back up their save game data to the cloud. This makes it easier to retrieve their save data if they lose their Switch or start to use a new one. It is worth mentioning that some games aren’t compatible with cloud saving. The most noteworthy examples are Pokemon Sword and Shield and the upcoming Animal Crossing: New Horizons. 

Smartphone App – Nintendo has released a smartphone app (available for iOS and Android). It syncs with the subscriber’s Nintendo account and includes some minor enhancements for different Switch games. You can also use it to use voice chat with your Nintendo friends as you play. (Certain games, like Fortnite, circumvent Nintendo’s app and allow voice chat through the game software itself. This isn’t universal though.)

Special Offers – Subscribers will have access to exclusive sales and product offerings. They have included controllers, discount game vouchers, and even an exclusive game (Tetris 99). 

How Much Does it Cost?

Nintendo Switch Online can be purchased annually, quarterly, or monthly. The service also has a 7 day free trial. 

Annual Subscription: $19.99

3 Month Subscription: $7.99

1 Month Subscription: $3.99

Nintendo Switch Online also has a Family Membership option where up to 8 Nintendo Accounts can share an online subscription for $34.99 annually. 

Advice

This service is a great value for families. The cost is relatively low at $20 a year and it includes a wide array of free games to play.

If your kids aren’t interested in the NES/SNES games and only play Fortnite, then this is a service you can likely avoid. Fortnite doesn’t require an active subscription to play.

Other Guides

There are a ton of other premium video game services out there so we wrote guides for all of them.  Take a look below:

A Parent’s Guide to EA Origins Access

A Parent’s Guide to EA Access

A Parent’s Guide to the Xbox Game Pass

A Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Now

A Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Plus

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

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