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Sony to refund Vita customers in FTC settlement over false ads

LittleBigPlanet Vita
Sony Computer Entertainment America has settled with the FTC over charges that it produced false and misleading advertisement during the Vita's launch campaign from late 2011 to early 2012. Sony will provide refunds to Vita customers who purchased the device before June 1, 2012 – either a $25 cash or credit refund, or a $50 voucher for select games and services. Sony will email eligible customers after the settlement is finalized.

The FTC alleges that some of Sony's claims about the Vita were misleading, including that the Vita "would revolutionize gaming mobility" by enabling remote play and cross-platform play with the PS3, allowing players to start a game on PS3 and finish it on Vita. Sony is barred from similar advertising practices in the future.

The FTC alleges the following: "Sony claimed, for example, that PS Vita users could pause any PS3 game at any time and continue to play the game on their PS Vita from where they left off. This feature, however, was only available for a few PS3 games, and the pause-and-save capability described in the ads varied significantly from game to game.... Sony's PS Vita ads falsely implied that consumers who owned the 3G version of the device (which cost an extra $50 plus monthly fees) could engage in live, multi-player gaming through a 3G network. In fact, consumers could not engage in live, multiplayer gaming.... In reality, most PS3 games were not remote playable on the PS Vita."

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Marvel's Venom infects Zen Pinball games next month

Zen Studios announced a new table for its pinball games based on the popular villain from Marvel's Spider-Man universe, Venom. The table explores Venom's rivalry with Spider-Man as well as Carnage, the offspring of the dark Symbiote, hosted by the first of Venom's victims from the webbed superhero's comics, Eddie Brock.

As with Zen Studios' other tables, the add-on will launch for multiple Zen Pinball and Pinball FX games on December 10 and December 11. It will cost $2.99 (€2.99/£2.49) for Zen Pinball 2 and Pinball FX 2 players on PS4, PS3, Vita, PC, Mac, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Wii U. Those playing Zen Pinball, Zen Pinball HD and Marvel Pinball on iOS and Android will need to pay $1.99 (€1.79/£1.49) to access the Venom table in those games.
[Image: Zen Studios]

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Hatoful Boyfriend released from its cage: PS4, Vita in 2015

Finally, you can go to the park and feed the pigeons while simultaneously dating a handful of pigeons and discovering their bird-brained plot to overtake the world and enslave humanity. Finally.

Pigeon-dating simulator Hatoful Boyfriend is due out on PS4 and Vita in early 2015 from Devolver Digital and Mediatonic. It'll be $10 (£7 /€8), and "a launch party is currently being planned in front of a bench in Central Park with a bar serving a range of high-end breadcrumbs," according to the press release.

The PC version of Hatoful Boyfriend launched in September, based on the visual novel by Hato Moa. "I never dreamt when I first made Hatoful Boyfriend I'd see it on PlayStation," Moa says. "Thanks to the amazing fans and Mediatonic, I hope now even more people will discover pigeon love. All you need is dove."

Hatoful Boyfriend is a surprisingly deep game about dating pigeons – yes, you really date pigeons – and uncovering the dark secrets of a new avian world. Our review describes the drop as follows: "The larger narrative kicks in and everything is suddenly colored with an awareness that something has gone horribly awry." For those just diving in, make sure to play through all of your pigeon-suitor options.
[Image: Devolver Digital]

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Grand Theft Auto 5 becomes the UK's all-time bestseller

The new king of Britain is Grand Theft Auto 5, after it claimed the crown for the most units sold in the nation in the ever of ever. On the back of hitting PS4 and Xbox One, Rockstar's latest crime circus usurped the former rule of Call of Duty: Black Ops, according to data-bods Chart Track. While Chart Track didn't report specific sales figures, MCV claims GTA 5 was at "almost 4 million" units sold in the UK ahead of its arrival on the newest systems.

As per other re-releases, GTA 5 offers enhanced graphics on PS4 and Xbox One. In its case, however, there's also the undoubted showpiece of the new first-person camera.

"Rather than lowering the camera and shoving it in the chests of its three protagonists, GTA 5's first-person mode adds detailed animations that give the perspective a feeling more akin to simulation than a shooter," said Joystiq's Xav de Matos in our updated review.

GTA 5 isn't the only rock star in this week's UK charts, so head below the break to see how well Far Cry 4 and Dragon Age: Inquisition did, and just how badly Sonic Boom flopped. You'll also find the UK top ten and, as ever, the minimally-beloved customary music video.

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Vib-Ribbon's return began with an attempt at stage cred

When president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America Shawn Layden praised Vib-Ribbon's outside-the-box concept during this year's E3, he hoped it would show his legitimacy as a nerd worthy of standing beside better-recognized faces of PlayStation like Adam Boyes or Shu Yoshida, according to a report from Wired. Excited fans flooded social media in response, but their joy turned to rage when Layden took a sharp turn from his fond remembrance to introduce the gameplay debut of Mortal Kombat X.

As he was drinking in the backlash the following morning, Layden remembered that Vib-Ribbon was never actually released in North America. Instead of finding common ground with fans of the cult classic, he had reminded part of his audience of what they had never had a chance to play.

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Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd review - Pretty punisher

PS3, Vita

We had the chance to stop her, but now it's too late. Hatsune Miku has taken over.

At this point, Miku is a global phenomenon. The virtual pop idol recently infiltrated American culture in a guest appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman and as an opening act for Lady Gaga, but her worldwide success comes as a result of a fascinating mixture of official licensing and fan-made mythos. Miku herself may be rooted in sterile voice synthesis software, but it's the work of fans that gave her a vibrantly marketable identity.

This unique melding of fandom and Japanese idol culture defines Sega's Hatsune Miku: Project Diva series, which showcases fan-made art and music alongside slickly produced rhythm-driven gameplay. The latest series entry, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd, introduces game-changing features and streamlines its predecessor's weaker elements while crafting a surprisingly diverse challenge for rhythm game veterans.

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Disgaea team lets loose Firefly Diary in February 2015

The Firefly Diary, a new game from the developers behind Disgaea and The Guided Fate Paradox, is due out on Vita on February 24, 2015, published by NIS America. The standard edition is $20, while a limited edition runs $30 with pre-orders directly from NIS America. The limited edition includes the game, a collector's box, softcover artbook and the original soundtrack CD.

The Firefly Diary is a dreamy, fairytale-style platformer about a young girl named Mion and her two fireflies, one that thrives on darkness and the other one full of light. Players shift between the two fireflies to guide Mion among beast-filled ruins, uncovering her lost memories along the way.

See the second official trailer for The Firefly Diary below.
[Image: NIS America]

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PSA: Hatsune Miku wants to kill all humans

Image I noticed something strange while playing through Sega's recently released PlayStation 3 and Vita rhythm game, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd. During one of the included songs, "This is the Happiness and Peace of Mind Committee," Miku's friendly autotuned warble suddenly took on an unsettling, si... Continue Reading

Joystiq Deals: Free year of GameFly, free Ouya giveaways

We've got a pair of can't-miss giveaways on offer today at Joystiq Deals. First up is our Year Of Free GameFly Giveaway, a prize package that includes a free year of GameFly's deluxe 2-games-out-at-a-time subscription service (valued at $275).

You'll also want to check out our Triple Crown Ouya Giveaway, which offers up three Ouya consoles free of charge for three lucky winners. You can enter both of today's featured contests by submitting your e-mail address, and you can earn additional entries by referring your friends via Twitter. Good luck!


Joystiq Deals is a partnership between AOL and StackSocial. A portion of sales goes to funding this site. Deals are curated by StackSocial independently of the Joystiq editorial team.

PSN Store Update: Stop He's Already Dead Edition

That scene in The Simpsons? November's new release pile-up is like that, except the games industry isn't about to let up. A glance here should tell you there's still an absolute drove of games waiting to beat us all up before the year ticks over. Brace yourselves, people.

This is a particularly games-stuffed edition of our weekly PSN Store updates; there are 13 games out on PS4 alone, including the small matters of Far Cry 4, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Grand Theft Auto 5 and LittleBigPlanet 3. Since it's so games-stuffed, we're going to take a leaf out of our eShop round-ups and condense all of this week's new releases into a nice, digestible list. You'll find that below the break, complete with links for further coverage as well as SEN store links.

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CoD: Advanced Warfare sees off big names to retain UK No. 1

It's that time of year when big-name franchises chuck lengthily-titled entries onto shelves, and the games with the longest names prevail. This week, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare kept top spot in the UK charts, holding off the likes of Assassin's Creed: Unity, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor and Fédération Internationale de Football Association 15 - or FIFA 15 for short.

While the latest CoD is king of the sea for the second week running, there are interesting details throughout the UK top ten. For example:
  1. The split for UK physical sales of Assassin's Creed: Unity was 52 percent PS4, 46 percent Xbox One and 2 percent PC.
  2. Halo: The Master Chief Collection notched the biggest UK launch for a first-party Xbox One game. If you include all publishers i.e. all Xbox One games, it came in 7th.
  3. Minecraft Vita hit British retail shelves and scored the third biggest launch for any game on the portable, only behind Uncharted: Golden Abyss and FIFA Football.
You'll find more on this week's UK charts below the break, including the top ten and the oft-ignored but stubbornly customary music video

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Twin-stick shooter We Are Doomed flying to PS4, Vita

We Are Doomed - or rather, you are doomed if you plan on surviving in developer Vertex Pop's twin-stick shooter by mostly blasting enemies from afar. A post to the PlayStation Blog has detailed the score-focused shooter in preparation for its arrival on PS4 within early 2015. We Are Doomed's vivid spaces are filled with bright, sharp-edged enemies, but the laser you wield has a very limited range, so you'll need to stay up close and personal to get anything done.

Should you feel your personal space is being violated, you can retreat and wipe out scores with a charged superbeam, but your points-fueled crusade will largely be an intimate campaign. The PS Blog post explains that We Are Doomed's mechanics are "designed to make throwing yourself into danger and dashing across the arena to collect Trinkets (the purple cubes) pay off."

We Are Doomed will also reach the Vita "a little later" after the PS4 launch, but it's already available and DRM free on PC and Mac for $4.00.
[Image: Vertex Pop]

PlayStation Now gets Mirror's Edge, Mass Effect 2, more next month

EA will bring games from its catalog to Sony's video game streaming service PlayStation Now starting next month. As of December 2, five of EA's games will be available to stream starting "around $1 per day," according to PlayStation Blog. The games being added to PlayStation Now are: Mirror's Edge, Mass Effect 2, Dead Space 3, NBA Jam On Fire Edition and Bejeweled 3.

Sony kicked off the open beta for its PlayStation Now service in July on PS4 before rolling its open beta phases out for PS3 in September, later arriving on Vita as well as PS TV in October. The streaming service will reach Europe in 2015, with the UK slated to get access to the first beta in the region. EA continues to find ways to leverage its catalog on digital platforms, as it kicked off its own subscription-based service on Xbox One in August, EA Access. Sony previously evaluated EA Access and determined that it "does not bring the kind of value PlayStation customers have come to expect," leading to the service's Xbox One exclusivity.

WayForward's Adventure Time game coming to PSTV, Vita

Along with the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS and PC platforms, publisher Little Orbit has announced that the WayForward-developed Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom will also appear on the PlayStation TV and Vita handheld.

As Sam explains in this preview from E3 2014, Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom is a clear homage to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. The prior Adventure Time game, Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don't Know, was criticized both by fans and series creator Pendleton Ward for being too linear, so developer WayForward opted to include a bigger overworld, and more puzzles while giving players more freedom to choose their path.

Little Orbit is especially thrilled to be bringing the game to the PlayStation TV. Actually, the publisher's announcement never mentions the Vita (despite it being nearly identical hardware with a larger install base than the PSTV), and Little Orbit CEO Matt Scott ignores the handheld in favor of gushing over Sony's latest gadget. "We're pleased to be partnering with Sony and have our game featured in their new PlayStation TV advertising campaign. The PSTV is a perfect fit for our game because it enables the entire family to play together to unravel all the secrets of the Nameless Kingdom," Scott said.

Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom arrives on November 18.
[Image: Little Orbit]

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Roundabout goes cross-buy on PS4 and Vita

Roundabout, the spinning-limo game from former Harmonix designer Dan Teasdale's studio, No Goblin, is heading to Vita on top of its planned launch on PS4 and Xbox One. Teasdale announced the new platform on the PlayStation Blog, noting that it's a Cross-Buy and Cross-Play game between PS4 and Vita.

"We're remastering all of the FMV in high-bitrate 1080p to take advantage of the PS4′s horsepower!" he writes. "The PS Vita version is no slouch, either – in fact, it's the same full experience that you'd experience on console."

Yep, Roundabout includes full-motion video scenes. It's all done in a 70s B-movie style, so lactose intolerant people beware: It's going to get cheesy. Roundabout hit PC via Steam in September and it's due out on consoles in early 2015.

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