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PLAYSTATION 3's Euro Slogan Revealed

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 by kirashira

Game site Kikizo points out that the PLAYSTATION 3's official slogan in Europe is "This is Living." In a clip screened last week in Leipzig, the PS3 console disintegrates into thousands of black particles and then reforming into fat font above. The slogan then beats like a heart.

Wii will retail for around $170 - EA

Monday, August 21, 2006 by kirashira

Speaking exclusively to GamesIndustry.biz, executive VP and COO of EA's worldwide studios, David Gardner, has revealed that the publisher believes the console will retail for around US $170 in North America.

In an interview to be published later this week, Gardner said: "I've heard in Japan that the price is about $170, but I don't know if the price has been set in Europe yet."

Gardner went on to discuss the key differences between Sony's PS3 and Nintendo's new console, saying he was confident that the Wii will find its niche in the market as consumers' 'second' console.

"Nintendo has come up with a very clever strategy," Gardner said.

"They've made a choice which is great for the consumer. Now we're going to have a choice whereby consumers can buy a Wii, plus one other console."

Nintendo has so far declined to reveal exact details of a release date or price point for the Wii. However, the company has previously confirmed that the console will retail for less than US $250, and will launch before the end of this year - with shipments estimated to total 6 million by the end of March 2007.

Nintendo DS pummels PSP, PS2 in Japan

Saturday, August 19, 2006 by kirashira

The Nintendo DS pummeled competitors on strong software sales in Japan.

Media Create Co. on Friday reported that the Nintendo DS lite sold 196,719 units from Aug. 7 to 13.

By comparison the PSP sold 41,289 units and the PS2 26,547 unit in the same period.

In addition, Nintendo DS software charted six out of the top ten software sales for the week.

Steady performers include New Super Mario Bros., Brain Training 2, and Bandai's Tamagotchi Shop 2.

The Nintendo DS is the No. 1 selling handheld at 21M units sold worldwide. Nintendo will launch the upcoming console Wii to retail in the fourth quarter.

Hirai: PS3 not yet in production

by kirashira

Sony Computer Entertainment of America's president Kaz Hirai has said in an interview that production of the PlayStation 3 has yet to begin. "We haven't started manufacturing [the PS3] yet. Some of our ops guys were actually just in China, and also in Japan just reviewing the [production] lines and everything else. But they are, again, preparing as we speak to get the manufacturing going", he stated.

These words are in sharp contrast to the ones spoken by Phil Harrison who announced earlier this month that PlayStation 3 production was in “full swing”. It is unclear if Hirai meant that production for the American market has yet to begin or if he was referring to production of the PlayStation 3 in general.

Sony is aiming for a worldwide launch this November, with a total of 2 million units, and big game retailers such as GameStop has estimated that the US alone will be allocated half those units.

During the interview, Hirai also revealed that Sony has not decided the exact number of units each territory will be getting, and reiterated that Sony has not announced any specific date to start production.


Study Shows Some Games Promote Sociability

Thursday, August 17, 2006 by kirashira

I hope you're sitting down for this one, because it's really going to blow your mind. It seems that two researchers, Constance Steinkuehler and Dmitri Williams have discovered that not all video games will turn you into a lonely, pathetic, loser. Some of them actually "promote sociability and new worldviews," as recently-published study claims. Further revelations released in the study include the fact that fire is hot and water is wet. Kidding, kidding. They haven't figured out that bit about the water yet.

The study, titled, "Where Everybody Knows Your (Screen) Name: Online Games as 'Third Places,'" argues that online environments, such as those found in MMOs, are "third places," a term used to describe those physical places outside the home or workplace where people get together for social interaction. Showing just how up they are on pop culture, the authors of the paper liken the worlds of Lineage and Asheron's Call to "dropping in at Cheers," the bar featured in a show that's ended its original run thirteen years ago. Basically, after studying Asheron's Call I and II, and Lineage I and II, Steinkuehler and Williams came to the conclusion that playing an MMO is akin to hanging out with real life pals drinking in a pub or playing poker in a living room. The study expands on that, however, saying that playing in such environments is "particularly well suited to the formation of bridging social capital-social relationships that, while not usually providing deep emotional support, typically function to expose the individual to a diversity of worldviews." In other words, when you meet people from different parts of the country or world, something largely inevitable when playing an MMO, you may not become BFF with everyone you meet, but you are exposed to new points of view, a condition the researchers say "has been sorely lacking in American society for decades." Or at least since Cheers was a hit.

Voice Recognition For Nintendo Wii

by kirashira

The latest "rumors on the internet" revolve around advanced voice recognition for Wii. Speech recognition is always a tricky thing to master, and if true, the program "Hear Say Today" will have an uphill battle.

After all, if you say "Wii" into a headphone, there's a myriad of different spellings that can reasonably be surmised. The alleged patent for this technology can be read here, but our favorite titled website Moz La Punk has plucked out the juicy bits that were posted on the IGN insider forums.

"…voice communication will be via wireless, head-mounted microphones. Some peripherals for the DS will be compatible with Wii and vice-versa.”

"Many Nintendo first party games (specifically games designed for a younger audience) will feature a new system currently being developed by Nintendo called ‘voice to text communication."

"The system works using an advanced voice recognition system which Nintendo has been developing for several years. When a user speaks the sound is converted into on screen text and sent to the other players. However, rather than just plain text being sent the system also picks up the tone, pitch and volume of the voice and translates that into colour, font size and character set. For example, if a player shouts ‘I win’ loudly into the microphone the on screen text may be all capitalized, and in a large red font; conversely if a player speaks quietly the font may be a pastel shade and smaller."

"This system also allows online voice communication to be easily censored by the user."

We'd love to see this become a reality, but we have our doubts at the moment. Nintendo Wii News will keep you updated.


Ubisoft to Bring Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII to PlayStation 3

by kirashira

Ubisoft has announced it will bring Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII, the intense squadron-based flight action game, to the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system. Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII will be available for the new system's launch.

In Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII, developed in Ubisoft's Romanian studio, players will experience the most gripping and famous battles of WWII through the eyes of a squadron commander and ace fighter pilot. From the Battle of Britain, through the dramatic air combat of Pearl Harbor, the fierce fighting of Midway, and on to the European continent in the battle of Berlin, players can hone their pilot skills while creating WWII history. Dominate the skies of Western Europe and the Pacific and bring your squadron of Blazing Angels back alive.

Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII will take advantage of the PlayStation 3 system's unique and powerful capabilities, including innovative use of the PlayStation 3 controller. New missions will be introduced and the game will feature a heart-pounding 16-player multiplayer mode.

PS3 to win next gen console battle

by kirashira

Sony's Playstation 3 is to win the next generation console battle between rivals Nintendo and Microsoft. That's the word from a study on the sector released today by the Yankee Group, a Boston technology research firm. The report predicts that Sony's PlayStation 3 console will ultimately control a larger market share than Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's planned Wii.

digg story

USATODAY Interview with Nintendo President

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 by kirashira

Reginald Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's President tells us why he thinks the wii is going to be wiiner.

Q: What made Nintendo try to do something dramatically different with the Wii?

A: Our focus is interactive game play, a whole new way to play, that puts fun back into this business. It allows everybody to pick up and play and isn't focused on the core gamer.

Q: The Wii seems to emphasize the controller, not heavy attention on graphics. Is that by design?

A: That is exactly by design. Our visuals for Wii will look fantastic, but in the end, prettier pictures will not bring new gamers and casual gamers into this industry. It has to be about the ability to pick up a controller, not be intimidated, and have fun immediately. The trick is being able to do that, not only with the new casual gamer, but do it in a way that the core gamer gets excited as well.

Q: Microsoft has made the comment that people can buy an Xbox 360 and Wii for about the same price as a PlayStation 3. Would you mind terribly if that happened?

A: I'd much rather have the consumer buy a Wii, some accessories, and a ton of games, vs. buying any of my competitor's products.

Q: A few years ago, Nintendo made a conscious decision to lie low when Microsoft introduced Xbox Live and began promoting its subscription online gaming service. In retrospect, does that look like a good decision?

A: I wasn't here. What I can tell you is the way we've approached online play now is really with a view to the masses. With Nintendo DS (a dual-screen handheld player), for example, we offer free Internet play in a wide-ranging series of games. Our focus is getting as many consumers to enjoy that online experience as possible. And we've done that.

Q: You're not pursuing a subscription model?

A: We view online gaming as essentially an enhanced way to enjoy the gaming experience and drive more sales of hardware and software.

Q: How do you extend your online strategy to Wii?

A: It's the same premise. We will offer online-enabled games that the consumers will not have to pay a subscription fee for. They'll be able to enjoy that right out of the box. The Wii console is going to be Wi-Fi enabled, so essentially, you'll be able to plug it in and go. It won't have hidden fees or costs.

Q: What is your plan for getting folks who aren't normally interested in video games to try the Wii?

A: We need to get the consumer to admire what we've done. We need them to say to themselves, "Wow, this new Wii console by Nintendo is really interesting!" And they need to try it. They need to get bought into the proposition.

Q: Your background is in marketing. Without divulging competitive secrets, can you characterize your marketing plan?

A: It's going to be massive amounts of hands-on activity, as well as showcasing exactly how Wii games are different. We're going to create advocacy. We're going to make it so that everyone who tries the Wii experience talks to their friends and neighbors. It's going to be a really provocative sight to be seeing teens and 20-year-olds and 40-year-olds and 50-year-olds talking about how different this experience is.

Q: What can you tell us about timing and price?

A: We're well on our way to sharing all of that information with our retailers and our licensees. We'll be sharing that information publicly later on.

Q: Can the Wii take Nintendo back to the top of the mountain?

A: Our goal is to have as many teens and young adults as we have 40-plus-year-olds excited about the platform. We're trying to expand this business here in the U.S in a way that it really hasn't been expanded ... for the health of this industry.

Q: Sounds like you're more focused on new customers and not necessarily taking share from the other guys.

A: The interesting thing is if you do expand the market, you do both. You grow the category, but you'll also dramatically increase your market share. As an example, Nintendo DS in Japan outsells all of our competitors by a factor of five to one. We are so far in advance of our handheld competitors that they're not even on the map. That's all based on a market expansion strategy. And that's what we're looking to do with home consoles.

Q: How do you handicap your competitors; what worries you most about them?

A: Our competitors are both going down the same path. Both believe that more and more performance with a higher and higher price tag are their keys to success. So what do I see? I think our two competitors will trade share between them, while we go off and grab share in a completely different way.

Microsoft Employee: '1080p Meaningless This Generation'

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 by kirashira

Xbox platform strategy group team member and former Xbox Live director Andre Vrignaud Andre Vrignaud posted a blog entry yesterday entitled "1080p Meaningless this Generation," discussing why PlayStation 3 can output to 1080p for both games and movies apparently doesn't mean much. He goes so far as to predict "you won't see any 1080'x' games for the PS3 this year," and cautions against getting caught in "1080p hype."

This flies in a different direction from what we've been hearing from Sony: "...PS3 supports high quality display in resolution of 1080p as standard, which is far superior to 720p/1080i."

While both sides seem to be up in arms in the 1080i vs. 1080p war, one thing is for sure: the only real judge is your eyes, and you'll be able to judge for yourself later this year.

Google set to connect its entire home town to Internet for free

by kirashira

Google on Wednesday plans to offer free, high-speed Internet access to everyone in its Silicon Valley home town — a hospitable gesture that the online search leader hopes to see spread to other parts of the country.

The new wireless, or "Wi-Fi," network, is believed to establish Mountain View, Calif., as the largest U.S. city with totally free Internet access available throughout the entire community, according to both Google and city officials.

read full story

This is awesome for the people who get this free from google. Anywhere in town you have a internet connection, this probably will be the future though =).

Blogger.com unveils new beta versioBlogger.com unveils new beta version

by kirashira

Google’s Blogger.com, one of the trailblazers of the whole medium, is about to undergo a substantial upgrade that will improve its usability and help it catch up to the state of the art. You can preview the beta version at beta.blogger.com, but in my experience the beta system isn’t stable enough to use yet. You can check it out now though. Blogger users will be notified when they are invited to switch over to the beta version.

Nintendo Ds Emulator Released!

Monday, August 14, 2006 by kirashira

No$Gba v2.3 has been released, adding support for Nintendo DS emulation. Now you can play commercial DS games on a PC.

official No$Gba v2.3 website
compatibility results here

Search on for Moon landing film

by kirashira

A search has begun to locate the original film footage of man's first steps on the Moon.

The footage of the Apollo 11 crew's landing on the Moon is one of 20th Century's most important artefacts.
The tapes are believed to be stored somewhere in the archive at Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland.
But as many of those involved in the archiving of the original tapes moved on, retired or passed away their location has been lost. The footage seen by people around the world has been compared to a photocopy of a photocopy, according to the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

read more here

Play your own Xbox game

Sunday, August 13, 2006 by kirashira

Microsoft is trying to turn hard-core gamers into Xbox programmers.

The company plans to show off on Monday a new set of developer tools that will let college students, hobbyists and others create their own games for the Xbox 360 console, for a Windows PC or both.

Dubbed XNA Game Studio Express, the free software is expected to be available in beta form by the end of the month, with a final product available sometime this holiday season.

read more here

PSM Editor Chooses Xbox360 Over PS3

by kirashira

The editor of the official PlayStation Magazine, Dana Jongewaard, writes in her blog that she is getting an Xbox360 instead of the PS3 this fall. Her reason? The high price, of course. The $600 price tag doesn’t justify what you get, because like her, most people actually don’t care about the Blu-ray drive, which is a big part of the high cost.

The console has no huge and exclusivetitles either, only Metal Gear Solid 4 and Final Fantasy XIII, which will be released sometime in 2007. Two games aren’t enough to invest in the PS3, at least not this year.

read more

Ariane-5 rocket sends Japan and French satellites into orbit

Saturday, August 12, 2006 by kirashira

JSAT Corporation officials confirm Japanese civilian communications satellite and a French military satellite are now into orbit.

An Ariane-5 rocket blasted off from French Guiana on Friday, putting into orbit a Japanese civilian communications satellite and a French military communications satellite, officials said. The launch took place at Europe's space base in Kourou, on the northeast coast of South America at 7.15 p.m. (2215 GMT).

Twenty-seven minutes after the launch, the rocket released into orbit a JCSAT-10 satellite for Japan's JSAT Corporation. Five minutes later the rocket released Syracuse 3B, a military communications satellite for France's Defense Ministry.

It was the third Ariane rocket launch this year.

read more here

Stalemate' for high-def DVD war

by kirashira

The battle between two rival and incompatible high-definition DVD formats will end in stalemate, a research firm has predicted.

Blu-ray and HD-DVD are the two new formats being rolled out globally over the course of the next 12 months.

But Screen Digest predicts neither format will gain the upper hand and that the rivalry will do damage to the market for high-def DVDs overall.

Sony is the principal supporter of Blu-ray while Toshiba backs HD-DVD.

Ben Keen, Screen Digest chief analyst said: "We believe that the most likely outcome is... that the two formats will coexist until they give way to affordable dual-format solutions.

read more here

Levi's Goofy RedWire iPod Jeans

Friday, August 11, 2006 by kirashira

Levi’s RedWire DLX Jeans include: An iPod docking cradle is built into the jeans, “invisibly” housed within a side pocket; a special joystick remote control built directly into the jeans to enable operation of the iPod; a handy retractable headphone unit designed to work with the jean to prevent tangles. Price is $300!?

Google to Eventually Disclose More Click Fraud Data

Thursday, August 10, 2006 by kirashira

SES Conference, San Jose -- Google CEO Eric Schmidt said today that the company is discussing ways in which to reveal more data about click fraud to their advertisers.

Schmidt maintained that Google has the click fraud problem under control, and that the rate of incidents is not increasing. But, he said, the company is trying to be more transparent with its customers.

"To the degree that our systems can detect it, we believe we have it under control," Schmidt said in an interview with Danny Sullivan, editor of searchenginewatch.com. "We're trying to find ways we can give information to advertisers that's truthful. One of the problem is that we have so many advertisers and we want to give aggregate data."

Schmidt mentioned Google's decision to join the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) committee on establishing click fraud standards, and implied that the standardization process will help all companies, not just Google, be more tansparent.

Google recently added a feature to AdWords that shows advertisers the amount of fraudulent clicks that occur on their ads.

read more here

Sony MyLo: Media Player With WiFi, Skype, Browser, and Messaging

by kirashira

Compared to most Sony gear we've seen over the past few years, the Mylo is a breath of fresh air. The media player does MPEG-4, digital audio, and pictures. But it also has a WiFi connection and a QWERTY keyboard, for chatting on Google Talk and Yahoo Messenger (No AIM support, sorry.) Wait, wait, wait! It also works as a wireless Skype phone!

read more

Spanish architects design the first space hotel

by kirashira

A company in Barcelona and a group of aircraft engineers in Florida are developing a prototype of a space hotel, called the Galactic Suite. The hotel has several capsules (the rooms) branching from a central nucleus. The hotel is designed to have 22 of these capsules.

read more

F.E.A.R. is PS3 Bound

by kirashira

Coming hot on the heels of news that Vivendi would be releasing F.E.A.R as a free, standalone multiplayer client later this month, CVG discovered that F.E.A.R. would also be making its way onto the PS3.

While this is hardly unexpected news, given the fact that the game has made its way to both the PC and Xbox360, an already developed title that just needs optimization for another piece of hardware would be significantly cheaper than producing a new game from scratch. We imagine that's Vivendi's logic, anyway. A release date is not yet known for the PS3 version.

Resident Evil 5 exclusively on PS3 in Japan?

by kirashira

Rumors have been circulating that BioHazard 5 (aka Resident Evil 5) will appear only on the PS3 in Japan. The start of the rumor comes from ECGeo.com, a Japanese website that offers up-to-date information via email about upcoming games. Also, QJ.net has stated, "...After being named as one of the most wanted games in Japan by Famitsu, it has been busy with its rumor mills route lately. According to various backfence talks, the much awaited Capcom game would only be available for the PS3 in Japan."

Since the Xbox 360 has not been selling well in Japan this may be a smart way for Capcom to save money by only making and selling the Japanese version for the PS3. This however does not suggest that Resident Evil 5 will not come to the Xbox 360 in the U.S.

Until an official statement from Capcom, this is still just a rumor. Look for more info on Resident Evil 5 as TGS (Tokyo Game Show) is right around the corner (countdown).

How much did Activision Pay for RedOctane?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006 by kirashira

Activision aquired RedOctane, publisher of last year's PlayStation 2 surprise hit Guitar Hero in May. How much did they pay? Well the details are right here...100 million dollars.

Here's the official word from the filing:

On June 6, 2006, we completed our acquisition of 100% of RedOctane, Inc. ("RedOctane") for an aggregate accounting purchase price of $99.9 million including transaction costs, consisting of $30.9 million in cash and 2,382,077 shares of Activision common stock valued at approximately $30.0 million based upon prevailing market prices, and $39.0 million payable in Activision common stock within two years of the closing date, which is recorded in other liabilities. In addition, in the event the net income of the business over a certain period of time exceeds certain target levels by certain amounts, certain former shareholders of RedOctane will be entitled to an additional amount of up to $51.0 million payable in shares of Activision common stock.
So $100M in cash and stock, and a possible $51M bonus Guitar Hero 2 if exceeds expectations. Pretty sweet deal for RedOctane, don't you think?

New Call of Duty 3 SCREENS

by kirashira

These are new screenshots of the highly anticipated game by activision CALL OF DUTY 3 that will be releasing on the XBOX360, PS3 and the Nintendo Wii.

First Pics of HD-DVD Drive for Xbox 360

by kirashira

Microsoft showed off the HD-DVD add-on for the Xbox 360. Its about the size of a hardcover book, and though Microsoft declined to announce the price they did say it would be the cheapest HD-DVD player on the market. Now, one wonders how successful this add-on will be in an industry where historically add-ons have failed (ie; 32X, SegaCD).

Homeland Security: Lock up your Windows

by kirashira

In a rare alert, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has urged Windows users to plug a potential worm hole in the Microsoft operating system.

The agency, which also runs the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), sent out a new release on Wednesday recommending that people apply Microsoft's MS06-040 patch as quickly as possible. The software maker released the "critical" as part of its monthly patch cycle.

"Users are encouraged to avoid delay in applying this security patch," the Department of Homeland Security said in the statement. The patch fixes a serious flaw that, if exploited, could enable an attacker to remotely take complete control of an affected system, the agency said.

Microsoft on Tuesday issued a dozen security bulletins, nine of which were tagged "critical," the company's highest severity rating. However, the flaw addressed in MS06-040 is the only one among the updates that could let an anonymous attacker remotely commandeer a Windows PC without any user interaction.

"Blaster took advantage of a vulnerability in the same service. We recognize that this is something that is easily exploitable," said Amol Sarwate, the manager of vulnerability research lab at Qualys. "It is excellent that DHS sent out this alert, because I think a lot of people are vulnerable."

Microsoft has seen a "very limited attack" that already used the newly disclosed flaw, the software maker said Tuesday.

Overnight, some hacker toolkits were updated with code that allows researchers to check for the flaw and exploit it, said Neel Mehta, a security expert at Internet Security Systems in Atlanta.

"This is a very serious vulnerability," Mehta said. "At the moment, this exploit is being used in targeted attacks to compromise specific systems. However, there is nothing about the nature of the vulnerability that prevents it from being used in a much more widespread fashion as part of a worm."

Microsoft worked with the Department of Homeland Security on the alert, a company representative said. "Microsoft...encourages customers to deploy this update on their systems as soon as possible, given that we are aware of targeted exploitation of the vulnerability," the representative said.

Microsoft deems the vulnerability critical for all versions of Windows. However, users of Windows XP with Service Pack 2 and Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 should be protected by the Windows Firewall if they do not use file sharing and printer sharing, Christopher Budd, a security program manager at Microsoft, said in an interview Tuesday.

The Microsoft updates are available via the Windows Update and Automatic Updates tools as well as from Microsoft's Web site. Temporary workarounds are outlined in the security bulletins for those who can't immediately apply the patches.


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