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SCEA teams up with ESPN for X Games 13


For the upcoming X Games 13 event in Los Angeles in August, SCEA announced its "renewed sponsorship" for the global action sport competition. Lets hope the competitors aren't superstitious, eh? Like the last 8 years of Sony's sponsorship, this year's event will be highlighted with the presence of Sony, but this time in a new truck-like package. The gargantuan PlayStation Experience truck will allow players to get an up-close and personal hands-on with the latest software for the PS3, PS2 and PSP. A 52-inch LCD HDTV will be displaying your hands-on skills in games like Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction, Folklore, MotorStorm, Singstar Pop and even Parappa the Rapper. Leather chairs will ensure style and comfort while players game away.

The absence of heavier and more violent content is a purposeful move to merge the event (oddly enough) with Sony's softer, more kid-friendly side. "As the X Games and PlayStation appeal to the younger audiences, we couldn't be happier with this partnership and look forward to future events with them," says Rick Alessandri, Managing Director of the X Games franchise. The X Games 13 event will take place August 2-5 at both The Home Depot Center and the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA.

No dressing up allowed in PS3's Home


In an effort to keep Home "accessible to everyone," Peter Edwards told Bit-tech.net that there would be limitations on costumes for your avatar. "The idea is to keep it as accessible, mainstream and friendly as possible," says Edwards, the executive producer for Home. "If everyone's walking around dressed as orcs or stormtroopers or whatever, then you lose that welcoming, accessible element that means Mum, Dad and your sister might get involved as well." Really? The largest MMO in the world may not have stormtroopers, but they certainly have orcs and other strangely dressed characters and yet, they don't seem to have any problem pulling in over 8 million subscribers. Maybe it's not a fair comparison to Home, but it's a bit of a stretch to think that costumes on avatars would assuredly prevent Home's accessibility for all audiences. If the game was extremely buggy or just plain "not fun," well that would be more of a root cause against its widespread accessibility. At any rate, what do you think? Would Home be more or less accessible with fully customizable avatars?

Linux test shows PS3 beat by a Power Mac G5

General-purpose code seems to slow down the Cell performance a bit, as it would appear on a recent Geekbench test. Primate Labs ran a few benchmarks under Linux and the results show the PS3 being beat by a Power Mac G5 1.6GHz in all tests except memory performance. We have to keep in mind, the tests only prove the Cell is not a wonderful "general-purpose" CPU. And lest anyone forget, the purpose of the PS3 is to play games!

Cell-specific optimizations are going to be implemented in a future Geekbench test, so once round 2 comes along, we'll get a taste of what's really cooking underneath the hood of our favorite console. Fire when ready!

[Via digg]

Sony PlayStation ad garners Hall of Fame honor

Despite all the recent bad press and uncertainty about their future, Sony has a reason to celebrate. Their PlayStation advertisement "Double Life," was selected as an inductee into the Clio Awards Hall of Fame during the Clio Festival, earlier this week in Miami. A Clio is like an ad agency's equivalent to a television Emmy. The "Double Life" ad first aired in the UK in 1999, and apparently was developed in response to a popular series of Apple advertisements at that time. It was directed by Gorgeous Productions in collaboration with ad agency TBWA\London.

The Clio Hall of Fame Award is quite an honor to bestow those in the advertising industry. Since its inception in 1960, only 300 advertisements from around the world have been commended with such an honor. As long as Sony can avoid disasters like the God of War fiasco, we'll see what additional achievements a successful marketing team can do to further the PlayStation brand name and ensure success for the PS3 console.

[Via Joystiq]

Masaya Matsuura thinks big is not always better

No one can deny the deeply-rooted desire for increased portability in our gadgetry. MP3 players, phones, PDAs and even Game Boys have all succumbed to its forward-moving push by getting smaller over the years. At the Nordic Game Conference in Sweden, revered designer Masaya Matsuura shared his thoughts on why Nintendo's Wii was outselling Sony's PS3: It's too big! Citing Japanese consumer tastes as the main reason, he believes the system itself is, "too big for the Japanese." Xbox fans should note that he didn't care for the power brick either.

While praising the Wii for introducing new game play ideas, he also brings up an interesting point on longevity, not believing gamers would want to withstand hours of "shaking the controller." Those that get winded walking up a flight of stairs should consider this if choosing their second console.

Hey Matsuura-san: it's not the size that matters, it's what you do with it. I've got my PS3 nestled in its rightful place inside my cool and spacious TV cabinet and don't frequently juggle it or take it out to play fetch with my dog. Maybe the PS3 was too Americanized for Japanese tastes, but a console doesn't get a lot of portability anyway so I fail to see its size as being an issue. As for exercise, we'll stick to curls (cheese curls) so we can focus our free time on PS3 time-suckers like Motorstorm and Oblivion.

San Francisco man stabbed over PS3 altercation


The demand over next-gen systems seems to have ushered in yet another report of violence. 1Pstart posted a news bit from an earlier article that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle. It appears a San Francisco man was attempting to purchase a PLAYSTATION 3 from two women, when things became heated. Hani Attia, a witness to the altercation, stepped in to help settle the situation and ended up being stabbed. Later, he was pronounced dead at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital.

The murder occurred this past Monday, and the suspect has not yet been apprehended. If anyone living in the San Francisco area has any additional details to provide, the San Francisco police department would be a great place to share it.

[Via digg]

CNet hails the PS3 as the most wanted product for the week!

In a strange event that even made us go "wow, really?" we learned that a weekly "what product do you most want?" poll thing over at CNet, the PlayStation 3 is currently the number one most desired product. It was at the number 5 slot last week, but it jumped up four positions for some reason. Maybe a number of positive press releases appeared, who knows.

While this is interesting to note and all, seriously, the PS3 garnering more "want" than the Wii? We have our opinions about the two consoles, but the public outcry for the Wii is definitely a lot louder than our favorite Sony product. Both are beating out the 360 Elite, which we also have our own opinion on... thanks to Dave Karraker, we guess. Anyway, hooray for the PS3 catching the top of a wanted list for a week! It's a small accomplishment, but we know that people out there do, indeed, want the system.

Australian study says: PS3 will sell 100 million consoles

For consumers under 40, a recent study produced by Connection Research showed there is no doubt in their mind that the Sony brand is still as popular now as it was before the latest generation of consoles were released. This is good because for market researchers, Australia has been a fairly good indicator for how the Western world will react to any given device.

The study questioned over 3,000 participants with a series of questions about individual and household usage of technology. They were asked to name their preferred brands of certains bits of hardware, including video game consoles. No prompts were given -- it was all up to the consumer. The results for 2007 echoed the results from 2006: then, Sony was the preferred game console (40%). Now, Sony dropped an overwhelmingly unbelievably gigantic amount... 39%. So, the mind share of consumers still belongs to Sony. Now Sony just needs to find a way to get an equal amount of wallet share. Like... games. Oh, summer, you must come to the US now, so we can snag some decent PS3-centric titles!

Is that PS3 underwater, or there an awesome decal on it?!

Over at the PS3 Forums, a few people have been making over their PlayStation 3's with funky stickers. While we'd never risk placing some kind of sticky covering over our expensive PS3's, it's still neat to see some of the designs out there. The one that started the thread, pictured here, used some kind of blue thing that ended up looking like the oceans of Hawaii on a clear spring day (best vacation ever, by the way).

Now, there are all sorts of special editions of the DS, the PSP, etc. Would anyone throw down some extra cash for a special edition PS3? We wouldn't. However! If there were special edition faceplates we could replace, like a Heavenly Sword faceplate or something, we wouldn't hesitate to drop $25 bucks or so just to feel extra unique. Plus, they're easier to remove than a sticker. Your thoughts? Sony, you listening?

PlayStation 3 snags Eternal Sonata

Here's a complete change of what Sony and the PlayStation 3 are used to! A previously announced XBox 360 exclusive meant to boost sales in the land of the rising sun (and some gamers in other areas) has decided to go multi-platform. We're not here to gloat about it, because that'd make no sense. It's happened to us, so we should just go on with the day.

The game we've gotten a hold of is Eternal Sonata, one of the anticipated role-playing titles that might have made the 360 appealing to Japanese gamers. This is coming directly from the oft-dependable ESRB ratings website, where the title is listed as both a 360 and PS3 game. Does Microsoft have a timed exclusive, or will it be released simultaneously on both consoles? It probably won't boost PS3 sales that greatly (the 360 is still a cheaper alternative) in Japan or otherwise, but if Sony can grab as many third-party titles as multiplatform as possible, the prospect of so many fantastic games to come in the future may just sway some consumers to buy the PS3... if they're relatively close to the edge on the decision. Now we can all enjoy the very pretty looking Eternal Sonata! Probably.

The PS-Network reaches 1.3 million users!

Personally, we find 1.3 million registered users a strange number to start throwing all over the internet, but that's what's been going on so we may as well contribute. It's true -- 1.3 million users have subscribed to the PlayStation Network to-date. Approximately 600,000 of those are in the US. Among these users (the 1.3 million, not the 600,000), approximately 3.7 million things have been downloaded (no specifics, sadly).

For a newly formed system, that's not bad. Microsoft's XBox Live, which has been around since 2002, has an estimated 6 million users with over 135 million bits of downloaded content. Yep, Sony's got a ways to go to catch up, but if they've generated over a million users in 6 months, the number five years from now (using Microsoft's 2002 starting point, here) then who knows if that number will exceed the competition. It's good news, but it shows how Sony really does have a lot of work left to do and a lot of ground still to cover.

Haze gets its own viral website!

Shooters, shooters, are no fun, unless you kill everyone! Hmm. Shooters, shooters, are no fun, unless you give the 360 some! No, no... the PS3 some! Yes, that's right. Well, the upcoming shooter Haze has released a viral site, not unlike the Dharma Initiative sites for the TV show Lost. This site, dedicated to Mantel Global Industries, is pretty fun to surf around and comical to listen to the PR guy talk about his company.

The lead character in the game works for this company, so you can see why it's getting the "we're so awesome, check out this dramatic camera angle" makeover on the viral site. Instead of telling you what's on the site, which there's a good bit of info floating around (and some not yet available), we'll let you surf it yourself and tell us what you think. Enjoy.

A custom PS3 arcade cabinet? Sign us up!

Since it's the weekend and we'll be recycling the news we didn't get around to later on, we're going to open up with a "kudos!" story from one of our readers. Their buddy took the time to customize a Japanese arcade cabinet lookalike, complete with chairs from an actual Japanese arcade. That's all well and good, but what's the kicker? It's powered by the PlayStation 3, using customized joysticks with removable/exchangable panels for different games. It seems that it's also a networked PC complete with emulators from every generation since the Atari 2600. Isn't the PS3 just awesome?

How cool would it be to play some Virtua Fighter 5 against a friend in a cabinet like that in your living room? It'd be pretty sweet. It would also make co-op in Resistance really interesting... if you could somehow take the splitscreen across two screens instead. There's a lot of fun going into that cabinet, so we give a mighty proud hats off to the creators of the PS3-cabinet.

[Thanks, Gregory!]

Sony marches on through March -- two victories at once!

Sony released their NPD data and you know what? It's hot. Real hot. Maybe not so much for the PlayStation 3, but even there it has a small gain for the Sony camp. We'll summarize the relevant data below. Get your pitchforks and torches ready, because we'll probably have to fend off some trolls.

  • PS2 won the month selling 280,000 units. This beat the Wii (259,000) and Xbox 360 (199,000). Last-gen for the success!
  • PS3, also in a winning position, was the only next-generation console to see a gain in March. The Wii dropped 22% and the Xbox 360 decreased 12%. This is largely attributed to the European launch.
  • Sony states that there is still a supply constraint with the PS3 because of the focus on getting PAL versions of the console on shelves. This'll change pretty quickly, though.
  • The price drop of the PSP from $199 to $169 marked a very positive consumer response, increasing sales of the handheld and significantly jumping software sales -- 12% is significant, but not monumental.

What do you guys think? Is Sony really suffering, or is this overwhelmingly positive news just an affront to hide their sorry, cowering hides? We'd say they're doing fine, although we'd love to hear overwhelmingly positive news for the PlayStation 3 in particular and not "Sony overall".

Why don't those PlayStation games work on my PS3?

Sony answered the above question after a problem arose with the 1.70 firmware update. See, the update allowed you to download PS-One titles and play them directly from your PS3 instead of generally needing the PSP, but something was wrong. The downloaded games wouldn't work. Oops. Sony answers why that is as we pull out our hair in aggravation.

It seems for the games to play on the PSP, it has to have the ROM itself and a certification key -- the PS3 doesn't need a certification key to play the games, so there's no reason for it. It needs to be removed. Sony is on the case right now and will have everything cleared up "sometime in May". If you downloaded anything, don't worry -- you won't have to pay for the games again. Kind of annoying, but hey. Sony should have thought about that being an issue. Now we have to wait to get our Crash Bandicoot on.

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