PS3 Phone Features Microsoft Operating System & Plays Nintendo Games

22 11 2007

“That’s right folks, wrap your minds around this — a phone that features Playstation buttons, has a Microsoft Windows operating system, and plays Nintendo games. Confused yet? How about the fact that the phone was made in “Koera” — No, that’s not a typo, that’s what is printed on the phone.”

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Sony’s Massive Advantage: PS3 Processing Power

12 11 2007

If you look at the central processor in Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox 360 you will see something that can trace its ancestry right back to the Intel 8086 of 1978. Over its evolution this has forced endless fudges and compromises. An analogy might be trying to build a working supertanker on the plans of a model rowing boat. And the 360 itself owes its architecture to the IBM PC of 1981 and so carries with it the accommodations that this architecture imposes. These factors, ultimately, must impinge on the working of the console.

Compare that to Sony (SNE), who were able to design the processor and the console it is in with a clean sheet of paper. The Cell processor, designed jointly with IBM and Toshiba at a cost of $400 million is the state of the art in processor dessign. It is scalable, highly flexible and excellent at distributed processing.

So it is little surprise that the PS3 now holds the Guiness world record for the most powerful distributed computing network. Or that an astrophysicist has replaced a supercomputer with eight PS3s. This is one very special and very powerful machine and when game programmers eventually work out how to get the best from it we are going to see some spectacular results.

But there has been a price to pay. Whilst the 360 was cheap to develop and cheap to make, the PS3 has cost a fortune. Sony has absorbed some of this cost in losses and passed some of it on to end users in the form of higher prices, which has hit sales. Sony has bet its computer entertainment division and maybe the whole company on this device.

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Only in Japan: Assassin’s Creed is only on the 360

12 11 2007

Ubisoft is launching Assassin’s Creed this week. Meanwhile Japan has to wait until November 29 to try it out, but unlike the multiplatform release in North America, Ubisoft only has a date for the Xbox 360 version. The Playstation 3 release is probably still coming out.

Siliconera finds this news rather interesting since Assassin’s Creed was previously believed to be a Playstation 3 exclusive and it’s made by a western company. Now in one territory the tables are nearly turned, Assassin’s Creed is Xbox 360 only in 2007.

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What’s in Microsoft’s Xbox 360 fall update?

12 11 2007
Family Timer, Video Marketplace, DivX support…?

Unlike Sony, Microsoft likes to make updates to its games consoles in big chunks. So while the Japanese company will trickle its PS3 updates out regularly, Microsoft issues two big Xbox 360 updates a year. The so-called ‘fall update’ is already late, and looks like hitting consoles at some point in early December.

But what’s going to be included in it? One of the new features that Microsoft has already confirmed is the so-called ‘Family Timer’. This is a tool that enables parents to track how much time their kids have spent playing games.

Xbox 360 ‘Family Timer’

It’ll also empower those parents to limit the amount of time the consoles can be used per day. Once those limits are hit, the password-protected console will shut down. It’s the feature all mothers across the world have been waiting for, and every child’s worst nightmare.

According to Bach, with more than 13 million Xbox 360 consoles sold worldwide, the company’s drive to empower parents is a core Microsoft responsibility.

“We’ve seen a tremendous response to the robust parental controls offered on Xbox 360 and Windows Vista, and the Xbox 360 Family Timer will continue to deliver on our promise to provide safer, balanced and fun entertainment for everyone,” he said.

Video Marketplace

Well, the Xbox Live Video Marketplace launched a year ago in the US and it’s widely expected that next month’s update will see it debut in the UK. It’s a service which allows you to download TV episodes and movies either on a rental or permanent basis.

So you can expect to be able to pay a nominal fee for episodes of shows like CSI and Star Trek, as well as movies such as Saw.

There are also whispers doing the rounds that the fall update will see DivX compatibility added to the Xbox 360. That’s something that would go down a storm with most 360 gamers.

DivX is the worlds’ most popular video format, but most devices need special codecs to read the files. If the Xbox 360 gets DivX compatibility, it would enable gamers to stream their DivX media from their PCs to their consoles and then onto their living room TVs.

DivX support?

It’s just speculation though at the moment, sparked by DivX CEO Kevin Hell letting slip that he was working with Microsoft for future collaborations. So it’s possible that DivX support could also be added to Microsoft 1st- and 2nd-gen Zune players. But it’s also possible that nothing will come of it.

Microsoft is being typically secretive with details regarding the Xbox 360 fall update. It only confirmed the Family Timer because it had already been leaked onto the internet. But the twice-yearly dashboard updates typically add a range of new functionality, from small usability tweaks to major functionality enhancements.

We could expect more announcements during the long weekend of Xtival 07 (23-26 November), which marks the two-year anniversary of Xbox Live and offers free online play for all Xbox 360 owners.





Game Of The Year: BioShock, Halo 3, Mass Effect & Orange Box nominated in Spike’s VGA

9 11 2007

Yes, The Game Of The Year (GOTY) discussion is already beginning! Spike is hosting its 5th annual Video Game Awards this December in Las Vegas, and this morning the nominees were released on Spike.com. What’s in contention for Game of the Year? Orange Box, Halo 3, BioShock, and Mass Effect.

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Why did Xbox 360 Japanese Sales increased by 580%?

9 11 2007

Today was a great day for X360 Fanboys because they claimed victory in DS Land vs their enemy, the Sony PlayStation 3 by 239 units (According to Media Create anyways)! If a random market analysis who knows nothing about videogame at all would look at this data and say, 17,673 X360 vs 17,434 PS3 sales is about 1.3% victory, and with a usual build in statistical build in error rates, the slight margin of 1.3% victory would have been thrown out of the door. (Media Create would have to have interview 16,641 retailers in order to get a 99% confidence level with a +/- 1% error rate.)

There are only two reasons that will spike video game console sale, game and price. Price was stable, so it must be the games.

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Mark Rein: PS3 UT3 graphics better than Gears of War

9 11 2007

PS3 UT3 has better graphics than Gears of War according to Mark Rein, Epic’s vice president.

Speaking in an interview with Pro-G at the launch of the PC version of the game, Rein said that he was “really proud” of the PS3 game.

He said: “People are going to be pleasantly surprised. It’s a really high end experience that pushes the graphics bar up even higher than Gears of War. There’s more polygons, there’s more stuff going on, there’s more explosions and there’s more things happening, so we’re just really pleased with the way the game runs on the PS3.”

Rein said that there is “something special” about playing UT3 on the PS3, and that while the speed of the game has been reduced by about 20%, “it feels just right to be playing it with a controller”.

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