Sony Doesn’t Solve PS3 1080i Scaling Problem, But Makes a Lame Attempt

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Someday the PlayStation 3 will be able to upscale native 720p games to 1080i for those whose sets don’t support 720p, and it looks like the latest SDK almost solves the problem. Game developers for the PS3 will now be able to access a hardware scaler to allow 720p games to automatically scale to 1080i, but the frustrating part is that it’s only limited to horizontal scaling.

Well, at least it’s halfway there. So the early adopters who bought HDTV sets that can only crank out 1080i are still out of luck. Sigh. You can always tell the pioneers: they’re the ones with the arrows in their backs. But this is lame. Why couldn’t Sony have solved this scaling problem before launch?

Ripping off the veil: The mysterious PS3 hardware scaler exposed [Beyond 3D, via Daily Tech]

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Nintendo Wii Modchip Due February 1

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The console scene group Ninja plans to release the Wiinja, the world’s first Nintendo Wii modchip, by February 1. With the chip installed, which only requires you to solder five wires, you’ll be able to play backup copies of Wii games on your console. (Downloadable Wii ISOs already litter the Internet.) One reason why we believe that this could be the Real Deal is that Ninja already makes shady accessories for the Nintendo DS.

Should the Wiinja actually come out, it’d make the Wii the second of the three next-gen systems able to play backup games, after the Xbox 360. We eagerly await a review unit. For purely fair use backup purposes, of course.

Wiinja [Ninja via CrunchGear via The Inquirer]

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No Clean Installs With Upgrade Versions of Vista

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Planning on formatting your hard drive to lay down a nice, clean install of Vista Ultimate Home Premium where you had XP? Well then you had better plan on spending $80 more than you originally intended. It turns out that upgrade versions of Vista won’t accept your old XP CD as proof that you really are just upgrading—you actually have to install Vista on top of XP. This annoys the hell out of me because clean installs simply make for better performing machines. Why is Microsoft making our lives difficult?

Ken Fisher at Ars thinks Microsoft is trying to prevent users from using the same copy of Vista on successive computers over the next (probably) several years. In other words, every time you build a new computer, rather than moving Vista over from your old machine, they want you to buy a new copy.

Microsoft hinted at this late last year with the licensing scheme they initially unveiled. Of course, it was so blatantly restrictive, the backlash on the net was deafening, and Microsoft quickly reneged, seemingly back to a more traditional Windows licensing setup. Since this setup more or less repeats the effects of the recanted scheme, it’s possible we’ll see a similar uproar over the next week.

Vista “upgrade” drops compliance checking, requires old OS to install [Ars Technica]

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Developer: Working With PS3 A "Journey"

If there’s one thing Sony doesn’t do, it’s create easy-to-use and what developers might call “accessible” hardware. The PS3 is no exception, and while the system has received plenty of praise and admiration for its inherent capabilities, it’s been widely reported that developers are tearing their hair out attempting to design games for the PS3.

In a recent interview with Eurogamer, Ninja Theory co-founder Mike Ball voiced his opinion on the process. Ninja Theory is currently putting the finishing touches on the upcoming PS3 RPG, Heavenly Sword, and many PS3 owners are hoping the title will be the first great RPG on the system.

“The PS3 hardware is a bit like a journey into the Marianas trench,” said Ball. “There’s lots to explore and the deeper you get the more varied the life forms – sometimes horrific, sometimes beautiful.”

It’s a great quote, because it summarizes both the potential of Sony’s next-gen console and the difficulty in illuminating that potential. It’s just the start of another development cycle for a Sony platform, as essentially the same thing happened with the PS2: system launches, developers are mostly clueless, and 6 years later, we find titles that make those launch games look like trash. Therefore, taking that into account, and seeing how good the earliest PS3 titles have looked so far, we’d have to assume we’ll see some truly amazing games in the years to come.

But of course, it won’t be easy. And that’s half the fun, right devs? As Ball concludes- “…PS3 exploration is an interesting ride for developers and that can only result in amazing games for players.”

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Sony Loses yet another Exclusive

Sony can’t seem to cement an exclusive title it seems, and Unreal Tournament 2007 is the next to prove that point.

While it was pretty much the worst kept secret, with multiple Epic dev’s letting the fact that it will have an xbox 360 presence slip numerous times to Microsoft listing it on their official website, this is good news for Xbox 360 and PC gamers. The title’s name has changed from Unreal Tournament 2007 to Unreal Tournament 3, which is a welcome change.

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Boasting the same engine used in Gears of War, Unreal Tournament 3 runs on the Unreal Engine 3 and promises to deliver the classic Unreal fast paced first person shooter fragfest. Look out for UT3 on Xbox 360, PC and PS3 quarter 3 this year.

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Microsoft Loses $287 Million in Q2 With Xbox 360

The losses Microsoft incurred during the second quarter of the fiscal year had nothing to do with sales or lacking demand of their products in the entertainment division. Instead, the losses have stemmed from a rather unfashionable rise in Xbox 360 console replacements and repairs.

Any gamer who has been keeping track of the constant claim of 360’s shutting down, burning up and crashing, you’d have to wonder how well that fairs for Microsoft’s profits. Well, it doesn’t fair well for their profits. That’s why they lost $287 million dollars in expenses for replacements and repairs for the Xbox 360.

But it’s not all stormy weather and blue velvet forecasts for M$. According to Gameindustry.biz,

“Despite the US $289 million loss, the Entertainment Devices division was responsible for US $2.63 billion (EUR 2.03) profit during the second quarter.”

So while there were loses, Microsoft still pulled out on top with some pretty big profits.

Microsoft even posted a $1.3 billion increase in profits for the first quarter and a $1 billion increase in profits for the second quarter. But despite these profitably acceptable numbers, Microsoft is cutting back the production of Xbox 360 units. The scheduled 15 million production estimates for 2007 will be cut down to 12 million units for fiscal 2007. But maybe Microsoft is also getting a little wet behind the ears with the super-success of the Wii and the possible super-star rise of the PS3 for 2007. Cutting back on production units just might save the company on producing dust collectors; because what’s worse than having 3 million units sitting on the shelf next to an empty space where the Wii used to be?

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Gamexpert Cooler King cools your Xbox 360, hubs its ports

Quite exactly why anyone would want to connect “up to 4 media players at the same time” to their Xbox 360 is beyond us, but fortunately that’s one of only three jobs that the Gamexpert Cooler King claims to do very well. As well as providing a 4-port USB hub for a quartet of PMPs, the Cooler King “cools” your Xbox 360 in a similar — but not identical — way to the Nyko Intercooler, and provides standard VGA, component, optical audio out, and S-Video connections, bypassing the need for pesky proprietary cables altogether. As the Cooler King appears to draw its power from the Xbox 360’s unique A/V port, it should hopefully bypass the concerns that dogged Nyko’s solution as well as providing the bonus of a non-proprietary port for each of the Xbox 360’s currently supported outputs. Play.com is currently shipping the Cooler King to the UK for £17.99 (around $35), which is only a modest premium over its primary, and less featured, competitor. Next up from the third party Xbox 360-cooling cottage industry? A HDMI output for pre-Zephyr Xbox 360s: pretty please!

Check it out!

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