Switched On: Hard drives face hard truths

DNP Switched On Hard drives face hard truths

The PlayStation 4‘s is upgradeable; the Xbox One‘s is not. For at least the second consecutive generation (the third for the Xbox), hard drives will be offered as part of the gaming experience for two of the home video game powerhouses: Microsoft and Sony. For the Xbox line, which offered a model without a hard drive in the last generation, the inclusion of an internal HDD represents, along with its x86 processor, a return to the approach Microsoft took with the original Xbox.

Indeed, the Xbox One will load disc-based games onto the hard drive automatically. Both Sony and Microsoft will also offer access via the cloud. In fact, following up on its purchase of Gaikai, Sony plans to offer a range of gaming from the cloud to multiple platforms. This may include older titles that it cannot support on the PlayStation 4 due to a lack of native backward compatibility. If such capability is expected to work, why bother to have hard drives in these consoles at all? Indeed, hardware makers of many stripes are starting to ask that question.

ME2: The Arrival: Covert Ops Guide + AHTV!

via Rooster Teeth News on 3/30/11

The Reapers are coming . . . and I am here to help you sneak into a prison and break someone out. Hope you enjoy it!

Also right now I am streaming on AHTV so you should stop by and have a good time!

Analysts weigh in on Homefront’s potential profitability

Analysts weigh in on Homefront’s potential profitabilityvia Joystiq by Richard Mitchell on 3/21/11

Homefront has had an interesting ride so far. Touted as THQ’s most pre-ordered game in company history, it debuted to middling reviews (ours included), which seemingly triggered a massive decline in THQ’s stock price. Still, despite reviews, THQ announced over 375,000 units in first day sales. It’s also worth noting that both Amazon and Walmart knocked $20 off Homefront the day after it released, which probably aided sales as well. 
Whether or not Homefront proves profitable for THQ, well, that’s where analysts come in! Speaking to Benzinga, Wedbush Morgan’s Michael Pachter noted that THQ would need to move two million units to break even. In light of the need to move in excess of two million to yield a profit, Pachter called day one sales “a disappointing start,” adding that poor reviews could lead to stagnating sales moving forward. That said, Pachter does expect the title to at least break even. 
Bradley Safalow of PAA Research pins Homefront’s low review scores on its short single-player campaign. Had the campaign been two to three hours longer, said Safalow, “then it could have achieved a Metacritic of 80.” Safalow believes Homefront could bring in a “modest profit” for THQ, though he has much higher hopes for Saints Row: The Third.
Finally, Wall Street Strategies’ Brian Sozzi expects Homefront to meet THQ’s overall sales goals with the help of downloadable content. Like Safalow, Sozzi’s firm is also “optimistic” regarding Saints Row: The Third and Red Faction: Armageddon.

Official Microsoft Policy: If You a Buy a Used Xbox 360 That’s Banned From Xbox Live, You’re Just Screwed

via Gizmodo by matt buchanan on 11/4/09

Major Nelson, updating us on a periodic Xbox Live purge—banhammering cheaters, pirates and other folks of ill-repute, though not 12-year-olds—reminds us of Microsoft’s official policy that if you buy a used Xbox 360 that’s been banned, you’re screwed.

The crux of the matter is that the warranty on an Xbox 360 “is not transferable,” so if you buy a used console “that has been previously banned, you will not be able to connect to Xbox LIVE.” So if you buy a used Xbox 360, make sure it’s from a less-than-shady party—and if you buy from a used games shop, make ’em connect it to Xbox Live so you know you’re getting something that works.

[Major Nelson]

Xbox 360 Sky Player down, relaunching ‘in phases’ today

via Joystiq [Xbox] by JC Fletcher on 10/28/09

While the Xbox 360 Sky Player apparently launched in the UK yesterday as planned, things veered away from the plan almost immediately thereafter. The service was “suspended” shortly after launch, for what must be the best possible problem in Microsoft’s eyes: too many subscribers.

“Unfortunately due to the unprecedented levels of simultaneous demand,” a statement on Xbox.com reads, “we did not have the capacity to satisfy all service requests and therefore temporarily suspended all access to the service.” The service is being reinstated in phases today, presumably with some upgrades in place to deal with the demand. An earlier statement (reproduced on Engadget) specified tomorrow as the target date for the relaunch — it seems likely that all users will be returned to their regularly scheduled programming then.

Gratuitous Space Battles officially blows up thousands of space ships

via DVICE Atom Feed by Tom Chick on 11/4/09

Gratuitous Space Battles officially blows up thousands of space ships

If I’d known Gratuitous Space Battles was going live this week, I would have adjusted the wallet threat level upwards. You know how the space combat scenes in Battlestar Galactica were terrible and epic and oddly serene, all at once? This game is like that. It has lovely graphics, a lot of depth, an alarming amount of replayability, and a great sense of humor, to boot. Plus, it’s universal. Who wouldn’t want to build spaceships and then throw them into massive battles so you can sit back and watch them pound the snot out of other spaceships? Isn’t that the point of all science fiction? Isn’t that why Wrath of Khan is the only good Star Trek movie?

After a lengthy beta period that incorporated lots of user feedback and lots of gratuitous improvements, Gratuitous Space Battles is now officially released. Not to say it’s final. Developer Cliff Harris clarifies the announcement of the “release version”:

Does this mean the game is finished?
It means the game is in a finished state, playable and is properly for sale, yes. It means people can review the game without thinking it’s still in beta. It means that Positech (Me!) consider this to be a finished game, rather than an on-going beta test.

Is this the end of new features?
No. Definitely not. I already have stuff (like the converging lasers thing) in the pipeline to add in later updates. There is a ton of stuff I’d love to add (if the game sells!). It *does* mean that updates will be less frequent, but probably be more feature-related rather than focusing on bug fixing, and possibly bigger in scope.You can get Gratuitous Space Battles here for the odd, odd price of $22.99.

Netflix details PS3 disc distribution for November, ‘confident’ it’ll have ample supply

via Joystiq [PlayStation] by Alexander Sliwinski on 10/28/09

Netflix is confident that it will have ample supply in November for every PS3 user who requests a disc for its recently announced streaming service. Speaking with Joystiq, Netflix Vice President of Corporate Communications Steve Swasey wouldn’t disclose the number of reservations the company has received for the free PS3 Netflix disc since the company announced the program on Monday, but did emphasize, “We’re confident we’ve produced enough discs.” Distribution centers apparently already have the units.

Swasey told us that the company is still hammering out the distribution details, but the plan is to send out a press release sometime in November announcing that the discs have shipped. Customers should receive the red envelope in about the same time it usually takes for a Netflix shipment to reach them. He expressed that “there’s no VIP list or special circumstance list,” so everyone should be receiving it around the same time.

Asked if there were any points he’d like to clarify about the recent announcement, Swasey told us that the disc was the best solution currently available in getting PS3 users the Netflix service, downplaying the need to always have disc in the tray. “They put the disc in whenever they play a game.” When pushed on why an integrated solution wasn’t implemented, he said, “We haven’t given any reason. The key thing here … it’s very easy and no different than playing a video game. We’ll have an update in time.” The integrated solution is expected in late 2010.

Netflix doesn’t like to discuss HD content in nitty gritty detail yet, but confirmed that the PS3 will have a similar offering to the Xbox 360, which outputs 720p and stereo sound.

Keep an eye out for an announcement in November for when the discs ship, then put that eye back in when the disc arrives. You’ll need both to appreciate those episodes of Dexter.

Netflix Streaming Coming to Wii Next, Naturally

via Gizmodo by matt buchanan on 10/28/09

Netflix is finally, officially about to hit the PS3, leaving the Wii as the odd console out. Well, besides past hints and the whole “duh” aspect, StreamingMedia swears that the Wii is next, and has seen pitchas to prove it.

Of course, those pictures can’t shared in order to protect they’re source, and what’s more, they’re hearing that “Nintendo originally planned to bring the Netflix service to the Wii before the end of this year” but they’re “also considering holding off on the Netflix service until they release their next generation Wii HD unit in early 2010.” So, uh, just keeping your breath on that one.

[Streaming Media via Engadget]

12 things you didn’t know about the PS3 Slim

The PS3 Slim has been at the eye of a massive rumor storm for months, but now that Sony has finally made it official it’s time to bring the facts. By now you probably know the general specs – it includes a 120GB HDD, it’s $300/€300, it’s out September 1st, and it’s, well, slimmer – but no self-respecting, hardware-obsessing, early-adopting gamer would stop there. Read on to snag twelve of the PS3 Slim’s most overlooked details and you’ll know more than the next guy when it’s released next month.

1. It’s not actually called the “PS3 Slim” – it’s just the PS3 or the PlayStation 3. It is a new PS3 for sure, but nowhere on the box or in the documentation will you see the words “PS3” and “Slim” next to each other. Nevertheless, we’ll keep calling it the “PS3 Slim” for the sake of convenience.

2. The logo is beautifully etched into the machine (above), and not only that, the old branding is gone for good – no more tacky Spider-Man font! No more PLAYSTATION 3, either – Sony decided to stop yelling at us with every press release and just call it the “PlayStation 3.” Much better.

3. It has buttons! Those weird, touch-sensitive non-buttons are gone, and they’ve been replaced with that wonderful, tactile CLICK that only real buttons can deliver.

4. This is what the new ad campaign looks like:

5. It’s smaller, but not in every way. It’s thinner and lighter, but as you can see in the comparison below, it’s a bit longer from the rear to the front. They had to fit all those graphics in there somehow.

6. It’s quieter! With power consumption two-thirds what it was, there’s a lot less fan-blowing and a lot more sweet serenity.

7. It only comes with composite cables. Yes, composite. Not even component, and definitely no HDMI.

8. If you have a Bravia TV and you hook up your new PS3 with an HDMI cable (…not included), you can operate the PS3’s media bar with your TV’s remote – you can even set it to turn the system off when you turn the TV off.

9. The hard drive IS removable – though it doesn’t initially appear to be. There’s a little hole by the drive bay which contains a screw that holds the HDD in place. Pop that open, unscrew it, and you’re in business.

10. It’s not backwards compatible with the PS2, but it might work with some PSX games. That’s right, the PS3 Slim cannot play PlayStation 2 games, but some PlayStation games will work. The only appropriate response to this statement is “lol wut?”

11. It has a tiny stand-by light. Look how cute it is:

12. The games advertised on the back of the box are: inFAMOUS, Madden NFL 10, Tekken 6, MAG, and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Does that tell us anything? Not really, but it is something you probably didn’t know.

C-c-c-combo breaker: Bonus facts!

We couldn’t possibly stop at just twelve things when there’s so much to say. What, you thought we could only make numbered lists of things? Well numbers can suck it – here are a few more things we noticed about Sony’s new product.

If you want to stand it vertically, you can buy a stand separately.

The big power switch on the back is gone – but that’s about the only thing different about the layout of the system’s rear.