Archive for 2009

The Weekly Recap (September 13-19)

Not too much going on. This week consisted of a few editorials, interviews, contests and upcoming trailers and analyst predictions. Nothing stuck out in the news, except for reviews coming in for Uncharted 2, perhaps this year’s most anticipated game on the PS3. Thus far, it’s received a 9.5/10 from IGN, 10/10 from GamesRadar, a perfect 5/5 stars from PlayStation: The Official Magazine, and a 21/20 from the French publication PSM3. Uncharted 2 will undoubtedly be a worthy contender for Game of the Year, and I got my TV fixed just in time to enjoy it! The game will be released October 13th.

As for the community, we got quite a few things to discuss here. First and foremost, we gave away a few Uncharted 2 demo access codes, and the winners were Antman, Caleb Gayle, movement, King32 and Starbuck. Congratulations! I hope you’re enjoying it! Also of note, Azure had won the contest for the Need for Speed SHIFT Los Angeles Launch Party. Haven’t heard anything about how that went yet, so let us know dude.

Also, I’m sure everyone’s noticed, but we have a new feature at the top of the page showcasing some of the more noteworthy articles from the past few days. I seem to have quite a bit in there :P. We didn’t get any articles sent in today, because, apparently, a lot of us will be busy gaming this weekend :P. Now, onto the awards section!

Out of 28 entries, ‘Contributor of the Week’ is a tie, and is awarded to Trev and I at 8 articles a piece. I thought for sure Trev posted more than I did lol. As far as the ‘Most Liked’ article, that is a 4 way tie, with 6 Likes a piece. They go to, as follows:

Has Next Gen Gaming Lived Up To Previous Gens? by fleakitten
First Uncharted 2 Review In by JimmyMagnum
LittleBigPlanet Water Beta codes out now. by Trev
BBC Watchdog Fiasco by JimmyMagnum

Probably won’t see another 4-way tie like that for a while eh? As for the final contest, we have ‘Most Comments’ in an article, and that is awarded to fleakitten with his post Has Next Gen Gaming Lived Up To Previous Gens?, netting in a total of 13 comments.

The Uncharted 2 Giveaway both had more Likes and Comments, but since that was a contest, it was excluded from the results. Sorry!

Now beyond fancy questions and brain teasers, this one is optical. Tell me, what is the object hidden in this stereogram? Not so easy this time is it :P. Also, to make it even harder, describe the shape for me. I can see these so I’ll know if you’re right or not! Now for the bread and butter:

Gears of War on PS3 eventually, says analyst
NunoDavesh – September 13th

Stop Screwing Sony users!!
Trev – September 13th

Has Next Gen Gaming Lived Up To Previous Gens?
fleakitten – September 13th

3D Dot Game Heroes Trailer
Darrin – September 13th

New PixelJunk Shooter Trailer
Eddie – September 14th

iPlayer on PS3
Trev – September 14th

Nothing Daft about this video game appearance.
Trev – September 14th

First Uncharted 2 Review In
JimmyMagnum – September 14th

Star Ocean 4 International Revealed by Famitsu.
fleakitten – September 15th

WipEout HD coming to Blu-Ray.
Trev – September 15th

MAG Euro Beta Sign-up.
Trev – September 15th

Activision CEO: “The goal […] was to take all the fun out of making video games”
Darrin – September 15th

Some Japanese Devs Using 360 Games as Betas for the PS3 Version?
fleakitten – September 15th

New Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines Interview
JimmyMagnum – September 15th

Capcom’s Takeuchi Expects Wii Ports to Come to Sony Motion Wands
Eddie – September 16th

PS3 XMB (Improvement Ideas)
Tosh – September 16th

New Ninja Gaiden Advert bounces out.
Trev – September 16th

PlayStation Network Emails and Promotions
JimmyMagnum – September 16th

Exclusive Lost Planet 2 Co-Op Demo Next Week
JimmyMagnum – September 16th

250GB PS3 Slim Uncharted 2 Bundle [Update]
Tosh – September 16th

LittleBigPlanet Water Beta codes out now.
Trev – September 17th

Uncharted 2: Lessons Learned From The First Game
JimmyMagnum – September 17th

Get Dizzee in your Home.
Trev – September 17th

Wireless Multiplayer and Downloadable Content A No Go For PSP Minis
JimmyMagnum – September 17th

Yakuza 3 Not Being Released Outside of Japan? False, says SEGA.
fleakitten – September 17th

PS3 Sales Drop in 2nd Week of SLIM launch.
fleakitten – September 18th

BBC Watchdog Fiasco
JimmyMagnum – September 18th

SCEA Research & Development (Part 3)
JimmyMagnum – September 18th

Read the rest of this entry »

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SCEA Research & Development (Part 3)

The Official Blog has up part three of the R&D delving into the capabilities and possible game applications of the PS3 motion controller. Here’s what this video is about:

In the third part of the motion controller Blog series, Richard Marks and Anton Mikhailov break down their E3 on-stage demo in more detail. From plasma whips and drawing, to abstract domino snakes and real time strategy-style games, you’ll see some things you’re already familiar with, as well as some never before seen applications that didn’t quite make the show.

Hopefully Sony can pull this off and make games beyond gimmicky. Also, if you’ve missed previous videos, check out Part One and Part Two

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BBC Watchdog Fiasco

I’m sure a lot of you may have seen the video on YouTube, or elsewhere, where BBC was investigating the cause of the infamous “Yellow Light of Death” and how Sony demands money for the consoles to be repaired. All this, while claiming the systems can easily be fixed by heating the circuit boards in the PS3 in a special oven, melting the solder joints and fixing the problem.

Problem is, it’s really just a temporary fix. Out of the 11 consoles that were repaired for free, 5 came back with the same problem, where they were once again repaired by the same team, suggesting that what they did to attempt to “fix” the issue didn’t actually pinpoint the cause. They repaired them on the show again for free, but there was no telling how long they would last after that.

Just a side note here, at the beginning of the show, they performed an x-ray of the system, and pointed to the capacitors that had the trapped gas in them. This is normal as that happens during the lifetime of a console (or any electronic device). Sometimes they do blow, though, which would cause issues, but that’s a possibility with many electronic devices. Samsung televisions had power issues due to blown capacitors on the power supply board (which I, myself, am a victim of). The trapped gas isn’t necessarily the issue though.

Ray Maguire, Senior Vice President Marketing Director of SCEUK, responded to the report with a six page rebuttal, stating:

The information that you have provided suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of the technical issues and a mis-characterisation of SCEUK’s Out of Warranty repairs policy.

Watchdog themselves sent Sony a technical report based on only three consoles, with one that was attempted to be fixed by the user itself at one point. 155 people total contacted Watchdog based on the problem (where the 11 mentioned above showed up for the street team). Sony responded by saying:

The testing concerned a sample of only three PS3s, which cannot, on any basis, be deemed to be representative of a UK user base of 2.5 million.

The statement is totally fair. That’s a very small percentage of total users! Now it comes to the actual price of repairs. Sony charges GBP 128 for a repair, whilst the street team, which was a third party firm hired out by Watchdog to repair those user’s PS3 for free, charges about GBP 103. Not a BIG difference. Problem is, since 5 of the 11 came back soon after to be repaired again, maybe their technicians aren’t as thorough as one would be led to believe, giving their “fixes” questionable reliability.

Also of note, Watchdog sent out a disclaimer for participants in the show’s repair service could potentially cause the PS3 to be unrepairable. The disclaimer noted:

The technicians are from a company which specializes in PlayStation 3 repairs, but as I will have already pointed out to you, there is a) no guarantee that they’ll be able to repair your console, b) there is a risk that the machine could be damaged further, c) and there is no guarantee the console will continue to work for long after the repair.

Since the company who performed the repairs, eSales, is a third party company not affiliated with Sony, Sony cannot be held accountable for any shoddy repairs done by them. They will, however, still repair the console even after the warranty seal had been broken (which is still a GBP 128 price tag).

The concept of warranty policies isn’t that hard to understand either. The XBox 360 also had a 1 year warranty for all issues, but given the sheer number of failures across the entire user base (back then, it was around, at least, 1/3), where users were affected by the famed “Red Ring of Death”, Microsoft was threatened by numerous lawsuits because they released a “faulty product”. The warranty was then extended to three years for that issue, but any other failure still fell into the one year warranty.

To their credit, that was nice of them to extend the warranty like that, especially since the overwhelming majority of failures were caused by the “RROD”. Sony’s “YLOD” is more of an isolated issue in comparison, though that takes a good part of total failures for PS3. Given the total number of reports on that particular issue, it’s not enough to warrant an extension to the Warranty policy on the PS3. Thus, if one year after purchase, your console does fail, you should have to be responsible for repair anyway. It’s a one year warranty after all. Some electronics are only 90 day. Be glad that’s not the case for consoles!

Sony declined to appear on the show, fearing the program would “ridicule its defense and it would not receive fair treatment,” according to GI.biz. Which is understandable. The bad press caused by Watchdog will negatively affect Sony in the short term, but given the questionable journalism performed by the program, that affect shouldn’t last too long. The PS3 still has a far lower failure rate (at 10% or so) than the 360 (which is currently at 24%) and is only second to the Wii (at 2.7%) (according to a warranty firm). The PS3 is still a very reliable piece of hardware, and I’m a proud owner of a 60GB system that hasn’t failed on me yet! You can read Sony’s full 6-page rebuttal here at the bottom of the page.

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PS3 Sales Drop in 2nd Week of SLIM launch.

The PS3 SLIM and price drop are going on their 2nd week of sales. While we won’t be seeing any official NPD numbers from the US for a few weeks, sales in Japan have declined dramatically from the massive 150k units sold initially.

Famitsu Sales: 09/07 – 09/13
DSL 9600
DSi 66000
PSP 20000
Wii 15000
PS3 54000
PS2 3200
360 6900

Even with the decline in hardware the PS3 still outsold the competition.  I expect the PS3 SLIM sales boost to continue to decline worldwide  until the long awaited FFXIII hits in Japan at the end of the year.

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