Tag Archives | PlayStation 3

Sony Outlaws Class Action Lawsuits by PSN Users; Thank the Supreme Court

Playstation Network users may no longer file class action lawsuits against Sony, under a new user agreement that players must agree to before signing into the network. Now, PS3 and PSP owners will have to sue individually or seek arbitration for issues like security breaches or the removal of advertised features.

And guess what? The policy change is probably legal thanks to the Supreme Court.

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Cross-Game Voice Chat on the PS3? Never.

Five years after launching the Playstation 3, Sony has admitted that the system is not technically capable of cross-game voice chat.

Cross-game voice chat is the ability to speak with multiple players at the same time, regardless of what they’re doing on the console. On Xbox Live, it’s one of my favorite features, because allows you to coordinate a play session with a friend with ease or have a conversation while playing different games.

Speaking to Eurogamer, Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida said memory restrictions preclude the PS3 from ever having cross-game voice chat. Games gobble up all of system’s available RAM, leaving none for voice chat at the OS level.

“Once a game gets RAM we never give it back,” Yoshida said. “It’s not possible to retrofit something like that after the fact.”

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Dust 514: E3’s Most Ambitious Shooter

If you watched Sony’s E3 press conference, you might’ve dismissed Dust 514 as just another Playstation 3 shooter among countless others. And that’d be too bad, because Dust 514’s latest trailer doesn’t do justice to the crazy ideas that CCP Games is trying to execute.

Unlike most multiplayer shooters, whose individual matches live in a vacuum and don’t support any overarching goals, Dust 514 is tied directly to the massive multiplayer game EVE Online. By fighting on the ground, players try to capture planets on behalf of EVE’s major corporations. In other words, players’ actions in Dust 514 can have a ripple effect throughout the EVE universe.

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Sony Announces Playstation Vita, Stays the Course on PS3

Hand it to Sony for knowing its audience.

Although the Playstation 3 has become a multimedia powerhouse — Sony dropped the nugget that its console accounts for 30 percent of all Netflix streaming — Sony’s E3 press conference was almost entirely about games. The requisite parade of exclusives came first, followed by launch details for Sony’s next-generation portable, now known as the Playstation Vita.

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Sony’s PSN Apology Package Won’t Please Everyone

Poor Sony. In addition to rebuilding the Playstation Network and enduring weeks of well-deserved criticism for letting hackers through its defenses, the company faced one more unenviable task: creating a “Welcome Back” package that will actually pacify customers.

The result is rather generous. Playstation 3 users get to choose from two of the following: Dead Nation, inFamous, LittleBigPlanet, Super Stardust HD and WipeOut HD + Fury. PSP users get two games from another list: LittleBigPlanet for PSP, Modnation Racers, Pursuit Force and Killzone Liberation. Everyone gets a free weekend of selected movies, 30 days of Playstation Plus (or 60 if you’re already a subscriber) and 100 free items in Playstation Home. Music Unlimited users get 30 free days.

I assume most people are mainly interested in the free games, which make up the bulk of the retail value in this apology package. And while I have a hard time faulting Sony for giving away so much — the PS3 package has a maximum $60 value — I also can’t shake the feeling that Sony’s best customers are getting a raw deal.

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Sony Disables PlayStation Network After Security Breach

Sites and services go down all the time. Just ask Amazon. And all their customers. But they weren’t the only ones to suffer a massive outage this week, as Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN) has been offline for several days now. After a long period of silence, Sony has finally provided some situational insight:

An external intrusion on our system has affected our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. In order to conduct a thorough investigation and to verify the smooth and secure operation of our network services going forward, we turned off PlayStation Network & Qriocity services on the evening of Wednesday, April 20th.

Of course what they’re saying is that they’ve been hacked. And until Sony figures out what’s going on and how to stop it, they’ve pulled the network plug. So the forensics team has probably been doing their thing, maybe law enforcement too, as the engineers bolster PlayStation Network defenses.

Unfortunately, Sony hasn’t provided an ETA for PSN service restoration. And I know several of my work buddies with PS3s are suffering from Call of Duty, Black Ops withdrawal. But I’m not sure they appreciated my repeated mocking suggestions to join me on the superior Xbox Live.

(This post republished from Zatz Not Funny.)


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Playstation Network is Down for a Day or Two

Sony’s Playstation Network is down, and it may not come back up for a couple of days, according to the official Playstation Blog.

“While we are investigating the cause of the Network outage, we wanted to alert you that it may be a full day or two before we’re able to get the service completely back up and running,” Sony spokesman Patrick Seybold wrote.

Europe’s Playstation blog previously said the company was investigating “the possibility of targeted behavior by an outside party,” but that message has since been removed. Hacking group Anonymous, which attacked Sony’s servers earlier this month, claims no involvement.

Talk about terrible timing. This week saw the launch of Mortal Kombat, Portal 2 and SOCOM 4, all of which have an online component. SOCOM 4 is a Playstation 3 exclusive geared mainly towards online play, and includes big incentives to buy the game new. In addition to disabling online play, the PSN outage affects the Qriocity music service, Netflix, MLB.tv and any other service requiring a PSN login.

Still, this isn’t quite as severe as the PSN problems that occurred in March 2010, when a leap year issue caused some users to lose data just by turning on their consoles. Sony didn’t relay that message to its customers until 16 hours after the first reports emerged.

[UPDATE: Sony says that the outage--still ongoing--is due to it taking down the network after a security breach.]

[UPDATE 2: Still no end in sight. Sony now says it's rebuilding the network for added security.]

[UPDATE 3: Sony now says all users' personal information was compromised, and credit cards may have been compromised as well. More details here.]


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PS3’s Free Realms is the First Free-to-Play Console MMORPG

Strange, but true: Five years into the Playstation Network’s existence (and eight years after the birth of Xbox Live), Free Realms for Playstation 3 has become the first free-to-play massive multiplayer console game.

The kid-centric game, which first launched on PCs in April 2009, gives players an open world filled with minigames such as kart racing, fighting and cooking and fishing. Players’ experience levels are capped in the free version; the premium version costs $5 per month, $13 for three months, $24.50 for six months, $30 for a year and $35 for life. Virtual goods are also available for purchase.

I’m only half-surprised it took this long. On one hand, free-to-play MMORPGs are a lucrative market. DFC Intelligence, a market research firm, estimated last August that free-to-play games, which earned $250 million in 2009, could become a $2 billion industry by 2015. On the other hand, console makers spend years losing money on every system sold in hopes of making that money back on software. Giving the software away could be an unpalatable risk.

But the Playstation 3 is more than four years old, and now’s the time to experiment. Free Realms is another example of Sony’s kitchen sink approach, which to date has included Blu-ray movies, the Playstation Move motion controller, 3D and an expanding streaming video selection.

Free Realms itself isn’t my cup of tea — and actually, I haven’t been able to try the PS3 version at all due to server problems — but I hope the experiment goes well for Sony. Free-to-play MMOs have belonged exclusively to PCs for too long.


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Cloud Save Comes to Playstation Plus

Playstation Plus subscribers will soon be able to trust their precious game save files to the Internet as well as a hard drive.

Sony is adding Cloud Save to the Playstation 3 on Thursday. The feature provides Playstation Plus subscribers with 150 MB of online storage for up to 1,000 save files. This allows users to load their game progress on other PS3s — for example, unlocked costumes in Street Fighter IV — or just keep their files online for peace of mind. The feature will be available for most existing and all future PS3 games, and supports game saves that can’t be transferred by physical media due to copy protection.

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Playstation 4? Sony's Not Even Thinking About It

A couple years ago, I predicted that Sony would launch a new home video game console in 2010, with Nintendo and Microsoft to follow in 2011.

Man, I was way off.

With 2011 well underway, console makers aren’t even talking about a new generation of hardware. And in an interview with PC Watch, translated by Kotaku, Sony Computer Entertainment head Kaz Hirai said the Playstation 3 is “not even at the halfway point.”

“That’s why,” he added, “we’re not deliberating on a PS4 or a next generation machine, whatever you call it.”

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