Tag Archives | PlayStation 3

Sony's Playstation 2 Backwards Compatibility Patent: Don't Count On It

From the wild world of Sony video game patents comes a little adapter box that can supposedly run Playstation 2 games when attached to a Playstation 3.

According to Eurogamer, the patent application calls for a device with its own DVD decoder and emulator, CPU, GPU, sound processor and memory. The adapter would read information from Playstation 2 discs, inserted into the PS3, and perform all the legwork, possibly sending compressed audio and video back to the PS3 via ethernet connection. This would allow PS2 support without the Emotion Engine, a processor Sony included in early PS3 models specifically for playing last-generation games.

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If the PS3 is Jailbroken, Can We Have Other OS Back?

Although I never found much utility in Other OS, a Playstation 3 feature that could turn the console into a basic computer running Linux, my heart went out to people who used Other OS before Sony scrapped it.

Sony said it removed Other OS in March to “protect the integrity of the console,” possibly because one hacker came too close to exploiting the feature in a way that would allow piracy. But now, OzModChips claims to have the first PS3 modchip on a USB stick. In theory, this allows people to play bootleg and homebrew games and make disc backups. Supposedly, it can also bypass firmware updates that Sony might use to banish the hack.

If Sony’s piracy safeguards have indeed fallen, I propose that Sony should bring back Other OS. After all, once the integrity of the console is lost, there’s no point in protecting it at the expense of users who did no harm.

A typical argument against draconian anti-piracy measures goes like this: Such attempts are pointless, because they eventually fail, and the only people who suffer are paying customers who have to jump through hoops. That argument didn’t apply to the Playstation 3, because it was rock solid against hackers for almost four years, and legitimate customers were none the wiser.

With the removal of Other OS, everything changed. A feature was lost, and now it appears that Sony’s previously unhackable machine is defeated through unrelated means. I’m skeptical of OzModChips’ solution, which costs $170, until it’s verified by an independent source, but if it’s legitimate, why should Sony pretend that removing Other OS keeps the Playstation 3’s integrity intact?


PS3 Bundle Speaks Volumes About Playstation Move

I’m not in Germany for GamesCom, but Sony’s big announcement from the video game trade show was a Playstation 3 bundle that includes the Playstation Move camera and motion control wand, one game and a 320 GB hard drive, for $400.

Interesting strategy. By opting for a motion control bundle with a bigger hard drive and price tag than the standard PS3 model, Sony is sending a clear message: This is motion control for the devoted gamer. Come for the roomier hard drive, stay for the fancy new peripheral that lets you play real-time strategy games on a console.

At least I hope that’s the message. After all, a $400 console is twice the price of Nintendo’s Wii, and $100 more than the Kinect Xbox 360 bundle Microsoft announced last month. Sony’s kidding itself if it thinks the occasional gamer is going to sink $400 into a game console, especially now that so many cheaper options exist.

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NBA Jam for Xbox 360 and PS3 Includes a Dilemma

When I tried NBA Jam at E3, it seemed like a faithful remake of Midway’s classic two-on-two arcade basketball game from the mid 1990s, but the Wii’s limited processing power makes online play unlikely when the game arrives in October.

The announcement of NBA Jam for Xbox 360 and PS3, with their elegant systems for multiplayer, seems like great news, except it comes with a couple of serious catches.

First, the only way you can get NBA Jam for Xbox 360 or PS3 is with a free download when you purchase NBA Elite 11, EA’s more traditional basketball game.  That’s not such a bad deal, because you’d get two games for the price of one, but with that offer comes another gotcha: The downloadable version of NBA Jam is not the full game. Only the Wii version has the “Remix Tour” mode and “boss battles” against basketball legends such as Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. These features reportedly add another 20 hours to the game.

EA has put gamers in an tough position, where they’re deciding not just what console they’d rather play on, but which features are more important. While I agree with EA Creative Director Trey Smith playing NBA Jam against someone in the same room is part of the classic experience, playing against someone across the country is part of modern gaming.

I’m guessing this bizarre feature split was the only way EA could get NBA Jam on all three consoles, after announcing it as a Wii exclusive in January. For Nintendo, it’s a guarantee that not all buyers will jump ship to the version with multiplayer, but for gamers, it’s a lose-lose.

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Yearning for Color in Black and White Game Consoles

It makes little sense that I miss having Nintendo’s GameCube in my living room. The Wii plays GameCube games, and it has a slimmer profile, but something’s lacking. Frankly, I think it’s the GameCube’s indigo shell.

I came to ponder color in game consoles — that is, in their physical design — while reading about Sony’s plans to release a white Playstation 3 in Japan. That completes the trifecta; with the Wii and Xbox 360 both going black, all three current gaming consoles have reversed polarity, or at least offered the option for customers to do so.

But isn’t there room for game consoles in the middle of the color spectrum? Not if history’s any indication. Take a few minutes to scroll through TheGameConsole.com’s brief retrospective of home gaming systems. You’ll find a few funky outliers — Magnavox’s Odyssey 300 from 1976 was bright yellow — but for the most part game consoles come in black, white or gray.

The exception to this rule is portable gaming. Nintendo’s DSi XL comes in debuted in burgundy, and the DSi launched stateside in black or light blue (white and pink followed). Though Sony’s PSP comes mainly in black in the United States, blockbuster games are sometimes accompanied by limited edition color PSPs.

I think I understand why this happens. Portable consoles are a personal thing, onto which gamers can project their self-image with color. At home, a game console’s best bet is to blend in. Entertainment centers are black tie affairs, so don’t be the only set-top box wearing a Hawaiian shirt, so to speak.

Thing is, game consoles are supposed to be the fun ones, the crazy uncles that do all the fun party tricks. Colorful game consoles may not be totally appropriate, but the living room just feels a little too bland without one.


We Need Real Answers on Playstation Plus and Hulu Plus

Sony’s customers are still in the dark on whether the premium Playstation Plus service will be required to watch Hulu Plus on the Playstation 3, even as more unverified information comes in.

Last week, I discovered that Hulu Plus on the PS3 may require a Playstation Plus subscription ($50 per year or $18 quarterly), based on some code hidden in one of Hulu’s Web pages. I e-mailed Sony and Hulu for a response, but heard nothing. Sony later dismissed the report as “rumors and speculation,” which is an odd thing to say given that Hulu’s own website provided the evidence.

Now, Playstation Lifestyle reports that PS Plus will only be required during Hulu Plus’ preview period. Invitations for that preview are going out in batches, but there’s no word on when the service will be available to all.

But Playstation Lifestyle’s story doesn’t come straight from Sony or Hulu, either. The source may actually be a Reddit commenter who reached out to Hulu’s generic support line. By Sony’s rules, we can dismiss the second-hand response as “rumors and speculation” as well.

This isn’t the first time Sony has gone dark, letting unverified information fill the news vacuum. At the end of February, owners of non-Slim Playstation 3s discovered that their consoles weren’t working, and they risked losing data just by turning on their consoles. Sony didn’t warn people about the data loss until 16 hours after first acknowledging problems. Meanwhile, PS3 owners were left to fend for themselves in Internet forums, attempting to answer many of the questions Sony never did.

The Hulu Plus situation isn’t as urgent, but with Playstation Plus up and running, subscribers shouldn’t have to get their information from the rumor mill. Sony should explain Hulu Plus pricing to its customers, either by confirming what we’ve seen and heard or acknowledging that the details are still up in the air.


Playstation Plus: Required for Hulu Plus?

Hulu Plus may cost a bit extra — the price of a Playstation Plus subscription, actually — when the service comes to Playstation 3 in July, according to some language hidden in one of Hulu’s Web pages.

I stumbled upon the evidence when double checking that neither Sony nor Hulu had acknowledged the other’s subscription service. Hulu did announce upcoming support for Playstation 3, but a lack of details made me wonder why Playstation Plus, which launched today, wasn’t mentioned at all; some sort of deal for PS Plus subscribers seems like a no brainer. (If you’re not caught up on either of these services, by the way, see Harry’s post on Hulu Plus or Sony’s rundown of Playstation Plus).

Just to be sure I didn’t miss anything, I did a quick Google search, and found this (see the second result):

The text of the second result comes from the page source of Hulu Plus’ device page, and appears in Google’s search results even though it doesn’t show up on the website itself. “The instructions below will help you install Hulu Plus on your PS3,” the hidden language says. “Note: you must be a subscriber of the Playstation Plus Network.”

The next few lines describe a “Playstation 3 Activation Procedure,” in which you go to the Playstation Store and redeem a download code that lets you install a Hulu Plus application. View my screen grab of the page source if you like.

So it looks like Hulu Plus won’t be available to PS3 owners without a Playstation Plus subscription, which costs $50 per year or $18 per month for three months. That seems like a raw deal, considering that Netflix doesn’t cost anything extra on the Playstation 3 (it does require an Xbox Live Gold subscription on Xbox 360, and Microsoft has already confirmed that the same rule will apply to Hulu Plus when it arrives on Xbox 360 early next year). Still, it’s not clear whether PS Plus subscribers will get a deal on Hulu content, or if it costs the same $10 per month as everyone else.

I’ve pinged Sony and Hulu for clarification and will post an update if I hear anything.

Update: Apparently, the text is not hidden to people who already have a Hulu Plus preview invite, as one Kotaku reader reported after reading about our coverage. If that’s the case, I’m not sure why Hulu or Sony PR haven’t said anything.

Update 2: “We don’t comment on rumors and speculation which is all that is at this point,” Sony told G4 (but not us).


Sony Playstation: The Kitchen Sink Approach Continues

Marketing taglines usually serve as little more than memory triggers, but there’s actually some truth to Sony’s claim that the Playstation “only does everything.” Today’s press conference showed a company desperate to make its console the jack of all trades, adding 3D gaming and motion controls to the Playstation 3.

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