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"He congratulated Microsoft on the "great release" of Halo 3 but said: "My question for Microsoft would be, what's after Halo? We think there's a void in any other kind of offering for the Xbox."

Um Mass Effect? Call of Duty? Ace Combat? Assassins Creed? Pro Evolution Soccer?

Why does Sony insist on every FPS on their Console is a Halo beater, why the mad hard for FPS's in the first place?

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"He congratulated Microsoft on the "great release" of Halo 3 but said: "My question for Microsoft would be, what's after Halo? We think there's a void in any other kind of offering for the Xbox."

Um Mass Effect? Call of Duty? Ace Combat? Assassins Creed? Pro Evolution Soccer?

Why does Sony insist on every FPS on their Console is a Halo beater, why the mad hard for FPS's in the first place?

I'm not a fan of FPS's, and I don't like Halo, but a lot of people are. Companies are making a killing on FPS's and they are easy to make compared to say, an RPG. The 360 has tons of FPS's, and only a couple of them stand out, but they all sell a ton of copies. Sony wants a piece of that action. FPS's aren't big in Japan, so they never focused on them before.

I just checked the release schedule through March and Sony has nothing to be excited about except Uncharted and Little Big Planet. Other than that most of the games will be on both systems. Most of their big games got pushed back to next Summer.

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Ha, Sony talking about Microsoft having a small game library? As far as I'm concerned, they can quit making games for the next year so I can catch up on all the shit I've had to miss while playing other games.

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The really big problem for Sony is nearly that all the really good games like COD4. Pro Evo, Ace Combat. Assassins Creed etc are mutliplatform and cheaper on 360 so people buy the 360 cause of its bigger game library, its cheaper price and then you have the Halos,Mass Effects and bioshocks.

A couple of my friends were on the fence about which to buy, but in the end went with the 360 cause of its larger game library and cheaper price.

I think having to fork out a lot more cash for Backwards Capability since its only available on the 80gb model now pissed off a lot of potental buyers as well.

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PS3/PSP

DivX has announced that the Sony Playstation 3 will soon support theDivX video codec.

According to the DivX team, full support will arrive with a future software update. DivX CEO Kevin Hell said in a statement, "We are excited to work with Sony Computer Entertainment to bring DivX to PS3. Our technology will expand the multimedia functionality of PS3 by enabling users to enjoy access to the broad library of content in the DivX digital media format."

In further good news, Sony has confirmed to Eurogamer that all Playstation 2 titles that support rumble and are compatible with the Playstation 3 will also rumble if you use the new Dualshock 3 pad.

Bringing the mood down, numerous Playstation 3 owners claim that their consoles have stopped functioning correctly, if at all, since installing the latest PS3 firmware update.

Users report, via the official Playstation forums, running into numerous hardware problems since updating the PS3's firmware to the recently released version 2.0.

Tired of your Playstation 3 already? Check out the Polystation 3, from the makers of Polystation 1 and Polystation 2...

Xbox 360

Similarly to Sony's Playstation 3, Microsoft has (almost) announced the availability of DivX playback support on the Xbox 360.

In a conference call with investors, CEO Kevin Hell suggested that the video codec would appear on the Xbox 360 - though he also said that a deal had not been finalised.

It's only taken two generations of console and Sony getting in on the game, before Microsoft allowed the codec officially.

On Tuesday Microsoft announced that its forthcoming fall dashboard update will enable Xbox 360 owners to download original Xbox titles such as Halo, Fable, Crash Bandicoot and Burnout 3 via Xbox Live Marketplace.

However, the company has since posted a list of known issues affecting the performance of the classic games on its latest hardware.

"Any additional content within a game (such as a demo or trailer) is not supported by Xbox Originals titles and selecting those options may result in crashing the game (requiring a restart of the console)."

Halo suffers from "some very mild frame rate drops", while in Fable "there are some random bursts of audio static and some minor texture issues".

A complete run-down of known issues can be found on here.

Wii/DS

Ngamer has knocked up a comprehensive list of titles we should expect from the WiiWare service from Nintendo next year, which makes interesting reading.

While on the subject of WiiWare, Next-gen.biz has uncovered more information on Nintendo's guide lines regarding WiiWare titles.

A new report claims Nintendo will enforce a cap on game sizes and title releases for its forthcoming WiiWare service. The report also covers details of the financial models supposedly being applied to the service.

An interesting and novel Wiimote hack allows what appears to be multi-touch input on a standard TV. More at Gizmodo.

http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/new...3-xbox-360-divx

This is very exciting for me. As I said, I use it as a media centre, so instead of converting all my DivX stuff into .mpeg, when this update comes out I'll be able to just copy across. Very cool. Also shows the willingness for Sony to modify their stance on things when they see an upside.

Yes, I know it is the inquirer, but a friend of mine always sends me links from it.....

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Some more feedback as I keep using the PS3.

- I haven't installed linux yet, I have 3 weeks over the holidays, so I'll play more then.

- I bought a Sony Bravia 40" X series LCD to go with the PS3. Pretty happy with that purchase. Funny thing is, of the 3 games I have, Lego Star Wars is the only 1080 game (resitance and motorstorm are only 720).

- It appears same location multiplayer is being overtaken by online play. Playing Resitance FoM with a friend on the weekend and we could only play co-op or deathmatch type games against each other, not us against 10 BOTs. This is a feature I loved in previous multiplayer games. Motostorm has no multiplayer at all for 2 in the same system. Just dumb.

- I uploaded over 1000 photo's and showed them to family from a holiday. The slide show is cool, replicating an old style slide projector and also another effect where the images are turned in the polaroids that drop from high on to a surface. Was Cool. BUT, made me think, I would like to be able to listen to music while doing a slide show. Would be a good update for them.

- I've been doing light web surfing using the built in web browser and with the new TV it is working really well. Only for reading, you get frustrated easily doing too much typing.

- Updates are too frequent, I update the system, then I have to update the games as well before going online. And when they are between 150 and 200mb (or so it seems from the time) it gets annoying.

- I did buy an external HDD unit, that once I formated it as FAT32 instead of NTSC the PS3 recognised, so I can transfer stuff between PC and PS3 easier.

Will do this from time to time to let everyone know what I think of it. I gotta say as a media centre it is really good, hopefully I get to talk about the PlayTV function in the next 6 months.

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Warner Backs Blu-ray, Tilting DVD Battle

LOS ANGELES — The high-definition DVD war is all but over.

Hollywood’s squabble over which of two technologies will replace standard DVDs skewed in the direction of the Sony Corporation on Friday, with Warner Brothers casting the deciding vote in favor of the company’s Blu-ray discs over the rival format, HD DVD.

In some ways, the fight is a replay of the VHS versus Betamax battle of the 1980s. This time, however, the Sony product appears to have prevailed.

“The overwhelming industry opinion is that this decides the format battle in favor of Blu-ray,” said Richard Doherty, research director at the Envisioneering Group, a market research firm in Seaford, N.Y.

Behind the studio’s decision are industrywide fears about the sagging home entertainment market, which has bruised the movie industry in recent years as piracy, competition from video games and the Internet, and soaring costs have cut into profitability. Analysts predict that domestic DVD sales fell by nearly 3 percent in 2007, partly because of confusion in the marketplace over the various formats.

HD DVD, however, is not dead. Two major studios, Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures, have deals in place to continue releasing their movies exclusively on HD DVD, as does DreamWorks Animation. Warner Brothers, part of Time Warner, will also continue to release its titles on both formats until the end of May.

But by supporting Blu-ray, Warner Brothers, the largest player in the $42 billion global home entertainment market, makes it next to impossible for HD DVD to recover the early momentum it achieved.

While the specifics of the Blu-ray and HD DVD skirmish might be of interest only to insiders, the consequences of deciding a winner are not. Consumers have been largely sitting on the sidelines, waiting to buy high-definition players until they see which will have the most titles available. Retailers have been complaining about having to devote space to three kinds of DVDs. And the movie business has delayed tapping a lucrative new market worth billions. High-definition discs sell for a 25 percent premium.

“Consolidating into one format is something that we felt was necessary for the health of the industry,” Barry M. Meyer, the chief executive of Warner Brothers, said in a telephone interview. “The window of opportunity for high-definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to linger.”

In addition to Sony, a consortium of other electronics makers back Blu-ray. For Sony, Warner’s decision is a chance to rewrite history: the company faltered in its introduction of Betamax in the consumer market in the 1980s. Many analysts say the HD DVD players now risk becoming the equivalent of Betamax machines, which died out in large part because it became harder for consumers to find Betamax movies as studios shifted allegiance to VHS.

With Warner on board, Blu-ray now has about 70 percent of the market locked up; Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox, MGM, Lionsgate and, of course, Sony are all on Blu-ray’s team. Warner Brothers has some of the bigger releases in 2008, including “Speed Racer,” the Batman sequel “The Dark Knight” and the sixth Harry Potter installment.

“This doesn’t necessarily kill the HD DVD format, but it definitely deals it a severe blow,” said Paul Erickson, an analyst at the NPD Group’s DisplaySearch. “When a consumer asks a store clerk which format to buy, that clerk is now going to have a hard time arguing for HD DVD.”

In a prepared statement, Toshiba said it was “quite surprised” and “particularly disappointed” by Warner’s decision. “We will assess the potential impact of this announcement with the other HD DVD partner companies,” the company said. Universal Pictures declined to comment.

Warner Brothers has been courted for months by both sides. Toshiba dispatched Yoshihide Fujii, the executive in charge of its HD DVD business, to the studio three times in recent months, according to Time Warner executives who were granted anonymity because the negotiations were confidential. Sony has aimed even higher: Howard Stringer, the conglomerate’s chief executive, has leaned on Jeffrey Bewkes, the new chief executive of Time Warner.

Money was an issue. Toshiba offered to pay Warner Brothers substantial incentives to come down on its side — just as it gave Paramount and DreamWorks Animation a combined $150 million in financial incentives for their business, according to two executives with knowledge of the talks who asked not to be identified.

Kevin Tsujihara, president of the Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Group, declined to comment on whether any payments were offered for support of Blu-ray. “This market is absolutely critical to our future growth,” he said in a telephone interview. “You couldn’t put a number on that.”

For his part, Mr. Meyer said, “We’re not in this for a short-term financial hit.”

Which high-definition technology is better has been the subject of intense debate in Hollywood and electronics circles for years. HD DVD players have been much cheaper than Blu-ray machines, but Blu-ray discs have more storage space and more advanced protections against piracy. Both versions deliver sharp resolution.

Consumers were inundated with marketing from both sides during the recent holiday season. Wal-Mart, as part of a temporary promotion, offered Toshiba players for under $100. Sony and its retailing partners, including Best Buy, responded by dropping prices on Blu-ray players, although not to the same level. Blu-ray players can now be purchased for under $300.

Still, Blu-ray was emerging as a front-runner as early as August. Blu-ray titles have sharply outsold HD DVD offerings — by as much 2 to 1, according to some analysts — and some retailers like Target started stocking only Blu-ray players. Blockbuster said last summer that it would carry Blu-ray exclusively.

“We’ve been monitoring the situation with consumers for a while now and they have clearly made their choice,” Mr. Meyer said. “We followed.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/05/technolo...9bb&ei=5087

I posted this here, because I think it is really good news for the PS3 as a whole. If HD-DVD had won the war, the value of the PS3 would have been greatly reduced. Now Sony can really start pushing the Bluray component of the PS3 as it will be the standard for nextgen movie distribution. Also wonder what this means for the Microsoft, as they were planning a HDDVD all in one Xbox. If Microsoft are forced to support Bluray now instead of HDDVD, it will be another bonus for Sony. Or they will start selling it as only a games system and forget about movie playback, either way I think that helps Sony, especially with the new cheaper models PS3.

Amazing the difference 12 months makes. I can't remember if I said it here or on another board, but I said that it will be very hard for Sony to fail at the PS3 because of all the synergies with all their other divisions.

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It's far from over when I walked into Wal-Mart last month and saw HD-DVD players for less than $200.00

Sony are getting themselves in trouble with the other companies that are trying to sell the Blu-Ray player when they are undercutting them by marketing the PS3 as a Blu-Ray player. They might be the only ones selling them in a few years.

This isn't a surprise for those of us that know of the deal between WB and Sony. I worked as a Sony rep for a little while over the holidays and they are treated as the same company when it comes to dvds. I saw this coming a mile away.

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The players don't control the market though, the amount of releases on a format do. The same reason the PS3 game console is having a slow start, is the same reason it will be easier to sell a Bluray player. It doesn't matter how cheap the HDDVD players are if the only thing you can get on them is Time Life mail order stuff. I read a couple of articles on this announcement, and they can't see how a sales rep in an electronics store can promote a HDDVD player over a BluRay now that the title split is 70/30 in favour of BluRay. You would have to be a hard core Dreamworks fan to buy a HDDVD player now.

Have you been in a Blockbuster, they only stock BluRay for rentals (and mine has a display with a Sony Bravia and PS3 running them). Same as one of our local DVD outlets, they only stock BluRay.

Not sure what you mean about WB and Sony being treated as the same company? Maybe in the states they have the same distribution arm or something like that, but if they are the same company or run with some sort of synergy in the the US, WB would have NEVER been releasing movies on HD-DVD. If you know something else, I'd be interested to hear what you mean, but I can't understand how they are the same?

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Middle America shops at WalMart, and they do care which one is cheaper. They don't care about how many movies are out for which.

What I mean is that they have some kind of deal with WB, and they sell their dvds with their own. In places that are reserved for Sony, they also put WB dvds.

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I totally agree that middle class westerners are largely driven by price (although there are a lot of middle class people that have an unhealthy knowledge and passion for AV equipment). But the problem was, HDDVD and BluRay players aren't like a fridge or stereo, currently no-one is really buying the players because they are too confused about what it all means. It isn't an impulse buy, so price won't be the only factor.

Is it a DVD, is it something different. If it looks like a DVD why can't I play it in my existing system, ra ra ra. So the people that don't know, ask the reps and the reps either say a) it doesn't matter, eventually everything will come out on both b) this format or that format will end up winning so buy this or c) no one knows what is going on, save your money.

By WB doing this, it makes it easier for people to sell the BluRay players, but more importantly, sell the concept of HiDef Discs, which is the main concern. Sales people can now say, sure it's only $200 bucks, but only 3 out of ever 10 movies released in 2008 will be playable on it. That is why it is cheap.

Ahh ok, I think that makes sense, I think :) That sounds like a distribution thing more so than a multi studio agreement, but I get your point that if they already have some kind of relationship, the decision was sort of already made.

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Good for Sony, the PS3 is an underrated system and hopefully with this boost, as well as the release of HOME, they might get their shit together this year.

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Blu-ray's certainly making a name for itself on the headlines, mostly with good news all around. There is one bit of news, however, that puts a damper on these proceedings, and it's got something to do with one of shortcomings of Blu-ray at present: future compatibility.

Future compatibility, in this case, refers to the Blu-ray disc player's ability to play future Blu-ray discs. The big problem right now, it seems, is that current standalone players lack future compatibility, and thus, the ability to play the additional features that come with certain titles.

How does this work? Well, imagine you have a BD player which supports Profile 1.0. Your player might be able to play the movie that comes with the Profile 1.1 or 2.0 Blu-ray disc, but it won't be able to access the special features that come with it, such as internet connectivity (present in the upcoming Profile 2.0).

To that end, the Blu-ray Disc Association has decided to place stickers on upcoming releases, signifying whether they have additional content accessible with a Profile 1.1 player using the "Bonus View" sticker or Profile 2.0 capability with the "BD Live" sticker.

There is one side-effect of this though. It seems that there's at least one Blu-ray player out there that is constantly being updated with future compatibility, and also happens to be cheaper than most Blu-ray players. That's right: Sony's PS3 is the in-thing when it comes to compatibility at the moment, which may mean that Blu-ray fans might just buy a PS3 for its ability to play all sorts of content.

We're hoping the different Blu-ray player manufacturers find a way to settle this problem among early adopters of Blu-ray though, because it's certainly going to be an annoyance for the common consumer who wants his money's worth if he can't get everything that he was hoping for in his purchase.

http://ps3.qj.net/Current-Blu-ray-players-...g/49/aid/111511

A nice big FU to early adopters. Sony has stacked everything for the PS3 to win the format war, not Blu-Ray.

Good for Sony, the PS3 is an underrated system and hopefully with this boost, as well as the release of HOME, they might get their shit together this year.

It's not underrated, it's schizophrenic. It wants to be too many things. It'll take off when the games come. Sony, you remember it plays games right? I'd like to buy one, but not just to sit around and watch movies on.

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There is an article where Michael Bay (yeah, I know) has come out and said "anyone in the know" knows that Microsoft is only anti blu-ray because they want both formats to lose so they can save the day with internet streaming or something like that. Of course on the same day I read a report that Microsoft would consider a bluray player for the XBox, as they are happy to listen to what the fans want.

Jack, I think your comment about reminding Sony that the PS3 is a games console is both their biggest strength and weakness. Like I've said before, the combination of the PS3 being 3 or 4 machines in one and Sony's business synergies will make it hard for them to fail. The downside is, they have no idea how to market it. I think behind closed doors, Sony's intention all along has been to use the PS3 as a launching pad for BluRay. I don't have the figures, but I would safely bet that the movie industry is a bigger money spinner than the video game industry. If that is true, then I'm sure they weren't too concerned with the slow uptake in the PS3 vs Xbox war, as long as they were winning the BluRay vs HD-DVD war.

Now that they have all but won, they can turn their marketing to informing people about the other features of the PS3, especially playing BluRay. A friend of mine is all but about to upgrade his Microsoft Media Centre to a new PS3. In the defence of your game stance though, he loves car games and Grand Turismo is out this year. BUT, he hasn't bought a game machine in over 7 or 8 years, so Sony needs to get more people like that.

I've been on holidays for the past 3 weeks and the top 3 uses for my PS3 over that time were (in order)

- Playing Music

- Playing ripped TV shows (thanks to the DivX upgrade)

- Games/Folding at home

I'm trying not to blindly defend/support Sony, I just see this as all part of a master plan that they had. Everyone always rated it as a game system, but what if that was never Sony's intention at all. Merely to use the game system market as a stepping stone in to the home cinema/media market. That is a much bigger market and to ma and pa kettle, it is still pretty new or even a foreign concept to them.

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I really want to support Sony with the PS3, it's just that they look like they don't know what they are doing half the time with it. It's probably the Japanese mindset though. They seem to not give a crap about the customers, and aren't very approachable by the gaming press, unlike Microsoft who has departments that do nothing but talk to customers and have events for them. Sony needs their own Major Nelson so that we have someone to go to for answers. They just seem to say "we are Sony, therefore you will buy it", which works in Japan, but hasn't been working anywhere else lately.

Despite it playing movies, it's not a "movie player", it's a gaming system. It won't start picking up numbers until there are games worth spending 500 bucks to play. Only Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid are worth it to most people.

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Everything you have said is 100% correct (ESPECIALLY that they should change their approach in more western markets), it just wouldn't surprise me to see Sony saying FU to the gamers and making the focus of the thing a home media centre. It is more lucrative and that market is still in its infancy.

Like I said earlier, it might not look like it makes sense because you are looking at it as "PS3 the game system", maybe Sony doesn't see it like that, if they are looking at it as "PS3 the home media centre" then maybe, 0.00001% chance in 2 years time the past 12 months will make more sense.

Jack, sorry if I seem like I'm arguing for the sake of arguing, I'm don't mean in, in fact I kinda enjoy the oppising opions in some of these discussions, helps bring different poitns of view and ideas to the surface. So if I've seemed like a dick, it wasn't my intention.

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc has decided to exclusively sell high-definition DVDs in the Blu-Ray format, dealing what could be a crippling blow to the rival HD DVD technology…

The move by the world’s largest retailer…caps a disappointing week for HD DVD supporters, who also saw consumer electronics chain Best Buy Co Inc and online video rental company Netflix Inc defect to the Blu-ray camp.

In a statement on its Web site, Wal-Mart said that over the next few months it will phase out sales of HD DVD systems and discs. By June, it will sell only products in the Blu-ray format…

The move affects 4,000 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores in the United States, as well as related online sites. The stores will continue to sell traditional DVD players and movies.

Congrats Sony. You finally made a format that people want to use.

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Well, my first big negative feedback on PS3. I've got Raw vs Smackdown and it took me nearly 2 hours to get the online thing to work. In the end I had to log in to my router and set a DMA for the PS3. This is after going in to the PS3, setting manual internet settings so I could assign it an IP for my router to assign the DMA to. Just seemed to be something that should be easy to so, especially for the core target market of gamers (kids).

I'm also getting pissed off at the prices of new games. I won't pay top/release price because it is too much money for a game so I find myself waiting for sales, prices to naturally drop or buying second hand.

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especially for the core target market of gamers (kids).

Kids haven't been the core target for gamers for a very long time.

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I read somewhere that the core demographic for consoles is the 10 to 24yr old age bracket. Maybe they can all change ip and network settings better than I give them credit for, but it's still kids.

I do however agree that they are paying more attention to hardcore gamers (afterall the inital PS3 audience is nothing but a machine for hardcore gadget cravers), however kids (and their parents cash) would cover a fairly large percentage of the gaming world.

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I'm also getting pissed off at the prices of new games. I won't pay top/release price because it is too much money for a game so I find myself waiting for sales, prices to naturally drop or buying second hand.

It's depressing to see new games released in the $110-$120 range, especially for a system like the Wii.

Almost every game I've bought this gen has been 2nd hand, or in one of Game Trader's bargain bins.

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Wait a tic, $110 for games? Where the hell do you live?

As for the demographics, approximately 30 percent or so of gamers are under the age of 18, while the remaining 70 percent fall into the 18-34 age group, with the average gamer at 30 years old.

It's the stigma that video games are still a "toy" and thus, a child's medium that's really holding the industry back from evolving as fast as it should.

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