Update: Sony has suspended the 2.40 upgrade, following reports that it has fouled up some PS3 systems (see Joystiq for more). While the two PS3s we have here at CNET were able to install the update with no adverse effects, it appears that some users were considerable less fortunate.
The 2.40 firmware update for the PlayStation 3 is now available. The free update, which Sony has been talking up for the past several days, adds a smattering of new features, including in-game access to the XMB (Cross Media Bar) home screen, custom soundtracks, a new trophy system, and … Read more
For the second time in as many weeks, reports are circulating that Microsoft will be announcing a price cut for the Xbox 360.
The Hollywood Reporter is quoting anonymous sources as saying the 20GB version of the console will be cut to $299--a $50 reduction--before the E3 game industry show begins July 15 in Los Angeles. The report follows rumors of a price cut that surfaced last week on various game blogs.
These will sell out crazy-fast, so I'm going to keep it brief: Buy.com has reconditioned Xbox 360 Premium consoles on sale for $199.99--and shipping is free!
This is the non-HDMI version, but it does include the standard 20GB hard drive, wireless controller, and headset. Alas, you get only a 60-day warranty--though arguably a reconditioned Xbox will outlast a new one.
This deal is $20 sweeter than the last time I posted about a refurb Xbox 360, so if you've been waiting to pull the trigger on this killer console (and media-center extender), wait no longer.… Read more
People aren't waiting for Microsoft to announce a deal with Netflix.
Someone has already figured out how to hack the Xbox 360 video game console and enable it to play Netflix streaming movies.
At Lifehacker.com, Adam Pash writes that all anyone needs is an Xbox 360, a Windows Vista PC, a Netflix account, and a free Windows Media Center plug-in called vmcNetflix.
Here is some of what Pash says an Xbox 360 owner can do following the hack: stream Watch Now movies directly to the Media Center player; download Watch Now movies to a "Watch Later" … Read more
In the first posting on this blog I said it would be a game-free zone. Despite this, I recommend reading The truth about last year's Xbox 360 recall by Paul Thurrott. The story is as much about Microsoft and hubris as it is about the Xbox 360.
You may recall that Microsoft had to replace many Xbox 360s that suffered from a "Red Ring of Death" and even went so far as to extend the warranty to three years. Microsoft never offered specifics on the problem and now we know why, it was embarrassing.
Anyone can call … Read more
PlayStation 3 owners will find an update available for their console's firmware today. According to Sony, version 2.36 will offer increased "system stability when playing select PlayStation format software titles." It's not the most specific description we've ever heard, but we'll take any upgrades we can get.
What we're really looking forward to is the recently confirmed 2.40 upgrade that will allow for in-game utilization of the XMB (cross-media bar)--something Xbox 360 owners have been able to take for granted since the system's launch. Also available in the next … Read more
Gamasutra yesterday featured a story about Junction Point's Warren Spector, who took issue with some of the prevailing trends in the video game industry.
"Game costs are going to be $35-40 million, even $100 million, and the expectations are huge," he said at the Game Education Summit last week. "You have to differentiate yourselves. One-hundred hour games are on the way out... How many of you have finished GTA? Two percent, probably. If we're spending $100 million on a game, we want you to see the last level!"
Spector went on to explain the video game business is changing and although it didn't care about the story in a game years ago, it's now one of the main attractions and certainly paramount in developer minds.
Although Spector made a number of good points, he seems to believe that epic titles like GTA IV, which are capable of lasting you as little or as long as you'd like, are a thing of the past and will slowly (but surely) die a slow and agonizing death. Spector ostensibly believes that developers would rather spend cash on parts of a game you'll see than those sections you won't.
His theory makes sense and it's difficult to argue with the logic, but if epic games fall by the wayside and we're left with titles that don't offer the kind of immersion we've come to expect in some titles, what does that mean for the video game industry?… Read more