PS3 Attitude

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PS3 Attitude

Friday, 19 September 2008

Home gets extended closed beta

When you tore that wrapper apart, frantically hoping to see a gleaming golden ticket staring back at you, were you one of the many thousands dejected and disappointed with the realisation that you were not chosen for the closed Home beta?

Never fear for Director of Home Jack Buser has revealed on the PS blog that a new batch of sparkling invitations are currently winging their way to some lucky mailboxes as we speak. Unfortunately it appears that the new recipients will only be from the previously unselected who applied back in August so this is only good news for those of you who are flapping about in the water and not those who missed the boat entirely.

Or is it? PS3Fanboy have posted up a screenshot (which we won't link to but if you don't know PS3Fanboy and can't find it yourself we'd be in complete shock) from the beta message board regarding a freezing bug currently experienced by some in the beta. What's interesting to note is that a PS3 firmware update planned for "October" will apparently remedy the issue. The magic number of 2.50 is quoted which is such a round figure that we're going to take a gamble and say Home 1.00 will surface on the same day. And with the recent LittleBigPlanet global official release dates appearing today also we're going to narrow it down even further and predict that Home will be released on the 21st of October to coincide with the North American release of the game.

Considering the many false dawns Home has experienced in its long gestation period I have a feeling I might live to regret this act of prophecy but what the hell, it's Friday night. It's ok to go crazy once in while!

Update: Jack has responded to some of the commenters on the blog who reckon they've been dissed a second time to state that "today’s [email invitations] won’t be the only wave" suggesting at least another call for more testers before the public beta which is still scheduled for "Autumn".

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Thursday, 4 September 2008

PlayStation Home Injector scam; please don't get caught out

A website (with associated application) calling itself the PlayStation Home Beta Injector is running a scam that promises to get you a Home download and activation code.

We won't link to the site here for obvious reasons.

How does the scam work?

They ask you to enter your PSN ID and password into an application, and then promise to send you a Beta download code in 24 hours.

Remember, Sony will never ask you for your password. This is nothing more than a phishing scam designed to grab your account details for nefarious purposes.

Please don't get caught out.

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Monday, 25 August 2008

Home 2008 Release, 100% Guaranteed

Didn't we all get pissed off last year, when we found out that Home won't be released for a long time? Announced in early 2007, and here we are, middle of summer 2008 and we haven't tasted Home on our PS3 yet. Well, some news regarding the release date for home has been released again, but this time it's not a delay.

IGN had a little chat with Martijn Van der Meulen, a Producer on Home, and he revealed that "it is a 100 percent guarantee that Home will be released by the end of this calendar year." Well we can all expect a Christmas release, but it is possible for the 'rare' occurence of a promise break.

Still I'm happy with the fact that if it won't be released until the end of this year, we might just get it very close to the start of next year. But a Christmas launch with a few Christmas specials would be pretty cool.

Source: IGN

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Friday, 15 August 2008

Home Beta Invitations Being Delivered

The expanded Home closed beta has been launched and invitations are being sent to European gamers, so go check your e-mail for any new mail from Sony.
American members will also be receiving download codes soon which will allow you to download Home beta only once and only on the PSN account that they have sent the code to. So make sure you don't lose your code.

[Source: PS3Fanboy]

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Thursday, 17 July 2008

PS3 local content? Schmocal content! Why Sony's silos need breaking down now...

At the last Sony strategy meeting, held in Tokyo this June, one of the audience members picked Sir Howard Stringer up on his progress in breaking down the 'silos' within Sony.

A year before, Sir Howard had vowed to bring down the silo mentality within Sony Corporation. And to be fair to him, much of the strategy meeting was based around the new integrations between products across different divisions - for example, bringing together products from SCEI, Sony Ericsson and Sony Electronics.

As time goes on, Sir Howard and Sony want to break down the walls and marry more of their products up with each other.

But there is one wall that refuses to fall, no matter how many people appear to trumpet their voices at it.

The geographical split within SCEI.

There are now far too many examples of this silo attitude. The latest regional issue, US exclusivity until 2009 for the new PS Video Store, has been worsened by David Reeves comments from E3 today.

He states that Sony believes "local content is important" which is what Sony are "working on right now. The dates for video content will come later this year."

Local content. Schmocal content!

At what point are movies like Cloverfield, The Bank Job and Rambo 'local'? They have all been distributed globally. They are all global movie brands.

Yes - they may have been released at different times, but timing can be handled through IP location and hardware information without issue.

Yes - Sony may want to play different trailers ahead of the feature, but that can be handled through location-based advertising too.

We also understand that Home is going to be region locked. I won't be able to virtually meet my US friends unless I explicitly invite them to my private Home space. And I won't be able to sit in the public areas and play a game of chess with them. The reason?

Sony don't want you to be watching US adverts if you're in Europe.

Is it really beyond the wit of Sony to feed the right adverts to the right place by using location-aware advertising? I think not.

Whenever I visit other countries and I open up a website, I get local banner advertising on the same sites I visit every day from the UK. Why can't Sony do the same?

The PlayStation Store in Europe is another cause for concern. Did SCEE and SCEA put their heads together when they created the new PS Store categories. No. Apart from a core understanding of the new update process, SCEE went their own way and didn't collaborate with SCEA.

They say it is because they have dozens of sites to update, whereas SCEA only has one. I say it's because they just didn't talk.

Result? We end up with an inferior PS Store with categories that don't make sense.

Silo mentality rules.

What else shows the huge gap in best-practise marketing processes between SCEA and SCEE?

How about Qore - US only; despite being a joint effort with a global media company, Future Publishing. Official PlayStation Blog - US only; despite the fact that the content there is as relevant to Europe as it is to the US.

So whilst Sir Howard may be doing a good job in bringing different Sony divisions together, we would ask him, David Reeves, Kaz Hirai and others to take a look at the geographical silos that still exist within SCEI alone.

Europe - one of the stand-out regions for PS3 sales - is depending on them to deliver, and we see no good reason for the gulf between SCEI's companies to exist.

'Local content' is not a good enough argument.

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Monday, 19 May 2008

Sony Ericsson to get XMB on phones?

This video has appeared on YouTube showing what is apparently a forthcoming Sony Ericsson handset, not unlike the Sony Xperia X1 that was recently reported on various gadget sites.

The interesting part? Sony's XMB seems to be coming to yet another device.

You may remember how Phil Harrison demonstrated access to PlayStation Home via his mobile phone back at E3 2007. Now, it looks like those compatible phones will also share a common interface with the PSP and PS3.

Check out the video for yourself.

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Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Home open beta in November

In recent articles following the London PlayStation Day, David Reeves of SCEE has talked a lot about the current timeline for PlayStation Home.

He and Kaz Hirai have explained why Home has been pushed back, and Reeves has talked about a renewed focus on games rather than advertisers within Home.

Following all this coverage, we were expecting an expanded closed beta in the Summer followed by an open beta in Autumn.

Ron Festejo, the Creative Director for Home, has now made those broad time slots much narrower, stating the closed beta will be expanded in July and the open beta will arrive in November.

"We have between 8,000 and 10,000 users in this closed beta phase. Around July we’re going to be expanding on the closed beta phase and allowing more people to gradually come in, and then in November this year we’ll be going to the open beta."

So it looks like we'll all get to enjoy a new Home before the end of the year, and help ensure it is as good an experience as we would all like through beta feedback.


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Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Home open beta not arriving until Autumn; needs more tuning

Sony announced today that it will be expanding the currently closed beta of Home in Summer to include a larger number of testers, and that an open beta will not now arrive until the Autumn.

Previously, Sony had announced that an open beta was on it's way soon. The decision to delay the open beta is due to Home needing more tuning and testing in a manageable environment before it is released to a wider audience.

With the various issues Konami have had supporting an open beta for Metal Gear Online, we personally feel that although it is disappointing not to get our hands on Home earlier, we'd prefer to wait for something that will work when we try it.

“We understand that we are asking PS3 and prospective PS3 users to wait a bit longer, but we have come to the conclusion that we need more time to refine the service to ensure a more focused gaming entertainment experience than what it is today. Our overarching objective is to provide users with new gaming experiences that are available only on PLAYSTATION Home. Spending more time on the development and on the Closed Beta testing reaffirms our commitment to bringing a quality service, maintaining the PlayStation® tradition.” - Kazuo Hirai, President and Group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Details of the expanded closed beta will be made available soon.

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Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Home on the way this month?

We don't usually do rumours here at PS3 Attitude, but this one is too interesting to pass up.

Our friends at The Sixth Axis have discovered details of Home 1.00 being available on the PSN, even though the download itself won't do anything just now - it's locked by Sony.

The download was made available using a Folding@Home exploit - again, not a topic we usually go for here since we're not interested in exploits and, *cough*, questionable activities.

Go read about it over at The Sixth Axis and then cross your fingers for the next nine days!

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Friday, 1 February 2008

Brand new Home images show progression

Home has been going through a number of changes based on the feedback from the various Beta testers out there, but so far we've only been 'told' what to expect.

Now we can actually see what's happening courtesy of an update on the official Japanese PlayStation website.

They have added an entire Home section with dozens of screenshots and details. You can see all the important screens in the gallery below.

We'll be back with more information on all the recent changes soon. With rumours that we'll see Home before the Spring is out, it is interesting to see that Sony's own websites are starting to push it properly.

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Friday, 4 January 2008

In the Year of the Rat, will Sony win the race?

It will soon be the Year of the Rat.

In Chinese astrology the Rat is considered a leader and a pioneer. Rats can also be controlling, having their own way whatever the cost. Although Sony were 'born' in 1946 (which makes them a Dog - incidentally the same sign as my good self), you might say there are certain attributes of the Rat that sit well with them.

If you think it is odd to mix Chinese astrology with a Japanese company then bear with us. Although the Japanese celebrate the new year on the 1st January, they send postcards to their family and friends with the relevant animal depicted on the front - harking back to when the lunar calendar and the 12 animal signs were in use throughout Japan.

So what will this year bring, and will Sony win the ratrace against their most fierce of rivals? Just how will the Dog fair against the Rabbit (Microsoft) and the Ox (Nintendo).

Burnout Paradise is our first indication that 2008 is going to be a good one for the PS3. Yes - I know... since it is being released in January it doesn't fall into the Chinese 'lunar year' which starts in February. But since the Japanese start their year in January too, we're going to run with this one!

Then it's the turn of Devil May Cry 4 to hit our screens. There was a time when I was particularly angry with the Sheep (otherwise known as Capcom) for taking DMC to other platforms. But now we've seen it looking particularly spectacular on the PS3 we're not so unhappy. Add to that some exclusive downloadable content and the grass is certainly looking greener on this side of the fence. Maybe we'll hold off on turning Capcom into lamb chops for now.

Haze can't be ignored. Although it is yet another FPS, it is a special one. I don't honestly think that it is going to compare in any way to the Rabbit's best effort (the ever present Halo franchise) but it is truly a much deeper and more involving experience than many of the existing 'shooter' offerings available on the PS3. Call of Duty 4 excepted.

Shortly after you've managed to figure out how to squeeze those three titles into your heavy social calendar, the Tiger of Rockstar will rip your diary apart with the launch of GTA: IV. Once again it is a title that will appear on the Rabbit's platform, but we're not bitter about it. I couldn't care less if it were on every platform - just as long is it rocks our world as much as we think it will!

Around this time in the Year of the Rat, we expect that two amazing innovations will have found their way on to our favourite black monolith. PlayStation Home and LittleBigPlanet.

Home promises to be more than just a 3D lobby, although admittedly the ability to launch you and your newly-made friends into the multiplayer part of any game you own is a great feature. With huge amounts of content promised for launch and throughout the life of Home, plus the 'social networking' abilities available via the web-based portal to your Home space, Home will become many things; a replacement for the XMB, a lobby, a content viewer (both yours and content from Sony and third-parties), a casual games arena, a social networking site, a marketing tool to reach non-PS3 owners, a vanity case of game achievements, a mobile blogging/photo centre and much more.

LittleBigPlanet is surely one of the most anticipated titles of the year with it's innovative mix of gameplay, creation and sharing. If there's one title that is destined to take on the marketing behemoth that is Halo 3, this is it. 'What?', I hear you cry. How can you compare LBP and Halo 3? Think about it.

There's Halo 3 characters, faceplates, headsets, controllers and skins everywhere you look on your favourite retailer's shelves. You can get ringtones, wallpapers and themes for almost any mobile device. If there is one thing I want to see this year it's a Sackboy that I can actually buy, along with fabric pens so I can modify him, just like in the game. And a Sackboy controller. And a Sackboy gift set. Sony should be marketing the crap out of this game. I want to see Sackboy on the shelves of Clinton Cards alongside that ever-present blue-nosed teddy bear. You get the idea.

As the year progresses, we'll be hit with another massive title that is definitely staying on the PS3 only. Metal Gear Solid 4 will arrive. Every indication is that this final chapter in the story of Snake will be monumental in every way. The recent previews we've seen show the game to be something really special and the ending is promising to be as epic as you would expect. Once again you're going to have to figure out how to balance still playing GTA and LBP when this one hits. Who said gaming was easy!

Although Europe will see GT5 Prologue early in the year (February we reckon), there's a good chance the full Gran Turismo 5 experience will hit our shelves in the Year of the Rat. Promising a huge amount of detail, cars, tracks and content, along with realistic damage (hooray!), real-time weather simulation, GT-TV content, My Garage homepages/social networking and - most importantly - the Top Gear Test Track, GT5 will give us petrol-heads something to really get our teeth into once we've completed everything Burnout Paradise can offer.

Finally, we'll be sinking our teeth into the Hellghast scum once again as Killzone 2 comes to the PS3. Whether or not the screenshots you have seen are 'doctored' or not, it doesn't really matter. The fact is that this game is one hell of an FPS. Incredible graphics, amazing character animation, deep storyline, real atmosphere and pixel-perfect shooting mean that this one title may just blow your mind as well as your wallet. Another PS3 exclusive, I predict Killzone 2 will be the biggest selling of them all, which is a risky bet given the massive appeal of the games we've detailed above.

Honourable mentions go to the other games that will hit this year in retail and PS Store form; Tekken 6, SOCOM: Confrontation, Madden 09, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Everyday Shooter and Wipeout HD to name but a few. And we've ignored the possible release of those other exclusives - Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII - because we just don't believe they'll make it onto shelves this year.

And don't forget the additional hardware and PSP interactivity that is due. Soon you'll be able to buy PlayTV in Europe and add a twin-tuner Freeview PVR to the list of incredible things you can do with a PS3, and view live TV or your recorded programmes via Remote Play. There's so much more to come from the PS3 this year and much of it will be delivered, free of charge, via firmware updates and the PS Store.

Simply put, the Year of the Rat will be the best one yet for Sony. The Dog can learn new tricks, it seems.

Check out the gallery below for various screenshots and wallpapers...

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Thursday, 27 September 2007

PS3 Home 'Dress'; Project Catwalk, or Project Crapwalk?

Playstation Home is certainly keeping us all waiting with baited breath and the delay in launching the service that was announced at TGS 2007 definitely didn't help the situation.

However, positive news about Home and further details of additional content are still coming along, including the 'girl-centric' announcement that 'Dress' would be making it's way to the Home platform by next year.

Dress is a 'super avatar' service that allows the fashion industry to link up with Home by providing clothes for your character to wear. It's bound to be a 'premium' service that you'll pay for, but that's no bad thing.

Now, further details have become available courtesy of IGN and from a most unlikely source; Takamasa Shichisawa, the Director of Tourist Trophy. Why him? It turns out the basis of Dress comes from the biker loadout system where you could dress your biker in branded goods.

In the interview with IGN, he goes on to explain the four elements of Dress:

Dress Town is a virtual space where players experience the world of fashion. Sony is working with fashion brands to create digital shops, where players can experience all areas of their favorite brands through clothing, music, videos and interviews. This area of the game is meant to make you feel like you're actually moving around a shop.

Dress Studio lets you create your own fashion, selecting color, material, patterns and logos. It appears that the game will let players make their own brands. Sony is even looking into letting players send their designs away to have them transformed into real life clothing.

Dress museum is a museum of clothing history. It has some interactive elements where you gather famous scenes from movies and famous characters.

Dress park is a community space that's meant for players to communicate and exchange gifts, including clothing. Sony will hold official events and fashion shows here, giving players the chance to appear as models. Players can also organize their own shows based around their original brands.
There's no doubt that this is going to appeal to girls more than guys, and that's no bad thing. It is every console manufacturer's dream to find the 'silver bullet' that unlocks the female marketplace.

But if dress also offers your favourite brand of cargos to go along with the T-shirt you earned whilst playing GT5, who says that guys won't get all creative as well.

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Thursday, 20 September 2007

TGS 2007; Home delayed until 2008

We pondered where the development of Playstation Home had got to the other day and suggested that it might hit in November.

Well, looks like that second round of bug fixes are going to take a little longer to work out of the system since Mr. Hirai has now said that Home will not appear until Spring 2008.

I'm not massively surprised that Home is going to be delayed. In fact I was expecting it. But a six-month delay is quite a lot more than I was expecting.

Especially given the news that the core download is smaller than before and that you can download new areas. I was expecting that to be Sony's way of getting something out before Christmas.

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Thursday, 13 September 2007

Where is PS3 Home at right now?

In our PS3 news roundup today, we pointed out that the UK Sony site still has Home down as being available by September. And this, it has to be said, is unlikely to say the least! I mean, most of the Sony sites are out of date as far as content is concerned. Look how long it takes them to update the firmware pages, for example!

So where exactly is Home at right now? And before you say it, no it's not 'wherever I lay my hat'...

As recently as yesterday, Home beta testers received a new build of the hotly anticipated 'second life-like' environment to play with. This means it is unlikely we'll see Home in October either, since any feedback from the current round of testing would need to be dealt with, and development just doesn't happen that quickly!

In the new build there are some nice new features. The 'Home Square' that was shown at E3 is available for the first time.

Also, areas are now broken down into separate downloads. If you want to go to the 'game area', you download it and you'll be bowling and shooting hoops with the best of them. This means Home will have a smaller 'core' download and then you can just add on the pieces that make sense to you. Downloads will be, on average, around 20-40Mb per area.

Also in the new build the 'virtual PSP' has a 'phone friend' feature. I don't think this has got anything to do with a 'virtual Who Wants to be a Millionaire' gameshow though!

Home Safe has also been added. Home Safe lets you change certain privacy and interaction settings to make sure your Home experience is a safe one. It lets you change your communication settings, block users and access your PS3 Friends list.

So what else do we know about the state of Home right now?

The next stage of the Home beta will be invite-only. The current beta is for employees and selected third-parties only right now. Although the beta will expand to a wider group of people, it is likely these will be companies and individuals who are 'linked' to SCEE in some way.

By the way Sony, if you're reading this I'm a seasoned software tester and I never break an NDA... just saying...

So, I'm expecting a further round of beta testing plus a further round of 'showstopper' fixes before Home comes along. As the areas have been split off into individual downloads, it's clear that Sony will get the core download fixed and ready to launch and then work on adding additional features, areas and fixes in future downloads as people find bugs, suggest new additions or as new content arrives.

Finally, we now know that Home will just 'happen'. No fanfare. No 'big bang'. You'll just get it as part of a standard firmware upgrade.

So my money is on firmware v2.00 to hit in November, which will include Home, to ensure it is out for the big PS3 Christmas push. I'll go see what odds William Hill will give me on that.

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