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PSP Firmware 5.50 Update is Coming Soon

200°
282w ago - Here we go, courtesy of PlayStation Network Operations Director Eric Lempel on this Monday afternoon:

Hi everyone, the next system software update (v5.50) for PSP (PlayStation Portable) will be available soon, and I wanted to provide you all with a preview of some of the key features.

The firmware update will introduce an Information Board on the PSP system's XMB (XrossMediaBar) interface. Those of you who have a PLAYSTATION 3 (PS3) may be familiar with this feature, which displays news and updates from the world of PlayStation in a scrolling ticker in the upper right-hand corner of your TV screen.

Now you'll be able to read up-to-date information about upcoming games, new content available on PlayStation Store, and other news right on your PSP whenever you're at a wireless Internet hotspot.

In addition, we'll be adding a few more enhancements with the 5.50 update:

Memory Stick improvements - You'll be able to create and access sub-folders on your Memory Stick PRO Duo for music, videos and photos. Separately, the available space required to download a file from PlayStation Store to your Memory Stick has been reduced significantly.

Internet search for games directly from the XMB - You'll be able to easily...
 

H.264 Encoder is Coming to Sony's PlayStation 3 Console

50°
282w ago - Here's another way to harness the power of the PS3's Cell chip, to quote:

Fixstars Corporation of Japan has announced CodecSys CE-10, the first H.264 encoder that's designed specifically for the PS3. The product will be showcased at the National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas starting April 20th.

The CE-10 software will be installed on a PC, but will somehow allow users to access the power of the PS3 as a way of accelerating video encoding. Fixstars is promising "ultra fast HD encoding" and "high quality low bit rate compression," targeted at the prosumer market at a prosumer price.

When questioned further on how the PS3 would interface with the CE-10 program, we were provided this rather useful document (pictured below).

It appears the PS3 will need Linux installed, severely limiting its accessibility to all but hardcore PS3 owners. Considering the rather specific demands of this application, perhaps that makes sense.

CE-10 will be available for purchase in June 2009. For burgeoning HD filmmakers, this should be a very cheap way of turning the PS3 into a powerful piece of video hardware.
 

Magic Ball, Cuboid & Mahjong Tales Booster Packs Coming to PSN

50°
283w ago - Today Creat Studios Director of Communications Michael Robinson has announced that Booster Packs are coming for Magic Ball, Cuboid and Mahjong Tales: Ancient Wisdom via Sony's PlayStation Network.

To quote: I'm both honored and thrilled to announce the release of Booster Packs for the [Register or Login to view links]/[Register or Login to view links] titles Magic Ball, Cuboid, and Mahjong Tales: Ancient Wisdom. Here are the details:

•Magic Ball, a fresh spin on classic brick-breaking gameplay in which players bust apart 3D environments, offers gamers new action with the release of the Magic Ball Booster Pack, featuring a whole new world to destroy. Players will be able to smash their way through 25 all-new magical, witch-themed levels, earning a series of new trophies along the way. Custom music support will also be made available via a free patch download.

•Cuboid, a mind-bending 3D puzzle game, will offer gamers three different options for add-on content. The Cuboid Booster Pack contains 33 new levels that will test even the best players' skills, rewarding gamers with new trophies. The Cuboid Level Editor allows players to become level designers and challenge others with their own custom levels. Players can either create a brand new level...
 

Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment Coming to PSN & XBLA

100°
283w ago - Konami has announced a third installment in its Vandal Hearts strategy RPG series, which hasn't seen a new release since the days of the original PlayStation.

Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment is being developed as a downloadable title for PSN and XBLA.

The game serves as a prequel to the original, with Konami promising an interface overhaul for the franchise, multiple endings and CPU-controlled party members who "adapt to the player's style of gameplay."

The game will hit Xbox Live arcade in August and PlayStation Network in September.
 

Rumor: Is NetFlix Coming to Sony's PS3 and the Nintendo Wii?

50°
283w ago - CNET (linked above) believes they have spotted a sign indicating that NetFlix is destined for sony's PS3 and the Nintendo Wii console.

A job posting denotes that the NetFlix team is looking for someone to to lead the gaming platforms team, to quote:

In case you're having trouble reading the job description above, here's the important part:

We are looking for a hands-on leader and innovator.​ We seek deep experience developing and testing media rich applications on current generation gaming consoles.​

Candidates will be technical, strong leaders, and execution focused.​ Expect to help build a small technology team to rapidly prototype and iterate on a variety of platforms.​

The key phrase is "a variety of platforms," which one would assume means both home and mobile gaming consoles. You could also throw the iPhone into the mix, though you'd have to stream via Wi-Fi, not a cellular connection, because AT&T has bandwidth restrictions on streaming video.
 
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