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Hands-On With PS3 Blu-ray Profile 1.1 and Resident Evil: Extinction

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345w ago - This past Tuesday, Sony released the latest Playstation 3 firmware upgrade highlighted by much-coveted Blu-ray Profile 1.1. Rushing to download the firmware isn't of much use until January 1 when the first Profile 1.1 Blu-ray Discs arrive in stores. That is, unless you get one of the discs early. Which is exactly what we did with Resident Evil: Extinction.

I was a bit stressed for time last night so providing a full review of Resident Evil: Extinction is still a couple days off. I did watch the film, and it looks and sounds fantastic, as expected. But I was most interested in how the picture-in-picture Profile 1.1 functionality would work, both in terms of how it was presented and how Playstation 3 handled it.

Activating picture-in-picture on Resident Evil: Extinction is identical to turning on a commentary track; you simply click it on in the special features and then fire up the movie. The actual picture-in-picture window will appear intermittently in any one of the four screen corners displaying either sketches or full video and audio.

Unfortunately I don't think Sony took full advantage of the two separate audio and video streams. If they did, then they need to include an instruction manual in the future because I couldn't figure it out.

When the picture-in-picture turns...
 

Sony Gift: Free PS3 With Every Full-HD Bravia

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345w ago - Update: This news article relates only to Australia. Though there are similar offers in other different regions.

Following their Bravia full-HD purchase, consumers should visit www.sony.com.au/bonusPS3 to register their purchase for redemption.

Sony is spruiking PlayStation 3 consoles with every Bravia full-HD 1080 LCD TV model bought between 21 December and 28 January, as part of a marketing campaign to encourage users to make the switch to HD.

The offer applies to current XBR, X and W series Bravia models, with a 40GB PS3 thrown in for added support - the PS3's Blu-ray Disc player works seamlessly with the full-HD panels.

"Our Full HD BRAVIA range shows the phenomenal detail possible with high definition, and what better way to experience this than through the Blu-ray-enabled PS3," said Sony Australia senior product manager, Graham Keogh.

"Sony is as much about content as we are about hardware. Now, consumers will get the best of both worlds with this Full High Definition combination."
 

GTA IV Release Date and Price Announced?

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345w ago - It's the biggest game of the year, we all know it, and it could even be the biggest game of all time if what we have seen is anything to go by. We already knew that the game was coming out sometime between Feb and April 2008 and we had banked on Easter being the more likely target date in that period. You know, given the holidays and all. But perhaps we were wrong.

Local Australian online games retailer Games Warehouse has not only gone live with a date, but also a price for both the standard and special editions of the game. According to them, both versions of the game on both formats will launch on March 15th, with the standard version at AU$108.95, and the special edition for AU$149.95. Interestingly the standard edition is set for AU$119.95 on PS3! What the...?

The special edition will be presented in a metal safety deposit box and will include; the game, a book featuring exclusive artwork, selected soundtrack CD including "new material from top artists", an exclusive Rockstar keychain for the safety deposit box and a limited edition Rockstar duffel bag. Pretty rad!

Officially there is no word from Rockstar or Take-2 on the matter. Could this be a case of a retailer jumping the gun and going out with the info early? Or is it simply a retailer taking a punt in the hope of luring some...
 

Holiday Folklore Expansion

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345w ago - Eric Fong, Folklore Associate Producer, announced on the official PlayStation Blog that a holiday-themed expansion pack will be available this week for download from the PlayStation Network. That may sound quite appealing, but the news gets even better: the pack is free!

Downloading the expansion will get you two new costumes for Ellen and Keats, both of which are intensely spirited to say the least. Keats will also have a new quest to participate in which has been titled "Holy Night Visitor." To top things off, a new Folk can also be collected. Known as "Grab Bag," this rather ferocious gift monster will clearly aid our heroes in battle.

For more information, head over to Fong's blog post and check back soon for more updates.
 

NPD Fallout: Rock Band Proves its Worth

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345w ago - Over 350,000 copies at $170 a pop is impressive, but critical mistakes cost them more.

No one expected Rock Band to outsell Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock this holiday season. Guitar Hero is one of the most powerful franchises in gaming right now -- period. In fact, if Rock Band sold at all it'd be a triumphant feat for the new music IP, Harmonix and MTV.
Only the hardcore are even aware Harmonix was behind Rock Band (and once Guitar Hero), so while their involvement was encouraging, it was hardly relevant to the end game. And while the $170 price tag is actually cheap given the value inside -- game, guitar, drum, microphone -- the lack of individual peripherals meant that was the only way to join in on the fun, unless you were lucky enough to realize the Guitar Hero controllers work on Xbox 360. Unless you read gaming websites, you probably didn't -- or, perhaps, wrongly assumed it did on PlayStation 3.

As it turned out, Rock Band performed surprisingly well in its first few weeks on the market, according to the NPD Group, selling 296,000 copies on Xbox 360 and 68,500 copies on PS3, making for 364,500 copies combined.

The franchise's public image has taken a hit due to the incredible frequency at which the guitars have been breaking, but Electronic Arts' typically fast and courteous...
 
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