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Confirmed: PlayStation Home Open Beta Launches Thursday

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306w ago - Talk about down to the wire, what I speculated yesterday might happen in weeks if not days is in fact happening tomorrow.

When you turn on your PlayStation 3 consoles on Thursday, you'll have the option to freely download the 3GB PlayStation Home client, dash off an avatar, then dip your toes into Sony's shiny, neo-industrial digital preserve.

So much for speculation by some that the way you get the client "isn't going to be via a mere firmware update or PlayStation Store download."

Nearly two years of work's gone into creating this collage of areas which include bowling alleys, shops, nightclubs, billboards, a central plaza, and bars with game themes like Far Cry 2 and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.

There's quite a lot to do, too. You can dance, play pool, chat, collect trophies, hang those trophies on virtual walls, watch videos, dance in front of other people watching videos, be sociable or socially awkward, even launch flying saucers from take-off pads and fly around popping bubbles.

If it sounds surreal, it kind of is. There's even a communal jukebox angle where the most requested song is what plays for everyone. (I don't know about you, but I'm voting for Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.")

Some see this as resembling Second Life, except the...
 

Nintendo Launches North American Club Nintendo Site

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307w ago - Nintendo has launched the official Web site for the North American version of their Club Nintendo promotional service, where gamers can earn bonuses by buying and registering Nintendo games and products.

Unfortunately, there's really nothing to see on the site right now, other than a promise that the service is "coming soon," and a few new details on how it'll actually work. Observe:

* Earn Coins for registering Nintendo products and completing surveys
* Redeem Coins for limited edition Rewards
* Earn a set amount of Coins each year to gain Gold and Platinum status
* Create a Family Account and invite members of your family to join
* Register your newly purchased Wii console or Nintendo DS on Club Nintendo and extend your warranty

It all sounds very similar to the Club Nintendo services that Japanese and European gamers have been privy to for years, so it's about time North American gamers were let in on the fun. No mention has been made about what the rewards will be, but a recent ESRB rating revealed that the Game & Watch Collection for the DS -- a Club Nintendo exclusive in Japan -- will be released in the U.S. soon.

Nintendo announced their intentions to bring Club Nintendo to North America at a press conference back...
 

AOL Launches PlaySavvy.com to Help Parents Buy Kids Games

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308w ago - AOL announced the launch of AOL PlaySavvy.com, a new site that targets parents of children ages 5-17 and helps them decipher the world of games, both PC and console.

PlaySavvy also helps parents stay aware of their kids' entertainment choices including assisting them in making informed decisions about buying games for their children.

Press Release: AOL Launches PlaySavvy.com

The PlaySavvy.com launch is a continuation of AOL's overall programming goal to offer consumers interactive and engaging experiences with relevant sites that target people's passion points.

This year, AOL launched several targeted sites including ParentDish.com, http://www.parentdish.com, Lemondrop.com, http://www.lemondrop.com, WalletPop.com, http://www.walletpop.com, and Holidash.com, http://www.holidash.com.

"Playing video games is one of the top pastimes for children these days, almost more than watching TV. We created AOL PlaySavvy to help parents navigate through all the gaming information out there in order to decide what's appropriate for their children," said Libe Goad, Editor-in-Chief, AOL PlaySavvy. "In addition, PlaySavvy provides advertisers the opportunity to reach this targeted user base by creating appealing campaigns around the...
 

XBox.com Launches Holiday Value Finder

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309w ago - Courtesy of Microsoft's Major Nelson (linked above) today:

Looking for a way to tell those in your life that you want an Xbox 360 for the Holilday? Xbox.com has posted their Holiday Value Finder Guide.

Scroll down and hit the Start Convincing button to answer some questions (Mad Libs style) and the website will kick out a personalized PDF (pictured below is a sample) that you can sent to that special someone in your life to let them know what is on your list this season.

Enjoy guys!
 

New Urban PSP Ad Campaign Launches

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309w ago - Sony's Director of Hardware Marketing John Koller announced via PS Blog today the following:

I wanted to give you some details on the two PSP ad campaigns that also kicked off recently. One campaign focuses on the new PSP-3000 and the other on the big games that are available this holiday season (or coming soon after), including Resistance: Retribution, God of War: Chains of Olympus, Madden NFL '09 and more favorites.

This campaign is one of my favorites because not only does it gives a nod to the awesome 'POV' TV spot that we aired when the PSP first launched back in March 2005, but it places the PSP within a colorful and diverse blur of urban activity. As someone who spends a lot of time in San Francisco and travels the country often, I see the way that people in different cities use their PSPs and I think we've captured that in a fun and interesting way.





The TV spots are fast-moving, 15-second snapshots of the PSP within several large cities, with local or regional musicians contributing their tracks to the spots. With the PSP, everywhere really does get better. Here are three of the spots, including a sneak peak into the TV spot for Chicago, which will start airing next week.

Taking the urban theme even further, we were...
 
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