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Apple Wins the Blu-Ray Vs. HD-DVD War?

362w ago - Why wait to buy when you can download now?

While the MacBook Air was certainly the sex symbol of Steve Jobs's MacWorld keynote today, the product with the biggest impact may be the new Apple TV.

One of the big news items at last Week's CES was that Blu-ray appeared to have finally won the high-definition disc war. Well, it may have been a brief victory.

BD players are still pricey items, while Apple TV starts at just $229. And Blu-ray still lacks support from two major studios. Apple TV is starting small–with about 1000 films at its launch at the end of February. But all the major studios–Fox, Warner, Disney, Paramount, Universal and Sony (plus several minors)–have already signed on (ironic, since Sony Pictures' parent company created the Blu-ray format). If it catches on, it could grow very fast. Remember, Apple transformed the digital music download business and could very well do the same for movies.

Critics might point out Apple's so-so record selling TV content–especially with NBC pulling its content from the site. (Good thing I downloaded all those Battlestar Galactica episodes before that happened.) But TV is different from movies. The networks are in the business of broadcasting, whether it's over an antenna, cable, satellite or now the Web.

Top 10 Most Anticipated Non-sequels of 2008

362w ago - The year 2007 was an incredible year for the videogame industry. I'd even be willing to go out on a limb and say that it was one of the best ever. Our year-end awards here at GamerNode weren't decided over tea and crumb cakes - it was more like acid-edged blades and baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire. There were even horses, and a man on fire. Kyle killed a guy (but let's just keep that between us).

Needless to say, 2007 had many great games, but 2008 may very well be set to top it. As a matter of fact, this article started as a list of just about 30 titles. I can't begin to tell you how much difficulty I faced trying to narrow it down to only a third of that, but I probably would never have completed the task without setting some requirements.

1) Unless the game has been distinctly labeled as a 2008 release, it didn't make the cut (or else you know Resident Evil 5 would take the number one spot).

2) The second requirement was imposed late in the article-writing cycle, not only to make things easier on myself, but also because I thought it'd make for a more interesting, less predictable list of games. Original IP only; No sequels! That's right, there go all of my "safe" answers like Metal Gear Solid 4, Final Fantasy XIII, GTA IV, or Super Smash Bros Brawl. Not even Star Wars was exempt from...

Lost Odyssey downgraded

362w ago - Microsoft withholds content from those who refuse to pre-order, and has created an added incentive to pre-order Lost Odyssey: if you don't pre-order, you don't get the full game.

Customers who pre-order the game from participating retailers will get a special redemption card that will permit the download of two slivers of in-game content. Both are described as being "unavailable anywhere else."

The first is "'The Forgotten Song' (found in-game at Virno's Tavern in Uhra)" which apparently 'recalls a fresh reflection of a dream.' Considering the main character, Kaim, is an amnesiac, and a good deal of the game is about piecing together his past, this would suggest that a significant part of the story is being withheld from the non pre-ordering public.

The other bit of content is a "'Master's Secret Script' that grants the skill 'Weapon Guard 2.'" This defensive bonus is effectively a cheat code, making the game slightly easier, and thus more accessible to newcomers. Since it is the hard-core RPG fans that will be pre-ordering Lost Odyssey, this set of training wheels doesn't make a great deal of sense, either.

Lost Odyssey is from Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy. The game goes on sale across Australia on February 7. The Xbox...

Manufacturer attempts to minimize Warner Bros damage by halving some prices

362w ago - Toshiba has reacted strongly to last week's news that Warner Bros had defected to Sony's Blu-ray camp by cutting prices on its HD DVD players in the US by up to half.

According to a report on CNN Money the suggested retail price of its three standalone players will fall by as much as USD 200 - the HD-A3 falls from around USD 300 to USD 150, the HD-A30 drops from USD 400 to USD 200 while the HD-A35 goes from USD 500 to just USD 300.

The company already marketed one of HD DVD's key advantages as being cheaper than Blu-ray, and Toshiba is taking drastic action to keep its format in the next-generation DVD race.

Following Warner's decision Blu-ray now boasts five key players on its side of the divide, while Paramount and Universal support HD DVD.

Toshiba America's group vice president of digital audio and video explained: "While price is one of the consideration elements for the early adopter, it is a deal-breaker for the mainstream consumer."

The company also plans a lengthy advertising campaign to promote HD DVD on TV, print and online.

Wolfenstein movie director arrested following fatal crash

362w ago - The Return to Castle Wolfenstein film's road to release took a tragic turn over the weekend, when its writer and director was involved in a fatal auto accident. The Los Angeles Times reports that Roger Avary, 42, was arrested following a crash early Sunday morning outside a lumberyard. As a result of the accident, Avary's passenger, 34-year-old Andreas Zedini, was killed instantly while Avary's 40-year-old wife, Gretchen, was hurled from the back seat. She remains hospitalized with "serious" injuries.

According to a spokesperson for the Ventura County Sheriff's Department, Avary was booked at the Ventura County Jail before he was released on $50,000 bail. According to the Associated Press, he faces felony drunk driving and possibly manslaughter charges.

Sunday's crash marked dark chapter in Avary's bright career. He won an Academy Award in 1995 for cowriting the screenplay for Pulp Fiction, and most recently executive-produced and cowrote the script for Robert Zemeckis' computer-animated fantasy Beowulf. Games-wise, Avary also wrote the fairly well-received adaptation of Konami's Silent Hill series, directed by Christopher Gans. Return to Castle Wolfenstein had been set for a 2010 release following a delay stemming from the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike.
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