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Grand Theft Auto IV has framerate and other issues!

50°
349w ago - If -- for the purposes of the standard preview preamble -- we were to liken the Grand Theft Auto series to the U.S. primary education system, it breaks down quite conveniently. So what the heck, let's do it:

GTA, GTA 2, and its London expansion are like elementary school: They're fun, but in retrospect they're simple -- an opportunity to learn the basics, discover new ideas, and make new friends.

GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas are the high school years. Emerging from a game-development puberty, awkward motor skills and imperfect appearances are matched with a rebellious mindset as well as that endearing brand of adolescent immaturity that generates quite a bunch of fun...when it's not getting you into trouble with the authorities. Popularity is paramount; you start dating, and are even concerned about what you wear.

But then someone asks you the question: "Where are you going after high school?"

An older and wiser Rockstar is going to Liberty City. We've finished Grand Theft Auto IV, and without spoiling our upcoming set of reviews in Electronic Gaming Monthly and here on 1UP, the game truly serves as a commencement ceremony for the series. While we wait for the slow passage of time between now and the game's release, here's a quick orientation for when it arrives:
 

How 2008 will define the Wii, 360, and PS3 Generation

50°
352w ago - Each generation of consoles has made an advance in gaming unlike any other. For the N64/PS1 generation, it was the jump to 3D; for the Xbox/PS2/GC generation, it was online gameplay and sandbox games. But what about now?

Aside from prettier graphics, micro-transactions, and (arguably) motion control, what has defined this generation of consoles? The answer: nothing. Yet.

This year, however, that's going to change. 2008 will go down in gaming history as the year of user-created content's rise to prominence, with XNA and LittleBigPlanet leading the charge.

XNA was actually touted before the Xbox 360 had even made its star-studded debut on MTV. But regardless of its apparent age, the idea behind XNA has always been the same.

Through it, Microsoft wants to provide budding game designers and hobbyists with a method to realize their dreams. And now, with Microsoft's announcement that XNA-developed games will appear on Xbox Live for even the lowliest of gamers to play, XNA's true potential is beginning to show through.

LittleBigPlanet appears, at first blush, to be a traditional-style game. But first glances can be deceptive. The player guides a hilariously (googley-eyes are merely the beginning) customizable "sack-boy" through 2.5D platforming-focused stages. After a...
 

Koller: Ten Year Lifecycle For PSP, Future Iterations Possible

50°
352w ago - The PS2, released to market in 2000, is still going strong. After all, Sony promised they would support the console for at least ten years, and they've definitely kept true to that promise thus far. The company plans to support its handheld gaming device, the PSP, for just as long, according to marketing head John Koller:

We look at it just like our console business being a 10 year cycle, but we do see iterations as we go along to really adjust to the market.

What we've done is the 2000 series adjusted to the market in terms of making it more portable. What we're seeing now, at least in the near- to mid-term, is going to be firmware updates that add features and other functions that the consumer's asked for.

Not surprising one bit as the PSP still has much untapped potential, which will undoubtedly be further exploited by firmware upgrades and the like. What's interesting, though, is Koller mentioning that we may see future iterations of the handheld. Time will tell...
 

PS3 Firmware 2.20 brings BD-Live Interactive Blu-ray this month!

500°
353w ago - According to the bods over at Engadget, the Blu-ray 2.0 spec (or BD-Live) is just days from launch. Sony just announced that the next PlayStation 3 Firmware updated -- v2.20 -- will add the new interactive features to your PS3.

As such, PS3 owners should expect downloadable video content, ringtones, interactive movie-based games, and the always intriguing "more" when the software is released in "late March." In other words, in the next 11 days. The update will also allow you to copy photos and music playlists over USB from your PS3 to your PSP. The rest of the new features after the break.

-- "Resume play" will enable PS3 system to start playing a Blu-ray disc
and DVD at the point it was stopped, even if the disc had been
removed.(*1)
-- "Audio Output Device" will be a new Remote Play setting, enabling PSP
to serve as a remote control for music played through PS3.
-- PS3 system's Internet browser will be enhanced: Video files directly
linked from a Web page will be able to be streamed, and the browser's
view speed will be improved.
-- DivX and WMV format videos that are larger than 2GB will be playable.
-- "Mosquito Noise Reduction" will be added as an AV setting in the
control panel of the DVD/BD player for improved movie playback.(*2)
 

Blu-ray to accelerate PS3 sales, PS3 price cut by years end?

50°
363w ago - Analysts believe the Warner exclusive Blu-ray news is good for the PS3 and that Blu-rays success will lead to an acceleration of PS3 sales. Around 70 -80% of PS2 owners used the console as their first DVD player and the same could be true of PS3/Blu-ray.

Michael Pachter believes that this year HDTV penetration will cross 50% of households and thats when Blu-ray will become more relevant, and Sony will likely cut the price of the PS3. However others believe that exclusive games are the most important factor and Blu-ray is not a main concern.

To quote: Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan Securities thinks it's an important win, but the real impact won't be felt for some time since 1080p HDTV penetration is still fairly low. He does believe, however, that by the end of this year we'll start seeing a spike and that Sony will likely cut the price on PS3 by then as well.

Blu-ray has clearly gained momentum, and the upper hand, and the Warner announcement also provides a boost to the format, as well as for the advocates of Blu-ray as a standard. That said, locking up the suppliers of content and hardware manufacturers is only part of the equation. Consumers also must decide that they need a Blu-ray player, which seems more and more likely as prices decline," he said.

"As for the...
 
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