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New Line Details Transition to Blu-ray

362w ago - Confirming earlier reports that it would follow Warner to Blu-ray exclusivity, New Line says its first HD DVD title ('Pan's Labyrinth') will also be its last.

Though it was widely assumed that New Line (whose parent company is Time-Warner) would follow Warner Home Video's lead and continue to release on HD DVD through May 2008, a company rep tells us that New Line's move will go into immediate effect, with all of the studio's planned HD DVD releases now cancelled (including the HD DVD versions of current Blu-ray releases 'Hairspray' and 'Rush Hour 3,' which had previously been planned for HD DVD release sometime in early 2008).

As for 'Pan's Labyrinth,' which hit stores late last year as the first (and only) New Line HD DVD release, the studio says that once current retail supplies are depleted, the title will be discontinued -- making it an instant collector's item.

New Line says it's not planning to issue an official press release trumpeting the move, ending its short-lived HD DVD support with a relative whimper.

The studio also tells us they won't be revealing any new Blu-ray titles at CES, though they do plan to continue to support the format throughout 2008 with a variety of new release and catalog titles to be announced in the future.

Rumor: BioShock movie murmurs in Hollywood

362w ago - Digging through all the praise heaped upon BioShock, you're sure to scrape your nails across several repeated phrases such as "engaging," "gripping" and "atmospheric." Some have even said it's "pretty good."

The most common one, however, is sure to be "cinematic," a term that places BioShock and Hollywood in rather close proximity. A reliable source within a major film production company has told Joystiq that the two have been getting along famously, with a movie adaptation of 2K's successful franchise already being discussed by the Big Daddies internally.

The studio hopes to bring the fallen aquatic utopia of Rapture to celluloid life through extensive use of green screen technology, an approach not dissimilar to Legendary Pictures' interpretation of 300. If the computer generated approach is deemed feasible and fitting, the focus can then shift to capturing BioShock's secondary (and uninhabited) characters. While it's not guaranteed to move beyond these early stages, this project has our full support, if only so we can see M. Night Shyamalan's face when he gets out-twisted.

Of course, the potential film would do well to remember that while it's desirable for a game to share traits with cinema, the opposite situation will likely earn a thumbs down from most critics.

Conflict: Denied Ops Web site Launched

362w ago - The official Conflict: Denied Ops Web site is now live, offering new details about this first person shooter under development for the PC, PS3 and X360 and due to ship later this year.

Previously known as Crossfire, the game takes place in today's delicately balanced political climate, focusing on two covert field operatives, experts in weapons and military tactics.

Conflict: Denied Ops allows players the freedom to switch seamlessly, at any point, between these two operatives to lay down cover fire, explore different paths through levels, create a distraction or pin down the enemy under crossfire.

Microsoft stands behind HD DVD for Xbox 360

362w ago - Microsoft's director of global marketing for the Xbox 360, Albert Penello, told BetaNews this morning that the company will continue to push an HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360, but acknowledged the external nature would enable it to ship a Blu-ray drive if Sony's format became the new high-definition standard.

Penello also said that despite the rumors, Microsoft has never planned to ship an Xbox console with an integrated HD DVD drive, but the decision has nothing to do with the uncertainty in the format war. Because neither standard was finalized when the Xbox 360 shipped, Microsoft opted to use DVDs.

Changing that now could lead to confusion among consumers, Penello added, especially if game developers were to make use of the larger space on HD DVD discs. He admitted that Sony's inclusion of Blu-ray in the PlayStation 3 has helped that format, but said Microsoft's add-on HD DVD drive alone has outsold all standalone Blu-ray players combined.
Moreover, Penello noted that any customer who purchased the HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360 was doing so solely to watch movies, while only a comparatively small number of PS3 owners have been purchasing Blu-ray films.

While Warner Bros. decision to drop HD DVD and speculation that Paramount would follow suit clearly hindered the format, Penello said...

Sony's challenge for 2008: Take on software companies

362w ago - Sony has shored up the problems in its electronics, and will concentrate in 2008 on bringing more video content to its devices and improving its software, said CEO Sir Howard Stringer.

"We will see if we can enter the battle against the software companies. This is probably the year we need to demonstrate that," Stringer said during a meeting with reporters at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Monday morning.

One of the first examples of this strategy will be an expansion of the PlayStation Network. The network now is mostly used by gamers. Sony wants to turn it into a platform to deliver video, too. Sony will hold a press conference in two months to discuss changes to the PlayStation 3.

The world, of course, will wait and see. Consumers and analysts for the past several years have complained about the functionality of the software in Sony devices. The company, along with nearly everyone in the electronics industry, has also been trying to bridge the gap between the PC and the TV for years. But progress seems to be occurring across the industry. Microsoft says it has put nearly a million intelligent set-top boxes into homes, and Sharp and Samsung announced new TVs that serve up headlines and weather from Web sites.

Overall, Stringer seemed to be in an upbeat mood. A year...
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