Fading Shadows announced for PSP

337w ago - Developer Ivolgamus has today announced details on a brand new puzzle title available exclusively for the PlayStation Portable; Fading Shadows.

Due for release in February 2008, Fading Shadows presents players with the task of ensuring the survival of a man named Erwyn, who's prophesied death will allow an evil being known only as Gardal to walk freely through the gates to the Castle of Heaven; an ancient establishment built to ensure the safety of the world against the forces of darkness.

Utilizing a powerful beam of light in conjunction with the very orb that houses Erwyn's soul, players must work their way through a series of missions by taking advantage of the orbs manipulative abilities, allowing you to change it into wood, metal or glass to overcome various obstacles.

Over 40 single player missions will be included along with a further 10 levels exclusive to multiplayer, as you explore locations including castles, abandoned cities, treacherous mountainous regions and swamps.

"Fading Shadows has been an exciting journey for us. We have concentrated on the detail in all areas of development and have received encouraging feedback from SONY at all the development milestones", commented Victoria Trofimova, Managing Director at Ivolgamus.

Stay tuned for more...

The PSP Comeback?

337w ago - With Nintendo's DS hogging the handheld spotlight, it's easy to overlook how the PSP is actually becoming more viable in the marketplace.

Sony's Playstation Portable has rocked somewhat on rough water since it was unveiled at E3 2004. It had to fight automatic skepticism from its birth; the immense popularity of the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance long ago solidified Nintendo as the King of the Handheld Market. Similar hardware from Sega, Atari, Nokia and Bandai have all been crushed in the past.

However, it quickly became evident that Sony was grooming its own entry to suit several different purposes. The PSP was not just for games. It could play music, movies, share photos and even let users surf the Internet on the go. Its Swiss Army-like functions and its sleek black casing gave off a decidedly "adult" vibe next to Nintendo's Game Boy Advance and awkwardly-designed DS. When the system hit North American shelves on March 24 2005, stock sold out in many stores. Sony announced in a press conference that 500,000 units had sold in two days, netting a record $150 million.

Today, though, buses and subways are filled with kids and adults pecking away at immensely popular Nintendo DS games like Brain Age, Pokemon and Nintendogs, whereas blockbuster PSP titles are fewer and far between. Has Sony's...

Analysis: The Weapons Nintendo Wields

337w ago - In a wide-ranging interview posted on the Nintendo web site recently, company executives offered investors a rare glimpse into the Japanese gaming giant's business strategy and future plans, discussing everything from Shigeru Miyamoto's recent hobbies to the chances that we'll see a DS phone any time soon.

But mostly, they talked about Nintendo's strengths in a global videogame marketplace they increasingly define. We wish they would have named it the Super Okay Fun-Time Party, but they called it the Corporate Management Policy Briefing instead. Despite the dry name, we read it anyway, and came away with some fascinating insights.

The interview was posted on the Nintendo site after the company's recent sales results conference (linked via Gamasutra), and contains five pages of Q&A.

Rather than ramble on, we'll pull out some of the more interesting bits and interpret them below. Maybe it's the Japanese-to-English translation, but Nintendo execs sure seem to use the word "weapon" a lot when discussing its business model...

What's a tie ratio, and why do I care?

In the videogame industry, tie ratio refers to the amount of software sold per console. For hardware developers and first-party publishers/developers...

Gaming Deals of the Week

337w ago - Are you a Canadian who was looking to purchase a new 40 GB PS3, but are little tight in the wallet from days spent on beer or women? Well look no further, because Dell is offering the console for $399.99. You must be reading this thinking "Where's the deal, isn't that the original price?"

Dell is offering it at that price, but it also includes Spider-Man 3 on Blu-Ray, Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (check out our review) and a Startech 6 ft. HDMI cable. Original price, yes, but it does come with the free game, movie, and cable- and you can't beat that.

Link: Dell PS3 Bundle

Forming the perfect Rock Band can be very difficult to say the least, but Electronic Arts is doing their part to make it easier on your wallet by offering the guitar, drums, and microphone bundle at $169.99. While that deal is nice, we have something even better.

Newegg.com will save you ten dollars more, as they have the Xbox 360 and PS3 bundles for just $159.99. Be aware that Rock Band doesn't come out for another couple weeks, but you can preorder it, and so far this is the best price we have seen for the bundle.

Link: Newegg Rockband

Blu-ray Profile 1.1 makes existing players obsolete?

337w ago - October 31, 2007 was the official end of the "grace period" for Blu-ray manufacturers, after which all players released must comply with the latest standard--Blu-ray Profile 1.1 (also known as Final Standard Profile and BD-Video Profile 1.1).

Of course, that doesn't mean Profile 1.0 Blu-ray players still can't be sold, and if you walk into your local electronics store over the next few months, you're likely to see both Profile 1.0 and Profile 1.1 Blu-ray players on the shelf. So what's the big difference between Profile 1.0 and Profile 1.1?

Profile 1.0 vs. 1.1
There are several different hardware requirements (see the chart below), but it basically boils down to picture-in-picture functionality. All Blu-ray players up until this point have been Profile 1.0 and have lacked the secondary video and audio decoders necessary to play a smaller video in the corner while also playing the main high-def movie in the background. With the notable exception of the PlayStation 3, Profile 1.0 players cannot be upgraded via firmware to become Profile 1.1 players.

Because Profile 1.0 players lacked this functionality, movie studios have understandably not included picture-in-picture functionality on any current Blu-ray disc. According to High-Def Digest, Fox has announced that it will release...

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