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Phantasy Star Offline, Xbox version goes dark in Japan

365w ago - Sega is finally pulling the plug on the Xbox version of Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II in Japan.

The last day online play will be available is January 31, 2008, five years after the initial launch date. When this happens Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst Episode IV will be the only version of original PSO that gamers in Japan can still play online.

Please note that this announcement is only for Japan. Sega has made no announcements about shutting down Xbox servers in other regions yet.

PlayStation Store Cards Already in the Wild!

366w ago - Any of you lot spot the new PSN cards in stores yet?

Aerfox has, as he's spotted them already for sale in stores on the US Army base in Aberdeen, Maryland. Early 2008 indeed.

Aerfox notes that the $20 cards are the only ones as yet on offer, and picked one up as a Christmas present for, well, we'll just presume himself.

Matsushita to introduce 150-inch plasma television

366w ago - Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. has developed a 150-inch plasma display TV panel--the world's largest, according to sources.

Matsushita, which is best known for its Panasonic brand, will introduce a prototype model of the television at the Consumer Electronics Show to be held next month in the United States. Commercial release is slated for 2009.

At present, in terms of commercially produced TVs, Matsushita's 103-inch plasma is the world's largest, behind Sharp Corp.'s prototype 108-inch liquid crystal TV.

The new 150-inch display, which is about two meters by about 3.5 meters, is big enough to display a full-scale adult. Retail price, which is undecided, is expected to greatly exceed the 103-inch model's 6 million yen price tag.

Midway resets for 2008

366w ago - Stumbling Chicago-based video game developer plans next-generation titles and Hollywood tie-ins in an effort to revive its business after years of lackluster performance

It's been another rough year for video game developer Midway Games, which stumbled into the holiday shopping season with delayed releases and lowered revenue forecasts. But Hollywood and a fresh sign of interest from its largest shareholder may help the Chicago-based gamemaker put 2007 behind it.

Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone owns a nearly 90 percent stake in Midway. The company hasn't posted an annual profit since 1999, and it had to cut third-quarter and full-year revenue forecasts in October because of shipping delays.

Yet, in spite of Midway's lackluster financial performance, Redstone expressed confidence in the company's ability to recover. The board of directors named his daughter, Shari Redstone, chairwoman. She was previously vice chair and is vice chair of Viacom and CBS.

Her election puts a higher-profile executive at the helm of the board and also appears to indicate that a feud with her father is dissipating, at least publicly. Over the summer, the Los Angeles Times reported Shari Redstone was displeased with her father's decision to buy Midway stock through National Amusements, the movie-theater...

Week in Video-Game News

366w ago - WORST OF 2007:

I got to play a lot of great games in 2007. But you can't eat filet mignon every night; sometimes all you're offered is broccoli. At least its' good for you, though – while the games on this list have no nutritional value whatsoever.

1. "Manhunt 2": Rockstar Games' strategy – offend the watchdogs, reap the publicity, then sell a substandard product – reached its nadir with this ugly, unplayable mess. It begins with a lunatic flinging human waste at you; after about an hour, you'll want to fling "Manhunt 2."

2. "Vampire Rain": You're part of an elite commando squad hunting vampires, but your high-tech weapons don't actually do any damage. Try to escape, and you're likely to run into an invisible wall. Why not just avoid the whole fiasco in the first place?

3. "Deal or No Deal": It couldn't be simpler. You pick one of 26 briefcases and gamble on whether it contains a lot of money. But the DS "Deal or No Deal" doesn't even get the gameplay right, and is even more sluggishly paced than the TV show. For $30, no deal.

4. "Lair": Sony lavished a lot of attention on this PlayStation 3 title, and it sure looks great. And who wouldn't want to fly a dragon? But with awkward, imprecise controls and lackluster, repetitive missions, "Lair" crashed and burned.
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