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Rumor: white PS3 available in US this March

335w ago - According to rumors Circuit City has stopped receiving shipments of the current 40GB PS3/Spider-Man 3 bundle.

Instead they have been receiving shipments of boxes with the model number CECHH01 on the side, which is know to be the model number for the white PS3.

It is believed that once the Spider-Man 3 bundles sell out, then the white PS3 will be offered for the standard price of $399, which could be as early as this March.

Microsoft Forced Removal of Online Level Sharing in N+

335w ago - "N+," the game that produced Multiplayer's first Enemy of the Week, was always intended to let players upload custom levels for anyone to download, but Microsoft nixed the feature at the last second.

The decision was so last second, in fact, the version of "N+" available on Partnernet, a test version of Xbox Live that publishers and select media can access, actually includes this feature. We wondered why a small studio like Metanet Software would bother investing in such an ambitious feature if they had any suspicions it wouldn't make the cut.

They told us that up until a few months ago, they had every belief it would. We asked Microsoft to explain the late change, and they released this statement over email:

"We do not discuss our contracts with partners. Game development is a complex business; however, we work closely with developers and publishing partners on solutions for any development issues. Microsoft is committed to bringing the best games to Xbox 360."

The games developers, however, were willing to provide some details. "We were devastated to learn we couldn't include that functionality," said Metanet co-founder (and, thus, co-creator of the original "N") Mare Sheppard to us over e-mail. "It's a huge disappointment, and we had to settle for...

PSP outsells DS in Japan!

335w ago - Things are looking up for PSP in Sony's homeland, as it managed to nip ahead of DS in hardware sales figures for last week.

According to Media Create digits for the week ending February 24, Sony managed to sell 53,373 PSP units, knocking the 50,151-selling DS temporarily off its perch.

It seems the several sexy renditions of the PSP Slim and humanity's growing fascination with satellite navigation is working wonders for Sony's handheld.

Wii sales in the territory still dominate, with 63,504 topping the hardware list in the same week, while PS3 only managed 14,060. Poor 360 only grabbed the attention of 2001 customers.

It's great to see both portables selling well - if only it were the same for the console market out there.

Sony's first upgradable Blu-Ray deck

335w ago - There have been a lot of problems with Blu-Ray. The first players lacked network connections, and didn't have local storage, but the latest player solves both those problems, adding a full 1GB of storage and a wired Ethernet port.

The BDP-S550 also packs the latest BonusView technology, letting it show picture-in-picture features on the latest Blu-Ray discs.

There's also onboard decoding for HTS-HD High Resolution and Master Audio streams too, making it pump out 7.1 surround sound in better quality than any Sony box before it.

What's really got us excited, however, is the price. The BDP-S550 will go on sale for $500 in the US, and barring a huge price hike on this side of the pond, should end up being cheaper than a PS3.

That means film fans who want the goodness of Blu-Ray, and a truly future-proofed bit of kit can finally avoid parking a PS3 under the TV. Hallelujah, praise be to Sony!
Out "fall 2008" | £255 ($500)

New Details on 360 Failure Rates Report

335w ago - A few weeks ago we reported that warranty service SquareTrade had compiled its console system warranties to arrive at a 16.4% failure rate for Xbox 360 systems.

Today, we've got more details on the statistical breakdown. Put on your pocket protectors, kids: it's time for some math.

The actual breakdown is 171 claims out of sample size of 1040 purchased warranties.

The sample consisted mostly of Premium units, which taken on their own had a slightly higher 17% failure rate. As previously reported, 60% of the failures were the famed Red Ring, but various other types of errors rounded out the statistic, including disc read errors, video card failures, hard drive freezes, power issues, and disc tray malfunctions.

The new report does note that this only tracks up to 10 months after the warranty purchase, and once a longer period of time is given, the failure rate is likely to increase.

It's also worth pointing out that since Microsoft's Red Ring of Death warranty extension was introduced last July, some users may be going directly to the parent company instead.
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