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Games for Windows Live Now Free

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318w ago - Effective immediately, Microsoft has dropped the regular subscription-based Gold plan on its Games for Windows Live service, allowing PC gamers to play titles under the GFWL banner online with others completely free of charge.

The move includes titles that support cross-platform gameplay between the PC and Xbox 360, such as Lost Planet: Colonies and Universe at War.

Additionally, Microsoft plans to introduce a completely new marketplace interface for GFWL this fall, featuring a variety of both paid and free content, ranging from playable demos to downloadable content for existing games.

To quote: At the Gamefest 2008 event on Tuesday, Microsoft announced that all Games for Windows Live multiplayer features are now free. These features -- including multiplayer achievements, matchmaking, cross-platform play with the Xbox 360, GFW voice chat, and more -- previously required a GFW Live Gold account. The change is effective immediately and across all GFW titles, both past and future.
 

Live Demo: Valkyria Chronicles, PS3 Exclusive SRPG

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319w ago - Per Jeff Rubenstein (Social Media Manager) via PS Blog today: E3 may now be over, but the games shown off at the event will be a part of our lives throughout this holiday season and beyond. One title that will occupy the lives of PLAYSTATION 3 owners for hours upon hours this fall is Valkyria Chronicles. This PS3-exclusive strategy-JRPG from Sega (to clarify, NOT a PSP game), is utilizing the power of the console to push its dynamic and visually arresting Canvas Engine.

The graphics in Valkyria Chronicles appear similar to an animated watercolor painting, with a bit of the colored-pencil-sketch action seen A-ha's 1980's "Take On Me" video. As you'll see in the video below - it really works.





Speaking of the video, it features Sega Associate Producer Christopher Kaminski detailing the unique battle system found in Valkyria Chronicles - it completely takes the Strategy RPG genre "off the grid."

We'll have more on Valkyria Chronicles here on the PlayStation.Blog as we near its November release date.
 

PlayStation Video Download Store is Now Live!

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319w ago - The video download service is now live! It is accessible to all North American consumers through the PlayStation Store, either via PC or PlayStation 3. As mentioned previously, content purchased is fully portable, meaning you can playback these videos on both your PS3 and PSP.

Downloading will be not permitted outside the Authorized Term. In addition, once the Video Content has been downloaded from PSN, you will not be able to download it again for any reason without purchase of another copy.

On the rental side, you have 14 days to view the purchase and 24 hours to watch it after its first viewing.

For those who missed it, here is a PlayStation Video Store FAQ from earlier today:

What is the PS Video Store?

Available on the PS3, it allows you to choose over a variety of TV Shows and Movies to rent in either SD or High Definition. You can also purchase SD content to keep forever. Rentals last 14 days with a grace period of 24 hours once the content has started playing.

What systems can use it?

Available on the PS3, and also available to transfer directly to the PSP. You can also browse the store via PC for use on your PSP. Remote Play viewing is not available for downloaded content via Store purchases or rentals; the videos...
 

World of Warcraft Patch 2.4.3 Goes Live

50°
319w ago - Here are the full patch notes:

General
- Dispel effects will no longer attempt to remove effects that have 100% dispel resistance.
- Parry Rating, Defense Rating, and Block Rating: Low-level players will now convert these ratings into their corresponding defensive stats at the same rate as level 34 players.
- Haris Pilton has launched a new line of bags and jewelry. Check her out in the World's End Tavern!
- Mounts at 30?! Yes, it's true: Apprentice Riding and mounts are now available at level 30. Training costs 35 gold.
- Blood Elf flightmasters outside of Silvermoon City and Tranquillien have traded their bats in for glorious fire-breathing dragonhawks.
- Alcohol cooldowns have been rolled into Drinks: All 10-second cooldowns have been removed and replaced with the 1-second Drink cooldown.
- Numerous flying non-combat pets have had their flight height modified to no longer skim along the ground: captured firefly, dragonhawk hatchlings, moths, owls, parrots, phoenix hatchling, spirit of summer, sprite darter, and tiny sporebat.
- Nether Ray Fry (a non-combat pet) is now available from the Skyguard Quartermaster
- Equipping an item will now cancel any spell cast currently in progress.
- Placing an item in your bank will now cancel any spell cast...
 

How PlayStation Network can beat XBox Live

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320w ago - If you regularly browse any popular gaming site you'll have found it hard to avoid hype over the Firmware 2.4 update for the PlayStation 3. While every new update seems to generate unfathomable levels of interest over the smallest, most trivial new features, 2.40 actually appeared to be worth the excitement.

I still firmly believe that Sony gets off extremely lightly with regard to its online service, rolling out additional features and gaining press coverage for services that its rival Microsoft has given Xbox 360 (and even Xbox) owners for months, if not years.

Firmware 2.40 even caused a number of PS3s to cease working, yet the platform holder seemingly came out of the situation fairly unscathed. Those issues aside, PSN is finally becoming the service it should have been from day one, but how can it beat Xbox LIVE?

The biggest inclusion in Firmware 2.40 is support for Trophies, Sony's answer to Xbox's Achievements. Great on paper, but in reality it's nothing more than a novelty. At the time of writing only one game supports the trophy system, which is pretty shocking. Why not launch with support for all key Sony titles? Surely that should have been the bare minimum to expect.

More games will be added to the list over time, but most older titles won't be patched to include...
 
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