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GDC 2008: LucasArts prioritizing PS3, unleashing Force!

339w ago - Star Wars studio's "new baseline" will be Sony's console; Force Unleashed publicly demoed for first time by publisher--which almost made KOTOR3 instead.

In recent months, the PlayStation 3 versions of many multiplatform games have been released after their Xbox 360 counterparts--or canceled outright. Others, like Grand Theft Auto IV, have seen both versions delayed because, having optimized the game first on the 360, the developers encountered difficulties with the PS3 edition.

This week at the 2008 Game Developers Conference, a major studio laid bare the pitfalls of cross-platform development on the current crop of consoles--and talked about how it plans to deal with it in the future. In an expansive and informative lecture, Haden Blackman, project lead for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, discussed which platform the company's "built from scratch" development team began work on in 2005.

"Multiplatform development was one of our biggest challenges," he told the jam-packed hall in the basement of the Moscone Center. After George Lucas famously urged the studio to "go build that game" upon seeing the first test reels from TFU, they began work straight away on Xbox 360 dev kits in late summer 2005--because that was all the studio had.

"It took a very long time for us to reach a...

PSP Custom Firmware Extender 2.1 Plug-In released!

339w ago - Update: Cpasjuste has released PSP CFW Extender 2.2, fixing a bug that prevented the music playback function from working. If your PSP still freezes up while loading the music menu, the author recommends installing the FATMS driver patch.

Cpasjuste has updated his Custom Firmware Extender plug-in, which allows users to take screenshots in the XMB (or while playing a UMD game), record in-game videos, as well as access USB mass storage and other various features.

Download: PSP Custom Firmware Extender 2.1

Version 2.1 is a minor update, adding music playback based on music.prx. Do note, however, that the newly added music playback function has been tested in Custom Firmware 3.90 M33 only.

Additionally, the plug-in configuration file is now routinely backed up and restored when switching between firmwares with TimeMachine.


- Added music playback based on music.prx by joek2100. (only tested under 3.90fw), default combo button for the music menu is NOTE+SQUARE.

The WiiSaber Has A Challenger

339w ago - For those who hadn't heard, the Wiimote is SO holiday season '06 and '07. Here's a clip from the guys who want to make your next Wiimote...or PS4mote...or Xbox 720mote. A system that allows for 6 degrees of movement (X, Y, Z, Yaw, Pitch and Roll), this InterSense technology may be spec'd identically to the Wiimote, but it works a lot better (as tested with lightsaber battle).

Even playing this admittedly buggy tech demo of a light saber battle, we were impressed by the responsiveness of the controller. Maybe it was the audio tracking technology (think sonar as opposed to IR) or maybe it was the fact that 3/4 of the television's frame was covered in receivers (as opposed to the Wii's tiny "sensor bar").

Don't expect to see this as a PC peripheral...ever. They're aiming for large contracts (like a console manufacturer) and commercial applications only.

Video can be seen here!

Sony sees easing of PS3 price pressure

339w ago - Recent strong sales of higher-priced PlayStation 3 models may be an indication that Sony Corp (6758.T: Quote, Profile, Research) does not need to cut prices of the flagship video game console soon, a U.S. executive said on Thursday.

When Sony lowered U.S. prices of the PlayStation 3 last November, it was surprised to see that consumers bought as many $500 models as $400 models, said Scott Steinberg, vice president of product marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment America.

"So we're seeing that the hard-core gamer is not afraid to throw another $100 at the PlayStation 3 because the value proposition is so rich," Steinberg told Reuters in an interview.

The main difference between the two models is that the $500 version has an 80-gigabyte hard drive, double that of the cheaper model.

"We're still in the phase of studying what this means for the potential roadmap for the year," Steinberg said.

Asked if that meant the pricing pressure posited by many analysts had not materialized, Steinberg said. "It's leading us to think so."

Sales of the PS3 lagged those of Nintendo Co Ltd's (7974.OS: Quote, Profile, Research) Wii and Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) Xbox 360 last year, with many analysts citing its higher price and lack of must-have...

All Hollywood studios now lined up behind Blu-Ray

339w ago - All six major Hollywood studios are now in the Blu-ray DVD camp, a day after Toshiba pulled the plug on HD DVD and Blu-ray became effectively the only next-generation game in town.

Paramount Home Entertainment quietly came onboard via a statement issued Wednesday to The Hollywood Reporter: "We are pleased that the industry is moving to a single high-definition format, as we believe it is in the best interest of the consumer," the statement read. "As we look to (begin) releasing our titles on Blu-ray, we will monitor consumer adoption and determine our release plans accordingly."

No further details were given.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment, in contrast, cast its lot with Blu-ray within hours of Toshiba's announcement Tuesday morning that it was ending the format war by ceasing the development, manufacture and marketing of HD DVD players by the end of March.

Janet Murray, director of Georgia Tech's masters and Ph.D. program in digital media, said a single format supported by all six major studios has a much better chance of success than two rival ones that each take only a chunk of Hollywood.

"It's a big victory for the consumer," she said.

Now that the studios are no longer battling each other over which format is best, Murray said, they can focus...
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