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40GB PS3 Ships With Improved DVD Playback

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355w ago - Spanish gaming site MeriStation have published an interview with James Armstrong, who's CEO of Sony Spain. While chatting, Armstrong revealed that the new 40GB PS3 (hitting stores as you read this) will ship with updated firmware which will improve the PS3's DVD playback quality. I thought it was already pretty damn good, but hey, improvements are always swell.
 

New (And Free) Downloadable Content Coming For Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

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355w ago - Bethesda Softworks sent over a note announced they will release their last downloadable content extra for 2006's fantasy RPG The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The download, titled Fighter's Stronghold, will launch on Oct. 15 for both the PC and Xbox 360 versions and for the first week will be free to download. Here is a snip.

Defeat the attacking marauders and become lord of Battlehorn Castle. Located in the Colovian Highlands west of Chorrol, this expansive castle will allow you to live the life of a noble warrior, with private quarters, grand dining hall, wine cellar, barracks, training room and more. And what castle would be complete without a few hidden passages and dark secrets?

Features:

A fully detailed castle for you to explore
Knights of the True Horn patrol the castle and do your bidding
Secret treasure vault
Upgrade the furnishings in every area of the castle
Hire a vintner to create special wines to enhance your fighting abilities
Hire a combat trainer to spar with
Hire a taxidermist to craft lifelike trophies for your great hall
Purchase an ancient Dwemer Forge that buffs your Armorer skill

On the Bethsoft blog site, PR head Pete Hines talks about the possible way they will bring the downloadable content to the PS3 version:
 

BioShock, Halo 3 not "next-gen"

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355w ago - He was speaking exclusively to Eurogamer about his new project The Outsider, which he still believes will be one of the first proper examples of fifth generation gaming on the market.

"I loved the 1930s-1950s atmosphere of BioShock: the lovely Art Deco visuals and the audio that worked especially well," Braben told us. "Overall the whole game was beautifully executed, but the gameplay itself was not 'next-gen'."

"I found Halo 3 great fun, too, but also a little disappointing - as although there were a few nice touches and improved graphical fidelity, it hadn't really moved on much from Halo 2 in terms of the gameplay.

"So to answer your question, if anything I am reassured; I think Outsider more than stands up to them, and I still think Outsider will be one of the first 'next-gen' games," he added.

The Outsider was announced back in 2005 as a game that would bring around the same sort of freedom as Braben's other famous creation, Elite. For him, a next-gen game means giving you the tools to change the outcome of a story much more dynamically than by choosing good or evil paths - something only the new consoles have the grunt to deliver.

The Outsider is a high-tech thriller that pops you in the shoes of an Elite CIA agent made public enemy number one at the outset of...
 

Xbox 360 secrets: After Falcon comes Jasper

50°
355w ago - Microsoft didn't want you to know about Falcon, and it certainly doesn't want you to know about its successor Jasper. But that's another secret we have to unveil.

Jasper is the code name for the next motherboard for the Xbox 360. It will becoming next August, in time for next year's holiday season. Jasper is going to have a 65-nanometer graphics chip from ATI Technologies, as well as smaller memory chips. That isn't much information, but it's enough to tell us about their cost-reduction plan. If you ask me, it's a bit of a slow pace.

I don't know why it will take Microsoft essentially three years to cost reduce the size of the graphics chip through a manufacturing shrink. It doesn't seem like they're in a hurry to launch a redesigned Xbox 360 graphics chip, considering that Intel introduced its first 65-nm chips a long time ago. ATI uses TSMC to make its chips out of Taiwan, and TSMC hasn't been the fastest at moving to 65-nm manufacturing. I understand these tasks are difficult and they take a lot of engineering resources. Microsoft has had to divert a lot of engineers to debugging problems with Xbox 360 reliability. Even so, you would think that they would have moved faster, since the move to 65-nm graphics chip will likely be one of the best things they can do to improve the reliability.
 

Sony BMG's chief anti-piracy lawyer: "Copying" music you own is "stealing"

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355w ago - Duluth, Minnesota – Testimony today in Capitol Records, et al v. Jammie Thomas quickly and inadvertently turned to the topic of fair use when Jennifer Pariser, the head of litigation for Sony BMG, was called to the stand to testify. Pariser said that file-sharing is extremely damaging to the music industry and that record labels are particularly affected. In doing so, she advocated a view of copyright that would turn many honest people into thieves.

Pariser noted that music labels make no money on touring, radio, or merchandise, which leaves the company particularly exposed to the negative effects of file-sharing. "It's my personal belief that Sony BMG is half the size now as it was in 2000," she said, thanks to piracy. In Pariser's view, "when people steal, when they take music without compensation, we are harmed."

Pariser has a very broad definition of "stealing." When questioned by Richard Gabriel, lead counsel for the record labels, Pariser suggested that what millions of music fans do is actually theft. The dirty deed? Ripping your own CDs or downloading songs you already own.

Gabriel asked if it was wrong for consumers to make copies of music which they have purchased, even just one copy. Pariser replied, "When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say...
 
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