Sony Computer Entertainment has announced the latest slate of Playstation 2 and PSP games that will no longer have support for online connectivity. In total, 14 titles published by Sony will have their online operations shut down by the end of June, including a couple that were made exclusively for online play.
In a surprising move, Microsoft has released a new firmware update for the Xbox 360 HD DVD player, which will automatically download the next time users watch an HD DVD movie. The new update includes "compatibility improvements" for specific HD DVD titles as well as "additional support for network features," according to a post by Xbox Live's Larry Hryb in his official blog.
Sony has released details for the next firmware update to its handheld PSP system, bringing more functionality to the Playstation 3 "remote play" feature and also more customization for playback of Playstation 1 games. According to a post on the official Playstation blog, PSP firmware 3.95 will include the ability to customize the button mapping for playing PSone games purchased from the digital download Playstation Store.
Turning the typical argument on its head, a new study has found that playing violent video games makes people more relaxed instead of increasing their aggression levels. The study looked at 292 World of Warcraft players from the ages of 12 and 83, and concluded that they were more likely to feel calm after enduring some intense action with the online game than have increased anger or aggression.
Last week was a blockbuster week for the PSP in Japan, as it sold more units than the Nintendo DS, Wii, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 combined. During the week ending March 30, a total of 129,986 PSP units were sold, according to market researcher Media Create. That was a huge jump from the previous week, when PSP sales were just under 60,000 units.
Nintendo has set aside $40 million for the marketing and launch campaign for Wii Fit, a unique video game that aims to bring physical fitness to Nintendo's home console. In Japan, where Wii Fit was launched late last year, it has become one of the fastest-selling Wii titles to date. It has gained worldwide attention and is one of the most anticipated US Wii titles of 2008.
In 2006, a teenage girl was nearly killed when her home was set on fire, which was later blamed on faulty wiring in the family's Xbox. Now the main lawyer in the case is offering Microsoft an ultimatum - agree to a settlement of $25 million or he will have Bill Gates testify on whether or not Microsoft was aware of the problems in advance.
Sales of the Playstaion 3 were up 73% during Easter week and the Xbox 360 shot up 78%. It's been a close race between the two contenders all year, and according to industry tracking ChartTrack they're in a virtual deadlock for 2008. During the same time, Wii sales went up 37%, the DS climbed 32% and Sony's handheld PSP system saw a 10% boost.
Rockstar announced today that it plans to launch a new website called "Social Club" that will allow users to connect and share content in an environment centered around the upcoming Grand Theft Auto IV. Social Club will later be expanded to include communities for other Rockstar games, but the initial features will be things like a dynamic map that shows where all registered users are, online leaderboards, and a GTA IV hall of fame.
Sony has issued a statement warning Playstation 3 users that a "small percentage" of online accounts may have been compromised due to an attack on the database that allowed a hacker to change user passwords. Sony said it is directly contacting individual users who are believed to have been affected. According to the statement, immediate measures were taken to fix the vulnerability manipulated by the hacker.
The board of directors at Take Two Interactive has officially rejected the $2 billion takeover bid from Electronic Arts, saying it undervalued the company and is not the right time to consider such an acquisition. EA offered Take Two $26 per share earlier this month, offering a premium of more than 10% of the stock price at the time. That began a series of trepidations between the two companies.
Best Buy is apparently aiming for a quick transition to Blu-ray, as a
reader has informed us that select Best Buy stores have begun get rid
of their HD DVD movies with massive price cuts. Other Best Buy stores
apparently are not even trying to sell HD DVDs anymore and are sending
the movies back to publishers.
In an effort to turn around a declining music business, Sony-BMG is
currently in discussions to offer a flatrate-based music download
service. In an interview with a German newspaper, CEO Rolf
Schmidt-Holtz mentioned that such a service could debut this year for a
price between $9 and $12 per month.