QuickJump QuickPeek 24: Of redefined PSP mods, the new Umbrella Corp IRL, and Transformers transforming the format wars

QuickJump QuickPeek 24 - Image 1(Editor’s Note: What with controversies last week, the gaming industry’s Batmobile might’ve lost its wheel – while the Joker got away – but that doesn’t mean this sleigh ride will be stopping any time soon.)

G’day Christmas shoppers! This week in the gaming industry, we get to see the birth of a new umbrella corporation (sans the bio-engineered zombies) and a whole slew of issues to settle. QuickJump QuickPeek 24 is here to pop open a bottle of eggnog and more updates!

QuickJump QuickPeek 24 - Image 1

(Editor’s Note: Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh, last week’s QuickPeek already gave you a primer of what to expect this holiday season. Yeah, the gaming industry’s Batmobile might’ve lost its wheel – while the Joker got away – but hey!, that doesn’t mean this sleigh ride will be stopping any time soon.)

G’day Christmas shoppers (and Christmas wishing-to-have-money-to-spend shoppers)! Last week marked the start of QJ.NET giving back to the ever so helpful tipsters for all the interesting and sometimes news breaking items they’ve given us. Another warm thanks to all of you.

This week in the gaming industry, we get to see further development on last week’s GameSpot-Gerstmann controversy as well as some big news involving the birth of the world’s largest pure-play online and console games publisher to date.

Likewise, each console and platform has some interesting news to stuff into Santa’s big toy sack. At the rate that these news items are going, we just hope that there won’t be any bottlenecks down the chimney as we approach Christmas.

Here we go! QuickJump QuickPeek 24 popping up a bottle of eggnog…

QuickJump QuickPeek 24: PSP - PlayStation 3 - Image 1

PSP: [cue Wild Arms intro music]

Gamers who feel a certain twang strumming in their hearts at the prospect of getting to see the Wild Arms intro once again will be glad to hear that the game is now available for download onto your PSP via the PlayStation Store PC.

Part of this week’s update on the online PSN incarnation accessible even without a PS3 also includes Beats as a full downloadable game. There are more videos and free PSP wallpapers to check out too.

Link: PlayStation Store US releases Beats, other PSP, PS3 downloadables

SCEA’s Eric Lempel was kind enough to confirm the future of their PSP and PS3 platforms with a couple more firmware updates already lined up for the coming year. In fact, we might just catch one last update before the end of 2007.

As for next year, Lempel understands that some users might be annoyed with having to update their system practically every time they turn them on. To address this concern, Lempel said that they’re “trying to certainly cut down on the amount of times we [release firmware updates].”

Link: SCEA’s Eric Lempel: more PSP, PS3 firmware updates coming

Mapthis! coder Deniska‘s been successful in porting one classic shooter that some of us may hold dear to our hearts. In fact, Deniska’s been progressing with the Tyrian port quite well in that he’s already released it to the public (we already have two versions of it even)!

The PSP port of the PC title, Deniska’s release dubbed as OpenTyrian, takes us back to the 1995 space shooter, now released under an open license. The recent v0.6 patch requires the original 0.5 release EBOOT.PBP to be installed, so make sure you have it.

Link: OpenTyrian PSP v0.5
Link: OpenTyrian v0.6 patch release – bug fixes, video improvements

We also got some updates on a fairly popular PSP homebrew game – PSP Quake. But to call this as an update to the PSP Quake game could be a bit too limiting because the code has been overhauled to include some interesting tweaks.

Primarily, “interesting tweaks” here even calls for a new name of the homebrew: PSP Halo. This iteration of PSP Quake incorporates modifications and additions to give it a Halo twist. Better graphics, bug fixes, and new icons and maps – HUGE maps, as the changelog suggests.

Link: PSP Halo update: a Halo mod for PSP Quake

What someone would arguably call the hardware counterpart of the homebrew community, the PSP modding scene has played host to yet another feat. F00 f00 put together his latest PSP hardware customization: not one, but two mods in one handheld.

The project revolves around playing with some LEDs. To describe it in the simplest way, it’ll turn your PSP into one glorious light show of a handheld. Mood lights? Check. Pulsing effects? Check! F00 f00’s even going to have his device up for sale some time next week online, so if you’re interested, keep your eye out for that.

Link: Tricked out two-in-one PSP mod by F00 f00

A lot of what’s happened this week makes us think about the definition of mods. It covers a wide spectrum, when you think about it. It can either be a port, a change in code, or the more obvious one, a hardware mod. More news next week! Now, excuse as while we continue whistling to the tune of the Wild Arms intro…

– QJ.NET’s PSPUpdates Team

PlayStation 3: The plot thickens (and so do the accents)

With Linux running on the PS3, lots of people have already been making progress in breaking barriers and using the PS3 in ways previously unimagined. What happened this week is no exception.

A team was able to access the graphics processor unit of the PS3 via Linux. If this pushes any further, it’ll allow homebrew devs to create their own 3D content for the console. Of course, this hack requires a special kind of set up. But for those who aren’t interested in the technical details of it all, the video of it might pique your interests nonetheless.

Link: PlayStation 3 GPU accessed though Linux?

For PS3 (and Xbox 360) owners waiting for Grand Theft Auto 4, you might be getting tired waiting for February 2008 to roll in. Well, for those of you who are eagerly anticipating Rockstar’s next installment in the GTA franchise, it’s trailers like this latest one that help bide the time.

And it’s no ho-hum trailer too. It’s got lots of action, some clips with dancing babes, cool music, and even the expected thick Eastern European accents that’d make people like LordQuas431 in the comments section want to watch Boondock Saints and Eastern Promises again.

Prompted by the trailer, Rockstar Games talked more about what we can all expect in GTA 4. Story details, their inspiration for the look and feel for the game… Even a little insight on how GTA 4 stands with today’s TV shows.

Link: Grand Theft Auto 4 trailer #3: Move Up, Ladies
Link: Rockstar Games talks about GTA4’s new look and details

With that over and done with, the PlayStation Network has a couple of gems worth downloading this week. For one, there’s the multiplayer demo for TimeShift and the downloadable game High Velocity Bowling.

A couple of other add-on packs available include DLC for Folklore, Motorstorm, and Rock Band. The GTA 4 trailer is also there for download, as are a couple of other trailers for other games we’ve seen before – including the MGS 4 TGS 2007 trailer.

Link: PS Store Update: High Velocity Bowling, TimeShift demo, Wild Arms, and more

Spinning from last week’s PlayStation Home beta update, people concerned being left out on the fun are pleading that Sony for more info on the service – specifically that of the status of the open beta.

Avoiding a petition (since the official Sony forums doesn’t allow it), someone posted a thread that gave an active voice for the discussion. Though the thread, already supported by a large chunk of the online community, addresses Sony and Phil Harrison himself, no official updates have been given as of yet.

Thanks to Taj for the tip!

Link: Gamers to Sony: Release more Home Beta info

Will PlayStation Home really come out before Christmas, as some people hope? Well, we do know that Warhawk – Operation: Omega Dawn is hitting the PSN before the holidays. That as much you guys can all look forward to.

– QJ.NET’s PlayStation 3 Team

QuickJump QuickPeek 24: Xbox 360 - Nintendo Wii - Image 1

Xbox 360: Liven it up!

Some of you may already be wondering what life was like back then before the Dashboard Fall update came out with its slew of unique changes. Oh yeah, just in case you haven’t been tapping into the network, the Fall update is finally available, as scheduled!

Some of the few features you can busy yourself with include expanded Friends List access, new video features, Xbox Live Arcade Hits, overhauled navigation features, the Inside Xbox news feed, expanded Personal Profile options, increased parental controls, and more.

Link: Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Dashboard Fall update goes live

Speaking of Live updates, the Xbox Live Video Marketplace is finally scheduled to go live in Europe and Canada next week, on December 11. Standard definition movies will be costing 250 Microsoft Points.

Launch titles for the XBLVM has 300, some Harry Potter movies, and the Matrix trilogy, among others.

Link: Xbox Live Video Marketplace to launch in Europe, Canada

December 11 is also something to mark on the calendar for all Halo 3 fans. To remind you all, the Heroic Map Pack will be available next week, clocking in at 800 Microsoft Points. Meanwhile, to tide the wait over, we’ve got a bunch of screens straight from Bungie Studios.

The Heoric Map Pack includes Standoff – those giant radar dishes look hella daunting! – Foundry, and Rat’s Nest.

Link: See the latest screenshots of the Halo 3 Heroic Map pack

On to a game that could potentially shake this generation’s foundations of the fighting genre, Street Fighter 4 finally gets an orgasmic update of screenshots and details from Capcom. Four characters have already been confirmed to make a comeback: Ryu, Ken, Chun Li, an Dhalsim.

The six-button layout will still be implemented, and – thankfully so – the game will retain its 2D side-scrolling fighting system (with additional 3D camera flourishes) that the series is popular for.

Rumors of leaked details also surfaced, speculating about the appearance of Shen Long in the game, Capcom supposedly rolling out test machines in arcades sometime next year, and online play, among others.

Link: Capcom bares initial Street Fighter 4 screenshot and details
Link: Street Fighter IV update: official info versus “leaked” details

Despite bouts of XMB-Dashboard flaming in our comments, let’s just all settle down and be content here. We’ve still got quite a lot of stuff to look forward to next week! Remember, December 11!

– QJ.NET’s Xbox 360 Team

Nintendo Wii: Counting chickens before they hatch

Some people say not to count chickens before the eggs hatch. But sometimes, you just can’t help it. There really are quite a handful of things you can’t help but look forward to – and be especially excited for – in the coming months.

Nintendo Europe has revealed the lineup of game releases (that’s both Wii and DS releases) they’ve got scheduled for the first half of next year. What to expect? NiGHTS, Mario Kart Wii, Ace Attorney: Apollo Justice, and more.

What not to expect though… is an entirely different story…

Link: Nintendo unveils European release schedule for 2008

Taking from the lineup, some potential good news and bad news for Brawl fans on the fray. If you’re in Europe, Nintendo’s confirmed that the Smash title won’t be available only until after June of next year. That’s one stretched out delay in the schedule! Ouch.

But fret not. If all things go well, we could have some good news on our hands next week. It’s only rumor, and its limits aren’t quite clear. However, we hear that CoroCoro Comic says they’ll be revealing the roster of Super Smash Bros. Brawl characters in an upcoming issue, to be released December 15.

Link: Super Smash Bros. Brawl: Europe release delayed until after June
Link: Super Smash Bros. Brawl: full roster revealed on December 15?

On to the regular Super Smash Bros. Brawl updates from the DOJO, we finally get to see King Dede’s Final Smash – the Waddle Dee Army. A couple of veteran Pokemon will be returning as well. Wobbuffet and Snorlax FTW!

The DOJO also explains a bit more on what we can expect from the Friends List function. It has features such as entering comments and taunts in the preparation screen prior to a match.

Link: Super Smash Bros. Brawl update: the Friend List
Link: Old Pokemon make a comeback for Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Link: Super Smash Bros. Brawl update: King Dedede’s Final Smash

If you’ve been waiting for a fix to your Guitar Hero 3 mono audio woes, Activision has finally given word that they are already working on a patch for the output bug. The projected release, as of now, is early next year.

Activision also announced that, once the fix rolls out, they’lkl be offering digitally re-mastered discs as replacements for free.

Link: Guitar Hero 3: Wii version getting fix for mono audio output

See ya guys next week!

– QJ.NET’s Nintendo Wii Team

StarCraft 2 - Image 1

General Gaming: Under the umbrella… ella, ella, ey… ey… ey….

This week, we get a glimpse of the birth of the world’s largest pure-play online and console game publisher. Activision and Vivendi Games (that includes Blizzard Entertainment) just announced that they’re going to be singing music together in a merge. The result will be Activision Blizzard.

Just think about the combined portfolio of those companies: Guitar Hero franchise, Call of Duty, Spyro, StarCraft, Tony Hawk, Crash Bandicoot, Warcraft, Diablo, oh my! Talk about a powerhouse!

Ever since the announcement hit the press, news spread like wildfire. Activision Blizzard has even announced a couple of sequels down the line, scheduled for release under the new umbrella corporation (no bio-engineered zombies IRL, thank you very much).

Analysts have stayed positive about the merger, projecting that Activision and Vivendi Games will hit it off from the start. Meanwhile, competitors like Electronic Arts think that the merger will not affect their current strategies.

As a good show of friendly competition, an EA rep has even been quoted in saying the following: “We wish them good luck and look forward to the competition. We believe that EA still has the industry’s strongest portfolio of game franchises.”

Link: Activision, Vivendi Games to merge into Activision Blizzard
Link: Sequelgasmic: Activistion Blizzard announces gaming pipeline
Link: Activision Blizzard merger to become successful, says analyst
Link: Analysts give thumbs up on Activision Blizzard merger
Link: EA unfazed by Activision Blizzard

Oh, and just a little snippet that came in earlier: Nintendo DS owners touting an R4DS will be glad to know that the latest firmware kernel for the flashcart is now available. Have you downloaded it yet? Click away then…

Link: R4DS v1.13 kernel update

Odds-and-Ends: Surviving the gaming industry’s jungle

The gaming culture just sometimes won’t take things lying down. If there’s something to uphold, then uphold you shall – that goes for individual gamers, online bloggers, and corporate gaming outfits included.

The whole hoopla which started at the tail-end of last week has continued, if not even blown more out of proportion, this week. The whole GameSpot-Eidos-Gerstmann controversy has gotten more people mind-boggled, if not totally infuriated at concerned parties.

Though everyone’s been kept suspended in mid-air about what really went on behind Gerstmann’s termination, GameSpot’s still remained firm in their statement that Eidos and the Kane & Lynch review that Gerstmann had was in no way a factor to his eventual firing.

Meanwhile, Jeff Gerstmann himself is taking things optimistically. Yes, it’s unfortunately that he got fired, but now, he’s assessing his career options. Where will he go after all this? We hear he’s been eying game development for quite some time now…

Link: GameSpot-Gerstmann controversy updates: the domino effect
Link: Jeff Gerstmann talks about Kane and Lynch issue, career options
Link: CNET, Gamespot stand on Gerstmann matter
Link: GameSpot talks Gerstmann, says Eidos did not cause termination

Science and Technology: Corporate theories

Transformers movie director Michael Bay had a thing or two to say about the continuing high definition format wars. And for some of you, Michael Bay’s “thing or two to say” goes a heck of a long way. To say that his theories about the corporate politics behind the format wars is controversial may be a stunning understatement.

“Microsoft wants both formats to fail so they can be heroes and make the world move to digital downloads,” said Bay. “That is the dirty secret no one is talking about.” Later, he stated that Blu-ray would suit his movies better.

The statement may be deemed as a double-edged sword for some. But as we might all assume, there’s always more to the story…

Link: Michael Bay: Microsoft wants HD DVD and Blu-ray to fail
Link: Michael Bay: “Blu-ray suits my films better”

Comment of the Week: World of Guitar Heroes

Upon hearing about the Activision Blizzard announcement, ExtraLife had a suggestion to devs. Considering that their companies would merge… why not merge their games as well? We’re sure a lot of you guys have your own ideas (Guitar of Duty: Modern DiabloCraft, being one of them), but here’s one a start:

Comment of the Week: ExtraLife - Image 1

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