QuickJump QuickPeek 40: Of PS3 FW 2.20, console movers, and magic regenerating powder
(And once again we welcome the dawning of a new era… er, QuickPeek issue!)
Game launches, release updates, 10-year plans, hacks, attacks, crackdowns, bomb disposal robots, inter-company business drama, insanely early April Fools’ pranks, console-moving games and… magic regenerating powder? All that and more in QuickPeek 40! Let’s get it on!
(And once again we welcome the dawning of a new era… er, QuickPeek issue! We saw some huge launches – as well as equally huge upcoming releases – this week, and there’s even some bits of holy-smokes-that’s-awesome-but-also-kinda-weird science thrown into the mix.)
Still thinking about painted eggs? Old hat. That was last week’s news, and what we have today is this week’s batch of updates from the gaming industry, that gigantic many-faced industry we’ve come to know and love (and sometimes hate).
Well, the PSP scene is once again alive with activity thanks to the launch of two huge titles: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 and Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G. PS3 users were also treated this week to some release updates as well as a much-contested new PS3 hack video. The big MS is also getting ready to get down and dirty in order to crack down on XBox Live cheaters, while the Wii is all set to melt faces with some wicked-fast guitar solos.
PSP: Crisis hunter, monster core!
Huge launches this week for the PlayStation Portable. Leading the pack is Square-Enix’s handheld juggernaut, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7, which saw a North American release on March 25. Capcom’s Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G followed things up in Japan a couple of days later, sending fans flocking to stores and buying up any and all copies of the game they could get their hands on.
Link: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII – QJ.net Review
Link: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII fantasy montage video
Link: Hajime Tabata talks about fitting Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII in UMD
Link: Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G launches in Japan amid massive crowds
Link: New Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G gameplay, CG videos
Although Portable Copy didn’t quite make it to the release of PS3 firmware 2.20, there’s still a lot in store for Sony‘s handheld console. John Koller let a few details out of the bag this week, hinting at Sony’s 10-year plan for the handheld, an upcoming video downloading service and the future of Remote Play. And games, of course. Who could forget the games?
Link: Coming for PSP: more Remote Play, video download service, more
Link: Koller on PSP 10-year plan, support for UMD, PSP bundles, more
Things were relatively quiet on the homebrew front, but some hardworking devs still released their labors of love this week. One of the biggest releases this week was CWCheat 0.2.2 REV.A, a new build of Weltall’s CWCheat application. This version added new coding, bug fixes, and compatibility improvements.
FaT30YCG’s PSPAdhoc Messenger v1.0 also turned a few heads. This application allows users to send and receive messages on their PSP via an Adhoc connection.
Link: CWCheat 0.2.2 REV.A: New coding, bug fixes, compatibility improvements
Link: PSP Homebrew: Adhoc Messenger v1.0
A couple of accessories and upgrades for the PSP also made waves this week. PSP modding stalwarts AcidMods rolled out the final design of the Razor X PCB, which will allow for easier installation of a second analog stick for the Sony handheld console.
Team Xecuter also unveiled a new mem stick storage solution for PSP owners: the UMEMD (pronounced “you-mem-dee”). UMEMD takes the form of a typical UMD disc (with casing and all) in a double level enclosure designed to accommodate four memory sticks of your choice.
Link: PSP dual analog stick mod: Razor X PCB from AcidMods
Link: UMEMD accessory for PSP introduced
[The QJ.NET PSPUpdates team couldn’t be reached for further comment due to marathon replay sessions of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7. Seriously, they just handed us this week’s recap and ran off.]
– QJ.NET’s PSPUpdates team
PlayStation 3: Hacks, attacks, and… firmware packs?
The one thing on almost every PlayStation 3 owner’s lips this week was firmware 2.20. This particular update was geared more towards fans of the console’s high-def multimedia capabilities. Aside from bringing BD Profile 2.0 support to the PS3, firmware 2.20 also brought with it extended Resume Play capabilities and better DivX content handling.
Thanks to ValiX, kaliraver69, dorkdotcom, Josh Q, qual, Quixand, xploren, Someone_PR, and Rebelratld for sending us all the tips!
Link: PS3 Firmware 2.20 now live
Videos of a supposed PS3 hack also gained prominence this week. In the videos, a PS3 owner going by the name of Spiker shows how he accessed the PS3’s system files while running firmware 2.17. As expected, both videos elicited cried both from believers and doubters, even spawning a thread on the QJ.NET PS3 forums.
Thanks to Anon for the heads up on the PS3 eject button exploit video!
Link: Hack: PS3 system files accessed under firmware 2.17
Link: Video: PS3 Eject Button Exploit *Update*
Link: QJ.NET PS3 Hacks, Exploits and Homebrew forum
Speaking of hacks, the UK PlayStation Store reportedly came under attack earlier this week, announcing that there exists the possibility that their system may have been hacked and that those responsible may have changed the Playstation Network passwords of certain users. No worries, though, as GT5 Prologue finally landed on the Euro PSN this week.
The North American PlayStation Network and PC PlayStation Store, on the other hand, got a hefty list of updates. Two downloadable game offers, lots of add-on content, videos, themes… Warhawk‘s also been made available for a discounted price.
Link: PlayStation UK: PlayStation Store PC suffered a hack attack?
Link: NA PlayStation Network and PC PlayStation Store updates for March 27
Link: PSN Europe finally delivers GT5 Prologue and other goodies
Release dates also played a big part in this week’s batch of news. Triple-A titles such as LittleBigPlanet, SOCOM: Confrontation and Resistance 2 updated release dates for Europe, while Gerilla Games maintained their “no definite release date yet” stance on Killzone 2. Upcoming shooter game Haze also got a few release updates, although its supposed May 22 release turned out to be, well, hazy.
Link: SCE UK dates release of Killzone 2, LittleBigPlanet, and Resistance 2
Link: Guerrilla Games amend Sony UK’s September release date of Killzone 2
Link: Confirmed: SOCOM launch date
Link: Haze not launching on May 22nd after all
We also got some MGS4 updates this week. Apparently, a single-layer Blu-ray disc isn’t enough to hold all the stealth action in Hideo Kojima’s epic Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Hence, the game will be the first ever dual-layer Blu-ray game. This week, Ryan Payton revealed more about the game as well as a lot of Metal Gear Online info.
Oh, and the MGS4 PS3 Premium Pack? It sold out at Konami Style.
Link: Kojima Productions Report 85: on MGO perks, MGS4 going dual-layer
Link: Metal Gear Solid 4 PS3 Premium Pack sells out at Konami Style
Before this week wrapped up, the European PSN had one last volley to fire. They confirmed that the PlayStation Store will soon sport a new design by flashing a banner that shouted “Great new look…COMING SOON!” Will the new attitude convince us to use our credit cards on the PSN more often? We’ll see.
Link: Sony formally announces new look of PlayStation Store
Yeah, we ran out of things that rhymed for the title of this week’s batch of PS3 updates, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this week was a very bountiful one for PS3 owners. It’s not over yet, though, as you will no doubt find out by scrolling on down and checking out the Xbox 360 section.
– QJ.NET’s PlayStation 3 team
Xbox 360: The ultimatum
Cheaters beware! Microsoft sent out an ultimatum this week to those who dared not follow the Xbox Live TOS, including those who have tampered with their Gamerscore and Achievements: play by the rules or get your Gamerscore reset and be labelled as a cheater for the whole Xbox Live community to see.
Link: Major Nelson: Microsoft to reset Gamerscores of cheaters
Warranty policy woes returned to the spotlight once again with a report from an Xbox 360 owner whose console’s power brick died out on him. Sadly, a Microsoft rep informed the Xbox 360 owner that unlike the warranty policy on the console itself, the power brick only has three months of warranty.
Link: Xbox 360 power brick dies by red light, owner dismayed over warranty policy
Another piece in the ongoing GoldenEye drama also landed on the front pages of the XBox 36 blog this week. The Nintendo 64 original, which was supposed to be brought to Xbox Live Arcade by developer Rare, has been put in development limbo due to licensing issues between Microsoft and rival company Nintendo, who Microsoft claims holds “more than just influence” over the shelved FPS title.
Link: Microsoft: Nintendo has “more than just influence” over GoldenEye 007
And now, for one of the most-anticipated game releases this year. Yep, we’re talking Grand Theft Auto 4. Rockstar Games released a new GTA 4 trailer towards the tail end of the week. Nico breaks some eggs to make some omelettes in “Good Lord, What Are You Doing?”, also known as “Everyone’s a Rat”.
A new dedicated website which faithfully keeps tabs on all those important statistics for upcoming Rockstar titles will also be launched just in time for Grand Theft Auto 4‘s release. The site, Rockstar Social Club, will keep tabs on gamers’ achievements, and the first ten people to reach 100% on GTA4 will be sent an ultra-rare commemorative ‘key to the city’ to mark their accomplishment.
Many thanks to Tacos_4_Gir for the GTA 4 trailer tip!
Link: Grand Theft Auto IV trailer: Good Lord, what are you doing?
Link: Grand Theft Auto 4 – Rockstar Social Club for PSN, XBL
Xbox Live also got some demo updates this week. Ninja Gaiden 2‘s demo has been scheduled for release on Xbox Live’s Marketplace this May. Some Ninja Gaiden 2-related content is also set to drop on Xbox Live by April 15. For those who can’t wait, Electronic Arts’ UEFA Euro 2008 is now available in all regions on the Xbox Live Marketplace.
Link: Ninja Gaiden 2 demo heading to Xbox Live
Link: UEFA EURO 2008 demo now available on XBLM
We’re counting down the days to GTA 4! But what about all the drama between EA and Take-Two? Check out the General Gaming section for more on that!
– QJ.NET’s Xbox 360 team
Nintendo Wii: Tracking heads and melting faces
Everybody’s banking on downloadable video content to be the ultimate ultimate winner in the video format wars. The Xbox 360 has the Video marketplace, while the PS3 has BD Live and PlayTV, but what about the Wii? A trademark filed by A-Ha! Toys hints that nintendo’s wonder console could soon be seeing a similar service.
Link: Wii TV Technology: TV tuner coming for Nintendo console?
Months after Rock Band hit Xbox 360 and PS3, a version for the Nintendo Wii has finally been dated. To the disappointment of a lot of Wii owners, however, Harmonix revealed that the game’s Wii version will not feature any of the online components so prominent in thegame’s Xbox 360 and PS3 versions.
Link: Rock Band Wii dated, more details revealed
Link: Rock Band Wii “similar” to PS2 version, more details
There are some good news on the Wii’s online front, though. The WiiWare download service has finally gone live in Japan. While a lot of Wii owners have been waiting for this service to launch, there has been some trepidation regarding “additional costs” noted in the disclaimer accompanying downloaded WiiWare games.
Link: Video: Japan’s WiiWare in action
Link: WiiWare games go live in Japan, additional costs noted
Johnny Chung Lee, the grad student behind the Wii Head Tracking system, also landed on the QJ.NET Wii Blog front page this week via a new video demonstration of the Wii head tracking system. This time, the ante is upped with a simple 3D game further demonstrating what the innovation is capable of.
Link: Wii Head Tracking powers new 3D game
Nintendo Wii technology is being used for physical therapy and surgeon training these days. The U.S. Army, however, is using it for another purpose: bomb disposal. Thanks to engineers David Bruemmer and Douglas Few, soldiers may now have an easier time controlling Packbot, the military’s bomb-defusing robot.
Link: Engineers adapt Wiimote technology to control bomb disposal robot
– QJ.NET’s Nintendo Wii team
Woah, bomb disposal? The Wii’s surely getting into more and more things other than gaming. We’ll have to see what Nintendo’s wonder console will be used for next!
General Gaming: Take-Two, EA, and early April Fools’ Day pranks
Take-Two’s refusal of Electronic Arts’ offer to buy the company at US$ 26 per share also made some waves this week. The board made clear that the offered amount was inadequate and was not in the best interest of the stockholders. In addition, the board also gave a unanimous recommendation to the stockholders not to tender any of their shares to Electronic Arts.
Some analysts, however, came out afterwards to say that the company’s rejection of the EA offer is a mistake. Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter said that “the Board has virtually no chance of finding a better offer”. Pachter also added that Take-Two’s US$ 17 per share value won’t be able to come close to EA’s US$ 26 per share offer even after GTA 4 goes out.
But that’s not the end of it! In response to Take-Two Interactive’s rejection of their US$ 26 per share offer, EA extended the deadline of their offer for one more week, adding that the price is “full and fair.”
Link: Take-Two Interactive rejects Electronic Arts’ USD 26 per share offer
Link: Pachter says Take-Two’s rejection of EA is a mistake
Link: Electronic Arts gives Take-Two Interactive one more week to decide
Early in the week, rumors of EA buying GTAForums.com ,one of the biggest GTA-centric forums on the Web, surfaced. The supposed buying price? US$ 3.4 million. Pretty believable, considering EA’s gung-ho attitude in acquiring Take-Two, right? A day later, the rumor turned out to be a really early April Fools’ joke from the forum’s own moderators.
Link: Rumor: EA buys Grand Theft Auto Forums?
Link: Fake out: EA buying GTA forum was April Fools’ joke by mods
Science & Technology: The amazing growing finger and the dangers of premature launch
Imagine a future where transplant surgeries are mostly a thing of the past. Imagine a future where all it takes is a few weeks and some magic band-aid or powder, and voila! You heal a lost limb. That future may not be long in coming. The latest in stem cell research from the University of Pittsburgh has already been able to regrow about a centimeter’s worth of fingertip for a man who accidentally sliced his off.
Link: Man regenerates lost fingertip using magic stem cell powder
Even though Apple has been doing a lot to keep the information about their upcoming Appstore download service on the down low, it seems that the service launched prematurely for a short time this week, resulting in a couple of leaked UI images.
Link: Apple iPhone Appstore UI pics leaked?
Odds-and-Ends: Political correctness and girl power in action
ripten’s Patrick Steen encountered some disturbing reactions to video games while playing Echochrome at a Play.com Live event in the UK, where one of the bystanders called the game “a bit racist”, saying that “youÂ’re a little white guy trying to get rid of the black ones” in reference to Echochrome‘s gameplay.
Link: Echochrome not politically correct?
Not everything is gloomy for this edition’s Odds-and-Ends section, though. Animator Monty Oum served up the second Dead Fantasy video this week, pushing the battle between Rikku, Yuna, and Tifa from the FF fandom and Kasumi, Ayane, and Hitomi from DoA into overdrive with the addition of three new combatants.
Link: Final Fantasy, DoA babes heat up in Dead Fantasy 2 fanvid showdown
Comment of the Week: Math is fun
We’re closing this week’s QuickPeek with a chuckle-inducing observation from cory1492 on 50 Cent 2 (50 Cent: Blood on the Sand seems to be the game’s official title), the upcoming sequel to the widely-panned but ultimately financially successful 2005 title 50 Cent: Bulletproof.
See guys? Math’s not so bad.