QuickJump QuickPeek 28: Of the PSP Skype hype, pre-CES 2008 jitters, and all the Blu-ray madness in Sparta

QuickJump QuickPeek 28 - Image 1(Editor’s Note: Happy new year! Time to serve this year’s first ever QuickJump QuickPeek; now let’s party like it’s nineteen seventy-ni.. err… 2008!)

Had fun with our barrage of QuickPeek special edition fireworks? Last week sure capped the year on a good note, and this week, the gaming industry welcomes 2008 with its own dazzling display of pyrokinetics – including some pre-CES goodies on the side!

* Article originally posted on Jan 05, 2008 at 02:38 PM.

QuickJump QuickPeek 28 - Image 1

(Editor’s Note: Happy 2008 to all you rootin’ tootin’ readers! Last week’s – last year’s, rather – QuickPeek capped year 2007 nicely, and this first ever edition for 2008 opens the next 300-something days with trumpets a-blaring and confetti a-raining. Pop open that champagne bottle – let’s party like it’s nineteen seventy ni… err 2008!)

We sure set off quite a fireworks display over the course of this week. Indeed, the QJ.NET news blogging labs have been busy concocting some QuickJump QuickPeek special edition rockets for the gaming blogs – for the PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, DS, and PC, while the PSP got two separate entries for its commercial and homebrew turfs.

If you guys missed it, we also lit up the sky with a QuickJump QuickList special edition outlining some Games of the Year and a couple of wildcards. Dazzling sight, ey?

Off to this week now… the gaming industry had its own bangs and whistles to usher in the new year. There’s even been quite a number of rumors mixed into the fray. CES 2008 is just around the corner, and even as early as now, we’ve already been getting some news of or relating to the event. What can we look forward to next week? Come and take a QuickPeek and find out!

QuickJump QuickPeek 28: PSP - PS3 - Image 1

PSP: The call is coming from inside the house

Sony‘s handheld has quite the work cut out for itself for next week. Quite a lot of news and updates we’ve heard of recently are pointing to the very near future with promises to fulfill.

One of the biggest news that hit this week is the revealing of Skype being incorporated into the PSP. It’s been hinted at before, when PSP FW 3.10 was decrypted, but now, we’re finally seeing potentiality working into actuality.

PSP Skype is said to be formally revealed during the CES 2008, and Sony seems to be mum about the matter. They stated that they are indeed “constantly evaluating new technology and features” for the PSP and that “further details will be announced shortly.”

If everything goes smoothly, this is probably the closest thing to a PSP phone some of you have been wanting since forever.

Thanks to SooperGooman, Andy B, and weatherman for the emails!

Link: Sony’s CES 2008 presentation to reveal Skype for the PSP
Link: Sony responds to Skype hype for PSP

Now, even before the tradeshow could happen though, these details-to-be-announced popped into the scene, not from Sony, but from Nikkei Japan. They revealed that Skype will only be available for the PSP-2000 models – the ones we call the PSP Slim & Lite.

Once users download the program, PSP to PSP/PC calls are going to be free of charge. There are rates for those wanting their own dedicated phone number, however, these are most likely subject to different regions.

Link: PSP Skype launches this month, Nikkei spills details

On to the homebrew front now, Dark AleX and the rest of Team M33 are hard at work with what everyone’s expecting to hit pretty soon: CFW PSP 3.80 M33. Mathieulh reveals that development on the latest custom firmware is going smoothly. In fact, it’s pretty much done already and that it already boots perfectly.

The only snag they’ve hit right now relates to the NID translations. For some of you who do PSP programming, you probably know of how grueling this could be. Later on in the week, we got an update yet again from Math, who said that work on the NID Resolver is currently being finished.

Status report: expect CFW PSP 3.80 M33 within the next week or so!

Link: Mathieulh: 3.80 M33 CFW works perfectly now, almost done

Here’s some more good news too! An online survey for the PlayStation Store PC hints at some cool new service that could possibly incorporated in the future. In one of the questions, a possible answer clues in on what Sony’s planning to offer: a monthly subscription plan that allows you to have unlimited downloads. Like whoa!

Link: PlayStation Store PC (Asia) survey hints at monthly unlimited downloads

We avert your gaze now to other notable developments in the homebrew programing, emulating, and modding scene. First up: some source codes for the SNES emulator of choice for most PSP users. DaveX has released the sources for various versions of Ruka’s Snes9xTYL++.

Meanwhile, Sp3ct0r unleashed a big bulk of games this week. It’s a mega-pack of four homebrew games, which includes a game based on Jump Ultimate Stars, a side-scrolling Resident Evil, and two Super Mario-themed games.

Link: Take SNES emulation further: Snes9xTYL++ source codes
Link: Sp3ct0r’s PSP homebrew gaming four-pack

Sacrificing access to the UMD drive of your PSP might be a tough call, but for some people, they’d actually prefer to do away with it and install an internal USB storage device amounting to a whopping 30GB. Man… That’s a lot of homebrew and media files to fit in there…

Link: PSP mod: internal USB mass storage up to 30GB

When oh when is No Gravity coming out? We’re still keeping a hawkeye out. If any of you guys hear anything, drop us a line! There’s still quite a lot of other things to expect for next week too, so sit tight!

– QJ.NET’s PSPUpdates Team

PlayStation 3: Naughty rumors, naughty bugs, and a Naughty Dog sequel

Sony’s handheld seems to be getting quite the good deal out of this week’s bargain, and the PS3 is having quite some action to itself. It’s quite a mix bag of sorts – good news and bad news coupled with some ludicrous rumors on the side.

Probably what you’ve all heard about this week is the recent beating that Metal Gear Solid 4 took from the rumor mill. Yet again, more rumors about MGS4 getting a 360 port spread like wildfire. If it wasn’t that, it was the bit about Microsoft‘s trump card against the PS3 exclusive title of Kojima.

What’s solid though is that Konami (once again) debunked the rumor about them working on an MGS 4 for the Xbox 360. Also, assistant producer Ryan Payton said that a demo for the game would be unlikely, however fans can look forward to a possible Collector’s Edition.

Link: New twist: Microsoft working on a “better” Metal Gear Solid 4?
Link: Metal Gear Solid 4 demo unlikely, Collector’s Edition possible
Link: Konami dispels rumor of Xbox 360 development for Metal Gear Solid 4

Those of you who are still getting yourselves lost in beauty of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune might want to get your passports stamped yet again for a trip to the upcoming sequel. This week, Naughty Dog’s co-president gave us the closest thing to an official confirmation of Uncharted 2.

As he mentioned, all they need to do now is “sit back for a while and look at the game from a different perspective.” This will allow them to see which direction they’d be taking for the sequel. Once the course is set, they start working on it already.

Link: Naughty Dog to start working on Uncharted 2 soon

Portal might be captivating you guys in its never-ending gravitational loops. But for those playing Team Fortess 2 and Half-Life, things aren’t as easy as cake. For some time now, users of the PS3 version of The Orange Box have been reporting some issues.

A patch seems to be in the works – or at least, already planned to be worked on – but before then, Valve Corporation is asking for input from you guys, about whatever problems you’ve been encountering in which ever game in The Orange Box.

Link: PS3 Orange Box to get patch in near future?
Link: Valve asking for gamer input on Orange Box PS3 problems

It might now look like much right now, but this is actually a big step in opening up homebrew for the PS3. Some of you might be interested to know that mainman has come up with an NAND Dump Extractor – a tool that allows you to read the extracted code off the flash files that Sony upgrades on your PlayStation 3. There’s a bit of a caveat though: this extractor can only be used on consoles that have the InFeCtuS hardware modification installed.

Link: PS3 NAND Dump Extractor: works with Infectus modchip

Have a great year ahead, guys! Keep tuned in for more updates next week.

– QJ.NET’s PlayStation 3 Team

QuickJump QuickPeek 28: Xbox 360 - Nintendo Wii - Image 1

Xbox 360: Hardware, software, and breaking the code

Trouble in the horizon brewing… If only there were a real live Cortana to fix all of our problems online…

The central nervous system that is the Xbox Live network is currently in a jam. Or at least, it was in a jam during the holidays, but only now is it reaping a sad harvest. Last week alone, a lot of people have been complaining about the congested network.

This week, people won’t be taking it sitting down any more. In fact, a class action suit has already been filed against Microsoft for all of the inconvenience.

Link: Xbox Live still problematic, users want compensation
Link: Class action suit filed against MS for XBL’s holiday connection issues
Link: Xbox LIVE Status: “we’re doing much better now”

The good thing is that Microsoft has responded and they’re actually going to be giving away some free XBLA games to compensate for the problems. That’s something uplifting. There’s always some room for free stuff. Considering, of course, that you clear out some old files and other media from your hard drives first.

Thanks go out to TheSilenceOfNoOne for the tip!

Link: Microsoft to give away free XBLA game for all Xbox Live members

There’s been some murmurs this week too about a supposed new Xbox 360 SKU. Some call it the Xbox 360 Ultimate, and say that its specs incude Wi-Fi, a whopping 320GB hard drive, and an internal HD-DVD drive, among a lot of other things.

This has caused a lot of people to believe that something big might be up Microsoft’s sleeve, and that they could possible unveil it come CES 2008. How likely is this? Well, this just in, folks: Microsoft already debunked the rumor about the internal HD DVD drive bit. However, they didn’t seem to debunk all the other specs of the 360 Ultimate. Could this be reason enough for hope? We’ll see…

Link: Internal HD DVD drive for Xbox 360 to be revealed in 2008 CES?
Link: More rumors revealed about Xbox 360 Ultimate
Link: Microsoft debunks rumors of integrated HD DVD drive

Last week, we heard of some cool development on homebrew for the Wii from the 24th Chaos Communication Congress. This time around, it’s the Xbox 360 we’re seeing from the eyes of developers.

A lecture in the same event had the deconstruction of Xbox 360 security as its topic. Amidst all the tech jargon, they discussed about the 360’s “silicon security” – lots of insights there. One of the lecture’s highlights was a 3D demo they ran using a modified driver for the graphics chip.

Link: Video: deconstructing the Xbox 360’s silicon-based security

Now just in case you want a sneak peek at next week, we hear Gears of War 2 might be revealed during the CES. Oooh…

– QJ.NET’s Xbox 360 Team

Nintendo Wii: Further up, further in

We ended last week with a note on hemebrew for the Wii. Using that as a spring board, we land on this week’s story of further development from Brushing.

To think that Brushing’s lecture was pieced together only a few minutes before the actual impromptu presentation, he’s pretty optimistic that this is only the beginning. As he explained, his presentation was mostly just a proof-of-concept, but he and his fellow homebrew developers will be taking it further: from a working SDLoad to, eventually, a Linux Channel.

Link: Homebrew developer Brushing: future plans for Wii, possible Linux Channel

Remember GlovePIE from last year? We haven’t had much updates on it from way back when, so imagine our surprise when we heard of Carl Kenner’s new version for his PC app that tracks the Wiimote and Nunchuk.

The best part about the latest GlovePIE v0.30 is that it adds support for the WiiGuitar used in Guitar Hero 3. It’s time to go jamming, kids!

Link: GlovePIE v0.30: now with WiiGuitar support

The DOJO went on a little hiatus during the holidays, but that doesn’t mean we were fresh out of Super Smash Bros. Brawl updates. Well, this isn’t much of an update is it is a rumor. Photoshoppery or the real thing? You be the judge. But the bit here is that someone was able to screencap an image showing a Brawl Beta Demo channel – kinda like what Metroid Prime 3 had before with a preview channel.

Link: Rumor: Nintendo releases Brawl Beta Demo Channel

The Line Rider game for the Nintendo Wii also gets some developments this week. In the form of the video, gameplay for the upcoming quirky title is revealed. Thankfully, the main element of the original Flash game is the same: Bosch sliding up, down, and waaay out of the sledding course and into the finish line. Here’s a fun stress-relieving game for those with pent up rage.

Link: Line Rider gameplay video for Nintendo Wii, DS

So will we ever see Rock Band head over to the Wii? Though there is a PS2 version of the game already, having one for the Wii isn’t all that farfetched. Hopes have been dashed to the rocks as EA still seems to be silent on the matter. Recently, an EA representative reaffirmed their stand that they have never in the past announced any plans for a Wii version for Rock Band.

Link: EA still mum on Rock Band for Wii

Lots of other Nintendo goodies are tucked under the Odds-and-Ends section. So if you may… Scroll down as you please… We see you guys next week!

– QJ.NET’s Nintendo Wii Team

This. Is. BLU-RAY!!! - Image 1

General Gaming: Going global – the united colors of gaming

When you hear the words “Hideo Kojima”, “Jade Raymond”, and “together in an interview”, the first thing that probably comes to mind is… “ZOMG They’re going to make one kick-ass game!” Well, unfortunately, no. There will be no Metal Creed Solid: Assassins of the Patriots. But yes, Raymond and Kojima did have an interview together.

What did they talk about? They touched on how development was like for their games, the direction that violence is being portrayed in certain titles, inspiration being drawn from various other games, and so forth. It’s one heck of an eye-opener, this interview. Who’s to say… maybe Kojima asked Raymond out for drinks after the sit-down?

Link: Hideo Kojima opens up to Jade Raymond

Over at Japan, the Tokyo Stock Exchange experienced a mild decline this week. The weakening of the dollar seems to be one of the factors, however, what’s more of concern is that, because of the 4.5% decline in the TSE, Sony and Nintendo’s shares also dropped.

Respectively, Sony and Nintendo experienced a 6.6% and 4.5% slip, while Konami, one of the bigger developers in Japan, likewise saw a drop – in their case, 2.7%. Sad to note here is that, despite all the booming sales everywhere, sometimes, other economies in an international scale, will always affect other industries.

Link: Sony and Nintendo shares decline

We then look over to the other side of the planet, and check out how things are going in the UK. This week, UK-base developers like Kuju and Blitz are urging the government to consider imposing tax breaks on the video game industry.

One of the reasons for implementing this is that, quoting Blitz’s Philip Oliver now,  “There are already worrying signs of a talent drain from the UK to emerging markets and this will only get worse if change doesn’t come soon.”

Link: Kuju, Blitz, other studios urge UK govt to consider implementing tax breaks

Odds-and-Ends: Rallying for a cause

Remember last week when we had that bit about Hillary Clinton speaking about video games and the prospect of tightening the noose around its distribution? Looks like US presidential candidate Ron Paul seems to be getting a different kind of campaign.

His supporters actually had people in World of Warcraft rallying across Azeroth. Say what?! Yep. On New Year’s day, supporters for Ron Paul had gathered and actually made a guild to support the running candidate. This might not be a big deal to some, but for Ron Paul himself, it could be the start of something.

Link: Presidential candidate Ron Paul to rally in World of Warcraft

We got some good news to start the year though. Child’s Play, the charity foundation by Penny Arcade, made considerable headway by exceeding its million-dollar mark last year.

What with all the donation it’s been getting from those cool little console mods in eBay, this doesn’t come as a big surprise.

Link: Happy New Year: Child’s Play exceeds million-dollar mark for 2007

We also had a whole slew of recommended viewing over the weekend in the form of a clip from the comeback episode of Late Night with Conan O’Brien. In their boredom – what with the whole WGA strike and all – they had a bit of fun with Rock Band over the holidays.

Meanwhile, you guys might want to see one of the most frustrating games in history, The Hardest Mario Game Ever. The gameplay video shows how the player manages to complete a level… only after dying about 70 times. Then, there’s the Game Over Project’s new Tetris stop-motion video. Pretty amazing stuff there too.

Link: Conan O’Brien on Rock Band, WGA strike
Link: The Hardest Mario Game Ever gameplay video
Link: Game Over Project: human Tetris stop-motion video

Science and Technology: Tonight, we dine in Blu-ray!

Not so much has happened in the science field this week – barring that little bit about a vaccine for cocaine, of course. But if we look over to the techno-arena, things in the format wars seem to be really heating up.

Last year, when an analyst predicted that a key player in the movie industry would eventually settle on whichever side to support during 2008, no one probably imagined it to happen this early.

Warner Bros. Entertainment finally sealed a deal with Blu-ray: they will begin to produce movies on Blu-ray and only on Blu-ray from May 2008 onwards. This move seems to stem from the confusion of the consumers.

Because the public seems to be undecided as to which format to support, Warner Bros. decided to move to the Blu-ray camp to “further the potential for mass market success and ultimately benefit retailers, producers, and most importantly, consumers.”

Many many thanks to doublefanboy, someone, Slipstream0, super7, and Apu for the tip!

Link: Warner Bros. Entertainment to go Blu-Ray exclusive

In reaction to this big blow, the HD DVD camp announced that they will be withdrawing their press conference during the CES 2008. Toshiba, one of the main backers of the HD DVD format was surprised with the deal penned by Warner Bros.

In a press release, the HD DVD group explained the cancellation of their presence in the event by saying that they will use the time to discuss the impact of the recent announcement of Warner Bros.

Link: HD DVD camp cancels CES presscon due to Warner announcement

Fanning the flames worse for the HD DVD camp is a rumor. Supposedly, Apple will be coming out with a new line of Macs that support Blu-ray capabilities. According to an analyst, Apple could reveal their new line up of notebooks and desktop computers during the MacWorld Expo.

Link: Macs with Blu-ray support to be announced at Macworld Expo?

Comment of the Week: A lesson in homebrew, from Middle Earth

“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” Spoken by Galadriel of LotR fame, the same thing could be said of homebrew. Because sometimes, some people would look at a certain homebrew project and, at first glance, call it simple or “small time”. But when you think about it, is it, really?

Some ‘brew can actually set a course and open up the greater world of homebrew – open up more possibilities, exploit more capabilities that are probably only dreamt of in your philosophy. Sometimes, these “little homebrew” – oh maybe a Lua application, or a 5-line script in Java – can move mountains.

Commenting on the NAND Dump Extractor for the PS3, Mentality sums it up pretty well. Although the context is of PS3 turf, it can apply just as well in other homebrew arenas – on the PSP, DS, Wii, and 360:

Comment of the Week - Mentality - Image 1

Article originally posted on Jan 05, 2008 at 02:38 PM.

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