QuickJump QuickPeek 29: Of PSP Skype and CFW brew storms, whipping up the CES 2008 typhoon, and black holes orbiting the format wars

QuickJump QuickPeek 28 - Image 1(Editor’s Note: Don’t you just love weekends? We make it easier for you to catch up on all the highs and lows of the week with yet another QuickJump QuickPeek edition! Clear the decks! This one is huge!)

Last week started out the year with a big bang – and this week, it’s been blown out of proportion… in a good way of course! Get ready for a lot of clicking, folks! We’ve spammed up the whole page with tons and tons – and tons – of links!

QuickJump QuickPeek 29 - Image 1

(Editor’s Note: Don’t you just love weekends? Not only do you get to ease back and really play the games you’ve been so desperately itching to get your hands on for the entire week at work or at school. During weekends, we make it easier for you to catch up on all the highs and lows of the week with yet another QuickJump QuickPeek edition! Clear the deck, boys! This is a huge one!)

Last week started out the new year with quite a big bang – something that caught most of us off guard since it could have been expected that everyone was hibernating for the holidays. But BANG! did the industry go, nonetheless.

We were right last week too, that we could all expect quite a ruckus this week. Sony seems to have taken the spotlight, especially during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2008 event – both PSP and PS3 platforms have some of the juiciest tidbits we’ve been able to find all year (oh wait, the year’s just started).

The Xbox 360 is still trying to recuperate from the whole XBL shuddering over the holidays, and the Nintendo Wii is continuing to show promise homebrew-wise.

Of course, a very big thanks to all of the tipsters this week! You know who you are! (If you don’t know, we’ll refresh your memories by mentioning it below *wink*).

Get ready for a lot of clicking, folks! We’ve spammed up the whole page with tons and tons – and tons – of links! Now, on with more fireworks!

QuickJump QuickPeek 28: PSP - PlayStation 3 - Image 1

PSP: Getting a head start on everyone else

It’s only the second week of the year, and already, the PSP is showing signs of a great year (as if last year wasn’t great enough)!

Needing no introduction is the news of Dark AleX‘s custom firmware supposedly coming out this week. Why are so many people looking forward to it? Well, definitely not least of all is that last minute addition that DAX made: an update feature to bump up your PSP firmware (via WiFi) using the Network Update function on the XMB.

You really got to hand it to Dark AleX and Team M33. They just keep on surprising us with a lot of features that sweep us off our Phat and Slim feet.

Link: CFW 3.80 M33 to be released tomorrow, has update feature

The team hit a snag though. After a quick update care of – who we’re starting to believe is DAX’s official spokesperson and PR guy – Mathieulh, we learn of some technical problems they’ve been experiencing, and because of that, the release of CFW PSP 3.80 M33 will be temporarily delayed.

No specifics were revealed; with Math saying that Dark AleX wanted the CFW to be in utmost perfection once it hits the public. As always, we suggest you stay patient. Everyone would prefer a slightly delayed but flawless ‘brew than an early half-baked one.

Thanks to homj, brad, Fadil, and JaXeRiR for the emails!

Link: Dark AleX’s CFW PSP 3.80 M33 delayed due to tech problems

You all might have heard about the Skype PSP feature that’s scheduled to come out soon. It’s been talked of since last week. The new bits we got this week relate to the specific details about running the system on your Slim – what’s free in the subscription and what’s not free, what outbound calling options you have, what accessories you’ll be needing, the works… All that, neatly bundled in the article linked below.

Thanks to SooperGooman and Jaspreet S for the tip!

Link: Sony announces Skype for PSP coming late January, details

As we trudged on this week, more details have surfaced – and more importantly, we finally get to see the face of the Skype feature running on the PSP (gotta love that sleek Skype logo on the XMB!).

We also hear of the reason why Skype is only made available for the PSP-2000, and get to see the USB microphone and PSP Skype headset. If you’ve got all of those down pat, a good way to end all of this week’s Skype hype is with nothing less than a video demonstration. Dude! Suh-weeet!

Link: First screenshot of Skype PSP, Sony launches USB microphone
Link: Skype only for PSP Slim & Lite because of Phat’s memory limitation
Link: First look at the PSP Skype headset
Link: Demonstration video: Skype running on PSP Slim

The PSP homebrew community is stirring, making its own waves to cause alarm for the big Sony mother ship. Getting a head start on the whole Skype PSP feature, Fanjita and the rest of the Noobz team released Furikup PSP SIP Phone this week – it’s an alternative for PSP Skype.

As Noobz’s post goes, they saw a couple of flaws that could result from the Sony’s plan for the framework of their Skype system, so, they took matters into their own hands and released their homebrew alternative.

Big thanks to bobtentpeg for the news tip!

Link: Fanjita, Noobz release Furikup PSP SIP Phone – The PSP Skype alternative

Now if you’ve got nothing to do while waiting for DAX’s CFW, we avert your eyes to another notable homebrewing team, RealTechVR. No, there’s still no No Gravity (double negatives… hmm… meaning there is gravity?). But shocking so many people with not just one, but two releases, RealTechVR brings us Purple Motion and EyeLiner during the same day!

Link: No Gravity creators’ Purple Motion v1.0 – futuristic racing game for PSP
Link: No Gravity team RealtechVR releases EyeLiner

Whew! Is week #3 of 2008 going to be just as explosive? Well, if DAX’s CFW doesn’t get released by the time this QuickPeek gets posted, then at least there’s that to look forward to!

– QJ.NET’s PSPUpdates Team

PlayStation 3: Sony’s CES parade

The CES 2008 brought with it a bajillion and four quarters of (room for exaggeration, please) big news for the PS3.

After much demand from the consumers, after countless petitions and all, Sony finally confirms that in-game access to the XMB will be coming this year. They gave everyone the heads up during the CES, but more than simply confirming it, they didn’t reveal any more details on the matter.

Link: CES 2008: Sony confirms in-game XMB for PS3 this year

More hints on what we can expect in possible future firmware updates include BD Live support. Other than this though, we’re also treated with some details on the transferring of Blu-ray content onto the PSP.

News tip thanks go out to TheSilenceOfNoOne!

Link: CES 2008: Sony touts BD Live – Blu-ray transfers from PS3 to PSP
Link: How it will work: Blu-ray PS3 to PSP transfers

Previously, Metal Gear Solid 4 was blasted with more rumors about a 360 version. However, to reaffirm and really put a death note to the speculations, the CES demo of the game had a clear-cut message to all nay-sayers: Exclusive title for the PlayStation 3.

Meanwhile, we also hear that MGS 4 is finally in its bug testing phase and is looking more likely to be in time for a release on the second quarter of this year. It’s not “gone gold” just yet, but that’s splendid news nonetheless.

Link: Sony reaffirms MGS4 exclusivity with CES 2008 demo
Link: Metal Gear Solid 4 now in bug testing, Q2 release solid

If you’ve gotten shell shocked over the last war with the Chimera in Resistance: Fall of Man, you better get ready for another bombardment of alien chunks and sinew. Resistance 2 is finally confirmed, baby! And we’ve got some scans of the screenshots too.

The proverbial bomb was dropped by GameInformer in their latest issue. Aside from the usual graphical tune-ups and other system tweaks, what else will the sequel bring?

  • 60 individuals in multiplayer matches
  • 8 players in co-op mode
  • a Fall 2008 release

If that doesn’t make you scream out in the capital letters O, M, and G, we don’t know what will.

Quixand, thanks go out to you for the helpful email!

Link: Resistance 2 confirmed: 8-man co-op, 60 multiplayer, Fall 2008 release

LittleBigPlanet also got a hefty update during the CES. A recent build of the game was at the show floor to entice more gamers with its quirky Sackboy avatars. Amidst all the emoticons, Fluff (meaning in-game resources), and not-so-sidescrolling action though, all may not be too innocent in the little big world for the game.

There’s already been talk of R-rated content getting sneaked in by users, what with the very open customization options for LittleBigPlanet. Lighten up, they’re already trying to attend to the possibility.

Another thing to look forward to is an eventual demo that could hit the public sometime later this year, and get this, actual confirmation from Sony of when LittleBigPlanet hits the market!

Link: CES 2008: LittleBigPlanet’s emoticons, Fluff, side-scrolling nature
Link: CES 2008: LittleBigPlanet may get R-rated content
Link: CES 2008: LittleBigPlanet video hints public demo coming
Link: LittleBigPlanet coming in September

Still breathing? How’s that for a beefy update? Who knows what will happen next week… Maybe a new firmware? We hear the handheld brother of the PS3 is cooking up a new one for itself.

– QJ.NET’s PlayStation 3 Team

QuickJump QuickPeek 29: Xbox 360 - Nintendo Wii - Image 1

Xbox 360: War? What war?

We probably all know by now of the little shake down that Xbox Live got during the holidays. But Microsoft, and none other than Bill Gates himself, is confident that this is just a minor hiccup.

After delivering his last CES keynote, Bill Gates gave a bit of a comment on the status of the format wars. Despite having a lot of “backs and forths” in the shifting tides of the wars, Gates is still optimistic, outlining XBL as a possible trend to set the course of the HD-DVD-Blu-ray battle.

Link: Gates comments on format wars, highlights Xbox Live instead

Connected to this, Microsoft marketing manager Albert Penello believes that it isn’t all too impossible for the Xbox 360 to reach out a hand to the Blu-ray format. According to Penello, all this will be decided by the consumer. Once they hear the clamoring from the market, only then, maybe, they will consider the incorporation of Blu-ray.

Link: Microsoft could adopt Blu-ray on Xbox 360 if HD-DVD fails, says executive

This strategy is some what echoed by MS corporate VP of global marketing, Jeff Bell. He reaffirms that they will let consumers decide on how they want their entertainment – it’s all about consumer choice, after all.

Aside from this, Bell also confirmed that, despite all the rumors, there are currently no plans of an integrated HD DVD drive on a future Xbox 360 SKU.

Link: Microsoft agnostic on format war, no HD-DVD Xbox 360 coming

Now if you’re holding a Diamond Card for your XBL account, this bit of news will affect you. Turns out that there’s been a slight change in the system: the company handling the program will now be Password Unlimited and they will be offering annual subscription fees from now on.

Link: Xbox Live Diamond Card annual subscription fee takes effect on March 1

It seems that the Xbox camp is pretty occupied with the format wars now. But that doesn’t mean we can’t expect something coming from totally out in left field to change the landscape by next week.

– QJ.NET’s Xbox 360 Team

Nintendo Wii: racing to the homebrew square

Ever since we’ve heard of the Head Tracking technology presented by Johnny Chung Lee, and Brushing’s 24C3 demonstration, more and more people are getting in on the indie/homebrew development bandwagon on the Wii.

First up, we’ve got something pretty big cooked up by one Vui Huang Tea. Given that, beside it’s current-gen brothers the PS3 and and Xbox 360, the Wii is a bit lacking on the IPTV functionality, Huang Tea was able to compromise some middleware systems to create an IPTV portal.

From there, everything’s pretty simple. Once the portal is online, all you have to do is surf it up in your Wii Internet Channel aaaand… viola! IPTV on your Wii!

Link: Video: independent coder ports IPTV on Nintendo Wii console

If you’re looking forward to WiiWare, listen up. You just might get a little push to keep you guys brewing your own Wiimote-waggling projects at home.

In the same breath that Engine Software’s developement VP announced their upcoming game, Project Bang!, they let slip the WiiWare service’s launch: March 2008 – something that reaffirms Perrin Kaplan’s original timetable.

This announcement from Engine Software however, was given a response to by Nintendo, saying that their (Engine’s) statement was misleading. How misleading? We’re not all too sure, but they also revealed that the WiiWare service will be limiting the number of game uploads per developer (at a given time frame) to evenly spread out the release of many games.

Link: Engine Software announces new WiiWare title, says WiiWare launching March 2008
Link: Nintendo disputes WiiWare launch announcement from Engine Software

Meanwhile, whether or not the March launch will really push through or not, here’s some good news. Shin’en Multimedia will be lending a hand to all you budding Wii developers by offering their DSX toolchain – a system that can be used for audio and soundtrack in games.

Link: Shin’en extends audio services to WiiWare developers

And now, the Brawl updates. Finally after the holidays, we’re starting to heat up again. First things first, a new character to add to the roster! Yep! You can bet your last ship part that Captain Olimar is finally confirmed to be playable in Super Smash Bros. Brawl! He’s going to be bringing in tow a set of Pikmin to wreak havoc with in the Smash arena.

This week, we also get a big 411 on the other Melee stages that’ll be reappearing in Brawl, as well as some preview of the Stadium Multi-Man Brawl mode. Finally, we also get to see Solid Snake’s Final Smash – go call the helicopters!

Link: Super Smash Bros. Brawl: the return of the Melee stages, part 2
Link: Super Smash Bros. Brawl update: Stadium Multi-Man Brawl mode
Link: Super Smash Bros. Brawl update: Pikmin & Olimar, Pikmin world map music
Link: Super Smash Bros. Brawl: Solid Snake’s explosive Final Smash
Link: Super Smash Bros. Brawl: Pikmin’s & Olimar’s special moves

Now just when we were all comfortable thinking that “Yay! It’s the last stretch before Brawl gets released!,” we’re suddenly in for quite a one-two punch. A recent rumor drawing from retailers now clocks the release to March. Nooooo!

Link: Rumor: Super Smash Bros. Brawl pushed back to March?

Let’s cross our fingers that the rumored SSBB delay isn’t true, and hopefully, something official comes out next week. Keep those tips coming!

– QJ.NET’s Nintendo Wii Team

QuickJump QuickPeek 28: CES 2008 - Image 1

General Gaming: The Weltenschauung (i.e. world view) bringing us together

The year 2007 has come and gone. Now, we get to take look back at the year in full. All figures are in (for the UK at least) and Chart Track’s published the overall result of 2007 software sales.

Does this come at a surprise? Depends on how you look at it, but just to get the facts ironed out first, the DS and PSP combined held a full third of the market pie. As for hardware sales (we’re talking across all platforms now), Chart Track reports a total of 75.9 million consoles sold in 2007. For that year, the title that reigns supreme in sales is FIFA 08. Yes, they do love their football…

Link: Chart Track: DS and PSP dominate 2007’s overall console sales

While the mother brain of the Square Enix network currently resides in Japan, the company’s global president, Yoichi Wada, is eying Europe as a possibility for Western expansion, in terms of market reach. According to Wada, they just might push for a new kind of marketing strategy for Europe, as compared to the one they’re planning for China. Will this bring an eventual central nerve office in Europe for Square Enix?

Link: Square Enix now considering Western expansion, says Wada

God of War creator David Jaffe picked up the concept of having a one-console future. Not only that, but he’s actually encouraging some people to be more enthusiastic about the idea. According to him, the competition isn’t much on the hardware side, but actually, the software.

The way he speaks of it, the idea does sound appealing. Arguing thus, he continues: “Sure you miss out on some features that may otherwise be available if another console was there to compete. But this is always the way when one format wins over another and becomes the standard. And for those few features you lose, donÂ’t you make up for it in so many other ways?”

Link: David Jaffe renews call for unified video game platform in the future

If you play WoW like it’s oxygen to your lungs, then you may have heard about this. But just in case some of you out there aren’t in the know (and yes, we believe that there are still a couple of you out there who haven’t heard, Ron Paul included), World of Warcraft patch 2.3.2 was made available for download this week.

Link: World of Warcraft patch 2.3.2 now out

Can’t wait for boothbabes to grace our site again? Well, regardless, the Tokyo Game Show is still something worth looking forward to for a lot of other reasons. Setting up the stage, it’s already been announced that the event will take place this October, from the 9th all the way until the 12th.

It’s still unconfirmed as to how many Tiduses, Aerises, Ryus, and Sakuras there will be attending the event in full regalia.

Link: Tokyo Game Show 2008 date revealed: October 9 to 12

Science and Technology: Black holes orbiting around each other

Opening the new year last week with a mind-blowing announcement was Warner Bros. and their decision to go Blu-ray exclusive. In light of this, already, we are seeing effects in the industry – and in a global scale at that.

Over at the Japan Stock Exchange, Sony’s shares considerably went up after Warner’s announcement – and this is especially after Sony’s recent downward slump just a few days prior. Meanwhile, Toshiba, the main backer for the HD DVD format, has lost some shares in the stock exchange.

Thank you, Apu, for sending in the tip!

Link: Sony stocks rise, Toshiba falls after Warner goes Blu-ray exclusive

All these switching of sides and exclusivity announcements are starting to get hard to keep track of. That’s why we aren’t surprised why certain studios would reaffirm (or confirm – which ever word you want to use, depending on how in-the-know you are about the status of the format wars) their support for a given format.

This week, after Warner Bros. Entertainment’s announcement of a Blu-ray exclusivity, Universal Studios is putting their feet down and standing by their decision of sticking with the HD-DVD format.

Link: Confirmed: Universal still supporting HD DVD format

As for Blu-ray, both New Line Home Entertainment and HBO Video are following suit after Warner’s announcement, both of them switching over to the Blu-ray camp.

Thanks again to Apu for the tip!

Link: New Line, HBO Video confirm switch to Blu-ray format

As if doing an interstellar interpretative dance on the format wars, a black hole has been recently discovered in the far reaches of space, some 3.5 billion light years away from us. Not only that, but it’s the biggest discovered black hole yet.

On the red corner: weighing in at 18 billion times our sun’s mass… a black hole we here in QJ.NET have nicknamed “Magneto” is actually being orbited by another black hole that’s slightly smaller (a black hole we also nicknamed – Xavier, just to please the Marvel geeks). Eventually, Magneto and Xavier’s orbits will cross one another, and if that happens… we get Onslaught (that’s another coined nickname we thought up).

Link: Scientists find biggest black hole yet

Odds-and-Ends: Do not pass Go… (but collect 200 anyways)

Following the Jeff Gerstmann controversy, GameSpot this week got two casualties down their line up of video game reviewing staff members. First one is Frank Provo, who willingly resigned and left GameSpot early on this week. Another, although not fully gone yet, is Alex Navarro, who is arguably pretty popular as well, especially with his podcasts.

The news about Alex Navarro quitting is actually fairly recent, so as of writing, not much has been revealed surrounding his decision to leave. What we do know is that he already turned in his letter of resignation, which states that he will be relinquishing all of his editorial duties by January 24.

Link: Long-time reviewer Frank Provo leaves GameSpot
Link: Reviewer Alex Navarro resigns from GameSpot

In relation to video game journalism integrity, EGM’s editor in chief, Dan Hsu, has bravely come out in the open, naming three game developers and their publishers who have allegedly banned them (EGM) from covering their games.

The game companies mentioned in the editorial column were Ubisoft, Sony’s sports game division, and Midway’s Mortal Kombat development team. As of writing, there has not been any feedback yet from either of these game developers.

Link: EGM’s Dan Hsu unveils game companies involved in foul play

Still unsure about where exactly the line is drawn between video games and toys? Maybe Best Buy can answer it for you. Or maybe at least try to.

In some unfortunate event, someone who was able to get a discount coupon for a “toy” was turned down when he asked if he could use it to purchase an Xbox 360. Though their definitions seem to be misaligned, they do maintain that a doll is a toy, among other things. But when the guy with the turned down discount card checked Best Buy’s online site, they had Halo 3 listed under toys. Heeeey. Wait a minute…

Link: Best Buy: consoles and video games aren’t toys

Comment of the Week: A toy story

We were actually impressed by all the feedback we’ve gotten about that Best Buy article. Well, we guess it’s something that you guys surely would tickle your brain cells – kinda like how most everyone would always have to give their definition of “next-gen” or some such.

So, what is your take on the distinction between video games and toys? Though we wish we can make everyone’s comments as this week’s winners, here’s just one of the couple of comments that made us snicker. And yes, thank you for not going into detail, mohaas05:

Comment of the Week: mohaas05 - Image 1

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