QuickJump QuickPeek 38: Of PSP piracy numbers, February PS3-360-Wii sales numbers, and LocoRoco teaching how to crunch numbers

QuickJump QuickPeek 38 - Image 1(Editor’s Note: And a wham, bam, thank you, ma’am! It’s time for another recap in QuickPeek 38!)

While some of us hate numbers, it’s still interesting to see them all lined up there looking pretty. From piratical statistics, calendar dates, new version release numbers, price tags, survey results on “bedroom pasttimes”, error codes, and, oh yes, blobs doing arithmetic.

QuickJump QuickPeek: PSP PS3 Xbox 360 Nintendo Wii news recap - Image 1

(Editor’s Note: And a wham, bam, thank you, ma’am! The weekend is here and it’s time for another recap! Lots of numbers clocking in this week – statistics, figures, calendar dates, version releases, prices, error codes, and whatnot.)

While the Easter Bunny is just about to go out and litter the world with its painted eggs, some of us in the gaming industry – which includes you btw, being the consumer – have already been going around playing hide and seek. Shhh! Be veeewy, veeewy quiet! We’re hunting news updates!

The PSP scene is alive once again what with Crisis Core getting released pretty soon. There’s also quite a hubbub among PS3 users waiting for Home, GTA4, and some supposed revamps on the PS Store. Microsoft buddies (pricecuts notwithstanding!) are having some difficulties on the playground with Bully, and Nintendo wagglers are still probably rendering their social life dead with Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

The gaming industry is making ripples once again with lots and lots of numbers. Whether it’s NPD numbers, piracy statistics, and… err, LocoRoco blobs helping out with number crunching.

QuickJump QuickPeek: PSP - PS3 news - Image 1

PSP: From core to peripherals

One thing in everyone’s minds right now: Crisis Core. It’s either Crisis Core this, Crisis Core that, and every once in a while, a drum beat stringing together the Pata-pata-pata-pon command.

Crisis Core is indeed feathering its way in next week (time to hit the in-betweens of the couch for some loose change again!), so, as last minute action, let’s check out some Crisis Core updates, shall we?

We got some screens and videos this week, and heeey, would you look at that… the lucky fellows in Europe might get a Special Edition, complete with a rootin’ tootin’ art book!

Link: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII – four videos; screenshots of Tifa, Aerith, Cloud, more
Link: Europe to have Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Special Edition?

Here’s something else to look forward to, just in case this turns out to be true. See, this week, the online community sparked to a blaze when a supposed Powerpoint presentation of Sony’s was leaked.

In the rumored presentation, a couple of accessories for the PSP and console-brother PS3 were detailed. Just to whet your appetites: it’s listing a Bluetooth headset for the PS3, a GPS unit for the PSP, a Skype kit.. the works.

Link: Sony accessories coming? Details on PS3 Headset, PSP GPS, more

Switching into the homebrew front now, there’s a steady stream of releases coming in due to the NeoFlash Spring coding competition. While that’s all good, we’ve also got some other notable homebrew to keep tabs on. For example, those of you eyeing that PSP emulator for the PC would be glad to know that there’s been some updates for it this week.

Meanwhile, if you guys are looking for something new to deck on your PSP, a new shell called NervOS was released by Pirata Nervo. Pretty cool too, and it’s got quite a lot of features akin to everyone’s favorite iR Shell. There’s also the latest version for PSP-Maps, the map reader homebrew app that’s patterned after Google Maps.

Link: PSP Player update: Puyo Pop Fever semi-working, Every Extend Extra video
Link: NervOS v1.0: a brand new shell for your PSP
Link: PSP-Maps v0.4: browse maps offline using the cache

And who can forget the cool homebrew games we’ve been getting this week. There’s that Legend of Zelda ‘brew from dan369, who released not one, but three versions this week. From Legend of Zelda Alpha 1 to Alpha 3.

A new version for CSPortable – the Counter-strike PSP brew spinoff – was also released this week. It now has some sommand for crouching as well as a couple others.

Royale, who’s also responsible for PSP-Maps, also managed to find time to work on Chromium PSP’s latest version: 0.5 with extended firmware support.

TetriAbetes got quite a slew of updates too. Dragula96 got busy once again rolling in the releases, with the latest version now clocking the Tetris-clone to v1.43.

Link: Legend of Zelda Alpha 3: new features, three new levels
Link: CSPortable 0.74 – added new commands for crouch and zooming
Link: Chromium PSP v0.5 crash bug fixed, FW3.XX support added
Link: TetriAbetes v1.43

Quite a lot of updates again this week, eh? Well, it ain’t over yet! You can scroll down to the Nintendo Wii section for some Manhunt 2 news and check out the General Gaming section below to hear of some gray areas that got everyone talking. And of course, there’s the article where this week’s Comment of the Week hails from.

– QJ.NET’s PSPUpdates team

PlayStation 3: Rip-roaring through a muddy track

First up! New firmware update alert! And no, the supposed “in-game communications” we’ve heard of last week aren’t sliding in just yet. We get PS3 FW 2.17 this week though, and not much, save for a couple of tweaks, seems to have been changed.

Acknowledgments for the tip go out to Gip, DatNizzle, and someone!

Link: PlayStation 3 firmware 2.17 out now

Spinning off from this bit of “cloudy changelog” scenario, people have already been speculating as to what the behind-the-scene changes 2.17 brings. Could it have something to do with two rumors we’ve heard of in the past?

Whether they are related or not, we do have some updates on Home and the supposed PlayStation Store revamp. They’re still labeled with the big red Rumor stamp, but curiously interesting rumors nonetheless.

PS Store screen courtesy of Kotaku. Thanks to Extreme_Dude23 for the tip!

Link: Screenshot of new PlayStation Store surfaces: real or not?
Link: Rumor: PlayStation Home Beta ends in May?

Now, on to some real deal business. You guys see the new MotorStorm 2 trailer yet? Hellzyeah. Now that’s high-octane racing for ya! It seems that a lot of our readers wet their pants while watching the video, so try to be prepared when clicking on that link below.

Link: MotorStorm 2 trailer, multiplayer details revealed

We know close to zip about Heavy Rain. All Quantic Dream’s done is continually tease us with so many vague hints, but now, there’s been quite a revelation as to what kind of game we could expect it to be.

Yeah, yeah, so it’s a couple more vague details, but they’re details still. This week, we learn of hwo the game might pose some moral dilemmas as well as some characters and the environments featured in the game. Hmmm…

Link: Heavy Rain details fall from Dutch mag Chief

So what do we get from the PlayStation Network? Sorry, no Echochrome just yet! The free demo for Major League Baseball 2K8 is available though, as are quite a hefty bunch of game content add-ons for the likes of Guitar Hero 3 and Rock Band among others.

Link: U.S. PSN, PlayStation Store PC update for March 13

Whopdeedoo! Looks like there’s a new kind of format war brewing, despite the Blu-ray-HD-DVD battle over and done with. What is it now? Check out the Science and Technology section below!

– QJ.NET’s PlayStation 3 team

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

Xbox 360: Getting schooled

Big news for the 360 camp this week! Sweet! Europe’s already confirmed that there will pricedrops for Xbox 360 units in their region. The Pro, Elite, and Acrade SKUs all get a slash to their tags. Though no pricedrops are confirmed for other regions, you might eventually see it in the future.

For now, despite speculation over the format wars being a factor for the decision to introduce cheaper SKUs (as well as the pricecuts being a precursor to the fabled 60GB SKU), Microsoft Europe VP Chris Lewis explained that the pricedrops became possible due to the milestones they’ve been able to accomplish in their schedule.

Link: Xbox 360 price cut for Europe confirmed; price details
Link: Microsoft Europe VP explains how Xbox 360 big price drop became possible

Now what’s a week like without some Grand Theft Auto 4 updates? Well, aside from the whole “EA wants Take-Two” debacle, there are still some other news for Rockstar’s coming 360-PS3 sandlot.

This week, we hear more details of the time cycles that GTA4 will have – it’s slightly different this time around (pardon the pun). There’s also some bit about the Slow-Mo feature included in the game. We’ve got some info on the 15 kinds of multiplayer modes available in the game – woot! – but if you guys want more GTA love, be sure to check back on March 27 for trailer #4.

Thanks to zakir8 for the heads up about trailer #4!

Link: GTA 4 new features: Day of the Week, Slow-Mo Driving
Link: Grand Theft Auto 4: multiplayer details from PlayStation Magazine Spain
Link: Grand Theft Auto 4: fourth trailer and more updates coming this month

Speaking of R*, if you’ve been following (or playing hookie straight through?) the academic schedule of Jimmy Hopkins for the Xbox 360, you might have already encountered some glitches in Bully: Scholarship Edition.

Cool down. No need to pull the fire alarm for the 20th time. Rockstar has already acknowledged the bug and promises a fix soon enough. They apologize for the inconvenience, of course. So rest assured that you’ll eventually be able to get back to Rubber Band hunting in the near future.

Link: Rockstar’s Houser horrified with Bully: Scholarship Edition issues on Xbox 360
Link: Bully: Scholarship Edition – Xbox 360 fix coming within the week

With Mass Effect out and about, it was only a matter of time before we heard of more news about its sequel. Though details about the game itself are still scarce, what we have to go by with is info on the game release.

Matt Atwood of BioWare revealed that Mass Effect 2 could be a timed exclusive. This statement could imply two things: That the game will be exclusive to Xbox 360 and then later released on the PC (which is now also confirmed), or that it’ll be exclusive to the Xbox 360 and PC (meaning Microsoft/Games for Windows turf)… and then see a PS3 release.

Link: Mass Effect 2: possible timed exclusive, PC version confirmed

And there we have it! Scroll down some more for other Microsoft-related news in the General Gaming arena!

– QJ.NET’s Xbox 360 team

Nintendo Wii: And then… the Smash Ball appears!

Brawl. Brawl. Brawl. This week is Super Smash Bros. Brawl week. Have you finished the Subspace Emissary mode yet? Unlocked all the characters and items and whatnot? Yeah, that’s probably enough reason for you to have a virtually dead social life this week.

Other might call this week Super Buggy Bros. Brawl week too. Because apparently, once the game got released, a lot of feedback reported that their disc wouldn’t work. No need to grab that homerun bat just yet though. Ease up. Nintendo’s already issued a temporary fix to alleviate your problems.

There’s also been some reports of online matches not working as they’re supposed to. Nintendo has also released a possible solution for this – basically, the staple “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again” type of solution.

Link: Super Smash Bros. Brawl not working? Nintendo wants to help fix the problem
Link: Quick fix: A temporary solution for the Super Smash Bros. Brawl read errors
Link: Nintendo provides possible solution to Error 85010 in SSBB

Now let’s you’ve finally managed to get your disc running smoothly and that the world couldn’t be any more perfect. Time for some unlocking! This week had quite a number of updates regarding how to squeeze out the most that you can from Brawl. From Hidden Masterpieces, to Solid Snake’s secret codec messages!

Link: Super Smash Bros. Brawl update: Hidden Masterpieces, how to unlock
Link: Super Smash Bros. Brawl update: how to unlock secret melee stages
Link: Super Smash Bros. Brawl update: Snake Codec Secrets part 1
Link: Sora Ltd. reveals more hidden assist trophies for Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Good news though! Mario Kart Wii has finally been dated for North America! The date is just a few weeks after Europe’s release, but who’s complaining? Have you pre-ordered your copy yet? April looks like a solid month for Mario Kart Wii, especially if you’ve grown jaded with SSBB – nigh impossibility, but who knows?

Link: Nintendo unveils Mario Kart Wii launch date for North America

Danny Lamb’s making another scene in the gaming, well, scene. The BBFC has always been hot on the heels of Manhunt 2 for the Wii and PSP. This week, there’s been some more updates on its status in the UK.

The final decision on Manhunt 2‘s release in the UK was given by the Video Appeals Committee: the game gets an 18 rating. Of course, this is the “second” final decision. Because when the VAC first gave the verdict, the BBFC had to question it. And now, they’re staying by their decision.

Rockstar couldn’t be happier. They’re not promising to deliver Manhunt 2 in a responsible manner, all the while “supporting an effective rating system.”

Link: VAC gives decision on Manhunt 2; BBFC has no other option but to grant 18 rating
Link: Manhunt 2 to be responsibly marketed, says Rockstar

Now get the hence! Back to Brawling!

– QJ.NET’s Nintendo Wii team

Patapon - please don't download me... - Image 1

General Gaming: Number crunching

We’ve got quite a hefty update for all all aaaaall of you guys this weekend! And though some may be specific for a platform – like the first item on the list – it still shows the bigger picture of how the situation looks like for the entire gaming community.

So first up are reported statistics on what piracy is like on the PSP platform. The numbers are utterly gross. C’mon… Thousands upon thousands of torrent downloads for a certain ROM? Imagine the repercussions.

Just two of the top-notching games being downloaded are Burnout Dominator and MGS Portable Ops. And even Patapon – a game that only costs 20 bucks – wasn’t spared from the downloading. Enough to give you a Pata-fever, indeed.

Link: PSP piracy numbers on the rise

Now if only anti-piracy measures were as strict as Konami for cheating in online matches. See, they recently had a competition for PES 2008. Unfortunately, their top-ranking player had to be disqualified after they found out the person was actually cheating their way through the games. Not a good way to make gaming history, indeed.

Link: PES 2008 player banned for cheating

While that’s depressing, let’s lighten up the mood with some good news. Square Enix, that great RPG colossus, is now aiming for simultaneous worldwide releases for their video games. While it’s still uncertain whether FF XIII and Dragon Quest IX are going to be released under this goal, it’s still something worth looking forward to.

Link: Lifestreaming: Square Enix wants simultaneous worldwide releases

So. On to some number crunching! The NPD Group has released the figures for the month of February. What’s the standing? Well, CoD 4 and the DS have topped the software and hardware charts respectively. But interesting to note as well is that the PS3 shot past the Xbox 360 in sales.

Meanwhile, each of the three major console manufacturers have responded to these figures. As you might expect, it’s all about trying to name this or that factor as a reason for this or that failure or achievement. You might agree with some of the responses, or not. But it’s still pretty interesting how their responses paint a picture of how these console giants see the gaming industry as a whole.

Link: February NPD US results: PS3 outsells Xbox 360, while Wii and CoD 4 top charts
Link: Sony on NPD results: this is the year for PS3, more February data
Link: Microsoft on February: hollow victory for Sony, no Blu-ray for 360
Link: Nintendo responds to NPD Group February sales results

Science and Technology: It ain’t over ’til it’s over

Despite the format war being over already, it seems as if Blu-ray’s troubles won’t end just yet. Some Hollywood studio directors think that the media downloading services could have a chance at taking a sizeable chunk of the market.

Some – like Microsoft’s Chris Lewis – even believe that the Blu-ray format could become obsolete with the onslaught of digital downloads.

Link: Hollywood execs: Media downloads won’t take over just yet
Link: Downloads in, Blu-ray out in the near future?

Odds-and-Ends: Hormones, testosterone, and estrogen

Video game development has always had a lot of issues: from hardware obstacles to meeting deadlines. Putting another issue on the spotlight is the former producer for Burnout. She believes that there seems to be an imbalance in the gaming industry since there doesn’t seem to be much room for women.

Not that the industry is totally devoid of estrogen. But in her opinion, the whole video gaming industry could actually benefit from having a more welcome environment for women since they could bring something new to the table.

Link: Former Burnout producer: we need more women in gaming industry

Speaking of sensitive issues, a recent poll in the UK reveals that people actually spend more time in bed to play video games rather than to, err, copulate. Spare us the immaturity, let’s look at this from an academically mature light.

The survey tallies suggest that video games have become more popular in the UK than sex has. Of course, this being a survey that was conducted on a set number of subjects, the numbers don’t reflect the actual truth, but rather just paint a vague “big picture” of it all.

Link: The tallies are in: video games more popular than sex in UK

Comment of the Week: Bajumbo moi noi noi – FEVAAAAH!

Aw yeah, baby! It’s the Comment of the Week portion! While we have to admit, quite a lot of comments in that PSP piracy article were quite notable, this little gem of a comment from SiLeNtKiLr got us nodding and chuckling at the same time. Not to mention almost spewing coffee all over our monitors.

Well, with LocoRoco teaching Japanese school kids the basics of arithmetic (one happy yellow blob plus seven happy yellow blobs… equals?!) )we could almost picture it now, actually. Japanese band practice being conducted by Kami.

Comment of the Week: SiLeNtKiLr - Image 1

Link: Japanese school uses LocoRoco to teach math

*Article originally posted on March 15, 2008 at 2:37 p.m.

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