QuickJump QuickPeek 46: Of the ‘PlayStation Day’ week, Niko Bellic’s 100 million gamerscore points, and how Street Fighter is going feminist

QuickJump QuickPeek 46 - Image 1(Editor’s Note: Spent too much time playing GTA IV to read up on the news? Time to catch up with QuickJump QuickPeek!)

Whoa, it’s the weekend already? Pry your thumbs away from those controllers, gamers, it’s time for number 46! In this issue, we cover everything from the big PlayStation Day event, to the upcoming WiiWare service, and a heck of a lot of Grand Theft Auto IV news. Take a breath, folks, here we go!

*Article originally posted May 10, 2008 at 03:00PM.

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

(Editor’s Note: After weeks of piles upon piles of video game news, we finally get to catch our breath this week as everyone in the industry seems to be busy playing Grand Theft Auto IV. Pry your thumbs from the controller folks, it’s time to catch up on the news!)

Grand Theft Auto IV may have been out for more than a week now, but it’s still making news and it’s still a hot topic in both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 blogs. We’ve got a lot more in store for you than just GTA news though!

In this issue of QuickJump QuickPeek we take you once again through the ins and outs of the video game industry, from the big PlayStation Day event held in the UK, to the upcoming WiiWare service, to Chun-Li’s… feminine side? Take a breath folks, here we go!

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PSP: Less is more… or at least, less confusing

Once in a while you get a game that changes your world. Well, in Echochrome‘s case, it turns it around and around. The game’s already difficult by itself, but keeping track of its different versions could get just as tough.

Here’s another clarification for those who have their eyes on the game: apparently, the PSP version available through PSN lacks two modes that are available in Japan’s UMD version. It’s not so bad, considering the UMD version costs almost four times as much as the other.

Link: Echochrome: downloadable PSP version lacks two modes

The name’s Clank. Just Clank. Secret Agent Clank, that is. The little green-eyed robot finally got off Ratchet’s back, giving bad guys a taste of his Clank-Fu. Sony has finally posted a release date for the game: expect Secret Agent Clank to hit shelves on June 17. Sony also released the game’s opening cinematic! Check it out after the link.

Link: Sony dates Secret Agent Clank
Link: Secret Agent Clank videos: Opening cinematic, Infiltration gameplay

Last up for this week’s PSP update is Sony’s official headset kit, which offers support for Skype. Sure, it’s a little on the pricey side with US$ 30 on the pricetag, but some may consider it worth the dough.

Link: PSP Slim: Headset kit now on shelves

Homebrew updates! Remember the Custom Firmware 3.93 which no one seems to be taking credit for? A lot of folks out there were all praises for it, but some have pointed out that a bug causes the unit to freeze up when you press the select button.

Good news for fans of the CFW: the bug’s been fixed, hurrah! The CFW is also available sans HellCat’s Savegame Deemer plugin, although you can still leave it in if you want.

Also in the homebrew scene this week is Red_Squirrel’s RSPsar Dumper, which has been updated to allow decryption of the official 3.95 firmware

Link: Custom Firmware 3.93 Update 2 with HellCat’s Savegame Deemer
Link: RSPsar Dumper v3.3 – now decrypts official 3.95 PSP FW

That’s it for this week’s updates! You might want to scroll down to the General Gaming section for a small treat on PSP news. See you again next week!

– QJ.NET’s PSPUpdates team

PlayStation 3: The Skinny on PlayStation Day

Gamers in the UK got the Sony treatment at the PlayStation Day event. While the rest of the world was deprived of the pleasure, they still got to hear everything that’s happened – and boy, did a lot happen. Here are some of the things that went on during the event that you’ll probably want to know.

First off, MotorStorm 2 has itself a spanking official name: Pacific Rift. Sounds way better than just a number, yes? Also unveiled during PlayStation Day is Gran Turismo Academy, a 24-hour racing event in Dubai that involves real cars. Even Gran Turismo 5 can’t beat that. You can’t get more real than, well, real.

Not everything out of PlayStation Day was good news though. SCEE also announced that there will be no open beta for LittleBigPlanet (we’ve yet to hear about the rumored demo though), and that Killzone 2 will not be coming out this year, but next year. Bummer, eh? Still, these are two great games that look pretty much worth the wait, so wait we shall.

Link: PlayStation Day update: There is no LittleBigPlanet open beta
Link: PlayStation Day 08: game line-up revealed, Motorstorm 2 gets new name
Link: PlayStation Day 08: Killzone 2 won’t come out this year, new video released
Link: PlayStation Day 08: Sony and Nissan unveil Gran Turismo Academy

The PlayStation Store also got a hefty update this week, perhaps partly thanks to the UK’s PlayStation Day event. The highlight of this week are three demos you might want to get your hands on: Haze, Race Driver: GRID, and The Bourne Conspiracy. Also in this week are Rocketmen: Axis of Evil and PixelJunk Monsters Encore.

Also coming to the PlayStation Network is the new reality show that SCEE announced during the PlayStation Day event. SCEE will be showing a new reality series that’s distributed exclusively through PSN. The series, called “Movement”, will be searching for the best indie music in Europe. Indie Idol?

Link: PSN U.S. May 8 update: Haze demo, Rocketmen: Axis of Evil now online
Link: PlayStation Network – Race Driver: GRID demo details
Link: PlayStation Day 08: Sony bringing indie music to PSN through reality TV

The PlayStation 3 has been gaining a lot of ground on the Xbox 360 in the past few months. In fact, it’s been ahead of the Xbox 360 since October. Sony has a lot of things in store for the console. Now we get to thinking: what’s in store for the Sony console now? Where is it headed? And when in heck’s name will they release Home?

Link: SCEE’s David Reeves on PS3 overtaking the Xbox 360 since October

You guys have been relatively quiet for a few days now. Comments haven’t been as raucous or rambunctious as they were since, hmm let’s see, how long has it been since April 29? Too busy playing Grand Theft Auto IV are we? We don’t blame you. The game’s been everything Rockstar Games has promised and more besides.

The game’s well worth the wait, although some have been waiting to enjoy the game more than others. Apparently, the game causes some consoles to freeze over when playing the game, and some gamers are also experiencing problems connecting to the game’s multiplayer mode.

Rockstar released a patch for these problems, but according to reports, they still persist in some consoles. According to Rockstar’s reply to those who’ve reported freezing incidents, the problem doesn’t lie with the game, but with the hardware – for the PS3 at least. The email goes on to say that Sony is on the case.

Link: Grand Theft Auto 4 PS3 patch to fix freezing issues released
Link: Rockstar on freeze issue: It’s not us, it’s your PS3

Although Rockstar’s email implies that the freezing issues stem from the hardware of the PlayStation 3, there have been reports that the game also causes the same problem on Xbox 360 consoles. With that, we hand you over to the Xbox 360 team for this week’s updates. You might also want to check out our General Gaming section for more news on Grand Theft Auto IV.

– QJ.NET’s PlayStation 3 team

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Xbox 360: Grand Theft Auto IV steals the show

On Xbox Live this week, Grand Theft Auto IV dominates the scene. What?! Really? Aw, we all expected it folks. According to figures from Microsoft, the game’s more popular on the Xbox 360 than it is on the PlayStation 3 (although Sony’s expressed skepticism over these figures). Still, all this hoopla just stresses how massively popular the game is.

On its first week out, GTA IV shot straight to the top of the charts in Xbox Live Activity. Not only that, GTA IV gamers also managed to unlock over 12 million achievements in the same week, a record worth over 100 million gamerscore points. If the game’s this popular now, wonder what those extra episodic content will do for it.

Link: Xbox Live Activity for week of 4/28: GTA IV tops list
Link: GTA 4 on the 360: XBL players unlock over 100 million gamerscore points last week
Link: Microsoft confident more GTA4 gamers prefer Xbox 360
Link: Sony questions Microsoft claim that Xbox 360 GTA 4 is outselling the PS3 version

What?! More Grand Theft Auto IV news? Well, the game’s just that big, folks. The game’s so successful that it’s sold 3.6 million units on its first day out, with a total retail value of about US$ 310 million. The game’s so successful that word of a Grand Theft Auto MMO game has begun to circulate once again.

Link: Realtime Worlds planning Grand Theft Auto Online?
Link: Take-Two Interactive reveals Grand Theft Auto 4 launch records

Great week for Gears of War fans! Epic Games has released the first ever gameplay trailer of Gears of War 2e. Watch it. Even if you’re not a fan of the first game, it’s still worth a watch.

In the video, CliffyB explains that the Locusts have acquired the means to sink an entire city, and they mean business. Watching the gamplay vid, you can’t help but feel your eyes bleed in awesomeness. You’ll see Marcus Fenix in the heat of battle against the Locusts, who are bigger and meaner than before.

Link: Gears of War 2 trailer on Xbox Live Video Store this Saturday
Link: Gears of War 2 first gameplay trailer sets off the fireworks

Now that the format war’s over and Blu-ray’s on top, a lot of people are wondering what Microsoft’s plans are for hi-def. Some time after the format war ended, rumors began to spread that the Xbox 360 will be adopting the winning tech in the Xbox 360, but this was staunchly debunked by Microsoft. Looks like the 360 is sticking to Xbox Live as its main source of hi-def movies.

Link: Microsoft debunks Xbox 360 Blu-ray console rumor

For our last segment on Xbox 360 updates, we bring you… rumors! Ok, so they’re rumors, but they’re pretty big rumors. The first one concerns the new motion-sensing controller from Microsoft. Word has it that it’s set to debut as early as next week. Cross your fingers.

The next rumor concerns the much-rumored Jasper and Valhalla models of the Xbox 360. The new whispers going around is that Jasper will be using 65nm chips, with the graphics unit having the same  processing power as the Falcon. Valhalla kicks it up a notch higher, with a 45nm chip. You can cross your fingers on that one too.

Link: Xbox 360’s ‘Newton’ motion-sensing controller may be unveiled next week
Link: Rumor: IBM, TSMC to make chips for Xbox 360 Jasper, Valhalla

Whoa, lots of Grand Theft Auto IV news this week. Hopefully we’ll also see more of Gears of War 2 next week. Don’t go back to Liberty City just yet though, you might want to scroll down to your General Gaming section for more news on Grand Theft Auto IV.

– QJ.NET’s Xbox 360 team

Nintendo Wii: WiiWare, WiiBrew, Wii Fit, and… the Nintendo Channel

WiiWare, Nintendo’s answer to Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network, is set to launch in a few days. The service will give gamers access to a new batch of games every week. It’s Nintendo’s next big thing for the console – which is why it’s a little surprising that they didn’t release a list of games that are available on launch.

Still, we’re pretty excited to see what Nintendo has to offer. Some of the games that we’re sure will be available on the service’s launch that you may be interested in are Defend Your Castle, LostWinds, and of course, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King.

Link: New kid on the block: WiiWare, Nintendo’s answer to XBL and PSN
Link: WiiWare coming soon but list of launch games yet to be found

A lot of Wii gamers got a pleasant surprise this week when the Nintendo Channel launched in the US and Canada five days earlier than expected. Among other things, the Nintendo Channel allows gamers to watch trailers, and download demos for the DS. Fortunately, the WiiBrew community reported that it doesn’t seem to affect the Wii Homebrew Channel.

Link:It’s early: Nintendo Channel now live in North America and Canada
Link: Nintendo Channel: Not a threat to Wii Homebrew development

Wii Fit. It’s the big one folks. Or should we say, the thin one. The game’s so popular that Amazon ran out of stock barely a week after its release. GameStop even suspended pre-orders for the game. Just how popular is the game though? How about this: even Peter Moore, head of EA Sports, revealed that the studio is making its own “western-style” Wii Fit.

Link: Peter Moore reveals EA making Wii fitness game
Link: GameStop suspends Wii Fit pre-orders
Link: Amazon already sold out of Wii Fit

Exciting things are happening in the Wii homebrew scene! Kicking off the Wii homebrew update, and rightfully so, is the latest on Team Twiizer’s Wii Homebrew Channel, and man oh man it’s looking sweet. But why take our word for it, watch a video of the beta in action after the link below.

Also this week for Wiibrew are several new programs from waninkoko, who’s been kicking it into overdrive in the past few days. Waninkoko’s new programs are the Mii Extractor and Installer, and the Wii Duplicated Channel Remover.

Link: Wii Homebrew Channel – video of beta in action
Link: Mii Extractor v1.0
Link: Mii Installer v1.0 – installs extracted Miis back into your console
Link: Wii Duplicated Channel Remover v2.1: improved code

Looks like it’s going to be an exciting week for Wii gamers! Watch out for more Wii updates here.

– QJ.NET’s Nintendo Wii team

Grand Theft Auto 4 from Rockstar Games for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 - Image 1 

General Gaming: on the fate of the GTA franchise

For the past few weeks, Japan’s been infatuated with the PSP thanks to the massive popularity of Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G. Although the game’s been knocked off the top of the charts by Mario Kart Wii, the PSP still popular in the region: the handheld’s been in first place for a few months now.

That’s not all though. According to the latest numbers, the PSP also sold more in Japan than the Wii did since January.

Link:Japan: PSP still best selling; sold more units than Wii since January
Link: Japan: Mario Kart Wii zooms past million mark

GTA IV may be a smashing success, but Take-Two Interactive – the game’s distributing company – may still have reason to worry. In case you missed the catfight, Electronic Arts is currently trying to take over the company, and last we heard, they’ve started the countdown to zero hour. They’ve even prepared US$ 1 billion for the merger.

Whether EA will actually succeed in its efforts to take over Take-Two is still unsure, but for now it looks like a real possibility. For those who are worried about Take-Two’s future – and in effect, GTA‘s future – maybe you’ll take comfort at the fact that EA recently said that they are not soul-suckers, and they in fact grant creative freedom to their devs.

Link: EA ‘not desperate’ to acquire Take Two, deadline ticking down
Link: EA executives laughed at being called soul-suckers
Link: Electronic Arts prepares US$ 1 billion loan for Take-Two acquisition

Several new titles of popular franchises have been announced this week and which you might be interested in. First up is the next installment to the Doom franchise. According to id Software, Doom 4 is already running on a new multiplatform engine.

Also announced this week is the sequel to Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, slated for a release later this year. A new Samurai Shodown Anthology for the Wii and PSP has also been announced for this year, featuring a compilation of seven games from the franchise.

Taking the good news with the bad: Sierra Entertainment has announced that their upcoming sandbox game, Prototype, has been delayed until next year. Aww dang.

Link: Samurai Shodown Anthology confirmed to include all seven titles
Link: Doom 4 announced, rumored to be running on new multiplatform engine?
Link:Activision confirms release of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance sequel within the year
Link: Prototype delayed until next year

Science and Technology: Patience is a virtue, especially when you have no choice

Don’t you just hate staring at the boot-up screen? Well this new technology may make it a thing of the past. Scientists at Hewlett-Packard are developing a new chip that promises to eliminate boot-up time.

The chip has a new component called a memory circuit, or a memory resistor. What makes this thing special is its ability to store the “memory” of the charge that flowed through it, something DRAM can’t do.

When will we see this new tech? Probably not for a while yet. So yeah, we have to wait for the tech that eliminates the need to wait for your computer to boot up. Life’s funny like that.

Link: Scientists develop new circuit that eliminates boot up time

Odds-and-Ends: when feminism gets a warrior Street Fighter

Any chance that we’ll get to see Kristin Kreuk say “Ya ta!” in the upcoming Street Fighter movie? Probably not. Those who have their ears on the ground for news on the movie would know that Kreuk is playing the movie’s leading lady, Chun-Li.

Leading lady? Why yes, indeed: if you didn’t know yet, the movie will be focusing on Chun-Li rather than the expected duo, Ryu and Ken. Is this another attempt to make a live-action sex symbol out of a video game icon? Apparently not.

According to the movie’s writer, the movie isn’t about a “blatantly sexualised […] female lead,” but rather, to show that Chun-Li is a tough woman whose story deserves to be told. Given that, here’s hoping the movie does give Chun-Li’s story justice.

Link: Street Fighter film writer explains Chun-Li focus of movie

Those who follow the behind-the-scenes of the video game industry would know that video games can get extremely political. All one has to do is look back at the history of games like Manhunt and Mass Effect. In case you haven’t heard, it seems that the US government is getting serious with controlling underage video game purchases.

A new bill called the Video Games Ratings Enforcement Act is being pushed, requiring consumers to undergo ID checks before they can purchase video games with a Mature or Adult Only rating. Failure to comply will result in a US$ 5,000 fine. One person at least, has voiced that such a bill is “unconstitutional.”

Link: Video game legislation proposal: videogame ID checks
Link: ESA CEO: Videogame Ratings Bill is unconstitutional

Comment of the Week: Politically corrected

Jack Thompson would have been certainly happy to hear about the Video Game Legislation Bill that’s being pushed for right now. As underage purchasing has always been a hot issue, it’s not surprising that a lot of gamers have their own take on the matter. This week’s comment of the week is from dark420bishop, who makes a valid point on the matter:

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*Article originally posted May 10, 2008 at 03:00PM.

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