The PS3 Weekend Warrior: New firmware, good business, and the dawn of PS3 brew
Welcome to another edition of the PlayStation 3 Weekend Warrior! If you thought that the PS3 week in the aftermath of E3 was a relatively quiet one, this one should more than make up for it. Explosive news just kept on coming, and coming, and coming from firmware, to financial results, games, and even the dawn of PS3 homebrew. Dig in because you’ll be away for quite a while.
If you thought last week’s PlayStation 3 news batch wasn’t the most memorable one in recent history, this week’s wrap-up should more than make up for that. Big stuff have been happening all over the place and there’s so much to be excited about right now.
From a new firmware update, a bombardment of PlayStation Home updates, Square Enix‘s big event in Japan, and right down to the blossoming PS3 homebrew community, this past week had it all. There ain’t no better time to be a PS3 owner and this summary should tell you exactly why. Let’s get started.
In the Sony backyard
The biggest PS3-related news of the week is the arrival of official firmware update 2.42. This one dropped in without much warning and had us all scrambling to get it. The lull between the update’s release and the changelog’s own led some players to speculate that this could either bring Life With PlayStation or block the BD-J homebrew methods that have been put into use recently. As it turned out, this update was about neither of the two.
Link: PS3 firmware 2.42 is here *Update 2*
Link: Life with PlayStation release moved to August
The PlayStation Network was abuzz with news this week, too. We’ve heard further confirmations from the Official PlayStation Magazine that PSN Cards will indeed be coming to North America soon. Upping the ante is a Naughty Dog developer who says it won’t be long before the PSN gets a competitive edge over rival Xbox Live.
Link: PSN, Richard Lemarchand: PSN to get an edge over Xbox Live
Link: OPM: PSN Cards definitely arriving in North America
And if you’re still feeling a little salty about developers not going back to their old games to add Trophy support, you can’t bang Naught Dog for it. The devs have confirmed 48 Trophies for their excellent action game and some of the ways to get them may sound familiar to you. Still, it’s a start for the feature.
Link: Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune Trophy details spilled
On the stealthier side of things, Sony has quietly passed to the FCC an application for the approval of a new PlayStation 3 SKU. There’s a fat chance that this is the new 80GB model of the console. The commission has given it the green light and it should be on shelves pretty soon.
Link: FCC approves new PS3 SKU
Are we Home yet?
This week, we saw more PlayStation Home updates than usual. We kick things of with the report that the closed beta will be updated to v0.96 and it’ll start to look a wee bit different from how it’s been so far. This was later confirmed by an email from Sony to beta testers telling partici[ants to delete the old Home accessible from the Game menu and get the new one.
Link: PlayStation Home beta gets v0.96 update this week
Link: Sony email heralds Home beta’s evolution
Apparently, the new Home will be accessed from the XMB in a different way, and it’ll include classic games from the Namco Museum collection. In other reports, SCEE was reported to have clarified that Home isn’t so much a social network as it is a boon for online play on existing games. Oh, and did we mention that the Japanese beta is adding 10,000 more testers?
Link: PlayStation Home Japan to add 10,000 more beta testers
Link: PlayStation Home to get Namco Bandai classics
Link: SCEE: Home focused on games, not social networking
Oh, yeah, we’ve got gaming news as well
Over at the gaming side of things, three big announcements were made this week. First off, we’ve got the release of a selection of great PS3 games from the past being inducted into the “Greatest Hits” category. The best part of it is that they’ll be shipping cheap in red cases. Oh, my!
Link: PS3 Greatest Hits out today, and they come in red
PlayStation 3 exclusives Gran Turismo 5 Prologue and LittleBigPlanet also had their sweet time in the limelight this week. Polyphony Digital has just released a big update for their awesome racing sim, while Media Molecule has revealed that LittleBigPlanet is launching come October 30 in Japan.
Link: GT5 Prologue GTTV update starts August in a big way
Link: LittleBigPlanet confirmed for October launch in Japan
Down to business
This week also had its fill of business news as publishers and console makers made public their financial performances in Q1 of the fiscal year. The PlayStation 3 was in the thick of it all with drastic improvements over last year’s figures. Sales have more than doubled on the hardware side, wile software sales have also showed a tremendous rise.
Most remarkable was EA’s data sheet which showed the PS3 climb up 969 percent, making it the biggest revenue contributor to the biggest game publisher in North America. How did this happen? Only EA knows.
Link: PS3 sales double from last year’s Q1, PSP also doing well
Link: PS3 flying high in EA’s Q1 2008 results
Other publishers also released their financial reports, but we’d rather not bore you with numbers. However, we do encourage you to check out THQ and Square Enix’s reports. Both of which showed some nice tales of contrast. THQ sold more than last year, but lost more money in the process. Square Enix, meanwhile, saw a dip in sales, but ended up profiting more.
Link: THQ posts big earnings, bigger losses
Link: Square Enix revenues down but profits kick up
PS3 homebrew is for real
In last week’s Weekend Warrior, we mentioned FreePlay’s Minimal BD-J Devkit release and how it could be used to let the homebrew community get started in earnest on the PS3. It didn’t take long for other people to get their feet wet as we’ve seen some pretty simple games get released. We were right on top of each one, and it seems this could lead to something bigger in the future.
We congratulate everyone who’s been working on PlayStation 3 homebrew so far and we’re really thrilled with what you guys have accomplished. Keep it up and we’re looking forward to more releases and more breakthroughs from you guys!
Link: PS3 homebrew 2 Player Pong v1.0
Link: Homebrew: Snake v1.1
Link: SameGame PS3: block breaking homebrew for the PS3
Link: PS3 homebrew: Snake Mod
Link: PS3 homebrew: Pong with simple AI
On hating homebrew and bashing us
While most of you welcomed or at least respected the dawn of homebrew on the PS3, some were far less enthusiastic about it. We read your comments all the time, and we’ve read a few people express their disdain for the craft of coding.
For one, I’m not here to impede your freedom of speech if you dislike homebrew. You can still post your comments about them and we’ll be Happy that you’re speaking your mind. However, I’d also encourage you to think about giving the homebrew community a little more respect.
The primary reason why I’m saying this is because we understand that writing homebrew isn’t that easy. Not everyone can do it, and it takes time, effort, and intelligence to pull off. That sounds like hard work if you ask me, and anything that anyone worked hard for deserves a little respect. For some people, writing homebrew isn’t just a hobby. It’s part of their lifestyles. Even if you’re not interested in their products, it doesn’t mean you can berate them for doing what they like to do.
Simply put, homebrew isn’t out to get you or brick your PS3. It’s your choice if you want to join in on the community or not. If you don’t like homebrew, you can always ignore it and not piss other people off.
We’ve received our share of criticisms for reporting homebrew and we couldn’t be more surprised why people would feel negatively about us for doing our job. Homebrew is a field of interest for a lot of people and as long as the community is interested in something, we’ll do our very best to cater to their needs.
Don’t worry about regular gaming news. It’s still the bread and butter of this PS3 site. Even if the homebrew community for the console grows and we start seeing bigger stuff coming out, you can be sure that every important news happening for the PS3 will be covered and brought fresh to you.
I hope everyone reads this with an open mind. The QJ.NET staff is trying to please as many of you as possible and we’d be very happy if everyone got along and engaged in more civil, educated debates.
That’s it for now. Keep visiting this spot for more updates.