Sony's PlayStation Network (PSN) went down early Thursday morning. Usually, when a large scale service like this goes dark, it's quickly restored. This time, we're coming up on two days of outage without a resolution in sight. Perhaps more concerning, Sony has been silent on the issue since midday yesterday.
It's happened to everyone at one point or another. You're playing your favorite FPS and minding your own business when your character finally succumbs to that pesky stream of bullets that's been bouncing off his face for the past two minutes. “Aw man,” you say aloud while a big, ominous Game Over screen stares you down. “Well, at least I can jump right back in and...” But you can't. Suddenly, you're 30 minutes away from where you kicked the bucket – your previous progress rotting at the bottom of some virtual wastebasket. “Well, at least I can vary up my tactics and see the game from a different angle this time.” Nope. So many invisible walls that you may as well be a mime. “Well, at least I can--” Nuh-uh. Can't do that either. So you pause to take a breather, but they immediately start suffocating you. Games For Windows logos. Everywhere. And then you wake up drenched in a cold sweat, safe in your own bed and free of the nightmare's cruel clutches. “It was just a dream, “ you mumble before dozing off again.
Or was it? PC gaming is far from dying, but not for a lack of effort on consoles' parts. Read on for our list our list of 12 ways that console gaming is hurting your favorite pastime.
Oh how times have changed. Once upon a time – back when Facebook just sounded like some sort of incredibly painful mishap and people still ventured outside on rare occasions – Deus Ex was considered the pinnacle of everything PC gaming aspired to be. Yet here we are, slightly more than a decade later, living in a very different sort of dystopian future – one in which, at least, in the eyes of triple-A publishers, consoles are at the tippity top of the priority totem pole. And the kicker? As it turns out, the latest Deus Ex revival isn't exactly exempt from that rule.
The N64 was pretty awesome back in the late 90s when it hooked up to a TV. In the year 2011, we're still impressed by the console, but it's gone through some changes. A modder by the name Hailrazer has created what every 15 year old would have killed for in 1999: a handheld N64 game machine. The name for this magnificent contraption? The N64 Boy Advance.
In the wake of PS3 unlock hacks released by Geohot and fail0verflow, Sony has felt it necessary to issue a statement warning users away from such activities. In a recent statement, the console maker made it clear that the use of these tools to run unsigned content will result in a permanent PSN ban. This is a similar stance to that of Microsoft on Xbox piracy.
In an effort to curtail piracy and thwart any damage that might result from the recent public posting of security codes for the PlayStation 3 console. Sony plans to introduce a serial key system for its games, TechEye reports.
Earlier this month, George Hotz and a band of programmers associated with a hacking group called "fail0verflow" drew Sony's ire by uncovering and publishing root keys for the PS3. Sony's initial response was to take legal action against Hotz and more than 100 others it claims were involved, but there's still the problem of such keys now being public knowledge.
These root keys are used to verify that a game is genuine, and with that knowledge, hackers and pirates can essentially trick the console into recognizing counterfeit software as the real deal. With the new system in place, upcoming games will ship with unique serial keys specific to that Blu-ray disc, which the user will then have to enter into the PS3. If this sounds at all familiar, then you must be a PC gamer.
Citing an un-named source, PS3-Sense says Sony has already updated the PS3's firmware in preparation for this new verification system.
PC enthusiasts already know the benefits SSDs bring to the table, but as it turns out, these flash-based drives are pretty awesome for consoles, too. To prove it, Beyond3d.com forum member "Phil" shoved a Corsair F120 SSD into his PlayStation 3 and fired up Gran Turismo 5 "since it allows a big chunk of the game to be copied onto the hard drive."
According to Phil's numbers, the SSD had a tremendous impact on load times, often cutting down the time spent waiting for a race to begin by half. Loading GT5 took 55 seconds with the stock hard drive, which was reduced to just 29 seconds with the SSD. Similar results were seen when loading the London track, in which the SSD cut the load time from 39.47 seconds to 19.26 seconds, as well as a handful of other tracks.
"Is it worth it? Not for me -- not for that price. Perhaps when SSDs become a cheaper, I may get one cheap one day for the PS3," Phil says. "I'm also not sure how optimized the PS3 file system is for SSD usage and how long such a drive would live. No way really to benchmark this, sadly."
Valid points, and it's worth mentioning that not all games are as hard drive heavy as GT5. Still, initial results are impressive, and we can only imagine how much better they would be if Sony (or Microsoft or Nintendo) built a console specifically designed to take advantage of SSDs.
Would you be willing to pay more for a console using SSDs, or do these gaming boxes cost enough as it is?
Is your Xbox creaky, prone to long-winded “back in my day” rants, and in the midst of a particularly expensive mid-life crisis? Well, you're not alone. Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli has also noticed that his consoles are just about ready for retirement. Problem is, they don't plan on passing the torch without a fight.
“As long as the current console generation exists and as long as we keep pushing the PC as well, the more difficult it will be to really get the benefit of both,” he told Edge (via CVG).
"PC is easily a generation ahead right now. With 360 and PS3, we believe the quality of the games beyond Crysis 2 and other CryEngine developments will be pretty much limited to what their creative expressions is, what the content is. You won't be able to squeeze more juice from these rocks."
He also went on to explain that things won't change until publishers stop treating the PC like a barren, profitless wasteland.
"I generally think it's still developers' mentality [that is to blame]," he said. "A lot nowadays don't consider PC a big issue any more; their [sales] expectations are nowhere near what they are for the console versions.”
So yeah, it's kind of a hollow victory for us. We have the nicest, fastest hotrods on the lot, but nowhere to race. Kind of puts a damper on building bigger, better PCs too, doesn't it? Looks like we need a new hobby to distract us for the time being. How about this: first person to get Crysis running on a Minecraft PC wins. And... go!
If you pay attention to technology in any way whatsoever, you've heard of Angry Birds. This smash hit mobile game is available on Android, iPhone, Symbian, and WebOS. But developer Rovio has announced that the game will be arriving on full game consoles in the near future, the BBC reports. The game will be distributed through the online markets on the Wii, Xbox, and PS3.
The shift from touchscreen input to controller input will be interesting for Angry Birds. In the game, players pull back a slingshot to launch birds at villainous, egg-stealing pigs. We imagine the game will have support for the motion control accessories on the various consoles. That would only make sense, and might end up a bazaar selling point of the Kinect. Would you play Angry Birds on your console?
Microsoft tied up the exclusive rights to disk free Netflix console streaming, but all things must come to an end, and I’m sure most PS3 owners are more than happy to count this odd business deal among them. Starting today US viewers can download the new disk-free Netflix application from the Sony Store, even though the actual service behind it won’t go live until tomorrow.
Early impressions of the new Netflix PS3 interface is overwhelmingly positive with support for 1080p, 5.1 surround sound, and even closed captioning if the title supports it. With the Wii capped at 480p, the Xbox 360 capped at 720p, the PS3 which will support resolutions up to 1080p is starting to look like the superior solution. Very few titles will support the higher resolutions at launch, but this will no doubt chance fairly quickly.
Do you intend to start using your PS3 for Netflix over your previous solution?