In retrospect, 2009 was really the year of the PS3. Sales of the oft maligned console finally began picking up after price drops and the introduction of the PS3 Slim. The continued ascendancy of Blu-Ray certainly didn’t hurt either. Even with all the focus on Sony’s console, they thought they could sneak some new versions through the FCC without anyone knowing. Not so much.
The two new versions are identified by their model numbers: CECH-2101A and CECH-2101B. The current PS3 Slims have model numbers CECH-2001A and B, denoting the 120GB and 250GB versions. So we can be fairly certain that these new models are differentiated by their hard drive size, but what’s changed from the current gen?
The wireless components tested by the FCC seem to be the same. It is possible, though depressing, that Sony may have just tweaked the manufacturing process to save money and slapped a new model number on them. But maybe… just maybe there’s some secret Sony magic under the hood of these new models. We can only hope. What do you think?
Sony's pretty excited about its upcoming Torne DVR and TV tuner for the PlayStation 3 console, so much so that they've went ahead and confirmed plans to launch the unit next month. The initial launch will take place in Japan only, in large part because it supports the country's terrestrial digital broadcasts, and so far, there's no word on when the Torne will fly stateside.
Quite the flexible device, the Torne hooks up via USB and comes capable of recording TV onto the PS3's hard drive or up to four external hard drives, all at the same time.
Users will actually be able to connect up to eight USB drives and register each one with the recorder. Programs can also be watched on a PSP, as well as schedule recordings with the handheld console.
The Torne DVR and tuner will sell for about $110 when it launches on March 18th. There will also be a special edition 250GB PS3 bundled containing the Torne device that will sell for around $470.
Hey, did you hear? Netflix plans to bring 1080p streaming and 5.1 surround sound to its streaming HD video service to later this year. Pretty rad, right?
It would be, except Netflix is taking a mulligan on the recent announcement, and now says that it incorrectly acknowledged 1080p streaming in the company's 2010 roadmap. Boo, hiss! Netflix didn't say why it pulled the about-face, though it probably has to do with bandwidth. While not official, Netflix says the requirement to stream 720p HD content on an HD-compatible box is "typically" 5Mbps. It's a safe bet that 1080p would require more, and maybe Netflix feels there aren't enough streaming subscribers with the fast enough broadband speeds.
That means for the foreseeable future, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 owners are stuck with "underwhelming" 720p. That's right, in somewhat related news, Steve Swasey, VP of Corporate Communications for Netflix, downplayed the streaming service when discussing what Wii owners are missing.
"PS3 and Xbox users have 1 in 17 titles available in HD, and it's streamed in 720... it's not in 1080, and it's not in 5.1 surround sound or anything," Swasey said during an interview with The Wire. "So the HD experience at Netflix Instant Watching isn't that overwhelming. It's a little bit underwhelming. So the Wii folks aren't going to miss that much."
Hackers set their sights on cracking a new video game console just as soon as it arrives. Their tenacity can usually bear fruits within months of the console's release unless the machine happens to be the PlayStation 3, which has remained unconquered for more than 3 years.
But finally, a hacker claims to have sneaked past the PS3's supposedly inviolable defenses. The PS3's ramparts may have successfully fended against hackers and the prospect of unsigned code for “3 years, 2 months, 11 days” but it took an eminent hacker just 5 weeks to come up with a hack. The man behind the crack, George Hotz, aka Geohot, has a penchant for hacking impregnable gadgets. A couple of years ago, a 17-year-old Geohot became the first person to jailbreak the iPhone.
Hotz revealed on his blog that he cracked the PS3 using a combination of hardware and software hacks. Although he claims to have gained full read/write access and the power to “make the system do whatever I want,” Geohot is in no hurry to release his hack, which is avowedly quite unstable and needs some fine-tuning. "If I posted what I have now, people would get fed up with it," he told El Reg in an interview.
Talk of the technology behind the PlayStation 3 console always turns to the Cell processor, an innovative chip architecture which, in the PS3, contains essentially 9 processors on single chip (one PowerPC chip and eight Synergistic Processing Elements, or SPEs). And up until now, there was no reason to believe Sony wouldn't once again go with a Cell processor in its PlayStation 4 console, but there now lingers some doubt if the chip truly is "dead in the water, as David Turek, IBM's VP of Deep Computing, supposedly said.
The quote comes from German webiste Heise Online, which goes on to claim that the planned successor to the current chip, which is slated to have two PowerPC processors and 32 SPEs, is no longer going to be released.
What exactly that means isn't entirely clear at the moment. So far, there's no evidence that IBM is halting development on Cell processors, only that the specifically planned successor has been canned. If we're to take a glass half-full approach, that could mean the PS4 will utilize an even more power Cell processor, though it's far to early to tell.
Firefox is a force to be reckoned with in the desktop browser space. But could the Mozilla foundation be looking to port it to the PS3? Playstation Insider claims that Sony and Mozilla are in talks to do just that. "We recently received a tip from a source very close to Sony who says that they have been in talks with Mozilla lately about possibly porting Firefox over to the PS3," said Playstation Insider’s Dustin Rudzinski.
It’s no secret that the Playstation’s current browser is nothing to write home about. So access to a “real” browser would be a real treat for PS3 owners. The tipster didn’t know if any deal had actually been struck, but what a pleasant firmware update that would be. So PS3 owners, if you had Firefox on the console, would you actually use it to browse?
CryEngine 3's officially ready for third-party consumption, and Crytek's released a new trailer to celebrate. Despite Crytek's jaunt into console land, the trailer's still bonkers beautiful. Don't believe us? See for yourself. Or, if you'd rather read about the feast your eyes are gearing up to scarf down, look at this:
“CryENGINE 3 also introduces CryENGINE 3 Live Create™,” reads the press release. “It allows developers to work with a single editor, but see and play the results in real-time on PC, PS3 and Xbox360, hooked up to a single dev PC. The engine takes care of the conversion and optimization of assets in real-time; enables instant, cross-platform changes to any part of game creation and as a result materially increases the speed, quality and significantly reduces the risk of multiplatform development.”
Granted, everyone and their ITT Tech professor is developing cross-platform games these days, but we still think this has the potential to radically alter the triple-A game development scene. Less muss and fuss over the eccentricities of other videogame platforms (*cough*PS3*cough*) could lead to faster development cycles. And developers might also end up saving a buck or two here, which is never a bad thing. This is all just speculation on our part, though.
Would any game developers in the audience care to enlighten us?
So you’ve installed that shiny Ubuntu distro onto your PlayStation 3 and finagled a couple of cool applications to boot. And yet, there’s still a lot of empty real estate on that newly formatted hard drive, and you’re no doubt pondering what else you can load up on your now living room-friendly PC. Turns out, there are literally thousands of options available; but the task of sorting through the seemingly endless lists and testing each and every app to see if it suits your tastes and jives with the PS3 can be a daunting task. But luckily for you, we’ve done exactly that; we rolled up our sleeves, burned the midnight oil, and muscled the necessary digital elbow grease to whittle down the Ubuntu archives to the top nine absolute keepers. So what are you waiting for? Plug in your PS3’s keyboard and mouse, fire up Jaunty Jackalope, and read onward to get cracking.
If you're only using your $500 PlayStation 3 for console gaming, you're missing out on half of its hidden versatility: the ability to upgrade into a fully functional PC! Inside that shiny plastic shell resides some decent computing silicon, just waiting to be released from its undeserved console shackles. And while Windows Vista and OSX are no-goes due to legal issues, there's no reason at all not to dual boot into a perfectly serviceable Linux platform when the need arises.
The installation process is fairly straightforward, and the hard drive is easily upgradeable if you don't mind spending a little extra cash on the side. And while Ubuntu for PlayStation has a few functional limitations, you can find myriad excellent applications for you to enjoy from the comfort of your own living room, including VLC for encoded video playback, Amarok to blast your digital music library, and some classic SNES emulation software that you can play using your PS3's Sixaxis or Dualshock controller. This guide will show you how to do all of the above, so let's get started!
Nvidia has been quite the busy body in the console market as of late. Earlier this week the graphics chip maker announced it had signed a tools and middleware license agreement with Sony to offer its PhysX technology software development kit (SDK) for use on the PlayStation 3 console, and then two days later, made a similar announcement regarding Nintendo's Wii console.
"Nintendo has reshaped the home entertainment and video game market with the success of the Wii console. Adding a PhysX SDK for Wii is key to our cross-platform strategy and integral to the business model for our licensed game developers and publishers,” said Tony Tamasi, senior vice president of content and technology at NVIDIA. “With NVIDIA PhysX technology, developers can easily author more realistic game environments for the evolving demands of a broad class of Wii gamers."
Three months ago, AMD had painted a gloom-and-doom future for Nvidia's PhysX technology, saying "There is no plan for closed and proprietary standards like PhysX. As we have emphasized, with our support for OpenCL and DX11, close and proprietary standards will die."
AMD wasn't just being a wet blanket, as they weren't the only ones to question to closed standards when it comes to in-game physics. This makes Nvidia's latest partnership with two major console makers a particularly interesting one, which could very well end up seeing more widespread PhysX support trickling over to the PC as a result.