Introducing PlayStationPlus Premium Subscription Service

Sony introduced the highly rumored PlayStation Plus premium subscription plan at E3 2010. The features included are relatively good for in its inital offering. Major features include free full game trials so you can try games before you buy them for up to one hour. Also, Playstation Plus members can have priority access to demos and betas before everyone else and its all topped off with exclusive discounts (up to 50%), free games and content from the Playstation Store.

PlaystationPlus members also will receive downloads of select demos, patches, and firmware updates automatically. They’ll also have access to select avatars, themes and other items that regular Playstation Network members cannot access, until long after you’ve seen it. The first month of available free software to PlaystationPlus members will beWipeout HD, the PSN 1 classic Rally Cross, and other downloadable content.

The service will include new features such as a streaming music application, which can play music while playing your favorite titles. Subscribers will also be able to receive one free PSN title a month. We also believe you will get access to movie content.

This is just the beginning of PlaystationPlus, which we think is fairly priced at $49 per year or $19 for three months of service. Plus, if you buy one year of PlaystationPlus you’ll get three months for free. However, once your subscription ends, premium content cannot be played; the content is tied to your subscription.

Picture of PlaystationPlus announcement at E3 2010 courtesy of engadget.

15
Jun 2010
DISCUSSION 2 Comments

Sony’s E3 2010 Press Conference Live Blog

The Electronic Entertainment Expo 2010 (aka E3 2010) takes place on June 14-17 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. E3 is an annual trade show for the computer and video games industry presented by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). It is used by many video game developers to present their upcoming games and game-related hardware.

Sony’s press conference is today at 12PM PDT and will be hosted by Playstation USA President/CEO Jack Tretton. If you’d rather watch the press conference in HD, please check out the live stream of Sony’s E3 2010 Press Conference at Game Trailers, Gamespot, IGN, and G4TV. Here is our live chat that will update you with the latest information during the press conference:

(we are noticing errors with the live chat, please stay tuned and refresh until it works again)

Sony plans to further showcase the PlayStation Move and its compatible games as well as announce the worldwide release of firmware for the PS3 to fully support stereo 3D gaming and movies. President of Sony Computer Entertainment, Jack Tretton, has said that they “will absolutely bring the heat, there’s a lot to talk about.” Sony is also set to reveal new hardware at E3.

15
Jun 2010
DISCUSSION 5 Comments

First PS3 3D Games Arrive June 10

Wipeout HD, Super Stardust HD and Pain are getting the 3D treatment in less than two weeks.  

Super Stardust HD

On June 10th, Wipeout HD, Superdust HD and Pain will be receiving 3D updates in Japan. While a clear strategy hasn’t been communicated on how all potential PSN titles will be addressed, there are some details in this case.

Updates for Super Stardust HD and Wipeout HD will be made available for free. Pain will be a paid upgrade and cost 300 yen (roughly $3.30).

Wipeout HD

So while there isn’t a clear date for when these titles are going to arrive, Joystiq reached out to Sony and was told that North American & PAL details would be available “shortly”.
 
 
 

 

 

31
May 2010
POSTED BY Allen Tyson
POSTED IN

Network, Playstation, PS3

DISCUSSION 5 Comments

PlayStation Network Reaches Milestone In Japan

Sony has reached a milestone, and to celebrate, they are giving away 3D Televisions.

Sony Computer Entertainment Japan is reporting a significant milestone — 5 million registered PSN users. Along with that 5 million user milestone, PSN users have also downloaded 110 million pieces of digital content.

To celebrate, starting on June 3 through June 30 th, gamers will have a chance to participate in completing a quiz in an attempt to win 1 of 5 3D Bravia KDL-46LX900′s SCEJ will be giving away.

It doesn’t stop there.  Sony is also giving away Torne’s, accessories and Bluetooth headsets. The above links won’t be live until June 3rd.

It’s nice to Sony celebrating in this fashion given current economic times, too bad it’s for the land of the rising sun only.

31
May 2010
POSTED BY Allen Tyson
POSTED IN

Network, Playstation

DISCUSSION 3 Comments

PlayStation Network Premium Service Exists

The long rumored Premium PSN service has been confirmed to exist by none other than the Sony Computer Entertainment Europe President.

Andrew House

Previously written about on the web and by us here the subject has been one of speculation since Kaz Hirai stated it was something that was being considered. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe President Andrew House answered a few questions from users on the Official UK PlayStation Blog. Not surprisingly, one of those questions had to do with the PSN:

Will PlayStation Network become a paying service?
I can assure you that the current PSN as you know it will remain a free service. It is something that our competitors don’t offer and something that shows our loyalty to the PlayStation Community. However, Kaz Hirai stated a few months ago that we were looking at a premium service to sit alongside the current free service and that objective has not changed. You’ll learn more about it very soon.

While not providing a great deal of details it does confirm that the service exists, that the current PSN as we know it won’t change, and that has the support of the SCE Chairman Kaz Hirai which would imply a big initiative.

A lot of speculation has been made about exactly what services would be included (DLC, free PSN titles, cross-game chat), but with with E3 17 days and 16 hours away (yes I am that excited), it won’t be long until we find out.


27
May 2010
POSTED BY Allen Tyson
POSTED IN

Network, Playstation, PS3

DISCUSSION 2 Comments

Sony’s Rob Dyer on DLC

In an interview with Gamasutra, Rob Dyer SCEA’s Senior Vice President of Publisher Relations discusses a wide variety of industry topics as they relate to the Sonyverse. Specifically he gave his on thoughts on  DLC (downloadable content), his preference for disc based delivery of content, and how these things relate to console exclusivity.

One of the questions that came up is exclusivity. In the day and age we live in, it’s not as common place as it once was as publishers can expand their games to a much larger audience given the market share of the PS3 and the 360. Rob commented on this by stating that in those instances, it’s about exclusive features. With Batman’s exclusive content as an example, he made the point that “exclusive content that is meaningful” and  it adds to the overall value from both a publisher perspective and a gamer perspective.  He further went to add that it’s “Not about taking share away from Microsoft. It’s about expanding the pie” which is why securing the right type of content is so very important.


The next big topic was DLC (downloadable content). When mentioned that Microsoft has been extremely aggressive in the DLC space, he had some very specific comments surrounding that situation. He cited that, their being aggressive about that as being the difference between Microsoft and Sony. It comes down to the product lines. With two different machines, publishers have to make a decision on how they are going to distribute DLC. He mentioned “are you going to give it for the arcade user or that guy that actually has a hard drive”? That being said, he made the point that publishers know that 100% of the PS3 user base can utilize the DLC generated for it regardless of their PS3 type provided they have access to it.

Along the same lines, he highlighted that, he would encourage more content on disc than via DLC. The reason for this is from an access standpoint. Siting that the PSN userbase is 70-73% of the installbase, that’s a significant number of people that for whatever reason, will not have access to any DLC based content. While not only highlighting the blu-ray capabilities of the PS3 by being able to include large amounts of additional data as a value add, he mentioned focusing on disc based content versus DLC based content is preferable so that “100 percent out there can play”.

Rob then discussed the complexities of DLC from both a developer and publisher perspective. That it goes beyond just deciding their will be DLC, it’s determining what type it will be, which vendors will get what types, and coordinating it all prior to release takes quite some time. For example, he stated “We did the Batman deal 15 months before street” which gave them the necessary time to “get everything lined up”. Rob eluded to a few a deals that should be surprising by saying “Come find after our press event at E3. There’s going to be some announcements. You’re going to look at me and go, ‘Okay, when did you start these’?”

With E3 on the horizon and Comc-Con 2010 right around the corner, expect to hear even more from Sony when it comes to content.

25
May 2010
POSTED BY Allen Tyson
POSTED IN

Network, Playstation, PS3

DISCUSSION 1 Comment

Tiered Service Model Coming to PlayStation Network?

The PlayStation Network as we know it might be changing in a big way by the time E3 rolls around.

Rumors have been circulating across the web for quite some time that Sony might, at some point, offer a premium version of the PSN. If reports are to believed, that may just be the case. According to VG247, a “highly placed source” (from where is not defined) informed them of Sony’s plans to leverage the PSN to increase revenue. Here are the highlights:

Cost of the service to be less than $61 dollars US

1 free PSN game a month from a  selection two to four

A streaming music application (similar to Spotify) that may allow in game music

No changes for PSN users who do not wish to upgrade

At this point it us unknown exactly what we can expect, or how much of the above will turn out to be accurate. With E3 right around the corner, expect more news on this as it develops. In the meantime, we will reach out to Sony and attempt to get some sort of confirmation. But if this is going to be a big reveal, we may be sitting on the sidelines with you when the game starts.

19
May 2010
POSTED BY Allen Tyson
DISCUSSION 5 Comments

Bypass Sony PS3 3.21 Firmware

With the latest PS3 firmware being live, Linux users, CodecSys users and anyone dependent on the OtherOS boot option had a difficult decision to make: update or not.

A temporary work around is in place that, at least for the time being, that will let users access PSN according to a forum at PS3 News.  Thus far it appears that the firmware change implemented doesn’t seem to affect Blu-Ray drives prior to the PS3 Slim, and users are reporting they are functioning as normal.

While this may indeed prove to be temporary, it just shows the scene isn’t ready to give up just yet.

02
Apr 2010
POSTED BY Allen Tyson
POSTED IN

Network, Playstation, PS3

DISCUSSION 4 Comments

Six Major Film Studios Now Offering HD Movies For Playstation Network Video Store

Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) today announced that 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution will offer high definition (HD) movies for purchase and rental on the PlayStation Network video delivery service in the United States. PlayStation Network is the first to offer high definition movies for purchase from all of the major movie studios, further establishing PlayStation 3 (PS3) as the preeminent home entertainment platform for this year’s most popular and critically acclaimed high definition movies.

“Securing high definition content from these studios is another significant milestone further validating PlayStation Network as a complete entertainment network in the home. PlayStation Network is the first and only service to deliver high definition home entertainment from all six major studios, directly to consumers for download,” said Peter Dille, senior vice president, marketing and PlayStation Network, SCEA. “PlayStation Network continues to offer the most comprehensive catalog of HD movies to PlayStation Network members that realize the wide-ranging entertainment power of the PS3 system.”

The PS3 system is the most complete home entertainment solution on the market today, enabling consumers to enjoy high-definition games and movies, as well as listen to music, view photos, browse the Internet and more. Today’s announcement joins one of the industry’s strongest home entertainment brands with the major media companies that produce and distribute a substantial number of films. At launch, the content will be available in the U.S. only, with plans to launch soon in the U.K., France, Germany, and Spain.

New titles available today on PlayStation Network include:

  • 20th Century Fox – “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian”, “Jennifer’s Body” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (on March 23)
  • Walt Disney Pictures – Disney Pixar’s “Up”, Jerry Bruckheimer’s “G-Force” and Disney’s “Earth”
  • Paramount Pictures – “Star Trek”, “Paranormal Activity” and “Zoolander”
  • Sony Pictures – “This Is It”, “2012″, “District 9″ and “Zombieland”
  • Universal – “Inglourious Basterds”, “Couples Retreat” and “Public Enemies”
  • Warner Bros. Digital Distribution – “The Hangover”, “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” and “The Wizard of Oz”
09
Mar 2010
DISCUSSION 5 Comments

Update 2: Older Sony Playstation 3 Units No Longer Encountering Severe Issues

The Playstation Network is encountering an unplanned outage that is affecting certain PS3 owners around the world. Those trying to sign in encounter the error code 8001050F, and are unable to sign in, play games, use dynamic themes, view/sync trophies, and so forth. The strange part is the problem only resides within the 1st through 3rd generation glossy PS3 units while the PS3 Slim is completely unaffected. I turned on my 3rd generation 40GB PS3 and noticed that my time was reset to 12/31/1999 and I was unable to sign in to the PSN.

Update 2: Everything is fixed, I believe – my PS3 now works properly and can connect to the Playstation Network.

Update: Sony confirmed this issue yesterday, and has finally given more detailed information about the issue today and how there will be a fix within 24 hours. With millions of consoles affected, there better be a fix soon or this could have severe consequences. Is anyone else skeptical they can enable a fix on their side which allows you to log in again? If that were the case, I figured that solution would have happened in the first 12 hours. It’s been a while now. A possible download this file to the PS3 via USB thumbdrive would be complicated and confusing to the average Joe Schmoe. The $64,000 question is how the fix will be offered.

Many people that I’ve spoken to familiar with the inner workings of the hardware and software think this is really bad. However, Sony has said they can fix it in 24 hours.
I’m just afraid of the long-term impact this will have on the integrity of the brand. People will use this in argument against the console, which isn’t what it really needs right now. The PS3 was red hot from great sales gains throughout the Holidays. Sony played it really well by offering attractive bundle deals; its also had some great new games lately with many more exciting ones coming soon.

Here is the official update from Sony Playstation:

As you may be aware, some customers have been unable to connect to the PlayStation Network today. This problem affects the models other than the new slim PS3.

We believe we have identified that this problem is being caused by a bug in the clock functionality incorporated in the system.

Errors include:

  • The date of the PS3 system may be re-set to Jan 1, 2000.
  • When the user tries to sign in to the PlayStation Network, the following message appears on the screen; “An error has occurred. You have been signed out of PlayStation Network (8001050F)”.
  • When the user tries to launch a game, the following error message appears on the screen and the trophy data may disappear; “Failed to install trophies. Please exit your game.”
  • When the user tries to set the time and date of the system via the Internet, the following message appears on the screen; “The current date and time could not be obtained. (8001050F)”
  • Users are not able to play back certain rental video downloaded from the PlayStation Store before the expiration date.

We hope to resolve this problem within the next 24 hours. In the meantime, if you have a model other than the new slim PS3, we advise that you do not use your PS3 system, as doing so may result in errors in some functionality, such as recording obtained trophies, and not being able to restore certain data.

As mentioned above, please be advised that the new slim PS3 is not affected with this error. We are doing our best to resolve the issue and do apologize for any inconvenience caused.

For the latest status on this situation please continue to check either the PlayStation.Blog or PlayStation.com.

The going theory is that the PS3 is storing some form of date in GMT, then modifying that to get whatever you see in the on-screen clock. That modification process seems to be fine; the system can take 2/28/2010, 9PM GMT, add four hours, and get 3/1/2010, 1AM random time zone.

What’s apparently wrong, as speculation goes, is when the internal GMT-tracking rolls over to 3/1. It’s either not rolling, or rolling to 2/29, at which point a system tries to add/subtract from 2/29, which it can’t do because the front-end calendar doesn’t have a 2/29/2010. Everything started to collapse around 4PM PDT, which I think is 12AM GMT.

And the PS3 launched in 2006; it’s hit four 2/28s so far. 2007 and 2009 were odd-numbered years; 2008 was an even, and a leap year. 2010 is the first even non-leap-year the system’s been around for. If some sort of base-level math is choking on itself, it may have ruled out the odd 2007 and 2009 successfully, but is convinced the even 2010 is a leap year (this part I’m less sure of, but is why leap year could theoretically come into play at some point).

Fortunately for most of you experiencing this issue, the save data, games, DLC, themes are okay. There are reports that some have lost data, but I haven’t seen anything consistent. It’s not clear if unsynced trophies will be saved.

01
Mar 2010
DISCUSSION 38 Comments