Last week EA/DICE released more in-game footage from the highly anticipated Battlefield 3, which is shaping up to be the best version of the game ever released. Check out our previous musings on Battlefield 3, which will be for PC, PS3, and XBOX360. I still play Battlefield: Bad Company 2 multiplayer (on PC) quite a bit..
EA/DICE have revealed an explosive new trailer showing off Battlefield 3, a highly anticipated shooter coming to PC/PS3/XBOX360 in late 2011. It will reintroduce several elements absent from the Bad Company games, including fighter jets, the prone position and 64-player battles on PC, while the consoles will support 24 players. No word regarding PlayStation Move or 3D support at this time.
The next generation of Frostbite graphics engine will debut with Battlefield 3. It will take full advantage of the DirectX 11 API and 64-bit processors, with no support for DirectX 9 (nor, therefore, Windows XP). It will also feature enhanced in-game destruction with Destruction 3.0, creating more refined physics than its predecessor.
At SIGGRAPH 2010, DICE gave several presentations on advances in their rendering technology:
- “Tile-based deferred shading acceleration” via DirectCompute. This is being ported to the PlayStation 3′s SPUs.
- Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA), again implemented with DirectCompute, for bandwidth conservation. MLAA is currently available only to a few PlayStation 3 games such as God of War III and LittleBigPlanet 2. DICE intends to bring this feature to DirectX 11 GPUs.
- Quasi-realtime radiosity.
- Improved environment destruction.
Pre-order Battlefield 3 to receive the digital expansion pack Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand at no extra charge. This multiplayer expansion pack includes four legendary maps from Battlefield 2, remastered with Frostbite 2 physics, destruction and visuals. Completing the package are classic Battlefield 2 weapons and vehicles, unique rewards, new achievements/trophies, and more.
Players anxious to fight can pre-order the Battlefield 3 Limited Edition now. Pre-order while supplies last.
Kevin Butler is promoting the latest blockbuster FPS game for the PS3 – Killzone 3, which came out several days ago. And Kevin has a fish in barrel just for you.
Reviews basically state the obvious: incredible gameplay, groundbreaking 3D, exciting PlayStation Move support, and an 84 rating on Metacritic.
IGN gave the game an 8.5, praising the atmosphere, graphics and multiplayer. They also stated “the weak story never develops into anything great.” Destructoid gave the game a perfect 10/10, with reviewer Jim Sterling stating: “I don’t think the PlayStation 3 has ever had quite such a rounded, satisfactory package as this, with this level of polish, refinement and pure, simple, unpretentious action.”
Sony Online Entertainment announced the availability of its eagerly awaited online action game DC Universe Online (DCUO) at retailers worldwide for both the PC and the PS3. DC Universe Online is the first massively multiplayer online (MMO) game on PlayStation 3 for North America and the first MMO game based in the DC Universe, allowing fans to create their own superhero or villain while joining forces with their favorite DC Comics characters such as Superman, Batman and The Joker to aid in saving – or destroying – the planet.
To capture the true essence of the DC Universe and its iconic characters, Sony Online Entertainment tapped the top talent at DC Comics, including legendary artist and co-publisher of DC Comics, Jim Lee, who served as executive creative director for DC Universe Online and provided the art style for the game Famed DC comic book writers Geoff Johns and Marv Wolfman were tasked with establishing the back-story of the Universe and creating thousands of compelling story arcs, epic quests and action-packed in-game events. For example, players might be tasked with rescuing Batwoman from the fear gas that Scarecrow has unleashed in Gotham City’s sewers, or battle Power Girl as they work with Lex Luthor to create an army of mutants out of Metropolis citizens.
DCUO combines the immersive environments and fascinating story arcs of MMOs with fast-paced, physics-based combat to deliver more super-powered action than ever before. In the game, players can pick up buses, fly into the air and throw them at enemies, run up the sides of buildings to engage in melee brawls while shooting flames of fire from their hands, or cling to the side of buildings while using a grappling hook to pull flying opponents out of the sky – all while interacting with the iconic characters of DC Comics.
“DC Universe Online transforms more than 75 years of action and adventure into a fully realized immersive experience that brings players into the world of DC like never before,” said Jim Lee, executive creative director for DC Universe Online. “It has been a fascinating experience for me and the team to come up with entertaining and engaging ways to blend the MMO and comic book worlds.”
Rated T for Teen by the ESRB with the content descriptors Mild Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes and Violence, DC Universe Online is available for PC and PlayStation 3 for the suggested retail prices of $49.99 and $59.99, respectively.
One 30-day game subscription is included with purchase of the game for new subscribers, with monthly subscriptions available thereafter starting at $14.99, with discounts for longer durations. For players of the PC version of the game, DCUO will be included in SOE’s all-in-one Station Access subscription (game software is sold separately).
DCUO will be available in North America on January 11, 2011 at Best Buy, Gamestop, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, Target, Toys R Us and at other participating video game retailers. SOE put up some informative DC Universe game guides on their official website.
Music Unlimited, powered by Qriocity, is a cloud-based music service by Sony that allows consumers to access millions of songs for a small subscription fee. Major labels such as Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI Music as well as leading independent labels and major publishers worldwide are on board for a combined initial offering of over six million songs (with promise to expand over time).
Content can be played on a variety of devices, including “Sony’s 2010 (and surely 2011) models of network-enabled BRAVIA TV, Blu-ray Disc player, Blu-ray Disc Home Theater system, PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system as well as VAIO and other personal computers. It will also become available on a wide range of Sony’s portable devices, as well as on Android-based mobile devices and other portable devices.”
Music Unlimited sure seems like an interesting alternative to Pandora and other streaming solutions, but then again it isn’t free. Hard to tell if it can beat my trusty Wunderradio, though.
Prices are reasonable, coming in with Basic (￡3.99 in the U.K. and 3.99 Euros in Ireland) and Premium (￡9.99 in the U.K. and 9.99 Euros in Ireland) options. There’s a load of features in the premium service, such as Top 100 channels for many genres, personal playlists, ability to listen to songs on-demand, and more. It also adapts to your listening habits and offers better music through analyzing your collection, ratings, and so forth.
The service is currently only available in the UK and Ireland, but will come to the USA, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and New Zealand “during 2011.” I would image it will be all over CES 2011.
We have some high resolution screenshots of Qriocity Music Unlimited courtesy of Sony global press. I think the images are worth looking at (in addition to our initial coverage of the Music Unlimited launch) and show how the service looks on the PS3, BRAVIA devices, and even the player built on their website, music.qriocity.com.
The Music Unlimited interface for web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, IE, etc) look pretty polished for its first version. You can see here in the channel view a rather coherant interface. Controls are at the top, including repeat or random options, and the ability to like/dislike. I would like to see larger, easier to use like/dislike buttons. Other controls include volume, search, previous track, next track and pause. Below that is the album art, and recommendations as well as Music Sync, which allows you to add your music collection and listen across all supported devices. Nice.
Then we have the channel listing itself, where you see a varity of genres, including tabs for premium, genre, SensMe, and Era. I love the option of Era, that means you will see channels such as 1940, 1950, 1960, etc..
Then there is the interface for BRAVIA products such as TV’s, Blu-ray players, home theater systems, etc which is not as glamorous as the PS3 version, but is functional across the board. The interface is consistent with the Qriocity Video service. I like the “How It Works” touch..
The channel listing in Music Unlimited for BRAVIA Devices.
Here is a stunning (and resized) 1080P grab of Music Unlimited’s album view for PS3, which is also displaying high resolution album covers and an excellent looking, easy to use interface. This would be nice to have on for a party.
The following image is a taste of the menus in Music Unlimited full of gloss and reflection in the PS3 version.
The Music Unlimited channel selection screen on the PS3, showing many genres. We can see already thatt they will have Jazz, Rock, Dance & House, Pop, Latin, Blues, Punk, Electronic, Alternative, Rap, R&B, Reggae, Classical, and New Age just like the website.
At the 27th Chaos Communication Congress held in Berlin, Germany a small group of hackers named fail0verflow stunned the PS3 hacking community world with a massive revelation – they have eradicated a major security barrier in the console. This hack is different than the infamous PS3Jailbreak and is based on ineffective security coding within the PS3. fail0verflow explained during the conference that they have figured out how to calculate the keys needed to sign off on everything, essentially making those private keys public.
So what does this really mean?
With an exploit of this magnitude, people could sign (and therefore run) any program coded for the PS3 and the system will run it as if it were a PS3 game without issue regardless of firmware. This same method, in theory, can be used to sign PS3 ISOs (full copies of games) and play them on the console off burned Blu-ray discs. This basically paves the way for easier piracy for the PS3, and also will greatly encourage homebrew software authors.
The full 44-minute presentation is very long-winded, and goes over many aspects of console hacking in general (Wii, XBOX, etc), various holes found in the PS3 software architecture, and finally a full explanation of the upcoming exploit. The video clip above is from that presentation, and is a pivotal moment where the hackers show how easy it is to generate those private keys.
fail0verflow’s goal for releasing this exploit is to have Linux funning on all existing PS3 consoles, regardless of the firmware version. The group’s primary motivation for cracking the main security on the PS3 is based on Sony removing the ability for gamers to install an alternative operating system on the console several months ago. Sony infamously removed that feature, known as “Install Other OS,” in the PS3 Slim which originally inspired iPhone hacker Geohot to taunt Sony with a PS3 exploit.
fail0verflow will not release a custom firmware, but will offer proof-of-concept and tools that should bust the door wide open for custom-authored modifications, firmwares, homebrew apps, and other programs.
A fellow named SwordOfWar at the PSX-Scene forums has summarized the fail0verflow PS3 hack (and AbestOS.pup) quite well:
First, Linux is a valid reason for hacking the PS3 and nobody can prove if that is their true motive or not, you can only speculate.
AsbestOS has an advantage over the built-in OtherOS feature by Sony, because AsbestOS will most likely have more control over the PS3 hardware and have better performance than the limited OtherOS feature.
So really, AsbestOS could perform much better than Sony’s OtherOS ever did, because AsbestOS won’t cut you off from the RSX (Graphic Chip) and try to keep you in a sandbox for security reasons, which has the side-effect of reduced performance.
Next, for those of you who don’t understand yet, being able to sign our own files with Sony’s encryption will allow us to create our own software/homebrew and load it without even needing to jailbreak the PS3, because it will look like a legit piece of software from Sony.
Imagine being able to run all the Homebrew apps you run now, but being able to run them on an official v3.55+ firmware without even needing to hack the system. They just need to be updated with Sony’s keys so that the PS3 will accept them without needing to be hacked.
Basically we will have the ability to create our own custom updates that will work on a normal PS3 to update it directly from an official/normal firmware to a custom one without needing any modchips or dongles to do it, because the PS3 will accept the update that is signed using sony’s keys (which we now have).
Give it a few minutes for that to sink into your brain. You could probably program the PS3 to make you some toast bread using this new exploit.
So just sit back, enjoy the ride, and wait for the exploit work to be released and used to make magic stuff for us all to use.
Sounds exciting. What do you think this will mean for the future of the PlayStation 3?
Sony has completed a deal with Toshiba to purchase majority ownership of a semiconductor factory that creates the Cell Broadband Engine and RSX graphic chip, which are key components in the PlayStation 3. The fabrication facilities are located in the Nagasaki Technology Center of Sony Semiconductor Kyushu Corporation (seen above).
Toshiba originally paid 90 billion yen ($1.1 billion) for the plant in 2007, and worked closely with NSM, Sony, and SCEI (who had a combined 40% ownership) to create the powerful Cell processor, a 9-core chip which was originally conceived to power a wide array of next generation consumer electronic devices. Those big aspirations have fallen short as Cell has only been found in the PlayStation 3, and several Toshiba displays and other devices to date.
After Toshiba transfers the facility over to Sony in 2012, the joint venture that is currently managing operations will dissolve.
“This is part of our company’s shift to outsource production of high-end chips to other companies,” said Toshiba spokesman Hiroki Yamazaki.
Nikkei reported that Sony got quite a deal on the purchase price, which is rumored to be around 50 billion yen ($610 million), a little less than half the original price.
Several weeks ago the European PlayStation blog revealed an upcoming app for iPhone (OS4) and Android (1.6+) devices. The masses rejoiced. Things got even sweeter when PlayStation Portal Manager Emmanuel Orssaud said that the app should be available around Christmas on the EU blog. That didn’t exactly happen, but I imagine the app will be available any day now.
The announcement of the PlayStation app has met a mixed reaction, but mostly positive. It’s not heavy on features, but does show potential. Do not expect to play games through the PlayStation app. The next major update will most likely have access to streaming (on-demand) video and music services, such as Qriocity.
The first version of the app should be referred to as “setting up shop.” Initial features are admittedly basic, such as interacting with the PlayStation Network. You can view trophies, compare them with your friends and check out their online status.
There’s also a “Browse All Games” feature which contains a list of games for PS3, PS2, and PSP – sort of like a digital guide with game description and related media. There’s also a built in link to the PlayStation EU blog.
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe was first to pull the trigger on the PlayStation app announcement, while Sony PlayStation USA hasn’t detailed the PlayStation app on their blog yet.
Strangely enough, SCEE also said that the first version would only be available in UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and The Netherlands. This left many countries in Europe out of reach for the time being. Gamers began commenting in the official announcement about this and Manager Emmanuel Orssaud replied with word that version 1.1, confirmed for January, would add more territories. He actually confirmed v1.1 would be available for Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Portugal, Norway, and Poland. We fully believe it will be available for the USA with v1.1 if all of those other countries will get it.
Perhaps v1.1′s availability will coincide with the long-awaited PlayStation phone announcement. I don’t think that’s going to happen at CES, though.
There was a lot of side information about the incoming app confirmed in the comments of the official announcement. Emmanuel also made it pretty clear not to expect the PlayStation app to hit Blackberry, Symbian, and Windows Phone 7 platforms. Ouch.
Don’t worry Apple lovers – there was mention that they “are looking into an iPad version for later.” There’s also “plans” to make a PlayStation widget for Android devices.
There are literally hundreds of gift recommendations I could give for Sony products, but instead I will simply choose a few that are guaranteed to impress and are below $300. There are many great ideas here for digital imaging, audio, and some tips for the PlayStation 3 as well.
In this article, we provide links to SonyStyle and have pricing listed merely as reference. If the prices listed here still seem high, we recommend checking out other e-tailers selling these products. A great way to compare prices is to always check Amazon, Google Product Search, or SlickDeals (just put the product name in the search field). Great savings can be found for many of the items listed here in those websites, but SonyStyle is still able to guarantee Christmas shipping if you order as soon as possible.
While Sony sells many point and shoot cameras I really have to put all of my energy towards the DSC-TX5 ($279). It is one of the greatest portable compact cameras Sony has ever made. The TX5 is waterproof (up to ten feet), dustproof, shockproof (can be dropped five feet), and freeze-proof. I bought one for my girlfriend and we had so much fun over the summer shooting pictures underwater at the pool, shooting HD video underwater while making funny faces, and more. She took the camera on a girls beach trip and the pictures she came back with were stunning.
For many people, these type of features are a dream come true. Imagine dropping your camera and not worrying about it breaking, or being able to jump in the water with it and take great shots. The TX5 also has a 3.0″ wide touch screen, 4x optical zoom, “Exmor R” sensor, iSweep Panorama Mode, and 10fps (pictures per second) at the camera’s full 10.2 megapixels. The TX5 is easy to use – almost anyone can use its easy to understand touchscreen interface. There’s also five great colors to choose from, including red, pink, silver, green and black.
If you have not tried a 2010 Sony point and shoot camera, the pictures are seem so much higher in quality thanks to the Exmor R sensor. Sony also has some dynamite looking camera cases that are worth looking into.
A cheaper digital imaging gift is the versatile Bloggie Touch, which is a stylish 12.8 megapixel camera and 1080P video recorder. The Touch comes in a 8GB ($179, 4 hour video) or 4GB ($159, 2 hour video) models, and both will be more than sufficient for the Facebook or YouTube enthusiast in your life. The videos are recorded in an easy to upload format that can be transferred easily with the built-in USB stick. Did we mention it also has Auto Macro (for easy, close up shots and videos) as well as 4x digital zoom? Not too shabby.
There are a couple simple gift recommendations I can give for Sony audio products.
The first that comes to mind is the W Series Walkman ($59), which is a wearable one-piece audio player. The W Series is water-resistant, quick-charging, and comfortably wraps around your head and fits in your ear. There is 2GB of storage built-in to the device and is perfect for someone who runs or does other activities. We did a hands-on with this music player and it withstood some really tough workouts. It’s far superior than using your iPhone or iPod because it eliminates pesky headphone wires and is more durable.
If that didn’t really win you over, then at least give the gift of better sound. I cannot stand seeing people wear those tacky white iPhone/iPod earbuds knowing they are experiencing inferior audio quality. You wouldn’t believe the difference when you put on a nice quality pair of Sony earphones. Plus they just look amazing. Scout around in the SonyStyle earbuds section, or look further at Sony’s unique PIIQ line of headphones and earbuds, which has some really funky designs and poppy colors. You really can’t go wrong with this option and it’s a gift that will definitely be used over and over.
The Sony Dash Personal Internet Viewer ($149) is a cool gift for the geek that has everything, or someone who could use a little spice of tech in their life. The Dash has a 7″ screen that shows off everything from weather, e-mail, traffic, sports, social networking, movies, music, games and more. There are more than a thousand apps for it, including Netflix watch instantly and Hulu Plus. Can your alarm clock do that? The only downside is that it doesn’t have a dock for the iPhone/iPod.
If you’re looking for a great iPhone/iPod dock, Sony has several options. Some have a clock radio, and others are merely speaker systems. The ICF-CS10iP is a perfect example of having a speaker dock and clock radio combined. The audio quality of some Sony docks is actually surprising, and some can also get very loud. While we’re in our room, my girlfriend and I often listen to Jazz internet streams or other audio from my iPhone on the ICF-CS10iP and it sounds great. There is pretty much something for everyone in numerous price ranges all the way up to $250.
There are more gift options for the PlayStation 3 than ever before. If you know someone who has the console and are thinking of giving them a gift, this really may be your best bet.
If he or she doesn’t have a PS3, this is definitely the right time. It really is one of the greatest gaming systems ever released. And I’m not just saying that because I run Sony Insider. Most people who have really given the console some time would agree. Even though I play FPS games on the PC, there are several titles I have put many hours into on the PS3. The crazy thing is that the hits just keep coming for the console. Gran Turismo 5 is a perfect example of the true power of the PS3 with its access to over 1,000 vehicles and dozens of racetracks.
There are three official PS3 options, including the PS3/PlayStation Move bundle (320GB/$299), and regular PS3 (320GB/$349), and PS3 (160GB/$299) systems. You can find the 160GB model for less than $299 with some easy sleuthing. All the versions of the console come with huge hard drives, the incredible quality of movies and music on Blu-ray, 3D movie and gaming compatibility, free PlayStation network access, built-in Wi-Fi and so much more. It can be used as a device that can stream or playback numerous types of audio and has a lot of use as a networked device. The PS3 has access to a wealth of games, and also some really interesting content on the PlayStation store. They sell a variety of videos at the Store as well and it also has access to Hulu, Netflix, etc. Some people overlook the fact the PS3 also has a fully functional web browser with flash.
In a nutshell, the PS3 is a really great start towards building a media center for that LCD in the living room. It doesn’t necessarily trump the XBOX360 in every regard, but it still has several untouchable advantages.
Game gift recommendations are really easy – the biggest titles I can easily think of include Call of Duty: Black Ops, Gran Turismo 5, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Red Dead Redemption, NBA JAM, Uncharted 2, Super Street Fighter IV, LittleBigPlanet, and essentially anything else in this list. Any of those aforementioned games will provide dozens, if not hundreds of hours of enjoyable gameplay and have incredible replay value. Also, if they already have Gran Turismo 5, then just get them this PS3-compatible Logitech Driving Force GT Racing Wheel, which will seriously accelerate their experience from zero to awesome.
One of the easiest recommendations for a PS3 owner I can give is the PlayStation Move, which is an incredibly accurate Motion Controller for the PS3. The experience is like the Nintendo Wii, but more accurate and in HD. Sony has a $99 bundle that includes a PlayStation Eye camera, PlayStation Move controller and the game Sports Champions. That’s all you need to start. We’ve covered the Move extensively in a video hands-on earlier this year and it did not disappoint. I also own a PlayStation Move myself, and I can tell you it really put some interest back in the system for me. THe great part is that they also sell some interesting PlayStation Move games and demos on the PlayStation store, along with many great games that support the technology. The PlayStation Move, only in its infancy, has already transformed the potential for the PS3.
I fully expect second generation Move titles to be even more amazing than the first. Sorcery, one of many Move-compatible titles coming in 2011, is a great example of what I’m talking about here.
The Move has many accessories that goes with it, which is also a nice thing for someone giving a gift to a person that has it already. The official list of PlayStation Move add-ons includes several options. A second Motion Controller is an easy buy, and is useful in singleplayer and encourages more local mutliplayer action – reasonable at $49. The Navigation Controller ($29) is a smart purchase for someone who has games that require precise movement and will be essential for Move-based FPS games (like MAG, Killzone 3, etc).
A heavily recommended purchase is the PlayStation Move charging station ($29), which keeps the controllers fully charged and upright in a nice looking base. I bought this immediately when I got the Move because of the convenience. It’s much better than just leaving the wands laying around. If placed appropriately, they are always a conversation piece as well, which will lead to playing.
There’s also the PlayStation Move shooting attachment ($19), which seems a little childish looking in comparison to the third party options out there. If your getting them a FPS game for the PS3 that has Move compatibility, then the gun is the way to go.
I hope some of these recommendations help you on your way to giving the perfect Sony gift these holidays.
Last week the PlayStation blog announced a killer new accessory for Sony PlayStation (PS3) Move owners – the Sharp Shooter Attachment. The gun houses a regular Move controller and the sub-controller so you don’t ever have to let go while navigating maps and shooting enemies. The Sharp Shooter will cost $39 when it debuts in February, and is designed for Killzone 3 but will also support other games. Anand Agarwal, Product Marketing Manger at PlayStation wrote more about the Sharp Shooter’s functionality:
The PlayStation Move sharp shooter houses both the motion controller and navigation controller, giving you complete control over aiming, movement and interaction within the game. It will truly offer the most intuitive and immersive control experience ever found in a shooter game. It was designed for both comfort and precision, including easily accessible buttons, a responsive digital trigger, adjustable shoulder stock and convenient access to the navigation controller. In addition, the sharp shooter has incorporated a firing mode selector, realistic pump-action and a reload button that allow for new ways of engagement.
So what games will you be able to use the PlayStation Move Sharp Shooter with? The PlayStation Move sharp shooter was designed specifically with games such as Killzone 3 and SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs in mind and even comes with a Killzone 3 and SOCOM 4 sticker pack. Other compatible titles include Time Crisis: Razing Storm and Dead Space Extraction, but you can expect many more upcoming games that will work with it as well.