Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sony prepping PSP2?

Sony recently hit a milestone with their first hand held gaming system, the PSP, when they announced the sale of 50 million PSPs worldwide since it's launch in 2005. That's a big deal, as no competitor (against Nintendo's series of hand helds) has ever reached such numbers in the market. With word from Sony that they're going to push full force into making 2009 an amazing year for Playstation (including PSP), announcements of numerous franchises making their way to the machine and anticipation from fans - it's no wonder rumors start to fly.

One rumor that never seems to slow down is the suggestion that Sony is currently working on the successor to the PSP, naturally dubbed PSP2. As usual, Sony just waves the hand and raises the "Those are just rumors" or "No comment" flags, going about their business. But as of late it seems more and more likely that the Playstation family is about to welcome a new baby into it's Home (pun intended).

I give you PSP2:

or... at least one fan's home made image of what a PSP2 might look like. Incredibly stylish, without a doubt. We'll go into detail about various rumors that makes this image a very believable picture of what we may see from Sony, possibly in the very near future.

Sony being secretive and vague:

First, straight from Sony Japan, a request for testers for "A new game machine" was placed on their website. QJ.Net is quoted on the matter:

"Well, translations of the job description vary, but the common thread here is that the people they hire will be tasked to evaluate and assess the new hardware which is to be part of the PlayStation brand"

- which leaves things open for suggestion as to what exactly they are testing... but with PSP2 rumors getting major fuel for their flames lately we can send a nod in that direction. Also noted on the page is

"Part of the job description also notes that those who get hired will "test game machines not yet released or new functionality of PS3 peripherals before they are released."

Which again can lead right into Sony's strategy of pairing their systems up for branching functionality. While the PSP initially didn't have a lot of different ways to interface with the PS3, functionality has been on the rise with the ability to stream media to and from the machines, transfer downloads, PS1 games, control PS3 games with the PSP and vice versa, unlocking extras in games when linking the two, and the list continues. With PSP2 Sony could open up a whole new can of worms in that the system could more or less function like your PS3 away from home. Boasting the ability to connect to all the services and media your PS3 can access - like Home, PSN, Video Download services and so on.

Where the sliding screen idea comes from:

Next, in a nod to the fan made sliding screen image, we've got this article from VG247 who cite a "highly-trusted source" detailing a new sliding screen feature for Sony's third update to the PSP's design. Labeled for the PSP 4000 update (see series updates) as an aesthetic overhaul... I was very skeptical. Why put so much effort into making the current PSP's image change? Which leads this blogger to believe that if said information is actually valid, it would make more sense if it was for a PSP2 model, rather than an update for the current system. The article also goes on to mention that the model would be released this year, 2009.

Insiders info, speculation on built in hard drive etc:

The most recent rumor/news bit coming from Shiny Entertainment's (founder) David Perry who opens with:

"I hear Sony FINALLY has the PSP 2. And thank goodness, they've removed the stupid battery-sucking UMD disc drive. I'm excited!"

on his twitter page earlier this week. The UMD, for those not in the know is the disc format the PSP uses for it's games and something Sony tried promoting for movies too... fairly unsuccessfully. Now as the UMD is used mainly just for games, Sony has been making strides to move those games to download (as a number of titles are on PSN already) as a cheaper alternative and much more efficient distribution method; especially for a portable machine. Later, speaking with Kotaku, Perry explained his update:

"I spoke to a developer who is working on it right now," he said. "I know this developer is already working on it, so that means they have a prototype. That would sound like a fall release to me."

excited he continues:

"I've been pounding on Sony for a long time to make the Playstation Portable relevant and not to let Apple stroll away with the portable game market," he said. "Look at what Apple is doing now. Why are so many investors investing in Apple game development? Trying to pitch a PSP game to investors right now is brutal."

Thus, if this info is to be believed - we could very soon see the system. Perry continues in the article, most of it just pure speculation mind you. He claims that Sony will initially ship games on memory sticks as a companion to the download service and eventually phase them out in favor of download only on the device. Which makes me think... not everyone will necessarily have a connection capable to handling such bandwidth intensive downloads... (which might be a smaller population... but still potential buyers).

He also goes on to say that retailers might be resistant to see such a device because they don't make a great deal on the markup of the system and make their money off of the games and resale of games... which is again another legit concern. However I believe that a simple kiosk set up within retail chains such as Gamestop or EBGames could have a system in place where you purchase a download code and input it into a kiosk (located in store) allowing you to download the game to your medium (hard drive perhaps?) right there.

Senior Editor at Gamesutra; Brandon Sheffield had less harsh words for the UMD format but agrees with Perry:

"Regardless, a PSP with a flash drive just makes sense, what with the ability to download PSone games to it, and all of that. The pitfalls are piracy, which may increase (and is already rampant), and retail anger. I think it's coming though."

He goes into further detail about how retail stores (such as GameStop) would be a little under-impressed to learn that they won't be making any money on used game sales - as download only titles... wouldn't have a physical medium to be on if Sony does decide to go digital only.

Sony leads us with more vagueness:

Which leads us into another item that popped up on the internet in the form chit-chatty contemplation, from Sony themselves. Mulling over the idea of a Hard Drive for the PSP as PSN titles make their way to the system, it shows that Sony is at least in the know that a 4gb memory card isn't going to cut it in the world of digital downloads. With their PS3 machines now shipping with 80gb and 160gb built in, many people going out and buying 250gb and 500gb drives themselves for the machine - it seems you can never have enough space. David Reeves, Head of Sony Europe, more recently confirmed that Sony is indeed looking to hard drives, quite possibly built in, as a form of storage for the hand held.

Graphics core group claims to be working with Sony:

Taken from an article on

Imagination Technologies Group (licensor of graphics processor cores) announced Monday (Nov. 24/2008) that it has signed a license agreement with a new partner, a major international consumer electronics company, for a forthcoming member of Imagination's POWERVR SGX graphics processor family.

There were no names and no values ascribed to the licensing but the hint that it is materially insignificant. As a publicly held company Imagination is under pressure to disclose events of material significance via one or more of the many regulatory news services.

According to sources today's announcement by Imagination is for an upgrade to the Sony PSP2 and the SGX core is expected to be the SGX55x.

This information can be taken as a lesser point of interest, but still something worth thinking about. The company, currently is working with Apple as Apple licensed the same kind of technology in the iphone for it's graphical needs.

Conclusion, more speculation:

So as you can see there is no short pile of rumors stacking up to flame the boards across the internet these days... and these were just some to of the more concrete and believable ones I could find! Each article I picked from will be listed below for source references, so go ahead and check them out to get the full articles.

Some gamers and industry "experts" claim that touch screen functionality may make it into the next outing of the PSP. Some people scream their brains out to keep such functionality out of their system, preferring to keep the traditional style of game controlling in place... but I believe that touch screen can be something incredibly beneficial to the system and not just for games. I believe that it would make joining games, browsing the internet, pictures, ebooks and so on much easier and we can't forget that when done right; touch screen gaming is a lot of fun and a fresh way to be entertained.

I also believe that a pack in hard-drive or other similar device with multitudes of gigabytes will be a standard of the new system as Sony moves more and more to digital downloads. Being able to download movies on your PS3 through Sony's ever growing movie download service and packing them up on your PSP2 on the go sounds extremely enticing. Also, having your PS3 act as a hub for any and all other media - including games, you could jump on any wi-fi spot and download any game you forgot to slap onto your portable's drive. The technology is already in place, controlling your PS3 and transferring files with a PSP is already a feature we enjoy with the current PSP - but it can be expanded much further.

Of course I can't forget the single most important update a PSP2 would need: a second analogue nub! The exclusion of the nub's twin on the original system really threw people for a loop and caused some pretty hefty control issues with various genres of games. If nothing else, Sony needs to add that second nub.

In closing, what other features would you like in a successor to the PSP?


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Anime live action movie explosion!

Ok, so this blog post comes from my choosing to read up on an actor I seem to like more and more these days; Keanu Reeves. To cut the story short, I was reading through his wiki page and noticed something dealing with "Cowboy Bebop" - very curious I read on and as it states: Keanu Reeves has been confirmed as playing the role of Spike Spiegel. It has also been confirmed through Variety in a January 15, 2009 article, that the production company, Sunrise, Inc., will be "closely involved with the development of the English language project"


That's the sound of my Jaw hitting the floor. :D My heart began to beat like crazy and pepsi oozed from my eye balls! ... erm ok, so that didn't happen, but it got me really excited! First off, a live action Cowboy Bebop sounds incredibly enticing and to have Reeves play Spike really finishes the deal for me.

Personally I find Reeves to be hit and miss with some of his performances. Some times I feel he does great jobs, other times it feels like he's a manikin who can't show emotion... but for the most part I really really dig a lot of the movies he does. Maybe it's the content in the movies I like more than his acting? I don't know. Either way I'm excited of the prospect of a live action Cowboy Bebop, it's set to hit in 2011, who's with me!?

Speaking of Reeves and anime... I watch a movie last night titled "Johnny Mnemonic" staring, you guessed it! Keanu Reeves! Ha. Anyways, it's about a futuristic world where some people can carry data in their heads with implants and such, the rest I'll just not get into, but that's the setting you need to know. Anyways, through out the movie it turns out a woman had her consciousness digitized and placed in these files that Keanu's character is supposed to transport (inside of his head) to a location half way around the world. It touches on a lot of ideas and subjects that makes the base for what Ghost in the Shell is.

(Kind of a long segway huh?) Which makes me think back to the long awaited and very slim on news, making of a Ghost in the Shell live action movie headed by Stephen Spielberg; who's apparently a fan of the anime/manga. The movie, is to be released by Dreamworks and as mentioned above, directed by Spielberg. A rumor (again news is slim) is that it will be shot entirely in stereoscopic 3D, which Spielberg is a fan of. Set for release in 2011 as well (same as Bebop) I seriously hope it pans out and is done well. Following that I will melt ;)

I have grave hope that these titles rely zero percent on the success of the upcoming DragonBall live action movie..... cuz that looks like it'll be BAD!

Do you know of any other anime to live action gigs being planned? What else would you like to see done? Akira perhaps? Some La Blue Girl? (kidding).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


"We're here to make coffee metal. We will make everything metal! Blacker than the blackest black, times infinity!" - Nathan Explosion.

It's a weird thing really, right now I'm fascinated by a very kewl band, their songs have been the only thing playing in winamp and my ipod for days now... and yet... the members are fictional and the band... really a product of a cartoon. But I love em!

I'm of course talking about Dethklok - the retardedly popular band from Metalocalypse (an Adult Swim cartoon). I've known about the show for a while (I remember Justin highly recommending it) but I hadn't seen any of it or got into it's awesomeness. Until now! Jeff (a cousin of mine) showed me some eps; new years eve I believe it was and recently came over with the remainder of the set to view (I believe it was season 2) and we watched them all, roaring the whole time.

The whole show itself is twised, filled with jokes and great music. So afterwards I jumped online to see if I could snag myself a copy of the album released titled "DethAlbum" and did find a few copies around but decided on a torrent instead - may buy the actual CD some time in the future, but right now the MP3s suffice. To fuel the desire more, I just read about DethAlbum 2 being already in production!!! :D

Anyone with any love for Metal should check it out! The show first tho, it give you better appreciation of the music I believe.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Games cost too damn much!

So... who's idea was it to jack up game prices this generation? I want the name of the douche bag who I can kick firmly in the head, please.

Ugh. Buying new games puts this like... wormhole in your bank account these days, and when you're grabbing games for 3 or 4 systems... it becomes a game (ironic?) of "Check MetaCritic first" and "Leave it till it gets cheaper" rules that you live by.

This all comes from... well, the opposite situation that I ran into today. Whilst browsing our local Super Store's electronic section (one of the better places for games around here btw) I happened to notice a few things. The first, Bioshock for $39.99 - which is roughly $20-$30 off of it's original price. Tempted, I left it, solely because I've got it for the PC and have already enjoyed it; $40 saved! :D So my eyes dart around to the other games, with Spiderman3 on for $20 (I had it before, it made me dizzy, lol), a few older Hockey titles on for $10, $20 and $30, the oldest being 07 (something I will be asking Jeff his opinion on). But what really caught my eye is a $10 copy of "Dark Sector", a game I had some knowledge of. Some knowledge as in I knew the premise, the "unique" draw of it... and also generally knew it got "Meh" review (as in not great, but not bad either).

Just then it occured to me that: $10 is a great price for a game and it would take a horrid game for me to believe that I wasted those 10 dollars. So... I snatched it up, looked over the box and continued my browsing. Down the asile, around a corner and I get to the PSP section - which sports a few titles I've been looking to get and play... but all (to my disappointment) at tip top $39.99 price tags. But sitting on the very top - and I mean very top, as in on the actual shelving unit - with a price tag hanging just underneith it, is "Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters". Also conveniently priced at $10 ($9.99 if you want to get techincal) - I thought "I enjoyed the demo, why not" and placed it beside Dark Sector in my hands.

Finishing the corner and heading down the second asile, I stop to look at some PS2 games with gems like God of War 2 on for $15, various sports games on for $10 & $20 and so on, I decided to skip that section for the time being - but to remember it for future reference. At the end of the asile I hit the DS section and scaned around the games. Brain age $20, Mario 64 $34, Mario Kart DS $54!!! Ugh, money money money. So I finish my browsing and head to the cash with my $20 worth of games and happy that I didn't spend a fortune.

I'm just tired of ploping down $60 or more for a game! Is anyone with me? Depending on where in the world you live - you'll have different currency, but I bet it's a very similar situation. One thing that made this subject really stand out in my mind is the game "Afro Samurai" which came out... I think last week and had me interested, as the show is spectacular, but at $69.99... I had no choice but to leave it there; I mean come on! $70+ tax (here it's 13%, thus $69.99 eventually equeals $79.08) is A LOT of money for a single game.

Thus, from now on (tho I have practiced it in the past) I believe I will be somewhat of a froogle shooper when it comes to my games. Maybe hit up ebgames or blockbuster more for used games, perhaps trade in more titles (I've actually made quite a nice bit trading in old games to pay for new ones in the last year or so) and just wait for titles to come down in price. Granted there are going to be some games I WON'T wait for (have Killzone2 and StreetFighter IV already pre-ordered) but I will still try to hold off on some.

I've had insane amounts of fun with inexpensive (I don't say cheap anymore thanks to that Nissan commercial ;) ) games. IE - Prey (PC) $5. Actually a lot of the games I have for PC I got rather cheaply, rarely do I get PC games at full price.

As an end note, I'm really digging Dark Sector and R&C feels like it could be very kewl.

SO BOOURNS!!! To Expensive games!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Killzone Retrospective

After spending an afternoon watching some anime & movies I decided that I'd pop in a game. However: I wasn't up for some continuation of a big story, I just wanted something to slap in for an undetermined amount of time and enjoy. Standing back looking at my games I thought "why not throw Killzone in for shits n giggles?" and so I grabbed the case, popped it into my PS3, selected the correct virtual memory card that had my save file and jumped into an already started campaign; wanting to kill some foolish helghast. To my surprise the game still looks stellar!

It's a PS2 game and you wouldn't know it! Sure it's resolution is nothing but 480i and it's textures a bid muddied when compared to what we're use to this generation but just to sit and look at it... is something to behold. Honestly, if it had a resolution upgrade and a fresh coat of texture work you'd be hard pressed to not think it a current gen game (hint hint Sony, nudge nudge). The gun models are sharp and detailed, the characters well envisioned and defined; even the environments fit the build of visually impressive.

It's visual prowess does effect the frame rate at times but over all - I'm pleasantly pleased to see that even after nearly 5 years this game still looks great. Coming from the same team; it's no wonder that Killzone2 is looking so visually impressive. It seems the group at Guerilla games are rather talented. Perhaps next I should go back and play some Killzone: Liberation to see how that fares, hmm?

It gets me pumped to play Killzone2 once it drops on the 27th. Sadly I won't be getting a taste of it with the demo (that's suppose to hit PSN this week). I believe I can wait for the full fledged experience. The reviews are coming in quite a bit lately and they're just about (if not) all positive. So I'm excited :) *Fingers crossed I get hooked up with broadband soon so I can jump into some of the game's multiplayer functions too.