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Future UMD movies are region free?

370w ago - Have to commend Sony for openly embracing import gamers. The PSP and the PlayStation 3 are region free for games, but not for movies.

The latter is understandable considering movie studios are stuck with draconian product control that has a thankfully easy work around in the form of a region free DVD player. UMDs are a different story because they are region encoded and there isn't a simple fix if you are using official PSP firmware.

However, the new MTV releases indicate a change of pace. All of them have an "all" region label instead of a number indicating the region next to them. Perhaps, this is only for MTV UMDs or this is some kind of packing oversight.

I hope neither of these are the case and Sony plans to make the video format completely region free, especially if anime studios start selling entire series as cheap as the UMD Aeon Flux collection.

Mercenaries 2: World of Flames release date announcement coming next week?

370w ago - Mercenaries 2: World of Flames release date announcement coming next week?

We reported yesterday that Electronic Arts could be planning to release Mercenaries 2: World of Flames on 25th August 2008 if Two online retailer listings from Amazon and Gamestop proved to be correct.

EA has confirmed to us that these dates are incorrect: "We don't actually have any confirmed dates for Mercs 2 at the moment, either internally or externally, so I think these retailers may be jumping the gun a little. We should have more details after our global marketing meeting next week."

EA could announce a release date for Mercenaries 2: World of Flames sometime next week. We'll let you know if we hear anything.

Epic, Silicon Knights Clash Over Access To Engine Code

370w ago - Epic and licensee Silicon Knights (Too Human) have continued their engine-related court battle, with controversy over Epic being permitted to examine Silicon Knights' codebase, and Silicon Knights revealing it originally paid $750,000 to license Unreal Engine 3.

Epic Protection

The latest battle began with a Silicon Knights protective order that sought to ensure Epic would not be allowed to view Too Human source code to judge how much, if any, Unreal Engine 3 code remained.

"Epic has not demonstrated any reason," the document states, "why the more common method of analysis of proprietary information - the use of outside experts - will not be sufficient in this action."

Claiming that Epic has demonstrated no cost savings or other benefits by reviewing the documents in-house, saying "it is beyond dispute that both sides will retain such outside experts, and that those experts will need to independently make their own review of the "HC" material in question in order to render their respective opinions."

"Permitting such unnecessary in-house review only leads to a heightened opportunity for misuse of that information," said Silicon Knights.

Illustrating the point, the Canadian developer notes that the camera system it currently is employing in Too Human...

Microsoft Xbox 360 Sales Fall 2.3% As 'Halo Effect' Fizzles!

370w ago - Microsoft shipped 4.3 million Xbox 360 systems in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with 4.4 million systems during the same period in 2006.

Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) sold fewer Xbox 360 video game consoles during the lucrative holiday shopping season than it did the previous year -- despite September's launch of the blockbuster Xbox 360 title Halo 3.

Microsoft shipped 4.3 million Xbox 360 systems in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with 4.4 million systems during the same period in 2006-- a decline of 2.3%.

Halo 3 -- a first-person shooter that runs exclusively on the Xbox 360 -- debuted in late September, just before the start of Microsoft's crucial second fiscal quarter. The quarter covers sales made during the key Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping periods.

Halo 3 smashed numerous game industry sales records during the days following its launch. The game racked up sales of $170 million during its first 24 hours on the market and receipts of $300 million during its first week.

It also set new standards for online play. More than 2.7 million gamers played Halo 3 on the Xbox Live online gaming platform in the first week, Microsoft said.

Anticipation around Halo 3 sparked a sharp increase in Xbox 360 sales during Microsoft's first fiscal...

Windows 7 details emerge: new boot screen, less RAM usage

370w ago - Since we've recently written about the upcoming "heterogenous graphics system" in Windows 7 (nick-named Blackcomb), we thought it wouldn't be bad if we just went a bit further down the road with our inquisitiveness and guess what we've come up with?

Over at Neowin.net, there's a post about Windows 7 which indicates that Microsoft's next operating system might be less hardware consuming than Vista. According to Neowin administrator Steven Parker (aka Neobond) the build used for testing was 6.1.6519 and apparently it consumed only 480MB or RAM after boot. Although the UI of Blackcomb is similar to Vista's, Parker didn't manage to make Aero work, most probably because there is currently no driver support for any video cards out there.

Video can be seen below:

"Gadgets are now integrated into explorer. You can right click on desktop and select "Add Gadget" or "Hide Gadget". There is a new gadget called "Windows Media Center" that displays now playing information from the WMC. On the same menu, "Display" is added above "Personalization" which gives you direct access to display DPI settings. The page is much more polished than the one in Vista.

The start menu features a pin besides each item. Clicking on it toggles pinning/unpinning the item....
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