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PlayStation bounces back - PS3!

365w ago - It was hard not to spot the optimism beaming from both Sony execs and developers about the future at the Game Developers Conference last week.

The concerns and hushed whispers at last year's GDC about whether Sony had made fatal errors with the platform's launch have given way to positivity.

Sony's Phil Harrison, head of worldwide studios, looked relaxed when I spoke with him on Thursday, although that may have been more to do with the fact he was not giving a keynote this year and was able to enjoy some of the sessions.

I had spoken to Mark Rein, of Epic, earlier in the week and he told me he had never doubted that PlayStation 3 would be anything other than a success. Of course Epic did release Unreal Tournament 3 on PS3 this week so his comments have to be seen in that light.

UT is the kind of franchise PlayStation has been crying out for - a hard core first person shooter with credibility. The Xbox has long been seen as the platform of choice for FPS fans who don't play on PC.

The 360 of course has Halo 3 and many feel that game set the benchmark for online FPS play.

Mark Rein told me: "We've surpassed what Halo 3 offered."

I'll let you - the readers - argue over that one.

Epic are one of the finest exponents of hard core...

PS3 Six USB Port Mod video out!

365w ago - Not long ago we all saw the PS3 Rear USB Port Mod Video, and today MacSolidWorks is back with his latest creation- a (6) USB Port Mod (4 front and 2 rear) for PS3!

To quote: My PS3 now boasts six (6) fully functional USB ports, the original four in front, and two (2) in the rear. We used the facilities of Dominion Lasercom's R&D lab for our work location as this is a seriously complex (and frightening) mod.

Since their are no schematics or plans anywhere on the net to do this, we had a-lot of head scratching and hurdles to deal with, but in the end it worked out very well as you can see.

Basically what we've done is cut the data path from the internal USB controller chip on the PS3 to the #4 USB port (the one closest to the center).

We then wired the upstream connection on the "external" hub to the PS3's data output on those traces, thus tricking the PS3 into thinking there's a regular four port hub plugged into the front.

After that, we wired a downstream cable from the "external" hub back to the PS3's front USB port.

To activate the two rear USB ports we simply ran 2 pairs of data lines from the "external" hub.

All power to and from the...

GDC 2008: Can These Men Save PC Gaming?

366w ago - It's one of the oldest songs in the catalogue but somehow it never seems to go out of style. You know the one I mean. It's the one that goes something like, "PC gaming is dead." Year after year we hear doomsayers proclaim the coming apocalypse of PC gaming and yet here we are.

News of PC gaming's ever-present demise always seems to hit an apex around the launch of a new console but with the Xbox 360, the Playstation 3 and Nintendo's Wii still dominating the sales charts perhaps now is the time to seriously consider that our past time may be in trouble.

Enter the PC Gaming Alliance: a collection of individuals representing the biggest companies in PC gaming who've charged themselves with promoting the PC as a platform to rival any console. Members of the PCGA include representatives from Intel, AMD, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Dell, Acer, Activision and Epic Games.

Their press release states that the "PCGA and its member companies will work to accelerate innovation, improve the gaming experience for consumers and serve as a collective source of market information and expertise on PC gaming."

So does PC gaming need saving? The PCGA doesn't think so. Citing statistics from leading research firm DFC Intelligence PCGA President Randy Stude - who is also the Director of Gaming Strategy at Intel...

Game-Ad Boom Looms as Sony Opens Up PS3

366w ago - Sony is opening up its in-game advertising platform -- likely providing a boost to the already-burgeoning $400 million in-game-ad market and sparking a battle among the three key players who sell these ads.

The maker of the PlayStation3 system will offer an open platform, meaning in-game-ad-serving companies Double Fusion, IGA and Google-owned AdScape all will be able to sell ads in games that run on PS3, according to people familiar with Sony's plans.

The three companies will strike deals with the major game publishers creating PS3 games, such as Electronic Arts, Activision and Ubisoft. Increasingly, those who score the plum publisher deals will turn out to be the winners in the competitive and fast-growing space.

"It'll come down to games and who has the largest catalog of games," said one person familiar with Sony's plans, but who did not have authorization to speak about it publicly.

In-house sales team

Sony is just starting to sell in-game ads and has its own PlayStation Network sales force to sell dynamic ads in Sony-produced games, such as the forthcoming "Pain" title. A Sony spokesman said the company doesn't comment on unannounced initiatives or products.

The decision will ramp up the competition for prime publisher inventory in a battle not...

XBLA Royalty Rate Changes - Closer To The Truth?

366w ago - So, one of the big stories from earlier this week was Kotaku's one on Microsoft apparently 'cutting XBLA royalties in half', and it's one that has caused a lot of controversy, with plenty of predictable name-calling and insistence on the death of XBLA as a viable platform.

One of the problems here, of course, is that Kotaku's report only had one side of the story - and Microsoft isn't really in a position to refute the reports, because it will not discuss original or current royalty rates in public. Which leads us to a problem to be resolved - did Microsoft really cut its XBLA royalty rates in half without _ANY_ changes to the developer package?

The answer is no, of course. How Xbox Live Arcade works is badly understood by many, but let's try to split it up. Firstly, there are two different ways you can publish your game - either via Microsoft's own XBLA producers (let's call that 'first party'), or via an existing retail publishing partner such as Electronic Arts, Sierra, THQ, and so on (let's call that 'third party').

From what I understand, third-party royalty rates - which I believe were already less than 70% - are not affected at all by any of these new royalty changes. (Of course, if you're an indie and you have to go through a third-party, you will be getting a percentage of a percentage,...
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