Thursday, December 17, 2009

Final 3-D Blu-ray Specification Announced

The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) today announced the finalization and release of the “Blu-ray 3D™” specification. It leverages the technical advantages of the BD format to deliver “unmatched picture quality” as well as uniformity and compatibility across the full range of Blu-ray 3D products, both hardware and software. The specification is also designed to allow the PS3 to play back Blu-ray 3D content in 3-D.

Notably, the specification allows every player and movie supporting it to deliver full HD 1080p resolution to each eye. Moreover, the specification is display agnostic, meaning that Blu-ray 3D products will deliver the 3-D image to any compatible 3-D display, regardless of whether that display uses LCD, plasma or other technology and regardless of what 3-D technology the display uses to deliver the image to the viewer's eyes.

Regarding compatibility, the specification supports playback of 2-D discs in forthcoming 3-D players and can enable 2-D playback of Blu-ray 3D discs on the installed base of Blu-ray Disc players currently in homes around the world.

The Blu-ray 3D specification calls for encoding 3-D video using the Multiview Video Coding (MVC) codec, an extension to the ITU-T H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) codec currently supported by all Blu-ray Disc players. MPEG4-MVC compresses both left and right eye views with a typical 50% overhead compared to equivalent 2-D content, and can provide full 1080p resolution backward compatibility with current 2-D Blu-ray Disc players. The specification also incorporates enhanced graphic features for 3-D. These features provide a new experience for users, enabling navigation using 3-D graphic menus and displaying 3-D subtitles positioned in 3-D video.

The completed specification will be available shortly and provides individual manufacturers and content providers with the technical information and guidelines necessary to develop, announce and bring products to market pursuant to their own internal planning cycles and timetables.

“Throughout this year, movie goers have shown an overwhelming preference for 3-D when presented with the option to see a theatrical release in either 3-D or 2-D,” said Victor Matsuda, chairman, BDA Global Promotions Committee. “We believe this demand for 3-D content will carry over into the home now that we have, in Blu-ray Disc, a medium that can deliver a quality Full HD 3-D experience to the living room.”

“From a technological perspective, it is simply the best available platform for bringing 3D into the home,” said Benn Carr, chairman, BDA 3D Task Force. “The disc capacity and bit rates Blu-ray Disc provides enable us to deliver 3D in Full HD 1080p high definition resolution.”

“In 2009 we saw Blu-ray firmly establish itself as the most rapidly adopted packaged media format ever introduced,” said Matsuda. “We think the broad and rapid acceptance Blu-ray Disc already enjoys with consumers will be a factor in accelerating the uptake of 3-D in the home. In the meantime, existing players and libraries can continue to be fully enjoyed as consumers consider extending into 3-D home entertainment.”

A note on spelling

Earlier this year, the team unanimously decided to use the spelling "3-D", with a hyphen, for everything related to stereoscopic images, and "3D", without a hyphen, for three-dimensional graphics and animation. We shall continue to do so, except when citing the name of the “Blu-ray 3D” specification, which doesn't use the hyphen.

Final Fantasy XIII : Lightning Edition - PS3 Unboxing

Looks awesome.:D

Thursday, December 10, 2009

PS3 Firmware 3.15 Full Change List; Now Live

As mentioned in an early post, a firmware update (3.15) was coming to fix some issues that had arisen after the 3.10 firmware update. Along with these minor fixes come a few new features such as the ability to play PSP minis on the PS3.

Check out the full firmware update details:

Bluetooth sync issues fixed

Trophy syncing issue resolved

PSP Minis now playable on the PS3 (starting December 17th all PSP minis will be playable on the PS3, for now you must go to your download list and re-download any previously purchased PSP minis for them to function on the PS3)

XBM Icon Added – Minis Save Data Icon

LAN Data Transfer Utility

1. Turn both the current PS3 (A) and new PS3 (B) on and connect them with a LAN cable; PS3 (A) should be connected to the TV. Please note, firmware (v3.15) must be installed on both systems.

2. On the XMB of PS3 (A), scroll to the Settings category and select [System Settings] and then [Data Transfer Utility]

3. Follow the instructions on-screen and transfer data

4. After transferring the data, follow the instructions on-screen, and then connect PS3 (B) to the TV to view the XMB

5. If content that was downloaded from PlayStation Store, was transferred as part of this operation, you must activate PS3 (B) before you can use the data. Log in to the PS3 system as the user who owns the content, and then select (PlayStation Network) > (Account Management) > (System Activation) to activate the system.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

PS3 System Software Update 3.15 Announced

The next system software update for PS3 was anounced yesterday, and will be available very soon. Update 3.15 is an optional update and has two key features which are explained below –

‘minis’ come to PS3:

Minis launched for PSP back in October but from the 17th December you will be able to enjoy these bite size games on your PS3 as well as your PSP. This firmware update allows the minis emulator to work on PS3 and we are working on getting the majority of the current minis ready for the PS3 from the 17th December.

Check out great titles like ‘Blast off’ (8.5/10 – IGN), ‘Fieldrunners’, “a wonderfully crafted casual nugget” (8/10 – Eurogamer) or ‘Kahoots’, “a must-buy” (8/10 – Videogamer).
If you buy a minis game from the 17th it will work on both platforms so if you have a PS3 and a PSP you will only need to buy it once and it will be available to download to your PS3 and your PSP.

If you have already bought a mini for PSP and want to get it on your PS3 as well, just go to your download list in the Store and download it again for free. The game will then work on your PS3 as well.

PS3 Data Transfer:

This feature enables you to transfer all of your saved data from one PS3 to another. So if you decide to get a new PS3 you can make sure you don’t loose any of your existing content. Content such as games, game save data, and videos downloaded from PlayStation Network can be transferred to the new PS3 system and deleted from the current PS3. Other content, including personal media files (photos, music, videos), can be copied onto the new PS3 and remain on the current PS3 system.


24k Gold PS3 Not Over $9000

A few weeks ago, computer Choppers teased us with an image of the shell of it’s 24k Gold PS3. At that time nothing was known except that it was a PS3 Slim dipped in 24k gold. Today, Computer Choppers has released it’s 24k Gold PS3 to the world and been kind enough to supply us with some information.

The 24k gold PS3’s are now available and can be ordered like any of their other products. Units start at $4,999, come with 2 24k gold controllers, and a 1 year warranty(just in case). Customers who purchase one of these can get custom logos in chrome, black chrome, 24kt gold, white gold, rose gold, or platinum.

If customers would like to take things a step further and make theirs a little more unique, they will be allowed to create a PS3 logo with diamonds or almost any exotic material. No word on how much extra that will cost you, but I’m sure it will.

There is a “jeweled” limited edition PS3 on the way for those seeking something more extravagant and limited. Computer Choppers told us, “The limited edition model will be released in the coming weeks, unfortunately not in time for the Christmas holiday.” By limited there will only be a few of these “jeweled” PS3s made.

We believe these will be the five 24k Gold & Diamonds PS3 Slims we were told about a few weeks back. We’ll let you know when those come around. Those will probably be a bit more pricey, but for those who can’t afford those, the $5000 model is perfect for you!

Sony's Plans To Win The Console War

Ever since the start of this current generation of consoles, Sony has been playing catch up to Nintendo, and to a lesser degree, Microsoft. Whether it was due to launching a year after the Xbox 360, or retailing at a more expensive price point than the Wii, the PlayStation 3 struggled in its infancy. But, ever since the price drop and the introduction of the PS3 Slim, the brand appears on strong legs, and Sony says it is poised to have a significant 2010.

Yesterday PSU had a chance to speak with John Koller, director of hardware marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment America, about Sony’s momentum leading into the holidays. When asked about catching up to its competitors, Koller said, “We are making every effort to do so.”

“We know our heritage, we have the PlayStation and PlayStation 2, and we’re a company of strong sales,” he said. “We really enjoy providing consumers with what they ask for. There’s tremendous value in the PS3 and going into next year, we have so much wind at our back. Consumers are still going to be heavily demanding our product in 2010.”

In 2010, Sony will introduce its motion controller, a concept that Koller describes as “the holy grail of gaming, placing people in the game.” The PlayStation version will be more precise and fun than any other product on the market, he said. If Sony’s motion controller appears to rip off the Wii’s technology, it’s important to note that Sony has been developing its motion control technology for many years.

Beyond the new motion controller, Sony has a stellar list of games launching for the PS3 in 2010. We already know about God of War III, MAG, Heavy Rain, and ModNation Racers, but Koller says Sony has some big tricks up its sleeves in the software department, both first and third party titles. We’ll have to wait for more details, but it sounds like 2010 is going to be a huge year for Sony as it builds off the momentum from the past few months.

PSU will have more of the interview with Sony shortly, along with a look at a time that we believe is Sony’s new golden age.


PS3 Central: Top 10 PS3 Exclusives As Of The End Of 2009

Sony really strengthened their development core during the past few years since the launch of the Playstation 3. In addition to some exceptional efforts from third-party studios as well, the exclusive lineup for the Playstation 3 is top notch. So which games are the best of the crop? Here are the PS3 Central Top 10 Playstation 3 exclusives as of the end of 2009.

Check em out.

10. EyePet(Solus) - £19.97, EyePet Bundle - £29.97

This cute little game lets you raise 3D virtual pets with the power of the PS3. Using PlayStation Eye, you can interact with your pet through gestures in realtime. Existing in Augmented Reality, your EyePet will be fully aware of people in the room and will interact with you and your friends in realtime -- it will even recognize items in your room and attempt to play with them! You can play with your EyePet (including tickling, playing chase games and teasing it to jump around,) customize its look and outfit, and even draw toys for it to play with!

Bundled with this release of EyePet is the PlayStation Eye camera, allowing gamers to hook up and instantly become friends with their EyePet companion.

9. Uncharted: Drakes Fortune - £22.97

A 400-year-old clue in the coffin of Sir Francis Drake sets a modern-day fortune hunter on an exploration for the fabled treasure of El Dorado, leading to the discovery of a forgotten island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The search turns deadly when Nathan Drake becomes stranded on the island and hunted by mercenaries. Outnumbered and outgunned, Drake and his companions must fight to survive as they begin to unravel the terrible secrets hidden on the Island.

Taking full advantage of the power of PS3, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is developed using proprietary technology that promises to impress players with incredibly realistic characters and lifelike environments. Building on its legacy of extraordinary storytelling, developer Naughty Dog has created an elaborate plot that will have players guessing at every turn. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, brings players into a world ripe with realism and unexpected juxtapositions.

8. Valkyria Chronicles - £27.97

Originally developed for the Xbox 360, Valkyria Chronicles features a unique mix of genres: third-person shooter, strategy and role-playing. As a result, the gameplay feels fresh and original. With beautiful graphics and an engrossing story to boot, Valkyria Chronicles is one of the best exclusive games on the system so far.

7. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots - £24.97

No Playstation 3 exclusive was more anticipated than Metal Gear Sold 4: Guns Of The Patriots. The final saga for Solid Snake easily lives up to the tremendous hype with an unforgettable cinematic experience that streamlines the classic stealth gameplay from the long-running series. Not to mention that the much underrated Metal Gear Online provides plenty of fun long after you finish the epic story.

6. LittleBigPlanet - £22.97

LittleBigPlanet pretty much has everything you want for an exclusive game: outstanding graphics, fun online multiplayer and an instantly recognizable protagonist in Sackboy. The 2D physics-based platformer also pushes new grounds with the ability to create and share user-create levels over the Playstation Network. Moreover, it is constantly evolving thanks to constant updates that adds new features in addition to the endless streams of levels.

5. inFamous - £22.97

What would you do if you could channel millions of volts through your fingertips? Take to the streets and try to right the world's wrongs? Create pandemonium with your newfound abilities, dealing out death and destruction with the flick of a wrist? Or simply kick back on the sofa and impress your mates as you flick through the digi-box without the aid of a remote control? That's the predicament at the centre of Sucker Punch's inFamous, an open world game with a superhero lilt that's easily one of the finest PlayStation 3 exclusives to date.

4. God Of War Collection(US Import) - £39.97

Perhaps more than any of its franchises, God of War stands out as the most looked-upon series in Sony's library of fantastic titles as even people who don't own a PlayStation system take a look at what Kratos is up to every time new info hits. While we still have some four months to go until we can get our hands on God of War III, the wait is being made a little bit easier with the release of the God Of War Collection.

3. Gran Turimo 5: Prologue - £22.97

Gran Turismo 5 Prologue has most everything you've loved about the GT franchise in the past, though with some notable improvements and additions while simultaneously on a smaller scale. The AI is much improved, the online, while basic, works really well, and the series (or really any other racing game in existence) has never been more realistic nor arguably fun to drive (with Burnout being its only "fun" competition).

Prologue is not necessarily a game for someone who wasn't quite into Gran Turismo in the past and is thinking of giving it another go (that'll be the full GT5 release next year), but it's definitely a worthy pickup for fans of the franchise.

2. Killzone 2 - £22.97

No one could have suspected that the sequel to 2004's Killzone would be this good. Killzone 2 is a tremendous package, offering an exciting campaign and terrific competitive online play, neither of which create new paradigms for first-person shooters, but rather set new standards in subtle but significant ways. From groundbreaking visuals to well-crafted multiplayer maps, most of Killzone 2's individual elements stand out in a crowded genre, making its meager attempts at storytelling easy to ignore. PlayStation 3 owners looking for a shooter to keep them busy for the rest of 2009 and beyond need look no further: The fierce action will keep you glued to your television screen for some time to come.

1. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - £39.97

As great as Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was, the sequel absolutely blows it out of the water. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves features a far more epic and better paced single-player campaign. Moreover, you have plenty of cooperative and competitive online multiplayer modes to plow through as well. Add in the fact that Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is by far the best-looking game on the system and you have yourself one of the best exclusive titles on the Playstation 3 as of the end of 2009.

Honorable mentions:

MotorStorm: Pacific Rift
Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time
Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction
Resistance: Fall of Man
Resistance 2

Most of the above games can be purchased from Bits & Bytes, our ebid store.

To browse store: sign up to ebid(which is free).

Feel free to post your own Top 10 PS3 Exclusives so Far.