Saturday, May 26, 2007

Wii: New Wii "Mod-Proof"

Those of you who have yet to buy or mod your Wii had better do so quickly. News regarding the latest batch of Wii consoles from Japan is that they apparently "unmoddable". More after the jump.

To quote from hacken forums:

"It is a latest news from a shop in 188. The latest lots of Wii NTSC-J can't be modded. Why? It's because 3-pins are physically cut from a surface-mounted IC. There are still some Wii NTSC-J unaffected in 188 and Golden, but price will go up soon once this news spreads out and everyone is struggling to be the last one to have it. So hurry if you have not gotten one yourself yet. Of course, if you only play legitimate games, then it doesn't bother you anyway.

Luckily, Wii NTSC-U is not affected yet."

Given the fact that every major console has been cracked within six months of its launch, I don't hold out much hope for Nintendo's latest effort to maintain regional control over Wii games. I give it a month.


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Xbox 360: Price Cuts Coming?

Microsoft may be the first to start a price war by the end of the summer. Nollenberger Capital Partners analyst Todd Greenwald tells GameDaily BIZ that he thinks MS will slash the 360's price (all versions) by US$50. PS3, PS2 and PSP price cuts are likely to follow. More after the jump...

Price cuts – it's the topic everyone seems to be speculating about, especially with regards to the $600 PS3. Nollenberger Capital Partners analyst Todd Greenwald has thrown his two cents in, predicting not only a price cut on PS3 this year, but also Xbox 360, PS2, and PSP. Nintendo hardware was not mentioned, but considering the rate at which the DS and Wii are both selling Mario and crew certainly don't need to slash the price on those platforms.

Greenwald expects that Microsoft will actually make the first move by the end of the summer. He believes that a $50 price cut on the 360 is on the way (across all SKUs), making the Xbox 360 Core SKU the exact same price as the Wii and the Pro SKU only $100 more than the Wii – potentially a more compelling value. "I don't think it would impact profitability much, as the component costs must have come down quite a bit by now (been in production for 18 months)," Greenwald commented to GameDaily BIZ. "Plus, they will make a lot of money off of Halo 3, obviously, and more and more software royalties as the installed base keeps growing."

Feeling the pressure from Microsoft's price drop during the summer and the continued success of the Wii, Sony is expected to "give in" around October and lower the PS3's price by $100. Greenwald also notes that this is perfect timing right in advance of the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto IV, which launches October 16. Greenwald said that leading publisher Electronic Arts stands to gain the most from a PS3 price drop this fall.

He also believes that another price cut on the PS2, bringing it down to that magic $99 price tag, is likely to happen this holiday season. The oft rumored PSP hardware redesign should also accompany a price cut, Greenwald said. Recently, video game retailer GameStop noted that sales of the PSP had doubled at its stores since Sony lowered the price on the portable.

Ultimately, the health of the industry requires price drops for the 360 and PS3, Greenwald explained: "With the PS3 retailing for $599, and the Xbox 360 for $399, consoles are more expensive than in past cycles. While the early-adopter gamers haven't flinched at purchasing the consoles, the industry will need mainstream users to buy the systems to get past the 5-10 million unit mark. If mainstream users are unwilling to pay $599 for a PS3, next-generation software sales could suffer."

Like many, Greenwald is also astounded by Nintendo's recent success. "We find it incredible that Nintendo has been so successful despite the fact that it is still all but impossible for the average person to walk into a store and buy a Wii," he remarked. "How much stronger will Wii software sales be once the console is readily available? We think there is still a lot of upside for publishers on the Wii as the supply/demand imbalance improves."


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PC / PS3 / 360: Star Wars: Force Unleashed

Okay, so this video isn't new but for those of you who haven't seen this before, this is proof that LucasArts is well and truly on the comeback road (new Indiana Jones game coming too). Time will tell if the rumored remake of Monkey Island is set to appear...

Click here for the new developer walkthrough video

And here is the rest of it

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PS3: God Of War 2 In 1080p

With Sony's latest v1.80 firmware update bringing the ability to upscale PS1 and PS2 games to 1080p via an HDMI connection, many (yours included) have been clamoring to find the US version of God Of War 2, which apparently has an unlock code for a hi-definition version located somewhere in the game. This code only works with the US version of God Of War 2 and a PS3 connected to a 1080p HDTV via an HDMI cable.

And here is the rest of it

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

TECH: Two Of The Best 3D Engines Ever Made -Compared

I posted a thread comparing the visuals in Far Cry with the hotly anticipated DX10 Crysis, both from developer Crytek. Now here is a comparison between the game engine used in Crysis and Epic's Unreal Engine 3, arguably the 3D game engine getting the most accolades, with both Gears Of War and Rainbow Six: Vegas making use of Epic's 3rd iteration in the Unreal Engine series.

Click below for a massive screenshot comparison and also to see just how good 3D graphics have gotten.

Click each image to view the full sized one. The comparison:

With the Unreal Engine 3 making its appearance in a number of upcoming games for both PC and console, and CryEngine 2 expecting to be licensed very shortly, below is a list of games where one can see these 3D engines in action:

Bioshock - PC, Xbox 360 (Irrational Games, August 21st, 2007)

Medal Of Honor: Airborne - PC, PS3, Xbox 360 (EA, August 28th (PC/360), Sept. 12th (PS3), 2007)
Mass Effect - Xbox 360 (Bioware, TBA 2007)

Strangehold - PS3 (Midway Chicago, 2007)

Unreal Tournament 3 - PC (Epic, TBA 2007)

Turok - PS3, Xbox 360 (Propaganda Games, TBA 2007)

Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway - PC, PS3, Xbox 360 (Gearbox Software, Q4 2007)

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Monday, May 21, 2007

WTF: The Best Game Cameos. Ever.

Games Radar has put together a compilation of the best video games appearances ever in a short video. And no, you won't be seeing Phil Collins' cameo from GTA. We said "best cameos", remember?

And here is the rest of it

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TECH: Windows Vista Cracked Once And For All?

A hacking group going by the name of NoPE have released what could possibly be the finest pirated version of Vista so far. Apparently, this release works without a serial or activation, and allows for full security updates from Microsoft. More after the jump.

Rumors are that this version of Vista (32-bit) is the same as the volume license copies of XP that were circulating the internet weeks after XP was released. That version didn't require a serial key either and was purported to have leaked from HP. All security updates worked and even after Microsoft released Service Pack 2, all one had to do to circumvent the blocking of the blacklisted volume license key, was to download a key patcher available from pretty much any good torrent site.

For now though, it appears this copy of Vista is working and without any of the makeshift patches and cracks that surfaced immediately after Vista was released. If you know where to look you should have no trouble finding this.

(Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate X86 OEM DVD READ NFO-NoPE)

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

PC: Starcraft 2 Announced: First In-Game Video

Title says it all.

CG Teaser


IGN updates on StarCraft II directly from the show floor.

Editor's note: "I'm writing this from a wireless connection on Blizzard' WWI show floor. Their opening ceremony is set to start any minute now. As the ceremony continues there'll be fragmented updates below. Expect more details throughout the presentation unless this wireless connection screws up. Also, expect typos. All timestamps are local time in Seoul, South Korea.

FMV sequence in a spaceship - looks Terran - zooming in on a metal door - door opening - reveals a guy with a cigar in chains - prisoner - door shuts behind him - there's so much bass the room is shaking - guy steps into some kind of metallic devicce - legs are strapped in - guy rising toward ceiling - Korean text on screen got people very excited - another part of the machine is dropping metal arms on him - machine whirring - applying armor to his torso - extremly detailed visuals here - now guy is strapping on gloves - armor is molding together - seems like a Terran marine - rockets turn on - zerg now onscreen - Marine delivers a line - StarCraft 2 officially announced."

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WTF: Chinese Couple Killed By Neighbours Over False Lottery Win

The Shenyang Evening News is reporting that a couple from North-eastern Liaoning province were robbed and killed because of a rumor circulating that they had won a two million yuan (US$260,000) lottery prize, when in fact they had never won the money. More after the jump.

The husband and the wife were well-known in Shenyang's Xinchengzi District for their interest in Marksix, an illegal lottery on the Chinese mainland. Their bodies were found in April 2005.

Han Jingchen, one of the three murderers, was sentenced to death by the city's Intermediate People's Court yesterday. Li Haizhou and Li Guoyong, his accomplices, got life sentences.

"We leant that the Pei couple (the victims) had won a great sum of money from Marksix, and we decided to rob them by pretending to be policemen," Han told the court.

The trio kidnapped the couple after following them for three days.

"We used fake guns and fake police identity cards," Han said. "They were told being arrested for taking part in an illegal lottery."

Pei's wife gave them a bank card and a bankbook. Her husband was choked to death by Li Guoyong after refusing to give out the bank codes.

The wife was also strangled after she gave the codes.

The three stole 70,875 yuan from the couple in bank deposits and some property, said the court.

Police later found out that the story of the couple's lottery bonus was fake news.

Source (English)

Original Source (Putonghua)

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