February 25, 2009

20 million users is a new PSN milestone

Remarkable Milestone Achieved in Only 2 Years and 3 Months Since Its Launch on November 11, 2006

Tokyo, February 25, 2008 - Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) today announced that the cumulative number of registered accounts on PlayStation®Network worldwide has exceeded 20 million as of February 20, 2009. The registered accounts on PlayStation Network reached 5million in 1 year and 2 months, 10 million in 1 year and 8 months, and exceeded 20 million in only 2 years and 3 months from the service launch on November 11, 2006*1. The number of users connected to PlayStation Network is ever growing, thus successfully building a robust network business platform.

PlayStation Network is a free to access network service for PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3®) computer entertainment system and PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) handheld entertainment system, that has more than 70 million sell-in units*2 around the world both platforms combined. Directly accessible from PS3, PSP or PC, users are able to enjoy a broad range of on-line content and services, including on-line gaming, video chat and text messaging with other PS3 users on-line, as well as many games and video content downloadable from PlayStation®Store. Since its launch, PlayStation Network has expanded its services to over 55 countries and regions around the globe, gaining strong support from users for its breadth of entertainment content available for both PS3 and PSP systems in addition to its free to use basic features and services.

To offer more fun and excitement to users, PlayStation Network is continually enhancing gaming experience through online game features such as online battle and team play, as well as adding more and more downloadable game items. More than 600 titles incorporated with online features have been released for the PS3 system worldwide, including Resistance: Fall of Man™, Gran Turismo™ 5 Prologue and LittleBigPlanet™ from SCE.

PlayStation Store offers more than 14,500 diverse digital content, ranging from exclusive on-line games, downloadable version of UMD™ titles, game demos and items, and titles from “Game Archive,” through which legendary and popular titles from the original PlayStation are made playable on PS3 and PSP, to more than 5,900 movies and TV episodes that are available through Video Delivery Service*3 that started in the United States in July 2008. To date, more than 380 million pieces of content*4 have been downloaded, with total sales exceeding 180 million US dollars*5, and the business scale is rapidly expanding.

PlayStation®Home launched its service in December 2008 and in less than 2 months, the number of users has exceeded 4 million. Within the ground-breaking 3D environment, users are able to meet, share gaming experiences, and enjoy communication with each other. Collaborative initiatives with various game titles and franchises are underway to offer more new fun on games in the world of PlayStation Home as it evolve over time, adding new spaces, features and functions to create a living, growing platform for the PlayStation community.

Additionally, the number of users enjoying Life with PlayStation® has now exceeded 2.6 million*6. Life with PlayStation offers users a new way to obtain information on a TV monitor in the living room by connecting it to the network via PS3. With “time” and “place” as keywords, Life with PlayStation will add more channels to enjoy content on the internet and broaden the world of entertainment beyond the realms of games that is made possible through connecting PS3’s vast computational power to the network.

SCE, along with content providers and users will continue to further expand the entertainment experiences with PS3, PSP and PlayStation Network to create a new world of computer entertainment.

*1 Launched in Japan on November 11, 2006.

*2 PS3: 21.3 million units as of December 2008, PSP: 50 million units as of January 2009.

*3 Launched in July 2008. As of February 2009, over 1,400 movies and 4,400 TV episodes are available for download.

*4 Includes free of charge content (downloadable demos and promotion videos).

*5 As of February 2009.

*6 As of February 2009.

February 21, 2009

Nintendo DSi debuts on April 3

Nintendo Europe has officially announced that the DSi will be released in the UK on April 3rd in both black and white models!

Amazon, Argos, Game and Gameplay are listing the latest member of the DS family for £149.99! That's much higher than I'd anticipated, especially in view of the current serious economic recession! For £179.99 you could buy yourself a Nintendo Wii! However, the feature set looks impressive:

* Packed with features and thinner than ever: 12% thinner than the Nintendo DS Lite with a bigger, brighter 3.25" screen, two 0.3 megapixel cameras, enhanced sound quality and an SD memory card slot for saving.

* Play with sound: Play music on your DS, experiment, record, create and play with sound using the DSi Sound application.

* Motion-activated gaming on the go: Interact with your games and console on the move like never before, with motion-detecting cameras to help you control future games on the console.

* Picture perfect: With an inwards and outwards facing camera, take pictures for instant editing, effect addition and then save them in your own portable photo album or onto an SD card for sharing.

* Play, share and enhance your DSi experience online: Download new games and applications from the DSi Shop from cartoon making to a free internet browser and challenge yourself online with DSi's improved connectivity.

Nintendo's 'seriously social' philosophy has taken another evolutionary step forward with the DSi. However, there is a caveat for gamers, Nintendo has removed the GameBoy Advance cartridge slot. I've pre-ordered a DSi as I'm keen to see how it fairs against a revitalised PSP and Apple's iPod touch!

Learn more at dsi.nintendo.co.uk.

February 17, 2009

The force is strong with Twitter

This post is for Star Wars fans! Last week @londonfilmgeek tweeted that @starwars was, officially, on Twitter! Follow for the latest articles, blog entries, news, weird Star Wars stuff from the Web, trivia and a lot more!

Only a few weeks prior to the inception of @starwars, @lucasarts started following me! Follow for all the latest gaming news and trivia!

It's encouraging to see established brands appearing on Twitter and directly engaging followers! The addition of both Star Wars and LucasArts to Twitter should assuage any disappointment at the removal of George Lucas' Twitter account; as linked to by The Times newspaper in its The 50 most popular celebs on Twitter article! Presumably this was not the creator of Star Wars himself!

You should follow me on twitter here.

February 16, 2009

Shop Street Fighter IV

Street Fighter IV beats street date

Street Fighter IV is garnering rave reviews and looks like it'll erase any residual memories of Street Fighter II on the Commodore 64!

Capcom will be wasting no time with Street Fighter IV DLC, revealing plans to launch a number of expansion packs post launch.

A completely free Championship Mode expansion pack due shortly after launch (no exact date specified) will add:

* Replay Mode - Record, upload, and download top matches to share with the Street Fighter IV community. Players can analyze top tiered fighters matches, leave voter feedback for others, and share their own triumphant victories.

* New Points System - Two new points systems to measure your skill (Championship and Tournament Points)

* Enhanced Tournament Matching System - Skill level matching system offers improved tournament match making for beginners and mid-level players. Competitors earn Grade Points (GP) to earn entry into more advanced tournaments.

Adding to that, Capcom has revealed new costume packs, that are due to hit PSN and Xbox Live throughout February and March. "The packs are grouped by themes and will be available for 320 MS points for Xbox 360 or £2.72 / €3.84 on PlayStation 3 post launch," explains Capcom.

Empire *****
IGN 9.5
Telegraph 10/10
Times Online ****

Shop now for Street Fighter IV on PS3 and XBOX 360!

February 10, 2009

Twittering about the #INQ1

For almost a week I've been testing the INQ1 from 3 mobile, and posting my initial impressions on Twitter!

Here's a compendium of those tweets to date:

"Setting up Skype on the #inq1 is a breeze! Skype Me: jrhood

Setting up Facebook, Windows Live and last.fm on the #inq1!

It's a novelty using a seriously social 3G phone compared to my LG Chocolate! Will I be able to give it back? #inq1

Receiving Facebook notifications directly on the #inq1 isn't unique! And I still prefer Facebook Mobile on the iPhone/iPod touch!

The #inq1 switcher and carousel is simplicity itself! Even if it lacks the GUI chutzpah of Mac OS X or Sony's XMB!

For security, there should be a full reset option on the #inq1! I can't find it! Help!

OK! Found 'Master Reset' under menu! LOL #inq1

'Master Reset' on the #inq1 doesn't clear social network login details! FAIL

The #inq1 doesn't support Twitter out of the box! However, Twitter4Skype provides a workaround until a dedicated application is released!"

You should follow me on twitter here.

February 05, 2009

INQ1 isn't just for Facebook!

For Facebook Fiends

3mobilebuzz approached me to trial their brand new INQ1 mobile phone. Dubbed, somewhat disingenuously, the 'Facebook phone' by the media, I grabbed the chance to see what all the fuss was about.

Facebook integration aside, I'm particularly drawn to its Skype functionality and can't wait to test this feature over the next month. If you're interested in helping me out, please add me to Skype: jrhood. Thank you.

The INQ1 arrived yesterday and I'll be writing a full review soon. I hope it plays nice with Twitter or else!

You should follow me on twitter here.

February 01, 2009

Floral tribute to my Grandfather

Floral tribute to my Grandfather

My cousins and I commissioned a bicycle floral tribute in loving memory of our Grandfather who on Thursday 8th January 2009 passed away, following a short illness, aged 89 at the Colchester General Hospital.

Along with gardening, and maintaining his allotment. My Grandfather was synonymous with riding his bike in and around Stanway, Colchester, Essex. He taught me to ride a bike - poignant in view of Steven Spielberg's E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. Therefore I hope that this tribute is most befitting!

Incidentally, the almost moon-like Apple logo was added as an homage to my Grandfather's fascination with computers - he was a collector!