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Playstation 3 and Wii to Recieve Netflix Streaming

It was only a matter of time before Netflix expanded it’s effort to other consoles, and it looks like they are doing just that. Both the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii will be getting streaming content very soon, at no extra cost to current customers. For those that have been living in the dark ages, Netflix is the big company that lets you rent an unlimited number of movies and television shows for a very reasonable monthly subscription fee. About a year ago Netflix launched a streaming service on the Xbox 360 that has since exploded in popularity.

Interestingly enough these new deals surfaced right around the one-year anniversary of Netflix being available on the 360. It wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to say that Microsoft had a one-year exclusive contract with them, and now it’s over. It will be interesting to see what happens next, as the service will cost half as much on the PS3 and Wii than it does on the 360 (remember, streaming is only available to XBL Gold Members). Perhaps Microsoft will be forced to offer it to Silver Members as well? Only time will tell.

Netflix streaming on the PS3 will come as early as next month, although Wii owners will have to wait until the holidays. Unfortunately for PS3 owners, you will need to put a special Blu-ray disc in the PS3 each time you wish to use Netflix, which is a fairly big inconvenience. Sony has stated that they are working on a way to integrate the service into the XMB, but it will not be available until “sometime next year”. There is still no official word on how it will be delivered to the Wii.

Custom Firmware 5.50 GEN-D Released (Update: GEN-D2 Out!)

5.50 GEN-D Install

Team GEN has just released the latest and greatest in the custom firmware world, 5.50 GEN-D. This update stabilizes the previously buggy 5.50 GEN-C release, and so far we haven’t heard any complaints from the community. The only known bug is a problem with speeding up the MS read speed, which is being worked on for a future release.

Download: CFW 5.50 GEN-D
Download: CFW 5.50 GEN-D2 Quick Updater

This release, like GEN-C, utilizes the new XGEN installer. If anybody has trouble with it, please feel free to leave a comment and we will do the best we can to help you out. Remember this is for PSP-1000 and PSP-2000 (V1 and V2) only. The 5.03 HEN-A will be updated soon for everyone else.

Official Changelog:

  • All features previously in 5.50 GEN-B are now available.
  • You can now run OFW 5.51+ games without having to patch the UMD or ISO.
  • You can now run PSN demos requiring OFW 5.51+ without having to patch them.
  • You can now connect to the PlayStation store by using the MediaGo software.
  • You can use XGEN updater to install OFW 6.10 (and use PANDORA XGEN to return to 5.50 GEN-D).
  • 480 x 272 videos play again.

Update: There seems to be some confusion in the community, relating to your PSP’s post-installation state. You must format flash1 after the update is complete, otherwise you will be operating under somebody else’s settings. You can do this by entering the recovery menu (hold R-Trigger on boot-up), selecting ‘Advanced’ and then selecting ‘Format flash1 and reset settings’.

Update 2: GEN D2 was released a few days ago (sorry for being late!). This update fixes the CFW check for Evangelion, fixes the WLAN TKIP bug in certain games, fixes video output with OFW 5.55+ games, and fixes the recovery menu problems some users were reporting with Pandora. You must be on 5.50 GEN-D before updating to GEN-D2.

[via pspgen]


Custom Firmware 5.50 GEN-D Incoming

CFW 5.50 GEN-C

Although CFW 5.50 GEN-C was just released, it seemed to have caused more problems than Team GEN anticipated. Because of this Yoshihiro and GEN are working together to resolve the issues, and they hope to have CFW 5.50 GEN-D available for download soon. Most of the problems users are having involve decrypting the newer games, and that is what is being focues on with the next release. There are however, two common issues you may come across that can be solved on your own:

  • Black Screen when Installer is Launched – Make sure you are on CFW 5.50 GEN-B, earlier versions will not launch the installer properly.
  • Your PSP is Semi-Bricked – This is a problem with your custom theme stored in flash1, simply enter the recovery menu (hold R-Trigger on boot) and format flash1 (only your settings will be erased).

Update: The update has been released, download it here.

[Via pspgen]

Why Taking Mods and Dedicated Servers Out Of MW2 is a Big Deal

Infinity Ward has just made the most bitch move of any game developer this year. Community manager Rob bowling (aka ‘fourzerotwo’) has confirmed via podcast that Modern Warfare 2 will not have dedicated servers or user-supported mods of any type. Instead IW is opting to run the game through Steam, with a matchmaking service for multiplayer (think L4D or Xbox Live).

Since many a console tard will be saying “Who cares? Buy the game for 360.” – please let me explain the significance of this announcement.

Competitive Gaming and PC’s

True competitive gaming has always shined brightest on PC, and it always will. There are three main reasons for this. First, most major games released for PC come with tools allowing the end-user to modify the game however they wish, and distribute it to the game community. This is more than just something fun to do. Promod,  the most widely utilized mod for cod4, changes the game up to be more balanced for competitive play. It also adds other options not available in the standard game, such as being able to choose any weapon you need right from the start (very useful in tournaments), or allowing users to spectate during a match as a cameraman (useful for those wishing to broadcast live streams).

The second reason competitive gaming works best on the PC platform has to do with the level of customization that is simply not available on consoles. Rarely do two different PC gamers have the same computer set-up, which is half of the fun. Tweaking and upgrading your hardware to fit your play style, finding the right settings in-game to maximize your frames-per-second, adding some personality with binds; they all are part of an experience you can only enjoy on a PC. There is even an element of customization outside of the game. For example, some users like to use TeamSpeak or Ventrilo to communicate with their team during a match (a must for competitive play), the team leader will usually use IRC to locate a scrim for practice, and everyone usually stays in touch with each other using Xfire.

The last, but most definitely not least reason is dedicated servers. Dedicated servers allow teams a private place to practice, scrim, and compete that is under their complete control. This is important to have because:

  • You will always have a low ping, password protected server to play in.
  • You can control who uses the server and kick/ban users that need it.
  • You can install whatever mod you need (such as the aforementioned promod, or any of the numerous training mods available).

At the bare minimum, dedicated servers are a must for competitive play.

Why IW Should Keep PC Gamers Happy

The competitive gaming market is more important than the suits at IW realize. Although it is true that PC sales only make 10% of their profits, there is so much more to it that that. Competitive gaming kept cod4 alive. There are just as many people playing the game today as there were when the game was released. Do you think people would still be playing the game if there were not gamers competing in tournaments, leagues, and LANs all over the world? Would people even be playing in those leagues if mods such as promod didn’t exist to balance the game? Or if matches could not be held on dedicated, private servers to ensure control? I don’t think so.

Although it is an irrelevant point to this argument, IW shouldn’t forget that PC gamers made the Call of Duty series what it is today. Back when the first title was released in 2003, it was only available for PC.

So Now What?

If IW does not turn their decision around, the competitive community will move on to a new title, and MW2 will stoop down to catering to casual gamers. Don’t get us wrong, we want MW2 to be a great game, and we want to be able to enjoy that game for years to come as we did with cod4. The best we can do for now is to make our disapproval known and hope for the best. I highly recommend signing this petition if you haven’t already. There have been several users in the IW Forums that have been expressing their disappointment as well. Every bit of recognition will help.

If the worst comes to pass, where will the competitive community turn? That’s a good question. The majority of us are looking into Call of Duty 5, due to Treyarch being very generous with supporting the game. Others are setting our sights on Battlefield: Bad Company 2 when it is released. Only time will tell…


CFW 5.50 GEN-C Now Available

CFW 5.50 GEN-C

After a seemingly long awaited weekend, Team GEN has released their custom firmware 5.50 GEN-C. This latest update allows users to play games requiring OFW 5.55 and 6.00, without having to patch the ISO. Please note that this is for PSP-1000 and PSP-2000’s (v1 and v2) only, the 5.03HEN-A will be updated here soon for everyone else.

Download: CFW 5.50 GEN-C

Here is the official changelog:

  • You can now run 5.51 and higher games without having to patch the UMD or ISO.
  • You can now run protected games such as Soul Calibur.
  • You can now launch PSN Demos without having to patch them.
  • Can connect to PSN Media Go! without having to install the utility.
  • You can use XGEN Updater to install OFW 6.10

And here are the known bugs:

  • There are some issues playing videos at 480×272
  • IRShell can no longer launch ISO Patch.
  • Option to increases MS reading speed has been disabled.

UPDATE: There have been reports of some freezing issues after updating, and it is recommended that you format flash1 (via the recovery menu) immediately after you update to avoid this issue.

Mass Effect 2 Set for January 26th, Pre-order Incentives

BioWare announced the release date for Mass Effect 2 today, slating the much anticipated Action RPG for January 26th in the US, and January 29th for Europe. There will also be incentives for those who are willing to pre-order the game. According to the press release:

“In North America, pre-order bonuses* include special-ops armor and weaponry that are designed to boost Commander Shepard’s skills and abilities. At GameStop, Terminus Gear is available with pre-orders, which includes the powerful Terminus Assault Armor and the M-490 Blackstorm Heavy Weapon:

  • The Terminus Armor is designed for use in extreme planetary conditions, increasing run speed and personal shields, and augmenting weapons with an additional magazine of reserve ammo.
  • The M-490 Blackstorm Heavy Weapon generates a high-powered localized gravity well, accelerating particles to near-infinite mass, and ultimately expanding the selection of heavy weapons available to players when they gear up for combat missions in Mass Effect 2.

Players that pre-order Mass Effect 2 at other retail outlets in North America will receive the potent Inferno Armor, which is used by officers to monitor battlefield conditions by recognizing elevated heart rates, and regulates sub-systems with extreme efficiency to allow for greater response times – together these abilities translate in-game into a negotiation bonus for Commander Shepard and an increase in run speed and augmented damage from combat powers.”

Mass Effect 2 will be released for both the PC, and Xbox 360.

Converting MP3’s to Work with Your DSi

DSi Music PlayerI admit it, I was one of the geeks standing in line for the midnight release of the Nintendo DSi at my local Gamestop. I was very excited about Nintendo’s new console, since the Nintendo DS is long-overdue for a dramatic upgrade. Now, the DSi is not exactly as dramatically different as I had hoped, but it does have its useful features.

If you currently own a Nintendo DSi, you’ve probably heard about the DSi’s ability to read and play music files from a SD card. This is a very exciting feature, since it enables you to also use your DSi as a portable music player. However, convincing your DSi to read music files isn’t quite as easy as simply copying them onto a SD card. To properly format your music files so that they can be read on your DSi, you do need to have a bit of technical ‘know-how’ of how the DSi recognizes music files. To simplify this process, here is an easy step-by-step guide for converting music files so that your DSi will be able to play them successfully.

Introduction to the *.aac file format for your DSi

With a quick internet search, most official Nintendo FAQ’s will tell you that the DSi is only able to read files that are in the *.aac format. However, this is slightly misleading. While you need to encode your files in *.aac format in order for them to be read by your DSi, they need to have the extension *.m4a. To explain this, think of the *.aac format as the internal contents of a music file, and the *.m4a as the container that these files are placed in so that they can be recognized by the DSi. This is the main reason why many people encounter problems with their DSi reading *.aac music files, since they are not packaged in the *.m4a container. There are several different methods that you can use to convert music files so that they can be recognized by your DSi, though the simplest method involves using iTunes.

Converting music files for your DSi using iTunes

The iTunes music player has a built-in feature that allows conversion of music files in your iTunes library to “.aac” (*.m4a) format. This is the simplest method you can use for converting your files, though the iTunes converter does take a slightly looooooooong time to convert music.

[Step 1] - Add Your Music Files to iTunes

If you don't use iTunes as your default media player (VLC ftw! :p), you will first have to import the music files you wish to convert into your iTunes music library. For organizational purposes, the best way to do this is to make a new playlist, and add the music files to be converted to that playlist. The music files can be in *.wav, *.mp3 or other music formats. If you are trying to convert music files in *.flac format, the process becomes slightly more complicated. We'll try to cover that type of conversion in another post.

[Step 2] - Select Your Songs

Select all of the songs that you wish to convert by drag-clicking over them, or by using the shift + click method.

[Step 3] - Convert Them

After your songs are selected, right click on any one of your selected songs. In the menu that appears, select the option "Create AAC Version". Once you have done this, a grayed out title of the first song to be converted will appear on your iTunes playlist. The displayed "Bitrate" and "Time" of the song will be labeled as "Incomplete" until the conversion process is finished. If you wish to check the status of your converting songs, click on the "Converting..." list that appears as the first option under the "Playlist" category on the right side of your iTunes interface.

[Step 4] - Navigate to Your Newly Converted Songs

Once the conversion process is finished, your converted songs will be displayed on the same playlist as the previous versions of the songs. However, they will usually be located in a different folder, unless you specified otherwise by previously configuring your options. By default, your converted music files will be in C:/(User)/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/(Artist). If you can't find your converted music files, you can always right click on the song in iTunes and select the "Get Info" option, which will also display the location of the song. Remember, your newly converted files will be categorized as being in *.m4a format, not *.mp3 or *.aac.

[Step 5] - Copy your Converted Songs to Your SD Card

Select your converted songs (be sure they are displayed as being in *.m4a format) and drag them to your SD card to initiate the copying process. It's usually best to put them into a folder titled "Music" on your SD card, for organizational purposes. If you wish, you can also separate them by artist, album or genre.

[Step 6] - Play With Your Music!

You're done! Insert your SD card into your Nintendo DSi, and navigate to the "Sound" menu option. You should be able to then navigate to the folder(s) containing your music, and then play them with your DSi's sound player. The DSi has some really fun simple sound manipulation options, which can be very entertaining. :)

A quick note about Bitrate

If you want to adjust the quality of your converted sound files in iTunes, there is a bit of a process involved. You need to tweak this option before you convert your files. Due to the multiple steps of this process, we will cover this in a later post. Until then, you can find a general guide that will help you adjust your bitrate here.

Yet Another Best Buy Epic Customer Service Fail

best buy fail

Dexter K. of San Marcos, Texas tried to return a product at his local Best Buy. Instead of a completely just business transaction going smoothly, Best Buy yet again demonstrated how much they epically fail at customer service, and why people should never buy from them, especially when there are numerous better options. Here is what happened to him, while trying to return his month-old DeathAdder mouse by Razor.

“My deathadder previously wasn’t working and I tried to go return it at best buy. And since it was a gift I dont have a reciept and only wanted an exchange for the exact same product.

So, I go and try to do an exchange at best buy. I say I got the item as a gift and ask if they can exchange it for me. They proceed to tell me they dont carry it anymore, so I say fair enough and walk to the back of the store and find the mouse and bring it to the desk. They tell me its supposed to be discontinued and they’re not supposed to sell it anymore. So I ask them if I can exchange it and they tell me no since I dont have a reciept. So I tell them I’ll just buy that mouse and return the other one, which in turn they say “I’m sorry but we’re not going to let you buy that mouse”. At this point in time im thinking “what?!” so I tell them I’ll write reviews and post on the internet how bad of customer service best buy really has and they tell me “I’m sorry you feel that way”. Then when I walk away the manager calls someone at the front and says “we have a code whatever please dont let the guy in the white shirt buy anything” . At this point in time I’m calling best buy corporate and they pretty much tell me they wont do anything about it. I then proceed to tell them I will never buy anything from best buy again and I will be telling everyone I know about how bad best buy really is, and they say word for word “well, we’re willing to take that chance, thank you for calling best buy corporate”

Now what kind of BS is that? They even threatened to flag me so I couldn’t buy anything from best buy anymore, what kind of crap is that?!”

Stay classy Best Buy. Smile, the Internet is watching you…

US PlayStation Store Update – 10.15.09

PlayStation Store

Sorry guys I know this is a bit late, but the PlayStation Store was updated a couple days ago with some new content. Some of the highlights include the NBA 2K10 Demo for PS3, Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (under PSone classics) for PS3/PSP, ten new downloadable games for the PSP (including Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max), a handful of downloadable games and for PS3, and some new add-on content for both systems. As always the regular new assortment of game videos, themes, and wallpapers is thrown in the mix as well. Interestingly enough no more new PSP Mini titles are available, which is fairly surprising given Sony’s optimism surrounding the new idea.

Click the read link below to see the entire list of additions.

God of War Collection Revealed, Remastered in HD

God of War and God of War 2 is being re-released for the PS3 on a single Blu-ray disc under the name God of War Collection. Even better than that, they are being remastered in full HD (720p). The games will also utilize anti-aliasing, run at a smooth 60 FPS, and include trophies. Watch the trailer above to see for yourself. We have to admit, we are liking what we see. The port will be priced at $39.99, and you can pick yourself up a copy on November 10th.

Did we mention that a God of War III demo will be included?

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