Archive for July, 2006

So what else is new?

After President Arroyo of the Philippines gave her State of the Nation address, her supporters and detractors have once again stepped forward and gave their point of view on the situation.

It’s a sad sad sad world that these people live in. That the be all and end all solution to the current problems facing our nation would be the simplistic ouster of the President. They accuse her of selling false hopes to the people. But at least she has a plan. A solid plan on how to get things going.

What have they promised? Only false hopes as well. Promising that things will be better once she’s gone. Practically the only thing that they can promise. They have no plan for the people but their own.

Another year for our congress and another year of delayed bills and useless bickering instead of helping the country grow. When can everyone finally get on the same page and work for the people for a change?

The true cost of next gen gaming

People keep looking at the cost of the consoles. $499 for the XBOX 360, $599 for the PS3 and it’s currently unknown for the Wii (although rumors put it at $200-250). No one looks at the cost of the games.

Currently, games for all three consoles cost $50. For someone’s allowance, it’s a considerable price if you want kids to play the game and parents to buy it. But when it reaches a certain point where it’s too expensive, that’s where things get to be a bit iffy.

The most expensive 360 game is currently priced at $60. As a games used to the $50 mark I was shocked. I settled then for the used game so the priuce point would still be at the $50 range.

But as reports come out that games for the PS3 may reach as high as $99 I think Sony is crazy for placing prices that high. As it stands, console makers already lose money per console and the only way they can hope to earn it all back is to sell many games. But putting it at $99 will put the games beyond the reach of the mass market, the very market that they want to reach. If they want these consoles not just in hands of fans and gamers but in the living room, they have to lower the prices.

At this rate the Wii seems to have won the battle without a single console out in the streets. But who knows? Amazon Japan pre-sales are higher for the PS3 than the Wii. Will it be the same for the rest of the world? I guess we have to wait until November to find out. Unless Nintendo releases their console earlier than expected.

‘Gold farming’ in games means real income in China

“At any given time, as many as half a million Chinese gamers are completing quests and gathering such assets as virtual gold pieces to sell off for real money. They toil in Internet cafes and in makeshift computer labs, sometimes sleeping on cots in nearby dormitories in shifts.”

Gold farming or Gil Farming in World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy Online respectively is big business. As a player of MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games) I hate these farmers. They are the worst of the lot. What they are doing is a clear violation of the service agreement of the game and should be banned for life. They ruin the entire gameplay experience and drive honest players away. Developers should be aware that these gold farmers bring in what I would like to call “counterfeit money” similar to real life fake money that criminal organizations try to infiltrate into our society which leads into over inflation of products. I’d think that it would be relatively simple on how to find these gold sellers. Just go on line buy a few gil here and there. And once the gil has been sent to you, ban the account immediately. One reason I think that the companies, particularly Blizzard and Square-Enix would be hesistant to ban these accounts on a widespread business would be that they countinue to make money off them. They would still need to pay the monthly service fee and that is a constant flow of money in the bank for them. But generally it’s bad for players.

As a lvl 75 white mage in Final Fantasy, it is only now I can finally earn some decent cash. But with gil sellers abound, it’s hard to make decent cash. For example, there is a “Noble’s Tunic” that I would like to purchase for my character that costs 8.5 million gil. It can easily be obtained if I am able to get some notorious monsters that drop some goodies that I could sell for some decent cash. But some reason, there is a character there 24/7 that does nothing but kill the NM when it pops. A total waste of time. Isn’t it obvious enough that the same character never logs out, is always there, always claims the pop 24/7 is not a gil seller?

Sony Entertainment did an experiment with Everquest 2 which they themselves sold the gold instead of these gold sellers. I have idea if their experiment had any sucess. But Real money trade is a direct violation of the user agreement and therefore those accounts should be banned. And the more that they make, the more they should ban.

read more | digg story

Sony finally is killing the UMD

And the UMD ladies and gentelmen is history…

Having owned a PSP for almost a year now, I was pretty much satisfied with the releases Sony had on the UMD format. I actually started having more movies on UMD than games since the games of the PSP are downright not good. But consumers wanted to do something more with the UMD and Sony did not deliver. Maybe if they created a video camera the recorded on the UMD disc, or albums available on UMD much like the mini disc format. There’s also the option of having made home brew movies or music since the recording capacity of their current line of memory stick is just too low for the sizes of today’s media. Or create a separate UMD movie player for the home so the discs would have some other purpose than just tagging along with the PSP.

What happened is that Sony put too many limitations on their format and it died. The movies on UMD are considerably more expensive than their DVD counterparts and you could watch that on your 37 inch LCD HDTV. But not that $25 UMD movie on such a tiny screen on your PSP that you could not output the video to an external monitor. It’s understandable and forseeable that consumers didn’t want to spend that much on something they could get at probably a cheaper price and do a lot more with it.

Add to the fact that the UMD is a fragile medium. If they constructed the discs like the way they did with the XDCAM blu-ray discs and the mini-discs then fingerprints, dust and so on wouldn’t get on the disc. It’s just a sad slow death for the UMD. What happens now to the PSP?

If PSP games are the only ones that will be on the UMD format they’d better start releasing some quality games. Nintendo has a huge edge in the handheld market easily outselling the PSP both in Japan and in the United States. This is a clear sign to Sony. They’d better do something more about their PSP if they want to take the battle to Nintendo. And maybe save the UMD.

read more | digg story

New Ghost in the Shell movie to be released in November

New Ghost in the Shell movie to be released in November in Japan. Other regions to follow. Not considered a direct sequel to the 1995 hit movie.

Just by glancing over the storyline of this new movie, it seems to be a continuation from the first movie or second movie both of which were directed by Mamoru Oshii. This movie will initally be available to Japanese fans as a pay per view exclusive with the DVD release to follow shortly after.

The movie is produced by the same team that brought to us the TV series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex assures us that this will be some ride.

At least the story attempts to focus on someone else other than Motoko as Section 9 is now led by Togusa.

Tachikomas have not yet been announced to appear in the movie as of this posting.

read more | digg story

Microsoft admits to Faulty XBOX360 Hardware but will not fix!

XBOX support will not fix broken hardware that is less then 6 months old, and has already been replaced once due to DEFECTIVE hardware. Phone Audio included.

Having purchased an Xbox just a few months ago this seriously bothered me. Within less than a month I am already getting the E71 error. This is very disturbing. I already spent a ton of money just to buy the console, expecting that it should last me for quite a while. I am thankful that I got the one year warranty. Much cheaper than the one being offered by Microsoft. I get the error when I want to boot into the dashboard and not on the disc. I get the error when I want change discs. Hence I’m just playing one game right now and I don’t boot directly to the hard drive anymore.

But consumer groups should be up in arms like the short iPod battery, we should take them to court! Especially if they knew of the problem already and are not doing anything about it. They should go to their component suppliers and manufacturers and demand better components. It they truly want to be the center of the living room, it should be built to survive in the living room.

I was ready to cast away my doubts on Microsoft’s gaming machine and praise the Xbox. But with defects such as this. It may seem minor to them but it is downright annoying for me. I may stick with the Japanese when it comes to consoles.

BTW, it took five years for my PS2 to have any problems which by then I bought a new one.

read more | digg story