Archives For Playstation

The Case For Kinect?

Dave Zatz —  January 31, 2011 — 14 Comments

Well, that didn’t last long… After only about a month with my (second) PS3, I went ahead and unloaded the Sony platform to a work buddy. While I appreciate the physical hardware, if not the UI and online gaming, after playing through Uncharted 2 I just didn’t have much use for the console. I thought I’d put the Blu-ray player to use, but I’ve got several good looking online HD video sources/devices available to me. Yeah, not as high quality as BRD. But good enough as I no longer hoard physical media.

Despite plans to the contrary, I sold my previous Xbox 360 to Gamestop last month when they ran a generous trade-in offer. So I’m currently consoleless, for the first time in forever, and contemplating a new 360 purchase. After all, my Xbox Live subscription is good for about another year and I’d be effectively upgrading RRoD-prone hardware to more modern (and cabinet friendly) construction. The question is, do I pick up a Kinect bundle?

Kinect is Microsoft’s take on the motion control craze. However, it utilizes decidedly more sophisticated (camera) technology than what Nintendo and Sony offer. And supposedly it’s selling like hotcakes. Yet I’m not sure I’d maximize its potential. Isn’t the point of video gaming to sprawl out on the couch and minimize physical exertion? If I really wanted to move, I’d hit the gym or take it outdoors.

I solicited some community feedback on Twitter. Based on the responses, as we have no children in the house and given the current gaming lineup, it seems like I can pass on Kinect. For now. Disagree? Continue Reading…

There’s good news and bad news for Playstation-loving iPhone users. The good news is that as expected, Sony has released an official PlayStation app for iOS. The bad news is that as expected, the app doesn’t actually let you play games.

Instead, the app is a way to interact with your PlayStation account on a iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. You can sign in with your PlayStation Network ID and view your trophies, friends’ games, and online status and keep up on news about games and hardware as well as announcements from the PlayStation blog.

The PlayStation app is available as a free download from the App Store. An Android version is also in the works.

This post republished from Mobiputing.

36 Hours with the PS3 Slim

Dave Zatz —  December 23, 2010 — 3 Comments

We’ll only run ‘deals of the day’ that we personally find of value. So it should come as no surprise that I got in on Amazon’s $100 credit with a PS3 purchase. I’d expected to receive the console on Monday while stuck home all day with the HVAC crew, but it arrived Tuesday evening (insufficiently packaged/protected).

I’ve said it a number of times, but it still stuns me that the computer software company (Microsoft) does a much better job than the consumer electronics company (Sony) at implementing a 10′ interface. PS3 fonts are too small, updates are too time consuming, too much scrolling in dual axises, video apps like Hulu and Vudu aren’t actually found in the “Video” area of the Playstation Store. On the other hand, the PS3 experience isn’t nearly as cutesy as the Xbox 360 has become. And that’s a good thing. Not to mention our living room won’t miss the 360′s massive power brick with fan. Also, the more computer-like experience allowed me to utilize my wireless Lenovo thumboard to expedite various console and application logins. Although, the results were often unpredictable depending on app and field.

My original plan to move the 360 to the basement didn’t last long. Even in a new (old) 5 bedroom home, my gypsy minimalism tendencies persist… Over the weekend, I trucked the majority of my Xbox gear to Gamestop for a ~$120 credit which I used to pick up Uncharted 2 and Sony’s Bluetooth Blu-ray remote. I’ll probably save the remainder of the credit for a Xbox Slim when college football resumes (ESPN3!) – unless MS tempts me sooner with new functionality.

Today’s deal of the day nets you a Sony PS3 for $100 off. But it’s probably only a reasonable option if you’re a regular Amazon customer and don’t mind floating them that Benjamin. As it just so happens, I am and I don’t. So I just placed an order for one of my boxes of the year. The unit runs for nearly $300 and here are details on the $100 credit:

Order the PlayStation 3 160 GB and receive a $100 promotional credit toward the purchase of items shipped and sold by Amazon.com (certain exclusions apply, including Kindle books, MP3s, and video rentals and downloads). The promotional credit will be added directly to your Amazon.com account within two days after your order ships.

Not only is the PS3 a highly competent gaming platform, minus funky controller ergonomics and missing bundled headset, but it’s also quite capable as a home entertainment set-top — featuring Blu-ray playback, Netflix streaming, Vudu HD VOD, and Hulu Plus. All without requiring a humongo power brick or annual subscription (compared to my Xbox 360). Once the $100 credit hits, I’ll pick up the official Bluetooth remote control (~$20).

If you too are prone to impulse purchases, when the deal is favorable, click on thru to Amazon. ZNF thanks you.

Sony has been putting out portable PlayStation devices for a couple of years now, and it looks like the company’s next step will be a Sony Ericsson PlayStation smartphone. But while earlier devices ran a proprietary operating system, it looks like the new phone (aka ZEUS, Z1) will run Google Android 2.3 – with a dedicated PlayStation gaming app.

A few leaked videos of the phone have hit YouTube, and while we don’t have a good look at the gaming experience, we can clearly see that the phone looks like a typical Android slider, but instead of a slide-out keyboard it has a slide-out gaming pad which is kind of ugly, but appears functional. There’s also a PlayStation app which you can pull up to view a list of games.

It’s not clear whether games will be available for purchase through the Android Market or a third party store. But given some of the high quality games already available for Android, I suspect we’ll see some titles with killer graphics and decent gameplay soon enough, and the physical directional pad has got to be easier than the touch-based controls for 3D shooters, RPGs, and other mobile titles which often feel like they were designed for a gaming console rather than a touchscreen phone.

This post republished from Mobiputing.

Starting tomorrow, PS3 owners slightly inconvenienced by running Netflix instant streaming off disc will be treated to a native app on Sony’s more-than-gaming platform. And it’s not just any ole’ Netflix app, as this will be the first to feature (up to) 1080p video content and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Score! Even if you don’t own PS3 hardware, all signs point to these AV improvements landing on additional platforms.

From the official Playstation Blog:

In addition to eliminating the disc, there is a new user interface that brings a much richer and faster browsing experience, content search directly on the device, and dramatic improvements in how fast playback starts.

From the Netflix Dolby press release:

Beginning October 18, the PlayStation®3 (PS3™) computer entertainment system from Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. will be the first consumer electronics device to support 5.1-channel surround sound on movies streamed from Netflix. Netflix said more devices would be added over time to support streaming digital surround sound.

(Thanks, Eric!)

Rumored for months, and speculated on for years, Hulu announced today the debut of its premium subscription service, Hulu Plus. It will cost $9.99 a month, and will offer full seasons of current shows and back-catalog series. Equally as important, Hulu Plus will be available on the iPhone, iPad, and HDTV sets supporting Samsung apps.

I have three immediate reactions to the Hulu Plus news. First, I hope nobody starts whining about the fact that Hulu is offering a paid service. It appears that the free content will remain free (at least for now), and it was patently obvious that Hulu would need to add another component to its business model. Second, while I don’t mind that Hulu is offering a paid service, the available competing options make it difficult for me to want to shell out the extra cash. Netflix gets my money now for playback on the Roku, and I’m an avid watcher of Comcast VOD.

Third and finally, money aside, I am grateful that a content provider is taking a first step in offering full seasons of content. In thinking about Google TV last month, I lamented that it didn’t really solve for anything I want in my TV life. What do I want? Full seasons of content. Good for Hulu for including that in the package.