Last year I talked about how the PlayStation 3 could be receiving some high marks after the
Air Force purchased 2,200 of the consoles for their Research Laboratories. Well, it looks like just the opposite may happen.
As we know, the recent PlayStation 3 update removed the ability to install a secondary operating system like Linux, which Sony claims is to protect copyrighted content. That's fine and all, but using that feature is the exact reason the Air Force purchased all those Cell processors!
Why did the Air Force purchase them and why this many? We have learned that this was the most cost-effective hardware option for them to move forward with several projects using a 500 TeraFLOPS cluster built entirely out of PS3s.
So, they have all the hardware and now it appears they won't be able to use it, right? Not so fast. The update is only downloaded when the console is connected to the PlayStation Network. Because of this, there is no direct, immediate impact on the cluster of consoles that the Air Force has concocted. But what happens when one of the PS3s dies or needs repair? Sad story.
Sony reported its yearly results this week and it's another year in the red for them. Two years ago they saw a $1 billion drop, which was their first loss in fourteen years, so I guess that a $439 million loss this year isn't so bad!
Sony stated that LCD TVs and cameras were the big selling items on their list and that PlayStation 3 sales were up from 10.1 million last year to 13 million this year. To make things even brighter, this year was the first year that the console actually was profitable, mainly due to production costs going down.
Time for the bad news. PSP sales were down this year from 14.4 million to 9.9 million, with game sales falling to 44.4 million from 50.3 million. For the PlayStation 2, Sony saw a decrease of half a million, to 7.2 million and their gaming sales saw a significant fall off the shelf from 83.5 million to 35.7 million. This isn't surprising, as we know the PS2 is quickly fading out as other consoles are seeing stiff price breaks.
We know that nobody except GameStop likes it when we purchase used games, so to counter, developers have introduced several incentives for buying new games (
which has led to several lawsuits from not-so-bright consumers). For EA, games like Mass Effect 2 and Bad Company 2 came with one-time use codes in the box. If you bought the game new - or if the gamer before you didn't use the code - then you were good to go. However, for most used game purchasers, you had to shell out another $10 to get the code. EA Sports has figured this method out, and they're going to make you pay $10 to play online with a used game.
Starting in June with
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, there will be a one-time use code in the box for games on the Xbox 360 and PS3. If you rent the game, there will be a seven day trial to play for free, but that will only work once per game. If you're buying used and want to get online, then you'll need to buy an Online Pass from EA for $10.
When you connect online with your new EA SPORTS game for the first time, you'll be prompted to confirm your EA account details. If you don't already have an EA account, you'll be asked to accept our Online Terms and Conditions and then create an account. After confirming or creating your account, a screen will appear that enables you to redeem your Online Pass code.
Easy, right? Hey, there's some perks here, too. You will also get access to "bonus" content, which to us, seems like stuff left out on purpose to make you go online with the game - see
APB is an MMO currently in development by Realtime Studios that is essentially Grand Theft Auto online. If you could do it in GTA (hijack cars, perform robberies, etc) you can do it in APB and then some. Not only is their gameplay different from most MMOs but their payment methods are also different from what we MMO junkies in the Western hemisphere have become accustomed to. Instead of having a standard monthly fee you will be able to purchase game play by the hour if you so desire. Another interesting feature is that there are two aspects of the game; one of which you have to pay for and the other which is entirely free to people who have purchased the game. On the free side you have the social aspect of an MMO: the trading, the chatting and the guild aspects. On the pay side you have the action portion of the game where you fight crime or participate in it.
It's a comforting to know that there are things in the world that will happen like clockwork, and Infinity Ward employees leaving Activision has become one of those things. Except now they come together and rallied under one banner calling themselves... "The Infinity Ward Employee Group!" Pretty intimidating right? So far, sixteen employees have gone to the new developer company known as Respawn Entertainment and even more have just called it quits. Thirty eight of said employees have filed a class-action lawsuit against their former publisher for between $75 million and $125 million in unpaid bonuses.
The suit alleges that Activision breached their contract to IW employees by not paying all of the royalties owed after the success of
Modern Warfare 2. According to the report by G4, Activision has paid $28 million in royalties so far, but still owes $54 million for 2009, as well as other bonuses based on the first quarter of 2010. The group is also seeking $75 million to $500 million in punitive damages. Bruce Isaacs, attorney for IWEG stated the following:
We have known for some time that Palm has been in trouble, partly because of
Verizon's poor marketing of the Pre and Pixi smartphones. After searching for a buyer and being turned down by everyone, including the manufacturer of their devices, HTC, HP has stepped up and purchased the struggling handset maker for $1.2 billion.
HP feels that Palm has a lot to offer the company who has had nothing but bad luck in the competitive smartphone market. Todd Bradley, Executive Vice President of HP's Personal Systems Group said,
Palm's innovative operating system provides an ideal platform to expand HP's mobility strategy and create a unique HP experience spanning multiple mobile connected devices. And, Palm possesses significant IP assets and has a highly skilled team. The smartphone market is large, profitable and rapidly growing, and companies that can provide an integrated device and experience command a higher share. Advances in mobility are offering significant opportunities, and HP intends to be a leader in this market.
Palm's executive team seems to be excited about this acquisition as well. Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein said,