Before I get to the news in the title, here’s something interesting for the week. Folks at PSJailbreak have announced that they have been successful in jailbreaking into the latest PS3 firmware version of 3.42 and 3.50. The hack is enabled using a USB mod that will enable users to install unapproved software and games to their PlayStation consoles.
If you have jailbroken your PS3 using one of these softwares, it is now also possible to downgrade your system to an older version of the firmware. PSJailbreak have now launched a sister-site called PSDowngrade.com that will assist the user in downgrading their Playstations to an older firmware. The hackers claim that the downgrade process is very easy and intuitive and will take less than a minute to carry out. So there you go.
Microsoft has announced the launch of a new social gaming portal called the Microsoft Game Hub that primarily integrates three of the company’s offerings – Bing Games, MSN Games and Windows Live Messenger. The company had to rebuild the MSN Games section while updating the Live Messenger to integrate the offering. Bing Games has been extended to more countries namely, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
The new Microsoft Game Hub will let users search and play any of the games from these older portals while connecting with their friends over the Live Messenger. This is basically casual gaming gone social. Explaining the move, Michael Wolf, the senior marketing manager for XBox Product Marketing said,
“With today’s announcements, we’ve made it easier to find and play the games you love while connecting to the people who matter most to you. We’re driving that experience across multiple platforms so millions of players can share their experiences with their social circles.”
As the company has put it on the media statement, Solitaire does not have to be solitary any more!
Angry Birds, the simple game where the user launches a flock of birds to hit out at pigs that have stolen their eggs has become hugely popular on each of the platforms they have launched until now – iOS, Android, Symbian,etc. Now, this application that has a passionate following among its users could soon be making its way into the game consoles.
This revelation was made by Rovio CEO Peter Vesterbacka at the Social Gaming Summit held in London recently. Rovio is the gaming company behind the successful application and according to Vesterbacka the company could also be launching a sequel to the game but with a twist – the story could be told from a pig’s point of view. Vesterbacka did not elaborate much over these upcoming releases.
Nevertheless, a gaming console version could come as exciting news for the thousands of followers and we look forward to an announcement regarding the release dates.
Rockstar Games, the New York based developers of the popular gaming trilogy – Grand Theft Auto have announced that the popular gaming series is now available for download for Mac OS X computers. The trilogy is made of three ultra-popular games – Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto III.
While this is definitely a great news for Mac users, the game has taken a long time coming. The first ever GTA game was released on Microsoft Windows way back in 1997. Anyway, for those of you eager to start playing the game on your iMacs, you can download them from the GameTreeOnline website at a price of $14.99 each. If you are in Europe, you may also check out the title at popular retail outlets in your city. Retailers in the United States and Canada are expected to begin stocking the titles starting November 22.
There appears to be a minor bug with a batch of Microsoft Kinect units that went on sale in the United States earlier this month. A number of users in the official XBox discussion forum have complained that their new motion controller system has been shutting down randomly in the middle of a gaming session. Overheating does not seem to be the root cause as users note that their unit continues to run when the device is warm and freezes or shuts down only intermittently. No fixes have been discovered so far. Here are some excerpts from the discussion.
“We’ve been having trouble with the Kinect shutting down randomly while in the middle of playing games. The lights on the unit go off (not the one on the connector), no error messages or anything, just turns off. We have to unplug it from the USB and re-plug it in, then it boots back up and works for a while.”
“I have also been having my Kinect shut down randomly in the middle of games. I played both Kinect Adventures and Kinect Sports and during both the Kinect has turned off while I was in the middle of some activity. I am currently using an Xbox Slim (and thus no usb/power adapter involved- just a direct plug into the back input).”
Have you been facing similar issues with your Kinect as well? Do remember to share your experiences in the comments below.
Hacker Theo Watson has now released a OS X port for libfreenect, the open source Kinect driver that was released recently. The new port, a video demo of which you can see embedded below, lets the user run those very monochromatic images from Kinect on a computer running OS X.
This is still not in a very useable form since it does nothing more than transmit your body movements in monochromatic images. But considering the quickness with which these breakthroughs have been achieved, expect for a lot more custom builds to be released shortly.
Until now, you had to be a member of the Sony PlayStation Plus family in order to be able to watch videos from the TV streaming service over your gaming console. No longer; if you are in the United States. Sony has announced that this facility has now been opened up for all PlayStation 3 users in the country and that they do not need to be a PlayStation Plus user to avail the service.
This however does not mean you get to have all of this for free. Users must still sign up for the Hulu Plus subscription that is available at a price of $9.99 per month. So as I see this, the move is a win for Hulu in getting access to more paid members while Sony may now have to focus on other compelling aspects of PSN in order to get members paying up for the premium service.
Sony is coming up with a new look Bluetooth headset for their PS3 console that will give users the ability to conspire gaming strategies with fellow gamers while on their console. The new official Bluetooth headset is an improved version of the earlier headset though it does not come with any drastically new features. Primarily, the headset will still include the same features like dual microphones, USB based automatic pairing with PS3, cradle charger and a mute button. Also, this headset will feature a 30% reduced size and a much sleeker look along with noise-cancelling functionality. You can also engage in three-way calling over mobile phones.
The new official bluetooth headset for Sony PlayStation 3 is compatible on PS 3 firmware of 3.50 and above and will be available on the stores in the coming weeks at a price of $49.99.
Every discussion on the iPhone as a portable gaming console alternative to the likes of PSP Go inevitably moves to a debate on the cons of having a touchscreen for navigation controls. And the arguments put forward are valid. There are not simple enough workarounds that will satisfy hardcore gamers. But if you do not mind some low cost workarounds to improve the gaming experience on your iPhone or iPod Touch, here is something that will interest you.
Tactile+Plus are basically stickers that are shaped in the firm of regular navigation buttons that you can stick on your iPhone touchscreen that will come with those bumps that will give you a better idea of where the controls are while playing a game. The stickers are made of conducting material that will relay your touches to the capacitive touchscreen below.
This is not the ultimate solution given that you are going to have stickers showing up randomly on your screen while not playing a particular game. But if you think shelling out $7.80 for such a sticker is not a bid deal, you must go for it.
A while back, we had written an article detailing how the Kinect works. Those details were taken from a patent application that Microsoft had filed with the United States Patent and Trademark office. Now, while we know that the Kinect tracks user movements using a webcam, we have until not seen how Kinect “sees” things (Click here for a slideshow of all the latest Kinect news stories) .
Now, thanks a hacker, we can see how Kinect tracks movements from its end. The hacker has been able to break into the Kinect code to extract monochromatic images of data that is received by Kinect and has managed to export these video streams to a computer.
The hacker is reportedly the same person who successfully hacked the PlayStation Eye back in 2008. We are not sure if the source code of this application shall be released anytime soon. But with the system being hacked just three days post the launch of the device in the US, this is a job well done.