PSP (PlayStation Portable) v4.00 Update

17 06 2008

I wanted to give you all a heads up that a new PSP system software update, v4.00, will be released soon, adding Google Internet search directly to the XMB (XrossMediaBar) interface.

This new upgrade replicates the Google Internet search experience, delivering the same search results that you’d get at www.google.com. And with a search history recall of 20 items, Web searches couldn’t be easier.

After you download and install the firmware on your PSP, click on the XMB’s Network icon and then the new Internet Search icon. Enter your keywords and then let Google’s algorithms do the work. You’ll need to be connected to the Internet via a wireless access point or Wi-Fi hotspot. Googling something on the go has never been more convenient on your PSP.

Another new feature delivered through the 4.00 update is the ability to change viewing speed during playback of videos stored on your Memory Stick PRO Duo, so you can speed through or slow down what you’re watching. To do this simply press the up or down directional buttons while playing a video. Enjoy!

Thanks to the Official PlayStation Blog

Advertisements




Official SingStar Vol.2 Pack Shot And Press Release From Sony Towers…

15 04 2008

We have just received the official press release from Sony on SingStar Vol.2 for PS3, now including a brand new harmony duet mode – which is basically a new way of playing that allows two players to sing together, showing off their harmonising skills. Sony have also sourced some special tracks to showcase this feature, including the ace Paul McCartney & The Frog Chorus number ‘We All Stand Together’ and The Mamas & The Papas classic ‘California Dreamin’’.

Announcing SingStar® Vol.2 on PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™)

30 new tracks on Blu-ray Disc, a new harmony duet mode and PSP™ (PlayStation®PlayStation) Remote Play functionalities

o Sing 30 new tracks from top artists including The Killers, Eminem and Gorillaz
o Showcase your skills by singing duets in harmony!
o Share your performances with the SingStar community at My SingStar™ Online
o Get access to the ever-expanding SingStore™ to download all your favourites tracks

15 April 2008: SingStar® fans are in for a treat this summer with the launch of SingStar® Vol. 2 on PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™). The new addition to the multi-million selling franchise features 30 new tracks, a brand new harmony duet mode, PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) Remote Play functionalities, increased levels of personalisation and an entry point to My SingStar™ Online – the rapidly growing online SingStar community.

Whether you’re an entertainer, a diva, a rocker, a crooner or hip hopster – or even a shy star – there will be something for you on the disc’s 30-strong track list. Artists featured include The Killers, Eminem, Kaiser Chiefs, Gorillaz and many many more. All track features the original music video for you to enjoy!

Singstar Vol. 2 will feature a harmony duet mode: a new way of playing that allows two players to sing different lines to a song at the same time, showing off their harmonising skills. This is really your chance to showcase your talent and adds a new dimension to the SingStar experience! Special tracks have been included to showcase this new mode such as Kool and the Gang: Celebration, the Paul McCartney & the Frog Chorus: We all Stand Together and The Mamas & The Papas: California Dreamin’.

As if that wasn’t enough, SingStar Vol. 2 also includes Remote Play functionalities with PSP. Using PSP and a wireless Internet connection, players will be able to access various areas of the game such as:

* SingStore: browse, select and download new songs, from SingStore remotely. This is really your chance to get your favourite party tracklist ready before you’re heading back home!
* My SingStar Online: browse and participate in all areas, rate media, leave comments, take part in polls, etc.). You can now continue to be part of the SingStar community on the go: share and show off hilarious and killer performances to your friends and family!

As with the first instalment of SingStar on PS3, SingStar Vol. 2 gives players instant access to SingStore, the ever-expanding online download store where extra tracks can be purchased, allowing players to add to their collection of songs and create their own SingStar playlists to suit their party mood. There are currently over 300 tracks in SingStore costing 1.49€ / £0.99 per track. Make sure you’re part of My SingStar Online, the next-generation community where players can share their performances with the world after capturing them with a PLAYSTATION®Eye or EyeToy® camera.

Key Features:

* Introducing the new harmony duet mode: Put your vocal skills to the test as you perform different lines to a song against your SingStar rival! This is your chance to perform duets in harmony and showcase your skills!

* 30 strong track list: Sing along to critically acclaimed artists and bands from The Killers, Eminem, Kaiser Chiefs, Nirvana and Gorillaz and many many more!

* PSP Remote Play functionality: With a PSP and a wireless internet connection, you will now be able to browse, select and start downloading new songs from the ‘SingStore’ on the go. Choosing your perfect tracklist is easier than ever before. You can also access to all areas of My SingStar Online and share the best SingStar performances with your friend and family!

* Join the online SingStar community: Enter via the game (My SingStar Online) or PC (www.singstargame.com) and upload your performances and rate others. Who knows, you could become an overnight star.

* Download in an instant: SingStore is directly accessible in-game. It’s easy to use and your song selections can be quickly granted. And with over 300 tracks available for you to download directly from the SingStore, there is plenty of choice to suit your party mood!

* Slick new look: Navigate the famous ‘carousel’ for your song selection and enjoy a cool, sophisticated slick new in-game design

* The SingStar experience: Competitive game-play with battle and one-player modes, credible artists and social, inclusive fun – everything you know and love about SingStar but more music and more choice than ever before.

Visit http://www.singstargame.com for the latest news on the SingStar community, where you’ll also find polls, quizzes, free downloads for MySpace and Bebo pages, party ideas, music news and updates on new tracks available in the SingStore for PS3.

You guys might wanna take a look at the new Harmony mode and the Remote Play functionality. Sounds promising enough for me. Can’t recall the last time I had as much fun as I did with SingStar & Beer lol!

Thanks ThreeSpeech





New Blu-Ray Player Lets You Record TV On Your PSP

10 04 2008

Still waiting on that promised ability to transfer Blu-Ray’s from a PS3 to a PSP. In the meantime, I’m going to point out something you’re never going to buy, and a situation you’ll most likely never find yourself in, but is interesting nonetheless. At least on a trivial level. Above is Sony’s BDZ-A70 Blu-Ray recorder, which lets you watch TV, then record that TV onto a Blu-Ray disc. And also a PSP. I know, you can do that already in a less-than-legal sense, but having it officially embraced by Sony like this suggests the little handheld will find itself integrated more and more into Sony’s non-gaming lineup as it spreads its multimedia wings.
Sony’s New Blu-ray Recorder Moves TV (not BD) Vid to PSP [Giz]

Thanks Kotaku





‘Why are you hacking your PSP?’ asks Sony

10 04 2008

Do you use homebrew? If so, do you feel like a rebel? Does it impress your friends? Or do you do it just to see if you can “get away with it”? These are questions Sony recently posed in a survey it sent to various PSP owners. It asks in a very straightforward manner why people hack their PSP systems.

Earlier, we reported some distressing figures on the state of PSP piracy, and we’re hoping that Sony attempts to correct the problem in some way. We’re assuming the results of this survey will influence some key decisions in the future regarding system security.

Thanks PSPfanboy





PSP continues incredible Japanese sales momentum

10 04 2008

Remember how PSP outsold every system combined last week in Japan? Well, it didn’t managed to pull off that feat again, but PSP still had an incredible week in Japan. The numbers should more than do the talking:

  • PSP – 113,000
  • DS – 52,000
  • Wii – 46,000
  • PS3 – 11,000
  • PS2 – 10,000
  • 360 – 2,300

Seems like PSP is the new DS, no? At least in terms of Japanese hardware sales. Let’s see if this post-Monster Hunter sales boom can continue.

Thanks PSPfanboy





Interview with the developer of PlayStation 3 Hardware

8 04 2008

Here is an interview with Teiyu Goto, who designed PLAYSTATION®3 and its peripherals, including a newly developed wireless controller.

The design concept of PLAYSTATION®3 was to create something worthy of its cutting edge technology. PLAYSTATION®3 can play a Blu-ray Disc, the next generation disc media, as well as HD-quality games that utilize the computing power of Cell Broadband Engine™, the PLAYSTATION®3 CPU. Thus, the design had to be sleek enough to reflect such high-end functions.

The PlayStation® series systems have always been the best game systems at the time when they were introduced. Thus, we pursued shapes that were easily distinguishable as “game machines”.

Meanwhile, the specifications for PLAYSTATION®3 have gone beyond what a game system was capable of. So, we decided to design something completely different from past products, to create something of high quality, with high specifications, all to perfection. Our ambition was to create the best, from a standpoint of both design and product planning.

Design Keywords for PLAYSTATION®3

In the past, there were various keywords that represented the design of PlayStation® . These keywords apply to the design of PLAYSTATION®3 as well.

When the original PlayStation® was designed in 1994, the keyword then was a new media type: CD-ROM. PlayStation® became a box with a round lid and two big, round buttons – a very simple design.
In 2000, the keywords of PlayStation®2 were “the universe, the earth and life”. The black slate color, the PS2 logo, and the blue graduation in the stand conjured up images of limitless life, from where new content such as DVDs and games would emerge.

For PLAYSTATION®3, we employed a curvilinear and glossy surface. This shape and material is rarely used for conventional electronic appliances. It is different from VCRs, DVD players (whose widths are usually 430 mm), or gaming systems. It represents a completely new concept.

The controller for PLAYSTATION®3 became wireless, making the system much simpler to use. Turning the system on and off can be done from the wireless controller. If the system is connected to TV, it is not necessary to place it next to the TV. Because it is not necessary to touch the controls to operate the system, it can be placed anywhere in a living room. Since all PLAYSTATION®3 have internal hard disk drives, we were able to hide the media slots from view. We designed PLAYSTATION®3 so that users can place it and use it as freely as they wish.
When we designed the machine, we considered high-rise buildings, vases, and other objects that have a strong physical presence and appear, sleek and new. Based on these images, we drew numerous sketches and made many mock-ups until we ended up with the present design.

The Controller Became Wireless

The innovative design of the original PlayStation® controller extends to the controllers for PlayStation®2 and PLAYSTATION®3. However, the inside has continuously evolved.

For PLAYSTATION®3 controller, the most evolutionary change was becoming wireless. There were various wireless game controllers previously, but some had a battery case that stuck out from the controller, while others were heavy. It was a burden to users, as they were difficult to grip, causing hands to tire easily. I must say they were not satisfactory from a users’ standpoint.

But recently, Bluetooth technology has become common. High performance batteries such as those used in mobile phones have become prevalent. We were able to adopt such technologies and pack them into this small controller for PLAYSTATION®3. Since the new controller is very light (even lighter than the conventional DUALSHOCK® analog controller) users can play games comfortably.
Taking advantage of the controller’s wireless feature, we adopted a six-axis sensing system to input motions such as roll and yaw. With a cable attached, it would be difficult to input a motion by tilting the controller. By acquiring wireless technology, play has evolved further.

Thanks to support from users, PlayStation® controller has become the standard for all game controllers. This controller is a part of a large product family, and is a precious asset, as it can be used to play both PlayStation® and PlayStation®2 games. Thus, it was important for us to carry forward the shape of the controller.

Prototype of PLAYSTATION®3 controller. All of the forms are slightly different.

Numerous small evolutions have also taken place. For example, operation of the L2/R2 buttons, used as a trigger or an accelerator in many games, was improved to provide more subtle control. We also increased the tilt angles of the analog sticks. This change provided users with more accurate control of left and right movements on a large screen.. We made various mock-ups to ensure greater accuracy for firmness and stroke.

We also modified the shape at the point where the middle fingers support the controller. Before then, there was a pocket to ensure that middle fingers would fit tightly. For the new controller, we shifted the grip toward the front and made it shallower to increase space for the middle fingers. It is a small change, but it gave the middle fingers enough space to move back and forth, allowing users to grip the controller more freely.

Also, we made the rear of the controller more curvilinear so that it will better fit the middle finger joints. Thus, the controller can be held within a wider area. When you hold it, you can immediately feel this difference. We improved the shape of the area where the middle finger supports the controller, so that supporting fingers are more comfortable when pushing buttons.

These changes are extremely small but they make a big difference if you play games for a long time.

Although the basic design of the controller has been identical for twelve years, we are continuing to improve the device to be more user-friendly.

About Designing PlayStation®

Japan, North America, Europe and Asia- Everybody around the globe enjoys PlayStation®.
What kind of experience does designing PlayStation® bring to a designer?

Sony has always produced products for the enjoyment of audio and video. But with PlayStation®, a new genre of entertainment emerged – interactive. As a designer, I was thrilled to be involved in developing this innovative genre of entertainment. In addition, the system features are of the highest quality. I believe that I am the only designer to work on a consumer product that has sold so many units globally, including audio and video products. It was such a great joy.

But there are great responsibilities, too. For example, a seemingly minor problem with a button would actually be a major issue, since the shipment quantity is enormous. Take the original PlayStation®, for example. It was designed to be rugged enough that, even when children sat on it, it would not be damaged. I think it is a designer’s job to create easy-to-use, long-lasting, and beautifully shaped devices, notwithstanding such restrictions.

It was also miraculous to design a controller with grips for the first time and introduce it to the world. There had been no grips in previous game controllers, so they were literally “game pads”. This was when we proposed a controller with grips to hold tightly with two hands. This form gained critical acclaim immediately and other companies followed this trend. PlayStation® controller has become the icon of game controllers. It was one of the greatest pleasures of my life as a designer.

To see this interview in it’s true form follow this link: http://www.playstation.com/ps3-design/english/hardware.html





Interview with the developer of the XMB (Cross Media Bar)

8 04 2008

Here is an interview with Shuji Hiramatsu of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. who designed the user interface of PLAYSTATION®3, including the start-up screen, which appears calmly when a user turns on PLAYSTATION®3

The reason why I prepared a rather quiet start-up screen is that I felt PLAYSTATION®3 was always working. I avoided making a flashy screen because I wanted to have users feel like PLAYSTATION®3 senses them by touching it lightly. If it were a scene from a film, it would be a scene where the main character enters a computer control room and touches a panel, and then the entire system starts to wake up silently… something like that. We did a lot of trial and error on the fade-in before we reached the final one where the brightness gradually increases and then the logo is displayed.

Start-up screen of PlayStation®2

Start-up screen of PLAYSTATION®3

The concept of PlayStation®2 was “the Universe”. So, the themes of the main screen were vastness and coolness. Photon-like light spots fly around the center of the screen. These lights symbolize “the Universe”. Then pillars appear in the screen. The number of pillars is calculated based on stored memory card data that indicates how many times game titles have been launched. The maximum number of pillars was prepared based on the original PlayStation® system’s software attach rate. Our thought was that by playing games, the user could fill the screen with pillars at a comfortable density by the time PLAYSTATION®3 launch came around.

I designed the start-up screens of PlayStation®2, PSX®, PSP® (PlayStation®Portable), and PLAYSTATION®3, and noticed that they have become simpler and simpler. At first, I created heavy and colorful screens. I compressed and trimmed them, and eventually they became simple but rich and full of meaning. The start-up sound of PLAYSTATION®3 is derived from the sound of an orchestra tuning its instruments before they start a performance. The orchestra may consist of 80 musical instruments, and the sound starts from the tuning of an oboe as in a real orchestra. We localized sound sources correctly. Though the process of programming the sound was very complex, we intended it to sound simply.

There is a wave-like image in the main screen, and this is designed to symbolize that the system is connected to a network that exists on the other side of the screen. The wave is dynamically generated by a program and changes its form constantly. The background color changes along with the date and time as well. When a game title is launched, after the slight ringing of a bell, the PLAYSTATION®3 logo is displayed. It represents that players are going through a gate to enter the world of digital entertainment content. XMB™ (Xross Media Bar) - A User Interface with the Quick Response of a Game

XMB™ makes selecting a menu with a controller easy and speedy. Icons are listed side by side. Every time a button is pushed, menus swiftly appear without any delay. How was this exquisite interface which is used in PLAYSTATION®3 developed?

XMB™ was used for the first time for PSX®. The concept was to create an interface utilizing a game engine. It was not for the sake of developing an interface with gorgeous graphics, but of developing an interface with a quick response like a game. You can get feedback immediately after pushing a button. And images on the screen change promptly. We pursued ease of use and precise control generated by speed. The idea of XMB™ came from the on-screen control panel of PlayStation®2’s DVD function. Translucent icons are displayed in the foreground of the video content, and you can operate the video while watching. We laid out the icons to fit the 16:9 widescreen display of an HDTV.

XMB™ for PLAYSTATION®3 - Attaining the Same Usability as PSP®

In addition to playing games, PLAYSTATION®3 has a variety of functions from playing audio and video software such as Blu-ray Discs, DVDs and CDs, to browsing the Internet. How has XMB™ evolved to fit PLAYSTATION®3?

The first impression of PLAYSTATION®3 was simply “it is powerful”. What we cared about most was how we could have users feel friendly toward a powerful computing system that could enable the vision of networking and distributed computing. In the initial stage of development, we considered the possibility of employing a user interface other than XMB™. But we had a plan to connect PSP® to PLAYSTATION®3. If we had used different interface designs for these products, it would not have worked. So we decided to use XMB™, so as to have the same user interface as PSP®. We poured a lot of effort into creation of the texture of the icons, which appear to be three dimensional images. This is why they look as if they are floating on the screen. We use familiar motifs so that both children and elderly people can understand them easily. They also have distinct outlines that can be viewed clearly on both HDTVs and non-HDTVs.

When I think about a new idea for XMB™, I always think about twenty years into the future. Even though XMB™ will be used in living rooms, it may not be displayed on TV screens. XMB™ may appear to be floating in the air. I also think about how a main character would use XMB™ if it appears in a scene in a film. I expand my imagination by thinking about these things.

Photo and Music - Evolving Player Functions

PLAYSTATION®3 also features an Internet browser, a slideshow feature to view photos, and a music player that can also play Super Audio CDs.

“Photo Album” slideshow

The Internet browser is designed in such a way that conventional PC users can use it easily. It is a tabbed browser that can display multiple screens. The browser is one of the functions that we would like most to expand the capability of.

For the Photo function, in addition to “Normal”, we prepared three slideshow styles with special effects. “Photo Album” emulates placing photos on a desk by hand. We make use of the warm feeling of handwritten text there. For “Portrait”, we use face recognition technology (which you may not notice at a glance) to zoom faces and position them to the center of a screen. We intended to make it simple, but dramatic. What we wanted to present for “Slide” is a sense of analog. We added an effect that looks like as if slides were changing by moving the light source slightly. We could implement such analog-like effects because of improvements in the performance of digital computing. During playback of music you can change the background to “Visual Player”, where colors change to the music and waves move to the sounds. Although there are various patterns, they are actually generated from just one data source. We edited the sequence seamlessly, so that visual effects from several creators appear in order.

PLAYSTATION®3 is a hardware system that continues to evolve through system software updates via the Internet and other methods. We will continue to create new features.

To see the interview in it’s true form follow this Link:

http://www.playstation.com/ps3-design/english/interface.html