Monday, March 29, 2010


There was always a reason Garfield hated Mondays. Many owners of older PlayStation 3's will wake to the news of a late Sunday post over at the PlayStation blog announcing the "Install Other OS" option will be removed from the system in the upcoming firmware update.  The reason cited includes being able to "continue to have access to the broad range of gaming and entertainment content from SCE and its content partners on a more secure system." (Emphasis added.) Users can continue to keep this feature by declining to upgrade, at the expense of the PSN, "future" Blu-ray titles, media servers with DRM, and future PS3 features. (*cough* bullshit *cough*)

Bad form Sony, bad form. The "Install Other OS" option was a touted feature at console launch, and despite this particular option falling into obscurity, it sets a nasty precedent for the future of "fat" PS3s. We fully expect Sony to make some sort of statement, be it official or otherwise, reassuring gamers backwards compatibility or other features will not be removed from older consoles. Problem is, Sony has gone on record stating they don't intend to "bring back" backwards compatibility, and it's reasonable to assume this potentially means not supporting existing BC as well - an argument further supported by the gradual phase out over the console's lifespan. In addition to this, there's the factor of the cost of supporting multiple firmware options on the same basic system - Sony stands to save a lot by standardizing the features offered across all PS3s.

Are we saying BC or other features are going away? No, but Sony has most certainly planted some very sinister seeds of doubt in the minds of many and unfortunately the Japanese giant seems to have a way of causing seeds to bear fruit.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Six Months Later - Tidbits of Interest

Digital Stardust has been mute primarily for a single reason - we have had nothing to say for quite a while. Our stated mission statement remains "Analysis and Commentary on the Video Game Industry" but the problem is so little has changed in a significant way in the industry since our last post in August 2009. A few things have crossed the radar, but nothing alone has been enough to warrant a standalone post. Rather than continue to wait, we present several small items of interest we believe keep in line with our mission statement.

Analyst Claims Wii May be in Hot Water
Industry Gamer reports analyst Mike Hickey has been crunching the numbers and is predicting the Wii will "Fade meaningfully" during this year. Consoles typically last around four to five years in traditional lifespan, and the Wii appears to have been designed on this timetable. Nintendo is also releasing all their big-hitter titles this year (Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid: The Other M, and Zelda), leaving a fog of uncertainty once the release cycle completes. Can Nintendo afford to announce and launch another console when the 360 and PlayStation 3 appear to have plenty of steam left? Hickey suggests Nintendo instead offer a console price drop and open the door wider to third-party support.

Source: Industry Gamers

Music Gaming Sales Down
Billboard reports music gaming sales are down about half when comparing December 2008 to December 2009 ($468m to $250m). Several commentators around the internet have speculated, and I have to agree, the trend is being caused by lack of real innovation in the formula employed across most music games - timing notes move toward a fixed point on the screen and you press a button, hopefully in time with the music. This has been the case since beatmania and persists into recent titles such as Guitar Hero: Van Halen. Solution? Change the formula to be fresh and new. Will Power Gig accomplish this? Time will tell.

Source: Billboard

Reggie Has Spoken
One of DiS' biggest gripes is the lack of the Regginator's crowd-exciting speeches we heard back five years ago before the Wii launch. We're pleased to report Reggie has spoken with Forbes magazine. The results, however, have left us scratching our heads - for instance, Reggie indicates Mii clothing will not be made available as "it's not an idea that creates value for the consumer" (Nevermind the fact 360 Avatar clothing has made enough money to draw big names like Disney). He also states Nintendo is not interested in HD as it does not create new experiences for gamers. We smell a bit of Sony attitude here, and we don't like it.

Source: Forbes

GameStop Alternatives Going, Going, Gone?
Some shoppers love GameStop, some hate it (I do). It appears GameStop's position as one of North America's dominant game retailers has been strengthened with Movie Gallery's (owner of Game Crazy) filing for bankruptcy this week. Reports claim a combined 760 Movie Gallery, Hollywood Video, and Game Crazy stores will be shuttered. Several of my local Game Crazy stores have gone off into the abyss, so if you're inclined, check in with yours to ensure they'll be there when you need them.

Source: The Lamron

This is Digital Stardust, signing off.