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Andrew Yoon
New York, NY - http://www.ps3fanboy.com

After a fairly lengthy stint as a Community Manager, maintaining websites for Konami, Square, Namco, and others, I became absorbed by the Joystiq crew, and work blog full-time. As the lead PlayStation writer, you'll see my work prominently on PSP and PS3 Fanboy, although I contribute to all the other Joystiq sites as well. As a big anime fan, you'll notice that I'm also the managing video game critic at Anime News Network.

  • Noteworthy games: Ikaruga (DC), Pokemon (GB), Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64), Half-Life 2 (PC), Metal Gear Solid (PS), God of War II (PS2), Resident Evil 4 (GC), Mario Kart: Super Circuit (GBA), Otogi (XB), Chrono Trigger (SNES), Gitaroo-Man Lives! (PSP), Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! (DS), Gears of War (360), Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii), Super Stardust HD (PS3)
  • Currently playing/reviewing:
    Hot Shots Golf 5 (PS3), Persona 3 (PS2), Jeanne d'Arc (PSP), Metroid Prime 3 (Wii), Bioshock (360)
EMAIL: andrew @ joystiq .com

Oblivion: Shivering Isles may become DLC on PSN


Currently, to play Shivering Isles, the only option PS3 owners have is to buy the full-priced Game of the Year Edition, which releases next week. Obviously, that won't sit well with current Oblivion fans. No worries, says Pete Hines from Bethesda. The company says its "very close to working something out," although it's not fully confirmed quite yet.

"[The expansion] may be in downloadable form via PSN, or as a standalone retail disc, or both. I can't say definitively yet that it will happen, and I definitely can't say when. But it's looking good, and hopefully we'll have good news soon."
A downloadable expansion will guarantee that PS3 owners won't be missing out on any of the content delivered to Xbox 360 owners. Hey, Bethesda -- all of us have hard drives and free access to the PSN. Let's get it rolling!

PS3 loses Monster Hunter 3 to Wii

One of Nintendo's many bombshells last night had to be the announcement of Monster Hunter 3 for the Wii platform. However, it was unclear at the time whether or not the previously announced PS3 version would be affected.

According to Forbes, it appears that Capcom is abandoning the PS3 version altogether, making Wii the only platform for Monster Hunter 3. "Due to high development cost of titles for PS3, we have decided to switch the platform to which we release our Monster Hunter 3 title," Capcom managing corporate officer Katsuhiko Ichii said. This statement comes just weeks after Capcom pledged increase support for Sony's next generation platform.

While the Monster Hunter franchise has a relatively small following in the States, it is a powerhouse franchise in Japan. The last iteration of the franchise, Monster Hunter Portable 2nd, sold over a million copies when it launched on PSP.

[Via Next-Gen]

Deal of the Day: Dual Charge AC for $13

With a USB cable, you can charge your PS3 controllers through your PS3 system, or a home computer. However, if these options don't work for you, then Nyko has a different solution. The Dual Charge AC will let you charge your PS3 controllers through a standard wall outlet, letting you charge even when your PS3 or computer isn't turned on. A small convenience for most, but this peripheral should also work with any other device that charges via USB. At $13 at amazon.com, this is a pretty good deal.

[Via CAG]

Is backwards compatibility an issue? Analysts debate


So, the 40GB PS3 is losing backwards compatibility with PS2 games. Is that a big deal? You voted, but let's hear what the analysts have to say. From a business perspective, it makes sense for Sony to remove the feature. "Cost is hard to gauge, probably $30 - $50 per unit," Wedbush Morgan Securities' Michael Pachter told GameDaily. A significant savings, when one considers the thousands of systems Sony must sell. Will the lack of PS2 support affect PS3 sales? "I thought lack of backward compatibility would hurt the Xbox [360], but it really didn't," Pachter noted.

However, NPD analyst Anita Frazier has some data that might concern Sony. "Nearly 70 percent said that [backwards compatibility] was an important feature to them."

Regardless, when it comes down to the choice between backwards compatibility and saving $100, the choice will be clear for most consumers. Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Lazard Capital Markets noted: "It appears that pricing is becoming more of a priority, which makes sense given where the PS3 is selling in terms of market share. I don't believe removing backwards compatibility is a huge deal, considering that most people who want to play PS2 games will continue to do so on their PS2s."

Metal Gear Solid 4 to appear at E for All


E for All increasingly seemed like a joke. Microsoft and Sony, in addition to a number of other high-profile third party publishers have opted out of attending this new consumer game show. However, Konami will be attending the show and one of the games they have scheduled to appear is Metal Gear Solid 4. How it will be shown is still unclear. It could be on video, or it could be playable. If a playable MGS4 is present at the games show, it might almost be worth attending the show. Almost.

40GB PS3 missing key components for PS2 emulation


Many people assumed that the PS3 was software emulating PS2 games, ever since the release of the 80GB model. That system removed the Emotion Engine from the hardware, and required Sony to implement a backwards compatibility solution that involved emulation. Many, including Joystiq, wondered why the new 40GB model couldn't do the same.

SCEE's Nick Sharples sent a technical explanation as to why the new 40GB model loses support for PS2 games. "Backwards compatibility for PS2 titles is largely made possible through the use of actual semiconductors, supported by the PS3 system software. The 20GB and 60GB PS3 models launched in Japan and the USA were equipped with both the PS2 Emotion Engine and Graphics Synthesiser chips and we could therefore guarantee over 90% backwards compatibility for PS2 titles.

"The 60GB model launched in Europe was a new model (shared with the 80GB model launched subsequently in USA) which contains only a modified version of the Graphics Synthesiser chip from the PS2 and not the Emotion Engine chip. The European launch model therefore used a combination of software and the modified version of the PS2 Graphics Synthesiser chip to deliver backwards compatibility for PS2 titles. As a result the percentage of backwards compatible PS2 titles was slightly reduced.

"The 40GB model, to be launched in Europe on 10th October, is a new model and is not equipped with any of the semi conductors from the PS2, and backwards compatibility would therefore have to be achieved by software emulation alone." Because each game would have to be individually emulated (much like on the Xbox 360), Sony decided that an effort like that would be much too costly, and opted to remove BC support from the 40GB system entirely. That decision has not only produced a cheaper system for Sony to manufacture, but for consumers to buy as well.

Fanswag: Win a new Darth Vader PSP-2000 (Day 1)


Click for high-resolution image.

Don't be afraid to admit it: you want the new PSP-2000. With its slimmer figure, lighter weight, TV-Out functionality, and faster load times, it's a remarkable improvement over the PSP Phat. But, haven't been able to snatch a system for yourself? Don't worry -- we got you covered. Along with our friends at Joystiq and PSP Fanboy, we're giving away one of five brand-new limited-edition Darth Vader PSP-2000 systems each day this week. These Ceramic White systems feature Darth Vader's menacing profile on the back, and are a must-have for the dedicated Star Wars nerdcore. Not only that, the package includes the brand new PSP-exclusive Star Wars Battlefront game.

So, how do you enter? First, find out what the PSP Fanboy team thinks about Star Wars Battlefront (Andrew, Jem, Nick, and Colin) and then write down one thing you learned from their previews and leave it in our comments section, as well as on the corresponding giveaway posts at Joystiq and PSP Fanboy. We'll select one comment from all three sites at random tomorrow morning before we giveaway another PSP-2000

Of course, there are rules. You must be a US resident, 18 years or older. Limit 1 entry per person per site ... or else (that means three entries spread out, no more)! This entry period ends at 11:59am ET tomorrow, so get your entries in before then. For complete rules you can shared with your loved ones, click here. And much thanks to the fine people at LucasArts for the great prizes.

Rumor: 40GB PS3 to head to US November 2nd


"We're hearing Nov. 2 (for the U.S.)," said one industry source, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Immediately after SCEE's bizarre announcement of the 40GB system in European territories, many are awaiting SCEA''s announcement of the same. The 40GB system will retail for significantly less than current PS3 models, most likely dropping down to the $399 price point. However, it will lose 2 USB ports, memory card readers, and will also lose any support for PS2 games.

[Via Joystiq]

PS Fanboy Week in Review: 10/1 - 10/7


Congrats to Sting, curryman, and Chuck McGee. They get to take home a copy of the Special Edition God of War demo disc, courtesy of PSP Fanboy. But, there's more! Here's the best content from the PS Fanboy sites. Check out Japan's reaction to Lair, and see what happens when you add a faster hard drive to a PS3. Then, find out more about Square Enix's upcoming special edition PSP, details on Kingdom Hearts, and the fighting mode in the upcoming Sonic game.

Downloads
  • God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP) soundtrack
    Sample a track from the upcoming God of War game.
  • PS Fanboy Wallpapers: Volume 5
    Soulcalibur IV wallpapers. For download on PS3 and PSP.
Previews & Reviews
  • Agarest Senki (PS3)
    Our preview of the upcoming SRPG for the PS3.
  • God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP)
    Extensive hands-on with Kratos' next adventure.
  • Medal of Honor Heroes 2 (PSP)
    Is it possible to make a good FPS on PSP?
  • Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron (PSP)
    Four writers go hands-on with the upcoming PSP online shooter.
  • Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow (PSP)
    Full review. "One of the best PSP games to date."
PS3 Headlines
PSP Headlines
  • Ape Quest gets ESRB rating
    The Ape Escape sequel is finally coming to the US.
  • Square Enix announces new PSP model for Star Ocean
    Because you couldn't get a Crisis Core PSP system.
  • DRM-free music stores ideal for PSP use
    How to buy and get music to your PSP legally.
  • Gran Turismo Mobile back in the works (again)
    This game just keeps on un-dying.
  • Star Wars Battlefront launch party in SF next week
    Get your cosplay ready and win some free swag.
  • PSP-2000 sells half a million in Japan
    Who could have predicted PSP could ever outsell the DS?
  • Yggdra Union remade for PSP
    Cult GBA RPG moves to Sony's handheld.
PS3 Videos
PSP Videos
  • Sonic Rivals 2 adds Knockout brawl mode
    Just in case Sonic isn't in Smash Bros.
  • Infomercial: UMDs are 'built to self-destruct'
    Retailer releases hilarious shock video.
  • Birth by Sleep to take place entirely in Disney worlds
    Details on the next Kingdom Hearts game.

PS Fanboy Wallpapers: Volume 5


Every week, PSP and PS3 Fanboy will bring you new backgrounds for your Sony consoles, in resolutions up to 1080p. Download them directly to your PS3 by accessing PS3 Fanboy on your system. Download PSP wallpapers directly to your PSP by accessing the site wirelessly at m.pspfanboy.com.

This weekend, we're focusing on the upcoming fighting game from Namco Bandai, Soulcalibur IV.

Continue reading PS Fanboy Wallpapers: Volume 5

Watch this Uncharted shoot-out

Naughty Dog's upcoming Uncharted looks better every time we see. But not only graphically, the gameplay is shaping up to be quite something. The gunfights look even more intense than before. The controls are far improved from its earlier showing at E3, something we're glad to see the team is working on. Check out another video after the break.

Continue reading Watch this Uncharted shoot-out

Warhawk soundtrack available on iTunes next week


Lair won't be the only PS3 game soundtrack on iTunes. Next week, the soundtrack to Warhawk joins the growing list of downloadable game scores on Apple's music service.

Christopher Lennertz and Timothy Wynn both worked on the soundtrack, which was performed by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra. The duo ended up recording over 100 minutes of music over the course of a 6-day period.

Adding such a symphonic score is no easy task, and the team at Incognito had to create a suitable way of applying the music to the gameplay experience. According to a 1UP report, it appears that the music is triggered by the amount of enemy fire near the player. "If a certain threshold of enemy gunfire is met, the combat music starts to play." Listen to samples of the soundtrack before its release at 1UP.

SCEE announces new 40GB PS3 to launch at €399


It's official. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has just announced a new 40GB PS3 which will launch in Europe for the price of €399. It will be available starting October 10th. As predicted, the new model features two USB 2.0 ports rather than four and no longer includes the multi memory card port. Strangely, the model also loses backwards compatibility support for PS2 games.

The existing 60GB Starter Pack will be reduced in price to €499. It will be on sale "while stocks last," as the 60GB model is being phased out, as it was in America. Update: Patrick Seybold from Sony Computer Entertainment America has no real comment about the 40GB model being made available in the US. "We have not made any announcements for new SKUs or configurations for our territory." We're willing to bet we're going to hear something soon.

Continue reading SCEE announces new 40GB PS3 to launch at €399

Winner of Folklore character creation contest chosen


Here is the Quasarilli, the winning entry of SCEA's Create a Folk contest. This creature creation was chosen by the development team, Game Republic, and will be featured in an upcoming downloadable expansion for the game. The winner, Lisa, will also be receiving a limited edition art book and a free copy of the game. Congrats!

Stay tuned for PS3 Fanboy's review of Folklore next Tuesday.

PS3 brand campaign begins this week


"We should probably advertise this thing," someone said at a meeting of Sony executives.

And then it happened! A new "brand campaign" begins this week for the PS3, one that we hope is absent of creepy crying babies. According to a recent PlayStation.blog update, "the theme of this year's campaign uses computer animation to model key PS3 iconography in a black onyx world." One reader theorized that this mysterious logo may play a role in the upcoming advertising. We doubt it -- but it certainly sounds plausible.

Sony will most likely focus on their big holiday line-up, which includes Ratchet & Clank Future and the new IP, Uncharted. In addition to the usual key selling points of the system (Blu-ray, PSN, etc.), we hope that Sony will also run advertising to promote a potentially price-reduced machine. A $399 price tag would certainly look quite attractive.

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