LittleBigPlanet Giveaway

Update #1: This giveaway has now ended.  Thank you for your interest!

Update #2: I can announce that the winner is Glenn!  Well done, your copy will be on its way to you very soon

Would you like to snag yourself a brand-new, sealed copy of LittleBigPlanet?

Win this copy of LittleBigPlanet
Win this copy of LittleBigPlanet

Yes, I bet you would.  Read on to find out how.

Continue reading LittleBigPlanet Giveaway

LittleBigPlanet: Out now in the UK

After a short delay due to an offending soundtrack, LittleBigPlanet is officially out now in the UK.  I had been wondering when exactly to post this, as across different markets, retailers in some instances have chosen to sell LittleBigPlanet early anyway.  So I’ve settled for the official (revised) release date in the UK, which is today: November 5th, 2008- Bonfire Night!

Now, I have had my copy of LittleBigPlanet on pre order with Amazon for quite some time.  Last week, I received a disturbing email from them:

Unfortunately, the release date for the item(s) listed below was changed by the supplier, and we
need to provide you with a new estimated delivery date based on the new release date:

“Little Big Planet (PS3)” [Video Game]
Estimated arrival date: 12/11/08 – 19/11/08

We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes.

As you can imagine, I’m not particularly impressed with this.  I was hoping that I’d be able to have a mess about on it when I go home for the weekend.  I’m just praying that Amazon are somehow mistaken and my copy will be there when I arrive home.  I mean, what kind of pre order arrives a week or two after release date?!

So, if you don’t see any LittleBigPlanet hands-on thoughts from me round here, you’ll know why.  I am 100% behind the game.  Other than that, I’d like to mention that this game should be a system seller and Christmas hit this year.  It comes quite highly recommended as well, so it’d probably be a good idea if you snagged a copy yourself.

Sony UK boss on DLC: ‘Nothing is ever exclusive’

Sony UK boss on DLC: ‘Nothing is ever exclusive’– This is a very interesting interview.  It has allayed most of my fears about exclusives and whatnot.  Seems that whilst Microsoft is engaging in bribery and market restriction, Sony is wisely investing in R&D.  My faith in them has been restored.

UK PS3 install base over three times what it was a year ago

UK PS3 install base over three times what it was a year ago– This is good news, but the Xbox 360 remains very strong in the UK (Microsoft: Xbox 360 outselling PS3 two-to-one).  The PS3’s strong games lineup is in no doubt- I think this all has to do with price point at this stage.  The Xbox 360’s cheapest price is now as low as £129.99 whilst the cheapest PS3 is currently £299.99.  That’s some difference.

Qore Announcement: the aftermath

As this latest, and very interesting announcement is quickly spreading out across the internet, it is time to take stock and see what everyone’s reaction is.

The controversy
At the crux of this matter, is that fact that Sony wants you to pay for Qore. However in Sony’s defence is the fact that there is some pretty tasty content on offer:

Qore will feature exclusive news, developer interviews, in-depth game previews and behind-the-scenes looks at PlayStation games and special access to game demos, special beta invitations, game add-ons and other downloadable game-related content.

However I feel that such content should probably be free if the PlayStation Network is to compete effectively against Xbox Live. With Qore charging for content, there is a danger that the PlayStation Network will be a two-tier system.

I will now round up a sample of Qore-related news to gauge reaction to Sony’s decision.

The Sixth Axis- Paid PSN Subscriptions Arrive
Attention-grabbing headline, but not strictly true. The majority of content on the PlayStation Network such as trailers and demos are free to access, with the exception of full games which of course, require payment. Let’s not forget that online gaming remains free. It just depends on how exclusive Qore’s content really is, and whether it will choke the rest of the PlayStation Store.


PS3 Fanboy- Sony reveals Qore – an interactive gaming program for the PSN
The article remains quite neutral throughout this article and doesn’t specifically comment on the cost. However there is some disappointing news in store.

There’s no word on whether this will be released outside of America, but we have contacted Sony Europe to get an answer either way. [UPDATE] Our SCEE rep has sadly informed us that “Qore is an SCEA only initiative at this time”. How disappointing.

That’s quite a blow, especially considering that Qore would probably be ‘almost’ perfect for the UK as well. I’m guessing it has something to do with the UK being part of Europe and the issue of localisation. We speak English too! Such archaic business practices make you want to scream.

Wired- Qore: New PS3 Online Mag Charges You For Game Demos
This article goes into quite a lot of detail about everything! Quite objective, and tells it like it is. Not really much to say apart from it compares the PlayStation Network against Xbox Live, which is interesting. The opinion for pricing is definitely worth a read though.

My only question is whether the value-add over what Sony was already providing for free justifies the minimum $25/year cost for the information. Although wrapping it in the very pretty package of an interactive magazine does make it seem a lot less like Sony is backpedaling on their stance of a largely free online environment, they’d be silly to release any really good demos, trailers, or interviews in the free section of PS3’s network from here on out — not when any halfway decent piece of content is another potential carrot to get users to pay them $3.

To conclude
The price issue is important to many people, with some agreeing to pay the $3 a month, and others who won’t pay it. The fact that only SCEA is running Qore and that SCEE isn’t a part of it is interesting. The US (heavily capitalist) market puts up with a lot more ads and subscriptions than the rest of the world, so maybe the launch of Qore in the US is Sony testing the waters. Who knows? Qore may appear in Europe and elsewhere in a slightly different format. The big question, is what if the European Store gets the demos and trailers that the Americans have to pay for, for free?

Very interesting.

PSP Camera Comprehensive Review

This post was originally written on the City In The Clouds blog.

Well, I’ve checked, and no-one seems to really have reviewed the UK version in its current configuration AND have consistently ignored something that I will mention later on…

So, it has finally touched down on the shores of the UK (and Europe for that matter).  Retailing at £34.99 (€49.99), the Go!Cam– a Playstation Portable camera adapter, is an interesting proposition for the PSP-owning, tech-savvy and bargain-sniffing consumer.

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
So, what do you get for your £34.99?  Well, the Go!Cam is essentially a 1.3 megapixel camera with a wide-angle lens that plugs into the PSP’s USB port at the top.  The camera can be swivelled 180 degrees, either pointing at you (handy for self-portraits) or away, for point and click action at anything you fancy.  There’s also a microphone built into the knob that you use to swivel the camera.  There’s a link to the editing software, and a small plastic carrying case is included.  That’s all you need to know, really.

In use
All you need is your trusty PSP (with version 2.70 firmware or later), a decent-sized Memory Stick Duo (I’d recommend at least 1Gb), and your new Go!Cam.  Using the Go!Cam is simply a matter of selecting the ‘Camera’ option under ‘Photo’ on the main menu.  Do you need to plug in the camera before turning on the PSP?  Nope, I have tested this and the camera works fine in either circumstance.

The Go!Cam

Of course, only being a 1.3 megapixel camera is a major factor in the quality of the final image but the camera’s bargain price point reflects this.  Photos are saved in the JPG format and videos are saved in the AVI format.  The images, especially in low light can be quite grainy and the PSP has to be kept reasonably still, otherwise you’ll get blurred pictures.  Fast-moving objects could be a problem.

The ‘Go!Edit’ software…
Words cannot describe how much I hate this infernal piece of software.  When the Go!Cam was released in Japan, it was known as ‘Chotto Shot’ and came with editing software ‘Chotto Edit’ which came on a UMD disk.  The Go!Edit software for European consumers does not come with the the PSP camera.  Instead, you are given a link to (so I see the ‘Your PSP’ website lives on in some form), and once on your memory stick, takes up 80Mb!

What is so bad about this piece of software?  The ‘effects’ are rubbish and pointless (for both photos and videos) and videos are only limited to 15 seconds.  What most people have failed to realise is that if you shoot a video directly from the main menu instead of using the Go!Edit software, you can shoot footage for as long as you have memory left on your Memory Stick Duo.  Once you’ve run out of memory, the PSP informs you and stops the filming.

White PSP and Go!Cam

Another advantage of NOT using the Go!Edit software is that both photos and videos are available under ‘Digital Camera Images’ and ‘Digital Camera Recordings’ where you’d expect to find them on the menu.  Whilst using the Go!Edit software, I could not find where the videos were stored using the PSP’s menu.  Avoid the Go!Edit software at all costs- it’s just not worth it!

So, good enough?
As other reviews and previews have mentioned, you can get most of this functionality on a typical camera phone these days.  However the unique feature that the Go!Cam presents is instant viewing of photos and videos taken, viewable on the PSP’s big, gorgeous widescreen display.  Now, go show me a camera phone with a screen that big, and of such quality.

A fairly nifty feature, is being able to take photos with a ’sketch’ effect that is created on-the-fly.  This is easily one of the better features.  Some photos I have taken with this effect are available here.

White PSP with Go!Cam

To conclude…
Obviously the Go!Cam is not going to be your primary camera, or possibly even your second camera BUT it is serious fun.  I don’t know of any other camera or video recorder with a screen this big, for this price.  I’d say the Go!Cam is worth it just for the novelty of being able to take pics and shoot the odd video on your PSP.  Just avoid the the Go!Edit software!

Rating: 4 STARS