Category: Sony

Sony is telling everyone that the Playstation Network should be seeing functionality return within the week for certain services. They will be implementing a phased roll out during the first week in May. In a post on the Playstation blog they announced that we will see a return of during the initial phase.

  • Restoration of Online game-play across the PlayStation®3 (PS3) and PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) systems
    -This includes titles requiring online verification and downloaded games
  • Access to Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity for PS3/PSP for existing subscribers
  • Access to account management and password reset
  • Access to download un-expired Movie Rentals on PS3, PSP and MediaGo
  • PlayStation®Home
  • Friends List
  • Chat Functionality

This means that we will have most of the heavily used functions (and also Playstation Home) once again available to us very shortly. Also We are seeing some new security measures from Playstation including some new firewalls, automated software detection, and beefed up data protection and encryption.


Playstation Network

Is this too synonymous with "bad" to be good?

But this isn’t going to be enough to bring back a once loyal fanbase who feels as though their loyalty and trust has been shattered. Sony knows this very well and knows that it’s going to take more than a simple “We think we fixed it” to make amends. To help make things better Playstation is also showing a little peace offering in terms of free stuff. Since we all love free stuff here is a small bit if what you will be able to get with the roll out:

  • Each territory will be offering selected PlayStation entertainment content for free download. Specific details of this content will be announced in each region soon.
  • All existing PlayStation Network customers will be provided with 30 days free membership in the PlayStation Plus premium service. Current members of PlayStation Plus will receive 30 days free service.
  • Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity subscribers (in countries where the service is available) will receive 30 days free service.

So the good news is that you’ll get 30 free days of Playstation Plus and Music Unlimited. Whether or not this is an effective traffic generator remains to be seen, but it is a step in the right direction. They have also planned to roll out more “Welcome Back” offerings in the future, but what those are most likely depend on how what the needs of the users will be.

The question remains what will help bring you back to the Playstation Network? Is there even anything that can be done to help bring you back? Are you like a cheated lover who will not be swayed by paltry trinkets or will this help bring you back?

(Update: 2:40:00 EST 5-2-2011) Sony has stated that while there was an outside intrusion there was (to their knowledge) no truth to the rumor that credit card information has been used in any fraudulent manner. This means that a big portion of the Playstation hacking fears may in fact be unfounded. This alleviates a big chunk of the fear for a large portion of the PSN fanbase. Either way if this was your big anger point it seems you may have less to worry about.


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sony playstation network has a black eye

Yeah it's kinda like this

Did something happen to the Playstation Network? Seriously guys I can’t play White Knight Chronicles online right now. Oh Sony, what have you brought upon yourself? For those who are somehow unaware of the events of the past week let me lay it out there for you: the Playstation Network hasn’t been working. All this transpired in the week of a huge game release (Portal 2 anyone?) who’s multiplayer component was lauded as spectacular.

There was rampant speculation and rumor as to what has transpired but what it boils down to is that it was hacked. In a post on the Playstation Blog:

Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.

Yeah things aren’t looking to well for Sony at this stage. If my Twitter feed is any indication people are angry and rightfully so. Sony had suspicions of the problems and should have notified people that their information may have been compromised from the onset. While they may have chosen to maintain silence until they were absolutely certain it still paints them in a bad light. No matter how hard they work to fix this problem they are stuck in a PR nightmare that I do not envy.

However there is no such thing as “insurmountable”. Sadly in this case Sony is not just dealing with an “oopsie” moment. There is a serious problem here and Sony may very well have lost a decent chunk of loyal Playstation customers because of not only their inability to keep sensitive data private but their overall reaction to the entire problem.

But here’s some ways they can make up for their problems.

psn logo1.) Make the new PSN tighter than Area 51

Scratch that. People know about Area 51. Make it as tight as the place the government now does all their next level science projects. First and foremost nobody is going to use the Playstation Network unless you can not only state “This is hands down the most secure thing we’ve ever done” but have the proof behind it. Nobody is going to buy in unless they know why it’s secure. The caveat here is you will in fact be opening yourself up to more attacks by saying “Look how secure we are.” This means you’re really going to have lock it up slightly more than a heroine in a B-Movie. I suggest starting with  encryptions on all sensitive payment information and maybe passwords. #JustSayin

2.) Fix you PR problems

In my daily grind job I work marketing. It’s what I do, it’s what I love. With that I work closely with my PR team and quite frankly this is something they would see as a debacle. Shutting your eyes to a problem and not talking about it in public for a while will not make people forget about it. Especially a major source of entertainment and relaxation isn’t functioning the way they intended. While this isn’t on the level of Chipotle and the dead cat it still goes down a major corporate no-no. You waited almost a week to tell people their credit card information may (and I do stress may) be compromised. Proper customer relationship management starts with proper communication. If people don’t think you’re being straight with them then they will find someone who will. Now they don’t need me harping on this because odds are they know just what they need to do, but this was the big rub with a lot of people.

3.) Start the marketing campaign

What’s Kevin Butler up to? He’s been oddly silent on Twitter since April 20th. Start the marketing machine. It’s why marketing exists. Use it to your advantage. While yes he’s going to have to come out with more than a simple witty retort there’s no denying that Kevin does have a certain magic about him. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I wouldn’t mind running a brush through his feathery blond locks. If KB were to call me up and say “Why don’t we go share a man sized cup of coffee and a slice of rhubarb pie” I would be hard pressed to say no. In fact I think that’s what KB needs to start doing. Dolling out free pie and coffee from the warm hands of Kevin Butler can go a long way to soothe the rage of the scorned fans.

4.) You would be amazed what you can accomplish with bribery

Actually since we’re on the topic bribery in general is going to be your best bet. I’m sure fans will be much more eager to come back and test the waters if they have a valid reason. People are freetards; that is anyone who operates at a diminished mental capacity when someone says “Free <fill in the blank>”. Anyone who has ever been to a basketball game or any sporting event knows that when the “Free Stuff Cannon” get brought out you would have no problem knocking over an old lady to get a t-shirt that is 4 sizes too big or a plastic basketball. It’s either that or many people foster some deep seeded desire to be shot with an oversize air cannon. Spoiler Alert: It’s not as fun as it sounds. I’ve been there. Ahhhhh college. But toss a free game or something at the users at least get them motivated to come back and say “I’ll see what’s out there.”

5.) You’re gonna have to own up to this one

Yeah it’s a rough one. You’re going to have to stand up and say “Yep. We fucked this up. Sorry guys.” That simple sentence will go a long way with people to make things better. Yes it’s a very simple step but it is one that could totally revolutionize the entire business industry. Actual accountability and admitting fault. I’m not saying it’s going to get you out of the class action suit that’s almost certainly being drafted as we speak. But we all know you messed up. You know you messed up. Just step up. If you can’t parade the individual responsible out in front of everyone and say “It was all Zero Cool” then it was all you.


I bet you forgot Renoly Santiago was in this movie

6.) It would not hurt you at all to dance sexy

I’m super serial. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been angry as hell watching someone dance sexy for you. Nobody has their hands up. Now raise your hand if you have ever said “Don’t dance sexy for me, I don’t like it.” There may be a few hands up but they are in the overwhelming minority. Come on Sony. We know you. We love you. Shake a little somethin’ for us. This is something the beer companies learned a long time ago. Sex sells, sell it Sony. Nothing raunchy. Just a little tease. You’re not filthy, just a little dirty.

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With the internet aflutter right now about the NGP from Sony I was curious as to how large it would be. Thankfully this question didn’t last too long thanks to a post and an image from Kotaku (click the image below to go to post). They went ahead and sized it up to other handheld devices rather nicely to let us all see just what we’re working with.

Kotaku sizes up the Sony NGP

Kotaku sizes up the Sony NGP

NGP Pros

I’m an adult. I have big manly hands. Okay I have big hands….okay I have hands. But they are average adulty hands. My wife has an 8 year old brother who loves to play video games with me but his system of choice is the DSi. While it’s fun I always notice just how small this system is in my hands. It was not designed for someone of my stature to work with. This isn’t a knock on Nintendo at all. They know who they are targeting and they do it damn well. This is just me saying that it’s too small for me.

I have the same dilemma when I attempt to play a video game on my phone. While it is a fun distraction from time to time it will never be something that I do more than whimsical Angry Birds style gaming on given its diminutive nature.

What we see with the NGP is that it is slightly larger that the PSP. The PSP is a good solid fit for me with a familiar interface that seems to work with my natural expectations. Making it slightly larger ensures that I can easily pick it up and not feel like I need to use a complex system of toothpicks to make it work properly. Add into this the dual analog sticks and we’re moving it from “That’s pretty fun but here’s what I don’t’ really like” to “That’s pretty fun”.

Not to mention they upped the screen size on us. While I was never upset with screen on a PSP since hey…its a portable gaming device, making it larger just means it will be easier to see with my ever aging eyes.

NGP Cons

The biggest con I see at this stage comes with the overall size. Now this doesn’t necessarily have to be a con. I never found the PSP to be awkward but then again, I never really tried to run around with it in my pocket. However now that I notice it, I appear to be operating under the assumption that I will be joined at the hip to the NGP. Odds are I won’t be. However I will be more inclined it if proves to be a light, non invasive device that nestles perfectly into wherever I may attempt to place it.

The other worry comes from the rear mounted touch screen and its functionality. It’s not that I’m worried that it won’t work. I’m worried that it will work when I don’t’ want it to. This is, I’m sure, something Sony will address but without a hands on test I’m relying on news feeds for information.

NGP Conclusion

It’s fairly safe to say that I’m pumped as hell to give this a whirl. The “cons” really aren’t that much of a con at all. More of a “odds are they thought of it.” Give the technical specs listed below, this is no slouch when it comes to gaming. In fact the processes appears to have more horsepower than my wife’s Wii.


The Sony NGP

Sony NGP Technical Specs

CPU ARM® Cortex™-A9 core (4 core)


Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth)
(tentative, excludes largest projection)
Rear touch pad Multi touch pad (capacitive type)
Cameras Front camera, Rear camera
Sound Built-in stereo speakers

Built-in microphone

Sensors Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope,
three-axis accelerometer), Three-axis electronic compass
Location Built-in GPS

Wi-Fi location service support

Keys / Switches PS button

Power button

Directional buttons (Up/Down/Right/Left)

Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square)

Shoulder buttons (Right/Left)

Right stick, Left stick

START button, SELECT button

Volume buttons (+/-)

Mobile network connectivity (3G)

IEEE 802.11b/g/n (n = 1×1)(Wi-Fi) (Infrastructure mode/Ad-hoc mode)

Bluetooth® 2.1+EDR (A2DP/AVRCP/HSP)

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The holiday season is upon us and that means its time to go out and spend money on video games for your loved ones. Sometimes even if they don’t play. Last year I got my mom a bear skin run and No More Hero’s. She doesn’t even know what a Wii is let alone anything about Travis Touchdown. Strangely enough the bear skin rug was actually the primary area of question. But why? Who doesn’t want a bear skin rug!?!?

We all have that gamer in our lives. The one who you never know quite what to shop for. Will they like it, won’t they like it. They may in fact think you don’t know gaming at all. You might not, but here at PtC we’re want to help you fake it. You may be sitting there asking yourself “What do I get that gamer in my life who has a PS3?” Well ask no more.

Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain

Heavy rain is one of my top 5 Playstation 3 video games of all time. Initially my thought behind it was “people like it because it’s such a unique concept, it’s so different, but lets see if it stands the test of time.” Well the test is still going on, but personally I find myself drawn to it again and again.

If the reviews are to be believed this game was revolutionary for it’s innovative control scheme and absolutely outstanding graphics. More than the bells and whistles this game hits the user at their core. This has one of the more engaging stories to come out of a video game this year (in my opinion). What makes it truly outstanding is not just that the story grabs you in once, but you can play it over and over and find new elements, new endings, new possibilities. Unlike games such as Mass Effect or Dragon Age where there is a good, bad, and neutral response Heavy Rain teaches moral ambiguity. You will never know the outcome of your snap decisions until after you make them. This game will grab you and hold you until the bitter heart pounding end. It’s a quick play, but the replay value increases the playtime exponentially.

This is not a game for everyone mind you. The blatant nudity and storyline about a murderer are absolutely deserving of the M rating that it receives. But still – go out and get it for the gamer in your life who is over the age 18 that likes deep engaging stories.

GameStop: $59.99

Amazon: $43.88

Target: $59.99

Wal-Mart: $59.99

Buy from Best Buy: $59.99

Gran Turismo 5

Gran Turismo 5If you have a race fan, car enthusiast, gear head, or street racer this the game you should keeping your eye on this holiday season. Why is that? 26 locations, 71 tracks, and over 1000 cars. This is not for the amateur car guy. This is something you give to the fan who seriously sees a car and gets a big rubbery one.

What makes this so exceptional has to do with the fact that this game was in development for over five years. They went over everything in minute detail to present the cleanest, most polished, most unbelievable product they could. While the ratings for Gran Turismo 5 weren’t as high as many of us were expecting them to be it is still a pretty amazing offering that should be in the library of any gamer. Especially if that gamer loves cars.

If you have someone who appreciates meticulous attention to detail, has always wanted to attempt to drive a high end car who’s price tag would make Diddy do a double take then pick up a copy of Gran Turismo 5 today.

GameStop: $59.99

Amazon: $55.99

Wal-Mart (PS3): $59.99

Best Buy: $59.99

Assassins Creed: Brotherhood

Assassins Creed: BrotherhoodOh how I have a deep love for Assassins Creed: Brotherhood. It’s not the kind of love you sometimes find. Where you meet a girl and really like her a lot. You have feelings for her and you think you love her so you tell her and she laughs at you. Oh college… This is a love that is deep and passionate and most importantly reciprocated.

How is it given back? With the tightest control scheme seen in any Assassins Creed, a fantastic extension of the already incredible story of Ezio. But then it decides that killing along a defined story is no longer good enough to keep you a loyal and monogamous assassin. No it amps things up and brings other people into the relationship to spice things up. THAT’S HOW MUCH IT LOVES YOU!!

Fear not Assassins Creed: Brotherhood…we have noticed what you’ve done and we love you too. So much so that we don’t want to be the only one who gets the benefit of “sharing”. We want to share you with the world and say “Give yourself to others and make them as happy as you’ve made me.”

Now as you can imagine this is not going to be a game for everyone in the family. It has an ESRB rating of M for a reason. It’s all about killing people. Very gratifying and visceral killing, but still killing. Add to that the game starts off with Ezio getting down in a tub with Caterina Sforza and you have yourself a super sexy murderous box full of awesome.

GameStop: $59.99

Amazon: $49.99

Wal-Mart: $49.96

Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead RedemptionThis was one of those video games that you pretty much knew was going to be fun. It mixed all of the greatness that was the Grand Theft Auto franchise and set it in the Old West with horses, and cougars, and bears. BEARS!!! Come to think of it you could give the greatest gift ever given. The opportunity to bring down a bear with a hunting knife. I can’t name a single person who hasn’t wanted to do that. Heck even my dog Maddox gazed at the TV with rapt attention as I attempted it. There was a certain look of jealousy in his eyes. As I failed I can swear I heard him sigh as if to say “If it was me I totally would have brought down the bear.” He’s a jerk.

Much like everything listed so far this game is rated M which means you’re not going to be wanting to pick this up for your niece or nephew who spends most of their time dancing along with YoGabba Gabba! Okay well in most instances where your niece or nephew spends their time dancing along with Yo Gabba Gabba!

What you get is essentially a classic spaghetti western set in an entirely open world video game. You get stage coaches, shootouts, saloons, and s….ookers. Yeah that alliteration was DOA wasn’t it?

GameStop: $59.99

Amazon: $49.96

Target: $59.99

Best Buy: $59.99

Wal-Mart: $49.96

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

Need for Speed: Hot PursuitNeed for Speed: Hot Pursuit, unlike Gran Turismo 5 is intended for the Ricky Bobby style of drivers who just “wanna go fast.” Need for Speed has always been a solid and reliable franchise that you can count on for great racing, fun environments, and (as the name suggests) pursuits from law enforcement to break up an otherwise “mundane” race.

However the makers of Hot Pursuit threw a curve ball at fan and <gasp> actually listened to them. Fans had been asking for it and Criterion answered by actually letting you play as the police. This is something that most people thought would be entertaining and a change of pace and wouldn’t ya know it. We were all right. All us. All except Steve in Columbus Ohio. He was so very very wrong.

The truly fun aspect of Need for Speed is that it doesn’t take near as much time or effort to get a high end car that you will never find in your garage. It was created in a way so that you, for lack of a better phrase, get to the good stuff quickly. It’s rated E10+ so feel free to get it for some of the younger family members.

GameStop: $42.99

Amazon: $49.95

Target: $59.99

Best Buy: $59.99

Wal-Mart: $49.96

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Call of Duty: Black OpsIf you know anyone who is a fan of first person shooters (FPS) then this is something they should already have. However if you have that one person who was, for whatever reason, holding out then absolutely go pick this video game up and make their Christmas bright. Instead of twinkling lights to delight the eyes they will gaze lovingly at muzzle flashes and artillery.

This game takes place in the 1960’s as you assume the roll of (mostly) Alex Mason a special forces solider running CIA sanctioned black ops missions. It takes you around the world to places like Laos, Vientnam, Cuba, and Russia. But single player campaigns aren’t what COD games are typically about.

What really gets the people amped up about COD is the multiplayer. With points and unlockable rewards this isn’t just run and gun. It becomes a personal experience that becomes an extension of who you are. There are so many facets to the online mutliplayer system that we just can’t list all of them in a simple gift buying guide.

GameStop: $49.99

Amazon: $54.96

Target: $59.99

Best Buy: $59.99

Wal-Mart: $54.96

I’m not saying these are the only video games to pick up for the gamer in your life this holiday season. These are just the ones I would specifically look for to pick up. So now I ask you, what games are on your holiday wish list? Comment below and let us know. We may even tell Santa to hook you up.
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Final Fantasy Chocobo


WARNING: Marketing Idea Below. Hey at least I warned you.

With the release of Final Fantasy XIII people who are interested can pick up the PS3 version and apply to take part in the upcoming beta of Final Fantasy XIV – an MMORPG set in the wondrous world of chocobos and mages. While not everyone will get accepted into the beta, those that apply will receive a free in-game item for Final Fantasy XIV.

Since they have yet to announce if the game will be available for the XBox 360 all of the 360 owners currently receive are some avatar items. This creates a bit of a disparity between XBox 360 and PS3 owners. That’s fine by me, I mean 360 owners have been getting great things while PS3 owners are left to sit back and wait to buy their 360s.

But what’s important is that PS3 owners are doing something to get something. Playstation needs to take a lesson from this and use it to help themselves out. As of yet (at least to my knowledge) Playstation Home is relatively useless. You can play a game or two but nothing has yet to keep me coming back for more. The single most interesting thing they did in my eyes was Xi. They have all of these game specific spaces and all they really have to offer is “Hang out and chit chat!” Sorry Sony, not my thing.

However, imagine if while hanging out in Playstation home you were tasked to find things, or solve puzzles, or…well…anything engaging. When you solved the puzzle, found all the items, or whatever the task may be then you were eligible to receive an in-game item, map, tenting video, or some form of compensation to make us WANT to spend time in Home.

Now Sony, you and I both understand marketing and product placement. Imagine having a space that users flock to in order to receive special items and upgrades that are otherwise unavailable. Why I do believe you have some available ad space.

Just think of it. Someone comes in after searching for all 50 Golden Chocobo Statues to unlock that special sword to kill 50 wolves and get that special “You Killed 50 Wolves with the Sword of Home” Trophy and in the background they see a logo/image/video for a new game/movie/book/shoe/whatever. It’s like going onto a blog and finding a commercial for Final Fantasy XIII at the bottom of the post:


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