On Inevitability

PS3 and Jenga: the similarities are endless

Seriously, who didn’t see this coming? I’m a bit tired of conjecturing on the subject as I’m sure a lot of people are, but I bet Microsoft Europe are enjoying the prospect of another Christmas as the only new “traditional” games console. You can bet that they’re going to make all the PR capital that they can out Sony’s lost goodwill after another disappointment for Europe, starting now. At least it’s only a four month delay this time and not a fucking year, complete with threatening letters to importers.

What did slip under the radar, at least from the European perspective, is that shipments for the rest of the world have been halved. 400,000 units for the US is very similar to what the 360 had (I don’t have the exact numbers) and that suffered chronic shortages, and 100,000 for Japan is nothing. The six-year-old PS2 sells around 110,000 units a month there, and the PSP is getting spanked by the DS but still manages 120,000 or so according to Video Game Charts.

I’m not going to speculate on what this will mean for the European market but you can bet that the effect on 360 sales, whatever the size, will be positive. And £425 is a lot of money but the chances of people paying that much for a luxury item are much higher in the run-up to Christmas than they are in March.

So Long, Mate

Steve Irwin

So I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, was killed yesterday by a stingray while filming a documentary. If you hadn’t somehow, now you have. I suppose everyone kind of expected him to get mauled by a crocodile or something one day but it’s still a shock when it happened, but at least he had the fortune to die doing what he loved most.

What’s made this strike close to home for me is that he was diving off Port Douglas in Queensland when it happened, which is exactly what I was doing almost three weeks ago. Admittedly I wasn’t provoking dangerous animals for the purpose of entertainment, but it’s a humbling idea that nature isn’t all cuddly and friendly and this could happen to anyone. Just sad that it happened to such a fun guy who did so much good work (both on TV and in conservation) and had a young family. One day after Australian Father’s Day, no less.

I guess you never know how well-liked someone really is until they die. Irwin’s always been popular but there’s just been a mass outpouring of grief. It’s been the banner headline on the CNN and Fox News sites for the past two days, a treatment that’s generally reserved for the Hollywood glitterati and major world leaders. Speaking to friends in Australia, it’s like they’ve lost a national hero which, in a way, they have.

Rest in peace, mate.

Dual-Boot PSP

Yesterday’s news that a downgrader for the 2.71 PSP had been released was greeted with enthusiasm by a lot of people who had been keeping their PSPs updated since updating your PSP to play PSP games seems like a contradiction in terms at the moment. I know I bought three new ones in Japan but I wouldn’t call any of them essential.

So I jumped on this new bandwagon and, risking a brick, downgraded my PSP to 1.5 again. It worked fine – although the fact that it only initiates without crashing a tenth of the time is disconcerting – and set about using a handful of hacks to turn my PSP into a dual-boot machine. I can now choose whether to boot into 1.5 (for homebrew) or 2.71 (for new games) depending on where I have my wi-fi switch when turning it on.

I seriously recommend using the combination of Devhook and Harleyg’s Custom Firmware to do this with a PSP. You get the ability to play all the latest games on 2.71 and use great stuff like ScummVM on 1.5, all within the same PSP. It might actually get me using the thing regularly, even if the battery is still rubbish. How many other systems can give the double frustration of Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts and Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins? It’s violence guaranteed!