Sony's Webmaster Insulting you, or PlayStation.com hacked?

Visitors to this URL (http://us.playstation.com/PS3/dearplaystation/) today have been greeted with a the above message, insulting your computer comprehension.

The message, telling you to “stop wasting [the webmaster’s] time,” shows up whether you have javascript and/or flash enabled or installed, respectively, contrary to the error message itself. The message is extremey blunt, rather than a helpful message intructing you on how to fix the issue, or linking you to the Adobe Flash website, the message simply insults visitors.

At first I began to think a self righteous webmaster is tired of troubleshooting other people’s problems. Based on that train of thought, I’m sure it was thought that the message would never be seen by Sony’s customers, but after all of the problems they’ve been having with the PSN this weekend, this just seems like the wrong time to be offending the people visiting your website for information.

Then I looked at the web address, and the message… “Dear Playstation, get flash and/or enable javascript and stop wasting my time.” The message could have been left by someone else. But if that’s the case, that means it was left by a website hacker. Even if it was done with some basic script hacking, SQL injections, whatever – it makes you question the security of Sony’s website – and therefore the security of your information. Sony prides themselves on their regular currency transactions, but that may of course mean you have your credit card on file with the PSN. How do you feel, now?

Potential data (trophy) corruption, PlayStation network being down and causing problems with games, and now a hacker loose on PlayStation.com? Bad form, Sony. Bad form.

Xbox Live vs. PSN: you get what you pay for!

My head just hurts, sometimes. Whether it was this weekend’s Belicheck’s Bad Decision, or problems in the video games industry, I just want to lock my doors and hide sometimes. Infinity Ward Community Manager Robert Bowling says that the Playstation Network collapsed under too many players in Modern Warfare 2. He explained in multiple Tweets that they had to bring more servers online, supporting 20,000 users at a time. Even Glenn & Mark over at PS Nation Podcast spent more than a couple of minutes venting about the problems. My biggest complaint is that the folks at Sony clearly had no idea this was coming.

Even Sony is so used to their attachment rate being so low that the glorified BluRay player stigma has even reached into the depths of their PlayStation Network operations center.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s people were on hand and watching the numbers climb, they were prepared, and they set the record of 2 million concurrent users on Xbox Live. Two million people using one unified service at one time. Meanwhile, the PlayStation network experienced so many problems that they had to start enabling extra servers. Go green as much as you want, but you didn’t think that maybe you should have had those servers online in preparation for such an event, then toned down the extras later?

Sony just proves, time and time again, that they are racing to play catch up with Microsoft’s Xbox Live service. Just weeks after announcing the Netflix Disc, Sony has confirmed that t heir next Firmware update will include a standalone Facebook program. Great, they get to mimic one of Xbox 360’s least demanded features, good for them. Oh, I’m sorry, when was the feature demanded since the 2007 launch, cross-game chat, coming to the PS3? Oh, right, it’s still not. It is even to a point where, even as a PlayStation 3 owner, I’m genuinely disgusted with their service. I don’t care how tired this argument is, I’m going to state the simple fact again. If it would make it better, CHARGE ME FOR IT! People are ready to take that hit, it’s obvious.

Sony passes up a gigantic revenue stream in favor of trying to look like Mr. Nice Guy. While Xbox Live costs $50 annually, and games like World of Warcraft end up costing their players a minimum of $150 each year, Sony insists that they should remain free, but it is obvious that this budget minded plan is only hurting them, and if they want to be taken seriously as anything more than my BluRay player, Sony is undoubtedly going to have to step things up in 2010, or pack in the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation Network and start laying all new groundwork to make the PlayStation 4 regain the pride the the Sony PlayStation name once carried.

Bored? Wanna Win A Game? Talk to me!


Everyone is in media lockdown mode, preparing for E3. No major announcements coming from the big companies, and the few things happening aren’t things that are capturing my interests. I don’t know why, just seems like a lot of “we knew it was coming” – even the big things like the Mythic Map Pack and such. I browse the usual sites, and the best I can come up with is reporting that the Wii’s Motion Plus add on will be available June 8th, for a mere $20 – or downright free with Wii Sports Resort.

With spring time boredom setting in, I have decided do something sweepingly fun. I want to build a community. Not just have a website, really give people a home. I have been a bit of a vagabond over the years, in different forum. And for a time, in each one, I really got the feeling like I was at home, and that these people were my friends. Some groups of people just fit well together. I’m hoping to find another group of those people – and bring them here. So let’s talk about games, movies, music, just go ahead and introduce yourself – kick off your shoes and do what makes you feel comfortable.

I thought you said I could win stuff? Oh you can. Register with WinBreak, post in the forum, and start making this place your own. See what kind of community this becomes, join the fun. Help give us our own identity – be the shapers and molders.

I still don’t have quite the pull that the bigger guys do, so when I do contests, they come right out of my pocket. So here’s what I am putting up for grabs: 3 “2nd place” winners will receive Xbox Live Arcade games (your choice of $5 or $10 title from the new Amazon Digital Marketplace). A grand prize winner will be selected and offered a prize valued at $20 – whether you want Wii Points, Microsoft Points, Multiple Arcade games, or PSN Store Credit.

How I will choose winners / Rules: Post in the forum. Each forum post containing substance you make will count toward your total number of entries in a random drawing. “Substance” will be judged by Garrett “NuAngel” Culver; obviously abusive entries (example: “I agree” being the entire contents of the post) and spam posts will be discredited as entries, and repeat offenders will be disqualified. No warnings must be given to those disqualified. This contest will end 11:59 PM EST July 31st 2009. Contest is open to residents of the 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (if prize codes have errors, something will be worked out). The process is ongoing. Each “2nd place” winner will be selected at random intervals between today, April 14th 2009 and 11:59 PM EST July 31st, 2009. The Grand Prize winner will be announced August 1st, 2009. WinBreak.com & Garrett “NuAngel” Culver reserve the right to cease the contest at any time. Winners of 2nd place prizes are also counted in the “Grand Prize” drawing, but are eliminated from remaining 2nd prize drawings. All winners will be announced on main page of WinBreak.com. If you have any problems with the registration process or forum, please contact us.

PSN's 20 mil. vs. Xbox Live's 17? Not Impossible…


The friendly banter that generally goes on between the console giants went strangely awry this week. VideoGamer.com (currently under the microscope for a recent Resident Evil 5 article, where a proclaimed “expert” had no experience in the topic of discussion) has posted an article in which an Xbox UK rep dismisses claims Sony has made that they have topped 20 million members on the Playstation Network, while Xbox Live sits at 17 million. Xbox Live isn’t just tied to the Xbox 360, it goes back to November of 2002 when it launched on the 360. To my knowledge, the account database has never been purged, therefore all accounts from November of 2002 are all still there. And Sony is saying they’re already at the 20 million mark? Perhaps there is an error in their aggregator and it’s an honest mistake, but I agree with Microsoft’s Stephen McGill, it seems little suspicious.

While other sites point out the obvious, like 21 million PS3s sold should not translate to 20 million PSN accounts, or perhaps the fact that the PSN is free could lead to muliple registrations, I have a few other points to bring up. As was addressed on one other website: Xbox Silver is also free, and of the 17 million accounts, Silver members are “accounted for.” Yes, PSP owners may have multiple accounts on each console – one for each friend, several for various region to download items from the various stores, and in some cases, it was simply easier to say “nah, I don’t like that name any more” and switch to a new one. When the Xbox 360 had “Gamerscore” that you wanted to keep, it was cause for a lot of people to change their gamertags less often.

Still, 20 million members in only about 2 years? One reason the higher number could be the 50 million PSP’s that have been sold, now having access to the PSN. This has been overlooked by every article I have read on this topic thus far. It’s quite simple to imagine users flocking to the free service when provided to them wirelessly, anywhere they go.

I’m a little unsure, myself, as to how much I believe the numbers, and how much it is a marketing tactic… but I don’t find it quite as impossible as the majority of other bloggers I’ve read this week. What’s your take? Leave a comment or visit the WinBreak forum.

Poll: Dualing Exclusives: Killzone 2 vs. Halo Wars

[poll id=”4″]

On Friday, February 5th, Sony will launch an exclusive Demo for the platform exclusive Killzone 2, available only on the Playstation 3, and downloadable from the Playstation Store. Microsoft, on the same day, will release via Xbox Live their demo for the console exclusive game Halo Wars. Who will pull in more downloads?

Wii Community still coming?

While sony continues to litter the pool of SKU’s for the Playstation 3, launching the 160GB model this week, I decided to look for a story online that didn’t make me roll my eyes. The closest thing I could find today was this column-sized article on Gamepro, where Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime talks about how unique that the currently non-existent Nintendo Wii “Community” could be. I still rolled my eyes, because Nintendo still seems a long way from matching up with the offerings of Xbox Live and the Playstation Network.

Wii Speak is a nice start, but Nintendo is a long way from actually giving me a true “community” feeling on the Wii. Other channels provide a level of interactivity, like that in the “Check Mii Out” channel, but until Nintendo provides me with an easy to manage friends list and easier multiplayer options, I’m afraid they’re a long way from the community that I really want to be a part of.

Review: PS3: Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars


I have been waiting for far too long to write this up. I was putting it off in hopes that I would be able to provide video or screenshots, etc… but alas, my schedule has not permitted me to do anything too exciting or fancy. You will have to rely o nthe already established Battle-Cars image gallery.

I have been following Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars for a long time now. But what of it after it released?

You will be glad to know that I got my hands on the game, and am finally able to give you a little more details.

First, if you have a PS3, and have not downloaded the demo of the game: do so! The tutorials and demo levels make the game extremely easy to learn, and give a better demonstration than any preview, review, or summary is ever going to do!

I like to know what I’m doing, before going online and getting destroyed by every player under the sun, so I took the detour of going through the tutorial levels first. They teach you almost everything you need to know about driving the vehicle, dodging oncoming traffic, jumping, using the ramps and walls to your advantage, and going supersonic. The one thing you don’t get a big lesson in: ball handling. You learn a few blocking techniques, but after playing online, you’ll notice a few players out there are just as good in this game as Beckham with a soccer ball.

Still, once you get the basics down, you want to hurry out online and see just how good you really are. You’ll learn right off the bat that supersonic is only one of the many keys to success. Going fast will get you destroyed, or foolishly send a ball in to your own goal, than most other techniques in the game. Pay attention to the tips the game gives before each session: they know what they’re talking about. Jumping before hitting the ball is an excellent way of keeping the ball on target, and getting into the goal, instead of right above the goal! You may also recall our interview with Dave, in which he advised players not to be affraid to jump for the ball – so true! Nothing surprises players on the ground, waiting for the ball to fall, like shooting up and taking it like an NBA toss up!

But what about the game itself? What can I say, it’s pure fun. During the interview, Dave had suggested that the game was intended to have multiple play types, but they kept coming back to this one. It’s easy to see why. It’s fast paced, it’s fun, and oh yeah – it’s addictive. Graphically, the game might not be the most impressive thing you’ve ever seen, but it plays like liquid. Everything is smooth and fast paced, even after a goal is scored the action doesn’t stop with a ball sitting in a goal!

The sound did receive some attention, but much like the graphics, sometimes feels like an after thought. The music is good and the sound effects fit right in, helping to reinforce the feeling that you’re slamming your vehicle into a large metallic orb.

As an added bonus, the game offers great potential for building teams and leagues, as well. People could develop special moves, and tandem techniques, with enough time together. I look forward to playing this game on a regular basis. Earning trophies should also help a few people who might not be itnerested in the off-line game mode delve a little deeper! The multiplayer makes it easy to find and join friends from your friends list, as well.

For a $15 price tag, there is really no reason not to pick this game up. Wipeout HD is priced at $20, and it might look awesome, but I can guarantee you won’t have half as much fun playing it. I found myself laughing, and analyzing my own mistakes – “how could I have blocked that shot“, or “why did I miss that!?

All in all, I’d give the game an 8.4. Not the most outstanding work from the artist’s perspectives (visual or audio), but the game is fiercly addicting and all ’round fun. It nails the casual gamer market, in that I can play a few rounds and put it down – come back to it later, play a few rounds… I’m not forced to sit infront of my TV for 13 hour sessions of “I just can’t turn away” like Metal Gear Solid 4 or Dead Space. The fact that others are finding it fun can easily be seen at MetaCritic, where users are averaging the game at a whopping 9.5!

As a final word, you will notice I did not get into the excellent features of the game – such as uploading your videos to Youtube. The simple fact is I have not played around with that much at all, and while I think it is exciting and shows great potential for the Playstation 3, I just don’t think that it should have any bearing on the overall score of the game itself, which is why I didn’t goo out of my way to look at those for the review.

Crash Course renamed: now a mouthfull.

Some of you may remember me reporting on a PSN game that was under development under the name Crash Course. Well the game has, evidently, been ESRB rated and is almost ready for your purchase. You can now visit Battle-Cars.com and learn all about the new title from Psyonix, SuperSonic Acorbatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars. Or just Battle-Cars for short. There is a trailer available on the Battle-Cars website, but it’s pretty much exactly how I described it before: “a huge ball, and some cars… cars with guns.”

Not to speak out of line, but I think this is the kind of game that might hinge, for many people, on a demo. Here’s hoping they can push one through to Sony. Until then, I’ll be playing my version of Battle Cars.

PSN Bringing 'Interactive Magazine' – QORE


For anyone who was an original member of the Playstation Underground, this shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Sony Computer Entertainment of America says they will unveil “Qore” this week. Much like the original Playstation Underground discs, Qore is an interactive experience, offering exclusive game content, behind the scenes videos, and all kinds of exclusive news. The new feature will be $2.99 per “issue” or 24.99 for a 13 “issue” subscription. You can see a brief preview of it on Crackle.

It sounds like it wants to compete with well known Xbox Live feature, Inside Xbox. “Inside Xbox is Free!” people will boast… and while that is true, it is free, even for “Silver” account holders, the majority of Gold members more than pay for their brief videos and interviews. It may be a little while before we see the value of Qore, but it is something interesting to take a look at. If their sales are lacking, we may see a price adjustment, or if it does extremely well we could see Microsoft try to step up the Inside Xbox offerings.

And so nobody thinks I’m forgetting them, yes, this feature also competes with Nintendo Wii’s new “Nintendo Channel.” Except the Nintendo Channel is strictly streaming video, at this point, it offers no trial version downloads, in game content, etc… See? I’m on top of my game!

WBX: New PSN (Xbox Live?) game this August: Crash Course


WBX: WinBreak Exclusive
Okay, so it’s only an exclusive in that, I may be the only one who cares. πŸ˜‰

The gear heads (determine just how funny that is as you read on) over at Psyonix are working on their own game. Tired of barely getting recognized for their work in other multi-platinum games, the team that brought us “Burn’t Rubber” in Gears of War is now combining cars and sports… some how.

The team hasn’t officially announced much of anything, but based on their previous publication efforts, the game will be on the Playstation 3 only. Hopefully similarities in the platforms will lead to an Xbox 360 version, as well. The website only points to one image, with the initials “bb” – renamed and shown below:

I did a little detective work to find the picture I put at the top of the article, and thus the title. But the name of the screenshot having the initials “bb” could mean that Crash Course may just be a working title, or “BB” was a hint at a working title – who knows – but for now, I’m calling it Crash Course. πŸ™‚

It’s hard to tell what’s going on in that picture, really, other than a huge ball, and some cars… cars with guns. The game really has no description, so let’s hope some early looks at the game by reviewers are able to decipher more of what’s going on. But graphically, it looks exciting, and the giant Samus Aran morphball looking thing is almost a tease to old school Metroid fans. πŸ˜‰