Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sony on PS3 - We have to think of shareholders not customers

Wow... Just wow... I am left speechless with this one...

Why No PS3 Holiday Price Cut? Sony Running A Business, Thinking of Shareholders

"Well the pressure comes from the consumers obviously and so therefore there's always pressure on price, but you know we have a business to run, and we have to make sure we're doing the right thing for the shareholders as well... At the moment there's a marketplace for PS3 and I think for this particular Christmas, with the kind of quality of games we're seeing coming out this Christmas, I don't think the price of the console is going to be an issue at all."

Well... I always thought normal business sense says you should think of customers, but of course, Sony is special. (This started my ranting, BTW) With the economy in the state it is, I doubt Sony will be beating even the Xbox this christmas... They seem to have totally given up now...

In other news, I just updated my PS3 to firmware 2.50. I also got my first trophy and if you see my portable ID, you can ... oh wait you cant... forget it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Trip to Karnataka

Pix from my trip to Karnataka - Bangalore, Mysore and nearby places are now up. Here's a slideshow...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Xbox India Buying Guide

The Rs. 14990/- Xbox offer is finally on. For this, you get a Xbox 360 Core and 2 free games - Viva Pinata and Forza Motorsport. Since the import duty on consoles in India is 33% - 50%, it seems M$ is getting rid of the old backlog stock and setting the stage for introducing the Arcade version in India ($200 + 50% ~ Rs. 14,500/- at current rates) to replace Core which has been discontinued all over the rest of the world.

I went out this weekend to buy an Xbox and came back empty handed. The deal breaker was the hard disk. The cheaper version (Core - Rs. 15k) doesn't have it and I was not mentally prepared to buy the more expensive version (Premium - Rs. 24k) considering its price. So why exactly do we need a Xbox hard disk?

Firstly, the upcoming New Xbox Experience will require at least 128 MB of storage space, meaning the 64 MB memory cards currently being sold will not be enough to even support the update. On the other hand, the price of a 256 MB memory card (which is not even sold in India) is I am sure going to be quite high enough that it would better if you bought the hard disk model, considering the other free stuff that comes with it. (64 MB sells for Rs. 2k+ and 20 GB HDD for 6k+)

Secondly, Microsoft themselves have a list put up which (indirectly) shows the advantages of a hard disk. In a nutshell, you need storage for:
  1. Saving games :)
  2. Play original Xbox games (needs HDD - not Memory Card)
  3. Saving media, music, downloaded games etc to the console
  4. Play online with Xbox Live - Gold or Silver
  5. Voice chat etc
With all these features using storage space, add NXE and suddenly the hard disk seems much more valuable.

Additionally, right now there is a hilarious situation with several retailers where they have Core consoles but no memory cards - meaning if you take the console home, you cant save games on it! I asked one dealer (EZone at Hometown in Great India Place, Noida) about this and he says, "yes sir, you cannot turn off the power"...

In fact, even the Pro versions currently being sold in India do not have an HDMI port, so they are still selling the older motherboards here - not surprising considering the pathetic sales here :) If you see try to call the official Xbox dealer list (for India), half of them have stopped selling Xbox anymore...

Yet if you go to Palika Bazaar, you can see Xboxes (and games) being sold left and right. I dont know what %age of them are modchipped, but considering that the modchipped version is cheaper and does have the HDMI port, I imagine its quite high. Its an interesting quandary where the console grey market is concerned for Xbox and PS3. PS3 has no modchip, so there is little other than immediate gain in buying a grey market piece. Xbox does have a modchip but the thingie fails so frequently that you would be insance to get one without a warranty. Although, grey market dealers do claim they can repair both PS3 and Xbox :)

Overall, my advice, if you are willing to take a bit of risk, the grey market one is a good option. Buy it soon before the Rupee falls against the Dollar any more. If you want an original one, wait a while till the Arcade version and the Pro ones with the new motherboards (with HDMI ports) are launched. The value for money is much more with that...

On the PS3 front, here's something interesting - Sony which was earlier claiming that PS3 will have a 10 year life span, is now seemingly getting prepared to throw in the towel for this generation and launch the PS4 in 2011. Also, another website has published an analysis of the RPG situation for PS3 vis-a-vis Xbox so I am definitely not the only one facing this issue :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ubiquity and Firefox

I have recently found an extremely cool extension for Firefox, called Ubiquity. This is like Launchy for Firefox - select something and you can mail it, translate it, map it - a whole lot of stuff. Just open the control window and you do quick Google/Wikipedia searches, find definitions of unknown terms, all without losing context of the page you have open.

New commands can be found from the herd. Lifeacker seems to have fallen in love with this - every few days, there is another tutorial on what you can do with Ubiquity.

Head over to the Ubiquity User Tutorial to install it. Word of advice - its still a bit buggy, occasionally throwing up an error message that is always on top and requires you to kill the browser from the task manager to get rid of it (which means that when you next open Firefox, it force reloads ALL tabs)(Fixed in 0.1.1). An updated version (0.1.1) is available, you may have to check for updates in Add-Ons to find it after installing the base version (0.1)...

However, once you see the sheer value Ubiquity provides, I dont think you will be able to live without it :)

By the way, Tab Mix Plus has gone stable and can now be downloaded from AMO. However, if you are using Widefox, you will still need to update the jar to make it work with 0.3.7...