Monday, November 27, 2006

Gamers are pulling their hair out

What is up?!? I hope everybody enjoyed (or had) Thanksgiving break. Mine was great and ended waaay to quickly. I enjoyed my tryptophan induced coma, yelled at my TV during the Broncos/Chiefs game, fought through crowds of Christmas shoppers and saw the new Bond flick (I highly recommend it). There's all sorts of gaming news so lets get to it.

He wears shortages, shortages - The PS3 shortage was expected. In fact my sources have told me another major shipment probably won't be coming out until January and even that one won't be that big. Why the delay? Evidently Sony is pretty self conscious about the problems with its first generation PS3's. Aside from the backward compatibility issues, which I mentioned on this blog the week before the PS3's release (Wow! I'm like the gaming world's Ahmad Rashad!) evidently the PS3 is having a hard time reading Blu-ray discs. I'd love to tell you from first hand experience that this is true (okay, not really because I'd be ticked if I was having these problems) but like many Sony fans, I was left out on the cold on launch day and am not willing to cough up $2,500 on ebay.

For long time PlayStation owners, none of this should be a surprise. First generation PS2's had all sorts of problems (I personally went through two of them) from reading DVD's to locking up during games. Sony wants to put a hold on new shipments to rectify the problem, as well they should. Launching with an already established 360 and a heck-of-a-lot-much-easier-to-find Wii is daunting enough. Having a crummy product could be a death sentence.

As for the Wii, while its been simple enough to locate, the controllers for it are as difficult to find as a Jake Plummer supporter. My son has one locked in a bunker somewhere for Christmas but everywhere I go to find more controllers for it they're sold out. Guys at gaming stores are looking at me like I just asked for a mint condition Beatles White Album.

If you are the few, the proud, the PS3 owner please share your experiences with your new machine - good and bad. If you're a Wii gamer, let us know where gamers can pick up some accessories.

You got to know when to Hold'em - This Wednesday Xbox Live Arcade is running an update on one of its most popular titles, Texas Hold'em. Below is the list of updated features. Look for the Xbox Live Vision Camera to be supported in an update sometime in early 2007.

o Post the blind and play right away – Players can now, if they wish, start playing immediately when joining a table by posting the big blind, rather than having to wait for the blind to come to them.
o New ‘Away’ mode – Players can now set their status to ‘Away’. Hands will be auto-folded and blinds auto-posted until the player returns.
o New ‘Auto-boot’ mode – Players who continuously let the timer expire (more than three times in a game) will be booted from the table
o Faster overall pacing – Timers and messaging durations have been adjusted to speed up game-play among experienced players, but still allow novice players plenty of time to play.
· Improved blind structure – Initial blinds, as well as blind increases, are now more proportional to table stakes, ensuring more meaningful increases during game-play.
· Matchmaking improvements – Players are no longer matched into games they cannot afford
· Improved interface controls – Improvements to controls, such as increasing/decreasing stake amounts
· Leaderboard display – A player’s full winnings and rank are now properly displayed
· Art and text improvements – Game art and spelling issues have been addressed
· Online exploits addressed – Certain known exploits that enabled cheating have been addressed. As a result, the online multi-player leaderboards will be reset to eliminate inflated scores as a result of these exploits.

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