Category: Sony


PS4 blinking blue light fault is due to ‘TV compatibility’

PlayStation_FourSony has identified four likely reasons for the most commonly reported PlayStation 4 error, including issues with the hard drive and power supply.

Although Sony claim the failure rate for the PlayStation 4 is only 0.4 per cent if they’ve already sold over 1 million consoles in North America then that still means 4,000 faulty machines are out there in the wild.

Although reports last week, primarily from American press, suggested a problem with the HDMI output that doesn’t seem to be a factor in Sony’s latest update on the problems.

According to official PlayStation Support staff, writing on the PlayStation forums, ‘Some reports have been coming in from users with PS4 units blinking blue, but not entering the powered on state indicated by a white light’.

As well as the blue indicator light blinking, new PlayStation 4 owners have been reporting no video or audio output on their television and the console turning itself off once the light starting flashing.

This could apparently mean any of a number of things, including TV compatibility problems, issues with the PlayStation 4 power supply, issues with PlayStation 4 hard drive, and what support vaguely refer to as ‘issues with other PS4 hardware’.

They suggest that the TV compatibility issue can be resolved by updating the firmware on your TV (implying the problem is primarily with smart TVs).

The other issues are more complicated and it’s implied they may involve returning the console to Sony for repair or replacement.

There are more details at the link, but bear in mind that the contact details are for North America not Europe. So if you do have problems with your launch machine it’s best to visit the official UK support website here.

 

Sony sucker-punches Xbox on price, specs, DRM-free gaming

Microsoft may not have been listening to the rumbling of discontent over some of the new “features” coming with Xbox One, but Sony certainly has.

Sony unveiled the new PS4 console at this week’s E3 gamers conference in Los Angeles, and it undercuts Redmond Xbox One by $100, has faster graphics, won’t require an internet connection for gaming, or make users jump through tortuous DRM hoops. CEO Jack Tretton took care to put the boot into Microsoft as he unveiled the platform.

“We are focused on delivering what gamers want most without imposing restrictions or devaluing their PlayStation purchase. PlayStation 4 won’t impose any new restrictions on the use of used games. That’s a good thing,” he said, with a broad grin at the thunderous response from the E3 crowd.

“When people buy a PS4 disc they have the rights to use that game,” he said, “they can trade in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend, or keep it forever. PlayStation 4 games don’t need to be connected online to play or for any type of authentication. And it won’t stop working if you haven’t authenticated in 24 hours.”

Judging from El Reg‘s forums, Microsoft’s decision to require the Xbox One to check in online every day, the strict DRM controls the console can impose, and the restrictions on game resale are going to prove unpopular. Sony might have been expected to use the opportunity to follow suit, but instead is actively fighting against such a move, and actively mocking Microsoft’s policy.

 

 

The PS4 will go on sales later this year, in time for the holiday season, with a $399 price tag. There’s the usual surcharge for the Europeans, who get stung for €399 ($529.79), and the British get their hardware for £349 ($543.99).

There is, however, a slight catch. The Xbox One comes with the heartbeat-sensing Kinect camera system bundled in. If you want your Sony console to track your every move, and possibly one day check if you’re watching, then it’ll set you back $59 (or €49 and £44). Extra wireless controllers for the PS4 cost $59, €59, or £54 depending on locale.

The hardware itself is very similar to the Xbox One. Sony has gone for a rhomboid form-factor for the systems, but it carries a similar spec to its rival with USB 3.0 and HDMI ports, a Blu-Ray player, and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. At the PS4’s heart there’s a customized eight-core AMD Jaguar processor and a 1.84 TFLOPS Radeon GPU that’s more powerful than its Redmond rival.

Gamers are also going to have to pay to play online. You already have to with Microsoft, and at launch Sony will require online players to pay for a PlayStation Plus membership for $50, which will also work on a PS3 and PlayStation Vita.

In a tweet during the presentation, however, Sony confirmed that a Plus account isn’t needed to access other media on the device, so if you want to use the console to watch Netflix you won’t need an online account. The same is not true with the Xbox One.

As for the games themselves, Microsoft does appear have the upper hand for the mass consumer market, with early access to the new Call of Duty and a revamped Halo out next year. In response, Sony has 30 titles under development, 20 of which will be released within a year, and independent producers will add up to 100 more.

Tretton’s presentation made it clear how Sony is going to play the console wars. Microsoft wants the Xbox to be the single unit that can perform all of the entertainment and (Skype) communications functions in the living room – provided the internet’s up. Sony is fine focusing just on the games and being one device among many.

It’s now up to buyers to decide which strategy will prove the most popular.

Source: The Register

 

Spain arrests hackers blamed for Sony attack

Spanish national police said on Friday they had arrested three members of Anonymous, a loosely affiliated group of activist hackers thought to be responsible for attacks on Sony and the websites of other companies and governments.

The arrests come in the midst of a wave of cybercrime around the globe. Big technology companies including Lockheed Martin, the defence contractor, and Acer, the computer-maker, have seen their systems breached in recent days.

Codemasters, a UK video game developer, admitted on Friday that its website had been attacked, putting at risk thousands of users’ data.

Sony, the Japanese technology and media group, has been among the most targeted companies. An attack on its PlayStation Network nearly two months ago led to the theft of more than 100m user records.

The group has struggled to recover from the attacks since, despite pledges from chief executive Sir Howard Stringer that the company has overhauled its security measures.

Spanish police said the arrests had been made in Barcelona, Valencia and Almería after attacks on Spanish political sites.

“We detained three people responsible, one of whom had in his home a server used to co-ordinate and execute information attacks on governments, financial organisations and companies around the world,” the police said. “The leadership relied on vast knowledge of IT and telecommunications (security, vulnerabilities and intrusions), which it put to use for the success of the organisation’s operations.”

Targets of the Spanish hackers included Sony and the governments of Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Iran, Chile, Colombia and New Zealand, according to the police.

“To hide their activities they employed sophisticated coding techniques in their communications which made it practically impossible to intercept and identify them,” the police said.

Discussion of the arrests in one hacker chat room mocked the police’s representation of the individuals detained, saying that they were unlikely to be leaders of Anonymous, which styles itself as an anti-hierarchical organization.

The discussions suggested that the individuals arrested were involved in throwing websites offline, but not the more sophisticated hacking that was able to steal user data.

Sony did not reply to requests for comment.

Source: Financial Times

Anonymous ‘may have been behind Sony PlayStation Network hack’

Members of Anonymous may have been behind the cyberattack on Sony‘s PlayStation Network and Online Entertainment systems despite a denial issued this week, according to reports.

Meanwhile, the group is believed to be considering another attack against Sony’s systems this weekend, just as the Japanese giant had hoped to return them to operation after being offline for more than a week.

Two journalists at The Financial Times report that “veterans” of the group have told them that one or more of the group’s supporters may have gone beyond the rest and broken into the company’s servers in April, rather than simply carrying out a cyberattack that would knock them offline.

Sony claimed in a letter to the US Congress that private investigators called in to find the cause of the cyber-theft, in which personal details and possibly credit card details of between 77m and 100m people using the global networks were stolen, had found a file with the name “Anonymous” and part of its slogan stored on a server that was attacked.

Some members of Anonymous issued an angry denial on Thursday in which they said that no investigation would find the group to have been involved in the thefts, although they agreed that Sony’s systems had been targeted – in an operation they dubbed “OpSony” – for a “denial of service” attack that would cripple it.

But the denial stopped short of saying that Anonymous members had in fact broken into Sony’s systems and left the file there.

Some members of Anonymous are skilled hackers who might have been able to break into Sony’s systems and steal the data. What is unclear is whether they would do it for personal gain or to prove that they could.

Anonymous representatives continued to insist that the break-in was not their purpose or responsibility. “Let’s be clear, we are legion, but it wasn’t us. You are incompetent, Sony,” it tweeted on one of the semi-official Anonymous accounts on Twitter on Thursday.

Now the FT says that Anonymous members had been discussing details of a vulnerability that would enable a break-in to the systems in a chatroom ahead of the beginning of OpSony in April. “The hacker that did this was supporting OpSony’s movements,” the FT quotes the activist saying.

Anonymous is reportedly considering another attack on Sony this weekend in retaliation for the company’s handling – and particularly its accusations against the group – of the PSN and SOE breaches.

The hackers involved told CNet they have access to some of Sony’s servers and that they will publicise any information they can glean from it. That might include internal company details – as happened when Anonymous targeted the website of UK law firm ACS:Law and US security company HBGary – or perhaps the credit card details held on the Sony site.

Anonymous originally targeted Sony over its legal pursuit of George Hotz, who had discovered a “root key” that would allow anyone to run pirated software on the company’s PlayStation 3 consoles.

Source: The Guardian

Sony hires firms to clean up after breach

The Japanese electronics giant has retained a team from privately held Data Forte that is led by a former special agent with the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service to work alongside the FBI agents, who are also probing the matter.

Sony said on Tuesday that it has also brought on cyber-security detectives from Guidance Software and consultants from Robert Half International Inc’s subsidiary Protiviti to help with the clean-up.

Officials with Sony and the three firms did not respond to requests for information about the investigation. Agents with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation have said little about the matter, except that they are looking into the breach of data, which might include some credit card numbers.

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, in a letter to Sony on Tuesday, asked the company to clarify the number of compromised credit card accounts and requested a detailed timeline outlining what the company knew about what was stolen and when it was known.

Blumenthal said he would ask U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the matter and check whether Sony’s subsequent handling of the breach would make it civilly or criminally liable.

“I would appreciate a direct and public answer detailing what the company will do in the future to protect its consumers against breaches of their personal and financial information,” Blumenthal wrote.

“It’s a significant operation,” said David Baker, vice president of services with electronic security firm IOActive, which is not involved in the investigation.

He said that card issuers Mastercard and Visa Inc had likely appointed a firm to investigate.

Sony also said that it hired the law firm Baker & McKenzie to help it with the investigation.

On Monday, Sony said its PC games network had also been exposed to hackers, in an incident related to the massive break-in of its separate PlayStation video game network that led to the theft of data from 77 million user accounts. Sony revealed that attack last week.

The PlayStation network lets video game console owners download games and play against friends. The Sony Online Entertainment network, the victim of the latest break-in, hosts games such as “EverQuest” and “Free Realms,” which are played over the Internet.

Sony said late on Monday that the names, addresses, emails, birth dates, phone numbers and other information from 24.6 million PC games accounts may have been stolen from its servers as well as an “outdated database” from 2007.

A Toronto law firm on Tuesday launched a C$1 billion ($1.05 billion) proposed class-action suit against Sony for breach of privacy, naming a 21-year-old PlayStation user from Mississauga, Ontario, as lead plaintiff. The damages would cover the cost of credit monitoring services and fraud insurance for two years, the firm, McPhadden Samac Tuovi LLP, said in a statement.

Source: Reuters

Sony scrambles to revive PlayStation Network

Sony on Friday was working to revive its online network that connects PlayStation 3 (PS3) consoles to games, films, and other digital offerings.

Disruption of service at the PlayStation Network began late Wednesday and had some suspecting that hackers followed through on a threat of vengeance for Sony’s legal action against peers that crack PS3 software defenses.

The Japanese consumer electronics giant was working to figure out the cause of the Network outage, Sony spokesman Patrick Seybold said in a blog post with the latest update on the situation.

“We wanted to alert you that it may be a full day or two before we’re able to get the service completely back up and running,” Seybold said in a message posted Thursday.

“Thank you very much for your patience while we work to resolve this matter.”

The PlayStation Network outage came during a heavy playing week in the United States, with many public schools closed for spring break and an Easter holiday providing an opportunity for an extended weekend.

“Probably is hackers,” a user with the screen name Drebin Bushido said in a chat forum below Seybold’s message at the PlayStation blog.

“If they are saying nothing this mean they are hiding something.”

Players were still able to take part in games offline on the consoles, but lost the ability to challenge others on the Internet, stream movies, or get other services.

Internet vigilante group Anonymous had vowed retribution against Sony for taking legal action against hackers who cracked PS3 defenses to change console operating software.

A message signed by Anonymous at website anonnews.org early this month announced an “Operation Payback” campaign aimed at Sony because of its cases against the two hackers, one of whom cut a deal to settle the case.

Anonymous argued that PS3 console owners have the right to do what they wish with them, including modifying them.

The hacker group threatened to retaliate against Sony by attacking the company’s websites.

Source: Yahoo!

What Android Phones Do that Apple Phones Don’t

Does anyone remember this ad for the Motorola Droid? “Everything iDon’t,” it said, “Droid does!”

Of course, the iPhone can do half of those things now, like take 5-megapixel pictures in the dark. And the usefulness of some of the others is up for debate. (What exactly is “Open development?”) But even today, there are some pretty big things the iPhone can’t do, that Android phones can … and you may be surprised by some of them.

Come in all different shapes and sizes

Here’s one you probably won’t be surprised by, although you might be surprised by some of the weird Android phones out there. A slider phone with a second touch screen instead of a keyboard?

In all seriousness, though, the one-size-fits-all iPhone leaves out the people it doesn’t fit. Want a keyboard with actual keys? A gigantic screen, plus a kickstand for watching movies? There’s an Android phone out there for you. There’s even a phone with a slide-out game controller, a la the PSP Go. And speaking of portable PlayStations.

Run PlayStation games

And I don’t just mean games that were originally made for the Sony PlayStation (although like the Xperia Play.

These things are made for gaming, to Sony’s specs, and have access to tons of exclusive games. They can even connect to the PlayStation Network, using will be able to play Android games designed for the PlayStation Certified phones, which just shows how committed Sony is to gaming on Android devices.

Buy apps from Amazon

That’s right, Amazon has its own “Appstore for Android.” So why would you want to go through its 8-step signup process?

Well, first off is the “free app of the day.” These aren’t apps that are normally free, and are being promoted; they’re paid apps, costing as much as $4.99 sometimes, they’re put up for download for free. A new one goes up each day, like it says. You can also use Amazon.com to look for all discounted apps, or to read reviews and look for similar apps, just like you would for any other product you buy from Amazon.

 

 

A bunch of other stuff?

The iPhone doesn’t support text reflow, which is an Android feature that makes it so zoomed-in text on a website fits the screen width, so that you don’t have to swipe back and forth to read paragraphs. It also doesn’t support home screen “widgets,” which let you do things like check your bank balance or the latest news stories without opening an app. There’s even a widget to set your phone to silent mode. With all this stuff Android phones can do that the iPhone can’t, one might ask: Why does anyone buy an iPhone at all?

The answer’s as simple as it is obvious. The iPhone’s the best-designed smartphone there is, and it has more and better apps than every Android phone combined. Plus, Apple’s clout means that the wireless carriers can’t mess up its phones, with huge logos and non-uninstallable apps.

One size, though, doesn’t fit all. And thanks to Android’s open-source programming code, companies like Sony and Amazon are getting to try some interesting things, that they never would’ve been able to on the iPhone.

Source: Yahoo! / Video: IntoMobile

John Carmack: Sony NGP a ‘generation beyond’ smartphones

id Software co-founder John Carmack said in the wake of the Sony NGP that the new console was in an entirely different class than smartphones for gaming. The hardware would be a “generation beyond” in performance even next to phones that shipped with performance similar to the quad-core processor and graphics that aren’t yet on any other device. Sony will have the advantage of low-level programming standards that will help any game run faster than it would if it had to use a higher level standard, like OpenGL.

The call-out suggests Sony has landed at least a temporary advantage against companies like Apple, HTC and Motorola. Quad-core phones are generally predicted to be ready by 2012, when the processors should be efficient enough to fit into devices smaller than the  NGP, but will usually have to talk to OpenGL and would have to show reduced detail or run at slower frame rates. Apple is predicted to be using processors and graphics using the same basic architectures as in the NGP this year, but they would be dual-core at most and would have half the theoretical performance.

Officially, Sony has said the NGP’s visual quality approaches that of a PS3, which no mobile devices can match so far. Many of the technology demos shown at the Tokyo PlayStation event on Thursday were ports of PS3 in-game cutscenes or sequences, like Metal Gear Solid 4, that could run nearly as well as on the much larger TV game system.

Carmack has often been a bellwether for mobile gaming and usually given credit to Apple for being the performance leader. The Wolfenstein and Quake developer’s experience in writing game code, especially graphics engines, has often led him to choose iOS over Android and other competing platforms when exploring handheld gaming. He has estimated that the iPad and iPhone 4 are faster than the Nintendo Wii and sometimes outperform the Xbox 360 despite theoretically being slower.

Source: Electronista

Sony Laptops Recall – 233,000 US Vaio Computers Need BIOS Updates

Sony has recalled 230,000 Vaio laptop computers in the United States, and a total of 535,000 worldwide because of a burn hazard.  Sony has received 30 reports of units overheating resulting in deformed keyboards and casings.  No injuries have been reported.

The affected models are in series VPCF11 and VPCCW2 and were featured in a variety of colors and were sold at retail stores and online.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, consumers with affected computers should immediately go to the Sony website “for instructions on how to update the computer’s BIOS firmware.”

The government agency report reveals: “This firmware will prevent the computer from overheating. The firmware update will also be available through the VAIO Update software program installed on the recalled computers.”

A prompt will appear when users log on.

Consumers can also call Sony or visit Sony Style retail stores nationwide for help with installing the update.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, please contact Sony toll-free any time at (866) 496-7669.

Source: National Ledger