Weekly News Roundup (20 April 2008)

You know how I said that this was going to be the 30th WNR? I was wrong. This is actually the 31st WNR. Special thanks to me not selecting the right post categories for one WNR post that made this miscalculation possible. And you know how I was going to do something special for the “30th” issue? Well I guess it will have to be for the 31st issue, and it was never going to be that special anyway (what were you expecting? Free PS3s for every reader?). I think you’ve already figured out what that something special is just by doing a quick glance at this new updated WNR …

CopyrightOh look at the pretty picture to the left. Wow! Amazing! In copyright news, despite (or is that because of) MPAA’s pursuit of torrent sites, torrent usage has increased. I don’t suppose the extra publicity given to the issue would have driven some, who have never used BitTorrent before, to test it out? But the MPAA won’t make public why they think torrent sites should be taken down, at least the legal arguments to why these sites, which don’t host any of the content, should be considered illegal. YouTube has tried to avoid major lawsuits by implementing a piracy filter. YouTubeUnfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be going very well. Unless they can hire people to check every single video that is uploaded, then I don’t think the problem is going to go away. The whole point of YouTube is for people to share interesting video clips, and it just happens that many interesting video clips are copyrighted. Who’d have thunk it?

High Definition

In HD news, the big news of the week has been Universal announcing their first ever Blu-ray lineup. The first title will be available July 22nd, and it includes all their blockbuster releases of the year like The Incredible Hulk, Hellboy II and the new Mummy movie. Catalogue releases include American Gangster, The Mummy Trilogy and season one and two of Heroes. Gladiator, Casino and The Thing are also slated for International release later in the year. Warner is starting to provide more details on the Blu-ray titles that were previously HD DVD exclusives, like Batman Begins and The Matrix trilogy. It appears that they will use the same encodes as the HD DVD versions, with The Perfect Storm getting a new transfer due to problems with the previous one. Batman Begins Blu-ray Limited Edition Gift SetWith Universal, the studio that has backed HD DVD the most, now releasing their Blu-ray release schedule, it seems that’s that for HD DVD. But not according to Samsung, as they will release a new Blu-ray/HD DVD combo drive for PCs (with Blu-ray write capability, and HD DVD read capability). On the same story, LG’s combo drive (reads both formats) is getting discounted here in Australia and it’s even cheaper than the Pioneer Blu-ray reader drive. And in a new feature I’m doing on the forum, I will be posting the Blu-ray/DVD sales stats weekly (with HD DVD stats thrown in for good measure – these stats come from Nielsen VideoScan, which is publised in Home Media Magazine). Last week’s stats (for the week ending 6th April) was interesting in that HD DVD seems to have made a comeback, but it was just a slow week for Blu-ray. This week’s stats, for the week ending 13th April shows Blu-ray bouncing back, but not against DVDs which scored a whopping 95% of the video sales market as compared to Blu-ray.


Moving onto gaming, the GTA IV Australia/New Zealand censorship issue won’t go away, mainly because Rockstar refuses to say what has been removed from the game. New Zealander are a bit unlucky in that they have a 18+ certification for video games, but Rockstar apparently will release the Australian version there as well, so they get the cut version too. The rumour was that only a cutscene was changed, but that appears to be untrue from a statement made by Rockstar. If the changes are small, as Rockstar have claimed before, then they should just come out and tell the public what they are. If not, it will only force people to import. The March US NPD figures are out and as expected, the Xbox 360 beat the PS3 for the first time in 2008 as stock problems cleared. The more detailed analysis will be arriving later in the week. Two Xbox 360 updates recently, one for the defunct HD DVD drive, and now an update that is equally meaningless for most 360 users. Star Wars: Force Unleashed for the Nintendo WiiIt’s more like an update for an upcoming update, rather than anything new and exciting. No details of the annual Spring update yet. The Wii is doing extremely well in the sales charts. There are some great games on the system, but Wii Sports, the one that comes free with the console, still doesn’t have a proper competitor in terms of mini-game compilation or just general fun-ness. The nerd in me wants a Star Wars Lightsaber game so I can swing my Wii-mote around like a deranged maniac. My wish might be fulfilled shortly with the Wii version of Star Wars: Force Unleashed.

Ok, so that’s it for this week. Check back next week for another words, link and now picture filled edition of WNR.


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