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Sony accepting claims on 2011 PSN data breach settlement

If you were a PSN, Qriocity or Sony Online Entertainment user at the time of the April 2011 Sony hack that disrupted the PlayStation Network for nearly a month and compromised 70 million user accounts, now's your chance to get a piece of the class action settlement levied against Sony last year.

To qualify, you must have held a PSN, Qriocity or Sony Online Entertainment account on or before May 14, 2011. Each service is eligible to receive different claims, but PSN users are able to receive either one or two games - if you already received a free game in Sony's 2011 "Welcome Back" promotion, you're only eligible for one; if not, you're eligible to choose two - from a list that includes standouts like LittleBigPlanet and God of War HD. Notably, none of the games on offer are for the PlayStation 4. If none of the games tickle your fancy, you can instead choose free dynamic themes for your PlayStation 3 or free PlayStation Plus subscription time.

After wading through multiple pages of bureaucratic legalese, you'll find everything you need to make your claim at the PSN-SOE settlement website.
[Image: Sony]

PlayStation TV price cut at major US retailers

The PlayStation TV's price tag has been reduced to Black Friday levels by several major US retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and Gamestop. Gamespot took note of the unofficial reduction, which sees the core PS TV unit reduced to $80 ($20 off) and the controller-included bundle at $100 ($40 off).

Sony's official site still has the device regularly priced. Positioned as PS Vita system alternative that plugs into any HDMI-equipped television, the system does feature some compatibility issues with games. Here is the latest list of compatible titles.

Add $60 from PayPal to your PSN wallet, get bonus cash back

Got a PayPal account? Here's an easy way to get some free PlayStation Network cash: Just add $60 to your SEN wallet via PayPal between now and December 16 and you'll get an additional $10 in credit by the end of the month.

Eligible shoppers will receive a PSN code for $10 in wallet credit by December 23, which can then be used to buy games, movies, or anything else featured in the PlayStation Store. You may want to spend your newfound fortune on Strider, Valiant Hearts: The Great War, and other games offered in this week's PSN sale lineup, or you can put it toward new releases like Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris and Suikoden 2. Codes expire on January 22.

[Image: Sony]

PSN Sale of the Dead is 2 weeks of spooky game discounts

PSN is a scary place right now. The Sale of the Dead starts today, offering discounts of up to 65 percent – and 80 percent for Plus members – on a lineup of games over two weeks. On sale in the first week's round is Dante's Inferno ($6.50, $3.90 for Plus), Dead Space 2 ($6.50, $3.90 for Plus), Dead Nation Apocalypse Edition ($7.50, $6 for Plus), Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare on PS4 ($26.50, $19.90 for Plus) and Tiny Brains on PS4 ($5, $4 for Plus), among others.

Week two begins on October 28 and includes Castlevania: Symphony of the Night ($5, $4 for Plus), Catherine ($10, $7 for Plus), Corpse Party: Book of Shadows ($10, $9 for Plus), Guacamelee: Super Turbo Charged Edition ($10.50, $7.35), Manhunt ($5, $4 for Plus), Outlast ($10, $5 for Plus) and Silent Hill Book of Memories ($15, $12 for Plus).

Week one of the sale concludes on October 27, and week two ends on November 3. There's also a lineup of horror movies and television shows on sale during both weeks.
[Image: Sony]

Sony: PSN currently offline, no word on when it will return [update: it's back]

In a brief statement posted to its official support page, Sony notes that the PlayStation Network is currently down.

"PSN is currently offline, and we are hard at work to resume service," the message reads. "At this time an estimate as to when PSN will be online is unavailable; however, we will update this article as soon as there's additional information." Those affected by the outage are urged to follow the @PlayStation Twitter account for updates on when service has resumed.

Anecdotally, reports we've received suggest that the PSN Store is available to some players, while connecting to an online match results in a server error. Internal testing reveals that Joystiq staffers are unable to connect to Destiny's multiplayer Crucible mode.

Update: As commenter Mule points out, Sony's Twitter suggestion isn't quite accurate. For updates on the status of PSN, follow @AskPlayStation. The @PlayStation account may let you know once the service is back up, but for now is just angry PlayStation owners complaining en masse.

Update 2: PSN is once again online.
[Image: Sony]

PlayStation TV launches stateside with last-minute compatibility changes

The PlayStation TV launches today in North America boasting compatibility with a large number of PSP, PS Vita, and PS minis games, but users at NeoGAF point out that a last-minute compatibility update renders several major titles unplayable on Sony's new hardware.

Just prior to the system's stateside launch, Sony updated its PlayStation TV compatibility list, removing entries for notable PSP games like Twisted Metal: Head-On, Valkyria Chronicles 2, and WipeOut Pure. Several Konami-published PSone games are also no longer compatible with the PlayStation TV, including Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, and Suikoden.

The lack of omitted games that begin with the letters A through L suggests that Sony may be sorting out cross-platform rights issues alphabetically. While SNK-published PS minis games like Time Soldiers and Vanguard didn't make the cut, fellow SNK Arcade Classics 0 ports like Athena and Guerrilla War remain listed, hinting that further compatibility updates may be in store.

Positioned as a non-portable alternative to Sony's PS Vita system, the PlayStation TV plugs into any HDMI-equipped television and plays games and movies downloaded from the PlayStation Network. The system is available today as a $99.99 standalone package and bundled with a DualShock 3 controller and memory card for $139.99.

[Video: Sony]

Vib-Ribbon launching in North America via PSN tomorrow

At last, Vibri is free. Sony announced today that PaRappa the Rapper creator Masaya Matsuura's vector-graphics rhythm game Vib-Ribbon will hit the PlayStation Network tomorrow, marking its long-awaited North American debut.

Released for the original PlayStation in 1999, Vib-Ribbon puts players in control of Vibri, a bizarre rabbit-like creature who must vault on-screen obstacles in time to a backing music track. In a novel twist at the time, Vib-Ribbon allowed players to insert their own music CDs and create playable levels based on individual tracks, often upping the game's challenge far beyond the difficulty of its default soundtrack.

Though Vib-Ribbon was released in Japan and Europe, a North American version never surfaced. This week's PSN release will be the first time Vib-Ribbon is officially available in the United States, and Sony notes that its CD-scanning feature will arrive on the PlayStation 3 fully intact.

[Image: Sony / NanaOn-sha]

Spend $100 on PSN in October, get $15 back

Sony's latest promotion is dishing cash back to those that buy goods on PSN this month. As of October 1, players that spend at least $100 using their Sony Entertainment Network wallets will receive $15 in credit. The credit will be delivered to those taking advantage of the offer "on or before November 7" via email or PS4, PS3 or Vita system notification in redemption code form.

The promotion runs through Tuesday, October 28. Players will have until December 5 to redeem their $15 credit codes. Now the question is: What ever shall you spend that $100 on? PS4 players may consider the recently-launched and excellent Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, or may choose to pre-order Alien: Isolation via PSN. Or you could just blow it all on repeated rentals of Hocus Pocus. Your call.
[Image: Sony]

Strider 2, original arcade Strider team up on PSN next week

Capcom's over-the-top arcade side-scroller Strider 2 will launch for the PlayStation Network next week as a PSone Classic, the publisher confirmed yesterday.

Released in arcades in 1999, Strider 2 chronicles the unlikely acrobatic adventures of its ninja star Strider Hiryu, who scales gigantic structures and battles robotic creatures within a futuristic cityscape. The latest series entry, Strider, premiered earlier this year as a downloadable console and PC release. Hiryu also appears in the Marvel vs. Capcom series, most recently returning in 2011's Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

The PSone version of Strider 2 includes a port of 1989's Strider arcade game, which will be bundled with next week's downloadable PSN release. Strider 2 will be available for the PlayStation 3, PSP, and PS Vita on October 7.

[Image: Capcom]

PlayStation TV explained in one family-friendly video

Image PlayStation TV isn't an actual television, in case anyone was still wondering. It's a teeny tiny console that plays Vita, PSP and PSOne games, and streams PS3 and PS4 games. Sony recently revealed that PlayStation TV would play "nearly 700" Vita games, to be precise. [Image: Sony]... Continue Reading

Capcom slashes prices on PSN, from Okami to Street Fighter

Capcom fans with access to the PlayStation Network have good reason to be excited, as the publisher has unleashed a deluge of discounts on games ranging from classic 2D fighters to modern survival horror epics.

Highlights of the sale include fan-favorite PlayStation 2 crossover fighter Capcom vs SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001 at $5 and Lost Planet 3 at $13.49. The Resident Evil games are likewise discounted, with Resident Evil 4 HD at $6.80, Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition at $15 and the HD remake of Resident Evil: Revelations at a mere $13.49, among other sizable survival horror discounts. Capcom's discounts on Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max and Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen are especially tempting, as both the classic 2D fighter and the uneven but compelling third-person fantasy adventure can be purchased together for less than $10.

For full details on all of Capcom's newly-announced discounts, visit Capcom Unity. Not only are all of the discounted games listed in an easy to read format, but Capcom also links directly to the Sony Entertainment Network, saving potential customers the hassle of looking up each game individually on their Sony console of choice.
[Image: Capcom]

Report: PSP users in Europe, Asia lose PSN access on September 15

Sony is closing off PlayStation Network access for its PlayStation Portable console in multiple regions starting this week, IGN reports.

A Sony representative told IGN that the shutdown affects PSP owners in Europe, Asia, Oceania, and select regions in Africa. North American PSPs will still be able to access the PlayStation Network while Sony "evaluates market trends" to determine if it should expand its service shutdown plans.

While affected regions will be unable to directly access the PlayStation Network from PSP hardware starting on September 15, Sony notes that users will still be able to buy PSN marketplace content and redownload previous purchases via the Sony Entertainment Network Online Store. Sony halted PSP production in Japan in June, and discontinued North American hardware shipments in January.

[Image: Sony]

New discounts join EU PSN Summer Sale: FIFA 14, Just Cause 2

Sony's European division has rolled out a swath of new discounts now available from the ongoing PlayStation Network Summer Sale including a massive price cut on FIFA 14 and lesser but still impressive discounts on Just Cause 2, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and 1942: Joint Strike.

The aforementioned FIFA 14 discount is the highlight of the sale, as the PlayStation 3 soccer simulation's price has dropped from £59.99 to £19.99. Meanwhile, retro-futuristic shooter Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has gone from £11.99 to £6.49, open-world action adventure Just Cause 2 has been reduced from £10.99 to £3.99 and arcade shoot 'em up 1942: Joint Strike now bears a £1.69 price in lieu of its previous £7.99 tag. With the exception of FIFA 14, each of these games also receives an additional 10 percent discount for anyone with a valid PlayStation Plus subscription.

Though no PlayStation 4 games are included in this swath of new bargains, there are a massive number of discounts available for the PlayStation 3, Vita and PSP handhelds. Pay a visit to the European for a full rundown and regional pricing details.

Library of Congress discovers unreleased Duke Nukem game, chews bubblegum

Hail to the king of unlikely archival discoveries, baby. David Gibson, a moving image technician with the Library of Congress, stumbled upon a diamond in the rough while scouring through hundreds of games and game-related media artifacts submitted to the library by game publishers: a complete, playable, but never-released game. Duke Nukem: Critical Mass for PSP, a wholly different game than a version released on Nintendo DS in 2011, was discovered on an innocuous DVD-R.

Far from a piece of random archival material, Gibson found the actual source disc that would have been used for writing the game onto UMDs, the ill-fated proprietary media Sony used for retail PSP games. This led to further complications, though, as he had to find ways to access information locked inside of Sony's proprietary files. While Gibson hasn't found way to make the game fully playable at this point, he was able to access game code and view 3D models for not just the series' iconic Pig Cops but also Duke himself. Duke riding a jetpack, no less.

Gibson's complete report on the discovery is fascinating as both a document of a lost piece of lore in one of gaming's most infamous series, but also as a view inside the challenge of archiving gaming's history. Even with the discovery of the game, sharing the data hidden on that DVD-R remains a challenge due to the proprietary files within.
[Images: 3D Realms]

Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky lands on Steam, out today

If you're unfamiliar with Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, that may be because Nihon Falcom's acclaimed PSP JRPG only headed West towards the end of the system's life cycle. The good news is there's now a new way of playing it, with the trilogy's first chapter coming to Steam later today, courtesy of XSEED.

XSEED is also bringing follow-up Trails in the Sky: Second Chapter to North America on PSP and Steam, but that's gonna take a bit more time to arrive. According to the publisher, the best fans should hope for is "the end of the year."

As for Trails in the Sky, its regular Steam price is $20 but there's a 15 percent first-week sale if you fancy dipping in early. For more on why it's worth a look, read this.

[Thanks, Jason K!]

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