Sony Computer Entertainment

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Posted by pompos 03/15/2009 @ 12:07

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Project Manager, Fraud & Risk Management - Gamasutra
Be a part of the most exciting and innovative computer entertainment company in North America. Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) markets the PlayStation® family of products and develops, publishes, markets, and distributes software for the PS...
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Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3 to See Price-Cuts in Q3 ... - X-bit Labs
by Anton Shilov GameStop Corp, a leading video game retailer, said during a conference call with financial analysts that it would expect Nintendo and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. to reduce the pricing of the Wii and the PlayStation 3 video game...
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Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony Computer Entertainment logo.svg

Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. (株式会社ソニー・コンピュータエンタテインメント ?) (SCE) is a video game company specializing in a variety of areas in the video game industry, and is a full subsidiary of Sony. The company was established on November 16, 1993 in Tokyo, Japan prior to the launch of the original PlayStation video game system.

SCE handles the research & development, production, and sales of both hardware and software for the PlayStation line of handheld and home console video game systems. SCE is also a developer and publisher of video game titles, and is comprised of several subsidiaries covering the company's biggest markets: North America, Europe, Oceania and Asia.

The Chairman and Group CEO of SCE is currently Kazuo Hirai, who on November 30, 2006 replaced longtime CEO Ken Kutaragi, also known as "The Father of the PlayStation". Kuturagi officially retired from his executive position at SCE on June 19, 2007, and now holds the title of Honorary Chairman at the company. Jack Tretton and David Reeves currently serve as President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, respectively.

SCE currently has three main headquarters around the world: Minami-Aoyama, Minato, Tokyo, Japan which controls operations in Asia; Foster City, California, USA which controls operations in North America; and London, England, UK which controls operations in Europe and Oceania. SCE also has smaller offices and distribution centres in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Melbourne, Australia; and Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea.

The newest home console in the PlayStation family, as well as Sony's entry in the seventh-generation of consoles, the PlayStation 3 (PS3) was launched in November 2006. It utilizes a unique processing architecture, the Cell microprocessor, a proprietary technology developed by Sony in conjunction with Toshiba and IBM. The graphics processing unit, the RSX 'Reality Synthesizer', was co-developed by NVIDIA and Sony. Several variations of the PS3 have been released, each with slight hardware and software differences, each denoted by the varying size of the included hard disk drive (20, 40, 60, 80, and 160GB). The 20, 40, and 60GB versions however have since been discontinued.

Currently the highest selling home console of all time, SCE's second home console, the PlayStation 2 (PS2 or PSX2) was released in Japan on March 4, 2000, and later in North America and Europe in October and November of 2000, respectively. The PS2 is powered by a proprietary central processing unit, the Emotion Engine, and was the first video game console to have DVD playback functionality included out of the box. Initially, the system was criticized for its complex development environment, due mainly to the proprietary hardware included, however despite these complaints the PlayStation 2 received widespread support from third party developer's throughout its lifespan on the market.

Sony's first home console release, the PlayStation (codenamed PSX during development, currently PSOne), was initially designed to be an add-on for Nintendo's Super Nintendo Entertainment System (a.k.a. Super Famicom) video game console, in response to Sega's Sega CD. When the prospect of releasing the system as an add-on dissolved, Sony redesigned the machine into a stand alone unit. The PlayStation was released in Japan on December 3, 1994 and later in North America on September 9, 1995.

The PlayStation Portable (PSP) is SCE's first foray into the handheld console market, which was and to this date still is dominated by Nintendo. Its development was first announced during SCE's E3 conference in 2003, and it was officially unveiled during their E3 conference on May 11, 2004. The system was released in Japan on December 12, 2004, in North America on March 24, 2005 and in Europe and Australia on September 1, 2005. The console has since seen two major redesigns, with new features including a smaller size, more internal memory, a better quality LCD screen and a lighter weight.

In December 2003, Sony released the PSX, a device that combined the video game capabilities of a PlayStation 2 with an included DVD writer and hard drive, allowing video recording and DVD burning functionality. The PSX was the first product to utilize SCE's XrossMediaBar user interface, and was to be a media convergence device utilizing the PlayStation brand to gain a foothold on the market, however due to its high price it failed to gain any significant market share. It was never released outside of Japan.

The PocketStation is a miniature game console created by SCE as a peripheral for the original PlayStation. Released exclusively in Japan on December 23, 1998, it features an LCD display, a speaker, a real-time clock, and infrared communication capability. It can also serves as a standard PlayStation memory card.

On September 14, 2005, SCE formed Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios (SCE WWS), a single internal entity overseeing all wholly owned development studios within SCE. It is responsible for the creative and strategic direction of development and production of all computer entertainment software by all SCE-owned studios, all of which is produced exclusively for the PlayStation family of consoles.

Shuhei Yoshida was named as President of SCE WWS on May 16, 2008, replacing Kazuo Hirai, who was serving interim after inaugural SCE WWS President Phil Harrison left the company in early 2008.

Since its inception in 1993, SCE has also built up a large stable of third party developers that it often collaborates with in a variety of manners, from publishing to funding to co-development. These companies are however not owned or under contract by SCE, and some, unlike the studios within SCE WWS, also release and develop products in cooperation with competing video game developers and publishers, and for competing handheld and/or home consoles as well.

PlayStation Home, is a community-based service developed by Sony Computer Entertainment's London and Cambridge studios for the PlayStation 3 on the PlayStation Network. It is available directly from the PlayStation 3 XrossMediaBar. Home has been in development since early 2005 and started an open public beta test in December 2008. Home allows users to create an avatar on their PlayStation 3 console and explore an online world. This avatar gets its own virtual apartment space or "HomeSpace", which can be adorned with items that users can obtain in several different ways.

Life with PlayStation is a Folding@home application available for the PS3 which connects to Stanford University’s Folding@home distributed computer network and allows the user to donate their console's spare processing cycles to the project. This research may eventually contribute to the creation of vital cures. Folding@home is supported by Stanford University and volunteers who are making a contribution to society by donating computing power to this project. The Folding@home client was developed by Sony Computer Entertainment in collaboration with Stanford University.

Life with PlayStation also consists of a 3D virtual view of the Earth, containing current weather and news information of various cities and countries from around the world.

In 2002, Sony released the first useful and fully functioning operating system for a video game console, after the Net Yaroze experiment for the original PlayStation. The kit, which included an internal hard disk drive and the necessary software tools, turned the PlayStation 2 into a full fledged computer system running Linux.

The PlayStation 3 also supports running the Linux OS, though this time without the need for any additional hardware purchase. Yellow Dog Linux provides an official distribution that can be downloaded, and other distributions such as Fedora, Gentoo and Ubuntu have been successfully installed and operated on the console.

SCE has gained a rather infamous reputation of occasionally utilizing extremely unique and often controversial advertising campaigns throughout various regions in the world.

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the original PlayStation console in Italy, Sony released an ad depicting a man smiling towards the camera and wearing on his head a crown of thorns made of the iconic PlayStation button symbols (). At the bottom, the copy read as "Ten Years of Passion," referencing Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, outraging both the Vatican as well as many local Catholic organizations around the world.

Sony's American division also admitted in late 2005 to hiring graffiti artists to spray paint advertisements for their PlayStation Portable handheld console in seven major U.S. cities including New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. According to Sony, they did pay both the businesses and building owners for the right to graffiti on their walls.

In July 2006, Sony released an advertising campaign in the Netherlands featuring a caucasian model dressed entirely in white and a negro model dressed entirely in black. One ad in particular featured the white model clutching the face of the black model, with the words "White is coming" headlining the ad. The ad has been viewed as racist by critics. A Sony spokesperson responded that the ad does not have a racist message, saying that it was only trying to depict the contrast between the black PSP model and the new ceramic white PSP. Other pictures of the ad campaign include the black model overpowering the white model.

In November 2006, a marketing company employed by Sony's American division created a website entitled "All I want for Xmas is a PSP", designed to promote the PSP virally. The site contained a blog, which was purportedly written by "Charlie", a teenager attempting to get his friend Jeremy's parents to buy him a PSP, providing a "music video" of either Charlie or Jeremy "rapping" about the PSP. Visitors to the website quickly recognized that the website was registered to a marketing company, exposing the campaign on sites such as YouTube and digg, and Sony was forced to admit that the site was in fact a marketing campaign. In an interview with, Sony admitted that the idea was "poorly executed".

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Frosty Treats, Inc. v. Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc.

Frosty Treats, Inc. v. Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc., 426 F.3d 1001 (8th Cir. 2005), is a trademark case in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that the name of one of the largest ice cream truck franchise companies in the United States was neither distinctive nor famous enough to receive protection against being used in a violent video game.

Frosty Treats, Inc. is the name of "one of the largest ice cream truck street vendors" in the United States. Their trucks uniformly feature a "Frosty Treats" logo, typically surrounded by the logos of various frozen snacks sold by the vender. Another feature of the trucks is the "Safety Clown", an image of a clown pointing children towards the back of the vehicle. In the mid 1990s, Sony released Twisted Metal 2, a video game that allows players to wreak havoc on simulated streets with a variety of vehicles - including an ice cream truck prominently featuring a logo that says "Frosty Treats". The video game ice cream truck is driven by a crazed clown known as Sweet Tooth, one of many featured in the game.

Frosty Treats, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Sony contending that the game infringed on the company's trademarks through the use of the phrase, "Frosty Treats", as well as similarities between the video game clown and the company's own safety clown. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri granted summary judgement to Sony and dimissed the case, holding that the name could not be protected because it was generic. U.S. District Judge Scott Wright stated in his May 19, 2005 dismissal that "the various depictions of the Sweet Tooth character in defendant's Twisted Metal games and plaintiff's Safety Clown are so dissimilar that no reasonable trier of fact could conclude that they are confusingly similar." Additionally, the court noted that the safety clown could not be protected because it was functional; it directed children to cross behind the van rather than in front of it. Frosty Treats appealed the dismissal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals on June 15, 2005.

The Eighth Circuit affirmed the dismissal, holding that the name was indeed generic. Although the Eighth Circuit rejected the finding that the safety clown was functional, they held that it nonetheless lacked distinctiveness in the marketplace such that it would merit protection. Furthermore, the Court noted such striking dissimilarities between the company's clown and the game clown that no consumer would be likely to confuse the two.

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List of video games published by Sony Computer Entertainment

This is a list of computer and video games published by Sony Computer Entertainment.

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Ico (right) calls out to Yorda (left) while she waits on the ruined castle. The game's graphics feature a "soft lighting" technique that influenced the graphics of games for years to come.

Ico (イコ, Iko?, pronounced /ˈiːkoʊ/) is a 2001 action-adventure video game published by Sony Computer Entertainment and released for the PlayStation 2 video game console. It was designed and directed by Fumito Ueda, who wanted to create a minimalist game around a "boy meets girl" concept. Originally planned for the PlayStation, Ico took approximately four years to develop. The team employed a "subtracting design" approach to reduce elements of gameplay that interfered with the game's setting and story in order to create a high level of immersion.

The titular protagonist is a young boy born with horns whom his village considers a bad omen. Warriors lock Ico away in an abandoned fortress. During his explorations of the fortress, Ico encounters Yorda, the daughter of the castle's Queen, who plans to use Yorda's body to extend her own lifespan. Ico seeks to escape the castle with Yorda to prevent this fate from occurring, keeping her safe from the shadow-like creatures that attempt to draw her back. Throughout the game, the player controls Ico as he explores the castle, solves puzzles, and assists the less-agile Yorda across obstacles.

Ico introduced several design and technical elements, including a story told with minimal dialog, bloom lighting and key frame animation, that have influenced subsequent games. Though not a commercial success, it was critically acclaimed for its art and story elements and received several awards, including "Game of the Year" nominations and three Game Developers Choice Awards. Ico is listed on several overall top game lists, and is often considered more a work of art than a video game. The game was reprinted in Europe in 2006, in conjunction with the release of Shadow of the Colossus, the spiritual successor to Ico.

The game's main protagonist is Ico (イコ ,Iko?), a young boy with a pair of horns on his head—considered a bad omen by his village. As part of the village's tradition, he is taken by a group of warriors to a castle surrounded by water and locked inside one of the sarcophagi in a crypt. Some time after the warriors depart, a tremor runs through the castle, and Ico is able to take advantage of it to escape his confines. As he searches the castle, he comes across Yorda (ヨルダ ,Yoruda?), a captive girl who speaks in an unknown language. Ico helps Yorda escape, but finds that she is hunted by shadow-like creatures (the souls of other horned children sacrificed to the fortress) that attempt to drag her body into the portals from which they emerged. Though Ico cannot be harmed by the shadows and is able to drive them away from Yorda, he finds he cannot defeat the enemies with his simple weapons. The pair make their way through the abandoned castle, eventually arriving at the bridge leading to land. As they cross, the Queen, ruler of the fortress and Yorda's mother, appears and tells Yorda that as her daughter she cannot leave the castle. Ico and Yorda attempt to flee, but the Queen destroys part of the bridge in their path; although Yorda tries to save him, Ico falls off the bridge and loses consciousness.

Ico awakes in the chambers below the castle, and travels back to the upper levels. During his explorations, he finds a magic sword that is able to dispel the shadow creatures. After discovering that Yorda has been turned to stone by the Queen, he seeks out the Queen in her throne room. The Queen reveals that she is preventing Yorda from leaving so that she may extend her own life, which she had previously done by draining the life of those placed in the sarcophagi. Now, she plans to restart her life anew by taking possession of Yorda's body. Ico and the Queen fight, Ico losing both of his horns in the process. Ico is able to slay the Queen with the magic sword, but with her death the castle begins to collapse around him, and he loses consciousness again from falling debris. The Queen's spell on Yorda is broken, and as a shadow creature Yorda carries Ico safely out of the castle and onto a boat, sending him to drift to the nearby shore and choosing not to accompany him. Ico awakes to find the castle in ruins and Yorda, in her human form, washed up beside him.

Ico is primarily a three dimensional platform game. The player controls Ico from a third-person perspective as he explores the castle and attempts to escape it with Yorda. The camera remains at a fixed point in each room or area but tracks Ico or Yorda as they move; the player can also pan the view a small degree in other directions to observe more of the surroundings. The game includes many elements of platform games; for example, the player must have Ico jump, climb, push and pull objects, and perform other tasks such as solving puzzles, to progress within the castle. These actions are complicated by the fact that only Ico is able to carry out these actions; Yorda can only jump short distances and cannot climb over tall barriers. The player must use Ico so that he helps Yorda cross obstacles, such as by lifting her to a higher ledge, or by arranging the environment to allow Yorda to cross a larger gap herself. The player is able to tell Yorda to follow Ico, or to wait at a spot. The player can also have Ico take Yorda's hand and pull her along at a faster pace across the environment. Players are unable to progress in the game until they move Yorda to certain doors that only she is able to open.

Escaping the castle is made difficult by shadow creatures sent by the Queen. These creatures attempt to drag Yorda into black vortexes if Ico leaves her for any a length of time, or if she is in certain areas of the castle. Ico can dispel these shadows using a stick or sword and pull Yorda free if she is drawn into a vortex. While the shadow creatures cannot harm Ico, the game is over if Yorda becomes fully engulfed by a vortex; the player restarts from a save point. The player will also restart from a save point if Ico falls from a large height. Save points in the game are represented by stone benches which Ico and Yorda rest on as the player saves the game.

Lead developer Fumito Ueda came up with the concept for Ico in 1997, envisioning a "boy meets girl" story where the two main characters would hold hands during their adventure, forming a bond between them without communication. Ueda's main inspiration for Ico was Eric Chahi's game Another World (Outer World in Japan), which used cinematic cutscenes and lacked any head-up display elements as to play like a movie. It also featured an emotional connection between two characters, despite the use of minimal dialog. Ueda also cited Lemmings, Flashback and the original Prince of Persia games as influences, specifically regarding animation and gameplay style. With the help of an assistant, Ueda created an animation in Lightwave to get a feel for the final game and to better convey his vision. In the three-minute demonstration reel, Yorda had the horns instead of Ico, and flying robotic creatures were seen firing weapons to destroy the castle. Ueda stated that having this movie that represented his vision helped to keep the team on track for the long development process, and he reused this technique for the development of Shadow of the Colossus, the team's next effort.

Ueda began working with producer Kenji Kaido in 1998 to develop the idea and bring the game to the PlayStation. Ico's design aesthetics were guided by three key notions: to make a game that would be different from others in the genre, feature an aesthetic style that would be consistently artistic, and play out in an imaginary yet realistic setting. This was achieved through the use of "subtracting design"; they removed elements from the game which interfered with the game's reality. This included removing any form of interface elements, keeping the gameplay focused only on the escape from the castle, and reducing the number of types of enemies in the game to a single foe. An interim design of the game shows Ico and Yorda facing horned warriors similar to those that take Ico to the castle. The game originally focused on Ico's attempt to return Yorda to her room in the castle after she was kidnapped by these warriors. Ueda believed this version had too much detail for the graphics engine they had developed, and as part of the "subtracting design", replaced the warriors with the shadow creatures. Ueda also brought in a number of people outside the video game industry to help with development. These consisted of two programmers, four artists, and one designer in addition to Ueda and Kaido, forming the base of what is now known as Team ICO. On reflection, Ueda noted that the subtracting design may have taken too much out of the game, and did not go to as great an extreme with Shadow of the Colossus.

After two years of development, the team ran into limitations on the PlayStation hardware and faced a critical choice: either terminate the project altogether, alter their vision to fit the constraints of the hardware, or continue to explore more options. The team decided to remain true to Ueda's vision, and began to use the Emotion Engine of the PlayStation 2, taking advantage of the improved abilities of the platform. Character animation was accomplished through key frame animation instead of the more common motion capture technique. Ico is recognized as one of the first games to incorporate bloom lighting into video games, a feature that is common in later seventh generation console video games. The game took about four years to create. Ueda purposely left the ending vague, not stating whether Yorda was alive, whether she would travel with Ico, or if it was simply the protagonist's dream.

The cover used for releases in Japan and PAL regions was drawn by Ueda himself, and was inspired by the surrealist artist Giorgio de Chirico and his work, The Nostalgia of the Infinite. Ueda believed that "the surrealistic world of de Chirico matched the allegoric world of Ico". The North American version lacks this cover as well as additional features that become available after the player completes the game once. The development team was unable to provide Ueda's cover or the additional features in time for Sony's planned North American release date, but included them for the later releases in Japan and PAL regions. For its original release, a limited edition of the game was available in PAL regions that included a cardboard wrapping displaying artwork from the game and four art cards inside the box. The game was re-released as a standard edition in 2006 across all PAL regions except France after the 2005 release of Shadow of the Colossus, Ico' spiritual sequel, to allow players to "fill the gap in their collection".

Ico uses minimal dialog in a fictional language to provide the story throughout the game. Voice actors included Kazuhiro Shindou as Ico, Reiko Takahashi as Yorda, and Misa Watanabe as the Queen. Ico and the Queen's words are presented in either English or Japanese subtitles depending on the release region, but Yorda's speech is presented in a symbolic language. Ueda opted not to provide the translation for Yorda's words as it would have overcome the language barrier between Ico and Yorda, and detracted from the "holding hands" concept of the game. In the non-North American releases, playing through the game again after completing the game replaces the symbolic text with appropriate language subtitles.

Ico's audio featured a limited amount of music and sound effects. The soundtrack, "ICO: Melody in the Mist" (「ICO」~霧の中の旋律~ ,"Iko" ~Kiri no Naka no Senritsu~?), was composed by Michiru Oshima & Pentagon and released in Japan by Sony Music Entertainment on March 18, 2002. The album was distributed by Sony Music Entertainment Visual Works. The last song of the CD, ICO ~You Were There~, includes vocals sung by former Libera member Steven Geraghty.

Despite selling only 700,000 copies worldwide, the bulk in PAL regions, Ico received strong reviews, and has become a cult hit among gamers. The game has received aggregate review scores of 90 out of 100 at MetaCritic and 90% at Game Rankings. The game is considered to be one of the top video games of all time; Edge ranked Ico as the 13th top game in a 2007 listing, while IGN ranked the game at number 18 in 2005, and at number 57 in 2007. Ico is commonly considered more a work of art than a video game. Ueda commented that he purposely tried to distance Ico from conventional video games due to the negative image that video games were receiving at that time, in order to draw more people to the title.

The game is noted for its simple combat system that would "disappoint those craving sheer mechanical depth", as stated by Gamespot's Miguel Lopez. The game's puzzle design has been praised for creating a rewarding experience for players who work through challenges on their own; Kristen Reed of Eurogamer, for example said that "you quietly, logically, willingly proceed, and the illusion is perfect: the game never tells you what to do, even though the game is always telling you what to do". Ico is also considered a short game, taking between seven and ten hours for a single play through, but compounded by the fact, as noted by G4TV's Matthew Keil, that "the urge to press on further into the breathtaking world of the game is so strong, many will finish 'Ico' in one or two sittings". The lack of features in the North American release, which would become unlocked on subsequent playthroughs after completing the game, was said to reduce the replay value of the title.

Ico received several gaming acclamations from the video gaming press, and was considered to be one of the Games of the Year by many publications, although it was in competition with other best-selling 2001 releases, such as Halo, Metal Gear Solid 2, and Grand Theft Auto 3. The game received three Game Developers Choice Awards in 2002, including "Excellence in Level Design", "Excellence in Visual Arts", and "Game Innovation Spotlight". The game won several Interactive Achievement Awards from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences in 2002 including "Art Direction" and "Character or Story Development", and was nominated for awards of "Game of the Year", "Game Design", "Level Design" and "Sound Design".

A novelization of the game titled ICO: Castle of Mist (ICO -霧の城- ,ICO -Kiri no Shiro-?) was released in Japan in 2004. Author Miyuki Miyabe wrote the novel because of her appreciation of the game. Several game designers, such as Eiji Aonuma, Hideo Kojima, and Jordan Mechner, have cited Ico as having influenced the visual appearance of their games, including The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, respectively. Marc Laidlaw, scriptwriter for the Half-Life series, commented that, among several other more memorable moments in the game, the point where Yorda attempts to save Ico from falling off the damaged bridge was "a significant event not only for that game, but for the art of game design". Movie director Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) has cited both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus as "masterpieces" and part of his directorial influence.

Shadow of the Colossus (ワンダと巨像 ,Wanda to Kyozō?, Wander and the Colossus), released for the PlayStation 2 in October 2005 in Japan and North America, was developed by the same team that developed Ico. The game features similar graphics, gameplay, and storytelling elements as Ico. The game was often referred to as "Nico" ("Next Ico" and a pun on the Japanese word for two "ni") by the gaming press until the final title was revealed. Ueda, when asked about the connection between the two games, stated that Shadow of the Colossus is a prequel to Ico, specifically citing the ending of Shadow where a child is born with two horns. Team ICO is presently working on a game for the PlayStation 3 since at least early 2008. However, no details have emerged on its name, the type of game, or what connections, if any, there are to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.

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Cover of Buzz! The Music Quiz, the first game in the Buzz! series, showing the quiz master Buzz holding one of the controllers designed specifically for the game series.

Buzz! is a series of video games originated by Sleepydog Ltd., developed by Relentless Software and published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable consoles. They are quiz games that sees the players answering trivia questions whilst competing in the fictional game show, Buzz. Created specifically with multi-player party gaming in mind, the series launched in October 2005 and to date comprises 15 games; including eight in the Buzz! series and five Buzz! Junior titles. The series made the transition to the PlayStation 3 with Buzz!: Quiz TV in 2008.. The sixteenth game in the series Buzz!: Brain of the UK is scheduled for release in March 2009.

In 2006 the second game in the Buzz series, Buzz!: The Big Quiz, won the BAFTA award for Best Casual and Social game. Buzz!: Quiz TV has been nominated in the Best Social Game and Best Multiplayer Game categories for the 2009 BAFTA video game awards.

The games are played with buzzers - a set of four simple controllers that consist of four coloured answer buttons and a red buzzer. These are intended to replicate the buzzers often seen on TV quiz shows. The buzzers plug into a USB port and the game allows use of either one or two sets of buzzers allowing up to eight players in certain games. The games are usually marketed in two versions, a pack containing both game and buzzers for new purchasers or a game only version for players who already own a set of buzzers.

In January 2008 California-based Buzztime Entertainment filed a legal suit, in the Southern District of California, against Sony Computer Entertainment Europe alleging that Sony had violated several of its trademarks. The suit accused Sony of a "malicious, fraudulent, knowing, wilful, and deliberate" violation of its trademarks. In the suit Buzztime is seeking the recall and destruction of all infringing products and is asking the court for actual damages, punitive damages, legal fees and an order to the US Patent and Trademark Office not to register Sony's pending Buzz trademarks.

The series was launched in October 2005 with Buzz!: The Music Quiz, which was followed by a general knowledge version Buzz!: The Big Quiz. The alternation between specialist subject and general knowledge continued for the next three games in the series, The sports based Buzz!: The Sports Quiz was followed by another general knowledge edition, Buzz!: The Mega Quiz, and then another single subject edition based around films, Buzz!: The Hollywood Quiz. The sequence was broken with the March 2008 release of Buzz!: The Pop Quiz. Buzz!: Quiz TV is a general knowledge quiz but allows players the option of quizzes on a single specific subject. Buzz!: Master Quiz is a general knowledge quiz with the addition of single subject rounds.

In October 2006 a spin-off series of games designed for children started with the release of Buzz! Junior: Jungle Party. A second game, Buzz! Junior: Robo Jam, was released in May 2007, and a third, Buzz! Junior: Monster Rumble was released in November 2007. Unlike the quiz-based Buzz! games, the Buzz! Junior series features party games. Buzz! Junior: Jungle Party features 40 mini games, and Buzz! Junior: Robo Jam features 25. Buzz! Junior: Robo Jam introduced the option to play against computer players. The fourth game in the series, Buzz! Junior: Dino Den, is based around dinosaurs. It was released in February 2008. The fifth Buzz! Junior game, Buzz! Junior: Ace Racers was developed by Cohort Studios and was released in October 2008. Buzz! Junior: Ace Racers is a racing game where players race cars, boats and planes using their Buzz! buzzer.

Games in the Buzz! Junior series have been developed by Magenta Software, FreeStyleGames and Cohort Studios.

The Buzz! Buzzer is a special controller set designed specifically for the Buzz! game series. The controller features four handsets, each of which has a large red buzzer button and four smaller coloured buttons for picking the answer from the on-screen options. The buzzer set is a USB device, and connects to the USB ports on the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3.

Buzz!: Quiz TV saw the release of a wireless version of the buzzers. They connect to the PS2 or PS3 system via a Bluetooth USB dongle each dongle can support up to 4 wireless buzzers so this means another dongle is required for 8 player play with 8 wireless buzzers. The wireless buzzers can be used with both the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 and all previous Buzz! games.

On 24 November 2006 Eidos released Who Wants to be a Millionaire - Party Edition This was the first third party game to support the use of Buzz! buzzers. The game features a single player game closely modelled on the original UK version TV show and a multi-player versions with various modes like Multi-Millionaire where players take it in turns to answer questions with elimination the penalty for a wrong answer the winner being the last player left standing. Millionaire Party allows players to steal questions from rivals.

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SCE Studio Liverpool

The SCE Studio Liverpool Logo

SCE Studio Liverpool is a video game development house head-quartered at Wavertree Technology Park in Liverpool, England. Founded in 1984 as Psygnosis, the company is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment and currently employs roughly 100 individuals comprising two development teams. Mick Hocking currently oversees Studio Liverpool's operations as Group Studio Director, a position he also holds within two other SCE-owned developers, Evolution Studios and Bigbig Studios.

Studio Liverpool, which is the oldest and second largest development house within Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's stable of developers, is best known for the Wipeout series of futuristic racing games, with the first instalment released on the original PlayStation in 1995. The studio is also known for the Formula One series of licensed racing games, and the Colony Wars series released on the original PlayStation.

Founded by Ian Hetherington and Jonathan Ellis, the Liverpool-based Psygnosis was born from the ashes of the defunct 8-bit game company Imagine Software, where Hetherington was Financial Director. After the collapse of Imagine in 1984, the name and trademarks were bought by Ocean Software, while the rights of the software remained with original copyright owners. The fabled mega-games being created by the company, Bandersnatch (for the ZX Spectrum) and Psyclapse (for the Commodore 64), were fused into one to become Psygnosis' first release, called Brataccas. This game was originally created for the Sinclair QL, but was instead ported over to other Motorola 68000-based machines and released on the Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, and Apple Mac in 1985.

Psygnosis produced only one title in 1986 called Deep Space, a complex, difficult space exploration game. The box artwork was very distinctive with a black background and fantasy artwork bordered in red. This style was maintained for the best part of ten years, with a Psygnosis game being easily identifiable on a shelf of miscellaneous games. For the next few years, Psygnosis' releases contained increasingly improved graphics, but were marred by similarly difficult gameplay and control methods.

Although Psygnosis primarily became a game publisher, some games were developed fully or partly in-house. During the early days, artists were employed full-time at the headquarters, offering third-party developers, who were often just single programmers, a very high-quality art resource. This had the result of allowing Psygnosis to maintain very high graphical standards across the board, something for which the company became most famous. The original artists were Garvan Corbett, Jeff Bramfitt, Colin Rushby and Jim Bowers, with Neil Thompson joining a little later.

Closely following in the path of 1987 hit Barbarian with what was becoming a trademark high-quality introduction, Obliterator, released in 1988, contained an opening animation by Jim Bowers (now a digital matte painter for the movie industry) with the main character looking directly into the "camera". His face is animated with bewilderment that turns into anger, at which point he drops his guns and shoots at the observer. This short scene would further pave the way for many increasingly sophisticated intro animations, starting with 2D hand drawn sequences, and then progressing into FMV and 3D rendered movies created with Sculpt 4D on the Amiga. Eventually, Psygnosis would buy many Silicon Graphics workstations for the sole purpose of creating these animations.

While most games companies of the mid-to-late 1980s (including Psygnosis) were releasing identical games on both the Amiga and Atari ST, Psygnosis started to use the full potential of the Amiga's more powerful hardware to produce technically stunning games. It was these technically superior titles that brought the company its early success, with the landmark title Shadow of the Beast bringing the company its greatest success so far in 1989. Its multi-layered parallax scrolling and stunning music were highly advanced for the time and as such led to the game being used as a showcase demonstration for the Amiga in many computer shops.

Later, Psygnosis consolidated its fame after publishing the DMA Design Lemmings game franchise: debuting in 1991 on the Amiga, Lemmings was soon to be ported to a plethora of different computer and video game platforms, generating many sequels and variations of its concept through the years. After that, Psygnosis put unparalleled effort in producing Microcosm, a game that debuted on Japanese system FM Towns and was to become technical showcase and flagship title for new Commodore CD32 and SMSG 3DO multimedia consoles: although gameplay was never considered on par with technical aspects, graphics, music by Rick Wakeman and long FMV introduction were among the finest in company history at the time.

However, Commodore financial troubles with subsequent bankruptcy, and the arrival of new relevant actors in video gaming scene, were among the causes of a major shifting in Psygnosis commercial strategy: in 1993 the company was sold to Sony and in 1995 it started producing games using new PlayStation console as primary reference hardware, later porting some of them to PC and to other platforms. Among most famous creations of this period, Wipeout series, Destruction Derby, G-Police, Colony Wars series. Psygnosis also programmed several of the in-show video games that were in Nick Arcade, a Nickelodeon game show from the early 90's that revolved around video games.

The original company headquarters were located at the Port of Liverpool Building at the Pier Head in Liverpool, but soon moved to Century Buildings in Brunswick Business Park (also in Liverpool), and later moved down the road 200 metres to South Harrington Building in South Harrington Dock. As the company expanded after the Sony buyout, another satellite office was opened in Century Building with later offices opening in Stroud, England, London, Chester, Paris, Germany, and Foster City in California (as the Customer Support & Marketing with software development done in San Francisco), now the home of Sony Computer Entertainment America. The company headquarters has resided at Wavertree Technology Park since 1995.

The Stroud office was opened in November 1993 in order to attract disgruntled MicroProse UK employees. The Wheelhouse—its publishing name—was later closed in 2000 as part of the Sony Computer Entertainment takeover of Psygnosis. Some members joined Bristol-based Rage Software, but faced a similar demise a number of years later.

In 1999 the publishing branch of the company was merged into Sony Computer Entertainment Europe as a whole, and the Psygnosis brand was dropped in favour of SCE Studio Liverpool, which marked the full integration of the studio within Sony Computer Entertainment.

The newly named SCE Studio Liverpool released its first title, Formula One 2001, in 2001. The game was also the studio's first release on the PlayStation 2, and the first entry in the Formula One series after taking over from developer Studio 33. From 2001 to 2007, Studio Liverpool has since released 8 instalments in the series between the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3. However, Sony Computer Entertainment's exclusive license with the Formula One Group expired, without renewal, before the 2007 season, marking the end of any further Formula One series instalments from the developer.

Studio Liverpool's larger and normally more prominent development team, responsible for the Wipeout series, had a lower profile during first few years after the name change, contributing only two titles between 2001 to 2006. Wipeout Fusion, the first and only instalment of the series on the PlayStation 2, released in 2002, and Wipeout Pure for the PlayStation Portable, which launched alongside the handheld in 2005 to significant acclaim, with many media outlets heralding it a return to glory for the series, which had seen only one other instalment in the previous 7 years.

Due to the loss of the Formula One license, Studio Liverpool is thought to have an as-yet-unconfirmed PS3 Wipeout game in development, which will mark the first completely new instalment in the series in over six years. Recently they have developed two games in the series; Wipeout Pulse, a sequel to Wipeout Pure for the PSP, which was released in December 2007 and Wipeout HD, a downloadable title for the PlayStation 3's PlayStation Network service, consisting of various courses taken from both Wipeout Pure and Wipeout Pulse remade in high definition.

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Source : Wikipedia