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February 2015

Spotify Coming To PlayStation Network

SpotifySony has been pushing its streaming cloud music service Music Unlimited for years now, but offering has failed to gain any significant traction in the market, so the company is shutting it down later this year.  In its place comes a new partnership with Spotify to bring that service to the PlayStation 3, PS4, and select Xperia devices under the guise of PlayStation MusicHere's the PlayStation Blog with the news:

The new service will launch initially on PS4 and PS3, as well as Xperia smartphones and tablets. You’ll of course be able to listen to your favorite playlists – including existing playlists from current Spotify users as well as Spotify curated playlists – and enjoy the service on all of Spotify’s supported devices.

Prior to the launch of Spotify on PlayStation Music, the Music Unlimited service will close in all 19 countries on March 29, 2015. Nearly all of these countries will be among the 41 markets where PlayStation Music featuring Spotify will be available at launch, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Brazil. From February 28, 2015, Music Unlimited users with active subscriptions will receive up to 30 days of free access through March 29, 2015.

I subscribed to Music Unlimited for a year back in 2013 and while I liked the service, it was never going to overtake the major players in that space.  I loved the idea of using the MU app on PS4 to play games while my favorite songs replaced the terrible licensed music used in games like Need For Speed: Rivals, but the app was unstable and crashed often.  Sometimes it would get stuck in an endless buffer.  It offered a lot of my favorite artists, but the catalog was clogged with MIDI synthesizer karaoke versions of "real" songs.  Search for The Eagles, for instance, and the only "Hotel California" you'd find sounded like it came from a poorly made Sega Genesis game.  So: great idea, poor execution.  These days I just use Amazon's Prime Music service to stream songs to my PCs and mobile devices, so I'm not really in the market to pay for another music service, but I know that Spotify is popular and will surely be welcome in the PlayStation ecosystem.  I just hope the app is more stable than Music Unlimited.

Final Club Nintendo Prizes Revealed

Club NintendoIt's time to cash out your last lingering coins in the North American Club Nintendo now that the final prizes have been revealed. A few new physical items are available including a messenger bag and a jigsaw puzzle both featuring artwork from The Legend Of Zelda: Majora's Mask as well as new posters centered around Super Smash Bros. There's also dozens of downloadable games available including Virtual Console classics, eShop exclusives, and full retail releases for Wii U and 3DS.  Some of these games have never been offered on Club Nintendo before or were previously Platinum or Gold level prizes.  Funny how in its final days, Club Nintendo finally becomes the loyalty program we wanted all along. I'll miss earning coins, but hopefully the next loyalty program due later this year will be better.  And yes, you can still waste 200 coins on Ice Climber or Urban Champion if you really want.

Power Button - Episode 164: The Changing Face Of Gaming Media

Power ButtonIt is with a heavy heart that we say farewell to the departing Joystiq on this week's episode of the Power Button podcast as we discuss the changing world of the video game media business.  Long ago magazines were the big upstarts, then those gave way to blogs, then podcasts muscled in, and now everything is Let's Plays and unboxing videos.  Those who can't keep up risk being closed down by their corporate masters ever in search of rising quarterly profits.  And speaking of rising profits and Lets Plays, we also dip into the recent controversy surrounding Nintendo's YouTube partnership program.  There's something for everyone to feel cheated about!  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. Next Time: We break through the fourth wall to talk about all of the times our favorite games reached out to directly address the player.

Power Button - Episode 164: The Changing Face Of Gaming Media