The Missing Link
[UPDATE: IGN has a great article delineating the differences between the PS3 controller and the Wii controller, and it’s DEFINITELY worth the read. In short though, the PS3 controller comes FAR short of what the Wii can do.]
It’s not Nintendo, but as I mentioned, it is important to check out the competition, especially in the arena of console pricing. So I’ll be live-blogging Sony’s press conference here.
Click the link below to read the live-blog.
[6:50pm] Just got home from work, and I’m raring to go. I’m interested to see what Sony will come out with today. They’ve got to show something after the pitiful PR campaign they’ve waged for the past year. I’m expecting to see a couple dazzling demos, but I think they could be hurt by the fact that they’re very late on publishing dev kits for the PS3, so I’m wondering just how much they can show. They could focus on the PSP, and I think that’ll be a good chunk of their demonstration, especially since they need to compete against DS, but the PS3 has got to be front and centre today.
[6:55pm] Oh, I should note this article regurgitated from earlier at Square-Enix’s conference earlier today. Seems that Squeenix is going to be develop for both Sony and Nintendo. They’re going to have a Crystal Chronicles game for both Wii and DS, and they’re also going to have a Dragon Quest title at launch time for Wii, which is really cool. However, do remember that FFXII is still in play for around the expected launch dates for PS3 and Wii… and they did show off FFXIII for sometime in the future. This all does factor into things.
[7:00pm] I’ve got 7pm. Still waiting.
[7:10pm] They’re late. How surprising. At least this gives me a chance to fold my laundry.
[7:19pm] Still nothing. What other chores can I do in my room while I wait?
[7:28pm] Joystiq is reporting that they’re still waiting outside the conference hall. Looks like we’re in a holding pattern.
[7:31pm] The webcast is just now starting. Although right now all I see is a big PlayStation logo.
[7:42pm] Oh goddesses, now they’re playing rap music. This is going to be a loooooong conference. Still waiting. *sigh*
[7:52pm] We’re finally starting! Yay! Only an hour late!
[7:54pm] Talking about the PS3. Pitching the PS3 as something a big media centre for your living room.
[7:57pm] Now talking about how successful the PS2 was with >100M PS2’s sold and >1B games sold. Whoop-de-do. Let’s talk about the future.
[8:00pm] Going onward to the PSP. 17M sold. Only 47M games sold. Let’s figure that out: Roughly 2.8 games per unit sold? Those ARE NOT impressive numbers.
[8:03pm] They showed clips of all the games. I missed a few, but honestly, I didn’t see any that really thrilled me. Just my opinion though.
[8:04pm] Do they still believe that UMD movies are worth anything? I don’t know whether to feel pity or to laugh.
[8:08pm] Several minutes of filler content. Interviewing countless fanboys of Sony across the globe saying how great Sony is. They could have easily cut this out.
[8:11pm] Alright, PS3, what we’re here to see. PS3 powered by Cell with CD/DVD/Blu-Ray. Bluetooth/Wifi/Ethernet, Dolby Digital Surround Sound, 1080p support, up to seven wireless controllers, pre-installed HDD, memory sticks/USB/SD/Compact Flash…
[8:12pm] PSP interacts with PS3 either through USB or memory stick.
[8:14pm] Launch Date: Early November 2006 — WORLDWIDE
[8:15pm] Reports that SOME of the demos on the show floor are running on the final system.
[8:19pm] This is interesting. They’ve brought out the creator of Gran Turismo, but he doesn’t speak English, so they’ve got a translator. Nothing wrong with this, but I can’t ever remember seeing a translator on the stage. Anyways, they’re showing Gran Turismo HD.
[8:21pm] I will have to admit, this does look rather impressive, although I imagine this looks much more impressive in person (since I’m only seeing this in a small web stream over the ‘Net). It’s not a live demo (it’s not always first person, but they are selecting things in real-time) but something more towards an attract mode type demo.
[8:24pm] They’re talking about loading times, and it does look like it. From the menu to the race screen is about 5 seconds. Better than the PS2, for sure.
[8:25pm] The second track they showed actually doesn’t look quite as sophisticated as the first.
[8:29pm] This title I think will be good once it’s finally done. The Grand Canyon that they put into this track… that is very sweet indeed. The crowd around the side of the track needs some work, but they’ve got a few months of dev time left.
[8:33pm] Going to game #2: The Eye of Judgment. It’s a card-based game of sorts. They’re putting down cards on a table of some sort, and the game tracks the movement of the cards on the table. Each of the cards create a monster, and it looks like some sort of duel game. (The guy demoing this is the creator of the Eye Toy.)
[8:36pm] Going onto online strategy.
[8:37pm] So it pretty much seems like they’re doing the same thing as Xbox Live. Exactly. But they are saying that it will be FREE OF CHARGE.
[8:39pm] PSP will be able to download old PlayStation titles onto a memory stick and emulate them onto a PSP. Sound familiar to anyone?
[8:41pm] Will support microtransactions for in-game purchases from in-game shops. This is identical to Xbox Live.
[8:44pm] They show Singstar. This is basically a karaoke program. Will be able to download music videos and songs over the ‘Net. No word yet on the pricing. You’ll be able to download this to the hard drive.
[8:47pm] They show Genji 2, which is pretty much something like a Dynasty Warriors set in medieval Japan. Allowed to change character and weapon at any time to create custom fighting styles. Pretty much, this should be very akin to Ninety-Nine Nights.
[8:50pm] It looks fun, but it’s no killer app.
[8:51pm] They’ve got a racing game where you can plug in a PSP and use it as a rear-view mirror, rendered in real-time.
[8:53pm] Moving onto a fighting game, Heavenly Sword. Nice animation from what I can see. Looks like quite a bit of fun, and it has a very diverse control style. I just noticed that they’re showing us a controller picture-in-picture with the game, but they haven’t featured it at all. We all know the boomerang controller is a no go, though it’s very hard to see exactly what it looks like.
[8:58pm] Showing a trailer of a few random games. Lair, Getaway… now a nature game Afrika (it’s cooler with a K!) of some sort on an African savannah… The animals look okay, but it still looks relatively unfinished considering that this the hardware is supposed to be better than the Xbox 360.
[9:00pm] It looks like Everybody’s Golf now, and this looks very similar to Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, although it doesn’t look much more impressive graphics-wise, but again–I’m on a small window. Now we’re moving to an RPG–with dragons. Monster Kingdom, but not very much detail. Very short glimpse.
[9:01pm] Two new titles coming up. The first one is an FPS it looks like. Men with guns. It looks decent in HD, but the people hardly look real. The PS3 is supposed to be about realism, and I can notice just in what I’m seeing stuff that isn’t real, breaking immersion. Game is called Eight Days. Explosions need some work too.
[9:05pm] Now showing Sony’s game Naughty Dog. That sounds like a horrible title for a game, methinks. Looks like a treasure hunting game of some sort… or so it starts. Excellent hand-to-hand fighting graphics. Maybe it’s just me, but other than the graceful motions of the characters, the characters themselves don’t look horribly real. But then again, it still might be early. *shrug*
[9:08pm] Resistance: Fall of Man. Alternate version of 1950s. It’s a game about fighting some alien race that has come to take over Earth. Another FPS, sort of like Battlefield 2 in a way, a little bit more graphic finesse it looks like at first glance, but hard to say on this small screen.
[9:10pm] Mentions that it has 32-player online play. Sounds impressive, but the PC has been doing that for years.
[9:10pm] That’s it for the playable games.
[9:11pm] Now moving onto third party titles. First up is a medieval game of knights or something — Assassin’s Creed. Now moving to yet another FPS with tanks… and mechs! It’s Gundam of some flavour; I missed the exact title. Next, another FPS — this one is the most impressive yet I think — Coded Arms Assult.
[9:13pm] Ridge Racer 7 is a racing game. Very small glipse. Now another FPS — Brothers in Arms. They’re barely showing anything of these. Hard to say if they’ll be good. Next a fighting game, moving way too fast for my small webcast screen to keep up. It’s Tekken 6 — probably looks good in real life. Now there’s a Sonic title that Sega is doing. Very fast, again lagging by screen. This one has Shadow… and vehicles, why do they have to have vehicles?
[9:14pm] A tennis game now… looks pretty decent. Virtua Tennis 3. Ah ha! A fighting game now… looks pretty decent, although it looks like the sequel to some famous fighter– yup Virtua Fighter 5. Then a quick FPS, Stranglehold. Now onto a flight game–futuristic. I think I missed a game in the middle while I wasn’t looking.
[9:17pm] Steam froze on a mech game so I missed the title, and then it moved to an aerial game. Aerial Core 4.
[9:18pm] Moving onto EA. Stream died for a bit, but now I’m seeing a basketball game. This actually looks VERY nice. They’ve got some really great footwork, where the players now move VERY realistically. This is pretty darn slick.
[9:20pm] This is NBA Live ‘07. Showing a demo of the game. The physics of this game are really impressive. Almost makes you think for a moment that it’s real, but you can tell… but ONLY slightly. Very slick. And they still have six months of dev time left.
[9:23pm] So now they’re showing very realistic golf game with a very nice model of–Tiger Woods, is it? This is all done with procedural graphics it looks like. But they’re not showing actual game graphics–although it IS in real time. It’s just a Tiger Woods model.
[9:26pm] Quick trailer of all their sports games–football, basketball, and golf. Next, very short screens of several games, FPSes and racing primarily.
[9:28pm] Back to Squeenix! Going to see Final Fantasy XIII! Graphics look really impressive, but this is obviously a cutscene, so it’s hard to say. It looked for a moment as if they showed the battle system, and if it is, it’s in real-time action with regards to the combat system. The hero is definitely a female.
[9:30pm] Metal Gear Solid 4. The graphics look very nice, but this is a cutscene and definitely not actual game play, so I guess we’ll have to wait to see if we get to see that or not. Visually impressive, I have to admit. Solid Snake definitely makes a return, but he’s older in this game it appears. Hair looks a little whitish, but maybe I’m wrong. This definitely looks to be a good game. Coming in 2007.
[9:34pm] Finally showing the PS3 controller — I was waiting for this. At first blush, it looks EXACTLY like a PS2 controller, only white.
[9:35pm] But now they say it’s different in what it does… Wait for it….. It has a 6-degree-of-freedom controller–pretty much a gyroscope and a 3D pointer without a sensor. Huh… so they DID steal off of Nintendo.
[9:37pm] They say it is lighter than the PS2 controller to boot. No WONDER they recalled the boomerang controller.
[9:39pm] They are now going to demo Warhawk with the new modified controller. Pretty much, this is a futuristic flight game responding to the 6DOF controller model. It’s very responsive to the controller’s movelements, even capable of barrel rolls and whatnot. This will definitely be a hit for the PS3 from what I can tell, especially with the 3D clouds that you can fly through.
[9:45pm] Release date is November 17. Two level pricing schema: 20GB HD for US$499/CDN$549/€499; 60GB HD US$599/CND$649/€599! Will be shipping 4M units by the end of the year (with an initial distribution of 2M). 6M total units shipped by March 31.
[9:46pm] And that’s the end.
So what do we take away from this? PS3 is going to be everything Nintendo and Microsoft are going to be? That seems like a complete copout on Sony’s part. I have to admit, I was underwhelmed the entire time from the beginning all the way to their new controller, and that just steams me a little. Instead of declaring their own direction, they pretty much hijacked off of Nintendo’s announcement and are trying to knock their system out of the water early.
The think Nintendo has that Sony does not is an accelerometer in their controller, and maybe that’ll be enough.
Anyways, I’ll catch you all tomorrow at 12:30pm EDT/9:30am PDT for Nintendo’s conference to see what the response will be.
[UPDATE: I just remembered that Nintendo ain’t going to have the Wii cost $600. As such, Sony really can’t ride strictly on the stolen controller idea. That gives me a wee warm fuzzy inside.]
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