Archive for June, 2005
If you’re a Firefox user you might have noticed something new in the sidebar – a theme switcher. I have decided that the new theme I’ve been working on is ready for prime time. Just click on the word “GreyTheme” and you’ll see it. If you don’t like it, you can click on “BasicTheme” to go back, but I have a feeling you won’t be doing that. Unfortunately, being a relative novice when it comes to HTML and PHP (though I’m learning) my new theme looks terrible in IE. So only Firefox users have the option of seeing the new theme. I’m working on getting the IE version working, but it may be a while since I’m on vacation next week.
I’d love to hear any comments, negative or positive or constructive, about my new theme. I’d especially like to hear comments and suggestions about my choices of font colours. I’m still a little unsure about them.
Merrill Lynch Japan has a crystal ball. A crystal ball that works quite well, it appears, and gives answers with authority. Recently they’ve had to polish it a bit because it’s been steaming up with all those Merrill Lynch people gazing at it too closely. But it gave forth some of its knowledge, and it goes like this:
1. The cost of manufacturing a PS3 will be $494.
2. Sony will sell the PS3 for $399.
3. Therefore Sony will lose $95 on every PS3 sold.
4. Sony will lose $1.18 billion during the first year of the PS3′s release.
My question is, what will the Merrill Lynch people due when they discover that the crystal ball has been giving less than crystalline answers? You don’t think it’s right, do you? For surely, it is highly unlikely that predictions as precise as these will actually end up being accurate. So what will Merrill Lynch due with a useless crystal ball? Maybe they can lend it to Microsoft, since I don’t think they forsaw that they’d still be in the red on the Xbox today.
I know, I know. The PS3 is, like, a year away. And so much can happen in a year that we shouldn’t be thinking about this now. But what if you want to buy an HDTV today that will work with the PS3 when released? Almost any HDTV will do, except if you want to use the PS3′s 1080p output capability. Then things start to get a little bit harder to sort out.
In one of my very first articles about the PS3 I hoped that Sony would fix the Qualia’s inability to accept 1080p, and it seems like they will. See the AVS Forum thread below. The thread attempts to list all 1080p displays for use with the PS3. How handy!
Now that TI has a 1080p DLP chip (using wobulation), manufacturers are starting to use it. Mitsubishi is one them. So you might also want to look that way.
[Update 01jul05: and even more developers]
Xbox Japan boss Yoshihiro Maruyama says that up to eight locally developed titles will greet the 360′s launch in Japan. We all know that the Xbox sold poorly in Japan. Very poorly. So this time around, in their bid to conquer everything, Microsoft is counting on some local talent to woo the Japanese.
In an interview published in the current issue of Famitsu, Maruyama said he expects that Japan will see a “good lineup” of titles at launch–somewhere in the double-digit range. He added that seven or eight will be Japanese-developed games.
Maruyama also confirmed that a few of the launch games will be first-party games produced by Microsoft Japan. He declined to specify if games from noted Japanese game developers Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Hironobu Sakaguchi, or Yoshiki Okamoto–designers already committed to delivering 360 titles–will be among the launch games.
[Update 01jul05: EuroGamer has a commentary about this article and also found a source for the original, if you still want to read it.]
[Update 30jun05: it looks like AnandTech has pulled the article, sorry. But Slashdot has a big discussion on the issue. So does Beyond3D, basically pointing out its lack of fidelity.]
AnandTech has quite a nice article comparing the Ps3 and 360. It goes into quite a bit of detail, and I encourage you all to take a look. One point in particular that I liked was their discussion of the Cell processor, which has gotten a lot of bad press from the 360 camp:
In fact, if properly structured and coded for SPE acceleration, physics code could very well run faster on the PlayStation 3 than on the Xbox 360 thanks to the more specialized nature of the SPE hardware. Not to mention that physics acceleration is particularly parallelizable, making it a perfect match for an array of 7 SPEs.
Microsoft has referred to the Cell’s array of SPEs as a bunch of DSPs useless to game developers. The fact that the next installment of the Unreal engine will be using the Cell’s SPEs for physics, animation updates, particle systems as well as audio processing means that Microsoft’s definition is a bit off. While not all developers will follow in Epic’s footsteps, those that wish to remain competitive and get good performance out of the PS3 will have to.
The bottom line is that Sony would not foolishly spend over 75% of their CPU die budget on SPEs to use them for nothing more than fancy DSPs. Architecting a game engine around Cell and optimizing for SPE acceleration will take more effort than developing for the Xbox 360 or PC, but it can be done. The question then becomes, will developers do it?