Archive for September, 2005
[Edited with additions.]
Q: When will the PS3 be released?
A: Novemeber 11th in Japan. November 17th in North America and Europe.
Q: How much will the PS3 cost?
A: Sony has two versions of the PS3. One with a 40GB HDD, no memory card readers, two USB ports instead of the 80GB’s four, and no PS2 BC. The other has all that stuff and 80GB instead of 40GB HDD. In the US, the prices are $499US for the 80GB and $399US for the 40GB.
Q: What resolutions will the PS3 support?
A: The PS3 will support the HD resolutions of 1280 x 720, 1920 x 1080i, and 1920 x 1080p. There are a few HDTVs starting to come out with 1080p HDMI inputs, from the likes of Sony and HP. The PS3 will also support SD (standard definition).
Q: How do I hook up my PS3?
A: See this article just on this subject.
Q: Will the controllers be wireless? How? How many?
A: The controllers will indeed be wireless, using standard Bluetooth technology to achieve this. The PS3 will support up to 7 controllers. (More accurately, it supports up to 7 Bluetooth devices – they don’t have to be controllers. The PS3 itself takes up the eighth spot in the Bluetooth hardware’s scheme of things.) No more multitap!
Q: How will I recharge my wireless controller?
A: Through the USB port on the PS3.
Q: What about a HDD?
A: Sony’s initial two PS3 machines had 20GB and 60GB HDDs. Now they’re 40GB and 80GB.
Q: What kind of discs will games be distributed on?
A: Sony has indicated that games will be distributed on Blu-ray Disc (BD) media. BD supports capacities of 25GB for a single-layer disc, and 50GB for a two-layer disc.
Q: Will I be able to play PS2 and PSone games on the PS3?
A: Yes, except for the 40GB PS3, though you won’t be able to use your old controllers, memory cards, or other peripherals. The PS3 will upscale the PSOne and PS2 games’ video to HD resolutions, should you choose. The 20GB, 60GB, and 80GB PS3′s have PS1 and PS2 backwards compatibility. The 40GB PS3 can only play PS1 games.
Q: Will it be available in multiple colours?
A: It seems that black will be the only available colour.
Q: What about network connectivity? Does Sony have an answer to Xbox Live?
A: Yes. It’s called the PSN (PlayStation Network). It includes free player versus player gaming, lobbies/matchmaking, scores/ranking, game data upload/download, friend lists, avatars, voice and video chat, instant messaging, downloadable content, and more.
Q: What are the launch games?
A: No official launch list has been released. The closest we have is a list of games in development, released at TGS, available here.
Any other FAQ-like questions you’d like answered? Please contact us.
Mike wrote me asking about PS3 clusters (edited for clarity):
It seems from what I’ve heard that multiple PS3′s can be connected together through their ethernet port to double, triple, etc. the PS3′s power. Do you know anymore details about this, and how it might be used? For example, could this mean that all of the PS3′s power could be doubled, like the GPU, or would this only apply to the cell processor? And, if this turns out that it can be done then, do you think that it could be possible that after the PS3 has been out for like a year or more that, some games might come out that say, “this game will only run with 2+ PS3′s?” If so, then the PS3 could honestly reach true life-like graphics, and there really wouldn’t be a reason to make another PlayStation. This is such an interesting feature that it is irresistable not to ask more about it.
When hyping up the Cell processor, statements were indeed made that multiple Cells could conceivably be hooked up together. This would provide an almost linear improvement in performance with each new Cell added. I say “almost” linear because there is additional communications and other overhead involved in connecting more than one CPU together, so when you have two processors, you might get, say, 1.8 times the speed. Three processors would give 2.6 times the speed, etc. In the talks of connecting multiple Cells, no mention was made of using the graphics chip in any way, though it must be noted that the Cell is plenty powerful enough to render great graphics without the RSX. For example, in the interview I mentioned yesterday, Mr. Chatani says “For example we showed the demo that renders London City, it’s not rendered in the GPU but the CELL does lighting and texture processing then outputs it to the frame buffer.” So for that demo, the graphics chip was bypassed entirely. So putting together several Cell processors would greatly increase the graphics computing power put to bear on a problem, even without a graphics processor. (That said, NVIDIA does have technology to use more than one graphics chip to solve an image, if I remember correctly.) I’m no technical guru, but I am a software developer. I don’t think there’s anything technically stopping game developers from connecting a couple PS3′s to increase the power for a task.
That said, I don’t think it’ll happen. How many people will have more than one PS3 to take advantage of all the effort required? Especially given the rumours that the PS3 will be an expensive console, I think it is very unlikely that many people would own more than one PS3. You could argue that if the software is there, people would buy more than one PS3. But that’s asking game developers to take a very large leap of faith that if they did develop something, people would pony up the dough for both the game and another PS3. Not gonna happen.
A more likely scenario is that Sony will just release the PS4 with several Cell processors in it. You heard it here first, folks!
During the Sony reorg presentation, Mr. Stringer outlined a very few details about the PS3 launch. Most importantly, he confirmed again a spring 2006 launch for the PS3, though he made no mention of what regions it would be launched in. CVG expects a simultaneous worldwide release (let’s hope!), but gameindustry.biz thinks it’ll launch first in Japan, with other regions like North America half a year or more behind.
If you head on over to GameFront and scroll down a bit, their article about this news contains a link to an image that looks to be from the presentation.
[Update: More Details]
If you’re a fan of the pod-race sequence in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, then you might like that KOEI has up its sleave. Developed by KOEI’s new studio in Toronto (why can’t game companies ever come to Ottawa?), Fatal Inertia screenshots looks very much like the pod-racing scenes. The game is expected to be a release title for when the PS3 hits in the spring of 2006. (Everybody keeps saying spring 2006, maybe that’ll make it true!) IGN says:
Officially described as “a contrast of vibrant, futuristic vehicles battling and racing in a variety of beautiful, natural environments,” Fatal Inertia is a 23rd century sport that mixes street racing, rally racing, and demolition derbies and is also said to have six main goals: 1.) to have a realistic world based on physics, 2.) to have a variety of physics-based weaponry, 3.) to boast completely customizable vehicles, 4.) to entertain a large variety of game modes, 5.) to show off several nature-based stages, and 6.) to thrill gamers in multiplayer battles.
Imagine shooting a missile to cause a landslide on an opponent. Or to close off a canyon behind you. Or, or, or! The possibilities, man! Don’t believe me? Right from KOEI:
The foundation of Fatal Inertia is its physics engine, which uses the power of the PS3 to create weapons and environments that are unlike anything seen before. The beautiful natural environments aren’t just scenery — they are there to be used in combat, and rock walls can quickly become avalanches to use against your opponents. You’ll have unparalleled freedom, and with all the possibilities the physics-based engine has to offer, you’ll never have the same play experience twice.
At the TGS, PC Watch interviewed Masayuki Chatani, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.’s Chief Technology Officer. GameGeekNews was kind enough to provide a babelfished translation. (See below.)
First of all, Mr. Chatani says that the HDMI outputs on the PS3 are fully compliant to the HDMI spec (though he didn’t say which version) and that they support audio. Also, Mr. Chatani says that though the first display can be HDTV, the second display doesn’t have to be. Things brings up all sorts of possibilities. You could be playing a game and have a buddy come up via IM and have that appear in the second display. The chat window seems to be part of the PS3 OS itself, and you can make it show up on the main display or the secondary display, without support from the game itself.
Mr. Chatani also said that all the memory card slots will be treated equally, and that you’ll be able to save to any of them or get data/music/etc from any of them.
Some have speculated that the BD-ROM drive in the PS3 won’t be the standard BD format we’ll see in standalone BD players. Mr. Chatani shoots a bullet in that speculation by saying that they’re waiting for the BD-ROM spec to be finalized at which point the PS3 will be made to support it too.
The PS3 doesn’t have a dedicated sound chip because the Cell processor is plenty powerful enough to handle game and audio chores at the same time. With 7 SPE’s, it better be. They’re also working hard to make the PS3 even quieter than the PS2, which would be great. I don’t like extraneous noise of any kind.