Archive for September, 2006
Now that TGS ’06 is done and consigned to history I thought it would be a good idea for us all on PS3Blog to give our verdicts on the show and what was great, good, poor and downright rubbish about everything PS3 related that happened before (Ken’s keynote) & during the event:
What was the best thing about TGS ’06:
Gary: For me the quality of games left me very impressed. MGS4 looked amazing made up of in-game footage. FI: Championship Edition looked incredible especially the rains soaked section in the video. Afrika has got me very intrigued and looks almost real although nothing is known as to what type of game it will be. DMC4 has got me way too excited for obvious reasons & White Knight looks very impressive for a game in such an early stage of development. The PS3 produced the goods gaming wise for me when it needed to the most.
Tom: I found that the standard of the games was excellent in most cases. Based on what was said it appears PS3 launch games are much further along than xbox360 launch games were last year. Particularly impressive was Formula 1, I’m so glad that this game really does look the business, but I was also impressed by Ridge Racer 7 and Resistance again. Sony finally delivered what they needed to the most- quality titles available around launch.
Henning: The best thing about TGS was that we’re finally seeing some PS3 games in action. TGS attendees could actually play some of those PS3 games we’ve been hearing about for months! After endless teasing screenshots and little video clips, it’s nice to get some solid game info. Ridge Racer 7 impressed me a lot. I’m a racing fan, but hadn’t really put this game on my audition list. Now I have to change my mind.
Darrin: The best thing was to see such a strong PS3 showing. The PS3 hardware looked solid, lots of games had effects and graphics that exceeded my expectations, and they had a great overall game lineup. It wasn’t just one or two games that looked good, they had lots of games of different genres that looked very polished and playable.
What could have been better but still left you impressed?
Gary: Sony reducing the price of the 20GB PS3 and adding HDMI to it was a good move but apparantley the price is just reduced in Japan and not the other territories. If the price reduction does happen elsewhere (especially Europe) then my interest would switch from the 60GB model to the 20GB PS3.
Tom: For me it was the news at the conference. It may have been delivered very cryptically but Sony’s decision to lower the price of the 20GB machine (one I still feel may be replicated internationally) and include a HDMI output. Suddenly the pack which looked lacking now appears to be the pack of choice and it brings the PS3 and its full experience into the reach of more people. I was disappointed though that for now the price change is restricted to Japan. Hopefully we’ll hear some more soon!
Henning: You guys are stealing all my answers! HDMI output across the board is a very good thing. Price drop? How can that be bad? (Even though some are spinning it as such.)
Darrin: GT:HD. I was impressed that they are planning to ship GT this year with full online play plus some significant improvements but it still could have been better. Honestly, I’m skeptical about them following through with so many odd ideas: an interim release in between GT4 and GT5 that has both a cleaned up GT4 with online + bikes plus a completely separate preview of single player GT5? And then the crazy micro-payment stuff on top of all of that? I don’t think the micro-payment stuff is worth worrying about yet, but the whole project sounds like it’s still in the early brainstorming stage.
Which game either present or a no show at TGS, left you dissapointed?
Gary: The lack of any Resident Evil 5 info, not even a teaser trailer. It was never announced to appear at the show but it would’ve been nice for it to be present in some form.
I was also very dissapointed with the announcement of GT HD coming in two forms & practically empty of any meaningful content, which you then have to purchase separately via micro-transactions. In a way it means you can control how many cars & tracks you purchase but it still leaves you with a lack of choice out of the box and what happens if you don’t like the cars & tracks you have purchased?
Tom: GTHD. The game looks and sounds superb and would have (and will still) been a definite purchase, but as I referred to in my post on it the micro-transaction stuff needs to be extremely carefully planned so as not to become a total rip-off to us. Hopefully Sony and Polyphony take in this feedback carefully, as I have no doubt that the game will otherwise blow me away.
Henning: Killzone 2? Hello? Where are you? I know that Sony wants to focus on Resistance, but would it have killed them to show us a little something about Killzone?
Darrin: I was disappointed that we didn’t get any significant new info on GTA4, Mercenaries 2, Assassin’s Creed, Resident Evil 5, or Heavenly Sword.
What was the biggest letdown at TGS?
Gary: Definitely Sony’s lack of announcements regarding their online plans. This doesn’t bode well for the first batch of PS3 games with regards to online plans, with THP8 already suffering as a result. Will October be the month when their plans are revealed? I wouldn’t bet on it.
Tom: No full online plans. Again. Sony really needs to get its act together and it is looking more and more like the online services will be struggling to make it to launch. I sincerely hope I’m wrong but a number of developers have expressed concerns over problems with Sony’s service (despite an overall positive impression of their plans).
Henning: I agree with Gary and Tom, of course. We were promised a lot of info at TGS, and we didn’t get it. Quite disappointing. I was reading the updates from TGS about Ken’s keynote, and when it was over, I was amazed that he basically said nothing. (Except for HDMI.)
Darrin: I was slightly disappointed by the lack of excitement and surprise. The PS3 hardware and software looked excellent, so the important stuff was there, but the event lacked any drama or flare. Ultimately I don’t care about flashy trade shows and marketing events but I can’t help but feel that the event was somewhat anti-climatic
What was your verdict about Sony’s showing at TGS ’06? Feel free to have your say here.
Sonic is actually one of the few games I played on my Genesis way back when. (My Genesis flirtation didn’t last long.)
We haven’t heard much from Sonic, so I thought I’d make sure to point out these video clips.
As long as this version maintains the Hedgehog’s famous speed, this game might have a shot at doing well…
“Instead of going for the highest possible performance, which does not contribute to software development, our idea was to create a developer-friendly next generation TV game machine that maintained above-standard capabilities.” – Nintendo
The Wii is a new console coming out, from Nintendo, whose power is maybe a little bit better than the original Xbox’s. The above quote, however, is not about the Wii, but is actually about the GameCube! But it could have been about the Wii.
I have to wonder: is the Wiimote enough to sell the Wii? Interest in the Wii is quite high. And unlike what Nintendo did with the GameCube, Nintendo is actually trying to get third-party developers to write games for the Wii.
Gord (of “Acts of Gord” fame – see link) wrote an article near the GameCube’s launch to discuss the fact that the GameCube would not do well. As it turns out, he was right! It’s a great article – Gord has a great writing style and I suggest you check out this article and the rest of his stories.
His main points were:
- A new console should be more powerful than what’s out there already.
- People generally don’t buy more than one console.
- You need lots of gamers on a platform to attract developers. That’s something the PS2 had that the GameCube didn’t.
How does this compare to the launch of the Wii? Or the PS3 for that matter? I’ll let you guys discuss that.
Hmmm. I wonder if Gord could do a similar article about the next generation of consoles. I’ll e-mail him and see if he replies!
Until Sony officially announces the price for PS3 games, rumours will continue to surface and disappear on a weekly basis but Sony Style (US) has priced PS3 games at $59.99 for pre-orders.
They also have some box art for a few of the games that they have made available for pre-order.
I’ve said it before but Sony would be on very dangerous ground to charge more than $59.99 for PS3 games. I will be very surprised and dissapointed if they did.
I’m already working out which games will be must have purchases & worth £40 and which games will have to be left to one side until they are at a more reasonable price, as £40 is still a lot of money to pay for games.
Phil Harrison on 1080p, TGS games, Microsoft, and Blu-ray.
Jack Tretton discusses corporate strategies.
In the past few years Phil Harrison seems to have become the public face of the PlayStation, appearing at practically every conference and usually appearing as the most approachable of the company’s spokespeople. He does come in for some stick from certain corners, but for the most part he says what needs to be said. And you wouldn’t argue with a 6 foot 7 inch tall Brit would you?
In his latest interview at TGS with GamePro Harrison is faced with a few tricky questions, but answers with aplomb, providing some interesting new details:
#Sony went “radio silent” after E3 and kept the development of PS3 titles out of the public eye to make the improvements at TGS as clear as possible. Harrison also notes that what was shown at TGS isn’t simply “it”, and that there are more refinements and improvements to come from PS3 titles.
#Harrison again points out the the PS3 is the only console capable of TrueHD (no longer true, but you can understand his confusion- Microsoft’s conference was almost as odd as Sony’s in that respect), but also goes on to remind the interviewer that a nameless competitor remarked that there would be no 1080p games on the PS3 this year so that’s why they made such a big play of it. Harrison actually believes that certain games look better at 720p depending on their style and design. I suppose this highlights the choice available to developers though.
#The conversation turns corporate and Harrison addresses the question of arrogance and what makes Sony standout from Microsoft. He firstly makes it clear that Sony does read feedback (in forums and newsgroups) from its millions of users and fans who want the company to do a good job with their products. Harrison also praises the input of other companies supporting the console. Harrison goes on to highlight that Sony’s internal development studios, according to Merryll Lynch, are as large as Microsoft and Nintendo’s. Combined. That encompases 14 studios and 2200 people, sharing common technology and tools to the benefit of Sony’s platform; Harrison is the boss of this division. He also praises Ken Kuturagi as a challenging visionary and highlights the role PlayStation 3 has a as a multi-function device so that people can get more out of the system.
#Harrison makes it clear we ought to expect PS3 software functionality to grow over time as it has on the PSP through firmware upgrades. He also addresses the issue of hardware upgrades (extra RAM and so on), saying that if Sony was to go down this route they would guarantee nobody would get left behind.
#Finally Harrison picks a last question from the journalist’s notebook, addressing the Blu-ray drive. He emphasises that its inclusion was purely a game based decision and that using it for movie playback is subordinate. He again mentions Resistance’s 20GB+ size and warns that they will be pushing the 50GB by the end of the PS3′s lifespan. To be fair we’ve seen both arguements for and against the inclusion of the Blu-ray drive, but I’m steadily coming around to thinking that Blu-ray will really begin to shine later on in this generation and present some big advantages making it well worth the money.
In a separate interview SCEA’s Jack Tretton discusses where Sony stands in the games industry as of now (how well the PSP is doing in the States relative to the DS- the figures confirm it has sold better over a shoter period of time, despite now been behind following the DSLite’s release- and how Microsoft is under performing with the 360). Both parts contain bits of controversy, but its worth remembering this stuff is for the benefit of the games industry and not focused on us so much. In that vein however at the end of the interview Tretton re-iterates Sony will not be forced into using rumble by Immersion and that developers have responded more postively to Sony’s open network than Microsoft’s closed one. It’s a very interesting read!