Phil Harrison Talks BD for PS3


BD: Part of the PS3 experienceThree Speech has an interview involving Eurogamer’s Rob Fahey and Sony’s Phil Harrison which will be published in parts.

The first segment has Harrison discussing BD and it’s use with the PS3. I’ll get straight to the point and summarise the interesting bits:

* Only BD has the sufficient storage capacity that Cell and RSX requires for data consumption. DVD 9 simply isn’t up to it

* A lot of PS3 launch titles are close to the 25GB limit (50GB should be available next year)

* HD doesn’t just mean great graphics. It allows for 7.1 audio, 1080p movies in games (think The Darkness), high res textures, improved animation etc

* Admits not every game will fill 25GB or 50GB but having that creative flexibility is beneficial not just for the present, but for years to come

* Views games that feature “full HD sequences” as part of the gaming experience and not just an excuse to fill up the disc

* Harrison denies games such as GT HD & SingStar will be shipped with very little content on the BD resulting in a waste of space. Unsure just how much but more than would be possible using DVD, plus the content available for the games will be improved upon via downloadable content on to your hdd. (no mention of cost though :wink: )

* Games could be re-published 1 or 2 years after release with all the extra content that was made available for download after the initial release, added to the disc for those who didn’t purchase the game initially or newcomers to the PS3
(The games with little or no content had better be cheap and I’m a little angry at that last comment about re-releasing games with added content to the disc that people may have already bought via downloads. There’s no point buying a game’s extra content if they release it again a year or two down the line with all that extra stuff added to the disc :x)

That’s the first part out of the way. Obviously Phil Harrison will point out the positives for including a BD in the PS3 but if I had a choice whether or not to include BD in the PS3 or not I would have it in there as the positives far outweigh the negatives for me as a gamer.

That’s despite Blu-ray bumping up the cost of the PS3 and causing delays especially to the European release of the console.

Harrison on BD for PS3


Written by: Gary - News Contributor


  1. #1 by Matilda on October 17th, 2006

    what’s the three speech url?

  2. #2 by Gary on October 17th, 2006 [ 1780 Points ]

    Click the link at the bottom of my post.

  3. #3 by Matilda on October 17th, 2006

    ah yeah, thx!

  4. #4 by The Prince Of Ecuador on October 17th, 2006

    Man, people really get pissed when people talk about actually _charging_ for something don’t they… i.e. this furore over GTHD. Consider, a development team is going out on a limb if it has to hibernate for 5 years to make the ultimate, best game ever and then finally release.

    Look at what Valve are doing with episodic content, they really don’t want to go back into that lonely, risky hibernation period. Applaud this downloadable content effort… not only will it mean we’ll _get_ more content but that our choices will be heard, teams will know what content sells best and people will get duly promoted and make _more_ content… this is capitalism at work!

    And of course they can repackage it all years later when it’s all been release and sell it cheaply… they now know what worked, what didn’t and, hey, they didn’t go bust – it’s no different to budget re-releases.

  5. #5 by Gary on October 17th, 2006 [ 1780 Points ]

    Key word being “cheaply”. If it’s re-released cheaper than what it cost to initially buy the game fair enough but then why even buy games at all? Why not wait two years after release and see what happens?

    If I had to choose between buying HL 2 when it was first released then buying it when it’s re-released with eps 1 & 2, Team fortress etc added to it, it’s a no brainer.

    Of course nobody knows what will happen so you buy the games you want now and if you want the ‘newer’ version (like DMC3: SE & MGS3: Subsistence which I’m getting even though I already bought and finished them) then you re-buy them if they are worth it.

    My problem however, is that you buy the game initially for £40 then they make downloads available at say £2.50 per download (maybe a level or new tracks or whatever) and you buy 5 of these totalling £12.50 that’s £52.50 all together including your initial purchase. Then the re-release the game with the extra content you’ve already bought at a price of £30. :x

    That’s why I’m not exactly happy about all this downloadable content business and why I’m unlikely to do it.

    Fair points on devs bringing in income on a sustained basis from offering downloadable content though.

  6. #6 by bobeotm on October 17th, 2006

    People get up in arms over GTHD, without knowing the full details. There are two modes, one mode has hundreds of cars and quite a few tracks, but its essentially using the high res assets available in gt4′s photo mode. So its basically a sharper crisper, nicer looking version of gt4. The other mode is supposed to be what GT5 looks like, with highly detailed cars and tracks. This is the mode that will have the majority of its content available via download. Since Yamauchi said it takes them essentially 3 months of someone’s development time to currently do one car in that mode, im not surprised there isnt much yet.

    No one seems to be bothered by the fact that essentially everything costs something on Xbox live (remember the 1.99 horse armor from oblivion?). I dont think it is going to be that big of a deal honestly. We have to keep in mind they have yet to tell us pricing, or if it will even cost us (some content may be free, as it is on live), so i think its premature to think that downloadable content will cost us an arm and a leg (since we already used the other arm and leg for the ps3 itself :-)).

  7. #7 by Matilda on October 17th, 2006

    http://www.threespeech.com. ‘Semi official’. Interresting idea, but is it viable for a blog to work like that?

  8. #8 by xberserker on October 17th, 2006 [ 1102 Points ]

    Re-releasing games … I don’t like that either, unless it’s very cheap say …. $25. Personally I love that the PS3 has bluray built in. I actuallyl just bought a bluray movie off eBay last week and I don’t even have a player or HDTV yet, lol. But I will come late nov or early dec.

    But once I got the bluray case and disc, I was really impressive with the disc and the cover was cool. I even put my fingers on it, even a little damp and it just faded away. No prints left, nothing, I love that coating they put on those :D Go bluray!

  9. #9 by matt on October 17th, 2006

    Why does Sony think I want to watch FMV? If sony is filling up a 25gb disc it must be hours of 1080p cutscenes. I don’t want FMV. I don’t want to watch something that is not rendered from the game engine. When the movies look 3x-4x better than the regular game it just makes the game look worse. Dead Rising does a great job with cutscenes.

    If I wanted to watch something I would put in a movie. Every time the Sony execs open their mouths I want to put my foot in their ass. STOP LYING THAT BRD ARE NEEDED!!! When they can fill up a DVD9 with gamecode then I will say we need BRD. 360 games take up half of the space on DVD9 and they are full length games. This is just marketing bull$@#^.

  10. #10 by Henning on October 17th, 2006 [ 0 Points ]

    Whatever you say, matt.

    Personally, I like the fact that Insomniac is putting in extra sounds effects, and at a higher quality, than they normally could.

    That they’re putting all localized versions on one disc, thus decreasing their cost and hassle they have to go through, and also giving gamers a choice of languages.

    That they have enough space to perhaps include demos for other games or movie trailers or the like.

    That, for heaven’s sake, they’re just giving the developer the room to actually be a little more creative! Do you really think that developers are so brain-dead that the only thing they can think of to use that extra space for is FMV?

    Complaints like this make me think of the 640K argument all over again. What happened when the first PC came out with more than 640K? I’m sure somebody said “It’s just a way to sell more RAM! It’ll never be needed or used! It’s just for FMV!”

    50GB Link (thanks Gary)

  11. #11 by Segitz on October 17th, 2006 [ 1470 Points ]

    Its not like BD Games will feature FMVs like the Wing Commander or Pandora series, where every little scene was FMV.

    BUT

    Think of other things. A video at 1080P takes up about 20MBit/s (todays german DVB-S2 channels do that), which is 2.5MB/s. So one minute takes up 150MBytes. With about 7.5GB of available space, that means, you cant put much more than intro, outro and “presented by nvidia” videos on it, when games take up AT LEAST 5GB of data in the future.

    Good videos really add immersion and allow different methods of storytelling (i.e. changing of scenes without loading) whatnot.

    I really find it amusing, that ALL XBots and Wii people laugh at the BD arguments, when all they can argue with “we dont need FMVs, we wont need so much gamedata…”. I mean, THAT is total BS. Look at the data needed in pc games for the last 6 years (since PS2 launched). In 2000, a average PC game needed about one CD (650 to 700MB), some two. Now, Company of Heroes for example or GRAW need 4,32GB and 2,48GB respectively (The two games, I just happen to have right here). Thats a nearly 7 fold advancement in size. Now, ALREADY 360 games have 4-7GB of data, without any big FMVs or sharp textures (speaking of GRAW or Oblivion). This IS a defining factor, that will cripple the 360 in the future (think of multi platform games, mainly developed for the PS3, with BD in mind).

    I really have no problem with any other consoles, but bashing like THAT just is beyond knowledge!

  12. #12 by matt on October 17th, 2006

    I have not read ANYWHERE on the net outside of Sony that the larger discs are necessary. Any argument that came up about games getting larger there were more arguments for compression. The future is compression. That is the only way we can get away from a hard format and go strictly to downloading everything from games to movies. The internet is not gaining enough speed to justify 50GB downloads.

    San Andreas was smaller than GTAIII. Proof that compression works.

    Phil Harrison even says that they can do 1080p movies in game. I DON’T WANT THAT! The Japanese are huge on movies. That is why I stopped playing a lot of Japanese games. MGS is a bore. It added hours and hours to the gameplay that I could care less about. The acting and story just aren’t that good for me to sit through HOURS of crap. How long will the summons be in FF? 1-2 minutes?

    Another thing. Are they compressing anything? People here fail to realize how big of a jump 5gb to 25 gb is. That is extremely difficult and would be so far above the norm for the development cycles since the beginning of gaming.

    Oblivion was an awesome game and I cannot tell you how happy I am that they DIDN’T include FMV. The game took me 130 hours to complete in full. FMV could have added hours to a game that long. Using the game engine to do movies is a hell of a lot easier and believable. The lack of FMV kept me playing the game which is what I like to do with my valuable time.

    Just think of the loading times that are coming for the PS3. That is what scares me.

    I am laughing at how many people believe everything Sony says. Will the space be used in the future? I would say yes, in 3-5 years the extra space maybe necessary. By then we will be getting information on the new systems coming out.

    As hard as Sony is working on selling you the BRD is needed thing, Microsoft is researching says of compressing data. Not just for games but to get into the download market that will be coming in the future (after the death of hard formats)

    Segitz, GRAW is a 5GB game on PC That leaves 3.5GB roughly for growth. That is a ton of space in the game world. Compression will also get better.

    When a developer tells me personally that the extra space won’t be used efficiently until the next gen (PS4, 720) I tend to believe them over anything on the net. He wasn’t being paid to say anything and doesn’t need to please a client of his. Sloppy programming is one reason for more space.

    I wish I saw the Sony world through your eyes. It would be a much nicer place than the real world.

  13. #13 by Henning on October 17th, 2006 [ 0 Points ]

    Yes, the Resistance folks ARE compressing their stuff. And frankly, I don’t need a developer to tell me whether or not the space is needed. Obviously it’s not needed (for now). The 360 is doing fine without it. But that’s not the question. The question is whether or not the developers could use it if they had it, and if that would be a good thing or not.

    So, uh, developer dude. We could give you an extra 41GB of space to play with, if you like. You could try new things, experiment with new ideas. Maybe include some game demos to other games, or some cool new high-quality 7.1 surround effects or music. Or maybe, instead of hiring a couple guys to figure out how to compress things even better than you already are, you could use those same resources to improve the graphics or AI! Or whatever. Don’t let my ideas hold you back – you can try out your own!

    What developer would say no to that? What developer wouldn’t be giddy with glee that one of their barriers has been moved a mile away? What developer wouldn’t brainstorm a thousand cool new ideas for using all this extra elbow room? It’s about giving them the space they need to grow the gaming entertainment experience. If you make the box small, they’ll think small. Make the box big, and they’ll think big! Graphics power is increasing. Memory is increasing. Processor power is increasing. Internet bandwidth is going up. But lets keep the storage space the same! Wha … ? It doesn’t make sense.

    People accuse me of being a fanboy all the time. Whatever. I’ve chosen sides, sure, but I’m not stupid or blind. But you do have to be blind to miss the possibilities that BD brings. Possibilities that are already bearing fruit. There’s only one kind of person that can’t see those possibilities: the person that doesn’t want to.

  14. #14 by fleakitten on October 17th, 2006 [ 26489 Points ]

    I think I’ve stated this before (not sure if it was here though) but If we look back on what Sony’s done with every system they’ve launched they’ve always introduced a new disc format. We started with Cds for the PS1 and everyone ridiculed Sony for making such an expensive move. People were saying cartridges were good enough for the time and that developing for CD was going to be too expensive. Sound familiar? That’s one of the reasons Sony beat out the compitition then. It was the same with the PS2 and the jump to Dvd format.

  15. #15 by bobeotm on October 18th, 2006

    Developers over time always manage to fill up the space they are given. And later in thee 360′s life, developers will reach a threshold where the system can do more than the format will allow. I have always loved sony’s stance of going with a new format for each system. My ps2 was my first DVD player, and it was the cheapest one on the market at the time. My PS3 will probably fullfill the same role, acting as my blu-ray player until standalones become as cheap as dvd players are today.
    I dont care what the haters say, BD IS AN ADVANTAGE. how can added storage not be anything but a good thing? Multiple localized versions of a game on the same disk cant be anything but a godsend to publishers (significantly reducing overally manufacturing costs).
    BTW, i like FMV’s. when done right, they give a significant sense of accomplishment, and act as a sort of milestone in games. Who didnt play through all the characters in tekken games, just to see the fmv’s for each at the end? When done right and done well, FMV’s can add to an already good experience.


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