Archive for October, 2007

UT3 Trailer

Here’s a new UT3 video I haven’t seen before. Looking good!

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PlayStation Quarterly Financial Report

Sony released their quarterly financial report for fiscal Q2 2007, which corresponds to calendar Q3 2007.

Here are the numbers for Sony’s game division. These numbers are listed in millions of U.S. dollars. Sony’s real financial data is in Japanese Yen.

July-Sept 2006 July-Sept 2007 Change
Operating Revenue (Sales) $1,481.20 $2,117.00 +42.92%
Operating Expenses $1,859.52 $2,958.00 +59.07%
Operating Income (Loss) ($378.32) ($841.00)

Of the $841 million dollar loss, $462.68 million of that was due to inventory deterioration. This deterioration was primarily PS3 related and occurs for two reasons:

  1. Inventory deteriorates when it is produced at a higher cost than the intended selling price. The book value of your inventory is less than your production expense. The difference is booked as a deterioration expense.
  2. When you reduce the selling price of your product, you reduce the book value of your existing inventory. This reduction in book value is treated as a deterioration expense.

On the bright side, Sony’s other divisions turned profits, and overall Sony made a $787 million dollar profit during the quarter. Obviously, the PS3 is a long term investment and up front losses are expected. The PS1 and PS2 provided many profitable quarters. Let’s hope the PS3 proves to be a profitable investment over it’s lifespan and encourages future development of its kind.

Hardware Unit Sales

(in millions of units)

July-Sept 2006 July-Sept 2007 Change
PSP 2.02 2.58 +0.56
PS2 3.41 3.28 -0.13
PS3 1.31

Software Unit Sales

This presumably does not count downloadable purchases. Not sure if this includes budget priced titles.
(in millions of units)

July-Sept 2006 July-Sept 2007 Change
PSP 13.2 12.6 -0.6
PS2 47.2 38 -9.2
PS3 10.3

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Ratchet & Clank Impressions

Warning: This isn’t a review and this isn’t trying to approximate public consensus. This is merely my personal opinion as a fan.

The R&C series reminds me of a Pixar movie, and not simply because of the graphics and the “look”. Pixar is known for making high quality movies that simultaneously satisfy both children and adults. Children need movies that are somewhat simple and easy to enjoy at an accessible level, while adults appreciate more clever writing and subtle complexities.

In the same way, R&C appeals to both novice gamers who want something that is rewarding to play without being too complicated or difficult, and to veteran gamers who enjoy innovative, extremely polished game play, with high production values, and bleeding edge technology.

If you are a veteran gamer who is turned off the family friendly look of the title, I would strongly recommend you give it a better look. Often, the cutting edge games are made by passionate developers who tend to prefer mature themes while the family friendly titles are made by market-savvy business types who don’t want to put the effort into making an innovative title. However, this title really does both.

My biggest worry with this title, was that it would be exactly like earlier titles in the series with upgraded graphics. Fortunately, that’s not the case at all. The general structure of the game is exactly the same, but there are many evolutions, improvements, tweaks, and changes that make this experience feel fresh. I’ve only played through the first few levels, but so far, it definitely delivers the gameplay improvements that I had hoped to see.

The graphics and technology in this title are amazing. The wow factor behind the graphics and animation are the best I’ve seen on the PS3. There is constantly a huge amount of activity occurring in the foreground and background and the frame rate is consistently high. The most impressive graphical feature is probably the animation. Everything in the game has a very complex and fluid set of animations. The PS2 R&C titles still look amazing, and while better graphics are assumed, the improvement is quite dramatic.

If you haven’t played this series, I’d summarize it as a light-hearted, innovative, funny, family-friendly, extremely well polished shooter with some platforming and exploration elements. If you’ve played previous titles in the series, you know if you like it or not, but compared to previous entries, the gameplay is better than ever, there are definite enhancements, the polish is very high, and the technical wow factor is strong.

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GT5 + Top Gear = Cool

gt5_topgear.jpg

Here’s a press release I got about Top Gear coming to GT5. Follow this GT5 Top Gear press release link for the whole press release plus images.

Top Gear to provide content for download via GT TV™

Tokyo, October 24 2007 – Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) and Polyphony Digital, Inc., the creators of the best-selling racing franchise, Gran Turismo®, today announced a collaboration with BBC Worldwide that will allow BBC’s Top Gear programme to be downloaded through Gran Turismo TV (GT TV™) on PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™).

GT TV, a dedicated online channel packed with the latest news and content from the motoring world, will launch worldwide on PLAYSTATION®Network in 2008. BBC Worldwide will provide 40 episodes of Top Gear, the award-winning BBC television series about motoring for download.

In addition, the Top Gear Test Track – the track featured each week on the show, where host Jeremy Clarkson and the Top Gear team test the latest cars – will be replicated in Gran Turismo 5 (GT5) on PS3. For the first time in a racing game, players will be able to burn rubber and experience every white knuckle, hairpin turn on the Top Gear Test Track for themselves.

“We at Polyphony are great fans of the world’s best motoring programme, Top Gear, so we’re delighted to be collaborating with BBC Worldwide to deliver Top Gear content via Gran Turismo,” said Kazunori Yamauchi, President, Polyphony Digital, “We’re sure that players will be as thrilled as we are when they get the chance to put their own driving skills to the test on the Top Gear Test Track in GT5, as well as enjoying classic episodes of Top Gear via GT TV.”

Simon Danker, Director, Digital Media, BBC Worldwide commented, “BBC Top Gear is the world’s number one motoring media brand and we’re thrilled to make it accessible to Gran Turismo gamers. We continue to explore different avenues to share our content with an expanding audience, and are delighted to participate with Polyphony Digital in the launch of this exciting new opportunity.”

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