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Roundtable: Eve of the Launch!

Read our answers and add your own in the comments.

1. Other than Resistance, what will be the best PS3 title for 2006?

Tom: Hmm… I’m going to give a bit of a cop-out answer. Motorstorm might be getting released in Japan without an online mode, but otherwise it’s pretty much fully featured! It clearly is shaping up to be something very special. It sounds like an excellent mix of great fun gameplay and incredible graphics.

Henning: Ridge Racer 7 I guess. But I’m going by popular demand, not my own opinion. I don’t like drifting.

Darrin: I pick Rainbow Six although I haven’t seen the reviews yet. Other than Resistance, all the other titles I’m excited about aren’t scheduled for release until Q1 2007.

2. Aside from the launch games, what will be the best thing about the PS3 at launch?

Tom: I’m torn between Blu-ray compatibility and the PS store/web-browsing, these things are not really offered by Nintendo or Microsoft out of the box and I think they’ll get a lot of use!

Darrin: Good playable game demos. We’ll at least get a taste of some big PS3 games like Motorstorm this year. And of course, Blu-Ray movies and online content.

Henning: BD movies!

3. What do you think the reaction to the PS3 launch will be?

Tom: Mixed- The hardware seems to be there, save some minor issues (‘only’ 97% backwards compatibility, resolution scaling); but the software really doesn’t seem to be there yet. Save for Resistance the games that are available are also on the xbox 360, and in many cases are only as good as if not slightly worse. For now, I’ll chalk this down to launch titles, but lets hope this isn’t the start of a pattern.

Henning: I think that it will be generally positive. Retailers and eBay have learned a lot from last year’s mess, so while this year wi’ll still be crazy, it’ll also be good.

Darrin: Excitement mixed with skepticism. The PS3 will launch in 2006, but we will have to wait until March/April 2007 until the hardware availability is there and there is a high quality comprehensive game lineup to match. I’m just hoping there are no other bad surprises.

4. What kind of reliability do you expect to see from the PS3?

Tom: So far, things are looking pretty good. I think Sony will have learnt from their PS2 mistakes. That is not to say that there won’t be though, it took a long time for those PS2 problems to come to light.

Henning: Decent, but not without problems here and there.

Darrin: I have no idea, but this is my biggest concern about the PS3. Sony has a lot of experience with consumer electronics, but the PS3 is an extremely ambitious product, and all that bleeding edge technology is ripe for problems.

5. What has been the biggest disappointment leading up to launch?

Henning: Low shipment quantities.

Tom: Without a doubt, the delay of the European launch!

Darrin: No big disappointments yet, but the important stuff is still to come. True, everything about the 2006 launch was scaled back. But if all the important stuff goes smoothly (hardware, games, multimedia and online functionality), we will quickly forget such hiccups.

6. What unanswered questions do you still have about the PS3 before launch?

Darrin: I want to hear what the rumored secret feature is. Many have forgotten this, but I’m holding onto hope that Sony still has a big positive surprise for us.

Henning: Will I be able to get the gamertag I want?

Tom: How often will we get firmware upgrades and what kind of timeline can we expect for future features! Sony has been open on its intentions with the PSP firmware, so a similar approach with PS3 would be very welcome.

7. Do you think that the PS3 is going to have the online functionality that you want?

Tom: To be honest the PS3 at launch practically offers the online functionality I want, it seems that later games will do a better job though with things like the friends list. I’ve always been interested in playing online casually and that what the PS3 seems to offer, unlike the xbox 360’s commitment based approach.

Darrin: Absolutely. Regular multiplayer games and chat are old news. I’m really looking forward to seeing more novel online experiences in the direction of Second Life and MMO’s. We’ve seen that stuff in the PC world, but I think the PS3 will open up a much larger market to that kind of content and encourage more development and innovation.

Henning: Yes, except for chat during games.

8. What game from on another platform would you like to see on the PS3?

Henning: Monster Madness (upcoming title for PC and XBox 360)

Tom: Pretty unoriginal here, Halo 3. It’s the only game I’m really interested in a 360 for at the moment. Other than that the line-ups are pretty similar!

Darrin: Alan Wake, Crackdown, and Mass Effect all look really good.

9. What PS3 titles are you most looking forward to in the first quarter of 2007?

Henning: F1 Championship. No, make that MotorStorm. Heavenly Sword? Gaaaah!

Tom: Probably Heavenly Sword. I cannot wait to see how that has progressed since we last saw it!

Darrin: It’s really hard to tell what will be good without playing them. There are so many good ones, but I’d pick Mercenaries 2 and Warhawk for myself and I can’t wait to watch my girlfriend play SingStar. I am not a karaoke type, but that actually looks pretty cool.

10. How do you think that PS3 Linux will be used?

Henning: I don’t think it’ll produce much that’s interesting for quite some time. I’m not holding out hope.

Tom: I doubt it will get huge support, but there should be a community of users. I’d certainly recommend that everybody downloads a Linux kit- it will help give you access to quite a community of people building homebrew gaming apps.

Darrin: I can see some people who normally don’t have their own PC’s, using it as a convenient PC.

11. What kind of user created content do you expect to see on PS3?

Darrin: We will see a huge rise in user created content, but it will be content for pre-written software. We will see user developed content for games like Second Life, custom songs for games like SingStar, and lots of user created blogs and websites and opinion and editorial. A lot of people are expecting lone hobbyist programmers to start brand new applications from scratch; that kind of hobbyist activity has gradually disappeared and isn’t coming back. Even making simple games typically requires multiple people with different skill sets and requires huge amounts of skill, effort, management, coordination, and time. That’s just not feasible for hobbyists. But writing a blog, setting up a store in Second Life, uploading a home video, or uploading custom music tracks is well within the reach of hobbyists and that kind of activity is about to take off on game consoles.

Henning: See my answer above

Tom: Games- at first, basic things like Tetris or puzzles, then maybe some more advanced stuff. I’d also expect to see things like user specific characters in games (with mapped faces), along with lots of community features like pictures and videos.