PlayStation 3: The Real Deal

Written by rob on May 8, 2006 – 10:31 pm -

The Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California kicked off today. The show floor doesn’t actually open until Wednesday, so the only thing really shaking today was some announcements from a few developers…… and of course the official Sony Press Conference. The wait is over, and the exposé on the future of Playstation is, too. Oh, and the price is in green near the end of the article if that is all you care about.

There will undoubtedly be dozens on articles out tomorrow that will be infinitely more extensive than this, but I just wanted to give a brief look into exactly what was shown off, and cut right into the details that people actually care about. I got all the following info from watching the video feed on IGN Insider’s Livewire, so thanks to them for that. Made me feel like I was really there 😉

Anyway, the demo started off with a lot of boring charts and statistics on PS2 and PSP sales. I guess Sony is really happy about them, and I guess they have the right to be proud. 103 million PS2’s, and 17 million PSP’s as of March 31. They went on to say that there will be PS2 support for years to come, and then reiterated a bunch of PSP stuff we already knew (future firmware updates to add GPS, video camera, etc. updates), but also mentioned something called Memory Stick Boot, which I’m pretty sure is what they use later in the show to boot PS1 games from the memory card, though it may be something entirely different that they didn’t go into detail on. Also, PSP will get a Greatest Hits program, which was inevitable.

Now on to the PS3, what everyone actually wants to hear. It will support 1080p HDTV, despite what so many online articles were rumoring. It will also still support gigabit ethernet, bluetooth, as well as have SD and Memory Stick flash card functionality. Every PS3 will ship with a hard drive, the size of which depends on which model you get (see very bottom of this article for more on the two models). Blah, blah.

Then the tech demos started. There was a couple clips from Gran Turismo 4, except instead of being the PS2 version, it had updated graphics to support high-definition. I thought it looked pretty neat, but hardly anything special. However, then came the real wow!, for me at least. There is this card game that reminded me of Yu-Gi-Oh! that works along with the Eye Toy and actual real cards. In the demo, some cards were placed on a table, and then the digital representations of them appeared in the game, and monsters started to be summoned. It appears as if you move your cards in order to interact with the game. VERY COOL. Then there was just more games… all the same stuff we’ve already seen.

Then it got to the game we actually care about: Metal Gear Solid 4. The following is a quote from GameSpot’s summary of the teaser that is probably better than anything I can come up with:

“It’s in Japanese. Snake is sitting down, he’s still old. “War has changed,” he says. Talk about nanomachines, soldiers getting cut down in the streets by that crazy walking mech. Ther’es a ninja… is it the ninja? His mask looked different. Naomi Hunter. Col. Campbell says “you’re the world’s only hope!” Meryl says that we’re the new Foxhound. Otcan claims the Onus is ours! The ninja is Raiden! Liquid Ocelot! This is rad! Back to Snake, sitting down, smoking, holding a pistol. Oops, he just put it in his mouth! Is he taking the coward’s way out? “This is my final mission.” Gun shot, cut to black. Coming 2007.”

Definitely going to be interesting! I am hoping there will be a nicer view of this teaser tomorrow, as an isolated download that I can hopefully link to. I actually didn’t even get to see the whole thing… my stupid feed died out on me in the middle of it and I missed the second half 🙁 I’d love to see the whole thing in better quality soon.

Then they get on to the actual hardware stuff. Ken Kutaragi and Phil Harrison show up on stage to demonstrate the new controller which looks a lot like the current PS2 controller. The only difference is that the L2/R2 buttons are a little bigger and it has a button right in the middle… kind of like the middle button on the 360 controller. No, actually… exactly like the 360’s button. Anyone want to wager what that button’s going to do? Maybe bring out the dashboard interface from the side of the screen? And then Dylan Jobe, producer of Warhawk (jet plane fighter game) demonstrates the ability of the controller to track motion, which Sony calls “six degress of freedom”, whatever that is supposed to mean. In all reality, it is motion sensoring in the controller, just like Nintendo Wii’s controller. The only thing is that it only really senses tilts in directions, but not actual relative motion. That is, the game will know you went right, but not how far right you went, which is necessary to let you control a 3D sword or whatever. So, it still seems that the Wii will be the only system to get light saber games 🙁

Then Ken Kutaragi comes out for the big announcement, the one that everyone was waiting for. Pricing and release details, and here is the skinny. The PS3 will have two separate packages (sound familiar?), one with a 20GB hard drive and one with a 60GB drive. The 20GB one will be $499, while the 60GB one will be $599. And it looks like a November 17, 2006 release date for North America. Let’s just say I’m going to reserve mine this weekend.

 

EDIT (05-09-06): News has come in that the $499 and $599 versions are quite different. Aside from the aforementioned hard drive size differences, the $499 will not include Wi-Fi capabilities, the memory card (SD/Memory Stick) reader, or… and this is the big one… HDMI output.

The price is a little higher than I expected, but I am definitely still getting it the first day it comes out. I’m probably going to reserve it this weekend at Toys ‘R Us. I will never reserve at Gamestop considering what they did to all those people that reserved 360’s… and I don’t think anywhere else is even taking reservations yet.

On a very quick side note, Square Enix also had their conference today, and they announced a few notable things. There will be three new games coming out under the title of Final Fantasy XIII (yeah, I know… they’re getting carried away with this stuff). There will be a prequel RPG for cell phones. Then there will be the main FF13 RPG for PS3, in addition to an action game for PS3 called FF Versus 13. They also confirmed Final Fantasy III for Gameboy Advance, which was pretty much a known fact now anyway. Also there will be a game called Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII for the PSP. It will be interesting to see how that news shakes out.

All in all, it was an interesting day with a lot of cool stuff. I look forward to seeing the whole MGS4 teaser video downloadable tomorrow, as well as the Nintendo Wii news!


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Sony Cancels PS3!

Written by rob on April 1, 2006 – 12:00 am -

In a surprising press release, Sony announced that the Playstation 3 has been cancelled. Allegedly, there was a lawsuit between some software developer and Sony. The developer claimed to have a huge part in the creation of the Blu-Ray disc format, but was not properly compensated. The judge ruled that Sony must never use the Blu-Ray format in any commercially-released products. What does this mean for PS3? The end, to put it briefly.

Ken Kutaragi and Phil Harrison commented to the press about the cancellation. It seems that the absense of a disc format will, obviously, cause the system to be further delayed. Unfortunately, Kutaragi stated that the redevelopment of a format could take over two years. This is an unacceptable amount of time for the PS3 to be pushed back, as it has already been delayed five months. Therefore, the system is going to be canceled. It seems that Kutaragi and company plan to develop a new disc format, in addition to an entirely different system, from scratch. I assume it will still use the Cell processing architecture, given the amount of time and money devoted to the R&D of it, though it will most likely be a tweaked version. It seems that the company has in mind to skip the upcoming next-generation completely, and instead focus on the current generation of PSP and PS2 gaming. They will also get a head start on developing the PS4.

Also notable is that fact that Kutaragi stated that a redesigned version of the PS2 will be released soon. No details were given. However, I suspect it will feature upgraded graphical capabilities to keep the PS2 semi-competitive with the XBOX 360 and Nintendo Revolution. Given the fact that the recently released Nintendo Revolution specs are barely equivalent to the original XBOX, an upgraded PS2 may very well be competitive in the next generation.

Kutaragi seems to be a mastermind, so I don’t doubt his decision to cancel PS3. However, I think I speak for every Sony fan in saying that I am immeasureably disappointed. But, you can’t change the truth. Without Blu-Ray, the PS3 would probably need to be redesigned largely. Kutaragi states in the press release that not only will a new format have to be created, but the drive that encompasses that format will then have to be integrated into the system and tested. All of this takes time, and as he stated, “In the competitive world of consoles, this time does not exist.”

Hopefully the new PS2 that will come out will feature enough horsepower to at least rival the Nintendo Revolution. I’m sure Bill Gates and his buddies at Microsoft are laughing right now. But let them. As the release said, the PS4 will strike back with a vengeance. Getting this huge headstart on it, and using the knowledge gaining from the development of the PS3, should lead to a HUGELY impressive PS4. I expect it to utterly destroy the XBOX 720 (or whatever they decide to name it) and Nintendo Counter-Revolution (or whatever they decide to name it) even moreso than the PS3 would have destroyed the Revolution and 360.

In conclusion, am I angry, frustrated, and disappointed? YES! But am I giving up all hope for Sony and withdrawling $400 from the bank to buy a 360? NO! The new PS2 should last me until the PS4, and meanwhile I will continue playing the PSP and PC games. Sony skipping a generation doesn’t mean we must all give up hope. They are a huge company that won’t topple from even a large blow like this. Their new CEO combined with the genius of Kutaragi should easily get them through the troubling times ahead.

On a side note, I decided to convert the theme of the site permanently to pink. This masculine color will help us remember PS3’s legacy and celebrate these fateful times.


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The Godfather: The Game Review

Written by rob on March 29, 2006 – 8:26 am -

The Godfather: The Game was released on March 21, 2006 by EA Games. It represents years of hard work by a talented team of developers, and boasts to be a nonlinear, wide-open game putting you in the shoes of a new member to the Corleone family.

The main story of the game runs a close parallel to the first movie. You begin with a tutorial mission, but you are quickly hurled into action as you are a bystander during Luca Brasi’s assassination. From there, you begin to understand the unrest of the city, as you are pitted against the earliest rival family. From this point, the missions come pretty much directly from the movie. The only thing is that your character, this “new guy” to the family, winds up doing a lot of the behind-the-scenes things. For example, when Don Vito Corleone is shot, you have to tail his ambulance as a fellow gangster shoots out of the window of your car to take enemy cars out of the way. After being ambushed on a bridge, you then have to interrogate a high ranking member of the Tattaglia family for information as to who may have shot the Don. From there, you assume driver control of the ambulance and then have to rush to the hospital. It is a great mix of all the things you will be doing in this game in an early mission, and really gets things rolling.

Unfortunately, that is one of the better missions in the game. Subsequent missions are fun, but the story-telling is very weak. For example, when you must plant the gun behind the toilet for Michael Corleone to use in hitting Sollozzo and McClusky, the game doesn’t even tell you why you are doing it. The opening cutscene for the mission features a memorable quote from the movie, but doesn’t actually give you any direction. You wind up simply following the blue dot on the mini-map, a’la of GTA. So, if you haven’t seen the first movie, this game is going to seem like a bunch of random quests that have almost no direction or connection. I’m surprised EA didn’t take a more cinematic approach to their games, and make the missions seem more like an interactive version of the movie rather than a game with some clips from the movie thrown in. There are also quite a few frustrating levels that will undoubtedly take a few tries to complete. Also make sure to save often between missions so that you don’t lose progress when you fall victim to some of the games few but major glitches (e.g. if you are very close to an exploding car, but you aren’t kill by the blast, your guy gets stuck on the ground and can’t get up. It requires a restart of the game, essentially sending you back to your last save.)

Veering away from the main story line is easy, however, and is why this game is even enjoyable at all. The largest “side quest” you will be doing is trying to gain control of New York City. The mini-map displays businesses as either dollar signs or little triangle-looking things that are color coded based on who controls them. Taking control of businesses is extremely fun. The first business you must take over is not controlled by anyone, so you don’t have to worry about rival gang fire. You press the Triangle button near the shop owner (indicated by the puppet-master icon above their head) to attempt to extort them. Some people simply go along with the Corleone’s, but some require some “convincing”. You can convice people in many ways. When they don’t want to do what you ask, a bar appears under their name, with a blue bar showing how intimidated they are of you and then a green line showing where they will join your side. However, on the far end of the bar is a red area. If you hit that, they will no longer value life enough and won’t give you anything. The key to making the most money from a deal is getting as close to the red as you can without actually hitting it. The convincing itself usually entails breaking things in the store with your fists or a bat, grabbing the owner by the shirt and knocking them against the wall, simply beating up the owner, or holding a gun to them. Sometimes just doing one of these things is enough, in the case of the first business you have to convert. From there, however, it gets more difficult. Some people need to be beat within an inch of their life to go your way. Once they are convinced, you press Triangle again and their business will begin paying protection to the Corleone’s. Every time a week passes in the game, a summary will be displayed of all the businesses, and you will take your cut of the profit the family receives (about 30%). Taking over all the businesses in a district gives the Corleones control of that territory. The ultimate goal is to take control of all five districts.

After the tutorial mission in the game, I feel victim to a rival family trap. These are two parallel roads that lead to an enemy warehouse, and both roads are barricaded off by enemy cars. Driving into it is essentially a trap, but I somehow managed to escape alive by running over most of the enemies. Little did I know, I built up the Vendetta meter – that is, the meter that controls your relationship with rival families. I got it up high enough to start a mob war… in the first hour of the game! The game instructed me that to end it I needed to either bribe an FBI agent or bomb one of the enemy family’s businesses. I chose the former, as I had no bombs. Finding the agent was difficult, as he was in the basement of a church, but paying him off was easy. I had won the war.

This brings me to a point in the game that I don’t really enjoy: the way it handles money. Money is such a minor aspect, believe it or not. Taking over businesses, to me, is more about the fun of “convincing” than getting the money. Bribing the FBI agent was about $30,000. I only had $18,000 at that early point in the game. However, it only deducted about $1,000 from my funds. The Corleone family itself paid for the rest. Most times you pay off warehouse owners or FBI agents doesn’t come from your funds. The only real thing you buy with your own money is guns and clothes. Safe houses are really expensive and you can’t afford them until later. However, I just don’t think the game puts much of an emphasis on money. If you don’t care about weapons or what your guy looks like, you don’t even need money. Paying off cops isn’t even necessary. I never had them come after me except in one mission. It is these inconsistencies that really take away from the realism of the game.

The above lack of encouragement for money and police bribes, coupled with the weak story telling of the game, take what could have been great and make it merely “good”. The Godfather is a fun game, without a doubt. The taking over of businesses is a very great experience, and there is a certain satisfaction you get from throwing an enemy gangster out a window on the second floor! The mob wars, however, seem too easy to win, and if you drive fast enough the family you are at war with can’t even harm you with their gun fire (just drive past their part of town as fast as possible). But the real blow to the game is the story… it just seems like a random collection of bits from the movie, and few missions give you satisfaction after completion. The game is fun, but doesn’t have that extra layer required to truly stick in your mind. I only rented it, and can say that I’m happy I didn’t buy it.

OVERALL: 7 / 10


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Official Playstation Details… Finally!

Written by rob on March 15, 2006 – 4:06 pm -

Today, Sony executive Ken Kutaragi provided a business brief in Tokyo. Coined as the “father” of Playstation, Kutaragi was rightfully given the job of officially crushing PS3 and PSP rumors. While the interview with CEO Howard Stringer early last week gave official details of a Playstation 3 delay, it was not formal or even expressly stated. Today is the day for that, and much other Playstation news.

First and foremost was the confirmation of delay. Mr. Kutaragi apologized for Sony’s delay, stating what rumors had already been saying: a Fall 06 release due to Blu-Ray complications. He stated that the complications will result in a better HDMI (high definition output) support on launch day. He also specified the release date: within the first 10 days of November 2006. But, here’s the kicker… this is the worldwide launch. That means that Japan, the US, and Europe will all enjoy the PS3 within days of each other, all in early November. This is very good news, indeed, since I suspected the US date would be as late as Q1 2007.

Secondly, and where Sony always comes through, is that of backwards compatibility. Microsoft’s XBOX 360 only supports a few of the original XBOX titles, with some notable hits missing from the list. Also, it uses emulation to achieve this, meaning a small hit in performance. While the 360’s extreme power compared to the original makes this performance hit unnoticeable in old games, it is there nonetheless. Anyway, the PS3, as suspected, will be 100% backwards compatible with PS2 and PS1 games. This is a very attractive option to new gamers, as they will have Playstation’s ridiculously huge archive of games, including new ones, for just one investment. Also notable is the fact that when old games are played, they will be at high definition. XBOX 360’s emulation works much in the same way, but just supports less games.

On the topic of price, no official one was released at this time. What was announced, however, is that of price drops in current gen technology. The PS2 will not have its price dropped, as Sony predicts 10 million more units to be sold this year. However, which will be good news to all, is that the PSP basic package will be reduced from $249.99, to a much more appealing $199.99. This will hopefully, Sony predicts, influence more people to its new and ever-growing system.

Furthermore in terms of the PSP, Sony announced a new “E-Distribution System”, where you can essentially download playable content on your PSP. The first games to be released under this service are going to be original PS1 games. The fact that I will be able to play Final Fantasy IX on a long car ride is just too attractive to pass up: I cannot wait. I’m just hoping that Final Fantasy is indeed among the games offered. Finally, it was announced that an upgrade to the PSP’s browser later this year will fully support Macromedia Flash 6.0. That means playing Internet-enabled Flash games on the PSP… including the ones on this site!

The PS3 will also launch with a new online system. It will feature “matchmaking, messaging, rankings, friends lists, voice/video chat, in-game shopping, and game downloads to the hard drive. Best of all, the service will be free (as of right now, it isn’t clear on whether there will also be a paid tier of service similar to Xbox Live Gold). The service will also allow for publishers to connect their own game servers.” This basically means that you will be able to do anything you can do on XBOX Live!, only for free. Sounds good to me.

Among the release were also a few subtle statements that should not be ignored. For example, Kutaragi mentioned that the PS3 will act as a wireless access point for the PSP. While that is all he said, it can be inferred that it will also be an access point for other wireless devices. There was also mention of a 60GB hard drive with Linux pre-installed. However, the various sources I am reading disagree on this point. 1UP.com’s article states that “PS3 will include a 60GB hard drive (which is upgradeable) with Linux preinstalled.” However, GamingHorizon says, “Additionally, Sony has announced that the company’s next-generation console will “require” the 60GB, upgradeable hard drive; the HD will also support Linux. However, Kutaragi hasn’t confirmed that the PS3 will ship with a hard drive pre-installed (in fact, previous comments indicate otherwise – so either the console will ship with an HD or will require an immediate extra purchase in order to be played).” Considering the press release was in Japanese, things have undoubtedly been lost in translation. I venture to think the PS3 will include the hard drive. Otherwise, why would Kutaragi tell developers to assume a gamer has the HDD, or that the HDD is required? Only time will be able to confirm this.

In conclusion, this business brief is an excellent answerer of the many questions arising about the PS3. Now we pretty much know everything except whether or not it will carry a HD, and the price. Details on this will most likely become available in May, with the E3 convention. Also in May, Sony will distribute the “final” development kits to game companies. This should at least answer whether or not a hard drive is included. Sony may have missed their Spring 2006 release, but it looks as though the Playstation 3 will deliver on all fronts.

EDIT (03-18-06): It now seems that the general consensus among news sites is that the PS3 will indeed ship with the 60GB drive. This is very good news for Playstation fans. But here is the cooler thing: it will come pre-installed with Linux. If Sony pulls this off right, it could be the first real exposure home users get to Linux. So, if they do it right it may be a huge step forward for open source eventually taking control of the desktop environment.


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The DaVinci Cheat Code

Written by rob on March 9, 2006 – 4:46 pm -

I read this article last Friday and was extremely amused by it. I figured I would post a link here for everyone else’s entertainment. It is surprisingly pretty long, but every second of it is very funny. For example, the following is a quote that shows the ‘tongue-in-cheek’ mentality of the article:

“The Catholic Church!” he exclaimed. “There are truths that the church doesn’t want anyone to know. That’s why there was an Xbox 360 shortage.”

“You lost me.”

We ducked back into the garage. “The 360 supply shortages are caused by delays in the manufacture of RAM chips from a German corporation, appropriately named Infineon Technologies. Through holding companies, the Vatican owns 67% of Infineon stock. They’ll stop at nothing to keep that console off the market. But the cover-up’s been going on for centuries.”

Now you have an idea of how ridiculous the ‘story’ is. The whole article in its entirety is more funny than any one part, so I recommend you have a read. So, without further ado, I present Fargo’s The DaVinci Cheat Code.


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PS3 Delay Official

Written by rob on March 7, 2006 – 5:26 pm -

It is official: Sony has delayed the PS3. OK, actually this was official yesterday. I’m a bit behind. I got a little too into Guild Wars last night. Anyway, you already know how I feel about PS3, so I’ll be brief.

Variety Magazine interviewed the new CEO of Sony, Howard Stringer, who they call the “Traveling man”. He’s the first non-Japanese CEO of Sony since the company’s conception, and he is claiming that he will take the entire company to new heights. In fact, he’s British and has no formal CEO experience, but he’s level-headed and Sony thinks he is right for the job. He has much plans for the company in the coming years, which he discussed in the interview. And as you know, Sony cannot describe their roadmap for the future without mentioning Playstation and Blu-Ray.

The following is the snippet about PS3.

Sony’s new PlayStation 3 was widely expected to be introduced this spring, but will be delayed as the company fine-tunes the chips that are crucial to the success of the console’s Blu-ray function. The PlayStation 3 — which is being called “the poor man’s Blue-ray” — is vital to Sony’s plans because it plays Blu-ray discs as well as videogames.

Sony will roll out the PS3 by year end, in time for the holidays. If PS3 “delivers what everyone thinks it will, the game is up,” Stringer boasts.

Blu-ray is the system developed by Sony to view next-generation high-definition DVDs. Rival format HD DVD is championed by Toshiba. Microsoft recently joined the HD DVD camp, a move that came as its Xbox 360 videogame console is trying to grab market share from PlayStation, the industry leader.

The only scary thing I see here is that Stringer is only officially talking about the Japanese release. Sony claims to want to release the system in Europe, Japan, and America very close to each other, but I don’t know if I can believe that. If Japan’s release is Fall 06, an American release may very well be early 07. At least now we have an official report that Spring 06 is not happening, something that I sort of figured anyway.


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Playstation 3 Outlook

Written by rob on February 23, 2006 – 5:04 pm -

There have been a bunch of articles this week describing Sony’s upcoming game console, the Playstation 3. Almost every single one of them has been negative: pushing back launch dates, officially cancelling previously-promised features, and also a hands-on take of the console that is, in the reviewer’s words, unremarkable. Playstation “poser fans” are quaking nervously, but the real fans remain hopeful, mostly considering the fact that beating the XBOX 360 isn’t going to be that difficult.

I discussed the alleged Fall (September 16, 2006 for US is the unofficial take at this point) release in a previous post, which is contrary to Sony’s promise of a Spring release. A Sony executive recently denied any postponement of release, but a Spring 06 release is honestly looking doubtful at this point, unless Sony is keeping some serious news confidential from everyone. I honestly don’t believe the release date matters. As long as it delivers better performance and graphics than the 360, no one will care when it comes out. Though I must admit that if the Merrill Lynch estimates of a Q1 2007 release are correct, Sony may be in for trouble.

More notably than the pushed-back release date, however, was the report Kikizo released regarding the PS3. They received hands-on experience with a device of comparable specs to the PS3 and tried out the early versions of many of the system’s upcoming games. Their conclusion is worrying at best, as they state: “Sony’s showings of PS3 to date have been seriously sexy. But the reality, while still impressive, is nowhere near the leap beyond Xbox 360 Sony wants you to believe, and it seems many projects are still at an early enough stage for things to start getting a little worrying.” So, they are basically saying that the PS3’s Cell doesn’t meet expectations: fans expected it to blow the 360’s measly dual-core processor out of the water. My take on this is simple: either the developers are not fully taking advantage of the multi-threaded nature of the Cell, or the early versions of the games played are buggy in terms of performance. I simply refuse to draw any real conclusions based on some review of beta hardware and software. In short, PS3 will be better than the 360; that is not really the question. Rather, it is more of a matter of how much better it will be. This article seems to think that it won’t be that much better graphically or speed-wise, but I tend to think first-party games especially, when they are finished, will use the Cell to its advantage and tear the 360 to shreds.

The Taipei Game Show I talked about in my previous post (where I incorrectly cited the date) has come and gone, and still no real PS3 footage. This is surprisingly to me, as I really expected to at least see some real-time content from a real Playstation 3, or at least something close to one. This leads me to believe that there are indeed hardware issues that will take time to resolve. However, one must consider if Sony is just playing a really smart game. While it would be ignorant to believe the PS3 will release in Spring 06 and knock the socks off everyone in all of its glory, it would also be ignorant to dismiss the theory that Sony may be purposely witholding information. Hype is generally bred by suspense, and Sony’s lack of official statements surrounding the PS3 may just be their way of letting the hype germinate. Many companies have been known to purposely withold their biggest surprises, mostly because the unanimous wows when the official info comes out are enough to get even the most uninterested person to contemplate putting the product on their Christmas list. If Sony is playing the public will be seen soon enough, and I think it would be a brilliant move on their part if my speculations are true.

Today, more news has surfaced, though it isn’t directly related to the Playstation 3. Official documents from Sony have been leaked regarding a possible God of War sequel. The insanely popular original God of War was one of the best action-adventure games I have ever played, due mostly to its cool use of Greek mythology. The ending of the original, which I will not spoil here, definitely left room for a sequel, and let’s just say it would be an awesome sequel. If you beat the game you will know what I mean. Anyway, the “official documents” that were leaked were summarized by 1UP. The jist of their article is “The sequel’s allegedly coming in early 2007…on PS2.” The early 2007 (February) part is nothing to be wowed about, but the fact that it will be released on Playstation 2 is troubling, and this is where this revelation ties back to PS3. Games don’t usually get released on an “old” system any later than six months after the release of a “new” one. So, games shouldn’t be coming out on PS2 six months after PS3 is released, especially not high-profile ones like God of War. This leads me to believe that the PS3 launch date will indeed be later than the Spring. Also, I would like to note that company “leaks” are often media ploys, and are purposefully done by the company. Perhaps this God of War 2 leak is yet another chapter of Sony’s Machiavellian plan to dominate the console market. Or maybe it is just a leak.

The conclusion of all my above babbling is one of mystery: when it all comes down to it, no one really knows anything real about the Playstation 3. Whether it will be leaps and bounds above the XBOX 360, or when it will be released, are all questions that will never be answered fully until Sony officially states it. When they actually will is up for debate, but I would become very worried if nothing official is released at this year’s E3. Only time will tell…


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Playstation HUB & Possible Fall Release?

Written by rob on February 15, 2006 – 11:05 pm -

Speculation has today risen about what industry analysts are calling Sony’s XBOX-Live killer. When it comes to the current generation XBOX and PS2, there is no contest as to which is better in terms of online play: XBOX Live is simply better. Sony, however, is going to address that with their next-generation PS3, or at least that is the current buzz.

It seems that the new service will be called Playstation HUB. The name seems a little strange to me, like something alien-related, but whatever. The ambiguity of the name also leads many analysts to believe both the PSP and PS3 will be using this same network. The ability to chat with a PS3 online buddy of yours at any wireless hotspot with your PSP would definitely be cool. But more than just friends lists and the such, the most important aspect of an online service, and why XBOX Live is so popular, is the interface. Every game should be seemlessly integrated in a way that the online works the same way in all of them. I have a feeling Sony will definitely join the bandwagon with that, as their different-online-world-for-every-game model just isn’t cutting it.

Also, it seems, Sony is going to take things a bit further. After all, the objective is to beat XBOX, not copy it. They are allegedly going to integrate their Sony Connect service with this online HUB. For those who are unaware, Connect is Sony’s entrance into the ever-popular legal music (and now video) downloading industry that pretty much came out of nowhere in the last two years (thanks to the iPod+iTunes boom). No details or official statements have been made yet, but I suspect you will be able to purchase content on their store and store it on the PS3’s hard drive or memory card. The PS3 would then be able to play that, and the PSP would most likely then be able to receive the same downloaded content streamed from the console. This is of course all of my speculation, but it would definitely be pretty cool, especially combined with Sony’s Location-Free technology that would let you access the content from ANYWHERE that has internet access.

Again, all of this is speculation and none of it is really official yet. Time will reveal all, and I’m sure the upcoming (February 26th) Taipei Game Show will harbor much new PS3 info.

The HUB service is to debut in September of 2006, analysts predict. This leads them to belive the PS3 will be released around the same time in North America. Sounds good to me, as that Spring 06 number isn’t really seeming accurate at this point. I can’t wait. When the official release date does come out, expect to see a countdown right here on this site.


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Countdown to the Godfather Game

Written by rob on February 12, 2006 – 11:18 pm -

EDIT (03-03-06): Countdown applet removed because it slowed down the page’s load time.

This game is going to be incredible. It is said to be the most expensive video game ever created. EA is truly going all out to provide a HUGE open ended world. Think GTA, except with the Godfather’s expert story telling. You get to play a member of the Corleone family! How much better can you possibly get? The game is supposedly going to allow the player to choose how they want to play: intimidate or negotiate. I think we all know what we’re going to do, and let’s just say it doesn’t start with an “n”. The above countdown displays, down to the second, how much time remains before gamers everywhere can beat up bakers who forgot to pay for “protection”.


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