Friday, September 29, 2006

One Lucky Tokyo Retailer Gets First PS3 Demo Unit.

Sony has taken another major step on its path towards releasing the PlayStation 3, with the Akiba Keizan Shimbun newspaper reporting today that at least one major Tokyo retailer has taken delivery of the first PlayStation 3 demo kiosk. At this rate, the system may actually make it out on schedule!

Accoridng to the paper, the multi-story Yodobashi Camera outlet in Tokyo's Akihabara district now has an actual PlayStation 3 unit on display. A monitor above the system shows trailers for games like Afrika, Genji, Heavenly Sword and The Eye of Judgment.

The system is strictly hands-off at this point, but the newspaper reports that customers were stopping to take a look before heading to the register to purchase Pokemon Diamond & Pearl for the DS.


PS3 Offers Superior Processing & Games.

Momma always told me you get what you pay for, and that's certainly true of Sony's latest, the PlayStation 3.

When it comes down to a simple system specs comparison, even Microsoft fanboys must admit that Sony has the edge in virtually all fields. From the massive 50-gigabyte storage capacity of the Blu-Ray disc, to the PS3's ability to broadcast in 1080p (the next best resolution to actually being there), Sony's latest brainchild has it all.

Granted, these technologies are still in relative infancy and 1080p isn't used widely with current media. However, gaming and video technology are moving at an incredibly rapid pace, and the PS3 is designed to anticipate these changes.

Of course, one cannot mention the PS3 without referencing what is supposedly its biggest breakthrough technology, the Cell processor. Though the processor clock speeds are comparable, the Cell technology is supposed to deliver double the floating point calculations per second of the Xbox 360's core (approximately two teraflops as opposed to one). In short, it is fast with a capital F.

For those game nerds who still have lots of friends, the PS3 has the ability to utilize 7 "Bluetooth" wireless controllers on the console at once.

Of course, even the most powerful system is worthless without good game content. A great deal of games do cross over to all the major platforms, which can make it hard to judge consoles in this category. Plus, the late release of the PS3 has kept us in the dark about what titles it will carry. But if I still had to sum up why the PS3 will be a contender, then I have only four words for you: "Metal Gear Solid 4." Add to that the complete backwards compatibility with PlayStation 2 games, and the new console should have a fairly large library of solid games.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sony To Spend $30 Million On PS3 kiosks.

At the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo, Nintendo unveiled its "Playing is Believing" motto for the Wii, with the idea being that if gamers tried the console out, they'd be more eager to buy the machine. Now it seems as though Sony is adopting the same idea.

Speaking with Bloomberg, Sony Computer Entertainment America COO Jack Tretton said that 15,000 PlayStation 3 demonstration kiosks will be deployed to American and Canadian retailers over the holiday season. By contrast, only 3,000 demo kiosks were used for the PlayStation 2 launch.

The cost of the operation will be $30 million, reports Bloomberg. There's no indication whether or not that price tag includes the costs of the PS3 units themselves.

"Once the consumers get their hands on a PS3 and understand what's under the hood, I think price will not be a factor in the decision-making process," Tretton told the news service.


Oblivion Finally Confirmed For PS3 & PSP.

Finally confirmed for Playstation 3 fans, Oblivion will apparently make its way to the console come launch with updated visuals and extra quests not available for the Xbox 360 and PC versions of the game yet. The game will introduce a new faction called Knights of the Nine, kinda like a "good" Dark Brotherhood.

"Oblivion has these really good character archetypes for evil," says executive producer Todd Howard. "It has the Dark Brotherhood: You get your outfit, you feel like an assassin, you feel like an evil guy, [and] you role-play like an evil guy. We [didn't] have the opposite end of that. There [was] very little reward for being a goody two-shoes".

"As opposed to adding content that allowed your character to just experience new quests, we wanted to create something that allowed your character to become something new," he continues.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Square Enix Wields Its Power.

While the Xbox and GameCube both received at least some support from Final Fantasy developer Square Enix, it’s the PlayStation 2 that laid claim to the big-hitting games such as Final Fantasy X and XII, Dragon Quest VIII and the Kingdom Hearts series.

Square Enix senior VP Michihiro Sasaki told the Wall Street Journal today that his company is certainly going to support the PS3, but it isn’t going to overdo it. "We don't want the PlayStation 3 to be the overwhelming loser, so we want to support them," he said. "But we don't want them to be the overwhelming winner either, so we can't support them too much".

Sasaki’s comments (which were pulled out of context and dropped into the WSJ article) don’t exactly take the humble approach regarding Square Enix’s heavy influence on the popularity of the PlayStation brand. The PS2-exclusive FFXII sold over 1.7 million units for a premium $80 equivalent price tag in the first four days after its Japan launch. Kingdom Hearts’ sales approach 3 million units in North America, and its sequel, released at the end of March in the US, moved over 1 million units in about a month in North America.

Sasaki’s remarks also imply that having heavy Square Enix support is in Sony’s best interest. That's tough to argue against (maybe impossible to argue against). However, it’s also in Square Enix's best interest to spread its support around a bit more evenly in the next generation, especially if the market share will be more evenly split up between the big three console makers, as a few analysts predict. More and more publishers are recognizing that software exclusivity deals aren't going to be as attractive in the next console cycle.

Square Enix has announced upcoming games for all three next generation platforms, including Final Fantasy XIII for PS3, Project Sylpheed for Xbox 360 and Dragon Quest Swords for Wii among a few other titles, including an MMORPG that will appear on PS3, Xbox 360 and Vista PCs [The unnamed MMORPG is reportedly in development for PS3 and Vista, but an Xbox 360 port from the PC version is speculation at this point - Ed]. Still, the big name here has the Roman numeral XIII in it, and right now, that’s just for PS3. It will almost certainly move gobs of Sony's pricey console once the game is launched.

At first glance, Sasaki's words may perk up the ears of Xbox 360 and Wii devotees, who may interpret this as confirmation that Microsoft and Nintendo's machines will get some special Square Enix attention. That may or may not be the case. But judging from the Square Enix lineup right now for the Xbox 360, Wii and PS3, it's clear that the PS3 still is the focus for the publisher.

Even with Sony’s recent slip-ups it’s not hard to imagine that a well-done Final Fantasy XIII would erase any bad memories of the console’s early life. It remains to be seen if Xbox 360 and Wii will receive truly even support from Square Enix in the next-gen or if the two consoles will again garner the lower-profile offerings from the publisher.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Consumers Flock To TGS 2006.

TGS officials have released attendance figures with 192,411 visitors in 2006, a jump from last year’s 176,056.

39,645 came on the trade day of Friday (against 36,068 last year), 84,823 (including 8,233 kids) on Saturday (67,791 in 2005) and 67,943 (including 10,344 kids) on Sunday (down from 72,197 in 2005).

Despite the unfavorable climate towards live events, there will be a TGS in 2007, starting on Friday September 21st. That is, assuming the publishers don’t get together and can the whole thing.


Capcom Kills RE5 Exclusivity Rumors.

A spokesperson for Capcom said of the company’s highly-anticipated next generation action title, “Just to be clear, this is a multiplatform simultaneous launch on PS3 and Xbox 360".

Some Internet reports implied that the game may have become an Xbox 360 exclusive.

The status of Resident Evil 5 has been clouded in mystery over the past several months. The game was featured at Microsoft's X05 event and at E3 2005, but it didn’t make an appearance at this year’s E3 in May, or at Tokyo Game Show 2006 this month.

Capcom has become increasingly friendly with Microsoft and its Xbox 360. The publisher has seen success with the Xbox 360 action title Dead Rising and the upcoming Lost Planet is one of the more anticipated titles of the system.

That’s not to say that the PlayStation 3 is being left out in the cold. Devil May Cry 4 and a version of Monster Hunter are two Capcom titles that have only been announced for PS3.


Monday, September 25, 2006

TGS 2006: Gran Turismo For Cheap.

Bummed about Sony's micro transaction plans for Gran Turismo HD? Well this news might soften the blow just a bit. Japan's Impress Watch games site reports that, in comments made to the Japanese press, series producer Kazunori Yamauchi revealed that Sony plans to make GT HD available for the cost of the game disk and instruction manual. This suggests a retail price point of just a few dollars for the first PS3 Gran Turismo game.

This form of distribution is not new in the online gaming world. The PC version of Swing Golf Panya, for instance, is available for free. All monetary transactions coming when players purchase items. The PC title has thus far been a big success.

GT HD will include two main modes of play, Sony revealed earlier this week. Classic mode is basically Gran Turismo 4 running in 1080p along with a few other visual enhancements. The focus of this mode is on online play. Players race one-another online and purchase cars and tracks for a few dollars each. This mode won't include any courses and tracks from the start.

In comparison, those who want a more offline-oriented experience will be able to try out Premium mode. In addition to offering an early glimpse at the Gran Turismo 5 graphics engine (the actual GT5 won't be released until 2008), this mode will include 30 cars and 2 brand-new tracks right out of the box.

Sony clarified at TGS that Premium mode itself will have downloads. Players will be able to download 30 additional cars and a couple of additional tracks at the time of the game's release. The timing of these downloads suggests that they will not be free.

Development on Gran Turismo HD is currently at the 70% mark. A Japanese release is set for December.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

TGS 2006: Warhawk Delayed Until Summer 2007.

Though no release date had actually been nailed down for Incognito's Warhawk sequel, many expected the aerial shooter to arrive sometime before the end of 2006. Turns out they were wrong, though; Sony Computer Entertainment Japan's fact sheet actually confirms a summer 2007 release.

Warhawk's listed at 50% complete, a far cry from what we'd expect form a game that'd been prototyped on PlayStation 2 for over two years, before switching gears onto PlayStation 3. Still, if that's what it takes for gamers to receive a proper Warhawk follow-up, Incognito can take all the time they want.


TGS 2006: Level 5 Working On RPG For PS3.

The latest RPG from the experts at Level 5 has been revealed in Famitsu. The developer of Dragon Quest VIII and Rogue Galaxy is working on Shirokishi Monogatari for the PlayStation 3. The title translates roughly to White Knight Story. Level 5 president Akihiro Hino is serving as producer on the title.

In this fantasy RPG, you take control of a boy who comes into the possession of an ancient artifact. The artifact gives him the ability to transform into the White Knight of the title, a 7-meter warrior from a time when such creatures nearly destroyed all of civilization.White Knight Story places an emphasis on scale.

In addition to the giant White Knight himself, and a similarly sized rival Black Knight, you'll encounter large-scale cities and enemies that extend over 2000 meters in size.

One turtle-like enemy carries a full town on its back!Speaking with Famitsu, Hino revealed that making a game with such a large scale is not an easy task. Texture limitations on previous machines meant that showing small details on large objects was not possible.

Hino also shared some insight into the original plans for the game. Rather than having the main character transform into the White Knight, Level 5 had originally considered having him ride on top of it. However, it was determined that this would require a giant of over 20 meters in size. Such a size discrepancy would have made it difficult to have the knight fight against human characters.

The main character isn't the only standard sized character in the game. Famitsu also introduces a short-haired heroine who appears to wield a knife, and an elderly knight who knows how to use magic. You'll also encounter a small species that uses small-sized aircraft for quick transportation and makes its living by selling the energy that the giant enemy creatures emit.

White Knight Story has all the elements of a Japanese RPG, from giant, freely navigated fields of play to battles. The fields of play let you see far into the distance so that you can identify enemies from afar. Enemies will also spot you, and will combine forces to attack.

Hino revealed to Famitsu that one of the big goals of the battle system in White Knight Story was realism both on the visual and gameplay levels. The game uses some sort of complex animation blending system, which Hino feels could not be achieved on previous systems. Level 5 made its own capture studio in order to create the game.

The developer also shied away from some of the paradigms of RPGs, like turn-based battles and standard "attack/magic/item/flee" menus. Prior to battle, you go into a "Battle Preparation" menu to set up your party of up to three characters. Each character can be equipped with a "function palette," consisting of a string of skills and moves, everything from kicks to sword slashes. Skills can be added to the palette freely as long as you follow simple rules about what can follow what.During battle, you can freely switch between the characters in your party, but you only control one character at a time.

In addition to moving your character around on the battle field, all you have to do is press circle to execute the currently equipped function palette. The character then executes the moves, which are blended together realistically using the slick animation system mentioned above.A palette can store up to 7 skills. You can save palettes and switch between them, suggesting that preparing different palettes ahead of time will be a strategic part of the game.

So where does the White Knight fit into the gameplay? You can transform into the White Knight during battle once you've filled up a meter by attacking enemies while in human form. When transformed, you make use of a special function palette which offers up powerful attacks. When facing off against a giant enemy, you'll want to full up your transformation meter and transform as soon as possible.

The Tokyo Game Show will offer our first look at White Knight Story, which despite its recent unveiling, seems to be far along in development. Stay tuned for more details later in the week.


Dolby Digital 5.1 & Dolby TrueHD Promise Awesome Sound For PS3.

PS3 will feature interactive Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound for games, Dolby Digital, and Dolby TrueHD for decoding up to 7.1 channels for Blu-ray movie playback.

Sony says the Dolby-PS3 combination will kick open the next chapter of gaming and entertainment.

Dolby Laboratories returned the love by saying people will be amazed once they connect their PS3 to an audio/video receiver or home theater system. This makes the PS3 a real eye-and-ear candy!


Sony To Bundle Blu-Ray Movies With Select PS3 Games.

According to, Sony may be bundling Blu-Ray movies with selected PS3 games. Industry sources have revealed that Sony will be giving out these BD movies in an effort to help the format's acceptance with the masses. Rumor mill for now, but it sounds very likely.


TGS: Sony Cuts Price Of PS3 In Japan.

Apparently, Japanese gamers are having as much of an issue with the Playstation 3 price point as the US & European gamers are. In response, Sony has decided to cut the price of the PS3 in Japan. The 20GB version will cost 49,980 yen (EUR 335 / GBP 225), down from 62,790 yen (EUR 421 / GBP 283), Kutaragi said. On top of this, the 20GB verison will now include an HDMI port. Let's hope this price cut hits America & Europe as well.

TGS 06: Sony Demos PS3 Interface.

On friday morning, Sony held was a smaller, invitation-only event at its headquarters in Aoyama. The gathering was designed to allow select media additional time with the PlayStation 3 and to show off some surprises the console maker had in store.

Sony Worldwide Studios head Phil Harrison opened the event and encouraged those in attendance to play the games that were peppered throughout the room.After a quick summary of the announcements that came out of Ken Kutaragi's keynote earlier in the day, Harrison offered up some surprises of his own.

The first surprise was a sneak peek at the PlayStation 3 user interface, which shouldn't be too surprising to those who saw glimpses of it at E3. Before jumping into the demo, Harrison asked that the interface not be photographed or filmed, as it was still a work in progress. Following his request he fired up the monitor at a kiosk attached to a nearby PS3.

The PS3 interface is based on the cross media bar that should be familiar to PSP owners and expands on the features offered by its portable cousin. The screen featured a blue color scheme and artsy swath of white that pulsed in the background. The first section on the bar was the user profiles area where Harrison noted those using the system would create and store their unique profiles.

The next section was a system settings tab which offered many options for customizing the PlayStation 3's various functions, such as audio and video. Harrison called out the network update subsection in system settings, noting that, much like the way the PSP's firmware is upgraded with new functionality, the PS3 interface will also be tweaked and enhanced post-release.

The next section on the media bar was the photo option, which will feature enhanced functionality thanks to the PS3's graphics processor and the cell. Harrison started out with a look at several pictures--most of which were of cats--shown in 1080p in much the same way one views images on one's PSP.

However, the PS3 will offer several different ways to check out photos. Harrison selected a slideshow option that arranged his photos as if they were set down on a flat white surface. As he cycled through them, dates were displayed in a handwritten font. Harrison stated that this was an example of one of many slideshow functions that will allow people to display their photographs in unique ways. The ornate interactivity comes courtesy of the PS3's RSX processor, which allows photos to be moved around like 3D objects.

The next tab was the music section, which featured a 3D visualizer that used the RSX to create images in time with the music being played. Next to it was a video tab which is where users will queue up their Blu-ray discs and stored video content for viewing.

The game section is, like its PSP counterpart, the centerpiece for game content on the system. That is where gamers will be able to boot up games and manage their saves for PS3, PlayStation 2, and original PlayStation games. It will also be where they can access game content downloaded from the PlayStation Network Platform.

The next section on the bar shown by Harrison was a new "friends" tab, where one will be able to see if friends are online. Messages can be sent via a predictive-text onscreen keyboard or any USB keyboard connected to the system. In addition, one can engage in voice and video chat with people on one's friends list using a microphone or camera peripheral.

The last section of the PS3 media bar was the Web browser, which Harrison showed was capable of displaying multiple windows. Harrison called up a few web pages, including the TGS 2006 homepage and toggled between displaying the lot as thumbnails and focusing on one in order to view it full screen.

Harrison ended the demonstration of the media bar with a quick demo of the PS3's network-communication functionality, which lets consumers use their PSPs to check out all the media on their PS3s wirelessly.

Harrison's opening chat concluded with a sneak peek at a PS3 game not playable on the TGS show floor, NBA 07. Though the game was less than complete, Harrison noted that it ran at 1080p much like several games on the TGS show floor, including Ridge Racer 7, Gran Turismo HD, and a handful of others.


TGS 06: Sony PS3 Japanese launch Games & Release Dates..

The PS3 games featured by Sony at TGS 2006 are listed below, in order of release. The company has also released information on how far along each game is in overall development--the percentages completed are also listed below. (Another brochure listing floor-demo build development was also distributed with slightly different percentages).

11/11/2006 / Genji: Days of the Blade / 70% complete
11/11/2006 / Mah-Jong Fight Club Online / 60% complete
11/11/2006 / Mobile Suit Gundam: Target In Sight / 80% complete
11/11/2006 / Resistance: Fall of Man / 80% complete
11/11/2006 / Ridge Racer 7 / 80% complete
11/11/2006 / Sega Golf Club featuring Miyazato Family / 70% complete

November 2006 / Armored Core 4 / 80% complete

December 2006 / F1 Championship (working title) / 60% complete
December 2006 / Gran Turismo HD (working title) / 70% complete
December 2006 / MotorStorm / 60% complete

Winter 2006 / Need for Speed Carbon / 70% complete
Winter 2006 / Enchant Arm / 70% complete
Winter 2006 / Railfan / 30% complete

2006 / Sonic the Hedgehog / 80% complete
2006 (Projected) / Fatal Inertia / 90% complete

Spring 2007 / The Eye of Judgment / 70% complete
Spring 2007 / Heavenly Sword / 65% complete
Spring 2007 / Lair (tentative for Japan) / 40% complete
Spring 2007 / Monster Kingdom: Unknown Realms (working title) / 30% complete
Spring 2007 / Virtua Fighter 5 / 70% complete
Spring 2007 / Virtua Tennis 3 / 50% complete
Spring 2007 / Wangan Midnight / N/A
Summer 2007 / Everybody's Golf 5 (working title) / 30% complete
Summer 2007 / Warhawk / 50% complete

2007 / Afrika (working title) / 30% complete
2007 / Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots / N/A
2007 / Coded Arms: Assault / 40% complete

TBD / Devil May Cry 4 / N/A
TBD / Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War / 60% complete
TBD / fl0w (working title) / N/A
TBD / Shirokishi / 10% complete
TBD / Final Fantasy XIII / N/A
TBD / Rainbow Six Vegas / N/A


Friday, September 22, 2006

TGS: How Far Along Are PS3 Games At This Point.

Here is a listing of percentage completions for PS3 TGS titles. We haven't listed the games that don't have a percentage.

Virtua Fighter 5: 70%
Sega Golf Club: 70%S
onic the Hedgehog 3: 75%
Armored Core 4: 80%
Coded Arms Assault: 50%
Ridge Racer 7: 100%
Gundam Target in Sight: 80%
Gran Turismo HD: 50%
Warhawk: 50%
Unknown Realm: 30%
LAIR: 35%
Motorstorm: 60%
The Eye of Judgment: 70%
Genji: 70%
Resistance: 85%
Minna no Golf 5: 30%
Heavenly Sword: 65%

It should be clear which of these games is going to launch with the system, and which will likely keep us waiting. Ridge Racer 7, for instance, is already complete! Minna no Golf (aka Hot Shots Golf) on the other hand, looks like it won't be making it out at launch.

Stay tuned for impressions on all these games as the show continues.


TGS: Ninja Gaiden Sigma Coming To PS3.

Remember all those rumours of a Ninja Gaiden sequel coming to the PlayStation 3? They've at last been proven correct... partially.

The Ninja Gaiden series will be coming to the PS3 in the form of Ninja Gaiden Sigma, the latest issue of Famitsu reveals. Developed by Team Ninja, Sigma isn't a sequel, but a "complete version" of the Xbox Team Ninja title.

Team Ninja is improving upon the Xbox version in all areas. The visuals, including characters, stages and effects, are being upgraded. Event scenes are being redone, and new scenes are being added. All cinema scenes in the PS3 version will be real time, Famitsu specifies.

On the gameplay side of things, players can look forward to new moves, actions and weapons for Hayabusa. Racheal, one of the series' heroines, will be playable, and when using her, you'll get to experience the storyline from her perspective.

Development on Ninja Gaiden Sigma is currently at just 25%. A Japanese release date has yet to be announced.


TGS: Ken Kutaragi's PS3 keynote.

At 2AM BST Friday morning (10AM in Tokyo), Sony Computer Entertainment president and group CEO Ken Kutaragi will march up to the podium of the International Conference Hall at Makuhari Messe to deliver his keynote address, "Next-Generation Entertainment Created by the PS3". With that, the Tokyo Game Show 2006 will be properly underway, and we'll find out just what Sony plans to do to lash back at the backlash that's discoloured the fabric of PS3's launch campaign in recent months.

What follows is a recap of the Ken Kutaragi's PS3 keynote:

00:39:24 - Hello from Japan! We're in the keynote hall at TGS, which is currently filling up nicely - judging from the queue outside, the room (which isn't very big frankly) will be absolutely packed by the time Kutaragi takes the stage. We're expecting him in 20 minutes, and hoping Sony won't impose a four month delay on our Live Text reaching Europe.

00:42:27 - All the foreign press have settled in, and the Japanese industry types are now flowing into the room at a rate of knots. The hall has clearly been set up by CESA, the Japanese trade body, rather than by Sony itself - there's no sign whatsoever of any PS3 or PSP hardware, and no particular decoration other than a projector screen with the TGS logo.

00:52:08 - Phil Harrison is here! Not exactly a surprise, but it's always a treat to see him towering over Tokyo like one of the giant creatures that fights Godzilla and knocks over entire buildings.

00:54:41 - Sony is attempting to break our souls by playing the most insipid Japanese pop music we've ever heard (and that's saying something, after yesterday's adventures in Akihabara) through the English language translation headsets. A girl who sounds like she's six years old is counting to ten repeatedly over a "funky" "beat".

00:57:28 - We'd love to do the traditional "Kojima is here! Miyamoto is here! Mikami is here! Your mum is here!" update at this point, but they've put all of the press at the back of the room and we can't really see the attendees. Except Phil Harrison, obviously. However, rest assured - there are almost certainly some very interesting Japanese men at the front of the room, making their best stern newsreader faces.

01:00:35 - Attendees are still trickling in, and then looking confused and surprised when there's nowhere for them to sit. Nice things about jetlag - when you wake up at four thirty in the morning, it's not hard to get where you're going on time. Even when you do take the wrong train line.

01:02:04 - One minute late! People are still making their way in - it's very much standing room only now.

01:04:24 - Four mont... Er, I mean, four minutes late. They're making frantic "we'd really like to start" gestures at all the muppets who are still standing up and milling around.

01:10:02 - Tum te tum.

01:10:37 - So um. Nothing much really happening here, apart from J-pop elevator music progressively getting worse and worse. To fill in time, Eurogamer TV editor Johnny Minkley is regaling us with tales (and, sadly, photos) of the Nintendo-branded boxer shorts with "Know Your Mushrooms" in giant letters across the backside which he bought yesterday. Japan is truly a magical place.

01:10:46 - The lights are dimming! We're off!

01:11:34 - They're rolling a TGS promotional video - did you know that this is the tenth anniversary of the founding of the show? You do now.

01:12:50 - A lady is introducing Ken Kutaragi. His talk is called "PS3 - Creating the next generation of computer entertainment". He's going to use some under development footage, apparently, which we're not allowed to take pictures of. Boo!

01:13:18 - Ken is on stage. He's thanking all manner of people for allowing him the opportunity to speak.

01:14:28 - There are over 200 consoles in the venue for the show. According to Ken, this is the largest pre-launch line-up they've ever shown off in public.

01:15:10 - He's rolling the trailer video which will be on the booth.

01:16:25 - First up - Ridge Racer 7. Super hi-def - very varied environments compared to previous games in the series, with lots of jungle and countryside environs as well as cities and other urban environments. All looks quite static, still, but definitely the best looking game in the series to date. Launch title.

01:16:19 - Virtua Fighter 5, from Sega AM2.

01:18:43 - We've seen much of this video before in other trailers, but it's definitely very nice on the big screen. Lovely lighting and environments, although there are certainly fair comparisons to be made with DOA4 on the Xbox 360 - it's a bit ahead of that graphically, but arguably not by much.

01:20:17 - Mobile Suit Gundam: Target in Sight. Famitsu had this down as a launch title. It looks like a fanboy dream - not the most graphically impressive game by far, but very extensive environments, buildings getting destroyed with pretty good physics, and some especially lovely lighting effects on the very detailed mechs. Nice trees, too.

01:21:28 - Next up - one of the FFXIII titles. Lots of pre-rendered footage of very pretty characters and environments, which is fair enough, but more interesting is the real-time gameplay footage, which doesn't look that far off the pre-rendered stuff - a little less detailed and colourful, but still very impressive, which huge numbers of enemies on screen at once.

01:22:04 - And that's it for this trailer reel. "How do you like that?" asks Ken. We can't deny that it certainly all LOOKS nice...

01:22:33 - Now he's talking about the progression from PS1 through to PS3 - how the specs have grown astronomically in the 12 years between the first and most recent consoles.

01:24:39 - He's talking about the progress in user interface and controllers, which has been driven by consoles due to the very precise and fast response you need to your input. Now he's embarked on a relatively technical, albeit vague, discussion of how creating real-time responses to that input takes all manner of complex hardware and difficult computer science.

01:25:22 - He believes that the "computer entertainment" industry used to be composed of very separate elements, computers and entertainment - which have now reached a "combination point".

01:26:14 - He's talking about PCs - which he likes a lot, but he feels that the massive, complex operating systems make them unsuitable as gaming and entertainment devices.

01:27:55 - Now he's talking about the concept of the Network Computer - proposed by Oracle a decade ago, but the network was too slow, and computers weren't powerful enough. Under this system, much of the computing power is on the other side of a network connection - he believes that this is now possible due to the development of powerful computers and servers, and internet infrastructure.

01:29:24 - The market is moving from being on "this side" of the network, to being on the other side. Using things like search engines are basically getting virtual access to a supercomputer - you don't need the power in your own computer, and can even use it with a mobile phone to access that power.

01:30:48 - Ken is now enthusing about map databases, allowing you to get satellite photos and so on across the network... However, the problem with this is that time is suspended, rather than being updated in real time. We assume he's building up towards talking about the PS3's online service, but it would be nice if he'd get on with it!

01:34:26 - He's talking about a system called GMS - Global Mapping System - which will allow users to upload their own pictures and data of the world around them, and create a detailed view of the world in that way.

01:35:15 - This seems to link into an earlier comment about how game developers (good lord! A comment about games? You mean the PS3 plays those as well?) can use network available maps to create realistic environments.

01:35:38 - Next topic - personalised shopping and entertainment content delivered over networks...

01:36:16 - GMS is a realistic proposition, he believes, but will need people from many industries to participate.

01:36:37 - However, in the entertainment industry, creating fantasy worlds is also very important - not just modelling the real world.

01:37:23 - With GMS, developers will no longer have to collect landscape data "on foot", and can focus on the creative or artistic side of game creation.

01:38:39 - He believes that - this sounds like an extension of GMS - games can be created in future by very spread out teams, with expert programmers, artists and so on being spread around the world and linked together by the network.

01:39:44 - In Gran Turismo for example, locations like the Nurburgring and the Grand Canyon have to be created by going to the site and doing loads of filming of various areas in the game, as well as of the tiny details which make up the sides of the track.

01:40:05 - The developers also need a close relationship with the auto industry to collect detailed technical data about cars, in order to create a realistic physical model.

01:41:00 - This is how the realistic driving experience is created - but if you have an existing database, such as the CAD data held by some manufacturers, you can import that and not have to recreate the physical parameters.

01:42:13 - There is now a massive business opportunity created by realistic simulations of the world like Gran Turismo - and the Polyphony Digital team have worked on several projects with car manufacturers to co-design systems used in real vehicles, apparently.

01:42:44 - Now he's talking about the network architecture for PS3. He believes that it's vital that the network platform is open, like the Internet itself, because it's only when platforms are open that real innovation and "drastic ideas" can thrive.

01:43:08 - The development of the internet into a system used by banks, hospitals, government and so on proves this theory, he believes.

01:43:52 - If you're wondering when Ken is actually planning on talking about games or anything remotely concrete or relevant to gamers, developers or anyone else - so are we!

01:45:11 - Digital content on the internet - digital still cameras and video cameras are very easy to use to create content which can be uploaded, and people now do that in great numbers, which is a fundamental change to how the network is used. New technology also allows that content to be searched and classified. He's a big fan of Web 2.0.

01:45:25 - I wonder what his Flickr username is.

01:46:23 - It's all about user participation for Ken. People want to be involved in content and services, not just passive consumers.

01:47:42 - We're on to storage media, although I'm not sure how we got here. PlayStation launched with CD-ROM - this was introduced due to major problems with solid state media, such as cost and slow manufacturing. He believes that using CDs, with larger capacity and cheaper manufacturing costs, caused a revitalisation of the industry - both creatively and commercially.

01:48:02 - 15,000 software titles for the PSone and PS2 in total - and the emergence of a "long tail" business for videogames.

01:48:23 - However, recently we've seen a polarisation of what sells and what doesn't sell in games.

01:49:42 - The original reason for content production is to seek diversity and to promote creativity, and at present the games industry relies too heavily on easy to sell sequels. He believes that this is a warning signal for the business - and that for SCE, innovation is now the basis of all their thought. Without innovation, there can be no future for the industry.

01:50:18 - Creativity must be the basis of the computer entertainment industry, and that needs to be reviewed once again. The industry needs to discuss the network-ready future of consoles seriously.

01:51:14 - He's talked a lot about networks, but he says he's not happy yet with the quality of network services that are on offer. The reality is still that services are unreliable.

01:52:20 - Even using the fastest speed connections, network services haven't reached the internal bus speed of the original PlayStation of 12 years ago. It will still take time to realise the dream of real-time video and so on - perhaps in ten years time, this will be real.

01:52:37 - Therefore, while the gaming hardware in PS3 may be called overkill, this hardware is necessary.

01:53:36 - The opportunity to connect the PS3 to the network has become real. Of course, for the next few years, boxed games and the network environment will co-exist - because for large capacity media, packaged media is required.

01:55:42 - He's talking about the wider network functionality of the PS3 - allowing full interaction for users and creators to exchange information and content over the network. All of the systems for this, such as the browser and so on, are built into the console.

01:56:10 - In the last 12 years, a massive library of titles has been built up for PS1 and PS2 - thousands in total.

01:56:51 - The PS3 can emulate those titles over the network, and beginning with those with smaller volumes of data, those will be made available to users in that manner. He first talked about that possibility in 2000 when the PS2 launched - this year it will become a reality.

01:57:00 - Good lord! Is that a real announcement at last?

01:57:32 - Emulators for old systems - Mega Drive and PC Engine titles can be downloaded over the network as well.

01:58:10 - Sony will work with publishers to decide what titles to make available, and how to charge for them - pay to play models are possible, for example. They hope to massively expand the range of game content available over the network.

01:59:45 - Videos will also be available over the network too - starting with shorter movies. He seems to be implying that users will be able to upload and share their own movies, YouTube style, but the translation is a little ropey so it's hard to tell exactly.

02:00:29 - PS3 units will be installed in many retail and other environments - he's talking about the option of using mobile phone micropayments to use them for arcade style titles and billing systems. Sounds more relevant to the Japanese market, where the arcades are massive business, than to anywhere else...

02:02:30 - Aha, we're on to the inevitable lecture on how astonishingly powerful Cell is. Ken is quite chuffed with IBM's new contract to provide a ridiculously powerful supercomputer based on a load of Cell processors running in parallel - which brings him on nicely to the topic of the Folding @Home system, which was recently announced and allows PS3 users to "donate" computation power to the protein folding project which is aimed at benefiting medical research.

02:02:50 - Playing games is fun, but with this, users can be making a major social contribution as well.

02:04:55 - Using the network to keep contact between users and developers - with users using the network to keep in touch with the progress of new games in development. What a genuinely unique idea, eh, regular readers of Eurogamer? Videogame information online? It'll never catch on.

02:05:40 - Apparently users will also be able to upload their own content and give new ideas to game developers, which will drive innovation. My eyebrow is most of the way to my hairline.

02:06:36 - He sounds like he's wrapping up - he's making all manner of vague happy comments about how great it is to be living in a time when PS3 is coming out and entertainment software is all so promising.

02:06:44 - Now he's rolling another video!

02:06:57 - It's Afrika!

02:07:22 - Jungles, plains, and some really lovely elephants. There's a little baby elephant!

02:07:38 - A giant herd of Wildebeest. Genuinely giant - actually, that's quite impressive.

02:09:58 - Actually, it would be very easy to be cynical about this video, since there's no sign of what the gameplay actually is, but it does look very lovely. Loads of different animals have been modelled in incredibly detailed ways, and the environments look fantastic - however, it's still definitely more of a tech demo than an actual game. As tech demos go, it's amazing - but it's not a game.

02:11:09 - And that's it - it's all over. Barely a game in sight, which is an extraordinarily poor show. There were some useful nuggets buried in the nonsense about networks, but overall this has been a hugely disappointing and vague showing from a company with a lot to prove before their console launches in a few weeks. Let's hope the show floor is better, eh readers?

02:11:35 - There's talk of an open question and answer session, which sounds like a bloodbath in the making, if we're lucky! We'll keep you updated...

02:14:31 - Kutaragi's back on stage for a talk session - however, he appears to be being interviewed by a Japanese journalist chap rather than conducting an audience Q&A. Boo.

02:16:21 - This appears to be terribly friendly and non-confrontational. There's been a sideways mention of the fact that Ken has just wittered on for an hour and barely mentioned videogames at all, but now they're having a lovely chat about how Ken is still an engineer at heart and dreams of integrating possibilities from many different industries rather than just focusing on videogames.

02:18:52 - Next ridiculously long-winded question - is grid computing just a dream at the moment, or is it something Ken believes can become a reality? Ken is talking about how when he was a child, he had many dreams. It's beautiful. On the other hand, this would probably be a tougher interview if they'd got Kutaragi's mum to ask the questions, frankly.

02:22:14 - At last, a serious question - is Kutaragi confident that there will be no further delay in production of the console?

02:26:17 - Ken apologises to software creators who have had to put up with these delays. SCE engineers have been working very hard and trying to do new things, and that has caused problems - but they are now focused on ensuring no further delays.

02:23:22 - In other words, he's not sayin' nothin'. Well, that's promising.

02:26:57 - We've just heard a lengthy and rather boring discussion on HDMI, and how it's definitely the standard of the future. That's nice. Also, apparently when Sony announced the price in America, everyone thought that it was really cheap given the functionality of the console. News to us!

02:28:45 - In Europe, meanwhile, it's very expensive because... Er... Apparently it's expensive because the Euro exchange rate is so different to what it used to be, when it was one Euro to one Dollar, but European people don't notice that. This is also news to us! Ken drinks beer in Europe because wine is too expensive. It's good that he's focusing on the important stuff.

02:32:03 - And it's all over, completely this time. If you stayed up with us through all of that, thank you - now get yourself to bed, and we'll be back with some impressions of ACTUAL GAMES (remember them?) once we've had a chance to scoot over to the show floor. Bye!


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sony Downplays Xbox 360 1080p Upgrade.

SCEA’s Dave Karraker wrote to games blog Kotaku, “…Microsoft's announced HD games patch is really just a compatibility feature -- upscaling lower-resolution content does not make it Full HD (1080p), something that PS3 can do out of the box".

Yesterday, prior to the Tokyo Game Show, which starts tomorrow, Microsoft announced that it would release a fall software update for the Xbox 360 that would enable 1080p resolution output for games and videos. Sony has been touting the PlayStation 3’s 1080p capabilities as “true HD,” insinuating that the Xbox 360’s 720p and 1080i modes were sub par. So far, no games have been announced for Xbox 360 that will be created in actual 1080p resolution.

Karraker also took a moment to address the upcoming HD-DVD add-on drive for the Xbox 360.

"It's unfortunate that Microsoft's external HD-DVD drive will not enhance the experience at all for the gamer,” he wrote. “Sony realizes that to truly take gaming into the next generation requires a larger data format for both games and movies. PS3 uses the Blu-ray format for gaming, giving developers 50GB of high-definition storage on a single disc, while Microsoft's 9GB DVD gaming format is an obstacle for storing HD content".

Rumors had floated around that the Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive would play HD-DVD-based games, but Microsoft shot down speculation earlier this year. Microsoft’s John Porcaro, group manager of online marketing communications stated, “I'm seeing lots of speculation about our upcoming HD DVD Player, and whether we have plans to publish HD DVD games. The answer is no".

Monday, September 18, 2006

Virtua Fighter 5(PS3) Fact Sheet.

Platform: Playstation® 3 computer entertainment system
Category: 3D Arcade Fighting
Developer: SEGA
Release: Spring 2007

Overview:The game that pioneered the 3D fighting genre is back with Virtua Fighter 5, the latest instalment in the popular series, currently under development for the Playstation® 3 computer entertainment system. Virtua Fighter 5 will elevate the arcade fighting genre to all new heights as the game promises to take true advantage of the capabilities of the next generation hardware. Virtua Fighter 5 raises the bar for console fighting games including all the features fans know and love plus enhanced gameplay mechanics, additional characters and new fighting styles, as well as newly redesigned 3D environments.

Virtua Fighter 5 will deliver fast-paced, adrenaline-pumping action as players head into battle, taking on a host of popular characters. The game will introduce two new dynamic characters, El Blaze and Eileen, complete with new fighting techniques and from completely different backgrounds. Play as one of the 17 default characters in the game or customize a character to become the top Virtua Fighter. Players will be able to modify their characters by selecting from four base costumes and then decorate them by attaching a wide range of unlockable and earnable items. Players will not only achieve victory by defeating highly-skilled opponents, but also by competing for prizes and earning in-game money allowing them to buy many items at an in-game shop. Further building upon the depth of the series, players will now be able to move around their opponent using an “Offensive Move” technique, adding a new strategic element to their battles.

Key Features:
Two New Characters, El Blaze and Eileen, round out the cast of 17 dynamic characters. El Blaze is a Mexican wrestling champion that uses the Lucha Libre fighting style, and Eileen, originally from China, uses a Monkey Kung Fu style which she learned from her grandfather.

Stunning, Highly-Detailed 3-D Fighting Environments inspired by locales around the world where players can challenge their opponents in unique types of arenas.

Offensive Move lets players to easily move around their opponent from the side and back allowing players to be more strategic with their battles.

Customize your character with the enhanced attachment system and customization engine giving players more flexibility than ever before when creating their characters.

Next Gen Presentation includes 720p HD resolution (widescreen) and 5.1-channel Dolby Digital surround.


This game got handed the Best Fighting Game Award at E3,IGN reckoned VF5 could be a good reason all on it's own to fork out for a PS3 when it arrives:

"Considered by many to be the greatest fighting series of all time, Virtua Fighter 5 may be reason enough to plunk $599 or £425 for a PS3".

Upgraded 'Oblivion' To Be PlayStation 3 Launch Title.

While talking about Oblivion and its suspected expansions, a 1UP Yours podcast host let it slip that Oblivion will be making its way to the PlayStation 3 and that it will be a launch title. Expect an upgraded PS3 version, as Blu-ray offers more storage for higher quality textures than both previous version's on PC or X360 would allow.

Oblivion making its way to the PlayStation 3 has almost been as hotly debated as the exculsivity of Asassin's Creed, with Sony fans claiming that it would be a matter of time before a PlayStation 3 version of the action RPG would be announced.

This seems to fit 'Sony's Secret launch game'previous clues offered by RadiOPM,the name of the game would be five words long and it was be a game which was previously not announced for the PlayStation 3. The full name of Oblivion is indeed five words long, "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion" and the game has so far been an Xbox 360 exclusive when it comes to consoles.

PS3 Virtua Tennis 3 In Full HD 1080P.

At its press event in Tokyo on Saturday , Sega revealed, or rather boasted, that Virtua Tennis 3 runs in 1080p on the PS3. Displaying the game on slick HD sets with 1080p placards next to them, it looked absolutely glorious in high-res.
This makes Virtua Tennis 3 the second PS3 title confirmed to run in 1080p, next to Gran Turismo HD, and demonstrates that third party publishers are able to achieve what's been dubbed the holy grail of full HD on PS3.

Sony has touted the PS3's ability to render 1080p images as a large benefit over the Xbox 360, which is incapable of generating them at such a resolution.

PS3 Sonic The Hedgehog Box Art.

Writing an article about an actual packshot for 'Sonic The Hedgehog' is no easy task. In times like these, you're left feeling like a magician trying desperately to pull a rabbit out of a hat. The challenge lies in making something simple into something incredible.

Below is the actual packaging for 'Sonic The Hedgehog' on PS3.

Thank god they have that Blu-ray logo on top to make it easily distinguishable between ps3 and ps2 games.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

First Photographs Of Wii SDK's.

Engadget seems to have gotten the first photographs of Wii development kits. Other then the green faceplate not much looks different from a retail unit. Check em Out!

Friday, September 15, 2006

PS3 Passes FCC Tests.

News has just surfaced stating that the PS3 has passed FCC approval tests and that the final clock speed of the Cell processor is 3.2GHz. The FCC is the regulatory body in the United States which regulates communication through radio, television, wire, cable and satellite.

The clock speed of the PlayStation 3's Cell processor has been the subject of debate for some time, after certain internet news sites reported that it had been downgraded since the PlayStation 3 was first unveiled last year.

Scan 1
Scan 2
Scan 3

Sony has yet to comment on this news or release any press material, however we can verify that the report is legitimate as it is currently on the official FCC site.

The PlayStation 3 will launch on November 11th in Japan and on November 17th in North America. Launch dates for other regions have not been confirmed and have been estimated at March 2007.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Whats In The Wii Box.

And what can you expect to see inside the Wii box when it finally ships?

Here's a list:
Of course the console itelf, the Wii
Wii remote control strap attachment
The nunchuck controller (in the Nintendo site it's spelled as "nunchiyakukontorora". Cute, eh?)
Wii AC adapter
Wii AV cable
Wii stand
Auxilliary plate
Sensor Bar
Plug server stand
Three dry cell batteries

Of course, you can purchase the Wii accessories seprately. The Wiimote will sell around 3,800 Yen(US$32), the classic controller for around 1,800 Yen (US$15) and the Nunchuck attachment about 1,800 Yen (US$15).

The Wii's site is expected to go up really soon, as well as details on its overseas launch, so better stay tuned for that.

CESA:18 PS3 Titles To Be Shown At TGS.

The Consumer Entertainment Software Association has just announced an official list of games which will be making an appearance at the Tokyo Game Show, and it shows a significant increase in titles compared to the 516 displayed last year. The PC will be having the most number of titles shown this year, with 127 games, and the Playstation and GameCube will be seeing the least number of titles, with 1 game each.

Considered by many gamers one of the hottest game shows in the world, and the event which saw the announcement of both the PlayStation 3 and the Wii, the Tokyo Game Show will be displaying over 573 games this year. Out of the games on the show floor, 18 titles will be PlayStation 3 games.

However, please keep in mind that this information has been taken by the official game list revealed by the CESA and the actual number of games show may be much more.

Since the E3 show was cancelled, the Tokyo Game Show is set to be the world's second largest game show after the Leipzip Game Convention, and is currently the largest game expo in the whole of Asia.

TGS will be kicking off on the 22nd this month and will be ending on the 24th.

Official Press Release Nintendo Wii Launch Date & Price.

Nintendo will reshape the home entertainment and video game landscape with the launch of its heralded Wii™ home video game console. Wii will go on sale in the Americas on November 19th and Japan on December 2nd - European launch date, price and software line up will be announced at a press conference in London tomorrow (Friday 15th).

Wii will be sold as an affordable, mass-consumer product at an MSRP in the US of just $249.99. The price includes one wireless Wii Remote controller, one Nunchuk™ controller and the groundbreaking collection of five different Wii Sports games on one disc, which anyone can play using simple physical movements, experienced or not.

Every Wii console will include another distinctive feature: a series of on-screen “channels” that make up the Wii Channel Menu, which makes the console approachable and customizable for everyone, from the most avid gamer to people who have never played before. The Wii Channel Menu is the starting point for all of the console’s functions. The “channels” offer a gateway to a rich variety of entertainment options. When connected to a TV, the Wii Channel Menu offers a simple interface letting users pick games to play, get news or weather, upload and send photos or even create playable caricatures of themselves to use in actual games. The variety of options available through the Wii Channel Menu motivates both gamers and non-gamers to turn on Wii’s power every day.

Wii is creating worldwide excitement with its unique control system, an inventive, first-of-its-kind controller whose position can be detected in a 3-D space. The new controller allows users pinpoint target in games or move through the Wii Channel Menu with precision and ease. This intuitive control system will be understood immediately by everyone, regardless of their previous experience with video games. With this one small controller, Wii makes games both easier and more intense than anything previously experienced. For example, in the Wii Sports tennis game players swing the Wii Remote like a racket to hit the ball, as in real life. They can add topspin or slice the ball just by angling their hands and wrist like they would in a real match.

“Wii reinvents games for the devoted player,” says Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. “But more importantly, Wii breaks the wall separating players from non-players by delivering the best game experiences for the most affordable price. We believe the next leap is games for the masses – young and old, gamer or non, alone, with a friend or with the whole family".

Fils-Aime made his remarks in New York, shortly after Nintendo executives in Japan announced Wii will launch there on Dec 2nd priced at 25,000 yen. Both announcements come ahead of a European press conference during which Nintendo will unveil specific detail around the console’s launch in Europe.

Between launch day and Dec. 31, Wii owners across America will enjoy a robust lineup of 30 software titles, with selections for everyone from video game veterans to newcomers. Some top Nintendo launch titles include Wii Sports, a compilation of tennis, baseball, golf and bowling; The Legend of ZeldaƆ: Twilight Princess; and EXCITE TRUCK™. While publishers are free to set their own prices for games, first-party Nintendo titles will have an MSRP of $49.99. Wii’s self-loading media bay also can play the entire library of more than 530 Nintendo GameCube™ titles from day one.

Third-party developers around the world have lined up to provide unprecedented support for Wii, “I believe the Wii will attract new and casual gamers to the world of interactive entertainment,” says Larry Probst, Chairman and CEO, Electronic Arts. “It’s a fun, easy and economical system that will become a bridge to gaming for mainstream audiences. At EA, we are putting more support behind the Wii than any Nintendo hardware launch since the Super NES".

Additional information about the list of Virtual Console games and the pricing structure will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Breaking News:Wii Price & Launch Date.

Mark your calenders: the Wii is arriving this November 19th for $250.According to a major Seattle newspaper, Nintendo will bring their new console to North and South America this November.

With a library of more than 25 titles this year, the Wii hopes to sit in houses of more than 4 million gamers worldwide by this year's end.

Official TGS 2006 Floor Plan.

Here's the official floor plan for this years TGS 2006, Sony take center stage with a wealth of reputable publishers such as Namco Bandai, Konami, Capcom, Sega And Square Enix surrounding them.
In the next hall it's Microsoft with giants of gaming like Tecmo And Koei.

IBM Not Waiting For PS3 To Ship.

You'd be wrong to think IBM were going to wait for the PS3 to begin their Cell CPU assault, IBM's latest use for the chip is in blade servers which commenced shipping today!

Activision Commits To PS3 & Wii Launch Lineups.

Activision's CEO has commented that his company will support the next generation launches of the Wii and PS3 with three launch titles for each console. Call of Duty, Tony Hawk and Marvel Games are all on the way.

EA Exec Says PS3 Dev On Track.

Electronic Arts' Chief Financial Officer Warren Jenson, has announced that his company's development of PS3 games is going well, and further along than development for the X360 was. "We feel real good about where we are. Relative to where we were with the X360, we're further along, but we're developing for a more complicated machine," he was quoted in an article as saying.Development for the PlayStation 3 is a topic which has both gamers and developers interested, the heart of the PlayStation 3, the Cell processor is both powerful and suspected by many to be tough to program for.

Recently, however, many developers have refuted claims that the machine was complicated, and companies such as Emergent have announced the name of engines which will aid developers in taking full advantage of the Cell.Current PlayStation 3 games which are being developed by Electronic Arts include the street racer, Need For Speed Carbon and NBA Live.

The PlayStation 3 will be launched on November 11th in Japan and November 17th in North America.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Emergent Developing Floodgate Engine For PS3.

During Thursday's Austin Games Convention, MMORPG.Com's Aaron Roxby had the opportunity to talk to Emergent Game Technologies Senior Engineer Vincent Scheib about their Gamebryo game engine and Metrics database system. Gamebryo, the successor to the NetImmerse engine, is a game engine designed with flexibility in mind. Case in point: Gamebryo made its debut with Bethesda's Oblivion, and the second game created with it was Sid Meier's Civilization IV. Two very different games running on one engine. That's how flexible Gamebryo is. This flexibility comes from its ability to be re-engineered and integrated with existing technology.

Back on the console front, Scheib explained that they're currently hard at work on optimizing Gamebryo for use with the PS3. It's been said that while the PS3's multi-threading Cell processor is definitely powerful, it can make development complicated. To address this they are developing Floodgate, a Stream Processing Engine that hopes to simplify the process. One of the more exciting things about Floodgate is that it's being developed as a cross-platform engine, meaning once a PS3 game has been developed, it can easily be ported directly to the Xbox 360 or PC.

With the Floodgate, it appears that game development for Sony's next-gen console will be much breezier than first anticipated. Maybe we'll get to see the full power of the Cell much earlier than most of us thought.

Kombat Comes To PS3,360 & Wii.

One of the most controversial decisions in the Mortal Kombat universe hasn't been the inclusion of fatalities, but that characters would be killed off. Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, the latest installment of the franchise, has made that startling announcement as it proclaims that the upcoming title will be the final battle between good and evil. Is the end nigh for the fighting franchise?

Not according to Ed Boon, creative director of the Mortal Kombat team. During a recent visit to our offices, Boon mentioned some of the reasons behind the elimination behind some characters. "In Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, we wanted to end a number of things, actually. We wanted to end this chapter of the story. This is the last Mortal Kombat on this generation of consoles, and we also wanted to end this kind of fighting mechanic for Mortal Kombat".

Boon also hinted at what the next generation of Mortal Kombat would entail, which also includes new visuals and controls:

"On the next game, we're going to start new, with a bunch of brand new characters, a whole new fighting system, a new presentation with the new graphics for the new consoles, as well as a new control scheme to take advantage of some of the new technology available. We thought it was a good time to close this chapter and open a new one with every single aspect of Mortal Kombat. It's going to be brand new".

Artist's Rendering (Not Actual Next Gen Image)

Looks like the next generation will have fatalities after all. Check back tomorrow for new impressions of Armageddon.

PS3 Controller Named SIXAXIS.

Sony's PS3 controller can't be called the Dual Shock 3 if it doesn't rumble, so what's the company to do? Rename their controller.

A 1UP user passed along the suggestion that we check the patent records for the name 'Sixaxis' and see what turned up. Scanning the trademark's text it's clear that this could be any number of things (see image above).

However, the term "six axis" has appeared frequently in Sony PR, including multiple times in the May 8, 2006 announcement of the controller's motion sensing functionality:

The controller for PS3 employs breakthrough technology of high-precision, highly sensitive six-axis sensing system that does not require any devices other than the controller itself for seamless interactive operation, thus eliminating additional settings to TVs. With this technology, ways to enjoy PS3 will be further enhanced by accessing PS3 through the network, while retaining the six-axis sensing capability.

So is this palindrome Sony's name for the PS3 controller? Representatives from Sony Computer Entertainment America told 1UP, "We haven't yet announced the name of the controller".

But next week at TGS if you see Ken Kutaragi holding up a PS3 controller with a power point slide that reads "SIXAXIS" behind him, don't be surprised.

PS3 Ad Appears In European Football Match.

Despite the launch of the PlayStation 3 being delayed in Europe, fans were surprised to seean advertisement for the console at a UEFA Champions League match between Barcelona and Levski Sofia. The simple banner advertisement featured a black background, with the words, "PLAYSTATION 3" and the PlayStation brand logo.

The advertisement comes barely a week after Sony Computer Entertainment Europe announced that the company still valued its European customers and that rumors of a GBP40 million PlayStation 3 ad campaign being scrapped were false.

Sony Shoots Down Xfire For PS3 Rumours.

Sony has been quick to quash rumours that the PlayStation 3 will incorporate a version of PC messaging and matchmaking solution Xfire for online gameplay.

While the company has admitted that one launch title, SOE's Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom will utilise Xfire, there are no current plans to use the Viacom-owned technology.

"We can confirm that Sony Online Entertainment is in talks with Viacom and Xfire for a single, specific PS3 game," said a spokesperson for Sony in a statement to 1Up.

"However, there are no announcements at this time regarding any discussions between SCEA, Viacom and Xfire," continued the statement".

The rumours stemmed from a transcript of an earnings report issued by Viacom which revealed, "Xfire just signed a deal with Sony to create a version of their platform for the new PS3, which will now enable Xfire to extend its reach further into the huge console gaming market2.

Xfire is a PC application that allows players to send and receive instant messages, manage friends lists, voice chat and other social functions, features already available for Sony's rival Xbox 360, via Microsoft's Xbox Live service.

However, SOE's Chris Kramer also poured cold water on the idea that Sony would incorporate Xfire into the PS3 by clarifying: "SOE has been in talks with Xfire about potentially including some of their technology in Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom, our PlayStation 3 launch title".

"This proposed deal is completely separate and independent from the PlayStation Network Platform, and is something that SOE was examining specifically for Dark Kingdom".

Viacom recently acquired Xfire in a deal worth US$ 102 million.

Konami Lineup.

Today, Konami has revealed their official lineup of upcoming games, set to be shown at the upcoming Tokyo Game Show. In less than two weeks, Konami will feature an abundance of titles for all major systems; they also have games of many genres to please all types of gamers.

The following is the complete lineup of new titles for Konami:


PlayStation 3
Coded Arms Assault
Mahjong Kakutou Club
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

PlayStation 2
Jikkyou Powerful Pro Yakyuu 13
J. League Winning Eleven 10 + Europe League 2006 - 2007
Pop'n Music 13 Carnival
Guitar Freaks V2 & DrumMania V2
BeatMania IIDX 12: Happy Sky
Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA
Negima!? 3-Jikanme
Flatout 2 GTR

Xbox 360
Winning Eleven

Mahjong Fight Club Zenkoku Taisen Version
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel
World Soccer Winning Eleven 10: Ubiquitous Edition
Silent Hill Origins

Nintendo DS
Mahjong Kakutou Club DS
Bokura no Taiyou: Django and Sabata
World Soccer Winning Eleven DS
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
Otogi Juushi Akazukin
Lost in Blue 2

Mahjong Kakutou Club 5
World Soccer Winning Eleven 2006 Arcade Championship
Pop'n Music 14 Fever
Guitar Freaks V3 & DrumMania V3
BeatMania IIDX 14: Gold
Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA

Bandai Namco Lineup.

Bandai Namco Games has a huge booth planned for the Tokyo Game Show, with over 27 titles appearing in playable form. Included are some biggies for both the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Here's a look at the official list:


Mobile Suit Gundam Target in Sight

Ridge Racer 7


Tales of Destiny

Battle Stadium D.O.N.

.hack//G.U. Vol.2

Dragon Ball Z Sparking! NEO

Captain Tsubasa (video only)

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Phantom Blood

Naruto Kinoha Spirits!!

Digimon Survivors Another Mission

Kamen Rider Kaputo

Gundam Seed Destiny Federation vs. ZAFT II Plus


Tales of Fantasia Full Voice Edition

Ridge Racers 2

Bounty Hounds

Ace Combat X Skies of Deception

Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology

Gundam Battle Royal

Gunpei Reverse


Tales of the Tempest

Tamagocchi no Puchi Puchi Omisecchi Gohiiki Ni (aka, Corner Shop 2)


Oto wo Tsunagou! Gunpei Reverse


Battle Stadium D.O.N

Xbox 360

Idol Master

Trusty Bell

Culdecept Saga

Gundam Operation Troy

With exception of Captain Tsubasa on the PS2, all games listed above will be playable. That's right, we'll at last get a chance to play Ridge Racer 7 on the PS3 and Trusty Bell on the Xbox 360!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sony's Answer To Xbox Live Revealed.

Microsoft's Xbox Live has existed since 2002. How will Sony, who has never had a dedicated and successful online program in the console space, the PS2's online was a total free for all to compete with Microsoft's nearly four-year lead in the online console gaming service sphere?

They'll use Xfire, that's how (the image below is a mock-up).

By incorporating an existing service into their own PlayStation Network Platform (PNP), Sony hopes to circumvent existing problems in the console space that Microsoft has had to sort out and in using Xfire, a company with an established messaging, matchmaking and gaming client.

Sony hopes to narrow the four-year gap in online gaming services that Microsoft currently enjoys (Xfire has been around since 2002).

In a transcript of Viacom's Q2 earning's report conference call a deal between Sony and Xfire was revealed:

Importantly, Xfire just signed a deal with Sony to create a version of their platform for the new PS3, which will now enable Xfire to extend its reach further into the huge console gaming market.
Although Sony and Xfire offered no further comments or details about the PS3 and Xfire connection, neither company denied the connection.

Testing of the Xfire client for PS3 appears to already be underway, with PS3-exclusive launch title Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom appearing in the supported software list on the PC Xfire client's .ini file.

Months ago, Sony's Computer Entertainment chief Ken Kutaragi indicated that PS3's online service would likely be free:

We don't charge for the basic functions of the network like matching services. Things like that are taken for granted on a PC, aren't they? There's the feeling of why a game console gets to charge for a service that's normal on a PC. So, we just made the basic services available, and based our business on the contents.
How will Xfire function on PS3? Details are sparse, but it's a safe bet that the some of the features offered on Xfire's PC implementation may carry over to the PS3 version of the software. What follows is a look at what Xfire offers PC users and what PS3 users may have to look forward to.

Friend Tracker:
Like Xbox Live allows users to manage their Friend's lists, Xfire also allows users to track friends, seeing what they are playing and what they have been playing (and for how long).

One-Click Join:
Similar to how Xbox Live allows users to click on their name and 'Join' the game if it's available, Xfire lets users do the same thing. If a friend is playing a game you want to, there's no need to input your IP address or server information, Xfire takes care of it for you. Safe to assume that the PS3 implementation of Xfire will only be the touch of a button (an 'X' perhaps) away from joining users from your Friend Tracker.

Server Browser:
This feature allows users to see the variety of servers available for different games. The most useful part here, is the ability to sort between favorite maps, or your friend's favorite maps and gametypes. Will we be able to sort out Resistance: Fall of Man gametypes based on which servers are hosting our favorite map?

Xfire In-Game (IM While You Play) with Voice Chat:
Obviously, in-game IM would be a bit more utilitarian on a PC, where all users have a keyboard, but Xfire's PS3 implementation may see use of a keyboard (the open-ended online platform is ripe for MMO development). Without a keyboard, Xfire and PS3 will provide a way of their own to communicate with users (perhaps entering letters via the controller like on Xbox Live). In addition to text communication, Xfire supports voice chat -- expect a version of voice chat to be included in whatever PS3 plans for online.

File & Patch Downloads:
When there's an update for a game on Xbox Live, Microsoft automatically detects it when the game is booted up and prompts users to snag the download. Optional downloads (like marketplace transactions) are shown on the marketplace, will Xfire's file/patch download systems be a gateway to whatever form of marketplace Sony conjures up?

Profiles with Automatic Stats:
Xfire exports an .xml feed of your stats (what games you play, how long you play them for) -- just like Xbox Live. Via the official site: "They're (the stats) on your profile and Miniprofile, which can be embedded anywhere on the web."

In addition to partnering with a software client that could potentially offer much of the functionality of Xbox Live, Sony's Xfire-powered PNP also serves as a second coup -- it strikes at the unified front Microsoft hopes to create with its Live Anywhere initiative. That program, the synergizing of Xbox Live and PC gamers, is something Sony could replicate if the PS3's version of Xfire interacts with the PC version of the program. But, will the games play together? And if PS3 and PC gamers can play together and Xbox 360 and PC gamers can play together, does cross platform gaming become even more of a reality?

PS3 Ridge Racer 7 latest.

As you can see from the screenshots, Ridge Racer 7 looks great. The new tracks, like the Shanghai-inspired industrial course, and the 'Lost Ruins' track are built for high speed and high detail. While the team admits that the PS3 is tricky to code for, they guarantee that the final game will run at a rock solid 60 frames-per-second, and based on the fact that every game in the series has done so, we have no reason to doubt RR7 will too. Besides the beautiful light-sourcing, high-definition graphics, and offline, horizontal split-screen multiplayer action, Ridge Racer 7 adds new visual details, like fully-rendered 3D car drivers, whose arms turn the steering wheel in sync with the car's wheels.

Of course, Ridge Racer staple, Reiko Nagase, the CG race queen that's been a part of the series since Rage Racer (with the exception of her omission from Ridge Racer V) returns in fine form.

The team knows how loved she is by the fans, and has no plans to replace her with substitutes or stand-ins. Her mere presence adds a warmth and soul to what might otherwise be another faceless racing game, in a field full of shiny metallic chassis' and platinum rims.

On the audio side of things, the audio team that's been at the helm of both the sound effects and soundtracks since Rage Racer returns with an ear to bringing Ridge Racer 7's sound in line with the exciting techno that defined the arcade vibe of the original games over a decade ago. The sound effects of screeching tires and car collisions, and the soundtrack itself is running in an ear-quaking 5.1 channels of separated surround sound, and the audio not only sounds but feels tremendous.

Playing the game felt like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes. Upon our first hands-on with the Lost Ruins track, we were able to place a respectable second place, even though it was the first time we'd sewn our way around the track. Drifting through turns was as tight and responsive as it's ever been, and playing it on a giant, widescreen, high-defintion TV at Namco's Meguro offices made us feel like we were part of a visceral, magnificent race. Putting the new slipstream element to the test, we saw a pick-up in speed when we pulled in behind a car, with the slipstream gauge filling up as we maintained our position. The longer you maintain the position without breaking the stream, so to speak, your speed increases, giving you a more fair shot at passing your opponents than the rubber-band AI of past games could offer. It's quite exhilarating to see the slipstream gauge tremble as it fills, indicating not only your increasing speed, but your upcoming slingshot opportunity. This element should provide the majority of the tactical thrills in online races this winter, as racers worldwide play on the same servers against each other, using the slipstream and nitro to maximum effect.

While the team remains mum on when exactly Ridge Racer 7 will ship, all signs point to the game being ready on launch day for the PS3, just as Ridge Racer 6 was available on Day 1 for Xbox 360, Ridge Racer V for PS2, and the very first Ridge Racer for the original PlayStation. Of course that's just our theory, but based on past history, the pattern suggests that high-speed drifting action will be available when the PS3 ships this November.

Insomniac:Why Resistance Needs 22 Gigs & Blu-ray.

On his blog, Insomniac Games CEO Ted Price explains why PS3 launch shooter Resistance: Fall of Man requires over 20GB of storage space on a Blu-ray Disc.

First, Price points out that the reports are true, the final game will use more than 20 gigs. Part of the reason for the game's vast storage requirements, which are over three times what the largest Xbox 360 game can handle, are due to the game's massive, detailed-packed environments. Price explains that many levels and sub-levels take up over 300 megs each, even after compression. Price expects over 40 "different large loaded areas" on the final disc, between the game's single-player campaign and multiplayer arenas.

Game cinemas also share some of the blame, as Resistance will offer game moves in high-def HD and PAL formats, audio for all supported languages, as well as "some of those Insomniac 'extras' that our fans have come to expect".

No word yet on any other specifics, but we'll keep you posted.

Parabellum Announced For PS3.

Developed by Acony, Parabellum is the newest announced PS3 title which mixes strategy and first person shooting for the ultimate tactical action in gaming today.

So far, details are scarce on Parabellum, but what we do know is that the story takes New York City during a terrorist attack by the group "Black November". They are threating to blow the city to ruble if the US doesn't pull out its military from the middle east. Your mission is to stop them from detonating a 20 Megaton nuclear warhead in the city.

Basically you will be fighting terrorists through out all of New York City and it doesn't just stop there. From the looking at the screens, it looks as if you will be moving into the subway systems as well. ACONY descibes the single and multiplayer expeirence as '...campaigns which allow you to go anywhere. It is possibly the biggest online shooter environment ever created. Flank your enemy, prepare ambushes, decide when and where you attack. But remember that T:I:M:E is running out".

Parabellum is set to include 12 specific weapons with up to 10 modifications per weapon plus special items and equipment. A unique gameplay feature talked about is how the gear you carry will effect your movement and your abilities on the battleground.

More will be known on the title as development for the game continues. We will update you when Acony announces more later this year.

HDMI To Go Wireless.

Wireless is the latest fad, and it looks like HDMI may soon follow as well. According to an article by, a Tzero Technologies and Analog Devices may have just made wired HDMI cables a thing of the past, even before they have become mainstream.

According to the article, the device requires the user to place a box at the video source and another behind the television. What is currently revealed is that it not only offers 95%% reliability and an error rate of less than 1 in one hundred million, but is also immune to interference from microwaves, phones, and the like.

Sony's upcoming PlayStation 3 is one of the products which will feature HDMI, and no doubt, fans will be delighted to know that this new technology will go on sale this November, around the same time that the console launches. No pricing details have been announced yet, although it is known that if Tzero is successful in negotiating with manufacturers, a setup could cost up to GBP50.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Koei Reveals TGS Lineup No Xbox 360 Games To Be Found.

Even though Koei hasn't had a problem shoveling Dynasty Warriors games onto Xbox 360, they don't appear interested in channeling any real software to the system, as their announced Tokyo Game Show lineup only includes PlayStation 3 and Wii, in terms of next-generation software.

What should we expect at the show? Courtesy of Famitsu, read on.

Fatal Inertia (PS3, Playable)
Bladestorm (PS3, Playable)
Mahjong Rally (PS3, Playable)
Guardian Devas (PS3, Undecided)
Sengoku Musou Wave (Wii, Video Only)
Sengoku Musou 2 Empire (PS2, Playable)
Romance of 3 Kingdoms 11 (PS2, Playable)
Nobunaga's Ambition Online (PS2 and PC, Undecided)
Sengoku Musou Majong (Nintendo DS and PSP, Playable)
G-One Jockey (PS2, Playable)
From Far Away in the Middle of Space It Dances One Night (Nintendo DS and PSP, Playable)

Sony Reveals 60GB To 20GB Stock Ratio.

Details of the PlayStation 3's launch plans have been getting less rare lately, and SCEA has just announced that it plans to ship 800,000 units by January, making a total of 1.2 million PS3's for North America this year.

Sony had earlier revealed that it plans to launch with 100,000 units in Japan and 400,000 units in North America. So far, the launch numbers and an exact launch date for Europe remains unknown.

In addition to releasing its shipment plans, Sony also revealed that the stock ratio between the 60GB version and 20GB version will be around 80:20. More 60GB versions are to be expected, especially after the launch of the box 360 saw more demand for the Premium version than Core.

The PlayStation 3 will be launch on November 11th in Japan and November 17th in North America. The launch window for Europe has been set at march 2007.