Wednesday, February 28, 2007
The amount of PS3 units on store shelves throughout North America is due to the strength of Sony's manufacturing and supply chain, according to SCEA chief executive Jack Tretton.
While critics have suggested the next-gen console is not a hit with consumers due to the fact it hasn't sold out in many locations, Tretton has stated it's because the company has never been this well organised.
"It's a testament to the fact that we've been able to manufacture and ship units on a greater pace than any previous console," Tretton said in an interview with Reuters.
"Our goal is to fill shelves across the United States. Our goal is not to have empty shelves, it's to have full shelves".
"If we have a empty shelves that's one less consumer who could have bought a PS3," he said.
The PlayStation 3 is on track to reach Sony's sales target of 2 million units in the US by the end of March, according to Tretton.
"We're in pretty good shape to do that. The early returns are quite favourable," he revealed.
The chief executive also predicted there would be no console shortages in the supply chain by May 2007.
"April or May is when we feel like we're going to catch up to demand and have product fully in stock across North America and stay there," he said.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Resistance: Fall of Man and Motorstorm will be some of the first Sony games to hit the shelves at £40. It should be noted that this comes in at $78. New Xbox 360 games cost between 60 and 70 Euros. PS3 games from Sony will cost 60 Euros. Sony says it wants third parties to follow suit.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Sony has changed the specification of the PS3 for Europe, raising doubts over the number of PS2 games that will be compatible with the next-gen machine.
"Rather than concentrate on PS2 backwards compatibility, in the future, company resources will be increasingly focused on developing new games and entertainment features exclusively for PS3," said David Reeves, president of SCEE.
Sony has said that 'a new combination of hardware and software emulation will enable the PS3 to be compatible with a broad range of original PlayStation titles, and a limited range of PS2 titles'.
Sony will publish a backwards compatibility list on the PS3's launch day, March 23, with additional titles becoming compatible through downloads via the PlayStation Network.
"The backwards compatibility is not going to be as good as in the US and Japanese models," a Sony spokesperson told Reuters.
Although Sony has yet to detail the new specification fully, analyst Datamonitor suggests that a new PS3 model will feature a "new chassis" designed to bring manufacturing costs of the console down.
"By utilising the latest hardware Sony is able to rationalise the number of components required," said the firm.
"This move is significant, as it will have a positive impact on the PS3’s long-term cost profile".
"By launching the PS3 in Europe with the new chassis, Sony has at a stroke removed one of the barriers to future price reductions, and providing it can make enough units available, Datamonitor believes there will be sustained growth in PS3 ownership as new users seek to benefit from the PS3’s enhanced features and functionality," said the analyst.
Sony was unavailable for further comment at the time of going to press.
Friday, February 23, 2007
It’s no secret that the Cell processor makes the PlayStation 3 a very powerful machine, but its complex architecture also makes it difficult for developers to program their games. While Sony is likely doing its best to improve software tools, some developers are longing for lower-level detail on the Cell.
IBM, one of the creators of the Cell architecture, is stepping in and giving developers tips on how to better harness the PS3 processor. According to Next Generation, IBM engineers are participating at a game developer’s workshop at High Moon Studios in Carlsbad, Calif. with Vivendi Games studios' Radical Entertainment and Swordfish to learn the ins and outs of the multi-core Cell.
High Moon chief technical officer Clinton Keith says that that IBM's expertise goes beyond what Sony's support can offer in regard to the Cell. “We’ve been talking to Sony for almost two years now, but they didn’t create the Cell,” he said.
“They created the architecture for the PS3 and they’ve created a lot of the developer libraries. We’ve had access to those [Sony] engineers… but they’re not the hardware engineers,” continues Keith. “We want to hit [the Cell] on all fronts. We’re talking to the guys [IBM] who designed this chip and have been working on it for five years now.”
As part of the workshop, programming teams will use software development kits from IBM’s Global Engineering Solutions labs to create the best Cell-based game development algorithm. The teams will share their knowledge and findings from their work on the processor.
Sony’s Phil Harrison said that the current PS3 launch window titles use “less than half” of the system’s computational power, and that “nobody will ever use 100 percent of [the PS3’s] capability.”
Developers haven’t kept quiet on the challenges for making games on the Cell. John Carmack, lead programmer of the Quake and DOOM 3D engines, has expressed his thoughts, saying, “I think the decision to use an asymmetric CPU by Sony was a wrong one. There are aspects that could make it a winning decision, but they’re not helpful to the developers … It’s not like the PlayStation 3 is a piece of junk or anything. I was not a fan of the PlayStation 2 and the way its architecture was set up. With the PlayStation 3, it’s not even that it’s ugly--they just took a design decision that wasn’t the best from a development standpoint.”
Japanese developer Hideo Kojima shares Carmack’s sentiment, though his team was able to achieve stunning results on the PS2 with Metal Gear Solid 3. “Overall I think it is difficult, of course. But if it's easy and simple, then how can you differentiate from other games?” posed Kojima. “Other people will do the same thing as you. Therefore, we're trying to use [the Cell's] difficulty to create something different.
“If I say too much, Mr. Kutaragi might get really upset. I think that the PS3 is difficult to work with, but so was the PS2.”
Thursday, February 22, 2007
It may have started off slowly due to stock issues and a controversial price, but after the PlayStation brand scored its best January performance ever, the company believes the PS3 is finally out of the gates and picking up momentum in the next-gen showdown.
NPD sales data for January puts the total of PlayStation 3 consoles at 243,554 in North America, helping the PlayStation business record revenues US $550 million (EUR 419m) during the five weeks of the month.
"We are pleased with the numbers from January as they demonstrate overall sales improvements for our legacy systems year over year and continued momentum for PS3," said David Karraker, director of corporate communications for SCEA.
Admitting the issues of restricted supply at retail, Sony believes the channel is finally getting regular stock, and coupled with increased marketing and a strong line-up of titles, the PlayStation brand as a whole is set to rocket in 2007.
"With supply levels stabilising, you can expect to see increased marketing for PS3 and PS2 in weekly retail circulars, which should garner strong numbers, boosted by big software launches, such as MotorStorm and Virtua Fighter 5," commented Karraker.
According to Sony, tie-ratios for the PS3 have improved by 80 per cent since launch. The company has also finally kick started its marketing campaigns with leading US retailers BestBuy and Target.
Sales data from NPD put the PlayStation 3 in third place throughout January, with the Wii shifting 436,000 units and the X360 selling 294,000 units.
Sony is also bullish about the performance of the PSP in the handheld sector, claiming it is closing the gap on the market-leading Nintendo DS and pinning sales hopes on titles such as the forthcoming Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters.
"PSP sales in January were exceptionally strong with the system quickly closing the gap on the leading competitor," said Karraker.
Despite touting the PS3 figures, sales of the PS2 were still higher than the next-gen console, reaching 299,352 units, a year-over-year increase of 20 per cent.
The current generation system still has a handful of blockbuster titles due in the first half of this year in the US and Europe, including God of War 2 and Okami.
Woolworths told our sister site GamesIndustry.biz that PS3 is "fastest selling games product" it has ever offered through its website. Argos said it was their "most successful pre-ordered campaign for consoles".
Meanwhile Amazon.co.uk described interest as "high and sustained" and said it was confident the machine would be among its top sellers for 2007. "We are only taking pre-orders until all our initial stock from Sony is accounted for - that way, no customer will be disappointed come day of release. We don't expect stocks to last long," a spokesperson said. HMV echoed that satisfaction, telling GI.biz that demand was in line with expectations.
Sony boss Ray Maguire added that the response from retailers had been "incredibly positive", adding that early indications suggest it will be Sony's "biggest hardware launch to date".
All of which came in response to scattered reports of PS3 failing to capture interest among European gamers ahead of its 23rd March launch. And when we say "scattered reports" we mean UK Resistance and some wacky forumites, obviously.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
The details of the offer are still unclear, but what is known is that the deal will be limited to a set number of consoles in the chain’s 316 stores. The units will go on sale when Asda’s electrical department opens tomorrow morning – 7.30am in most stores.
One Asda store assistant told MCV: "Yes, we will be selling PS2s for 50 quid tomorrow morning. But I'd get here as early as you can if I were you. We're expecting a massive response once word gets out – and we've only got a certain number available".
It follows a similarly headline-grabbing deal run by the firm last month, when it offered a DVD player for just £9.
Meanwhile, Play.com has started selling the core Xbox 360 console for £150 – a full £50 cheaper that the model’s RRP. Rival Amazon has also cut its price on the console to £189.99.
Retailers are reporting huge demand for PlayStation 3 as Sony gears up for what UK boss Ray Maguire says could be the company's "biggest hardware launch to date".
His comments were echoed by Gerry Berkley, head of games at Woolworths, who told GamesIndustry.biz, "PS3 pre-orders are coming in thick and fast. It is the fastest selling games product we have ever sold online and it is shaping up to be our biggest ever pre-order campaign for a console".
Berkley said Sony's new machine is "the hottest gaming system since the PS2", adding, "Demand will inevitably outstrip supply, so our advice to customers is to pre-order to avoid disappointment".
A spokesperson for Amazon.co.uk revealed that only one other product has seen a more rapid rate of pre-orders during 2007 - J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
"The customer demand for the PlayStation 3 is high and sustained and we are confident that it will take its place as one of the top selling items on Amazon.co.uk throughout 2007," the spokesperson said.
"We are only taking pre-orders until all our initial stock from Sony is accounted for - that way, no customer will be disappointed come day of release. We don't expect stocks to last long".
It's a similar story at Argos, with videogames buyer Anthony Stocker telling GamesIndustry.biz, "We're very pleased with the interest in the new PS3 and it is our most successful pre-ordered campaign for consoles".
Entertainment retailer HMV also said there is healthy demand for the console, as predicted. "Pre-orders are going well in line with expectations," a spokesperson confirmed.
But with such a high level of interest in PlayStation 3 and still just over a month to go until launch, will there be enough consoles to go round?
"Previous console supplies have been restrictive but Sony is promising such a big amount for day one that people can pretty much pre-order from whoever they like, and expect to be happy on the day of release," observed Chips MD Don McCabe.
"We've had they highest level of pre-orders of any machine to date - it's been phenomenal. Sony has guaranteed a healthy amount of units and we have every reason to believe they'll deliver".
The PlayStation 3 will launch in the UK on March 23, priced at GBP 425. Sony has previous stated that it plans to have one million units available in Europe on day one. A sizeable proportion of those will be allocated to Britain as it generally accounts for between 25 and 30 per cent of the market.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Sony Computer Entertainment UK boss Ray Maguire said, "Feedback from retail has been incredibly positive, with early indications suggesting that this will be our biggest hardware launch to date.
"Whilst a successful launch is great, the real task is to build upon those foundations, in order to create a solid and sustainable platform, for consumers, developers and retailers alike," he concluded.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
- Eight Below
- Chicken Little
- Enemy of the State
- Gone in 60 Seconds
- The Guardian
- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
- Pearl Harbor
- Scary Movie 4
- Sky High
- The Wild
In addition, Buena Vista stated that Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest will both be released on Blu-ray in May along the theatrical release of sure box office hit, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
Other announcements indicate Disney/Pixar Cars will also be released this year with a window set for Summer 07.
Tutorial for PS3 Firmware Bypass in Windows
Here's a simple way to setup your PS3 to bypass the firmware check using a Windows machine as a dns server, its basically the same thing as what Wii users did to use the wii shop as a browser:
1) Download the SimpleDNS software from http://www.simpledns.com/download.aspx
2) Run SimpleDNS (you don't have to reboot despite the installer telling you to..), click on the Records button.
3)In the records window, click on Tools > Quick Domain Wizard.
4)For domain name enter: ps3.update.playstation.net
For Web server IP enter 22.214.171.124
delete the Secondary DNS name entry, you do not need it.
5) Now that you have your new server added, you need to add A Name entries so the ps3 gets redirected on the firmware requests, to do this simply right click and choose New Host Address (A-Record)
6) we need to add two A-Name entries, depending on what region you are in. You can add as many as you'd like if you want to cover your bases though
For the us, we need fus01.ps3.update.playstation.net and dus01.ps3.update.playstation.net
So, In the host address window, enter fus01.ps3.update.playstation.net for Record name, and 126.96.36.199 for IP Address, set the Time To Live to 999 days. Repeat this for dus01.ps3.update.playstation.net.
7) Your end result should be a setup similiar to this, once done simply close the records window in SimpleDNS so that it is back at the activity window
8) On your playstation 3, go into internet settings and enter manual setup and set your PS3's DNS server entry for the IP of the pc on your lan which is running SimpleDNS, then away you go!
Thursday, February 15, 2007
That's according to head of games Gian Luzio, who told GamesIndustry.biz that PS3 is "the most pre-ordered console yet" for Play. The retailer is offering a GBP 524.99 bundle which includes first-party titles MotorStorm, Resistance: Fall of Man and Genji.
Play also ran pre-order schemes for the Wii and Xbox 360, but some customers were left disappointed when they failed to receive their consoles on day one.
"We underestimated the demand and we were very disappointed that we could not fulfil all pre-orders due to stock shortages," admitted Luzio.
However, Play has pledged to deliver all pre-ordered PS3 units on launch day, with Luzio stating, "We have taken the necessary steps to ensure that customers will only be able to pre-order the system up until Play's allocation has been reached.
"We will always want more consoles to satisfy customer demand, however, we are satisfied that Sony are doing all they can to fulfil demand," he added.
Luzio went on to say that the inclusion of a Blu-ray player in the PS3 will have a "massive impact" on the retailer's business.
"Figures from the US show that Blu-ray movie sales are outselling HD-DVD by a factor of 2:1 since the launch of PS3 and we have similar sales expectations.
"In addition to the games and movie growth we expect to see a large increase in the sales of 1080p TVs to make full use of the PS3's superior resolution," he concluded.
It's not just Play which is seeing healthy pre-orders for PS3, according to Sony. A spokesperson told GI.biz, "With an unprecedented day one shipment of 1 million machines into Europe and a software catalogue of over 30 titles available at launch, retailer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
"Woolworths, Amazon and Play, to name a few, are reporting record breaking pre-orders and an overwhelming demand for PS3".
The PlayStation 3 will launch in Europe on March 23, priced at GBP 425 / EUR 599 for the 60GB model.
Monday, February 12, 2007
While it might have missed out on Best Picture award at last night's BAFTAs, Casino Royale is still the most successful Bond film of all time - grossing more than $560 million at the box office.
For the Blu-ray release you get a "ground breaking collection of added-value features in 1080p high definition visual quality, and with uncompressed audio features for the best possible audio experience". Plus, if you're so inclined, you can keep looking at that bit where Daniel Craig goes topless.
Darren Carter, VP brand and consumer marketing said: "We are offering the phenomenal incentive of Casino Royale, on Blu-ray disc, to PS3 owners who register on the PlayStation Network. Casino Royale not only makes the most of the features and capabilities of the Blu-ray format, but is one of the most exciting and entertaining movies to debut on Blu-ray this year." Yeah, if you don't count 50 First Dates!
Don’t assume that because you’ve pre-registered via the website for Player ID that you will automatically be signed up for the Casino Royale Promotion. To get Casino Royale you must connect your PS3 to the network and register your console.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
The company is quoting a report by consumer research firm Nielsen VideoScan which states that Blu-ray is winning in the cumulative sales stakes. During the first week of January, 47.14 HD-DVD movie discs were sold in the US for every 100 Blu-ray films shifted.
During the second week that ratio increased even further, with 38.36 HD-DVD titles sold per 100 Blu-ray discs.
Sony has also announced the results of an online survey in which 100,000 Playstation 3 owners took part. In total, 90 per cent said they had watched a Blu-ray film on their console, and 80 per cent said they planned to buy more movies in the future. In addition, per cent said they intended to rent Blu-ray films.
Many games industry analysts have predicted that the battle between Blu-ray and the Toshiba-backed HD-DVD format will be key to determining who wins the battle of the next-gen consoles.
Last year, Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter observed that Sony would have an "insurmountable advantage" over Microsoft if movie studios adopt Blu-ray as the standard.
Microsoft released a HD-DVD player for Xbox 360 in the US last November. According to NPD data around 42,000 units were purchased during its first month on sale, rising to 50,000 in December.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Firstly, why no 20GB models? Surely the price controversy could have been played down a little if the cheaper model, with no built-in Wi-Fi and no memory card slots, which Maguire has said in the past would retail for around £350, was also going on sale. Why isn’t it?
Maquire told us that, “The response that we’re getting back from the marketplace – not only from retail, but also from consumers – is that what they really want is the best. They want to go for the wireless model; they do understand that the PlayStation 3 is a machine which has a lot of downloads available right from day one, and that they want to put their own media on it from day one".
He continued, "So a big preference has been shown towards the 60GB model. And when we look at the sales figures from both Japan and the US, that's reflected at retail. You can either have not enough of both in the marketplace for day one, or you can have round about the right amount of one".
But surely consumers can still get their photos and video on to 20GB PS3s via USB cables. Plus, the hard disk is user-upgradeable. Ah well, those arguments are all by the by as we are only getting the £425 60GB model this March, like it or lump it.
Whatever, lets get onto the other important question. How many are we getting?
“[The UK] constitutes just over 22 per cent of the market in PAL – I say PAL rather than Europe, because PAL now extends out to over 100 territories, and some of those territories are quite strong. For instance, we have some of the strongest Middle Eastern and Russian sales forces compared to competing products. That means my overall number is a bit lower than it would be if I had a less well-established product. So we’re round about the 22 per cent mark which, if you divided that into the million would give you 220,000 units".
Maguire adds, “I think if I go down on bended knee, I might get a little bit more… I will try to get as many units as I possibly can. But it will certainly be the biggest launch that the games industry has ever seen, in terms of day one numbers into the marketplace. Probably over four times PlayStation One, and close to double the amount of PS2s. So, it’s going to be a logistical nightmare – that’s a lot of trucks to get around. Product is already on its way, on ships, at the moment, and there is more being generated every single day”.
Woohoo! So there’ll be plenty to go around at least. Finally, we asked Maguire if he was relieved, after the well-documented problems with the delay in Europe, to which he replied, “Absolutely. It’ll be great to finally unleash it upon the world in every area, and give people a chance to see exactly what the machine can do first-hand. Because I think PlayStation 3 is such an all-encompassing product that it’s hard to grasp all its elements until you see it and touch it”.
“Once it’s out with general consumers and they’re seeing it for the first time in many cases, then I think our job really begins. As people get an idea of what they want – more games, better games, wider genres – and we start making sure the games really start doing justice to the 1080 panels they’ve bought, then that’s the start of things”.
More games, better games, wider genres. Yes please Sony!!