Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Europe Poised For Official PS3 Motorstorm Bundle.

An online Belgian retailer has added an Official SCEE backed PS3 Motorstorm bundle to its online catalogue priced at 619.99€, its currently scheduled for release today (June 27th 2007).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Unreal Tournament 3 A Timed PS3 Exclusive.

Next to Half-Life and Halo, it's probably the most recognizable name in FPS gaming: Unreal. As most every avid gamer knows, Epic's Unreal Tournament 3 is easily one of the most anticipated games of the new generation, and now, we learn the PS3 and PC versions will release ahead of the Xbox 360 version. Oooh, big news for PS3 owners; getting such a huge timed exclusive.

The rumor began a few days ago, and initially met with much resistance. After all, Epic has produced Gears of War, a 360 exclusive and arguably the best game on the system. Furthermore, their past comments regarding Sony's next-gen system haven't been exactly glowing. But thanks to that recent Geoff Keighley interview on GameTrailers yesterday, this rumor was proven true; Unreal Tournament 3 will be a timed console exclusive.

The reason? Well, Keighley said it's because Sony is allowing user-created mods for the game, and Microsoft thinks it could be used to "undermine" their Xbox Live service. The 360 version will come out at a later date after "they resolve some issues." That implies there's more than one issue, so we'll have to keep an eye on this...and also, how long is this "timed" exclusive? At last check, the game was scheduled for a January 2008 release (Q3 2007 in Europe), so do we have an update on this?

Guess we'll have to wait on the details. But for now, this is pretty good news for PS3 owners. UT 3 will kick much ass, guaranteed.


US PS3 Owners Value Blu-ray Abilities.

A SCEA study has shown that for US consumers, the PS3’s Blu-ray Disc compatibility was a major incentive for buying the next generation console.

The PS3 was introduced in the states last November, some four months before its European debut so it is useful to look across the Atlantic at market trends that could indicate future drivers here in Europe.

According to Sony’s research, some 83% of respondents watch Blu-ray movies occasionally or frequently on their PS3 and 72% have purchased at least one Blu-ray disc since getting a PS3.

Most importantly, 87% intend to purchase at least one BD movie in the next 12 months and 82% of them watch movies on Blu-ray Disc as their first choice whenever they are available.

"In Europe, PS3 has only been on the market for 12 weeks, but we are already seeing a significant increase in sales of Blu-ray movies to the over 1m PS3 owners across the PAL region," said Nick Sharples, director, Corporate Communications at SCEE. “Just as DVD was a central element of PS2 and helped to establish that format, Blu-ray is a key enabling technology with PS3. We believe the two technologies – PS3 and Blu-ray together – are a killer combination and will take home entertainment to new levels globally".

Perhaps Sony was right with its belief that sales in the US look set to soar. Now let’s see how things play out in Europe…


Sony Bundles Hot Shots With PS3.

New bundle represents 4,000 yen price cut.

The PS3's biggest game yet over in Japan is just about a month away from release, and, sure enough, Sony isn't being quiet about it. Following a heavily promoted downloadable demo of Minna no Golf 5 (known as Hot Shots Golf 5 oustide of Japan), Sony has announced a special PS3 package to coincide with the game's release.

Officially known as the PlayStation 3 Beginners' Pack, this bundle combines a PS3 system with a copy of Minna no Golf 5, all in a slick new box. It will be available on 7/26 at a cost of 61,980 yen for a 60 Gig version and 51,980 yen for a 20 Gig version.

There are a couple of points of note in this announcement. First, different from other territories, Sony seems to be continuing with sales of the two PS3 models in Japan. Currently, both 20 Gig and 60 Gig versions of the hardware are available for purchase at.

More importantly, the price of the bundle represents a savings of nearly 4,000 yen off the price of purchasing the game had hardware separately. It's not quite a price drop, but perhaps it will draw in a few holdouts.

Exclusive: Sony San Diego Shifts Developers To PSN Games.

Talking to Gamasutra as part of an upcoming San Diego Studio Tour series, SCEA producer Jim Molinets has revealed that the San Diego studio's internal team has "shifted focus" from large-scale PS2/PS3 titles into three PlayStation Network PS3 downloadable games, underscoring Sony's support for digital downloads.

Molinets explained to Gamasutra: "Internally, we have shifted our focus from doing large-scope PS2 and PS3 titles to doing PSN titles exclusively. We've got three smaller groups now, and they're all doing very differentiated products with different requirements".

These comments specifically relate to Sony San Diego's self-contained development team of around 30 people, though the studio still includes motion capture, art-related and administrative staff, with a total of around 200 people in product development.

As the SCEA producer went on to detail: "Our maximum team size is ten people, so we really utilize the strengths of all the different people within the studio. Each individual product has a technical lead, a design lead, and an art lead".

Sony's model for PSN has been significantly more first-party oriented than Microsoft's similar plans for Xbox Live Arcade, which only uses its internal Carbonated Games studio (Uno). As a contrast, Sony's internal studios have already released Blast Factor and Calling All Cars, and there appear to be multiple new first party PSN games on the way.

Molinets explains the attraction of being able to interact with the PSN community and make changes and improvements to the title swiftly, even after launch: "Because the [development] team is smaller, the dev cycle is smaller, and because our expertise level is high, we may be able to address things like that very quickly, as opposed to having to wait for a full two-year product cycle".

Finally, while not confirming that Telltale's franchise would make it to the PlayStation Network in the future, Molinets referenced it when discussing episodic titles on consoles: "That's definitely an opportunity on PSN. Sam & Max is a great example of that. You've got great characters that can go through a bunch of crazy scenarios".

Further details from Gamasutra's San Diego Studio Tour, which visited Rockstar San Diego, SCEA San Diego, and High Moon Studios, will be published as features over the next few weeks.


Namco Confirm Tekken 5 To Go Online For $10.

Namco Bandai has confirmed that the online-play update for Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection on the Playstation Network will be priced at $9.99 for North American Gamers. The new update will also include a survival and practice mode.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Manhunt 2 Banned From Sale In UK.

"To issue a certificate would involve a range of unjustifiable risks, to both adults and minors"

The BBFC has rejected Rockstar's Manhunt 2, banning the controversial title from sale anywhere in the UK.

Both PlayStation 2 and Wii versions of the game have been banned, with the BBFC unable to recommend cuts or removal of content to make it suitable for public sale.

"Where possible we try to consider cuts or, in the case of games, modifications which remove the material which contravenes the Board’s published Guidelines. In the case of Manhunt 2 this has not been possible," revealed David Cooke, director of the BBFC.

"Manhunt 2 is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing.

"There is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed, and encouraged, in the game," he continued.

The BBFC has stated that the sequel to Manhunt is far more brutal and bleak than the original title, which was granted an 18 rating in 2003.

"Although the difference should not be exaggerated the fact of the game’s unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying and the sheer lack of alternative pleasures on offer to the gamer, together with the different overall narrative context, contribute towards differentiating this submission from the original Manhunt game," added Cooke.

"Against this background, the Board’s carefully considered view is that to issue a certificate to Manhunt 2, on either platform, would involve a range of unjustifiable harm risks, to both adults and minors, within the terms of the Video Recordings Act, and accordingly that its availability, even if statutorily confined to adults, would be unacceptable to the public".

The last game to be banned by the BBFC was Carmageddon in 1997. Publisher Rockstar has the right to appeal against the BBFC's decision.

Rockstar was not available at the time of writing.


Sony Declines To Comment On Rumble Rumours.

Reports say new PS3 controller is coming

Sony has declined to comment on rumours that a new PlayStation 3 controller complete with rumble feature is currently in development.

Rumours began to emerge last week in a variety of internet reports, including one on The site claimed that "two independent sources at Sony" said they have been "working on prototypes for several months".

When contacted by, both SCEE and SCEA declined to offer comments on the reports.

However, there are strong indications that PS3 controllers could feature rumble in the future.

Following a long legal battle with Immersion Corporation over patent infringements Sony recently signed a new agreement with the company.

SCE boss Kaz Hirai stated, "We are very excited about our new partnership with Immersion and the potential for new and innovative products incorporating their technologies".