Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sony Aims For PS3 Break-Even This Year.

Sony currently incurs an estimated $200 loss on every PlayStation 3 sold, but an exec from the firm said today that loss could be eliminated this fiscal year.

During a conference call Sony executive VP Nobuyuki Oneda said the firm may be able to break even on PS3 hardware this fiscal year, which ends in March 2008.

He said that the main cost-downs would have to occur in the Cell processor, RSX graphics chip and Blu-ray optical components.

"The removal of the negative margin will be when all of these factors have come out. Maybe, marginally, we could achieve this during this year," Oneda told a Citigroup Securities analyst during a Q&A session. Oneda still couldn’t specify exactly when this break-even point may happen.

"For the negative margin to go away, the big trigger would be the cost-down in the Cell and RSX semiconductors. They are the key, and also optical pick-up is another factor, significantly," he said.

Oneda confirmed that Sony is working on transitioning the PS3’s chips from 90nm to 65nm, which would reduce costs significantly. He said the Cell would be the first PS3 chip to make the migration, followed by the RSX chip.

Game console makers typically sell hardware at a loss, and make up for this through software sales. Nintendo, however, has made it a point to sell its hardware at a profit.


Worldwide PS3 Sales Only 4.48 Million.

Sony forecasts 14.5 million PS3 to have been sold by the end of March 2008.

Sony has today announced its Fiscal year 2007 Q1 earnings, including details of sales to date and sales projections for its three video game platforms.

At the end of Q1, worldwide sales of the PlayStation 3 stand at approximately 4.48 million (prior to Q1 2007 Sony only quoted units shipped not sold). 3.57 million came in the final half of the previous year, with a disappointing 0.71 million recorded in the first quarter 2007. Despite the console's poor sales in Q1, Sony has announced that it expects to sell a further 10.29 million units in the following three quarters, ending March 2008.

If Sony can meet its forecast then as of March 31, 2008, worldwide PlayStation 3 sales will have reached approximately 14.5 million units.

Sales of its other consoles, the PS2 and PSP were much better than that of the PS3. The aging PS2 is still going strong with Q1 sales of 2.7 million units, a 400,000 increase over the same quarter in 2006. PSP sales are reported as 2.14 million units, showing a year on year increase of over 700,000 units.

Forecast sales for the PlayStation 2 in fiscal 2007 are 10 million units, with the PSP expected to sell 9 million units.


EMotion FX 3 For PS3.

SDK is an animation program designed for multi-core processor

Mystic Game Development announced today that EMotion FX 3 is now available for PS3. The middleware is a real-time character animation SDK designed for multi-core processor systems. The Cell processor that powers the PS3 incorporates 8 SPEs.

"We are pleased to join Sony Computer Entertainment's Tools and Middleware program for PlayStation 3. The next generation EMotion FX, which was released last year, was specifically designed to take advantage of the latest advances in next-generation hardware focused on parallel processing. Now that EMotion FX 3.5 is available on PlayStation 3, we are looking forward to seeing what game developers will do with it," said John van der Burg, Development Director of MysticGD.

"The EMotion FX product has been meeting the character animation needs of game developers since 2001, and our clients are driving the changes that we make to the EMotion FX product. They wanted next-generation performance, memory efficiency and cross-platform support, as well as clear focus on reducing the artist effort required to deliver high-quality next-gen character content in their games".


Monday, July 23, 2007

1.90 PS3 Firmware Update Hits Japan.

What features to expect:

• Ability to rearrange games on the XMB
• Option menu now includes “eject disk”
• Press triangle to eject games/CDs/movies in the XMB
• XMB backgrounds
• Change the folder classification
• Emoticons
• Change CD output to 44.1/88.2/176.4kHz
• Force 24Hz output for Blu-ray over HDMI
• Change PS3 video settings in-game
• “Bit Mapping” in the “Music Setting”
• Save AVCHD type animations from a Memory Stick
• Change settings like upscaling while playing PS and PS2 games
• Add bookmarks
• Web browser security function in the browser’s tool section
• Avatar moves during audio visual chat

1.90 update for Europe & US hits tomorrow(24th July).

Heavenly Sword Demo On PSN This Week.

Sony reveals that playable demo is scheduled to hit the PlayStation Network on Thursday.

Sony has confirmed that a playable demo of Heavenly Sword, one of the PS3's most anticipated titles, will be released on Thursday, July 26.

PS3 owners will be able to grab the demo from the PlayStation Network and sample the action ahead of the game's scheduled September release.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Play Scoops Sony PS3 Bundle. is offering an interesting alternative to the Sony PlayStation 3 Starter Pack - announced at E3 last week and due to go on sale in the UK tomorrow, 18th July.

Sony's Pack:
60GB PS3
Two Sixaxis Pads
Two Games

from a choice of five first-party games: Genji, Resistance, MotorStorm, Formula One and Ridge Racer 7. Sony's pack is set to retail for £425.

Play's Pack:
60GB PS3
One Sixaxis pad
HDMI cable

and three games: MotorStorm, Genji and Resistance. Play's pack costs £399.99, and you can buy it now.

Sony's E3 announcement focused on the fact it was adding £115 worth of value to the £425 SKU. Play, meanwhile, suggests that the individual extras add £214.95.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Southern Europe Is Sony's Land.

Only in three months since it was launched, PLAYSTATION 3 has became the preferred entertainment system by surpassing 216.000 units in Iberia (NdT: Spain+Portugal), being 194.000 of those systems sold in Spain", said James Armstrong, Senior Vicepresident of Southern Europe and managing director of SCEE. According Armstrong, "In this period, PLAYSTATION 3 has surpassed already X360 sales, which launched back in 2005, and it's tied with Wii, which launched in december of 2006, with a substantially lesser price". And he adds: "That sales figures make PLAYSTATION 3 the platform with faster market penetration ever


Monday, July 09, 2007

E3 2007 Conference Schedule.

All times are British Summer Time (BST).

Wednesday 11th July
04:30 - Microsoft
17:00 - Nintendo
19:30 - Sony Computer Entertainment
22:00 - Electronic Arts
23:15 - Activision

Thursday 12th July
00:30 - Midway
01:45 - Konami
16:00 - Take-Two
17:15 - THQ
18:30 - Ubisoft
23:30 - Disney Interactive

Friday, July 06, 2007

Sony Reveals PSN E3 Coverage Plans.

Press conference, trailers, videos available for download

SCEA has revealed its plans to offer PlayStation Network coverage of the E3 Media & Business Summit.

Consumers will be able to download E3 content onto their PS3 consoles directly from the PlayStation Store, including the entire SCEA press conference to be held on July 11th. A variety of game trailers, videos, and other editorial content from the show will also be made available.

In addition to the downloadable content available through the PlayStation Network, consumers can follow E3 2007 through daily content on and the official PlayStation Blog.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

PlayStation 3 Boosts Sales At GAME.

Console responsible for 20 per cent like-for-like increase

High Street retailer GAME has reported that total group sales for the business were up 74.1 per cent for the first 22 weeks to June 30, with like-for-like group sales up 45.6 per cent.

Following the launch of PlayStation 3 last March, like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland have grown by 46.6 per cent. Without including PlayStation 3 hardware, software and associated peripherals, like-for-like sales for the region were only up 24.6 per cent.

International like-for-like sales were also boosted by Sony's next-generation console, climbing 42.6 per cent - or 20.1 per cent when not including PS3 stock.

The company noted that consumer demand remains high for all formats, particularly for Nintendo's Wii, but the lower margins on hardware sales are likely to impact margins until next year.

"The higher volumes of new generation platforms will increase hardware participation in the sales mix for the year to January 2008," commented Peter Lewis, chairman of GAME.

"The substantially lower margins achieved on hardware compared to software will reduce gross margins. The acquisition of Gamestation will also impact margins, as Gamestation has traditionally operated on lower margins than GAME," he added.

Despite this, the retailer still expects to report a net profit of between GBP 1 million and GBP 3 million for the first half of the year.

The company also confirmed its expansion plans, with another 50 stores to open before the end of the year - the majority of which will be in international regions.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Failure Rates: Xbox 360 High As 33%, Sony PS3 & Nintendo Wii Less Than 1%.

Retailers estimate that one in every three Microsoft Xbox 360’s sold fails leaving frustrated owners staring at the red ring of death, or worst a black screen that reads “disc unreadable”. When compared to other systems, former EB games associate Matthiew G said…

"Failure rates for all other consoles were not high enough for EB to consider revising their policies. Most other console systems have a failure rate of less than one percent, including the PlayStation 3".

Not to be left out of the conversation, when another EB Games manager was asked if the store warranty was "worth the price", he mentioned that the Nintendo Wii, with hundreds of units sold at their location has had ZERO come back as defective. We can hear Nintendo executives patting themselves on the back right now, no wait that’s just thunder.

A Best Buy associate who chose to remain anonymous claimed that the failure rate of the Microsoft Xbox 360 was in the ballpark of "between a quarter to a third" of the systems sold.

That said the Xbox 360 is the most successful console of the next gen bunch worldwide and has the largest market saturation to date with an impressive list of exclusive titles. Simple mathematics tells us that the more there are out there the more of a chance that some will fail, but 33% is still very high.

Microsoft stands behind their estimate that the Xbox 360 failure rate is within three to five percent, which they believe is well within the industry standard and in 2006 increased their warranty from 90 days up to 1 year. While they stand behind their estimate, it unfortunately does not seem to be accurate according to retailers of the product.

Based on a recent poll that was conducted by DailyTech with retailers nationwide, the Xbox 360 was unanimously named the least reliable gaming console in recent history. The high failure rate of the 360 has sent EB games officials back to the drawing board to revise their console warranty policy in 2007 and as a result the one year warranty price on a console is now nearly double!

Microsoft has made an effort in the realm of customer service to address the "ring of death" by adding an option to their customer support line (1-800-4MY-XBOX) called "three flashing red lights". Those of us that still have the Johnny Cash "Ring Of Fire" parody still stuck in our heads, please try and control yourselves.

So while the 360 is the market leader with the Wii gaining fast, maybe consumers should be giving the Playstation 3 a second or "third" look before picking up a next gen console. While we admit that things are not looking great for Sony right now, the company is not going to roll over and die, Blu-ray is the current market leader, and the Playstation 3’s list of titles will only improve as time goes by and more developers familiarize themselves with its specs.