So…..Microsoft’s announcements. Again the Jostick write-up contains all the details but my thoughts are…
- Halo 3….but no release date. Trailer on Marketplace and it does look very good especially as all the content is in game and rendered on the 360 although there is a bit of Sony style ‘should’ make it to final game in the Bungie announcement.
- Forza 2 for Christmas, Gears of War this year, Pro Evo next gen debut is the 360
- Grand Theft Auto releases same day for PS3 & 360 so good in that there is no wait…whether the 360 is the best platform for it (Xbox GTA was far better than PS2 GTA) remains to be seen
- New hardware – Wireless headset, wheel and the camera – all in the run up to Christmas. HD-DVD too but not much said. IGN have some great shots of the hardware. The headset will be a purchase.
- Live Arcade getting lot’s of new content but a lot of it is in the shape of arcade classics
- Live Anywhere – voice chat between Vista and 360. Play game on 360 and/or PC or Windows Mobile. Smart. Use same gamertag on ANY (MS) platform
- Marketplace can’t cope with the demand – downloads are verrrrry slow
- Need background download update – pity this wasn’t available for this week
- Lot’s of talk about Xbox Arcade but little or no additional content for the last few months
- There’s a hungry market out there looking for games – how do I know? See image below – never have I seen the friends list busier with no one playing games.
- No killer blow, no shock announcement, nothing to dent the Sony hype.
Overall a good amount of announcements of hardware and software but I can’t wait to see how big a lead the 360 has with regards user base this November…and what it will be like on Nov 2007.
Sony finally gave up some real details of the PS3, first hyped about in E3 2005 with some additional stretching of truths round about the 360 launch at the end of the year. The specifications and announcements are covered well at Joystick so I’ll jot down my initial thoughts.
- Blu-Ray – this is my number one reason for getting a PS3 – an affordable way of getting a Blu-Ray player while at the same time picking up a next generation console
- Hardware looks to be very capable and everyone will have a hard disk – no mention of Linux or the PS3’s multimedia capabilities in the networked home
- There will be a central online network which I’m guessing will have all the features of Xbox Live (still not clear whether it’s free for just basic features or the whole thing). While Sony will say more people play online with PS2’s the service is appalling compared to Xbox Live.
- The controller. Finally that boomerang has gone to be replaced with the old faithful dualshock. However it’s now wireless (Bluetooth) and it no longer rumbles but instead has six degrees of movement. You can pitch and yaw the pad to control a character or vehicle on screen and it also understands acceleration. Think Nintendo Wii but in a clunkier form.
- PSP linkage although cost will be the biggest factor as there looks to be a service to play old PS1 classics – Live Arcade however is one of the better aspects of the 360 so there is a market
- Released this year and like the 360 worldwide at the same time give a week or two. Roll on November 17th – remember to get those preorders in
- 2 sku’s (2 different price points for two different PS3). Not good. Unlike the 360 where you could upgrade the core to the premium pack, there will be no upgrade path for the PS3. Surprisingly the cheaper PS3 will have no HDMI socket, no wi-fi, no memory stick slots and a reduced hard disk. The lack of HDMI seems surprising as surely it will limit Hi-Def playback from the Blu-Ray player?
- Cost – a lot more expensive than the 360 – factor in second pads and a couple of launch titles and your looking at Â£600 or more
- Will Blu-Ray playback be as good from the PS3 as it would from a dedicated player? DVD playback on the 360 is shit compared to an average DVD player so there is a niggling doubt about how good the HD content will look
- Sony hype – emotion engine, 2 HDMI ports, 1080p gaming – what do you believe?
- Where’s the original content? Looking at the list of games at E3 there’s precious little that is unique to the PS3 – Gran Turismo, Metal Gear Solid? Not enough to justify a new console on it’s own.
So it’s a mixed bag – the E3 presentation didn’t contain any wow factor and in many ways backed up the ‘hype’ accusation that can be easily thrown Sony’s way. I don’t like the arrogance that the next generation of gaming doesn’t arrive until the PS3 is launched and that they are the only party in town. If it wasn’t for Nintendo and Microsoft I’m sure we wouldn’t see network gaming and motion detecting pads in the PS3. Competition is good and ultimately should deliver a better end product. Saying that I’ll be ordering as soon as I can. If worst comes to worst EBay will deliver a pre christmas profit but I doubt it…unless I order 2.