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E3 2006
A Few Thoughts About Sony's Press Conference
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on May 09, 2006   |   Episode 9 (Show Archive)  

   

The PlayStation 3 is full of surprises, a few of which may piss off some gamers!
A few hours ago Sony became the first company at E3 to hold a press conference and boy was it full of surprises. While we all expected Sony to spill the beans about the new control, final release date and maybe a hint at the launch line up, I was doubtful that they would go as far as to announce the price. But Sony ended up being all about surprises this year, and I figured that you might want to know what I thought. Below you will find a list of most of the topics covered about the PlayStation 3 along with my thoughts and opinions. Keep in mind, as the days go on (and I learn more) these thoughts may change, but as of Monday night (when I'm writing this) this is what I think.

PRICE: Sony announced that they would feature two price points, similar to what the Xbox 360 did. Unlike Microsoft's next generation system Sony will offer a built in hard drive for both models, so expect all games to make use of the HDD as a standard. I personally think this is a good idea, it's the one thing I wish Sony would have done. But it wasn't the HDD that caught everybody's attention, it was the fact that the system would retail for $500 (low end) and $600 (high end). There are a few differences between the systems (which I won't get into here), but this ended up being a good/bad sort of thing. There was so much talk about the PS3 being closer to $1000 before the show, so it's good to see that Sony plans on releasing one version at only $100 more than the Xbox 360. But will the Xbox 360 still be $400 when the PS3 hits shelves? Probably, but I wouldn't be surprised if it hits that $300 price before next year's E3. We'll see.

Ultimately I'm not sure what to think about the price. I'm not happy about buying a $500 or $600 system, but it may be worth it for the added Blu-Ray playback. Or maybe it won't, it's still up in the air whether Blu-Ray will be the dominant media. And some gamers don't really care about next generation movie discs, so this may just not appeal to them at all. Either way, it's clear that this little business is getting more expensive. I'm concerned that gamers might not share Sony's dream.

CONTROL: Much has been said about Sony's control. When we saw it last year it was in the shape of Batman's trusty Baterang, now it looks exactly like the PS2 control with an added button and a wireless connection (and no feedback). At first glance it may look like Sony is ripping of Nintendo (and who knows, maybe they are), but the design of the PS3 control seems different enough (at least from the description and play test) to stand out on its own. I'm sure Nintendo fans will bitch at Sony, but unlike the Wii control it doesn't look like you will be swing the control, making shapes with it and moving with quite the same amount of depth. The PS3 control is more about turning it, so that you can steer a car with the control or fly a plane without pushing too many buttons. I do like that it still features the traditional button layout, that way I can play some of the games that seem hard to duplicate with motion (like fighting games and RPGs). Of course, this is just another extension of Sony's motion sensor device, the EyeToy. But even when you take that into consideration I wouldn't be surprised if Nintendo fans just think Sony is ripping their favorite developer off (actually, they've already started).

INTERFACE: Hey, we finally saw the system's front end. It was ... interesting. Reminded me of a more consumer-centric version of the Xbox 360's interface. I really don't have much to say about this. How about I come back to this after I've actually looked it over on E3's show floor.

GAMES: What, no Killzone?? Despite that missing element Sony's conference was full of great look new games and sequels. Eight Days looks like a lot of fun, as does Naughty Dog's newest entry. Not sure what to think about Afrika [sic], it looked more like a tech demo than a real game. I was also impressed with the direction of Tekken, Virtua Fighter, and Warhawk. Of course, the conference was stolen by the amazing new trailer for Metal Gear Solid 4. I simply don't know what to think of the game, especially the end of the video (which features what looks like Snake offing himself). The Final Fantasy XIII trailer also blew me away; I can't wait to see what that's all about. Too bad it probably won't be out until 2008. Sigh.

I'll keep you posted on my further thoughts about Sony's new system (as well as Nintendo's new system, whenever I get around to checking that out). But now it's time to get some sleep, there's another busy day of pre-E3 just around the corner. Join us Tuesday for even more E3-related stuff. Until then feel free to leave your questions, comments, and everything else you might have about Sony's conference (or whatever else you feel like).

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