Gamers hoped that when GameStop placed a limited number of Playstation 3 systems available for pre-order that the small amount allocated would prevent last year’s Xbox 360 debacle from repeating itself. Now, Gamespot is reporting that the game retailer will be unable to fulfill existing pre-order allocations on launch day. GameSpot is still fairly confident that they will be able to cover pre-orders for the console before Christmas. The company will also provide a free used game or DVD priced at $19.99 or less when the pre-order is actually fulfilled, a small consolation to those gamers that thought they were set for launch day.
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Sony has posted a backwards compatibility database for the Japanese Playstation 3 online, and IGN has checked for issues with some of the major titles. According to IGN, most of the titles checked report “Currently, there have been no reports of major problems during play.” Given that there are thousands of titles in the database, it is unlikely that Sony has been able to test every single game thoroughly at this point, so compatibility issues may still surface later.
Also, IGN reports that many titles in the database with issues have been fixed as of the System 1.10 update, indicating that the emulation system is software based, not based on PS2 hardware inclusions as rumored earlier. Most of the issues IGN highlighted are problems with background music or movie sound playing back incorrectly. While annoying, this wouldn’t be a major issue. However, titles like Gran Turismo 4 and Silent Hill appear to be subject to occasional freezes, and some titles lose game save data.
Some of the issues appear to be hardware based. Some of Konami’s titles have problems with the microphone, and there are issues with games that allow gamers to access previous Playstation 1 save data. Other issues seem to be related to the differing hardware support in the PS3 as well. HD-based games are also not compatible, though a future software update promises to fix these. Hopefully, Sony will place the US compatibility list online soon. While a number of titles appear to have issues, at least right now it seems like the Playstation 3 will offer greater backward compatibility support than the Xbox 360.
Read More | IGN
Japanese site PC Watch was able to procure a 60 GB Playstation 3, and immediately set about tearing the console apart to expose its guts. PC Watch tore the console down the motherboard, so gamers can see the CPU and the RSX along with the large cooling system and heat pipe that are supposed to make the system run quietly.
Read More | PC Watch Japan
It is looking like Sony’s Playstation 3 launch may be missing a few titles; Bethesda Softworks recently announced that Elder Scrolls: Oblivion has been pushed back to 2007, according to a report from GameSpot. In addition, rumors have Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog also being delayed to 2007 along with Vivendi Universal’s F.E.A.R. Other titles could potentially miss the launch window at this point, but with so few consoles shipping software availability would seem to be the last thing on Sony’s mind.
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A report from 1up indicates that Sony will have a software update for the Playstation 3 available at launch day in Japan. According to 1up, the update unlocks Playstation Network services for the console, and a future updates for both the Playstation 3 and the PSP will enable some security features and Playstation 3 and PSP interaction. When the later update hits, PSP users will be able to download PSP games from the Playstation Store via the PS3 and transfer them to the PSP and the “remote play” feature will be enabled. While consumers may be surprised to have to apply a system update out of the box, PSP users should be used to this by now and this generally appears to be part of Sony’s strategy as they slowly add features and usability to the console over its lifetime.
Read More | 1up
Sony has dropped a new television ad, this time hyping up their tilt-sensitive SIXAXIS controller. Again, the advertisements use abstract imagery to promote the system, using rolling eggs to illustrate the control enhancements that motion-sensitivity will offer. While Sony’s campaign has done little to give consumers any specific game information, the commercials so far act almost entirely on an emotional level.
Dave Karraker, Sony’s new head of corporate communications recently gave Gamasutra a lengthy interview about his history and the upcoming Playstation 3 launch. Karraker’s industry experience included work for Crystal Dynamics, 3DO, and Sega of America. Prior to working at Sony, Karraker worked with Marth Stewart during her prison stay; this type of experience under pressure may be a benefit when trying to work with some of the foot-in-mouth problems some of Sony’s executives seem to have.
Karraker discusses some of these issues in the interview, particularly in reference to some of Ken Kutaragi’s more outrageous statements. He also talks specifically about what he feels Sony brings to the table, including 1080p and Sony’s vision for their online network.
Karraker states that Sony is pushing a more open network where basic functionality is provided by Sony, and third parties will have the option to either provide their own support for matchmaking, ranking, and achievements, work with a third-party provider like Xfire or Gamespy, or work with Sony’s implementation. Not having a universal experience may hurt Sony when compared to Microsoft’s Xbox Live. However, Microsoft’s relative lack of flexibility is not without its drawbacks, either; witness Epic’s problems providing party-based ranked matches online for Gears of War.
Also discussed was Sony’s downloadable game content. Here again, Karraker can’t seem to resist poking at the offerings from Microsoft and Nintendo, stating:
I think what you won’t see is just a flood of games that some might consider to be throw-away games. We’re going to populate the store with true, good games that show off the hardware, so it’s not just going to be a bunch of redos and hacks.
For being Sony’s official mouthpiece for corporate communications, this interview seems to be remarkably straightforward. Sure, for the most part Karraker toes the party line, but there are some good insights in the interview.
Read More | Gamasutra
After Silicon Knights showed off Too Human at E3, the game has seemingly gone underground. Much of the feedback from the show indicated that the game really was not ready to be demonstrated. Dean Takahashi at Mercury News was able to speak with Silicon Knights president Denis Dyack about the game, and his opinion on the next generation consoles. Dyack considers the PS3 and Xbox 360 relative equals, stating, “Maybe the PS 3 has more processing power. The 360 has more available memory…To developers, they look even.” Nintendo’s Wii isn’t even on Silicon Knights’ radar at this point.
While the PS3’s power might be difficult for developers to unlock, Dyack claims that HDMI will make a difference in image quality. His belief is that having a purely digital path has benefits over the Xbox 360’s analog solution. On 720P versus 1080P, Dyack believes that there is less of a noticeable difference. Like make other developers, he discussed the trade-offs between the resolutions, including refresh rates, framerate, and texture RAM.
Read More | Mercury News
A Japanese report in Nikkei Keizai Shimbun indicates that Sony will only be offering 80,000 consoles on launch day in Japan, down from their initial estimates of 100,000. The reason cited, according to GameDaily, was continuing component shortages which have continued to plague Sony’s new console. GameDaily talked with SCEA and there will be no changes in the North American launch allocations. The shift does call into question Sony’s ability to continue to feed hardware into the various markets and may be the first indication that other markets may suffer more intense shortages later.
Read More | GameDaily
GameSpot was recently able to take advantage of some extra time with the Playstation 3 and look into the console’s backward compatibility options. GameSpot wasn’t able to look at a lot of games, but they had enough time to look at a Playstation game, a Playstation 2 game, and a Playstation 2 game from a different region. The Playstation game tested was Battle Arena Toshinden 3, which seemed to work fine. Gran Turismo 4 also appeared to work normally on the Playstation 3, while the Japanese version of Kingdom Hearts 2 was locked out because of region restrictions. None of the games were enhanced in any way by the PS3, as expected. While the tests are interesting, they still don’t detail how Sony is achieving backward compatibility, and there is still no official list of incompatible games.
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