The Playstation 3 finally launched in the United States on Friday and gamers and scalpers were finally able to get their hands on the hardware. The limited supply of consoles meant that demand was driven to frenzied levels, surpassing the madness of last year’s Xbox 360 launch. One thing seems clear, though; it seems like very few retailers learned their lesson last year, and a confluence of events led this launch to be worse in many ways.
More after the jump.
Sony VP Jack Tretton recently spoke with Game|Life about the upcoming Playstation 3 launch, and some of the issues that have surfaced. Tretton basically dismisses the backwords compatibility issues; he claims that despite issues with 200 games, with over 8000 games in the product compatibility database, this represents a high level of compatibility. Of course, since a number of these games are fairly high profile releases for the Playstation 3, including Gran Turismo 4, this probably does little to sooth the average gamer. Tretton also discusses the PS3 supply chain; gamers could see shortages last until Spring if demand holds up and the supply lines don’t improve. Also briefly touched on were the recent occurrences of violence among consumers waiting for the PS3 and the image scaling issues; Tretton essentially sidestepped the questions.
Read More | Game|Life
WKYT in Kentucky is reporting that people camping for the Playstation 3 in Lexington were hit by a drive-by shooting involving BB guns. Fortunately, none were severely hurt. However, for campers whose biggest concern is usually the weather, this would be a shock. While the attack feels like a prank, there does seem to be some tension due to the extremely limited supply of consoles that Sony is making available on launch day.
Read More | WKYT
Sony just updated the PlayB3yond website with a new video, “Higher Definition” that touts the console’s support for 1080P resolutions and Blu-Ray for additional storage. While 1080p has been hotly debated across the Internet, and some have doubted whether the 50 GB offered by Blu-Ray will make an impact in this generation of video games, Sony’s marketing really knows how to make a compelling advertisement for both.
Read More | PlayB3yond
Given the small amount of Playstation 3 consoles allocated for the Japanese launch, it should come as no surprise that most of these consoles are headed to secondary markets like online auction sites, import game dealers, and as “used” consoles. However, the latest Enterbrain sales figures are the biggest indication of how many of the consoles are not going to be played right away. According to a report on GamesIndustry, less than one game per console is being sold; the tie ratio is a low 0.98. While mega bundles and forced tying generally push up game tie rates in the United States, it appears that very little of that is happening in Japan.
Read More | GamesIndustry
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.
Read More | Gamespot
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.
Read More | Gamespot
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