According to Eurogamer, Rockstar North is working on exclusive Grand Theft Auto IV content for the Playstation 3 on top of the already announced downloadable episodes for the Xbox 360. Speaking with a source “close to Rockstar North,” Eurogamer reports that the new content should be “much the same deal” as the Xbox 360, “except unique to the platform.” While far from being confirmed, exclusive content would certainly help Rockstar maintain a good relationship with Sony. And, of course, this would force true Grand Theft Auto fans to lay out more money to have all the content available to them.
Read More | Eurogamer
This Sunday in Japan brought the availability of Playstation 3 pre-orders for both the 20 GB and 60 GB versions of the console. CheapyD, proprietor of Cheap Ass Games was online and ready to place his pre-order. Apparently, the massive amounts of traffic hitting the site was able to bring down the Japanese shopping cart system. Ultimately, the pre-order was placed, but the full recap is available at CheapAssGamer.com.
Read More | CheapAssGamer
It looks like Sony’s television advertising campaign has started to hit the airwaves, and of course the ad has been uploaded online. It would be too straightforward for Sony to show any gameplay video at this point, so gamers get treated to an abstract commercial promising that “the wait is over” and the launch date of November 17th. Now, for most people, the wait really won’t be over on launch day given the small quantities of the console that Sony is shipping, but the ad at least offers hope for thirteen-year old kids on rooftops across America.
Read More | NeoGAF
Not a whole lot is known about Sony’s online functionality for the PS3. The service has been announced as free, and Sony promised to support functionality similar to that of Microsoft’s Xbox Live. Eurogamer was able to get a more detailed preview directly from Sony, as to what gamers can expect when they get their console online. Previously published reports have shown off the cross-bar, the PSP-like UI for the console. Sony’s Phil Harrison also described the included web browser, which should be a fully standards enabled browser to allow access to rich content on the Internet.
Eurogamer delves a little more into how users will be managed on the console. Sony has a concept of a master account and associated accounts. Master accounts have full access to their content, while an associated account can be restricted to allow kids access to the machine. Sony says that this will be a single sign-in for all of the network enabled games. How this will integrate with third-party back-ends like GameSpy and Xfire was not discussed.
Finally, Eurogamer also got a preview of Sony’s online store system; there are some interesting concepts for the store that are discussed, including Sony’s online walleting system. Interestingly, Sony has indicated that all store items will be priced in local currency rather than an ambiguous points system. While there isn’t a ton of new information in the preview, it is interesting to see more of what Sony has planned for their online ambitions.
Read More | Eurogamer
A new survey from recently the recently formed research company Interpret shows the Xbox 360 trailing in mindshare in the next generation console wars. Interpret’s survey targeted 2,000 online users; these users were then apparently weighted against 2004 Census data. In the data released to Next Generation, the weighted data shows 8.9 million consumers ready to pony up money for the PS3, 5.7 million would purchase the Wii, and 800,000 would buy the Xbox 360 at full price. It’s hard to attach much weight to the survey, though, without further information.
While Interpret LLC is a new company, its founders consist of veterans from ratings giant Nielsen; there is a lot of experience at the helm. But without more particulars, it is hard to judge if Interpret’s extrapolations are valid. There are some interesting points from the research; Interpret believes that while Microsoft has had tremendous success over the past year, the company has not been able to expand its audience beyond the hardcore gamer. It is also easy for gamers online to get an insulated view of the industry. Certainly, Sony has had a lot of bad news related to the Playstation 3, but a lot of this information will not trickle down to the mainstream audience. While this survey paints a bad picture for Microsoft, there is a huge gap between surveys, statistics, and the real world.
Read More | Next Generation
When 1up apparently found clues pointing to Sony using Xfire as a matching service for their Playstation 3 Network, Sony representatives were quick to downplay this as a part of the Xfire integration for Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom and not as a part of Sony’s official network.
Xfire today clarified their support on Untold Legends with GameSpot, indicating that on the PC and PS3, Xfire will be providing “cross-platform text chat and friends-list features” with support for new features in the future. In addition, Xfire will be licensing their middleware to other companies that want to bring advanced matchmaking features to the Playstation 3. Xfire also let slip that they were in talks with “one other console maker,” so unless Xfire is very confused, this would likely be Nintendo.
With the announcement that Untold Legends will support Xfire, and Full Auto 2 will utilize GameSpy’s services, it is starting to look more and more that Sony’s online network may be more bare-bones, with its own sign-in, but leaving more advanced networking features to established companies for the time being. This doesn’t preclude Sony from implementing these features in the future, but it does seem to indicate that Sony doesn’t quite have everything laid out right now and are instead leveraging partnerships to get the functionality that they want.
Read More | Gamespot
GameStop/EBGames have announced that a limited Playstation 3 pre-order program will start on October 10th. The full statement on the site is as follows:
GameStop and EB Games will begin accepting limited pre-orders for the PlayStation 3 console on Tuesday, October 10, on a first come, first served basis. Due to extremely limited supply, we expect to deplete this allocation very quickly, most likely in minutes. We will not accept additional pre-orders at this time. To avoid an unnecessary trip we strongly recommend you call your local store to determine availability. A $100 reservation deposit is required, which can be funded with cash, credit or trade. As we cannot control production and shipping issues by the manufacturer, a reservation deposit does not guarantee receipt of a system available to purchase at launch. Reservations/Purchases are limited to 1 per household.
Our limited online pre-order program will be announced at a later date, after software and accessory availability dates are confirmed. Online product pricing and availability will vary and will be fulfilled independent of store reservations.
With $100 down and no guarantee of a system on launch day, this would not seem to be a very viable option for getting a Playstation 3 in a reasonable time frame. However, given launch day scarcity, it would seem that gamers would have few other choices, except to wait.
Read More | GameStop
The October 5 RadioOPM podcast for the US Official Playstation Magazine features Mike Gallo, producer of Full Auto 2 for Sega of America. Gallo discusses developing for the Playstation 3, working with the development kits and some of the challenges of developing a launch title.
In addition, Gallo talks about the multiplayer functionality for the game; according to Gallo, Sony’s network should support a single user profile log-on, similar to the way that Xbox Live handles things, but that Sega will be utilizing Gamespy’s matchmaking and ranking technologies for their back-end. While it is interesting to see that at least some of the features found in Xbox Live will make their way to Sony’s Playstation network, the utilization of a third-party back end for Sega’s title may indicate that Sony’s online service, while offering more flexibility on the back end, may not be as integrated a service for the end user as Microsoft’s offering. Hopefully, Sony’s last pre-launch event on October 19th will give gamers more of an idea of what they can expect online. Gallo’s Full Auto comments can be found roughly 22 minutes into the podcast, but there are other interesting discussions, including impressions of Sony’s Playstation 3 console.
Analysts are reporting that Sony will lose an estimated $560 million due to the massive battery recalls and the price cut for the Playstation 3. The analysts estimate that the battery recalls will run almost $340 million at the low end of estimates. Certainly, lawsuits and further recalls could lead this figure to run higher. Sony’s announced price cut in Japan would also contribute an estimated $220 million to the company’s losses this year, on top of the losses that Sony already sustains on each console sold. Sony’s forecasts for the year estimated that they would earn $1.1 billion, so these losses in effect will cut Sony’s profits in half.
Read More | ITNews
Famitsu released a bunch of detailed images from the Playstation 3 20GB and 60GB model, including some comparisons with the original Playstation 2. The 20GB and 60GB models look very similar, of course, with a different bezel color across the front. The 60GB model also adds the various flash media slots under the front flap. A long string of logos adorns the console, with all the multimedia options it supports, including Blu-Ray, DVD-ROM, Super Audio CD, and Dolby TRUEHD. The new SIXAXIS controller is also compared with the old Dual Shock, and some other changes have been made beyond wireless support and the lack of rumble. Famitsu highlights changes to the L2 and R2 triggers; it looks like these are shaped slightly differently and have a larger range of motion than the Dual Shock.
Read More | Famitsu