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
Famitsu recently released the pricing and availability information for a bunch of the Playstation 3 launch window titles in Japan, and Game|Life has a translation. The price list shows information for six of the launch day titles, and three launch window titles, ranging from 5040 Yen ($43) for budget titles to the high end of 8190 Yen ($70) for Armored Core 4. The other titles fall somewhere between the two, with first party titles like Resistance: Fall of Man and Genji 2 priced at 5980 Yen, about $50, and third-party titles like Ridge Racer 7 and Sonic The Hedgehog falling between 7140 Yen ($61) to 7329 Yen ($62). So, at least for right now, it looks like gamers in Japan can expect pretty standard next generation game pricing with only the occasional wallet buster.
Read More | Game|Life
Sony Computer Entertainment of Japan announced today the pricing and availability of some of the accessories for the PS3 in that territory. On launch day, November 11th, gamers will be able to purchase additional wireless SIXAXIS controllers for 5000 Yen, roughly $42 US. Gamers looking to play their old Playstation 2 games on their new console will also want to pick up a memory card adapter, listed at 1500 Yen ($13 US), also available on launch day. The memory card adapter is a USB device that allows users to copy their PS1 and PS2 saves to the internal hard drive of the Playstation 3. Finally, the BD-ROM remote will ship on December 7th, for 3600 Yen ($31 US). Since the PS3 controllers are wireless, there is less of a pressing demand for a fully functioning BD-ROM remote, but it would have been nice to see the device on launch day.
Read More | Playstation.com
This weekend, PSM3 Magazine got their hands on a fully working Playstation 3. Today, they dropped a video and their first impressions of Sony’s new console. The video shows off the boot interface, which definitely shows the influence of the PSP in its design. Their quick impressions: the console is quiet, heavy, and attracts fingerprints like the PSP does. Their blog entry shows off jealousy-inducing pictures of the console in action, along with other impressions of the console in use.
Update: Sony made PSM3 pull the video.
Read More | PSM3
Victor Godinez, author of the Dallas Morning News article from the GameStop conference in Texas, has updated his blog with additional information. There are quick impressions of the various company presences at the show. Sony’s Resistance: Fall of Man was “pretty standard first-person shooter fare… well executed, fun to play, and graphically impressive.”
For the Wii, Godinez indicates that graphics have generally improved since E3. Sword fighting mapping isn’t 100% precise in Red Steel, but seems to be much closer than E3.
On pre-orders, the company line as of Sunday is still that there will either be very limited pre-order campaigns or none at all. GameStop appears to be really gunshy with the pre-order situation. It may be possible that GameStop will get enough console allocation assurance from Sony and Nintendo, but it isn’t looking particularly likely. However, there is at least one person on the 1up forum boards that claims to be a GameStop manager whose store will be offering pre-orders on Tuesday, October 10.
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Read More | 1up Message Boards
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