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.
Read More | PunchButton DMN Blog
Read More | 1up Message Boards
Ubisoft Montreal recently previewed the Xbox 360 version of Assassin’s Creed for IGN recently, and while the games are “virtually identical” on the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360, there are a couple of differences that have the Internet buzzing. In almost a throw-away line after discussing the control schemes and detailed animations of the game, Jade Raymond, when detailing some of the changes gamers will see in the Xbox 360 version, claimed that the focus was on achievements, plus “the hardware also allows for improved threading, which will improve even further the crowd AI.” Without further details, it is hard to make a real conclusion about what this means, even within the context of the game. Having better crowd AI would certainly seem to improve a gamer’s interaction with the game world, but doesn’t seem like something that would be a deal breaker in terms of platform support. But it does seem to highlight that there will be differences in the game experiences gamers will get on the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 above and beyond the look and the sounds of the game. It will be interesting to see how the base architectures of the machines will change gameplay for each console.
Read More | IGN
Over at the NeoGAF forums, a user has posted a couple of slides that purport to be from Best Buy’s upcoming holiday console roll-out. If the slides are accurate, gamers would see the Playstation 3 demo area set up by October 20th, and Nintendo’s Wii kiosks set up on October 29th. According to the slides the current Xbox 360 console demonstration areas would be removed, and demo consoles would be moved to the shelving areas like the Xbox and Playstation 2 are currently featured. The new demo area would basically be a complete Sony home theater solution, from a Sony Bravia flat-panel television, a 7.1 surround system, and, of course, the 60 GB Playstation 3. Matching the Bravia LCD with the Playstation 3 will ensure that gamers will be able to see for themselves if a full 1080P video path offers an improved gaming experience.
Read More | NeoGAF Forums
Market research company Ipsos Insight released the results of a survey conducted on behalf of Immersion Corporation indicating that gamers prefer to have vibration feedback in their gamers. Immersion, of course, is the current holder of a number of patents for vibration function in controllers, and recently won an injunction against Sony for their use of rumble technology. Some have suspected that this may be the reason that Sony’s Playstation 3 controllers will not feature rumble support.
So, the ground-breaking news from this survey is that 72 percent of gamers believe that vibration feedback enhances their game experience “most of the time.” According to their report, 74 percent of gamers were also unaware that Sony had removed rumble support and 58 percent were disappointed. Somewhat shockingly, 5 percent of the gamers polled would not buy a PS3 if rumble was not included. While many people like the rumble feature, it is hard to believe that this would end up being a deal breaker, despite Immersion’s wish that this would be true.
Ipsos also makes some interesting conclusions about the rumble/vibration feature. They claim that gamers are “unaware that this capability must be present in the console to experience vibration feedback with any gamepad controller…” Ipsos doesn’t seem to be aware of the genesis of the vibration feedback function. First, there is no indication that this support has been removed from the Playstation 3. Second, if this kind of support had to be built into the console then rumble could never have been added after the fact to the Nintendo 64 or the original Playstation. Certainly, one would have a hard time adding interactive rumble to a game that previously didn’t support the feature, but vibration feedback falls into the realm of support for software and the peripherals, not the base console itself.
Still, the survey does feature some interesting numbers about next generation console adoption. Separating the numbers from the vibration bias, it does appear that fewer previous generation console owners are going to be adopting the Playstation 3. The survey showed that among those owners, the marketshare numbers shift to 48 percent Playstation 3 owners, 37 percent Xbox 360, and 15 percent Wii. Ipsos doesn’t indicate if the option to purchase one or more consoles was given. Overall, the survey gives some interesting material for discussion, but given the relatively small sample size and the focus on vibration feedback, it is hard to give the survey a lot of weight.
Read More | Ipsos
Gamespot was able to catch up with Kaz Hirai at the Tokyo Game Show, and get some further details for the US launch that weren’t readily apparent from their keynote. Hirai’s focus for the US launch seems to be maintaining momentum; having a good set of launch titles is good, but Sony is equally concerned with making sure that the software keeps flowing each additional week past launch. Certainly this has been a problem for console launches in the past, where the Xbox 360 had a number of great launch titles, but follow-on titles really didn’t happen until the next year. Similarly, the PSP was heralded for its great launch line-up, but again, Sony didn’t have additional A-list titles immediately available post launch.
Hirai’s other concerns are console supply. He again reiterated that there should be approximately 400,000 units available for the US launch. He hopes to have 1 million units in the US by the end of the year, and despite Japan’s initial shortage, another million plus shipped to Japan. Part of Sony’s efforts to get as many PS3 systems into the US will include air freight shipments. Most of these units will be the premium edition; Hirai stated that this is mainly due to the desires of the retail supply chain. Major retailers overwhelmingly wanted the 60GB unit, so that’s what consumers are getting. Time will tell to see if this changes with the announcement of included HDMI in every PS3.
Finally, Hirai also confirmed that the PS3 network would be available from day one, supporting online registration, online gaming, and content downloads. Hirai’s video interview runs approximately 7.5 minutes and can be viewed on Gamespot.
Read More | Gamespot
During Sony’s keynote at the Tokyo Game Show, it was announced that both the core and premium configurations of the Playstation 3 would now include HDMI 1.3 support. In addition, the pricing of the 20 GB core unit was set at 49,800 Yen, roughly $425 US. Sony’s reasoning for including the HDMI port in the lower cost console is that the adoption of HDMI accelerated faster than Sony expected, so they felt that component now made sense for all models. Sony’s specifications on their official Japanese Playstation 3 site have been updated to reflect the change. No announcement for any pricing adjustment was made for the US, nor was any mention as to whether the United States version of the core console would get an HDMI port.
Update: The core console will feature the HDMI port in all territories, but the US price will remain fixed at $499
Read More | Playstation.com (Japan)
Word from Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of the Gran Turismo series, indicates that gamers may end up shelling out a lot of money if they want to have a complete set of cars and tracks in the upcoming Gran Turismo: HD. According to translations posted on the Beyond3D forums, Yamauchi spoke to Famitsu about the implementation of micro-transactions in the new game. There will apparently be two versions of the game: Gran Turismo HD: Premium, which will include 2 courses and 30 cars. Another version, Gran Turismo HD: Classic will start with no cars; cars can be purchased for 50 – 100 Yen, and each course will cost 200 – 500 Yen. The game will include 750 cars and 50 tracks, meaning that a gamer looking at getting all the available content would be spending hundreds of dollars. Should this information turn out to be correct, it would appear that Sony has definitely taken the microtransaction economic model to heart.
Read More | Beyond3D Forums