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
Famitsu has reported that a new game in the Ninja Gaiden series will be heading to the Playstation 3. The game will be titled Ninja Gaiden Sigma, but it is unknown at this time whether this will be a completely new entry in the franchise, or an upgrade of a previous installment. Famitsu mentioned that the game will feature graphical upgrades, and gameplay changes including the ability to wield dual katanas and play as different characters.
Read More | Total Video Games
Sega recently displayed builds of Virtua Tennis for the Playstation 3 running in full 1080P resolution, according to a report by 1up. Assuming that 1080P resolution support makes it into the shipping product, this would allow Virtua Tennis to join Gran Turismo HD in the list of games that support the highest resolution display mode of the Playstation 3. People have debated the usefulness of supporting a resolution that so few end users will be able to access, but it is interesting to see what games will have the spare processing power to push that many pixels.
Read More | 1up
Last year’s next generation work for the Tony Hawk series was somewhat lackluster; the game really didn’t take advantage of the power of the Xbox 360 and was generally held up as an example of a quick port. This year, Neversoft hopes to turn that around with the release of Tony Hawk Project 8, which the company claims will be a ground up rebuild of the series for the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3. The game should be a launch title for the Playstation 3, and according to a preview from IGN, the game is looking virtually identical to the Xbox 360 version. However, it appears that online play will not be available for the Playstation 3, mainly due to the fact that Neversoft only received its PS3 beta kits three weeks ago. Neversoft will try and include things in the PS3 version to make up for this, but online play seems like a big feature to be missed. It seems a little strange that a higher-profile developer like Neversoft wouldn’t have access to the software libraries any sooner; if the same is true for other PS3 developers, this could mean that fewer of the launch titles for the Playstation 3 will have online support than were planned.
Read More | IGN
According to a report on GameDaily, Sony has started to set down the details of their Playstation 3 product launch this November. The ratio of PS3 Premium to Core units was announced, with the $600 Premium consoles taking up roughly 80 percent of the launch quantities. While final assembly of the console isn’t scheduled until the end of September, Sony still believes they will be able to ship another 800,000 units by the end of the year to the United States. Given that Sony plans on having 2.4 million consoles shipped by the end of 2006, this would indicate that Japan will see another 1.1 million Playstation 3 consoles delivered between November 11 and December 31. If Sony can’t scale up Blu-Ray diode production to match demand, though, this number would be in jeopardy.
Sony also announced that they planned to focus on highlighting the PSP’s non-gaming features, and they planned to release a new bundle by the end of the year. No pricing was set on the bundle.
Read More | GameDaily