Sony Computer Entertainment President Kaz Hirai has been speaking out about the PlayStation 3 including the reported development troubles some studios have had and Sony‘s commitment to the Japanese market.
Regarding the difficulty in development Hirai said he’s seen this before when the PS2 drew similar criticisms early in its lifecycle and that it doesn’t concern him. He said to The Official PlayStation Magazine that, in fact, he welcomes the news:
If they came back and told me, ‘PS3? We can do this in a heartbeat,’ that would be worrying because what it is telling me is that we’re not pushing the envelope from a technology standpoint.
In another interview with a Japanese website he said that developers working on cross-platform games ought to take advantage of the PS3’s extra capability to give PlayStation owners extra value. For example, “[W]ith the PS3, you’ve got the Sixaxis controller, or you could utilize the extra capacity provided by Blu-ray to add more levels, put on interviews with the developers or have your videos able to play in 1080p.” He said he understood why developers were choosing to work cross-platform considering the cost of making modern games.
Later in the same interview he tried to reassure Japanese gamers that they weren’t being overlooked:
Just because the foreign market is bigger than the domestic one, we don’t intend to take strategy of just making what would have been considered previously as ‘Western games’ and saying ‘We’ve got no choice but to do this’ to our Japanese users. If we did that, there’d be no point in having the Japan Studio.
In what has become a regular occurrence, Nintendo’s Wii handily outsold its closest console competition three-to-one in Japan for the month of August. However, it is interesting to note that the gap between the Wii and PS3 has lessened. In June, Nintendo’s console outsold the PS3 six-to-one and four-to-one in June and July, respectively.
Bloomberg reported the final August numbers as follows: Wii at 245,653, PS3 at 81,541, and the Xbox 360 lagging behind at around 11,000. The Wii’s August numbers bring the console to a whopping 3.4 million units sold in that country since its launch last year.
Read More | Next Generation
Tom Bramwell has a preview for the upcoming Burnout Paradise that is surprisingly thoughtful and critically considered as far as previews go. He discusses the challenges faced by Criterion Games in re-inventing a popular series practically from the ground up and asks some pertinent questions where they ought to be asked. For example, when the topic of the Crash mode comes up and Criterion mentions that they have scrapped the original concept of the popular mode, Bramwell presses the point, getting Criterion rep Matt Webster to confess they don’t yet know exactly how it will all work out:
Asked whether they’re opting for a Burnout 3 approach of trying to manoeuvre the car in slow motion between power-ups and Crashbreakers, or a Burnout Revenge “golf swing” of perfect start and target cars, Webster admits it’s not all there yet. “We’re still throwing ideas around. I think we’ll be talking about it more in the coming weeks.”
The preview isn’t about sticking it to the Burnout devs, though, it reads more like a fan of the series seeing drastic changes and slowly coming to the realization that if executed properly, these could make for a remarkable game. Among the more exciting aspects of Criterion’s open-world approach to Burnout is the focus on seamless online play that works the way most gamers prefer, by putting the folks in your Friends list first.
Read More | Eurogamer
A PlayStation 3 and PSP owner has discovered that Liar is playable via the PS3’s Remote Play feature on the PSP. This is the first time a Blu-Ray based game is able to take advantage of the feature and is reportedly quite responsive and playable. It has even been suggested that in light of all the flak Lair has taken over its Sixaxis controls, the use of the PSP’s analog stick is actually preferable.
What’s most curious about the revelation is that it is a revelation at all. This sounds like something Sony would have jumped all over, especially once the disappointing reviews started pouring in.
Read More | PSP Fanboy
New videos for the upcoming PS3 game Folklore show some interesting footage of the game’s combat including some idea of how the epic boss fights will unfold. The game has a remarkable style and art direction that is visible here especially in the brief pre-combat cinematics.
Folklore looks a little like Kameo crossed with Fable and Pokemon as players control one of two characters who use the game’s “folks” as summoned creatures to do the grunt work of fighting foes. A follow-up to Genji, developers Game Republic are promising better Sixaxis controls and an online mode.
Folklore is scheduled for a North American release on October 12.
The PlayStation Store has some new content, possibly due to the flood of PS3 owners hitting the service looking for their Warhawk download. Among the other new items are Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix for $9.99 (comparable with the Xbox Live Arcade download of the same game made available last week) and Tekken 5 online add-on for $9.99 or the whole game and add-on for $29.99.
Sony is also putting up some new demos for NASCAR 08, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2008 and All-Pro Football 2K8 plus additional videos and trailers. Warhawk is available from the PlayStation Store for $39.99 or as a retail box which includes a bluetooth headset for $59.99.
Read More | PlayStation Blog
Sony has unveiled its two latest video Walkmans to the U.S. The NWZ-S618 features a 1.8-inch QVGA LCD Screen and an FM tuner with 30 presets that can give you up to 9 1/2 hours of video fun. The deluxe NWZ-A810 has a 2-inch QVGA LCD display with higher quality ear buds and up to 8 hours of video playback. Both players support Windows Media audio, non-secure AAC and MP3 formats, allow JPEG photo files, and feature an AVC (H.264/AVC) Baseline Profile and MPEG-4 video codecs. The battery will provide up to 33 hours of music playback. Look for the new players to debut next month.
Read More | Fareastgizmos
According to the latest NPD report, the video game industry generated almost a billion dollars of sales in the month of July. Nintendo’s Wii led the charge with an absolutely astounding 425,000 units sold. The Wii was followed by the PS2, which sold 220,000 units. The Xbox 360 sold 170,000 units, once again beating the PS3, which sold 159,000 units. On the portable side of things, the Nintendo DS sold a whopping 405,000 units, while the PSP moved 214,000 units. Overall console sales are up almost 43% from this period last year.
All of this begs the question: Where are people finding the Wii in such great numbers? I haven’t seen one in a store since the beginning of the year, but somehow Nintendo keeps selling hundreds of thousands of them every month.
Read More | Next Generation
Sony Japan has come up with batteries that can run on glucose. Pour in some grape juice or Gatorade and the 4-cell array can power speakers hooked up to a Walkman with only the addition of a small fan to produce an output of up to 50mW. Even if you can’t make out the translation, check out the demo of the prototype on their site, which pretty much speaks for itself. We were wondering what flavor the device would prefer and decided Fruit Punch sounds like it might be our best option.
Read More | Digital World Tokyo
Sony has examined the most recent NPD numbers and, happy with what they saw, are attributing their 61% jump from the previous month’s numbers to the PlayStation 3 price drop they announced just prior to E3. They are quick to point out that anticipation for some actual exclusive titles like Heavenly Sword and Warhawk may have helped drive interest in their slow-out-of-the-gate console.
Despite the predictably upbeat tone of Sony’s blog post, some have had a less than enthusiastic response to July’s NPD numbers since many analysts predicted that Sony was going to beat the Xbox 360‘s sales in July largely because of the price drop. That the PS3 was still unable to overtake the 360 in sales in spite of a comparatively more affordable price has some worrying that Sony just doesn’t have enough market draw to convince consumers to take the plunge. What is plainly obvious now is that Sony drastically overestimated the price the market would bear: It’s wallet-busting PS3 has lagged in sales from the beginning while Nintendo’s $250 Wii has flown off store shelves consistently for almost a year and as soon as the price went down on the PlayStation, it saw an improvement in units moved.
Read More | PlayStation Blog
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