Friday, October 27, 2006
Sony's PlayStation 3: A superior experience
I had a chance earlier this week to attend a special "preview event" set up by Sony in anticipation of the release of the hotly anticipated PlayStation 3.

Mind you, this isn't the first time I've had a chance to see a PS3. Having covered new media for CNN's Entertainment unit for the past couple of years, I remember when Sony first unveiled their "next generation" console in 2005. Back then it was merely a box with an oddly shaped controller filled with promises of superior graphics and super-fast gameplay that would make a bid to be at the "center of your living room."

A year later, following a series of delays that forced Sony to push back the release date to fall 2006, gamers got their second look at next-gen console. This time, the funky boomerang-shaped controller was replaced by much more familiar model, and this time, it would be wireless -- a nice upgrade from the Playstation 2. As promised, the graphics were indeed superior and the gameplay -- at least on the demos that I got a chance to play -- was pretty damned impressive.

During the past few months, as game developers have been readying the release of their latest games, I've been lucky enough to be invited to play some of their demo versions and experience them on both the XBox 360 and the Playstation 3. And again, the Playstation 3 -- with its potential to deliver its graphics in resolutions up to 1080p -- looks and feels incredible.

So yesterday, when I visited the Ace Gallery in Beverly Hills, I was looking forward to seeing what else the PS3 could do.

The preview was very cleverly set up to look like an art installation. The stark white room was lined wall-to-wall with several 48-inch Sony monitors. In front of each monitor, a plexiglas pedestal supported the shiny black console and a single wireless controller. Sure, there was a beautiful pre-recorded presentation, which (thanks to the high-definition monitors) was lovely to watch. But after nearly 18 months of the high-energy dog-and-pony show, what I was really interested in was the chance to poke around the PS3's interface.

If you've had the good fortune to be able to spend some disposable income on Sony's PlayStation Portable and enjoyed that set, you're going to love the PS3. The interface is identical: a linear menu with all of the various system functions. Video thumbnails for game trailers, movies and other media. Full-color photos with a sweet little slideshow feature when you go deeper into it. It's quite the home page. (I'm told that this display will eventually be carried by all Sony TV's in the very near future. Way to streamline your products, Sony.)

As for how it works, the PS3 appears to deliver on everything Sony promised. Sony's Cell Broadband Engine speeds up the gameplay. The available 60-gig hard drive means it can hold as many MP3s and photos as some of the higher-end iPods on the market. Wireless Bluetooth-enabled controllers, HDMI (for that hi-def monitor you're going to mortgage the house to buy).

The PlayStation 3 appears to be incredibly expandable, meaning that despite the impressive gaming and hi-def Blu-ray movies you'll be playing and watching you apparently won't even be scratching the surface of what the system can do. And that all depends on what game developers and Sony's people do to take advantage of all the technology.

Of course, to get the full experience -- or, at least, the full experience "right now" -- it's going to cost you $599 for the system with all the goods included. Sony is offering a lesser set-up at $499 but conventional wisdom when making this kind of tech investment is to spend the extra $100 and get the complete package. And again, you're going to need an HD-ready, 1080p-capable TV -- which, depending on what brand you choose, could set you back an additional $3,000.

It's quite the price to pay for the average person. But Sony is clearly not interested in the average person. They're catering to a specific clientele who wants a superior gaming and entertainment experience.

Then again, most average people I know who play video games would like the same superior experience. Honestly, if I had the disposable income, I'd plunk my money down right now. But the adult in me (who sounds an awful lot like my father) is saying that I've got other more immediate things to concern myself with like paying the mortgage, filling up my SUV and putting food on the table. Of course, the kid in me (who speaks for me most of the time) says now that I'm an "adult," I should be able to do whatever I want to with my money.

In the meantime, while those two sides are duking it out, I guess I'll be playing with my good old PlayStation 2 ... and justifying spending more than I would on a house payment on video games. Superior experience indeed.
Be forewarned. Sony's first wave of consoles always have some technical flaw that causes errors or scratched up discs, slower loading times even. Especially now with all that horsepower under the hood. Months from the initial release they come up with a "cleaned" up motherboard or something. Prove me wrong Sony!!!
The Playstation 3 offers very little innovation for its $599 price. And that's just the initial investment in the system. Games are $60, controllers $50.
I'm much more excited for the Nintendo Wii.
Sony will actually wipe the floor with all, as they have in the past. Nintendo will get better marketshare, since people who cheap out will go for that rather than the Sony consoles. XBOX 360, it's been too pricey for what Microsoft can offer. When they can play PC games on the XBOX, let me know. We know this will happen, regardless of price. Gamers are Gamers.
Blu-Ray = Betamax

PS3 = Dead in the water and way too expensive.

Sure, they'll sell-out their first batch but I forsee a recall on the 100,000 units that they will be releasing.

I hope Nintendo's Wii mops the floor with them.

360 is just digging its next-gen roots deeper with better and better games. I spent 400 dollars so I could play Halo 3 when it comes out, name one game or franchise that PS3 is going to have exclusive rights to that's worth it? They're all jumping to 360 and Nintendo because of Sony's mounting problems.
Xbox 360 is also able to deliver graphics up to 1080p with the addition of the HD-DVD drive. The drive can upconvert games made in 1080i to 1080p and play games developed specifically in 1080p. It is an additional $199 on top of the Xbox 360 price points ($299/$399) but Microsoft is not forcing its next-gen format on its consumers...
Seriously, I have no plans on buying any Sony products anymore. I have had the PS1 and the PS2 and both were basically junk hardware upheld by the software exclusives they had such as Final Fantasy and Metal Gear. Now that both those series have gone on to Microsoft and Nintendo there is no reason for me to have anything to do with the PS3. I've planned on buying a Wii since I first heard anything about it. I'm sick of the same recycled crap that the game industry has been feeding me. Sure I want the classics but I want some innovationg, something Sony is obviously incapable of producing.
Did Sony pay for this advertisement? I don't think the article could be any more blatantly lopsided.

1080p resolution isn't going to help much since the games still use the same polygon count.

The Cell processor hasn't proven to be any faster. The benchmarks are as clear as an Nvidia/ATI graphics card battle (which is to say, not clear at all).

The harddrive is not detachable so you're stuck with 60gb for the next 10 years (that's the proposed life Sony has given the PS3). I don't think 60gb is going to look good in a decade.

The bluetooth controller has batteries that can't be removed, so you can't replace the batteries when the start loosing there charge. Never mind the controllers only last 30 hours between charges unlike 300hours for other wireless controllers.

Blu-Ray is uncompressed making all that extra space useless. The read rate is slower than a DVD also, making load times longer.

The PS3 has nothing over it's competition. It will be like any other generation of gaming, and it will all depend on the games. Sony is a year behind, but have a massive back catalog. So, the decision is based on what you want to play (old PS2 games, or 2nd generation next-gen games).
Sony ps3 is only good if someone can let 5000 dolares on a game system. Buying the console is the lesser point. To use all it�s capacities, we need to let go almost 10 times more than the price of the "box".
So xbox is still very cheaper...
Cool, can't wait to get one.
What a joke. Basically saying superior performance but I will pass. Wow makes me want one. Seriously, comparing it to the 360, both machines will deliver similar performance. Oh yeah except the price of the Sony machine is through the roof. Not worth it. Get a 360 or Nintendo's new machine. Don't help Sony bail itself out all it's problems by over paying for the PS3.
Just want to point out, an HDTV is not required to enjoy the PS3. That's a little misleading and I'm a little disappointed to hear that from a journalist's blog.

The PS3 can be played in 480i standard definition or enhanced 480p standard definition, and will still look lovely, just like with the Xbox 360.
Just thought you might find this interesting, since you mentioned the 1080p.

Recently a study was done, and mentioned by WIRED, that when a test group of people were placed in front of various 1080i and 1080p signals, they were unable to distinguish a difference on sets 50" and below. They actually weren't majority able to see the change until 60" and above. This means those who have purchased 1080i capable sets under 60" really dont need to rush out and buy a 1080p set anytime in the near future because you wont see the difference til you get 60" or above... then youc an tell the difference.
The Wii is nothing more than a souped up Gamecube with a motion sensitive controller. S. Miyamoto himself admitted it wasn't much more of an upgrade, power wise. The PS3 is definitely worth the price in terms of hardware but it may be wiser to wait until the selection of games for it improves. The PS3 game lineup for launch day is pretty stale as it stands. Even the current and upcoming titles for the PS2 seem more exciting than what the PS3 has to offer. Okami, Final Fantasy 12, God of War 2, Guitar Hero 2, are examples of released and soon to be released titles that extend the life of the aging PS2.
It better be impressive, considering how much Sony's asking for it. Waiting for Wii...
You wrote: And again, you're going to need an HD-ready, 1080p-capable TV -- which, depending on what brand you choose, could set you back an additional $3,000.

This is not true You do not need a 1080p TV to play it, please ammend your article as it will appear you do not understand the technology. Please feel free to remove this comment after you've edited your piece.

Regards
I didn't know CNN did PR for Sony. There are much more interesting things to talk about in regards to the PS3, such as a startling lack of ingenuity compared to the Wii, not to mention an overpriced system that is going to be undershipped for its launch.
Playstation 3 is a really nice machine but here is some nice info. Resistance Fall of Man is probably the most wanted best looking game on the system. The developers because of limitations through the hardware could only get their game to run in 720p not the highly proclaimed 1080p everyone is going nuts over. Dont get caught up in the resolution hype cause it doesnt mean a thing.
FYI you dont need the HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360 to play games in 1080p. There are already games announced that will run 1080p native, one of them being Lost Planet. Microsoft has specifically stated the HD-DVD drive is only for movies.

Now that the Fall update has been released the Xbox 360 will upconvert the TV signal to 1080p if your TV can handle the newly added setting, and future games supporting native 1080p will be on a standard DVD-9 disc.
PS3 is going to win the good old war between the systems. Xbox dropped the ball with its early release and not being able to play all the old games which is a slap in the face to any player who had xbox. Nintendo has an up and down trend. Virtual boy need I say more (Neck still hurts from playing it from time to time). Nintendo is staying true to its roots, just having a video game console. I give Microsoft and Sony credit in seeing, we do want more we will not just accept a gamecube +1 with new controller. I have a reserve and will pick mine up the 17th with much pride compared to looking at the best buyers and walmarters camping and ready to fight over the system. FF13, MGS, DMC4 it is so many games for ps3 that are exclusive I can't wait honestly.
Xbox dropped the ball with its early release and not being able to play all the old games which is a slap in the face to any player who had xbox.

Eh... Ok, Ill agree to a extent.... However, considering out of the library of games Xbox had, there is only 2 I have not seen on the BC list that I hoped for.... Phantom Dust and Guilty Gear X......

This did not make my decision any harder as I will give up BC if it gives way to superior performance....

Yea, I have to admit this article is a bit pro-Sony for me but I doubt anyone can give a clear call on how this battle will play out... 360/Sony are neck and neck on the 1080, hard drives, fan base (Sony has a few more here ;)) and technology.... But even Nintendo has a contender with their fan base and the innovative play associated with the wii... Then again they all have flaws... Xbox 360 has had issues with BC patches and hardware, Sony has had malfunctions across the board which casts doubt on this emerging hardware and Nintendo continues to be viewed as a non contender by some....

Personally, I dont think anyone can make an accurate prediction of the race but it will be interesting.....
This is pretty ridiculous. This is not news, sure it's a blog, but it's just called a blog so you can advertise for sony without repurcussions.

Sony rep: We will let you try out a PS3 if you advertise for us.

CNN: OK, we can't give u a full article because we are a news site..

Sony rep: oh..

CNN: BUUUTTT we can have one of our staff praise it in the blog, that way we won't get in trouble!
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