Rants and raves about all the latest in video games and other forms of mindless entertainment.

August 03, 2005

Industry Biz

Today an article on gameindustry.biz surfaced, in regards to an article from PSM that hasn't yet reached shelves. It consisted of a laundry list of "not"s for the Playstation 3. From everything I've read, every person I've heard an opinion from, have yet to make note of the "anonymous" source for the information. While none of the information is official, the items listed appear to be pretty damning, but not to the degree that people think. This information is unconfirmed, so take it with a whopping grain of salt.

What's in the laundry basket?

Trendy hoodie:First on the list was a report that Playstation 3 won't support Playstation 2 or Playstation memory cards. Now while I don't like this idea one bit, I sort of expected it. The Playstation and Playstation 2 memory cards use a fairly ancient solid state memory, and engineering the console to fit a port for 300 KB and 8 MB memory cards is silly when you consider the more efficient forms of memory we use now. The report also claims Sony will stick to it's DUO series of memory sticks, which is fine with me. The format is relatively cheap for the quality and speed they put out. Considering we aren't talking huge movie file and video editing, this is probably the most logical move for Sony. The format, while not the best on the market, is among the superior kin of flash memory. The only downside is that larger sized cards are pricier, and the largest size right now is the rare and elusive 2 GB memory stick. The most common right now is the 1 GB, but I assume the 2 GB will become cheaper and more available at Ps3 launch. I won't lie, I have 2 Ps2 memory cards because 8 MB is just not enough. Games like Jak II and the Devil May Cry series use up 1.5 MB and 600 kB respectively. Those are definitely the high end of the save size, and they're rare, a few of them and your card is full. I had the same problem with the Gamecube, but I have purchased 3 of those cards. I guess I could have upraded to that 1000+ block cards, I just never thought I'd get that far. I was wrong.

I like the idea of a unified, high capacity format for all of Sony's machines. It just makes sense. I know many people, myself included are diasppointed that we won't be able to transfer over our saves to the Ps3, but keep in mind this information is not validated. I should point out that backwards compability is one of Sony's highest selling points, so I'm 99.99% certain that Sony will come up with a solution to make the switch. Those lucky enough to pick up the DEX drive when they were a hot item will have it easy, but what about those of us without? A similar solution will probably come into effect. A USB dongle to make the switch is the most likely scenario. Don't expect something like this to give you access to your Ps2 memory card when playing a game. I can guarantee the function will be direct transfer only. While such a device could run up to 20 bucks, it's a small price to pay to have full access to my large supply of game saves for my hundreds of games. Most games I willingly play from square one anyway, so even if this isn't in the cards (which would make me cry) I'd still get just as much satisfaction out of my games as before.

Mismatched socks: The second item on the list is that third party peripherals will be incompatible like dancemats...and, well nothing. If you want a f*cking dancemat so bad, keep your Ps2 and play that. You know Konami can't resist rehashing the shit out of Dance Dance Revolution, so if you like your dancepad so bad, wait for a new DDR game for Ps3, and pay the extra ten bucks for the edition of the game that comes with a mat. The article explains this incompatibility only applies to items that use the controller ports, which makes the dancemat the only candidate, which almost makes it a moot point. Things like the microphone, Eye Toy and head set use USB, so no worries Kareoke Revolution, SOCOM and Anti-Grav players! My take: I don't care. I play DDR with the controller because playing songs like Max 300 on Heavy difficulty go beyond the confines of human motion. I'll take a wireless controller over a dancemat anyday.

Downy Ball: PSP as a wireless remote or the Ps3. Who didn't see PSP/Ps3 connectivity coming? If you're one of the ones who didn't, return to your endless slumber. I've never been a fan of Handheld/Console connectivity, especially when it comes to games. This however, extends beyond the games, and is an interaction between the hardware, which I find to improve the interfacing of both. While I'll hold my breath for a game that uses the PSP as a controller (which has it's own share of interesting possibilities), this whole thing is expected and can't really have any negative side effects.

Sweaty bandanna: According the article, Sony wants to use the HDD for multimedia functions and not gaming. The article goes on to state that it will use an 80 GB microdrive at first. Now, a microdrive would be in line with a "removable HDD" that Sony pitched to us back at E3, and it's small compact size makes it a logical solution for the Ps3, but the notion to question here is why isn't there in game support for the HDD? First, I should point out that this bit of information is more than likely false. As far as Microdrives go, they're extremely pricey. About 200 bucks for the basic 2 GB ones. The highest capacity microdrives at the moment are about 6 GB, with Hitachi planning on releasing a 20 GB version the future. There are no plans, or the capability, to produce an 80 GB microdrive without raising the price to $3000.

BUT, even if this is true, and Games don't use the HDD for gaming we should remember that Sony is pushing the superior Blu Ray format, which is faster, cheaper and better than DVD9 and HD-DVD. It holds 5 times more information, so it could easily contain large chunks of data it could dump into the internal memory, or memory sticks instead of using the HDD. While it's probably easier to just route the data to the HDD, Sony is clearly looking to save every penny on Ps3 considering it's beefy capabilities so this isn't entirely a bad thing. It could make no difference actually. While I don't think this is true, it might be so I wouldn't dismiss it, but it isn't something to lose sleep over.

Brand embroidered blue jeans: HD and the reported lack of standard interlaced resolution. I suppose this is a huge deal. The article states that Sony may chose not to include the standard definition of 480i. Verdict: Bogus. This is entirely BS. No hardware manufacturer, no matter how stupid would ignore the standard. It's a standard for a reason, and Sony isn't a group of stanky monkeys who spend their days ignoring the market of televisions (unlike a certain someone who thinks HD is a "gimmick"). As lathargic as Sony can be with some things, keeping up with the industry standards is not one of them. You can bet Sony will include standard definition for the Ps3, it's a no brainer. The article states 720p as an all around standard for Ps3 games, which makes sense. Both Sony and MS are pushing this resoluion for the HD era.

I think this whole issue of HD is getting nauseating. HD is going to become the standard, it isn't a matter up for debate. Digital broadcasting will be the only standard by December 2006, and HD will do the same. While HD is an expensive thing now, a few years down the road it will be customary to think of HD as we now think of screen size. Resolution will be a key buying factor for the consumer, and HD is going to be part of that consumer choice. More so than it is now.

Dryer sheet: In short, while if many of these things came to pass, there'd be a lot of bitching, and rightfully so. Some of these things aren't very good for the Playstation 3, but others are beneficial and others are just impartially effective. On the whole, the Playstation 3 is still going to be a powerful machine, quite capable of accomplishing impressively large tasks, and while Sony could still make a few drastic mistakes, the likelihood is low. They have a proven formula with the Ps2, and changing it too much is just not something I can see them doing. If you're a frequent message board user, you've probably already read the article, so you know that many anti-Sony fanboys have eaten this up and taken it as the Bible, and religiously used it to say "Playstation 3 fails again, high-fives for my Nintendorks all around yall!". I just have one thing to say to them: Sony isn't an anonymously traded company.


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