February 12, 2006

Website test drives PlayStation 3

Posted in General at 8:15 pm by corneliusw

Gaming website Kikizo has just published what it calls “the first public PlayStation 3 hands-on report”, after speaking anonymously to three separate developers working on software for Sony’s next-gen machine. Sadly, the site was prevented from naming which three games it was shown, with all three developers keen to maintain anonymity. However, there were a number of interesting odds and ends to come from Kikizo’s hands-on time.

Firstly, it emerged that the casing for the PlayStation 3 is likely to undergo some modifications, with one senior developer Kikizo spoke to admitting that, “I think to fit everything that Sony wants in there and leave space for a 2.5 inch hard drive the machine would have to grow. The models they’re showing off are way too small for what they want.”

Inside the casing (for now, the PS3 innards are encased in a hefty tower set-up), Kikizo confirms that the hardware “is not completely final, but pretty damn close”, and also notes that all the developers they spoke to are designing their games in accordance with the DualShock 2 controls, rather than those offered by the boomerang-style PS3 controller unveiled by Sony at E3 last May. According to the piece, the men in the know expect Sony to change the concept design for the controller, but retain the familiar DualShock 2 layout.

On the subject of performance, Kikizo claims that the software it saw demonstrated doesn’t quite reach the visual quality of pre-rendered special effects in movies that was promised by Sony, though does admit that “it’s not an ugly picture by any means.” Which is, er, a relief. The site then goes on to describe the PS3’s RSX graphics chip as “twice as powerful” as Nvidia’s Geforce 6800 Ultra, and says some stuff about “multi-way shader pipelines” that we don’t really understand. It’s also revealed by the article that “many (if not most) games are running in 720p – not the ambitious, bleeding edge 1080p “Full HD” standard that Sony had us so excited about.”

And how does it compare to Xbox 360 according to Kikizo’s sources? “It’s certainly obvious this machine is not “twice” as powerful as X360, let alone a generational leap ahead,” says the site itself, though one developer involved in the piece does offer the view that the performance gap between the two could stretch: “Realistically, as libraries and experience with both machines grow, I think the PS3 will start showing things the 360 will choke at. But Sony will have to make available to us libraries and new routines for that to happen – something they’ve been severely lacking at so far.”

It’s all fairly intriguing stuff, and you can read the article in it’s entirety here.

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