May 11, 2006

PlayStation 3 Hands On

Posted in General at 5:21 am by corneliusw

It came as no surprise that the main focus of the huge Sony stand was PlayStation 3 – the entire central portion of the stand was given over to PS3, but PSP was also given a huge area. With an official price of almost $600, Sony needed to make it perfectly clear that its next gen console would be worth the asking price. Of course you can pay less for a PS3, but for your $499 you only get a 20GB hard disk instead of a 60GB one and HDMI is off the menu.

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But it’s not just the hard disk and digital output that get cut on the cheaper PS3. The 60GB version also has a MemoryStick slot (something that the PS2 should have had), but if you’re not a fan of Sony’s memory card format, this PS3 will also accept CompactFlash and SD cards. But the most compelling reason to go for the 60GB unit is that it has integrated WiFi – this is something that the Xbox 360 should have had, but I guess MS wanted to sell those USB WiFi adapters. Of course using a USB adapter or a wireless bridge works, but integrated WiFi is a far more elegant solution.

This was the first time that I’d seen the PS3 up close and it was a lot larger than I had expected. There were silver and black consoles on display, although considering that both iterations of the PS2 were black, I think I prefer the look of the silver one. Also on show was the “new” PS3 controller. Gone is the boomerang shaped unit that debuted with the console last year and in its place is, well, the same old PlayStation controller. OK, to be fair it’s not the same old controller – these ones are wireless and will charge via a mini-USB socket on the front of the controller. The controller should be able to last for around 24 hours on a single charge. There will also be a motion sensor implemented into the controllers to allow basic tilting controls much like the Wii, although the controllers on show didn’t have this feature.

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Although the PS3 controller may look almost identical to the older versions, once you grab hold of it and start playing a game you realise that Sony has made some major improvements. Most evident is the sensitivity of the analogue sticks – whereas the analogue sticks on the PS2 controllers felt very clumsy, these ones allow far more subtle movements. The trigger buttons also have a far more tactile feel to them and actually feel more like triggers than before.

There’s no doubt that it was Gran Turismo stealing the show, and it did look very good, especially considering that it’s still in a very early build stage. Sony stated that Gran Turismo was running at 1080p, but it wasn’t clear whether the console was actually outputting a 1080p signal or whether the TV was simply de-interlacing a 1080i signal into a 1080p image. Either way the effect was impressive and the frame rate seemed pretty smooth.

There are surely loads of Gran Turismo addicts out there who can’t wait for this new version to break cover on the PS3, but having played this early version I can’t say that I’ve started counting the days until the PS3 launches because of it.

Also on show was Virtua Tennis 3 which looked beautiful, although it didn’t feel like the gameplay had moved on too much from previous versions. To be fair though, this game isn’t due out for another year so Sega has plenty of time to polish it up. But much as I like Virtua Tennis, the PS3 version doesn’t look any better than the Xbox 360 version, so again there’s little incentive to go down the PS3 route. But this is nothing new, most big games come out on both the PS2 and Xbox, so we can expect the same thing to happen with the PS3 and X360.

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Virtua Tennis 3 on the PS3.


Virtua Tennis 3 on the Xbox 360.

Sega was also showing Virtua Fighter 5 on the PS3. I’ve always been a big fan of the Virtua Fighter series – while Tekken has a “thrash the buttons” arcade feel to it, and DOA is, let’s face it, all about the babes, Virtua Fighter has a kind of integrity to it. Sega invented the 3D beat-em-up and has evolved it with each iteration, concentrating on strategy, fluid movement and stunning visuals. After playing a few rounds of VF5 today I’d say that Sega is definitely making the most of the PS3 with this one.

Of course Sony has announced a few titles that I am very excited about. Metal Gear Solid 4 should be great, and knowing Konami’s history with the MGS series, you can expect it to take full advantage of this new hardware. Also, after playing Resident Evil 4 on the GameCube last year, I can’t wait to get hold of RE5, although again this one is due for release on both PS3 and X360. Fans of Dante will also be very keen to get their paws on Devil May Cry 4, which should show off the PS3 to good effect. But sadly the launch line up for the PS3 still hasn’t been confirmed, so it’s hard to tell what games you’ll be able to play after you’ve parted with your hard earned cash in November.

So, I finally got my hands on some PS3 hardware, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by any stretch of the imagination. It’s not to say that the games on the PS3 look bad, but they don’t seem to be any better than what we’re seeing on the Xbox 360 now. After having spent the morning with Nintendo’s Wii, Sony’s PS3 doesn’t seem to be breaking any new ground – yes there are some great visuals on show, but nothing took my breath away like Zelda did.

Sony is, unfortunately a victim of its own success. The original PlayStation was such a massive hit that the PS2 had a tough time living up to that legacy at first, and back then it only had the Sega Dreamcast to compete against. This time around the PS3 will be competing with the Xbox 360, which will be running second generation games by November, while also battling the Nintendo Wii with its innovative control system and far lower price point.

Ultimately though, I’ve no doubt that the PlayStation 3 will be a huge success because there is such a massive loyal PlayStation fan base out there – these people are probably outright refusing to buy an X360 and waiting patiently for the PS3 to hit the streets. Even with such a high price point you can expect to see a buying frenzy in November, even if there aren’t too many great games at launch.

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11 Comments »

  1. Ted said,

    Just buy a 360 and Wii for the same price as one PS3.

  2. dave said,

    considering the packaeg is a high-tech spectacle, the $600 price is not bad. Besides, Sony is not targeting a kid whining to his mommy to buy one, they are targeting the core gamer 20 to 35 year old audience. And this age bracket can afford it.

  3. sickr said,

    Im unsure just how popular this machine is going to be. Its certainly going to appeal to the hardcore gamer and Sony fan, but will it be the machine to appeal to the mainstream? I think the Wii will take that position….

    Sickr

  4. thealid said,

    Just thought I’d give you credit for an equal and even handed opinion on Sony’s E3 launch. I’ve read quite a few fan boy blogs that go on about how paying $600 is well worth it, even though they haven’t played any games.

    The fact the cheaper PS3 model lacks so many features is strange considering that it’s only $100 difference. At least the X-box 360 accessories like the hard drive could be bought seperately at a later date.

  5. Glen the Hen said,

    Let me preface my comments by saying I remember all the hype about the PS3 being a “personal computer.” To quote Ken last year, I think he even said that it had to have the hard drive to convince people that it was in fact a personal computer.

    Here are my thoughts that I have been peppering the message boards in hopes that someone at Sony will take notice. I want to be able to use the PS3 as a complete desktop computer replacement. That means photo editing, word processing, spreadsheets, as well as games. If those need to be AJAX applications through the browser so be it. I of course would prefer to run Open Office. At 33, is there a place me, the dual-use user, in Sony’s plan? I know about the Linux operating system pre-installed on the hard drive, but just how far can it go in regards to managing my websites though a linux editor and accessing my online account services like Gmail and such through FireFox or an equivalent browser?

    People are all upset about the price (which I think is perfect by the way due to the eBay reseller phenomenon) but don’t these extra features make the PS3 clearly worth it? Is Sony holding back at E3 or have they forgotten those of us who would rather have a PS3 that they can do work on, rather that a Windows Media Center PC that doesn’t run nearly the quality of games the PS3 is capable of?

    What would really excite me would be a PS3 on the floor at E3 running Open Office and a keyboard and mouse laid out in front. I am sure this would also make the First Person Shooter crowd (myself included) very happy.

    PS – If Dell launched a computer with the power of the Cell Processor for $600, people would think it was a steal!

  6. LinuxJackal said,

    I live in Canada and I would like to do a comparison between the Xbox360 and the PS3 on price

    I bought a Xbox360 at lauch and here are my costs (all in Canadian funds)

    Xbox360 Premium $499.00
    Wifi adapter $129.00
    PlugNcharge kit $ 39.00

    total for the Xbox360 $667.00

    Now the Canadian announced price of the PS3 with HMDI and 60gigs is
    $649.00

    So in the end, the Xbox360 cost more to get the same features that are built into the PS3!
    Plus you get HD-DVD (Blue-ray) where as you have to add-on that to the Xbox360.(prices anyone????)

    Most stores I walk into today have Xbox360 on there shelves so the demand for them has leveled off. Everyone I spoke to at these stores are telling me that most people are waiting to get their hands on the PS3 period. Back when the PS2 was lauched, its price in Canada was $499.00, thats right $499.00 the same price as the Xbox360 premium!!! It was sold out for at least 18 months since most stores could not keep them on the shelves at that price.

    As for the Wii, it will only compete with the Xbox360 for second place period, everyone knows
    Sony will win this next-gen console wars period! When I finally get my hands on my PS3, I just might sell my Xbox360 on ebay when I get tired of playing Halo3 on it.

  7. osirisking said,

    I dont want to ruin all your dreams… but wtv it wont be fun…
    well some of u peeps might say that ps3 is better than 360 or xbox or wii or the best console ever invented but thats not true cuz from my xperience 2mrw something better is gonna come out and ps3 will look like sh*t… now having said that is doesnt mean that i wont purchase or try the ps3 but im not stupid to pay my hard earn cash on some system i would rather spend it on my car… but thats me and aint a geek or some guy who seats in front of his pc everyday…. u get the point .. although the price is high for a system i rather get a pc for that price and it would do 100 millions times better work than that… and that were im ending this by saying NOTHING can beat a pc so f*&k xbox – xbox 360 – ps3 – wii – all the gaming consoles cuz nothing will ever beat a pc… oh and for those who dont know anything about pc’s and hardware and software the software and hardware that made ps3 came from the pc thats right the microprocessor and the assembly language so for me i rather stay with pc cuz it dont betray u

  8. Alex said,

    I think that the PS3 is going to claim the most wanted name in game counsile history. “The Next Gen. Game Counsile” Why, you may ask. Xbox 360 is not taking the extra step to claim that title. It still uses (to my knowledge) a DVD-Rom. And only has a processor equivelant to a high end computer. PS3 goes beyond the call. Using a Blue-Ray disc (holding 10x more than a regular DVD-Rom. 50GB

  9. Fred said,

    Well it’s finally here!

    We’ll see how it plays out but for myself, I agree with Glen the Hen: I want a console i can do pc work on! i believe pc to be dead and even tough console game are programed from pcs to have a machine with the ps3 processing power would cost u in the thousands of dolars not including the usual microsoft headache, virus and all other pc related funs!

    And forget First Person Shooter with mouse and keyboard, i wanna see some real time strategies on my 32 inch tv!

  10. mike hunt said,

    i want cock for 600$

  11. chris said,

    The ps3 is gonna win hands down. The 360 costy way more than the 360,
    360-300$
    hd-dvd-200$
    Wi-FI-100$
    =600$! as much as the 60GB ps3, the 360 400$ will cost 700$ my money is with the ps3, Plus the ps3 has blu-ray Not the crapy hd-dvd.


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