May 19, 2006
PlayStation 3 To Launch With 15 Titles And Free Online Play
Following several reports that appeared on Bloomberg, GamesIndustry.biz put together a story about Sony’s treatment of PS3 developers so far, and the number of launch titles for their next-gen console. According to Kaz Hirai (Sony Computer Entertainment America boss), around 15 software titles are expected to launch with the PlayStation 3 this November. But while Hirai doesn’t think there will be too much of an issue with regard to software availability at the launch of the system, some people in the industry strongly disagree:
“publisher bosses including Sega of America’s Simon Jeffrey and THQ’s Brian Farrell were both open in their criticism of Sony’s treatment of PS3 developers so far, with Jeffrey telling Bloomberg that “there certainly will not be a lot of titles available” at launch.
According to Jeffrey, “a lot of developers” have not received development kit hardware from Sony yet – although final development hardware is meant to be shipping out this month – while Farrell claimed that THQ is not developing The Sopranos for PS3 because it’s “too risky” due to the lack of final hardware specifications.”
However, there are also those who agree with Sony’s development support strategy to date – such as executives at Activision, EA and Ubisoft – pointing out that Microsoft was also late with sending out the final Xbox 360 dev kits a year ago.
On a vaguely related note, after some controversy regarding Sony’s free PS3 online services, it finally seems that online-play will indeed be free of charge – despite it being omitted from Kaz Hirai’s pre-E3 briefing. According to PS3Land, SCEA’s PR Manager had this to say:
“Please note that online gaming will be free right out of the box.”
All clear now? Well hopefully… At the very least, gamers will be able to play online for free on the PS3 (MMO fees not included), which is not the case with Xbox 360’s free (Silver) Xbox Live service.