July 26, 2006
In an blog post, former SCEA Third-Party Developer Relations manager, Mark DeLoura announced that he was making the move to French-based publisher Ubisoft. In Sony’s confirmation to the departure of DeLoura, SCEA PR manager, Brian Bowling let slip the numbers of PlayStation 3 development kits that the company has delivered in order to reiterate the company’s commitment to third party developers.
He also offered the latest PS3 dev kit shipment figures, in an effort to exhibit Sony’s commitment to developers. “To date we have shipped more than 10,000 development systems to 208 companies in 11 countries, the largest number ever for a PlayStation platform.”
In a seperate – yet related – story, an informal poll of game developers conducted by Game Informer magazine revealed that 60% of developers that have received PlayStation 3 development rate the kits as being average, highlighting the difficulties of developing for the platform.
July 21, 2006
Next generation consoles Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are having a deep impact when it comes to integrating ESPN content into EA Sports games. The first game to truly merge the virtual sports world with the real sports world is “NBA Live 07,” which will feature ESPN Motion clips of 20 minutes or longer within the game. That’s on top of ESPN Radio, a live ticker and ESPN.com content all built within the game world. But this is just the beginning of innovations, as EA and ESPN are in the first year of a 15-year exclusive licensing deal.
A new user interface will be used across all of the EA Sports titles this year, which will create an ESPN section of the game. It’s here that ESPN content from TV, radio, and the Internet can be accessed by gamers. In future versions of EA Sports games, this type of content will be blended more seamlessly into the game world. The possibilities are endless, once rights issues for video clips are cleared from the various leagues.
While up-to-the-minute scrolling ESPN tickers are a reality today, along with ESPN Radio updates every 20 minutes, down the line, a videogame half-time show could be a real “SportsCenter.” The ability to watch clips this year of NBA highlights in “NBA Live 07” will eventually lead to video clips of other leagues within the NBA game. In essence, the sports gamer will be able to get a complete ESPN fix without ever leaving the videogame world.
Just think of the advertising upside of this for ESPN. In addition to its devoted fan base on TV, radio, the Internet and in magazine form, EA Sports games will sell millions of copies each year and open another window to 18 to 34 year-old gamers. The stickiness of sports games, which can be played online, is among the highest of any game genre.
What begins this year with “NBA Live 07” will migrate to other EA Sports games. There may even be ESPN video on other fall sports releases, although EA has not announced anything yet. If not, next year will usher in even more ESPN programming opportunities. The always-on next generation consoles make this type of integration between traditional and linear entertainment companies possible.
July 19, 2006
According to Chinese-language newspaper Commercial Times, Sony Corp. is already receiving the first pieces of the long expected PS3 from Asustek.
Both Apple Daily and Commercial Times have spoken in their latest articles about the fact that Asustek Computer has already begun shipping PlayStation3 to Sony. Apparently this initial shipment debuted at the beginning of July, in a small volume for now, but expected to rise until November 11, PS3’s (still) official launch date.
The publications were speaking about an actual monthly shipment of 200,000 units, which should gradually increase up to 2 million pieces by October 2006. The total amount of PlayStation3 consoles established by contract is 4 million pieces for 2006. They are all to be delivered in due time to meet customers’ demand for the Christmas shopping season.
What is important with this news is the fact that if the PS3 consoles are being manufactured, that means that the hardware specifications have been finalized and the launch will take place in mid-November.
Sony promised to have 2 million PlayStation 3 consoles available during the launch window and ship 4 million PS3s worldwide by the end of 2006. By March 2007 the company plans to supply 6 million game consoles to the market. After the first batch of PS3 shipments from Asustek, Foxconn Electronics (the registered trade name of Hon Hai Precision Industry) will also supply Sony’s PS3 game consoles when demand rises, indicated the Apple Daily. On the other hand, Asustek refused to comment upon the rumors, invoking confidentiality contracts signed with its customer.
The two versions of the PlayStation 3 gaming consoles – for $499 and $599 – will be launched on 11th of November in Japan and on the 17th of November in Australia, Europe, U.S. and other regions. The main issue that postponed PS3’s launch in March 2006 was the Blu-Ray-drive integration into the console.
July 7, 2006
There’s an interesting story on Gamasutra about Sony’s plans for the PlayStation 3 E-Distribution Initiative (EDI), a service that will supposedly help both first and third-party developers digitally distribute their games via download, directly to the PS3. You can think of it as an alternate Xbox Live if you will, and it will clearly compete with Microsoft’s digital delivery service for the Xbox 360. But before you jump asking whether Xbox Live Arcade titles could be ported to the PS3 E-Distribution and vice versa, rest assured that Sony already has a pretty straightforward answer for that:
“We’re looking for fresh, new ideas that fully exploit the power of PlayStation 3. Our 1st party projects are all unique to PS3. Some of our games, by virtue of their design and hardware demands, simply couldn’t work on Xbox 360.”
Currently, the service is still in the pre-production stages, but interested developers can already submit their game ideas on the PlayStation Beyond website, which has been online ever since GDC 2006, when Sony’s Phil Harrison announced its presence. He now explains the concept a bit further:
“The E-Distribution Initiative (EDI) will provide an alternative publishing opportunity for the direct download of games and other content to the user. The EDI will be managed by Sony Computer Entertainment’s development and studio organizations in North America, Europe, Japan and Asia (collectively known as SCE Worldwide Studios).”
The PlayStation Beyond submission website also notes that “Partnerships resulting from EDI will allow the developers’ downloadable games to be published for individual purchase or subscription over SCE’s direct distribution methods”, indicating that the company may be considering subscription-based method of consuming content, as well as individual downloads.
Will Sony’s E-Distribution be as successful as Microsoft’s Xbox Live service? Well, so far there’s simply not enough details on what Sony’s EDI will be capable of in terms of functionality, and let’s not forget that in order to have a successful service, first they need to have a successful PlayStation 3. And they aren’t really topping any popularity charts right now.
NeoGAF forum poster sugarhigh4242 came across a rather interesting little item on the newly launched official PlayStation 3 website: http://www.us.playstation.com/PS3/
When the site first loads, an Apple logo (and the outline of an iPod) is superimposed over the PlayStation 3 console, but just for a split second. Odd and quite interesting. We’ve been hearing rumors of full iPod – PS3 support for some time, but nothing at all solid.
It’s a bit difficult to notice on a dark monitor if you don’t know where to look. Below is a brightened version of the image when the frame appears.
Whether it is a little hint as to an upcoming announcement, or maybe just a little easter egg or mistake by an overzealous Apple-loving Sony web designer (we’re leaning towards mistake), we don’t know. But it’s there.