Friday, March 24, 2006

Sony Should Lay Off the Pipe

1Up Story on Sony at GDC.

Okay Sony, please set the crack pipe down and step away from it. The men in the white coats will then escort you to a nice clinic where your system will be cleaned out of all manner of toxins, kthxbye.

Anyone recall when Sony said that the PS2 would be able to work with AIM and do all sorts of stuff online? Yeah, me neither. I love how Sony set out an insane timeline for building their equivalent of Xbox Live in a matter of months. God help them if they haven't already been working on that for, say, about a year now.

It may seem that I'm getting down on Sony. In truth, I'm just stunned by all the things they're saying the PS3 will be able to do this Novemeber. Then I look at their timelines of getting final kits to developers by this summer and realize that no AAA game can be created in that short a window. I can appreciate Sony's desire to kick Microsoft in the teeth but they need to seriously shut up and just work and get their marketing people off center stage. The more they talk the crazier they sound and if they don't live up to all the promises they're making...

Well, I doubt anything bad will really happen. I have zero desire for a 360 which actually dips into negative desire when you factor in Microsoft's pissing off previous generation owners by completely botching the backwards compatibility. I have a healthy Xbox library I'd like to play on an upgrade. What? None of them will work at all? Well then, no upgrade console for me. Wait, I can plug it into Live and download a $20 shareware game that is more fun than the entire launch library but in no way utilizes the full power of the system? Sounds good to... oh wait, I just found an emulation of it for free on the internet. Still no 360 for me then.

As for the PS3, I agree with the pundits that say Sony will release it for no less than $500. Considering the bleeding edge components in it there's no way they won't incur massive losses just cranking these suckers out. But there are a few details that absolutely make me want to love it before I even see anything concrete:
The thing that makes the games region free or not is different than what makes the hardware different. With the power voltage and things like that, the hardware will need to be specific to a region. Software, however, will be region free. It's possible for developers to put all the TV formats - PAL, NTSC, HDTV, and so on - on the disc.
As Paris "Herpes" Hilton might say, "That's hot." For a film nut like Yours Truly, that means a region free Blu-Ray DVD player could soon enter Casa de Skim which means importing films from all over the globe. The priority for me would be to track down specific "special" packaging that is only available overseas. The infamous "Alien head" case for all the "Alien" films springs immediately to mind.

I think Sony will win this round too even if they don't make good on all the promises they've been making for the last six months. I do, however, think this is the last generation for the bullcrap to pass for gospel. Both Microsoft and Sony have done nothing but talk themselves up like crazy for the last two years about how each would rule the roost, but I've seen nothing from either to substantiate those claims. With my generation now having kids and passing on our gaming knowledge and loves to the wee ones, they will soon inherent our cynicism and distrust of the industry as well. When that happens they won't be swayed as much by the new and improved same ol'-same ol'.

And when that happens Microsoft and Sony could be massively screwed, and that's where the dark horse rides in with the name Nintendo and proves that innovation sometimes wins out in the end. But that's a column for another time.

As I will be attending E3 this year I plan to have my own take on events there over at Gaming Trend during the week. That weekend will see My Fair Lady achieve her dream of graduating law school and if American "Suck it" Airlines pushes my return flight back any more then I should land just in time to drive to the ceremony. Once I de-stress though I'll opine on everything I saw, and since Half-Life 2 isn't on the cards I don't have one single game that I'm craving.

Which means everything is fair game this year on all platforms, and I'm really looking forward to being an equal opportunity gamer.

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