PS3 Attitude

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PS3 Attitude

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Capcom says 'no' to gore reduction...

Capcom have stuck to their guns (pun intended) and are not going to reduce the amount of gore in the forthcoming Resident Evil 5 in order to lower the age rating of the game.

“We’re never going to create a gore-free Resident Evil title to try and get a lower rating as it’s a game about the horror experience and gore is part of that” - Rhys Cash, Capcom UK's research and planning manager.
Which we believe is a good thing.

RE5, GTA, Manhunt, The Darkness, Condemned.

Adult games made by adults for adults. Rated appropriately.

Just like horror stories (except anyone can buy a Stephen King book) or horror movies, these games are entertainment for those adults that choose to buy them.

I'm please Capcom aren't watering down RE5 to gain a wider, possibly more lucrative, audience for the game. Aren't you?

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Thursday, 17 July 2008

PS3 local content? Schmocal content! Why Sony's silos need breaking down now...

At the last Sony strategy meeting, held in Tokyo this June, one of the audience members picked Sir Howard Stringer up on his progress in breaking down the 'silos' within Sony.

A year before, Sir Howard had vowed to bring down the silo mentality within Sony Corporation. And to be fair to him, much of the strategy meeting was based around the new integrations between products across different divisions - for example, bringing together products from SCEI, Sony Ericsson and Sony Electronics.

As time goes on, Sir Howard and Sony want to break down the walls and marry more of their products up with each other.

But there is one wall that refuses to fall, no matter how many people appear to trumpet their voices at it.

The geographical split within SCEI.

There are now far too many examples of this silo attitude. The latest regional issue, US exclusivity until 2009 for the new PS Video Store, has been worsened by David Reeves comments from E3 today.

He states that Sony believes "local content is important" which is what Sony are "working on right now. The dates for video content will come later this year."

Local content. Schmocal content!

At what point are movies like Cloverfield, The Bank Job and Rambo 'local'? They have all been distributed globally. They are all global movie brands.

Yes - they may have been released at different times, but timing can be handled through IP location and hardware information without issue.

Yes - Sony may want to play different trailers ahead of the feature, but that can be handled through location-based advertising too.

We also understand that Home is going to be region locked. I won't be able to virtually meet my US friends unless I explicitly invite them to my private Home space. And I won't be able to sit in the public areas and play a game of chess with them. The reason?

Sony don't want you to be watching US adverts if you're in Europe.

Is it really beyond the wit of Sony to feed the right adverts to the right place by using location-aware advertising? I think not.

Whenever I visit other countries and I open up a website, I get local banner advertising on the same sites I visit every day from the UK. Why can't Sony do the same?

The PlayStation Store in Europe is another cause for concern. Did SCEE and SCEA put their heads together when they created the new PS Store categories. No. Apart from a core understanding of the new update process, SCEE went their own way and didn't collaborate with SCEA.

They say it is because they have dozens of sites to update, whereas SCEA only has one. I say it's because they just didn't talk.

Result? We end up with an inferior PS Store with categories that don't make sense.

Silo mentality rules.

What else shows the huge gap in best-practise marketing processes between SCEA and SCEE?

How about Qore - US only; despite being a joint effort with a global media company, Future Publishing. Official PlayStation Blog - US only; despite the fact that the content there is as relevant to Europe as it is to the US.

So whilst Sir Howard may be doing a good job in bringing different Sony divisions together, we would ask him, David Reeves, Kaz Hirai and others to take a look at the geographical silos that still exist within SCEI alone.

Europe - one of the stand-out regions for PS3 sales - is depending on them to deliver, and we see no good reason for the gulf between SCEI's companies to exist.

'Local content' is not a good enough argument.

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Friday, 9 May 2008

Racism in Resident Evil 5? We think not...

This website is called PS3 Attitude for a reason - I guess it's about time we exhibited the 'attitude' part of the title...

Cast your mind back to E3 2007. The Resident Evil 5 trailer was shown for the first time to the masses.

I have a question for you.

What did you see when you watched the trailer?

I will answer that question myself before this article is finished, but let's just put this trailer in the correct frame to begin with.

This is Resident Evil 5. The clue is in the name. It's not actually the fifth game in the series (there are more than that, of course) but it is a continuation of a well-known franchise.

The location is E3 2007. It's a gaming show. It's all about the games.

So this trailer doesn't need to fill us in with reams of back-story detail about 'good vs. evil' or 'humans vs. zombies'. We don't need to know that a virus is killing humans off only to bring them back as the undead, because we gamers already know this. And the location of the premiere of this trailer put the message out loud and clear to the correct target audience.

But in the 21st Century, such trailers don't stay local for long. The Internet made the trailer, and the subsequent 'extended version' available to the masses.

What did 'Black Looks'1, a blog devoted to African women, see when they watched the trailer back in July 2007?

“The new Resident Evil video game depicts a white man in what appears to be Africa killing Black people."

"This is problematic on so many levels, including the depiction of Black people as inhuman savages, the killing of Black people by a white man in military clothing, and the fact that this video game is marketed to children and young adults. Start them young… fearing, hating, and destroying Black people."


This view of the trailer is, in my opinion, a racist view. I'll explain why later.

Of course, the view of the Black Looks blog writer is inaccurate in any case. The story of RE5 is set in Haiti, not Africa. The game is going to be 18-rated and 'M for Mature', so it is not marketed to children or young adults.

What did Ragnhild Mogren, a teacher at Stockholm University and being interviewed by kezins.com2, see when she watched the trailer?



"Question: What does a person with no understanding of the Resident Evil franchise, as a game series, think about this piece of film?"

"Answer: If I should interpret this trailer from a hermeneutic perspective, that my previous understanding and knowledge plays a huge part in what I actually see here, then this piece of film is very racist."

Hermeneutics is an ancient term and was originally the development/study of theories around the interpretation and understanding of writings. The word is being used in a broader sense here, but the view of Ms. Mogren is still a racist view. Again, I'll explain why later.

What did N’Gai Croal3, Newsweek's gaming journalist, see when he watched the trailer?



"I looked at the Resident Evil 5 trailer and I was like, 'Wow, clearly no one black worked on this game'. The point isn’t that you can’t have black zombies. There was a lot of imagery in that trailer that dovetailed with classic racist imagery. What was not funny, but sort of interesting, was that there were so many gamers who could not at all see it. Like literally couldn’t see it. So how could you have a conversation with people who don’t understand what you’re talking about and think that you’re sort of seeing race where nothing exists?"

"This trailer says to me that the black people here are portrayed as Neanderthals, quite frankly. This white figure, on the other hand, is very good looking in terms of the norms and rules of what a good looking man is supposed to look like in our society, even if it’s completely unrealistic. The trailer shows political power in that it presents a sense of historical colonial suppression."

Of course, N'Gai is wrong and, I have to report, this is a racist view also. I'll explain why in just a moment.

In terms of his specific points, it worries me that he believes certain characters in the game are portrayed as Neanderthals. They happen to be Haitians who have contracted a deadly virus and are, to all intents and purposes, 'dead men/women/children walking'.

I've seen people look worse than this when all they have is the 'flu.

Their race is not the reason they don't look so good - the fact that they're infected and zombified are the reasons they look a bit 'peaky'.

And yes - the imagery does have history. A terrible, horrific history perpetrated by truly evil people. But perpetuating the mistakes of the past and attributing images to times gone by are the not the way forward for society. Let me explain by telling you...

What did I see when I watched the trailer?

I'm a gamer. I understand the RE series. I know the story. The location of the trailer's premiere targeted me personally.

But even despite all the back-story knowledge and the targeted advertising, there is one thing that makes my view of the trailer different to all the people mentioned above.

I truly didn't see the colour of any character's skin.

I saw 'good vs. evil'.

I saw a man trying to stop the onslaught of a deadly virus that could wipe out humanity.

I saw a character with the drive and heroism to attempt to save us all from evil.

I didn't see black. I didn't see white. I didn't see slavery or oppression.

So I ask, who, out of all the people who have discussed the trailer (including myself), are the racists?

Comments please.

[Sources]
1.
Black Looks blog
2.
Part 1 of an interview at kezins.com
3.
MTV multiplayer interview with N'Gai Croal

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Monday, 21 April 2008

Uwe Boll tries it on again with WoW; fails

Anyone who reads PS3 Attitude regularly will know we don't have a great deal of respect for Dr. Uwe Boll. After all, we've begged you to sign the petition, and we posted his four-letter response.

Today, via the guys at Strategy Informer, we hear of Boll asking another game developer if he can buy the licence to turn it into a movie. And we were very pleased to hear the answer that was given.

Yes - when Boll asked Blizzard for the rights to make a World of Warcraft movie, the apparent response from Paul Sams was "We will not sell the movie rights, not to you... especially not to you"!

Boll has told MTV News that "I got in contact with Paul Sams of Blizzard, and he said, 'We will not sell the movie rights'. Because it's such a big online game success, maybe a bad movie would destroy that ongoing income, what the company has with it."

Yes - you heard him. Boll said that he would make a 'bad movie'.

Watch out people - he's actually becoming self-aware. Being 'Consciously Incompetent' is the second stage of human awareness. A fully aware Uwe Boll could be dangerous.

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Thursday, 17 April 2008

More original Japanese games please... thesixthaxis plea

Those good guys over at thesixthaxis (TSA) have posted an interesting guest article that deserves a good 10 minutes of your day.

Here's an excerpt from the piece, credited to Kamruz M.A.M., but please head over to the TSA website to read the entire story - it's worth it:

"Japanese developers make the greatest games, there is no doubt there and anyone who thinks otherwise can get their teeth kicked in by a donkey. But what they have in talent they lack in cold hard cash, specially when compared to the rich giants backing the western developers. Not helping matters is the ongoing shooter epidemic that is rapidly eating away at the minds of young gamers. This flesh eating disease had just about run itself to extinction on the PC, but now it has been unleashed on the console and its destructive nature has been reinvigorated by fresh unknowing victims for it to gorge itself with and pick its teeth with their bones once it is full and satisfied."

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Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Uwe Boll replies - wants a Pro-Boll petition

Incredibly, Uwe Boll has replied to his previous request for 1 million petitionees by creating this video.

In this amazing piece-to-camera, Boll requests that someone set up a Pro-Boll petition (or maybe a Pro Bowl petition, we can't quite tell which) and explains he is 'not a f*****g retard like Michael Bay'. He also states he is the 'only genius in this business'.

Of course, all of this comes just in time for the release of Postal. It would be cynical of us to suggest it is all just a PR stunt.

Watch and laugh as the delusional Boll swears his way through 1 minute and 6 seconds of your life. Due to the language this video is mildy NSFW.

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ThreeSpeech feature our guest article

Many thanks to the guys at ThreeSpeech, who were good enough today to feature a guest article we wrote.

'5 Remakes Perfect For The PlayStation Network' is our countdown of the five games from back when we were playing around with the C64, Amiga, Atari ST and MSX machines that would be perfect for re-imagining on the PSN.

Enjoy the article, and don't be shy - leave us a comment here and at ThreeSpeech!

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Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Uwe Boll can be stopped; only 911,000 to go

If you don't know about Uwe Boll, please allow me educate you for a moment.

A film director, Dr. Boll has taken it upon himself over the years to grab some of our favourite video game franchises and take them, kicking and screaming, into movie theatres (or sometimes, straight to DVD).

The most poignant of his transformations concerns a title that is getting it's next-gen debut soon; Alone in the Dark.

Not even Cristian Slater, who happens to be one of my favourite actors, could save it. Scoring a miserable 2.2/10 on IMDB after 17,674 votes, it truly is a terrible experience. It was one of those days where I wished I didn't have my 'watch it to the end' rule.

Prior to Alone in the Dark, Boll murdered House of the Dead. He has also butchered Bloodrayne (twice), Postal and Dungeon Siege.

He is now in production on Alone in the Dark II, Bloodrayne III and - oh, please tell me it's not true - Far Cry.

There's nothing that wrong with the people he surrounds himself with, but his direction, script meddling and joint editing ruin the party every time. He's apparently very good at schmoozing investors, which explains how he keeps getting to make these films, since his box office takings don't explain the $20m+ production budgets.

A petition has now been set up to stop Dr. Boll from continuing to hack and slash his way through some usually competent cinematography, and Dr. Boll has responded with a challenge.

If the petition gains 1 million signatures [Dr. Evil Voice Mode: OFF] he'll quit.

I signed it today. There's about 911,000 to go.

Please make a difference to the world and stop this man from destroying future hopes that one day, a video game movie will be made that has merit. Hitman nearly managed it, taking $98m worldwide so far plus another $20m in DVD sales. Alone in the Dark, on the other hand, lost it's investors $12m. As Stephen King said yesterday, 'case closed'.

Go sign the Stop Dr. Uwe Boll petition now and save someone, somewhere, their time and/or money. You can make a difference.

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Monday, 7 April 2008

Stephen King tells it how it is; video game violence

In the UK we have a slightly different situation than in the US. Firstly, our retailers are happy to say 'no' to a minor trying to buy a game that is too old for them. It's the law, after all.

And since we don't have a Constitution that makes such a law irrelevant, that's the way it will stay. Just like 18-rated DVDs, for example - it is illegal to rent them or sell them to an under-18 customer.

Also in the UK we can't go and buy a gun from our local supermarket. That's probably the number one reason why the US has a major issue with gun crime - ease of access.

As far as I'm concerned, the 'freedom to bear arms' is as sensible as the 'freedom to arm bears'.

So it with a great deal of jealousy that I read Stephen King's defence of videogames and the reality behind the violence that is contained within them. Jealousy? Yes - as he says everything I believe to be true on the thorny subject in a way I can only dream of.

I have copied the full piece below rather than linking to it, and my only hope is you take 10 minutes of your time today to read through it in entirety. The article itself comes from Entertainment Weekly:

I'm no fan of videogames; pretty much gave them up in the late '70s or early '80s, when my kids used to beat me regularly at Pitfall! (hell, they used to beat me at Pong, and back then our youngest wasn't yet eligible for T-ball, let alone Little League). Sure, I've occasionally plugged quarters into one of the machines in the lobby of my local cineplex and shot at some bad guys, but I always miss the high-value targets and can never remember how to reload. As for amassing enough points to get bonus time? Forget about it. If I arrive early for the show, I'm much more apt to stick my money in the nonviolent machine that's full of stuffed toys. You probably know the one I'm talking about; you get 30 seconds to maneuver the claw, then drop it. I won a stuffed dog on one occasion doing that. Another time I won a rubber frog. When you squeezed it, the frog made a ribbit-ribbit sound and stuck out its tongue, which I enjoyed (your uncle Stevie is easily amused, he admits).

So, nope — videogames are not my thing. Nor am I some kind of raving political nutcase. But when I heard about HB 1423, which happens to be a bill pending in the Massachusetts state legislature, I still hit the roof. HB 1423 would restrict or outright ban the sale of violent videogames to anyone under the age of 18. Which means, by the way, that a 17-year-old who can get in to see Hostel: Part II would be forbidden by law from buying (or renting, one supposes) the violent but less graphic Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

According to the proposed bill, violent videogames are pornographic and have no redeeming social merit. The vid-critics claim they exist for one reason and one reason only, so kids can experience the vicarious thrill of killing. Now, what does and doesn't have social merit is always an interesting question, one I can discuss for hours. But what makes me crazy is when politicians take it upon themselves to play surrogate parents. The results of that are usually disastrous. Not to mention undemocratic.

One of HB 1423's cosponsors is Rep. Christine E. Canavan, of Brockton. "I think this legislation is a good idea," she told the Boston Herald. "I don't want this constant barrage of violence on young minds and for them to think it is all right." It's a good point...except that it seems to me that the games only reflect a violence that already exists in the society.

Nor will I argue for the artistic value of stuff like God of War, or 50 Cent: Bulletproof, where looting the victims of gang violence is part of the game (players use the money to buy new Fiddy tunes and music videos — classy). I do, however, want to point out that videogames, like movies, have a ratings system, and ones with the big M or A on the box mean "Not for you, baby brother".

And if there's violence to be had, the kids are gonna find a way to get it, just as they'll find a way to get all-day shooters like No Country for Old Men from cable if they want. Or Girls Gone Wild, for that matter. Can parents block that stuff? You bet. But most never do. The most effective bar against what was called "the seduction of the innocent" when this hot-button issue centered on violent comic books 60 years ago is still parents who know and care not just about what their kids are watching and reading, but what they're doing and who they're hanging with. Parents need to have the guts to forbid material they find objectionable...and then explain why it's being forbidden. They also need to monitor their children's lives in the pop culture — which means a lot more than seeing what games they're renting down the street.

If HB 1423 becomes law, will it remain law? Doubtful. Similar legislation has been declared unconstitutional in several states. Could Massachusetts legislators find better ways to watch out for the kiddies? Man, I sure hope so, because there's a lot more to America's culture of violence than Resident Evil 4.

What really makes me insane is how eager politicians are to use the pop culture — not just videogames but TV, movies, even Harry Potter — as a whipping boy. It's easy for them, even sort of fun, because the pop-cult always hollers nice and loud. Also, it allows legislators to ignore the elephants in the living room. Elephant One is the ever-deepening divide between the haves and have-nots in this country, a situation guys like Fiddy and Snoop have been indirectly rapping about for years. Elephant Two is America's almost pathological love of guns. It was too easy for critics to claim — falsely, it turned out — that Cho Seung-Hui (the Virginia Tech killer) was a fan of Counter-Strike; I just wish to God that legislators were as eager to point out that this nutball had no problem obtaining a 9mm semiautomatic handgun. Cho used it in a rampage that resulted in the murder of 32 people. If he'd been stuck with nothing but a plastic videogame gun, he wouldn't even have been able to kill himself.

Case closed.

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Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Fatality! Do we still care about Mortal Kombat?

During a conference call with investors, Midway's David Zucker has confirmed what we already knew - a next-gen Mortal Kombat game is on the way this year.

The question is, do we still care? Why is there a bigger 'buzz' around Street Fighter IV and Soul Calibur IV than Mortal Kombat?

The original MK was developed as a competitor to Street Fighter II, the main differences coming from the digitised graphics and high level of violence/gore. Whilst the gore took the headlines, gamers quietly got on with the business of realising this was a truly great beat-em-up.

Unlike Street Fighter and Soul Calibur, which have maintained their fan-base successfully, the series seemed to go downhill after the release of MK 3 in 1995. The replacement of many of the main characters with new ones (Raiden, for example, went AWOL) didn't go down well with the fans that had been won over with the first two incarnations.

MK IV made things worse. The first 3D version of the game, it sold well due to a massive marketing campaign but the reviews and fan reception were disastrous. Despite clocking up good sales numbers, the resulting drop in popularity meant that this would be the last MK to make it to the arcades, further damaging the status of the franchise.

Successive 3D sequels haven't done much to bring back hardcore MK fans. I personal feel MK: Armageddon was reasonably good in comparison to other the 3D incarnations, although the extent to which the game became a 'quest' product rather than a straight beat-em-up caused its own issues: 'travelling' across the various landscapes/plains became tedious. And don't get me started on just how boring the 'Krypt' unlockable zone is.

So what do we know about the new Mortal Kombat and will it succeed where it's predecessors have failed?

From a recent interview with Ed Boon, the co-creator of the MK series, we are told that "many new fighters will be introduced, and only few 'old' characters will return".

But isn't that one of the reasons MK went downhill in the first place?

We also know from Epic that the new MK will use the Unreal 3 Engine as it's main development platform.

Doesn't that mean we'll still have the sprawling landscapes that made the recent 3D outings somewhat tedious to explore?

We do know that the new MK will be 'gritty' and more realistic, with no 'flashy colours'. Suggestions that the new Mortal Kombat could owe more to Gears of War than it's own lineage aren't too far from the truth.

If MK 8 (working title) is to get our juices flowing once more, surely it needs to go back to it's roots and deliver something truly next-gen but with all the aspects of the original that made us sit up and take notice back in the early 90's. That's what Capcom are doing with Street Fighter IV, after all.

You can expect to see the next edition of the Mortal Kombat story around November this year.

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Friday, 7 March 2008

The Getaway doesn't live up to it's name

E3. 2006.

That's the last time we heard anyhing from Sony on The Getaway for PS3.

Back then we were blown away by the visuals as Sony showcased what London could look like in-game. I'm sure you remember the picture of Piccadilly Circus which actually came from a 2005 screen test.

To be fair, we thought the game had lived up to it's name and 'got away'. There are a whole bunch of games that have had similar smoke screens around them for almost as long, and we wonder about them too (Afrika, anyone?).

But now it has been revealed that the PS3 incarnation of The Getaway is still on the cards.

In a recent interview, screenplay writer Katie Ellwood had this to say about the title, and what the PS3 brings to the table:


"The Next Gen of consoles have liberated us in other ways. There are wider possibilities to use that processing power and tell a story during the game play."

"We can stream a wider variety of dialogue and animations to progress the story and characterisation rather than breaking the flow of the game play for a cutscene. If games are about immersion, then we are now about to deepen that immersion."

During the same interview, Ellwood went as far as to say that Sony are talking to production houses about a Getaway movie.

Just as long as Uwe Boll isn't lined up to direct it we think it would be a good idea. After all, Hitman didn't actually suck.

So, will we see the next Getaway game in 2008? Unlikely. But with other strong 'sandbox' competition already lined up for this year, 2009 might be a better time to launch the title anyhow.

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Rocketmen demo fired up, misses target

Yesterday finally saw the release of Capcom's Rocketmen: Axis of Evil on he PS Store in the US. The game was also launched two days ago on the X360.

The first we saw of Rocketmen was almost a year ago (April 2007 in fact) when Capcom released the initial batch of screenshots. The release date was originally Autumn 2007, so has the game benefitted from being in the kiln for an extra two seasons?

The graphical style of the game is the first thing that makes you feel uneasy. The cel-shaded comic-book style graphics are pleasing to the eye, but the animation on the title screen and in the many, may cut-scenes is - frankly - bizarre.

The opening title, for example, shows three of the main characters jittering around in front of you like they all have ADD.

When you fire up the demo you are given the opportunity to create a character, and the options allow you a good amount of customisation. If you go ahead an buy the full game in order to earn lots of the various credits the game offers a good number of additional customisations become available.

It is after creating your character that you are subjected to the most bizarre graphical style choice yet - cut-scenes that quickly snap each character into a fixed pose for seconds until they've delivered their line from the (not funny or interesting) script. The result is quite unnerving, as the characters jump from line to line as if you're watching them in a strange 0.2 frames-per-second mode.

The amount of cut-scenes also detracts from the action. Just when you're in the middle of some frantic shooting against the martian hordes, you will brush past a pick-up only to be launched into a whole speech about the item you touched.

But the worst element of Rocketmen, the one thing that makes it almost unbearable to play, is the camera.

The camera moves you forward towards your next natural goal, but it moves very slowly in comparison to your character. Whilst this might be a gameplay choice the developers thought would promote movement strategy, in reality it's just plain annoying.

However, that is not the most heinous crime the camera commits.

The viewpoint moves you forward towards your next goal but doesn't allow you to go back. Because it seems to move you based on certain trigger items (i.e. when you pick up something, the camera assumes that part of the level is done and so moves you on) you often find that you can't collect the items that were dropped by the martians after you sent them packing.

Even worse, the camera often pushes you forward into clumps of martian enemies leaving you absolutely no space on the screen to avoid their rapid-fire pistols.

Rocketmen could have been good fun but the bizarre animation, annoying cut-scenes and terrible camera mechanic ruin the game entirely. No amount of funky weapons, armoured clothing and character customisations will ever make it fun enough to play for long.

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Wednesday, 5 March 2008

5 reasons why GT5: Prologue is a full game and not a demo

If there's one Gran Turismo 5: Prologue question I get asked more than anything else right now it is "why should I pay £25 for a demo?".

And it would appear this is not an isolated issue. I see the same sentiment across the 'net and in the glossy magazines that land on my doorstep.

So here are 5 reasons why GT5: Prologue is actually a full game, and worthy of your twenty-five notes:

1. It has (at least) 50 cars in it.

Admittedly this isn't the hundreds of cars that will potentially be available in GT5 when it launches, but 50 cars is about the same amount as you get in Ridge Racer 7 (40 cars) and Motorstorm (keeps changing!). It's nearly the same amount you'd find in a game such as Project Gotham Racing 3 on the Xbox 360 (80 cars). No one considers those titles mere demos. GT5: Prologue also features 'accomplishments' that unlock new cars in addition to the ones it ships with. The original Japanese version came with 37 cars, and reports suggest that the European version will actually ship with more like 60.

2. It has 16-player online racing.

A first for the Gran Turismo series, you can now take your game online and battle up to 15 friends (or enemies) on track. Forza 2 and PGR 3 on the X360 only offer 12-player and 8-player online respectively. Motorstorm allows 16 players online, and once again no-one would argue that any of those three titles are demos.

3. It has a wealth of online features.

As well as the online racing (which actually includes time-limited downloadable races attached to an online calendar), GT5: Prologue features a mix of other online modes. Real-time weather for dozens of real-world racing tracks, GT-TV downloadable content delivering top car programmes and news to your hard drive, the usual mix of online leaderboards, motosport related news tickers and other online features. GT5: Prologue is also planned to work with Home, allowing players to jump in and out of a GT5 Home Space to create a social element to the racing franchise.

4. It has top-level hardware support.

Not only does GT5: Prologue make the most of the PS3 by running at 60fps in 1080p, it also has it's own branded force-feedback steering wheel from Logitech, as well as support for other older Logitech wheels. GT5: Prologue features 7.1ch surround sound. What demo what bother with such features?

5. There's a PS3 bundle and a soundtrack - and it's available via retail.

I've never heard of a demo that spawned a soundtrack before. GT5: Prologue is blessed with an 18-track CD available in Japan for around £12, and there's a new PS3 bundle arriving at the end of March that will come with the game included on Blu-ray disk. Warhawk is another title that is available as a PS Store download and a Blu-ray, and that is certainly not a demo either.

So enough already. GT5: Prologue is a full-blown, bone fide game.

One extra bonus: if you pre-order your copy of GT5: Prologue from GAME right now you'll save a fiver and get it for a shade under £20, which has got to be the bargain of the year so far. Mine's already in the delivery queue.

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Wednesday, 27 February 2008

PS3 announcements-a-plenty, but it's not all good news

Wow. Yesterday was a day for announcements and release dates, wasn't it?!

We announced a rumour that MGS4 finally got a worldwide release date, which has since been confirmed. Hideo Kojima's latest (and last in the series) is being launched on 12th June.

From the same retail conference, we also got word of a US release date for an MGS4 PS3 bundle, the DualShock 3 (April) and the sweet-looking God of War PSP Entertainment Pack (March 4th).

We got word from Ubisoft that Haze is being released in May.

We heard from Sega that the game formerly known as 'Valkyria of the Battlefield: Gallian Chronicles' in Japan will be coming to Europe - exclusively on the PS3 - and will be called 'Valkyria Chronicles'. It will arrive this Autumn.

So what's the bad news?

Looks like the MGS4 bundle and the beautiful GoW PSP are staying US-bound only. SCEE have said there are no plans to bring either to Europe. This - in my opinion - is a mistake on many levels.

By continually launching hardware and software in different forms and guises in different territories, Sony continue the public perception that SCEE, SCEA and SCEJ just don't talk to each other or work as a single unit.

The DualShock 3 has been available in Japan for some time - why wasn't it available everywhere all at once?

Not to mention it was months before us Brits and the rest of Europe got to see the PS3 in the flesh.

And don't get me started on the huge amount of region-free games that have been released elsewhere on the PlayStation Store, but not in Europe.

If Sony want to ride the wave of momentum they have gained from the actual success of the PS3 since launch (reaching 1m units in the UK faster than the PS2, reaching 10m units worldwide faster than the X360 did, the death of HD-DVD) then they need to get rid of the negative things that counteract that success.

So come on Sony - bring the MGS4 packs and the GoW PSP to Europe and show us all that you are a global coordinated organisation, not a group of silo operations.

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Friday, 8 February 2008

US PS Store updates for 7th February

Continuing our new format, we'll be discussing the US update each week rather than reporting it due to the time difference.

Looking at the update this week, details of which are available on the Official PlayStation Blog as usual, it seems fairly even-handed versus the European update.

Both sides of the Atlantic got the Sky Diving game, both got the free add-on for Motorstorm and both got a trailer or two.

The US did get the Lost Planet online demo, which we have yet to get to work on our UK machine (we fear it may not have worldwide servers yet). Personally, I'm not that worried about Lost Planet - it didn't excite me when Capcom announced it was coming to the PS3 so I'm not going to feign excitement now.

Other differences include another PS1 game for the US (yet another Crash Bandicoot title) and there was the obligitory Rock Bank DLC as promised by MTV but other than that it seems that we had a week where both the US and Europe got a pretty decent update.

It will be interesting to see what happens as the year progresses, especially with news that Sony are committing to solving the problem of disparate regional releases within six months. There still seems to be a big list of titles available in the US that haven't shown up over here yet (such as PAIN and Everyday Shooter to name just two), and I for one would like to see that fixed sooner rather than later.

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Thursday, 31 January 2008

Getting grief online? Here's how to deal with it...



We love online play at PS3 Attitude. The PlayStation Network is so easily accessed in almost every title on the platform, and we don't have to pay any monthly subscription to use it.


But 'the Network' it isn't always a good place to be.


Every now and then one of us will be playing our favourite game only to have it ruined by some fool who has decided that their headset or PS Eye should be used as a tool to spread their bigotted, vile nonsense to whoever is playing at the time.


The good news is that you don't have to just sit there and listen to it. If the nastiness is directed at you, you don't have to put up with it.

But do be clear about what you are dealing with. There is a difference between someone getting a little angry at being fragged for the 50th time or crashing their car into a wall 30 yards from the finish line, and someone who needs to be dealt with.

Here's a few ideas about what should not be tolerated whilst playing online:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Racial abuse
  • Religious Abuse
  • Cultural abuse
Whilst it would be a good feature for a future firmware update, the PS3 doesn't include a standard abuse reporting system (Sony, are you listening?).


So here is a guide to how to best deal with the issue and what you should do next:


1. Don't fight hate with hate


If someone is hurling racial or sexual abuse at an individual or the group, by all means ask them to stop in a calm manner. If they don't stop, ask everyone else in the game to quit that session, quit out of it yourself and go find a session that doesn't include the abusive person. Before you quit, take a note of their PSN ID, the date and the time. If they track you down to start up again, add 'Stalking' to the list of things they were doing online.


2. Carry on playing


Gaming is about having fun, so by all means find a different session and carry on gaming, or switch games for a while. The good news is that the idiots haven't taken over the asylum - abusers and griefers are a minority and you are likely to find that you can put the incident behind you for now and carry on having fun online.


3. Report the abuser


Once you're done, or the next day if necessary, report the person. Don't just let them get away with it.


Sony allow you to report anyone playing a First-party title using their Grief Reporting system.

Some third-party developers provide their own mechanisms for now since there is a lack of a standard reporting system inside the PS3's firmware, but we could only find the instructions for EA at the time of writing, which is a shame.

Here's how to make sure the offending person is dealt with:


First-party titles


Visit the PlayStation Grief Reporting website and complete the form.

PlayStation Network abuse

If someone uses the chat facility or another part of the PSN (i.e. when you're not playing a game) there is a PSN Complaint Form you can complete.


Third-party titles


Electronic Arts


  • Visit http://support.ea.com and click 'Contact Us'.
  • In the Platform & Game drop-down menu, select Sony PlayStation 3, then select the game you were playing (Burnout Paradise, for example).
  • In the Category drop-down menu, select Technical Support, then select Connectivity & Lag.
  • In the Question text field, provide the following information - 1. Your PLAYSTATION Network Account name and the e-mail address associated with the account - 2. The suspect's PLAYSTATION Network Account name - 3. A detailed explanation of the incident: (i.e., what happened, when it occurred, etc.)

As we discover more abuse reporting systems for third-party developers, we'll update this story.

In the meantime have fun and enjoy the Network. If we all do something positive about the minority, they will find that the PSN is not a place for them to ply their nonsense and abuse.

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Tuesday, 11 December 2007

European PS Store 'missing PerSoNs'


For whatever reason, the European PS Store has not had the best time of things when you compare it against the offerings available to the US and Japan.
Heck, even our Australian friends get some extra content we don't see in the form of HD music videos from Sony BMG.

So here's a list of the key titles we have yet to see over here. SCEE - if you're reading this, please figure out how to make these titles possible in Europe:

  • PAIN
  • Guitar Hero III track packs
  • Rock Band track packs
  • Oblivion Shivering Isles add-on
  • High Velocity Bowling
  • flOw expansion
  • Everyday Shooter
Since it is out in two days, I was tempted to add GT5 Prologue to the list. However, we already know that the game is supposed to be available in the US next February. It would be good to see this hit Europe on the same day, and not weeks later.

So, are we missing anything else of note?

Other than games and key add-on packs, the US Store has a breadth of additional content such as wallpapers that we never seem to get here. And as mentioned, wouldn't it be great if we all could get music videos from local artists and not just on the store 'down under'.

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Monday, 3 December 2007

Activision and Vivendi merge to form serious EA rival

With revenues at around the $3.9bn mark (estimate for this year), EA has long been the biggest name in games worldwide. But that's all about to change.

In an $18.9bn deal announced yesterday Activision and Vivendi are to merge and create Activision Blizzard.

By combining the two businesses their revenue will increase to around $3.8bn for the current year, which puts them virtually neck-and-neck with EA. What's more interesting is the momentum Activision Blizzard will carry in comparison.

EA have had their troubles this year. What with buggy games coming out on all platforms and an inability to produce anything worthy of the PS3 thus far, it's not been great for them. Add in the cost cutting they've had to put in place (such as shutting the Chicago office in the US and the Chertsey office in the UK) and it's obvious they're feeling the heat right now. From a personal perspective, FIFA 08 is the first EA title I've ever had to return because it was so full of issues it became unplayable.

Activision, on the other hand, own some of the most popular titles around such as Guitar Hero and Call of Duty. And Vivendi have the incredible World of Warcraft which probably still has another two years of growth in it and will contribute around $1.1bn a year. World of Warcraft is such a phenomenon that over half of the world's entire MMORPG gaming community are registered players.

It looks like a good deal for both companies and Activision Blizzard will automatically become the leaders in the MMORPG space that EA is so desperate to get into. I predict they'll be the number one games company in the world by this time next year - anyone want to disagree?

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Friday, 9 November 2007

[UPDATE] Uncharted: Drake's Fortune demo region locked; latest news

You'll have heard by now that the demo for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune on the US PS Store will only work in North America and Canada. If you've downloaded it for use on a PAL machine, for example, you may be faced with a black screen or a message asking you to insert a disk.

Was it deliberate? Was it a bug? Who knows. What's important is that PS3 owners in their droves headed over to the Official PlayStation Blog and voiced their concerns. Some of them even used ASCII pictures to illustrate their point!

No whilst the initial reaction from SCEA was 'sorry it has happened and you'll all get a localised version of the demo soon', they soon realised the furore that was building and - to be fair to them - have moved fast to change things around.

In a comment post at the PS blog, Sam Thompson says:

Hi guys and gals,

We hear you loud and clear. Wanted to chime in here and let you know that we have shared your frustration with the Naughty Dog team and we are going to see what we can do. I will be back tomorrow with an update, but in the meantime I hope you can be patient and bear with us. As you have learned through communicating with Evan and Amy on the blog, Naughty Dog is a studio that listens to gamers, so I hope to have good news for you soon.

So expect a new version of the demo, or maybe a patch for the existing one, soon. Will the patch come out before the demo is localised and released on our PS Store anyway? Again, who knows.

But since we're the voice of reason here at PS3 Attitude, we just wanted to ask everyone to chill out a little.

SCEA made a mistake. They realised it was a mistake. They're fixing the problem.

What? You never made a mistake in your lives, all you 'blue tongued' commenters? You're all perfect are you and you've never messed up once?

There's no problem with everyone heading over to the blog to say 'no fair Sony', but please could everyone keep it civil and explain in constructive terms why it was a bad idea, rather than just throwing your toys out of the pram. Remember that it could be worse - you could be paying a monthly subscription for all this!

[UPDATE]Christophe Balestra has added a post on the Official PlayStation Blog that apologises for the 'honest mistake'. The good news - the demo is now fixed. You will need to re-download it from the US store, but it should all be fine and dandy now.

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Sunday, 28 October 2007

GameCity 07; Haze is not 'gold' but still glitters


One of the other big reasons to travel hundreds of miles to Nottingham (instead of going a few miles to London!) was the hands-on Haze demo.

I met David Doak of Free Radical at the event and got my hands dirty with a title that I'm certain will do good business.

Playing initially as one of the 'rebels' on a split screen with another avid gamer, the first thing you notice is that the controls are immediately accessible. Haze doesn't mess with the FPS formula in this respect. Everything you'd expect would be on the buttons and triggers is there, but with a few bells added on.

For example, if you are playing as a rebel you can grab some 'nectar' from any of the Mantel fighters you've despatched and create a nectar grenade. Throwing the grenade at Mantel troops initiates an overdose of the drug in their systems. You can see the individuals who are affected since their armour turns red.

You see, when you have an overdose of nectar as a Mantel soldier you go a bit crazy. You see the Mantel troops going mad and shooting their own people under control of the drug. The nectar grenade also provide cover and, simultaneously, gets in the way of targeting troops on the other side of the fog, so you need to be careful to use effectively.

The controls are fluid, the graphics are gorgeous and the storyline is well-considered. You move seamlessly between action and the occasional story-supporting cut scene but never with that feeling some games offer where the screen goes black and you wait for the FMV to appear. It's all rendered by the PS3, and it all flows.

Playing as the Mantel troops is a lot of fun too. When you administer nectar you have to be careful not to overdose. You also have to be careful not to administer too little either, or the effect won't last long enough for any benefit.

When you are under the spell of the drug, enemies glow. When you're fighting in the jungle and the rebels are using cover, nectar is the only way you can spot them, so it is essential to get the balance of nectar application right. You also run faster under the drug's effects and you gain a slight 'auto-aim' capability which helps with picking off the rebels.

The biggest feeling you walk away with is one of true involvement. The AI is great with enemies taking up good positions and working together (when they're not shooting each other after an overdose) and that helps the atmosphere. The graphics are stunning and the sound seems excellent.

I spent a long time talking with David about the game and the state of video games in general. Some of what David said needs to be in a different story as it relates to the game industry in general. As far as Haze is concerned although the game is slick and plays beautifully, they are still working furiously to give it some extra spit and polish.

Which means to say that the rumours we've all seen about Haze going gold can't be true! However, David was keen to point out that they should still have it ready and available for Christmas. We know from a recent Ubisoft financial report that Haze is one of the three new titles they are to release between now and next March but I personally think we'll see this one hit in late November.

Many thanks to David and Free Radical for a great session with Haze. I for one can't wait to play the final product. Whilst the PS3 has many FPS options, Haze is certainly a stand-out title and deserves it's place in anyone's collection.

[Photo by Jon Jordan - thanks Jon!]

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Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Capcom's big PS3 announcement; Lost Planet

At various points today as we reached the zero hour, Capcom Unity was down. Clearly, there's a reasonable amount of interest in what the Japanese developer/publisher is up to - enough to bring their servers to a halt at least!

So, what was the big Capcom announcement for PS3 fans we've been leading up to all this week?

Up until about 10 minutes past zero hour, I was still none the wiser. The servers were still down.

And then it appeared. Lost Planet is coming to the PS3.

So we lose Devil May Cry 4 exclusivity and then the Monster Hunter franchise and they give us Lost Planet. Wow.

The PS3 version will at least feature all the unlockables and extras from the PC and 360 versions. Gosh.

Why am I so under-whelmed. Lost Planet is yet another FPS that looks like Resistance/Area 51/FEAR/whatever. Whilst Resistance does the whole 'alien-infected wasteland' theme quite well and offers 32-player online, Lost Planet will offer 16-player online instead.

At the Capcom Gamer's Day in London today they also announced Streetfighter 4 and the aforementioned Dark Void but wouldn't confirm which consoles they would appear on.

Remember, Christian Svensson at Capcom said "let's see how they [PS3 owners] feel at the end of next week about us" after the Monster Hunter removal.

I have to respond, 'not great'.

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Monday, 8 October 2007

60Gb PS3 will disappear when stocks are sold

In what I can only assume is a moment of madness at Sony, they have confirmed that when the 60Gb PS3 is sold out the 40Gb will be the only kid on the block.

Why do I think this is madness? First, let's have some good news...

So far the PS3 hasn't been the complete failure everyone would like you to believe it has been (and by everyone, I mean MS and Nintendo fanboys and any podcast or TV show by G4).

If you look at the sales of the PS3 and map out a graph, then overlay the original sales pattern of the Xbox 360 (i.e. line up the launch dates), you'll find that sales of the PS3 have tracked the sales of the MS box almost exactly.

One in the eye for Xbox fanboys then...

So what could accelerate PS3 sales so that Sony grab the number one or two slot once again? In a word, churn.

'Churning' the current base of 110+ million worldwide PS2 owners over to the PS3 would make a huge different to the so-called 'next-gen battle'. And other than a price drop, what softens the blow for PS2 owners who want to upgrade?

Backwards compatibility.

You see, the current 60Gb PS3 doesn't just play PS2 titles, it makes them look even better than ever by upscaling the graphics. Who wouldn't want to revisit their PS2 library and play those old classics again, especially since the PS3 is still getting up to speed on 'must-have' titles.

The defining line between the 40Gb and 60gb choice is clear for me.

If you are more of a movie buff than a gamer, or if this is your first PlayStation experience, go for the 40Gb. For £299 there's not a single BluRay or DVD upscaling player out there that comes close.

If you're a gamer or a PS2 owner who wants to upgrade (and who doesn't, frankly, want to have both consoles hanging around) then spend the extra £50 and get extra disk space, some memory card slots, extra USB and backwards compatibility.

I'm waiting to hear from SCEE on whether an 80Gb or 120Gb unit might come in with all the options that the 60Gb offers, but no word as of yet.

By removing the choice and turning their back on the massive PS2 owner base, I believe Sony have made a mistake on this occasion. I hope they rectify it with a bigger and better PS3 in the near future once the 60Gb has gone.

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Friday, 21 September 2007

US update puts UK in the shade again

Just take a look at the list of items that appeared on the US Store yesterday:

  • Loco Roco Cocoreccho full game ($6.99)
  • Skate demo (free)
  • Stuntman: Ignition demo (free)
  • Sega Rally Revolution demo (free)
  • NBA 08 demo (free)
  • Devil May Cry 4 summer 2007 trailer (free)
  • GT5 Prologue Leipzig video (free)
  • Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction video (free)
  • Folklore trailer (free)
  • Lair promo video (free)
  • Lair "Going for the kill" video (free)
  • Heavenly Sword demo (free)
  • NBA 08 Free 6 tutorial (free)
  • Loco Roco Cocoreccho trailer (free)
  • Wallpapers (loads of them; DMC, Lair, LocoRoco etc.)
Now, I know SCEE are 'working on the problem'. They've said that they have acknowledged there's an issue and they are dealing with it.

But really.

Four demos. Trailers galore. More wallpapers than you can shake a stick at.

Are there really so many complex 'rights' issues over a picture that can be downloaded over the internet minutes after the Store is updated that they couldn't put all wallpapers on all stores at the same time?

The demos all work on every PS3 anyway, so why not release them in all English speaking countries at the same time? I understand there might be translation issues elsewhere, but I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that our Italian and German friends would be as happy playing with an English demo as they would a localised one. Yes, I understand in France there's the 'M. Toubon' law that makes it more difficult, but SCEE could still launch demos everywhere else.

Occasionally, someone might need to swap the MM/DD/YY date around when you get to the bit of the demo that says 'Coming 10/09/2007'. Or Sony could just tell all the developers to announce dates in their demos using long dates, and then everyone would understand.

And yes - Sony - we do care what is happening in Tokyo. You gave us great updates on the US store when E3 was around and then trickled them out elsewhere. You gave the Euro store great updates when Leipzig was in full swing and then made them available elsewhere. Why not just take E3, GC and TGS and release all the announcements, and the keynote speeches, on all Stores the day after the event? We all want to know what you're doing for the PS3, and the buzz that is created will help your word-of-mouth sales across the globe.

Is it really that difficult? What am I missing here (apart from all the content everyone else gets)...

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Monday, 3 September 2007

Warhawk; first impressions


So, I've been playing Warhawk on and off since it came to the PS3 in Europe last week. Whilst I largely stay away from writing long, drawn-out game reviews on PS3 Attitude, I thought I'd pop down a few thoughts for you all.

And if Incognito get to read this, please consider this a 'beta test' report as there are some things that need dealing with...

First and foremost I think Warhawk is one of the most accomplished multiplayer experiences I've ever come across. The game is truly brilliant. I've played with and without the motion sensing on, and both the SixAxis tilt controls and the analogue sticks do a great job. Control of the aircraft is more intuitive using motion control, but ground vehicles suffer slightly and are better controlled by the stick.

Consequently, I end up using the analogue sticks as it's fun switching between modes of transport.

Everything about the gameplay is great. The 'sandbox' style environment that lets you decide how to go to battle is welcome. The feeling of teamwork in a lot of the games I've played is excellent. Stand in front of a jeep or tank and, most of the time, the player will stop so you can hop on and go to battle together. Some of the time they'll run you over, of course!

So where could it be better? Here's the 'beta test' bit, and I'm surprised these didn't get caught and fixed in the real beta programme.

It takes ages to get in to a ranked game. There just aren't enough Sony servers and when you try to join one that says it has 19 players out of 24, by the time the game has tried to join the server that game is full. The timeout setting means you have to wait a minute between trying other servers.

And because of the distributed game server system allows every PS3 to become a host, it takes ages (even with filters) to refresh the list each time. I see, on average, over 450 servers in the game list in Europe alone. I filter them by ping time to cut them back to only the servers that seem live, but even that results in a big list.

No one, in my opinion, has matched the ease of the Resistance multiplayer system. They make it so easy. Choose your type of game, wait whilst the PS3 wastes a bit of time with some nonsense graphics, and then a game is chosen for you and you join it automatically. Bliss.

Why Warhawk and others can't copy this approach, even with distributed servers, is beyond me.

Also, because the servers can be hosted by a person, they can kick you off if you shoot them down and they don't like it! Or they can quit the game entirely and leave you without a resolution to the match you were playing. I know that is going to be a gripe of any 'local server' setup, but maybe Incognito could penalise people for quitting their server mid game just because they don't like the way it's going.

My final grip is the Clan system. Instead of selecting my buddies from my Friends list and simply clicking an 'invite to clan' button, it seems the only way to get people to join my clan is to go to the Community menu, then the Clan menu, then the My Clan menu, then the Admin menu and finally type (yes type) the exact PSN ID of the people I want to join, case sensitive.

Ridiculous.

If they fix the server issues by adding more hardware, sort out a 'quick join' option to jump into a game (Resistance style), penalise people for quitting their servers mid-game and make inviting your friends to your clan quick and easy, it would make this the most complete multiplayer title on the PS3 by some distance.

Fix these issues Incognito and you're on to a complete winner.

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Thursday, 9 August 2007

PS3 still leading Xbox 360 sales, and not just in the US

The trends and movements I've reported a couple of times before are now becoming the standard. Once again the PS3 surges forward against the Xbox 360.

But this time I'm able to report worldwide figures and not just the US.

Although in Japan the 'Hot Shots 5' factor has worn off and PS3 sales dropped 45% over last week, the Xbox 360 is now bottom of every sales league in every territory except for Australia. Well, almost last place - it did in fact feature above Nintendo's GBA (woo hoo!).

So despite a 12% drop in worldwide sales over last week, the PS3 still sold twice as many units as the X360 last week.

If you draw a line for all three main consoles and align the launch dates, the PS3 is basically tracking the Xbox 360's growth trend almost exactly. This begs the question "why all the stories of the PS3 'failure' and the Xbox 360's supposed superiority"?

Interestingly though, the recent turnaround shows the PS3 has a much stronger current trendline and will catch and pass the Xbos 360 before too long. Add to that the massive difference in 'churn' base - i.e. those people that bought the PS2 and will, at some point, upgrade - and the future looks bright.

There's close to 100 million more PS2s in the field than original Xboxes.

Time will tell what effect the 80Gb US model launch has and what other similar packs do for our beloved black monolith, but I feel the results will be more positive than ever.

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Tuesday, 7 August 2007

New PS3-compatible Aibo on the way?


In a recent interview with Kotaku, Masaya Matsuura explains that we could see a new Aibo-like device in the near future, and that this device could be PS3-compatible.

Speaking to Kotaku, he explains:

"The engineers behind the Aibo are doing the PS3. We are talking about making something like the new Aibo."


Brian Ashcraft (the interviewer) asks if it will connect to the PS3. Because that's what he really wants: A robotic dog for his PS3.

"I don't know. Connection is not hard. I'm sure some engineer could do that."
And that's what I really want.

I lament the death of the Aibo. It came around at a time when I really wanted one, but couldn't get one for various reasons. Just when I'd got into a position where I could get one, Sony canned the whole project, including the QRIO as well.

Just imagine a robot that you can program via the PS3. A robot that can send pictures it 'sees' during the day to your PS3 photos folder. Photos that you could then vie via Remote Play on your PSP, or pictures that automatically upload to your Home space just as in the mobile phone demo shown at E3.

Imagine a robot that reacts to games because Sony supply designers with the API to tell the robot what to do via Bluetooth when you are playing. Or a robot that controls a game, or can even play Eye of the Beholder with you!

All these things, and much more than I've imagined, could all be possible. Please Sony - make this wish come true.

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Monday, 6 August 2007

Upcoming PS3 releases for 2007

To help illustrate just how much there is to look forward to I thought I'd dig around and pull out some of the forthcoming joyfulness that will hit the PS3 before the end of the year (in alphabetical order):

Army of Two
Assassin's Creed
Call of Duty 4
DiRT
Eye of Judgement (and the PS Eye in general)
GRAW 2
Guitar Hero III
Haze
Heavenly Sword
Jericho
Juiced 2
Kane & Lynch
Lair
PlayStation Home
Ratchet and Clank Future
Rock Band
SingStar
Skate
Stranglehold
Tiger Woods, Madden and FIFA 08
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
Unreal Tournament 3
Warhawk

Kind of makes the delayed GTA: IV seem like a bit more of a non-issue, don't you think?

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My take on the GTA: IV delay

Apart from getting some well-needed R&R, there's another reason I wanted to hold back before reporting about the whole GTA: IV delay story.

Everyone and his dog reported the delay and of course the internet went wild with rumours that the PS3/Xbox was at fault. The PS3 is too difficult to develop for. The game won't fit on an Xbox 360 DVD. Things always have to be someone's fault you see... it couldn't possibly be that Rockstar just want to make sure the game doesn't suck on release, could it?

Imagine, if you will, the game coming out in October and crashing every ten minutes. Or the graphics aren't what was expected. Or the glitches coming thick and fast. What would everyone say to Rockstar then?

I appreciate it was a hard decision for them to push the release date past their current financial year end and therefore take a profit hit and subsequent pasting from the stock markets, but if the product needed polishing and improving before release, we should all be happy they took that decision rather than release something that is not finished for the sake of the markets.

What's nice to see is that after GTA: IV Rockstar will basically be focussing on the PS3 exclusively for a while with LA Noire, a new as-yet-untitled PS3 game and (according to one podcast) Read Dead Revolver 2.

As usual, everyone needs to calm down and stop pointing the finger solely at the PS3. Look at what's already to come this year - we're gonna have a job earning enough money to buy all the expected AAA titles, so in fact this could work out very well in favour of the other awesome games that hit before Christmas.

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Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Now Eidos says the PS3 price drop isn't enough


Let me tell you where I stand on all these 'the price drop won't help' announcements.

They're all a load of bull.

Simply put, most of them are just CEOs and other company officers posturing publicly for a better deal with Sony by saying "there just aren't enough units in the field for an exclusive/deal''.

In this case, Eidos CEO Bill Gardner has at least had the good sense in his interview with GamesIndustry.biz to state that he believes the PS3 to be good value. But he still falls into the old 'price cut is not enough' speech.

Just looking at the facts, the US price cut (which of course hasn't affected anyone else in the world) have resulted in doubling the weekly sales over there. The PS3 is now outselling the Xbox 360 each week in the States and is started to buck the trend.

It's time for CEOs to stop posturing publicly and start focussing on just having their people produce great games for our beloved PS3. Sometimes the posturing works out for them. Sometimes not.

Konami for instance went down this route the day before the price drop, and then saw their position weakened when stories hit the 'net about the 1800% sales hike at Amazon.

Whether the price drop ensures that the PS3 sells what it is capable of selling is irrelevant unless the developers produce real next-gen experiences that push the system, both technically and into the homes of consumers across the globe.

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Friday, 27 July 2007

David Jaffe leaves Sony - starts new Sony exclusive venture


One of the more colourful characters in the development world announced today that after 14 years he is moving on from "the mothership" - as he calls it - and is going it alone.

Yes - today is David Jaffe's last day at Sony. But this isn't the end - think of it as a new beginning. In 'God of War' terms, he's kind of going from Omega back to Alpha to start all over again.

You see, David Jaffe and Scott Campbell have set up a new third-party development company called EAT SLEEP PLAY.

As he explains on his own blog, whilst we won't see any new IP until 2008 they will be working on a port of Twisted Metal: Head On, taking it from the PSP to the PS2.

EAT SLEEP PLAY have a three-title deal to produce output for Playstation platforms only.

Personally, I think David is a bit of a star. He always speaks his mind (which I like) and comes up with interesting and innovative ideas in between drinking sessions! I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do with the PS3 over the course of the next year or so.

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Friday, 20 July 2007

Sony's David Reeves says 'get ready for war'...

Maybe it's just not 'fanboy' enough for some, but I'm still of the opinion that no one company 'won' at E3. All three main players came with new and exciting developments that mean us gamers are going to be very happy this year.

Now SCEE's David Reeves is popping up in interviews all over the place, MCV and ThreeSpeech to name just two. And his message.

Get ready for war. The real battle starts now.

"There will be absolute fireworks at peak, that I can promise you. We will be doing things no-one has seen yet for both PS3 and PSP."

At the Leipzig show next month (which we'll be covering, naturally) Reeves expects to announce a whole cavalcade of incredible features for the PSP and PS3.

So, let the rumour-mill commence. I'll start you off with my list of ideas, and explain them - it'll be fun to see what really happens:

  1. Europe will get a video on demand service for the PS3 and PSP - we already know there's a new service on the way, so this wouldn't be a big leap of faith.
  2. The PS3 will gain Freeview in the UK. This is one of the main rumours and there ain't smoke without fire. Freeview, for those that don't know, is the UK's digital terrestrial television service. It would turn the PS3 into a PVR with access to over 30 channels for free.
  3. A 120Gb PS3 model for Europe instead of the 80Gb model they launched in the US. This is a popular rumour right now. Personally, I couldn't give a fig - I can already upgrade my PS3 to 160Gb for £65 or so without invalidating the warranty.
  4. Sony will announce at least six new exclusives. In an interview with ThreeSpeech David explains that at their regular quarterly worldwide meetings they usually see just a few great titles. But right now he can "hand on heart, say that there are six or seven such games, coming in the next 18 months, which are absolutely spectacular." I'm guessing that two titles from each of the last three quarterly meetings will have made it through to the launch list by now.
  5. The PSP will get access to the Playstation Store/PS3 Friends/PS3 Chat. When they added PSP Remote Play via the Internet, where you log in using your PS3 email address and password, it was a clear indication that some of the PSN features could be accessed directly on the PSP without having to connect to your PS3 at home.
  6. The PSP and/or PS3 will get a Skype client. We know that the PSP firmware has had a 'notion' of Skype compatibility for a while, so this wouldn't be a great leap.
  7. Sony will launch a 'LinkedIn' or 'Facebook' style system that allows you to connect to new PS3 Friends by using the 'six degrees of separation' rule. Basically, you'll be able to meet new friends by getting introductions through your existing friends. This will expand your network and ensure that the profitable "you MUST get Super Stardust" messages are pushed across the network as fast as possible.
  8. SCEE will announce the SixShock controller. Or RumbleAxis. Or whatever you want to call it. Personally I've not missed rumble at all, so I'm not sure I care as much as everyone else on the 'net seems to about this.
  9. Sony will launch a PC client to access and chat with your Friends. Since the PS3 chat client appears to use Jabber as its basis this wouldn't be a big development issue. In fact I've been trying to figure out how to do this myself anyway using Jabber, but haven't been able to yet.
  10. My last prediction - Sony will allow you to live videoblog using a PSP with a GoCam! direct to your PS3 hard drive and consequently to your Playstation Home space. No basis for this prediction - I just think it would be cool!
So, there you have it. 10 predictions. Let's see how many come true but, more importantly, let's see how many more you can think up (add yours to the comments, and remember to show your 'working out')...

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Tuesday, 17 July 2007

In Japan, Peter Moore is a kettle; calls the PS3 a black pot


Xbox boss Peter Moore came out with even more figures today. Remember, MS are good at figures. They spent a good ten minutes or more dazzling the press with numbers during their keynote and generally like to tow the MS line of quoting statistics everywhere they can.

Not that there's anything wrong with that approach except when you make statements like he did today.

I built a business plan for Japan but I don't think my expectations in Japan were anything close to what Sony's expectations are. They are failing. They're missing their plan by much more than I'm missing my plan.
Well, if your plan was to only sell 400,000 units in Japan across 20 months Mr. Moore, I'd suggest you're not exactly telling the truth. I remember clearly that your Japanese Xbox 360 business manager Yoshihiro Maruyama said in December 2005 that you'd sell 1 million units in Japan by the end of 2006. It's Summer 2007 and you're still not half-way there.

And whilst it is true that Sony may not have grabbed the Japanese market yet in the way they would have liked, they've sold 1,000,000 units over there in just 7 months.

According to 'Video Game Chartz' the Wii has managed close to 3,000,000 units in Japan across about 7 months, which is very different to the '6:1' figures Peter claims in his interview with GameDaily.

For a man who is only 40% of target with an extra six months of sales added on to the original deadline, it's quite bullish to be calling anyone else a failure.

A case of the pot calling the kettle black Mr. Moore?

[Update] And as was widely rumoured during the day, Moore has now officially resigned and taken up his new post at EA Sports.

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Monday, 16 July 2007

UK tabloid links PlayStation to killing - a gamer / parent's opinion


In the News of the World newspaper yesterday they ran a story about a teenager who committed murder, and the tabloid newspaper chose to point the finger squarely at the PS2 and Manhunt.

As a parent and a gamer I thought I'd take a moment to give my opinion on this and other similar stories from the US.

Although the emphasis in the story is obviously to blame the game and the console, I can't agree with their prognosis. As a parent I truly sympathise with all the people affected by this tragedy but you cannot blame the game. Why?

In the story itself it is made clear where the problem lies:

Every night [he] would retreat into his darkened bedroom at home in Rainham, Essex, and enter a grisly virtual world that revelled in sadism, ritual blood-letting and death. Just like millions of other youngsters.

One of baby-face Harling’s favourite games was the notorious Manhunt, where players SLASH and SLICE their victims with meat CLEAVERS, cheese WIRE and chainsaws.


Harling’s mother Lorraine is quoted as saying:

I knew he was playing the video games but we didn’t really know what went on in them; how brutal and graphic they were. For a long time I didn’t even realise games had age limits on them.
In the UK we not only have clear indications on games that they are rated 18 (just like movies which everyone knows are rated) but retailers like Game are great at saying 'no' to youngsters who try to buy a title beyond their age.

If you are a parent and you are buying an 18-rated title for someone who is too young you are not doing your job as a parent. Do not bow to 'peer pressure'. If all parents did the right thing, your child wouldn't be able to play that game or see that movie at a friend's house either.

If you are a parent and you let your children sit in front of their console, PC or TV for hours and you don't know what they are doing or what they are watching or who they are chatting with, you are not doing your job as a parent.

It transpires that no matter how 'baby-faced' this boy was, it was revealed in the murder trial that "Harling was ‘obsessed’ with pornography and serial killers".

A game, or a book/TV show/film/painting or any other media cannot, in my opinion, create a killer. It can help someone who doesn't know right from wrong or that has a deeper problem have an outlet but it can't turn a rational person into a killer.

Otherwise I would be a killer. And so would millions of other gamers. We'd all be running around killing and maiming each other. For that fact, millions of movie-goers and book-readers would be killers too.

But I was brought up better than that by my parents. I'd suggest that is where the problem lies and we all need to be more vigilant and knowledgeable about what are kids are doing when they are holed up in their rooms.

What is needed is not a finger-pointing exercise but an educational programme for parents so that they know how to deal with these issues and teach their kids the basics of what is good and what is bad in this world.

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