Thursday, September 07, 2006

Byte: Sony White Elephant 3

It won't have escaped most people's notice that Sony have taken a leaf out of Nintendo's book and delayed the European launch of the PlayStation 3, thanks to production problems...

After the spectacular PS3 no-show at Leipzig, I can't help but feel that the PS3 is Sony's equivalent of the Millennium Dome. The one big selling point of the PS3 was that it was not just a games console, but also a next generation Blu-Ray DVD player, but who's going to get excited about a list of films like this on launch day? Constantine *AND* xXx? Sign me up! NOT.

Also, who's going to want to pay upwards of £425 for a next-gen console when both of their rivals cost less than half that? And have already been entrenched in the market for months (in the case of the Wii, assuming it gets released as planned) or over a year (in the case of the 360)? If the PS2 vs. Xbox battle taught us anything, it's that the Console War invariably is won by the side that hits the market first, not the side that has superior hardware. With Sony giving Microsoft a two Christmas period head-start, it's got to have a catalogue of seriously exceptional titles to regain all that lost ground - especially when you're going to pay a huge premium to be able to play them. Sony are staking a lot on brand loyalty - which I don't think necessarily applies to the modern videogames market. Gamers want good games, technology is a bonus - and I don't see anything in the PS3 line-up that makes me want to run out and pre-order one. Especially not at that price.

Even worse, news coverage this week suggests that the other supposed unique selling point of the PS3 - HDMI support for high defintion TV - may not even feature on the 20GB version of the PS3 at all, and that an HDMI cable will not be included with the 60GB version that does have the functionality, adding even more of an expense to the already prohibitive cost of the console.

My prediction is that the PS3 is going to bomb, big style; unless... unless Sony generate so much hype with their PR machine that in the months running up to next March everyone takes leave of their senses and somehow forget that £425 is a HUGE AMOUNT OF MONEY. It'll be interesting to see what the import crowd, such as the denizens of NTSC-UK, make of the PS3. I imagine there will be an equal mix of rabid fanboys and people wondering why the fuck they wasted so much money, before hawking it on eBay for a small fortune and a large profit...

Personally, I could care less either way, to be honest - I can't say I've ever been excited by any game on the PlayStation - certainly not enough to warrant buying one. The 360 doesn't really have enough games I'm interested in yet to really inspire me to acquire one, either. I'm going to be spending my pennies on a Wii.
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