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Dee Yun Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2006-03-17 02:12:50

Next Gen?

We finally have a few new quality 360 games: Burnout and Ghost Recon. It's funny how people have been using Xbox Live Arcade to play cheapies like Geometry Wars and Gauntlet to tide them over, but internet distribution looks to be a big deal. Nintendo will offer their vast retro library for download onto the Revolution, and Sony has just announced downloadable PS1 and 2 titles for the PlayStation 3.

In fact, Sony made a number of announcements regarding their next-gen system. First, it'll be delayed until November, for a world wide release. I've been harping on the extreme cost of manufacturing the PS3 - for the record, my dire analysis came almost a full month before Merrill Lynch's. The delay will help reduce costs as the parts get cheaper to produce. I'll guess tenatively that the PS3 will sell at $499 and up, if you can get your hands on one. Sony looks like it's going to make the same launch mistakes as Microsoft did this past winter (worldwide as opposed to regional). I can't imagine that they'll have enough Cell processors and Blu-Ray drives to come close to meeting demand, even by November. I also anticipate Microsoft dropping the price of the 360 to counter the PS3 launch; the cost to manufacture the 360 should drop dramatically by then, and possibly have Halo 3 readied as well. It'll be an interesting showdown.

Speaking of Blu-Ray, I've come to the conclusion that next-gen DVD systems are horseshit. I'm an early adopter; I got a DVD player the first Christmas they were available. The success of the platform was inevitable, partly because you could plug one into any TV and immediately get superior results. These expensive next-gen DVD players are useless without HD television sets. Now, get this, because of insisting on some technical copy-protection scheme, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray players will only work on HDTVs with digital inputs. This leaves me and about 3 million other HDTV owners out in the cold. I got my set in 2001, but as recently as a year ago, sets were still shipping with only analog component inputs. Market penetration of HDTVs with DVI or HDMI inputs is still quite small - who's going to buy these DVDs? I'm starting to smell "laser disc" all over these products. This bickering over final specs, on what I feel is a useless feature, is the primary obstacle keeping the PS3 from market.

I wish Sony had just launched the PS3 with a standard DVD drive. It would have been cheaper, sooner, and upcoming marquee titles like God of War 2 would have been "next-gen"ed, instead of languishing on the antiquated PS2.

Sony are doing some things right, however. The PS3 will be backward compatible with PS1 and 2 titles. Groovy. Microsoft sure pooch-screwed this issue. Also, the PS3 will sport an online delivery system similar to Xbox Live. Finally. Connecting the PS2 to the internet is a joke.

And yeah, and I don't know what's up with that "ACME" logo in today's strip. Ask Vargas. Maybe it's some sort of HDTV digital encryption "feature".

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