Playstation News

Some big news from Sony this week. Yesterday, they announced a big price cut for the PS3 as well as a new, slimmed down model. The new slim model does not have much in the way of new features, and the only thing it's losing are some aesthetic stuff (i.e. matte black plastic finish instead of the reflective plastic on older models, actual buttons in place of the pressure sensitive things the older models use, etc...) and the ability to install other OSes (i.e. no more installing linux on your PS3). The one big miss is that Sony still has not reinstated backwards compatibility with the PS2, and in an interview with Sony's head of hardware, John Koller, things don't look promising on that front:
Do we need to stop yapping about backwards compatibility?

"It's not coming back, so let me put that on the table," Koller says with an air of finality. But it's all people ever talk about!

"It's not as big as a purchase intent driver as you may be hearing," he claimed. "We've got such a substantial lineup of titles on the PS3; most people are buying the PS3 for PS3 games. They've buying it for PS3 games and Blu-ray movies."

"That won't be returning," he repeats.
Darn. He may be correct that people don't intend to purchase the PS3 for its ability to play PS2 games, but it certainly doesn't hurt and it would seemingly increase goodwill. Ok, fine, I just want to be able to play PS2 games from my PS3. Is that so wrong? From what I've seen, a previous model PS3 had simple software emulation for PS2 games, which seems very reasonable (one of the older models actually included PS2 hardware in the PS3 to achieve backwards compatibility, something that was wisely dropped to help lower the amazingly high price of the PS3), even if it didn't work for all games. If nothing else, being able to offer some PS2 classics for download on PSN would be pretty cool. Alas, it's apparently not to be.

Still, $299 is a pretty good deal, especially if you can swing the same Playstation Credit Card rebate that I did (right now it's only a $100 credit, but it is periodically raised to $150 for limited times). In essense, you could buy a PS3 for less than a Wii.

A while ago, I complained about the distinctly boring gamercard that PSN made available. All it basically had was your PSN online ID name... something that could just as easily be typed out (i.e. mine is "mciocco"). Well, sometime in the past week, they upgraded the PSN portable ID to include some more info, so here's mine:

Get your Portable ID!

Much better! It would still be nice to have more info on the thing (i.e. show what games I'm playing, what trophies I won recently, etc...), but at least it lets me brag a bit about how much of a trophy whore I am (update: I think it will show you a lot more information if you click through the gamertag above)...

Anyway, it seems that the PS3 firmware is also due to be upgraded, but there doesn't seem to be much of interest in the update (i.e. no PS2 backwards compatibility). All in all, it seems like it will be a good few months for Sony. I'm betting that Microsoft will respond, but Sony has a pretty interesting lineup of exclusives coming in the next half year or so (including a genuine system-seller in God of War III) and their general library is just as good as MS. Nintendo will, of course, obliterate Sony and MS, because that is just their way. Nintendo isn't playing the same game. Three years after launch, Sony's system costs half of what it once did and Nintendo's costs... the same. And Nintendo was making a profit on the hardware on day 1, while Sony has lost massive amounts of money (the PS3 slim seems to be profitable for them though). I suppose time will tell, but Sony is finally priced competitively with Microsoft, so that part should be interesting. Here's to hoping that it's a rousing success, leading to more and more great games being released for the system (at the very least, we can hope that Bobby Kotick will shut the hell up).