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PS3 Launch Details Announced 796

Sony's conference offered up reassurance that a number of their titles will be playable at this year's E3. The controller will sense movement, allowing the player to move an onscreen avatar 'naturally'. They also released the system's launch details. The North American PS3 launch will occur on Nov. 17th, 2006. The 20GB HDD version will retail for $499, and the 60GB HDD version will go for $599. They promise 4 million launch units by December 31st. Update: 05/09 03:57 GMT by Z : Apparently, not only does the $499 system have a smaller harddrive, but it has fewer features as well.
My two cents:

1.) I'm honestly surprised they're this far along with these titles. They may actually make the November launch.
2.) Even through an internet feed, it was obvious the only truly next-gen title there was Heavenly Sword (from the great folks at Ninja Theory). The EyeToy stuff looked cool, but isn't something I'm likely to try out any time soon. Most of the games could have been 360 or even late-lifetime Xbox titles.
3.) I won't be able to review games for this system at the launch price. There's no way I'm dropping $599 for a game console.
4.) The controller orientation thing is ... I don't have the words. Awkward? Cash-in? Cynical? Whatever their intent, it just seems like a bad idea.

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PS3 Launch Details Announced

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  • by dividedsky319 ( 907852 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @10:01PM (#15289827) Homepage
    The controller basically has a gyroscope inside that can detect tilt... and an accelerometer that can detect movement in a particular direction.

    This is different from the Wii in that it can't determine its location in 3d space. While the functionality is similar, the Wii still has the upper hand in terms of the "unique" functionality of the controller.

    It's a smart move on Sony's part, but the Wii will still be able to do things no other system can.
  • Re:Controller... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kenshin ( 43036 ) <kenshin&lunarworks,ca> on Monday May 08, 2006 @10:31PM (#15290003) Homepage
    They already showed the Canadian price, on-screen during the keynote, right next to the US price.

    $499 USD / $549 CND
    $599 USD / $659 CND

    The exchange rate has gotten much higher lately.
  • Re:Wii or 360 (Score:2, Informative)

    by ad0gg ( 594412 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @10:36PM (#15290035)
    Rumour going around is that MS will drop the premium edition price by $100 to $299 in november. I wouldn't be suprised if the wii retails for $199. So the price of the premium edition ps3, you'll be able to get a wii and a 360 including 1 game for both system. Sony screwed up big time.
  • by JFMulder ( 59706 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @10:51PM (#15290112)
    About that card game thing. One of my coworker came back from Japan on vacation last week and apparently these kind of games are really big in Japan. Basically what you do is you go to your regular card store when you buy cards and trade with friends and build your deck. Then you go to the arcade and use these cards which are recognized by the machine. Some sort of interactive card game where you actually manipulate the cards. I think he told me of some Romance of the Three Kingdoms-like game played that way. It looked really cool, but you had to read a big manual in order to play it. I suppose this is one kind of game that will probably not cross the pond.
  • by grumbel ( 592662 ) <> on Monday May 08, 2006 @10:52PM (#15290115) Homepage
    The new PS3 controller not only rips of features from Wii, they droped the rumble support, PS3 gets less and less impressive:

    "Pursuant to the introduction of this new six-axis sensing system, the vibration feature that is currently available on DUALSHOCK® and DUALSHOCK®2 controllers for PlayStation and PlayStation®2, will be removed from the new PS3 controller as vibration itself interferes with information detected by the sensor."

    See: be.pdf []
  • by cornface ( 900179 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @10:53PM (#15290124)
    I'm not sure where Nintento licensed their motion sensing controller from, but the gyros required to make such a thing work, while not exactly "old news," are available and there is already a company making a similar controller for PC.

    Strangely, Nintendo invested in that company [] in 2001.

  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @10:58PM (#15290157)
    Rumble has been stripped from the Dual Shock 3, as it interfered with the tracking abilities of the gyroscope and accellerometers.
  • by Kenshin ( 43036 ) <kenshin&lunarworks,ca> on Monday May 08, 2006 @11:12PM (#15290248) Homepage
    I just found something they didn't bring up in the keynote:

    The cheaper version will NOT have WiFi, flash card slots, or HDMI output. ae.pdf []
  • Other details... (Score:5, Informative)

    by HAKdragon ( 193605 ) <> on Monday May 08, 2006 @11:13PM (#15290256)
    There are other differences between the $500 and $600 versions of the systems. According to Sony [], the $500 version lacks HDMI output, which means that once DRM gets implemented, you don't get the full HD resolution that Blu-Ray is capable of. Also, the cheaper system lacks a slots for Memory Sticks, SD cards, and Compact Flash cards. The cheaper one also lacks wifi connectivity. Funny how Sony left all of that out of their presentation.
  • You better check those specs again. The base PS3 isn't "Feature complete"

    The $499 base unit does not have HDMI out, does not have memory stick ports, and does not have 802.11b/g wireless.
    See: ae.pdf []
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @11:23PM (#15290330)
    We already know basically what the PS3's graphics chip is: It's an nVidia 7900 (notice that launched when the PS3 was orignally supposed to).

    The major graphics players have tons of R&D working overtime to keep cranking out new cards, and they throw everything they can in it. They don't have time to develop a 100% seperate architecture, nor can they afford to not put out their best technology in their cards. Thus, the console graphics cards are just modifications on their then-current technology. The 360 is more or less an ATi X1900, the PS3 will be more or less an nVidia 7900. They aren't directly comparable, since things are changed for console design, like using embedded RAM, different clock speeds, etc, but the basic technology and thus features is the same.

    So fire up a PC with a 7900 in it, you get a pretty good idea what you are going to get with a PS3. You can't run benchmarks and expect them to be spot on, but you get an idea of the kind of visual features and pciture quality you can expect. Given that the 7900 and X1900 are performing in the same class, the 360 and PS3 will do so as well graphics wise. I'm sure certian titles will be tweaked a bit for one or the other, but I wouldn't expect to see either pull ahead a significant amount from the other.
  • Re:Prognostication (Score:2, Informative)

    by Keeper ( 56691 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @11:31PM (#15290371)
    To top it off, the difference is a 20gb harddrive versus a 60gb harddrive. Last I checked, the price difference between those sizes was not $100. Is there something I failed to garner from the coverage?

    The base model lacks HDMI output, built-in WiFi, and the various memory card slots.
  • by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @11:36PM (#15290399) Journal
    First, "engineering gut feature" -> "engineering gut feeling". Oops.

    Second, it turns out they cut rumble to support the sensors [], for obvious reasons.

    So, they're cutting a long-standing feature to trade in for a novel feature that (after reading more about it) shows every sign of being half-assed that I'd expect to see. This has the stench of a management decision made against the recommendation of the engineers, and I bet the engineers about went ballistic when they were informed it had to be ready for E3.

    I don't know about Japan, but I'm smelling Microsoft/Nintendo for this next generation, and I'm increasingly wondering if it might not be ~3:1 in Nintendo's favor in three years (which is about the earliest I'd say we can "call" the results of this generation). The opening lineup for the Wii may even best the Dreamcast's opening lineup, which was spectacular for the time (as long as you could get your RPG fix somewhere else...).
  • Re:controller (Score:2, Informative)

    by Lectrik ( 180902 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @12:02AM (#15290560)
    Aside from that it's just a gyro that detects pitch, it does not track relative position. I don't see how just tilting a PS2 controller around is going to make a difference in sales. This is a last minute half assed hack and it shows.

    Unfortunately [], it's got roll pitch yaw and accelerometers for X Y and Z axis. [Link blatently stolen from earlier post]
  • Re:Other details... (Score:5, Informative)

    by isd_glory ( 787646 ) * on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @12:05AM (#15290573)
    Another "feature" not mentioned is that is is apparently larger and heavier than the old Xbox.

    PS3 from the press release:
    Approximately 325mm (W) x 98mm (H) x 274mm (D)
    Approximately 5 kg

    The original Xbox
    Dimensions: 320 × 100 × 260 milimeters (12.5 × 4 × 10.5 in)
    Weight: 3.86 kilograms (8.5 lb)
  • Re:My favorite part (Score:3, Informative)

    by ejdmoo ( 193585 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @12:07AM (#15290585)
    To be fair, MS had a motion sensing gamepad [] out many years ago. I have one (haven't used it in a while). It does pitch and roll (no yaw).

    I've tried to play flying games with it (MS flight sim), and it sucked then, and I'll be surprised if it doesn't suck now. It's hard to get any precision from such things. Maybe they've improved, but I doubt it.
  • by MMaestro ( 585010 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @12:11AM (#15290611)
    Am I the only one here who really likes what he sees? Great HD graphics, Blu-Ray, hard disk standard on ALL models, online, wireless controllers, PS2 and PS1 full compatibility... this is a nice system.

    HD graphics : I'm not seeing a big improvement. In one case it looks like a step BACKWARD. Just take a look at their own comparison slide []! The PS3 version look like a pasty white guy!

    Blu-Ray : One word : Hype. There has yet to be a game that spans more than 1 DVD and I'm not spending $500 for a movie player AND having to re-buy my movie collection.

    Hard drive : Xbox did it years ago. The Xbox360 threw the ball away on it but considering the PS3 is priced at $500~$600, Sony just threw the ball back at Microsoft.

    Online : Old news and Sony has a poor record of online gameplay. Its SOE division is one of the worst in terms of service and considering they DOMINATED last generation with the PS2, Xbox Live CRUSHED the PS2 in terms of online marketshare.

    Wireless controllers : Two words : Nintendo Wavebird. And the Xbox360's controllers are wireless as well. Sony is really the last man out in this case. (And this doesn't count third party controllers.)

    PS2 and PS1 full compatibility : Considering a PS1 is dirt cheap and insanely plentiful (I've seenen package deals including 10 games and the system for $50 USD) and the inevitable price drop to the all important $100 mark for the PS2 near/after the PS3's launch, this isn't really important.

  • Sept two launch titles on the Wii ARE SE games, one of which Dragon Quest being the #1 all time best seling series in Japan. Final Fantasy is popular, but not nearly as much as Dragon Quest.
  • by Sterling Christensen ( 694675 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @02:18AM (#15291111)
    There has yet to be a game that spans more than 1 DVD

    Star Ocean for PS2 - 2 DVDs.
  • Re:My favorite part (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @02:22AM (#15291124)
    Controller? Nope, still the basic PS1 controller with features from the N64 and the new Wii controller.

    That's because the PS1 controller is perfect the way it is. Thank god they're not going to mess with it. The PS1 controller is the only controller since the SNES where you can press any two buttons simultaneously. The only thing annoying about it is pressing the diagonal buttons simultaneously. But at least that's still possible!

    Have you ever tried playing Soul Calibur 2 on a GameCube pad? You throw by pressing X and B at the same time. There is another button between these two so you'd have to be a fucking contortionist to pull that off. lers/gccontf.jpg []

    This is why, when given the choice, all the respectable players in a fighting game tournament (Tekken, Soul Calibur, Third Strike, etc) prefer the PS version of the game.
  • by geminidomino ( 614729 ) * on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @02:37AM (#15291170) Journal
    Also Shadow Hearts: Covenant
  • Re:Insane price (Score:3, Informative)

    by CaymanIslandCarpedie ( 868408 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:38AM (#15292212) Journal
    Sure you can pay more than $399 for the full system if you look around enough and really want to, or just head to BestBuy [] (or really anywhere else) and just pay $399 if you want. Your choice. Then the games range from $40 to $60 so previous poster saying you can buy the full 360 plus 3-4 games for the price of the full PS3 seems spot on to me.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford