Wednesday, March 15, 2006

More PS3 Stuff

I'm sure many of you are thinking I'm anti-Sony at this point, but I'm really not. I try to be an equal opportunity game player. I've owned two or more consoles at each major point in gaming post-Atari downfall (NES/Master System, SNES/Genesis, Playstation/N64, Dreamcast/PS2/GameCube/Xbox) and eventually I plan on owning the PS3 and the Revolution more than likely. I'm not sure on the amount of PS2 games I reviewed for Console Gold (now Gaming Trend) versus games I reviewed on Xbox, but I can only guess they are about even if not skewed toward the PS2. With that out of the way, let's get on with the show.

Halo 3 has come up in conversations again in forums I frequent. Yes, Bill Gates once said it would release when the PS3 released, but he later recanted that statement. If I was a betting man I'd say Bungie won't have Halo 3 done in time and polished enough to be released alongside the PS3...but if I was Microsoft/Bungie I would push hard to get Halo 3 done and polished by the time the PS3 comes out in North America.

What leads me to say the game won't be done? Well, Microsoft first unveiled Halo 2 at E3 in 2003 and the game came out a year and a half later. There were plans for it to be out before E3 2004, but that didn't happen (as we all know). Chances are that Halo 3 will have its unveiling at E3 this year, but I don't think it'll be coming in 2006...more than likely we're talking 2007. Who knows though, I could be wrong.

If Halo 3 would magically appear at the release of the PS3 I think it would be a serious blow to Sony. The 360 would have its definitive "killer app" (not to say there isn't now or in the near future going to be a "killer app" on 360) and it would sell systems like gangbusters just like Halo 2 did in 2004. By then 360s should be readily available and Sony would probably be facing an uphill climb.

There is the outside chance that Gears of War could end up being the major game at the holidays for the 360. I can only guess the game will be pushed to there. People say that it is an unproven game, but then so was Halo before it came out on Xbox. There is also a chance that the "big game"(s) haven't even been announced, which I alluded to in my last post.

It will be interesting to see Sony's upcoming announcements on the PS3. I wonder if they will hold off on a final price until the last minute like Microsoft did with the 360. I also wonder if they'll do the 2 SKU thing as well (one with Hard Drive, one without). I am still in the camp that says they will release it at the $499 price point, possibly without the HD (meaning even more $$$ with the HD). That price will be tough to swallow, especially with a possible drop in price of the 360 (if the PS3 comes out I forsee MS trying to capture as much market as it can) and the rumored $199 price of the Revolution.

I still question what type of game lineup Sony will have in North America and Europe outside of ports of games done months earlier (Madden, the rest of the EA Sports lineup, UbiSoft's lineup, etc.). Given that final dev kits will be out in late May/June that doesn't give Japanese developers much time to get a game done and localize it here and in Europe, especially an RPG. Microsoft had mostly North American/European based companies in its launch group (Activision, Electronic Arts, UbiSoft, Microsoft, 2K Games) with a couple Japanese companies (Sega, Namco). I think Microsoft can prosper even without putting a dent in the Japanese market; for Sony I think North America and Europe are just as important as Japan to build their market base.

In the end I'll buy a PS3 eventually...Metal Gear Solid 4 pretty much sews that fact up. Will I be in line in November? Depends on the price. If it's $500 and/or the launch lineup is weak I don't see myself braving the weather again in order to get the newest system. That's just for the console itself, that doesn't take into account the cost of games, extra controllers, accessories, etc. Maybe we'll know more at E3...we can only hope.