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Stringer: The Xbox 360 is an "obsession"

Howard Stringer obsessed with the Xbox 360Well, you know what they say about what to do when you have nothing nice to say ... erm, say that the competing gaming platform (in this case, the 360) is an "obsession"?

That's exactly what Sony CEO Howard Stringer had to offer in an interview with Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal recently. While sharing how The Da Vinci Code from Sony beat up on "X-Men 3" (aka The Last Stand) over in Europe, he seemed to mistakenly throw in "Xbox 3" in the stead of Fox's great summer blockbuster hope. Following Mossberg's correction, Stringer is reported to have retorted, laughing, "There's an obsession!"

We don't know if he's referring to the media's obsession with the corporate gaming rivalry, his own obsession with the console that would dethrone the PlayStation, or some combination of the two (irony really doesn't help here), but he does seem to at least outwardly admire Bill Gates' salesmanship (as well as his hypocrisy in delaying Windows Vista while lambasting the PS3 delay). Of course, a lot of supposed compliments could go both ways, so we've provided a few handy links below to check out what other "nice" things hardware execs have had to say about their competitors lately. We're sure it's all in good fun.

[Thanks, JC & SickNic; also via GameDaily BIZ]

See also:

Offer for one free year of EGM ends today

"Free" offers on the internet often come with annoying trials and lengthy cancellation procedures, but this one here's legit -- it's actually running from the subscription web site of the publisher of EGM, Ziff Davis Media.

You may have seen this offer for 12 free issues of Electronic Gaming Monthly on Joystiq or other game sites out there. Basically, what's happening is the Ziff Davis Game Group is running a subscription drive for the mag, sponsored by the World Cyber Games. Free subs are only on offer through today, however, so get a move on if you want a piece of the printed action.

Of course, EGM may be no OPM, but it's helpful for even the healthiest fanboy to get a balanced diet of multiplatform news and information on a regular basis. Also, please note that you're under no obligation to sign up for the World Cyber Games page which follows the EGM subscription one, so you can absolutely get your free mag without registering with the WCG.

[Via Joystiq]

Cheaper PS3 loses HDMI, slots, Wi-Fi, 40GB

As you can see above, there are a few things different between the two PS3 SKUs planned. (Hint: the obvious alterations concern high-def output and wireless connectivity -- though Bluetooth controllers should work just fine with both, with or without any chrome case highlighting.)

So what's HDMI, built-in multimedia card-reader slots, wireless internet connectivity, and an extra 40 gigabytes' hard disk space worth to you? $100? Now that Sony's gone with the 2-SKU approach with its next-gen hardware (a la the Xbox 360's premium and "Core" systems), we can expect some tough consumer choices after six months -- with console shortages possibly for another six months after that -- as $100 separates the base $499 and premium $599 versions of Sony's "Clear Black" hope.

HDMI is important to those who want to take full advantage of Blu-ray high def and have the new screens to use it; MemoryStick, SD, and CompactFlash slots would be nice for the PS3 memory-card users and those will run multimedia on the system; Wi-Fi's the only way to avoid stringing ethernet cables for online access; and 360 owners might appreciate the full 60GB available to potential buyers of the premium PS3 model. Neither model comes with a second HDMI port; thankfully, one should hopefully be all most users need. The details are laid out in a feature-comparison table at the end of Sony's official PS3 hardware press release, available in both Adobe Reader and Microsoft Word formats. Determine what's most important to your PS3 ambitions there.

[Image pieced together from the forums; thanks, Guru]

PS3 pad loses DualShock name and vibration but picks up Wii-esque motion detection and wireless connectivity

Revised PS3 pad rear-view shot
In a shocking turn of events, the PS3 controller has gone from banamerang to wireless DualShock 3, except without the DualShock name and vibration.

If you take a good look at the back of the new control pad (see the close-up above), you'll notice that the DualShock 2 brand name imprinted on the old controller has now been supplanted by a row of LED lights to show which input has been set, either wirelessly or via the wired USB recharge port. Sony's now the only name in-line for PS3 controllers either on the pad or in the press releases (see "the new PS3 controller").

Continue reading PS3 pad loses DualShock name and vibration but picks up Wii-esque motion detection and wireless connectivity

3 Final Fantasy XIII games; 2 just for PS3

Final Fantasy XII won't be out for the PS2 in the States until October, but we now have a glimpse of Final Fantasy XIII thanks to Square Enix's pre-E3 press event -- and this installment in the series won't be coming alone.

Like the different titles in the Compilation of FFVII collection of games and movies, the initially announced installments in the FFXIII universe will span multiple platforms which, in this case, include both the PS3 and sufficiently advanced mobile handsets. Not much is known about the mobile-bound Final Fantasy Agito XIII, but the subtitle-less version of FFXIII will concern a gun-and-sword-toting heroine in a futuristic world, while Final Fantasy Versus XIII will focus on "a spiky-haired character," "extreme action elements," and a primary theme of "bonding" (whatever that means). Anybody ready to "resist the world"?

The multiple titles might explain the earlier rumor reported in March that FFXIII was "practically close to being finished" (maybe only one of these games was nearing completion). Whatever the case may be, we're just happy that more than one not-so-Final-Fantasy will be hitting the next PlayStation in relatively rapid succession. RPG feasting: on the way.

[Via Joystiq]

Virtua Fighter 5 only for PS3 next spring

There was a time when Virtua Fighter 5 was considered a strong candidate for an arcade port to the Xbox 360, but that multiplatform hope's been dashed with the official announcement that VF5 will appear only on PS3 in the spring of 2007. Sega's technical fighter is a Sony exclusive once more.

While home-console online play remains doubtful at this point, next-gen PlayStation owners can now securely look forward to facing off as El Blaze and Eileen (the new luchador and monkey kung-fu artist, respectively) along with the other 15 fighters, decked out in all sorts of items purchased in the in-game store with prize money earned through in-game matches.

VF5 will support up to 720p HD resolution and will be featured in game footage in the SEGA booth at E3 (South Hall, Booth #946) later this week.

[Thanks, Matt; also via Joystiq]

PS3 could debut in Europe for 500 euros, says SCEE exec

La PlayStation Trois! French gamers must be familiar with that combination by now, and if a certain Sony executive gets his way, the PS3 could be appearing in Europe for as low as 500 euros this fall.

Apparently George Fornay (president of Sony Computer Entertainment France and vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe) confirmed to Generation Europe 1, in French, that the PS3 could be priced around the 500 euro mark, most likely between 499 euros and 599 euros. For the unfiltered French audio, try the Play button near the middle of Europe 1's podcast page here.

Such an estimated figure may include Europe's Value Added Tax (VAT), so the final price range in the States might well be lower than the current U.S. currency equivalent of roughly $600-$725 for those many euros. Of course, who's to say whether Mr. Fornay was simply speculating on a local podcast or whether he actually exhibited loose lips before the French press?

[Thanks, Fan; also via Joystiq]

Lair off-screen trailer looked good at GDC

Stills and screenshots can only do so much to convey how good a game looks. Here's an off-screen video presentation of Lair recorded from GDC, showing off the Factor 5 game in action (or, should we say, motion).

You might recognize some of the animation from videos seen elsewhere, but it was nice to catch the newer footage of a dragon wireframe model meticulously rendered with layers of musculature and skin, too.

If that's not enough for ya, you can always just listen in to the audio, which features a young lady from Washington asking questions of a developer with the hope of getting hired. Consider this a lesson in networking.

[Via GameBrink]

Phil Harrison's media Q&A video from GDC

Can't get enough Phil Harrison in your life? Check out this video from the media Q&A following his GDC keynote for 20 minutes of Phil-y love (and maybe a few furtive glances from Kaz Hirai sitting in the background).

We just love how Phil "swerve[d] a couple of the questions" regarding the hard drive and other hardware-related issues, but we also like how he managed to clarify those questions regarding "content offerings" that will be charged at a "premium," though he did say that there were "no plans to charge for [multiplayer gaming] at the moment."

But, yeah, Mr. Harrison wasn't as combative in his answers as some media outlets portrayed him, which is another great step for platform executives who tend to make rather grandiose statements and fiery claims. If you want to see as well as hear the Phil handle all comers, this is one of your best chances yet. We'd love to hear it all clearly in English at E3, too.

[Thanks, Fan; video courtesy of Jean-Baptiste Su of Citizen Valley]

Rumor: Final Fantasy XIII PS3 exclusive at E3

Ghetto FFXIII logoAccording to 1UP, the May issue of EGM contains a rumor that Final Fantasy XIII will be showing up at next month's E3 for "a brief teaser video and confirmation from [Square Enix] that the RPG will be a PS3 exclusive." RPG fans, rejoice!

What's a little shocking is that FFXIII would be unveiled before FFXII is even released outside Japan, but "rumblings" have apparently also been picked up that "Final Fantasy XIII is practically close to being finished" already. With all the delays to XII, it's certainly more than possible that a second team working on XIII's already got something to show by now.

It wasn't exactly surprising that FFXIII would show up as a PS3 exclusive--despite certain misquotes to the contrary--but you know that a new Final Fantasy is just what the next PlayStation needs (judging by how previews of FFX elevated the PS2's platform profile). Hopefully this little tidbit isn't EGM's way of stretching its April Fools' coverage to another issue (and another month).

[Thanks, Spatlase Disexia]

Star Wars Galaxies coming to PS3, say Amazon and

Paperback strategy guide product page of Star Wars Galaxies for consoles
If this product page for a Star Wars Galaxies strategy guide from (and are to be believed, then one could reasonably deduce that the troubled MMO will be making its way to the PS3 sometime soon.

The evidence? First, that parenthetical platform designation of "Console" for the strat guide. As Galaxies was cancelled for the PS2 a long, long time ago, and there would be no reason to order up a guide for a non-existing game, it would stand to reason that Sony's main MMO not named EverQuest would be seeing some action on the next generation system.

And next, that pre-order release date of 4/30/2006. There's a chance that means Prima and the major e-tailers you see here forgot to update their product pages to reflect the delayed PS3 launch (from spring to early November of this year). Either that or they're actually referencing the cancelled PS2 version with a random future date to avoid any responsibility for the thing. Sometimes you just gotta read between the lines.

[Thanks, David A.]

HDMI issues at GDC? Or simply no cable?

Rear view of a PS3 graphics demo unit
The PS3 dev kits on display at GDC apparently skipped the HDMI connection for some of their demos, casting doubt on how far along Sony's come with its hardware and digital standards compliance.

During GDC, Sony brought along a few PS3 demo units to show off audio and video, which TG Daily spied from a distance. As you can see above, the PS3 graphics demo unit used a standard AV Multi-Out connector while the "two HDMI ports right below the AV Multi-Out port were unused." TGD apparently offered to lend Sony officials an HDMI cable of their own to connect to the system, but they were turned down.

Of course, there's also a conflicting pic which Chris Grant took for us on Joystiq Central that seems to show that very HDMI connection being used, probably with another unit. (Scroll down to the second pic here to see it.) So what's the real story? Was Sony lacking enough updated HDMI 1.3 hardware and/or 1.3-compatible TVs to show off the HD goods, or were they simply short on cables? Maybe their budget was a bit tight for GDC (what with Phil's focused keynote and abundance of GDC sessions from Sony), so hopefully we'll see everything hooked up nice and tidy for E3.

[Thanks, Michael, Racky, pheen, and DocEvil; via TechSpot and CD Freaks]

Welcome, one and all, to PS3 Fanboy!

A silver PlayStation 3 pictured with its prototype controllerWhether you're here because you saw the related post on Joystiq Central or because a link was flashed elsewhere online, we wish to warmly welcome you to PS3 Fanboy, the site that loves Sony's next console with all its heart (even if it ends up with that batarang prototype as a controller).

For a few more details on the wild 'n' crazy guys responsible for bringing this site to you, check out our unofficial welcome post with its shameless bios and boastful claims.

We couldn't be happier to join the Joystiq family of fanboy blogs (especially our dearest brother Gizmondo Fanboy), and we certainly hope you enjoy your stay here. Just six weeks till the E3 overload... are you all ready yet?

Xbox retail confidence sags; PS2 powers on

An executive VP with Vivendi Europe feels that retail confidence in the original Xbox is flagging with MS needing to work with publishers "to help generate some impetus."

With Microsoft's primary and first-party focus squarely set on the next generation, the 360's predecessor may be feeling some neglect since saves aren't transferable and exclusive titles are elusive.

The Vivendi VP also noted that the PS2 still has a lot of life left in it, which we're inclined to believe with all the triple-A games still to come to the West, including Kingdom Hearts II, Okami, Final Fantasy XII, and God of War 2. You gotta love the PS3's 100% backward compatibility (or 99.9% BC, give or take a couple of titles). Emulation profiles can only do so much.

[Via Evil Avatar]

Simultaneous November release for PS3 worldwide

PS3 Early November 2006 Worldwide Launch cropped montageAs expected, Sony held its PlayStation Business Briefing 2006 in Japan today, where a simultaneous worldwide launch was announced for the PS3 in early November (which would purportedly be sometime during the first 10 days of the month).

PS3 highlights of the briefing include that simultaneous launch in Japan, North America, and Europe; a 60GB hard drive preinstalled with every system (which will support Linux and be completely upgradeable); a 6 million unit production target through March 2007; 100% backwards compatibility with HD upscaling; a free "basic" online service for the "PlayStation Network Platform"; and a May/June ship date for final dev kits.

PSP highlights can be found neatly summarized in this particular Joystiq post, while "PlayStation Network Platform" highlights (for the "Live"-like online service) can so far be found here. Hooray for new PlayStation info! Now we'll have to see how Sony executes on all these ideas. It should be an interesting few months until E3 (and then early November), especially if XBLA-like games are offered as downloads and bootable off the hard drive.

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