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Does Europe really have it that bad?

This isn't related to any news, just a bit of thinking on my part whilst consuming some Cinnamon Life cereal this morning. We've all seen the posts that go something like "OMG Sony delays PS3 in Europe ROFLWTFBBQ!!11!1!one!!1" but honestly, is it really a bad thing?

First, let's look at the North America and Japan launch. Very limited supply, most of which wound up on eBay. The Cell yields weren't as high as expected and the blue laser diodes were MIA, coupling together to give us the small batch of systems available before the new year. Aside from the hardware itself, the games are underwhelming for now. Genji even has a massively damaging glitch that delivers a critical hit to your enjoyment level. Sure, there haven't been too many reports of defective systems and Resistance is a pretty good game, but would you take a bullet for them? Others were robbed at gunpoint -- one guy got shot with a shotgun after refusing to give up the $2500 he was carrying.

Now, let's ask again. Is it really a bad thing that Europe is getting the PS3 in March? By that time, there will be more units available. At least we hope... Sony. Also, with increasing unit numbers, that means also the yields on the Cell have gone up and diode manufacturing is moving along swimmingly. That, in turn, means less (if any... but there's always a couple) defective units. There will also be a much larger selection of (hopefully awesome) games in March. Coinciding with the European launch are many more high profile games in addition to the launch in North America and Japan, such as Lair, Armored Core 4, Motorstorm, Heavenly Sword, and others. Those might not be initially available on launch day, but they're all due out around that time. With all that in mind, I ask you, is it really a bad thing? Who's the winner here? I say to Europe, you're lucky. You will have a much more exciting and successful launch. Just my two cents.

"24" Things to know about the PS3... but it's really 23

Just because we know you can't get enough of lists, we're going to give you another one to mull over. You love reading 'em, we love writing 'em. Here's 24 things about the PS3 everyone should, er, "know".

  1. Touch sensitive power/eject buttons are a classy touch (as opposed to the "clicky" on/off buttons we're used to).
  2. 15,000 kiosks by the end of November across the US!
  3. Nothing about the unit screams "cheap Blu-ray player!" ...Sturdy, substational... quite simply, super cool.
  4. Not all games will be 1080p, but most will be 720p.
  5. The SIXAXIS controllers does not feel too light -- great for the motion capabilities, and able to withstand some serious grip pressure.
  6. Similarly, the SIXAXIS motion sensing does take some getting used to. Responds better to subtle, gentle motions. No crazy arm waving, please!
  7. The PSP will connect via Wi-Fi to the PS3's hard drive.
  8. The SIXAXIS has about 30 hours of battery life and then a short recharge. However, once the rechargings do squat, it's time to get a new one. Or just keep it plugged in via USB. But... wires are so cumbersome.
  9. No lag on the wireless controller -- thanks, Bluetooth!
  10. Wireless range extends to about 65 feet.
  11. $50 for a new controller, should you want one.
  12. $14.99 adaptor moves all your PS2 and PSX saves onto the PS3... and that's exactly what this blogger plans to do so he can get online with Phantasy Star Universe (although he really wants to see a new turn-based Phantasy Star RPG... come on, Sega! Please?)
  13. Blu-ray disc is slot-loading and "works like a dream". Once the disc was ejected, the game being played kept on going (as if it had a good chunk of data moved onto the hard drive... would at least cut load times quite a bit).
  14. An LED on the PS3 tracks hard drive activity, much like a PC. One step closer.
  15. The first 500,000 PS3's will come bundled with a Blu-ray movie (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby).
  16. There's still the emergency abort-all hard power-off switch on the back of the PS3, like the PS2.
  17. It's very shiny. Only touch with gloved hands, lest your fingerprints will stain the beauty.
  18. It's... sexy. Unanimous journalist opinion, apparently.
  19. Super quiet! Rating of 22 decibels -- slightly above a human whisper. Sweet.
  20. Plug n' play with a USB keyboard to surf the net.
  21. The power supply (aka "hot brick of doom") is integrated right into the system.
  22. Re-download all your merchandise to someone else's PS3 -- log in with your account info on someone else's console and bam! All your stuff are belong to... you.
  23. First party titles are $59.99... yep.

Wait a minute... that was 23 things! And a couple were throw-aways! Stupid lists... oh well, it's still nice to see a fair list of PS3 goodness. Does anyone feel these "pluses" are actually "minuses"? Are those even actual words? Oh well.

So... what formats can the PS3 handle?

It's our favorite topic! Long bulleted lists! This time we're recapping what all the PS3 can handle. Let's get to it... go ahead and continue reading, if you dare! You should dare. It would be cool of you.

Continue reading So... what formats can the PS3 handle?

Microsoft whines, sues Sony... now that's just sad

Don't ask why we were surfing the 360 forums. It's a long, painful story. Even more painful is the sorry reason that Microsoft has decided to hop onto the legal train and sue Sony (besides the fear instilled upon Microsoft by the PS3... or so we'd like to believe). Now, many of us have probably seen the "controversial" list we've got at the top of the page. Is it misleading? If you're ignorant. Here's why.

Now, it says "Console Price Comparison" but it does indeed leave off the "...for equivalent console experience" subtitle. That's pretty shady, but in the context of "getting what you pay for" it makes sense. To get what comes in the PS3 box, you do have to get all this extra junk for the 360. However, the "Wireless Controller" for the 360 is moot -- doesn't one come with the better SKU? Anyway, that aside, to get an equivalent experience, you do need to get the $399 model, a $199 HD-DVD drive (not for gaming, just to equate to getting a Blu-ray) and the Gold subscription.

The PS3 (lower model) comes with all that, even a wireless controller (which should have been built in to the XBox 360 cost, so more accurately read, it would be $50 for the HDD and $50 for the controller). The free online is debatable, although Sony has said they would give free service for regular online multiplayer, but subscription fees for MMO's and the like will still apply, via the developer, etc. Is this misleading and worthy of a lawsuit? It's slightly misleading, but not worth the trouble of legal action. Microsoft needs to relax -- so they misquoted you $50, which is understandable if you build up from the junk core system. Whatever. Now, let PS3Fanboy set up its barricades to defend against all the flaming about to occur.

PS3 passes FCC testing! Our baby is growing up...

What's the FCC? Basically, it's the regulatory body in the U.S. regulating communication through radio, television, wire, cable and satellite. The FCC has made the right decision in allowing the PS3 to pass. The final clock speed of the cell processor is 3.2GHz. This speed is now set in stone -- we don't have to worry about any more rumors about this or that being downgraded. It's official. It's great. If you really want to, you can download and check out the FCC report, or you can take our word for it: the PS3 is ready to go! All it needs is a home.

IBM's BladeCenter QS20 using PS3's cell processor technology

It appears the cell processor is so insanely useful that IBM is going ahead and using it even before the PS3 has launched. Aside from the fact shipping began on the BladeCenter QS20, which is marketed directly towards people running heavy-duty graphics, IBM has announced that it will build a supercomputer based on the cell processor and AMD chips. They hope utilizing both of these will overcome the speed and cooling limitations faced by the supercomputers of today.

The BladeCenter QS20 is being adopted early mostly by research-based or academic organizations. This is to be expected, what with the cell being used in a multitude of ways, including quite a few medicinal applications (aside from a fantastic cure for boredom, we hope) like being used in MRI's and X-Rays. Even if the PS3 doesn't do as well as we'd hope, all of us need to admit that the cell processor is going to revolutionize technology. Let's all raise our glasses and toast the cell processor, the bringer of many a good thing now and in the future!*

*Note: drinking is optional and may result in your computer shorting out, especially if you toast your screen especially vigorously.

Floodgate engine to assist in cell processor programming

Emergent Technologies sat down with MMORPG's Aaron Roxby to talk about their new game engine, Gambryo, which powers games like Oblivion, Civilization IV, Dark Age of Camelot, and Warhammer Online. You can check out all the details of the engine if you'd like, but the real news (at least for us at PS3fanboy) comes in the flavor of, well, the PS3. Namely, Emergent Technologies is trying to optimize Gambryo for use with the Playstation 3.

To do so, they're creating a Stream Processing Engine dubbed Floodgate. To quote Emergent: "the PS3's multithreading Cell processor can make development complicated and Floodgate hopes to simplify the process. One of the more exciting aspects of Floodgate is that it is being designed as a cross-platform engine. So, once you have developed a game for the PS3, it can be easily ported directly to the Xbox 360 or PC." That would be great!

Floodgate may help developers toss up games to their maximum potential on the PS3 (a standard 1080p for more games, even multi-platform) and then easily change the necessary components to port them onto PC or the 360. We're not saying "downgrade" because that's not entirely fair or true, since we've not had the chance to see Floodgate in action, let alone the PS3 sitting on our shelves (it's invisible, too). What do you guys think? Will this Stream Processing Engine help pump up the more hesitant developer's support for Sony's new console?

PS3 loves PSP: e-distribution possibilities explored

A few days ago, a long, but interesting interview was covered over at IGN between Japan's Nikkei BP and Sony corporate executive Izumi Kawanishi about the PS3 and the PSP -- more specifically, the emulation possibilities and what it means to be a "virtual PS3". First, the emulation. The technology to emulate that they're working on is completely original, although there is a concern that some PS1 titles may be excluded from this technology, as the button configurations are different between the actual PlayStations and the PSP (two analog sticks, different number of buttons overall).

E-distribution? Many PS1, PSP, and PS3 games (most likely home-brew games picked up by Sony) will be tossed around the network, but a not-so-surprising surprise was the idea Sony was going to move into movie distribution as well. Here's a humorous quote to break the ice: "While we can't get a grasp for how well UMD movie software is selling, there's no question that the world is moving in the direction of network distribution for movies." UMD's are selling poorly, dear friend. This distribution idea, if it means linking the movies downloaded from the PS3 onto the PSP could instill new life into the portable-movie-buff. Not interested in getting the PS3, but still want to download stuff? No worries. Kawanishi assures us that you may also go through your PC or even a wireless LAN with your PSP. How about cell phones? Yes, in the future.

"It's possible to have distribution of video imagery from the PS3 to PSP," said Kawanishi. Images rendered on the PS3... can be sent to your PSP? IGN wonders if this means gameplay. We believe not. Maybe some of those home-brew titles, though... or a slower paced game so lag is not such a detriment. "PS3 video can be viewed as is on the PSP, so the PSP becomes like a Virtual PS3." So... gameplay cinematics? Downloaded movies? It's still vague, but interesting. Check out the bits we omitted or looked over here, and let us know what your take on the situation is.

Shipment numbers for PS3 may be cut in half

This relates to an article over at Joystiq about blue laser diodes. While they say Sony was trying to scrape up all the blue laser doodads to hit their 4 million PS3 mark by year end, it's looking very, very grim. In fact, the Taiwanese and Chinese branches of building the PS3 are trying to tell Sony "hey man, we can only get 2 million units by year end... we're running out of these blue laser diodes and cell processors!" Yet Sony, well, Kaz Hirai, still insist they'll hit the 4 million mark. It's a rough world when the volume production is still in the air so close to launch.

Will there be shortages? It is looking more likely but it's not such a big deal -- shortages are practically part of the buying experience for a new console. Maybe it shouldn't be, but it is. So then, for those of us who preordered a PS3, did you preorder the 20 or 60 gig model? And if there are dangerous shortages, would you consider eBaying your shiny new device to make a small profit and wait a month or two for the second round of consoles? Those first off the line generally have an error or two anyway...

PS3 is weighed and judged by Joystiq

While the original article can be found at the Associated Content site, our pals at Joystiq have summed up the pros and cons of the PS3 in such an easy to peruse way. This list will highlight the most important, albeit opinionated, pros and cons. Feel free to check out the original or Joystiq's for this game of internet telephone.

Pros:
  • Backwards compatibility
  • Standard hard-drives
  • Web browsing
  • Cell processor potential

Cons (roll your eyes now):
  • Cost
  • No more rumble feature
  • Game prices may be high

The other cons seem to be there simply to make the list in comparable length to the pros. System size? Ken Kutaragi? Okay, but they seem fairly... lame. Who cares if a system is larger than a lunchbox (GameCube)? Ken Kutaragi isn't going to be popping out of our PS3's anytime soon, so he shouldn't be mentioned. He may be a concern to developers, but not us. He's a source of humor and silliness. What of Blu-ray? Well, the storage size doesn't quite seem necessary and it's expensive, but judging something before we can actually see results is unfair. So it's been left off of this condensed list. Same with the online service. Since none of us have been able to utilize it, we can't rightfully say anything about it. Make of it what you will.

[via Joystiq]

PS3 to make or break Sony forevermore

More recycled analysis brought to you by Bloomberg. A key point to keep in mind: Sony predicts a 5-year recoup for losses due to the PS3's manufacturing costs and price point. That's going to hurt, especially since the average console life is around five years (a few exceptions noted). Masafumi Oshiden, from Merrill-Lynch, said "PlayStation 3 will be a huge money loser in the beginning." Spoken adequately enough. It's true -- we all know it's going to be very hard for Sony. Estimates show that about 200 billion yen was invested into the development of the cell processor alone.

Another point to keep in mind is the notion that "Sony's PlayStation 3 introduction in November may be hampered by fewer and less-powerful games because the company hasn't given final technical details of the new console, according to video-game publishers." So, is delivering 10,000 dev kits not going to cut it? Will IBM be able to pull better yields for the cell processor in time for the PS3 launch? If not, Sony won't even have the chance to recoup in five years -- they may pull the plug sooner than that, unless we give them our support.

IBM says Cell processor coming along fine

Remember a while back when we reported that cell processors weren't being produced very satisfactorily? Well, according to an article at the Inquirer, IBM executives are now claiming cell processor yields are on or above their targeted average yield. Good thing, too. No one wants to send their newly bought PS3 back to the manufacturer for repairs or end up with a defective system. Happens to every system (red circle of death (360), disc read error (PS2)) except GameCube, really. Has anyone had trouble with their 'Cube? ...Does anyone have a 'Cube? Why not? It's a great non-online party system. Nothing beats a round of Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Getting back on track, IBM released statements that translated somewhere along the line as "yields for a large, complex part like the Cell are expected to be low at the start of production and improve steadily thereafter". So the bad yield rumor reported earlier was indeed true and accurate, but not unexpected by IBM. We may want to try to steer clear from the Asustek manufactured PS3's though, since they have connections with the cell processors with lower yields. Might be difficult, with 4 million units on their way to Sony. Still, Sony has said they only use the highest yield processors created, so perhaps the junky ones are in a landfill, next to the E.T. game for the Atari 2600.

Someone does a recap for us -- positively stunning

Sometimes this webpage can look like a hodgepodge of news -- random previews, bad news, slighty unrelated articles, and positive press. Well, Thomas Barton has done the smartest thing possible and took every piece of positive press that had been covered here at PS3fanboy and wrote up a feature. The feature covers everything from new pieces of hardware that have been revealed (the PS3mote new eye-toy peripheral), to quotes from third party developers and other big names in the electronics business.

It's a very nice read to recap everything we have to look forward to, or to understand that we shouldn't be too afraid -- the PS3 is going to be fine, even if it takes a year or two. Even if it's getting pieces modeled after the Wii or XBox Live, that doesn't mean they are bad ideas. Would you rather have a laser cannon (Wii), an army (XBox Live), or a cyborg army equipped with laser cannons (PS3)? Taking the best from all systems is smooth, though admittedly slightly dirty. Check out the article and remember why the PS3 is worth our casual nod of approval.

[Thanks to James for bringing this to our attention!]

Cell Processor abilities may be luck of the draw

In a recent interview at DailyTech, they sat down with IBM vice president of Semiconductor and Technology Services Tom Reeves. He discussed the abilities of the cell processor and, more importantly, the inability to successfully create many working 8-core units. The cell processor is so complex that "IBM even accepts chips that have only four out of the eight cores working." Egads! Hopefully those aren't going into our PS3's, right? No worries. However...

Sony won't allow cell processors with less than seven working cores. But they aren't clear when it comes to using seven or eight. Will it be a throw of the dice when we buy a PS3 as to whether we have a working 8-core processor or one with only 7 working bits? Would making the lower SKU accept the 7-core be any better? If that seventh one shorts out and you had the PS3 with only seven working cores, you have to send it back to Sony or IBM or Toshiba to get it fixed. That's a pain and it depends on your warranty. No matter what, they need to get these things working because November is pretty close.

John Carmack talks Cell and PS3 development

During E3, the saint of first person shooters sat down to talk with G4TV and discuss the PlayStation 3's development strategy. Seeing as how he pioneered the modern day shooter and single-handedly codes some of the most cutting-edge graphics engines, people listen when he has something to say about this sort of thing.

During the interview, he admitted that the PS3 will have more power backing it than the other guys. That's exactly the way Sony wants it though, and the price reflects that. However, the most interesting part came when Mr. Carmack said Sony made a mistake with the PlayStation 3.

The mistake wasn't with the price though, it was with the Cell architecture. We're months away from launch, and it's still no secret that the PS3 is hard to develop for. Okay, so this isn't the first time John has said this. But he reiterated that the fragmenting of code which developers are going to have to do for development is an unnecessary evil. Even so, he still thinks the PS3 will bank on Sony's core following, despite these issues. We'll have to wait and see how much the price affects that following though.

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