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eBay blocks users from selling the PS3, for realz

Tough luck! Let's quickly breeze over the new rule for eBay in the UK -- British eBayers can't sell the PS3 until February of 2007 and can only offer one PS3 that was purchased within the UK. All right, now let's go over the new US rules. First, you've had to have taken part in 50 auctions (I've been on it for four years now, and only been in about 20). You need at least 98% feedback. Only then can you try to sell your PS3/preorder. You must guarantee a 30-day dispatch, provide a photo of the pre-order receipt, and have the item listed as an auction, not a "Buy it Now".

Why? eBay's Cathy England gives her explanation: "a high number of well-intentioned sellers [were] unable to meet obligations due to restricted supply" in past console launches and she'd like to avoid a repeat situation. This is also a quote from the original article -- it bears no changing by us. "Reports are also circulating that Japanese gamers are driving up the price on PS3 orders in the Far East in order to disrupt the practices of sellers who queued up to buy a console they specifically intended to resell." So... be careful, eBayers. There may be a coalition of people growing to screw you out of your genius plan. But probably not.

Waiting for the PS3? Wear kevlar, or you'll get shot

Technically, you'd still be shot regardless whether or not you've got a kevlar vest on, but I digress. This isn't really news, just something very, very disturbing. Recently, there was a drive-by shooting at a Best Buy, injuring four people waiting in line for a Playstation 3. Collect yourselves, I know you want to laugh, but bear with us.

The bullets were merely BB's, but those things still hurt. One of the injuries fell upon Elizabeth Dorsett, a news reporter who was interviewing someone at the time. Now, local police are standing in line too. Not to get a PS3, but to protect the poor individuals waiting in line. If the console war turns into some kind of gang war, I want out. I'll just keep playing every system I currently own, cursing those dastardly kids who shoot each other for wanting different things. Silly news, silly, silly news.

David Braben hugs, loves the PS3... not literally

"It's my love-box, Hershel, and her name is Sony." High five? Anyone? Anyone? Classic Family Guy, apparently. Anyway, David Braben (who at a distance looks a lot like the Michael Bluth character from Arrested Development), creator of classics like Zarch and Virus (haven't played them, honestly) and the PS2's Thrillville says that Sony has gotten some key decisions absolutely right. Okay, I'll feed you baby birds. He thinks that "at the moment there's a fashion to knock Sony and I think it's a big mistake. The fact that they have succeeded very well twice, they're one of the few companies to have gone outside core gamers. Don't write them off." Ooh, bold words. He follows this up with a criticism of the Dreamcast, saying that the press and industry killed that system before it could get off the ground. So, then, is the same thing happening to the PS3? I wonder...

Braben also agrees with Krazy Ken Kutaragi's point of view on the PS3 -- web browser, keyboard support, etc: "
When you put it together with the fact that it supports a keyboard and things like that, people may start to regard it more as a cheap PC than an expensive console. Or a new thing that's somewhere in between." Maybe, maybe not. Setting aside all fanboyisms or flaming walls of flaming flames, is it not a PC? How is it not? It is -- just as they say. But most people, especially the hardcore gamer, will want it for the games first, browser a distant... not first. As a final note, Braben also likes Blu-ray, saying people are writing it off too early. What do you think? Is Braben onto something with the Dreamcast example? Will the media and inexplicable consumer hatred destroy the PS3 before it can show you what it can do?

[edit: Family Guy, not Simpsons. I sweat there was a similar Simpsons joke with Cletus. Alas.]

Taiwan -- already sold out of PS3's

According to the Taipei office of SCEH (Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong), the initial shipment quota of the PS3 to Taiwan is completely, utterly, fully, 100% booked. The actual number of allocated units wasn't revealed, but according to the office, if you didn't throw down an advanced order, you're probably not going to be able to get your grubby hands on the insanely easy-to-dirty PS3.

Of course, there have been a couple of imports into Taiwan via "unofficial channels" with prices far higher than normal. Is anyone surprised? Doubt it. Quoth the sources: "The 60GB model (CHCEA07) imported by unofficial means is currently available at some non-designated stores at prices ranging from NT$36,000 to NT$48,000 (US$1,100-1,468), compared to SCEH's suggested retail price of NT$17,980." Wow! But still, not too surprising. Geez, Sony, it's almost like this was your plan all along. Nah, let's not give you too much credit. But soon you've got to beef up the supply! Please?

More PS3 questions you probably wanted answered!

Welcome to our latest installment of PS3 -- Q&A 4 U 2 C. Or PS3Q&A4U2C for short. IGN has their retail unit (ignore my angry fist shake towards the sky) and they've taken time out of their busy schedule to answer some more pressing questions. Let's do the usual... please, continue reading. We've got word that any HDMI cable will work with the PS3. That's good. Anyway, continue reading for news just as cool.

Continue reading More PS3 questions you probably wanted answered!

Merrill Lynch still thinks Sony will sink...

This is sad, all things considered. I mean, my Visa is a Merrill-Lynch version/sponsored/bonus point crap card. They'll probably refuse to give me my 6,000 or so points when I use the card to buy a PS3. Credit cards are awesome. Anyway... what was I doing? Oh yeah. Blogging stuff. Merrill Lynch has released an updated financial forecast and estimates a multi-billion dollar loss for Sony, related to the PS3. For the stock market inclined out there, here's a fun visual:

Target share price revision: ¥4,700 --> ¥4,000 ($40.05 --> $34.09 at ¥117.35/US$1)

Total PS3 operating loss expected over 5 years: ¥738.9 billion ($6.3 billion at ¥117.35/US$1)

Ouch, Merrill-Lynch! Or should we say, Merry Lunch? ...Mob Lynch? Someone out there can surely think up a better insult than me. I'm just too nice. If you hadn't heard, the PS3 sold out in hours throughout Japan -- not unexpected, really. A similar result will probably occur in the US and Canada -- also not unexpected. The second shipment will better illustrate the reliability of this forecast. Anyone got any stock in Sony? Are you nervous?

Sony comments on that pesky backwards-compatibility

Hot on the heels of our prior post about issues the PS3 is having with some PS2 titles, Sony has given an unofficial response and then a more official response, with no official solution set in stone as of yet. Japan's Cnet.com has compiled a list of about 196 PS2 titles that have some glaring problems (this does, however, count multiple versions of the same game -- greatest hits, special edition, etc) ranging from sound issues to games freezing up. IGN contacted Sony and here's what went down.
First off, let's go over what Sony's PR department said. Let it be known that this person was probably, or should be, fired. Even though Sony generally says stuff this arrogant. Anyway. The PR rep said that Sony expected from the get-go to be less than 100% with backwards compatibility. What is there right now is good enough, said the rep, and some people can put up with playing games that lack sound. Should be fired. Rude. Now for Sony's semi-official response. Sony says they will begin fixing the issues with system updates, perhaps even resorting to patches for individual titles that are particularly difficult. No date yet on these updates. Expect them soon enough.

Thanks, Red Kawa! Let's convert our video files to be PS3-friendly

A new store has appeared on this strange set of tubes called the interweb (thank you, old episodes of the Daily Show). This store is called Red Kawa, and they've got a treat for us today. See, we know the PS3 can playback a lot of video formats, but there are some that it has a little bit of trouble accepting. Enter the PS3 Video 9 -- a free video conversion software program that changes your anti-PS3 video formats into beautiful, loving formats the PS3 will love and cherish forever and ever. Take those .wmv and .avi and change them into:

  • MPEG-4 SP
  • H.264/MPEG-4 AVC
  • MPEG-1
  • MPEG-2 PS
  • MPEG-2 TS
This development team was also responsible for the PSP Video 9, so you can be fairly sure you're getting a pretty well-thought out, quality product. For free. Grab your PS3. Download this software. Spread the love. Let Red Kawa know you think they're great for doing this.

[thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

EA exec says "better graphics are for losers"... not verbatim

I think we touched on this topic a long, long, long time ago. So long ago that I don't feel like searching the archives for a related link. Apologies, but it's probably better this way. Glenn Entis, senior VP of Electronic Arts, has stated that graphics are getting too much attention and that attention is being detracted from motion physics and gameplay mechanics. For example, he says, "it's hard to believe in a character that looks extremely lifelike if they don't move and behave in realistic ways." Isn't there a phrase for that? The plastic doll effect or something? Where a character looks incredibly real, but they end up being too shiny, or expressionless?

We'll leave the Final Fantasy bashing aside. It could have just as easily been any other game. Plus, they did a pretty good job with it in XII. Anyway. Another issue is the fact that, even if facial features and motion capture are mastered, if the people voicing the characters are pretty low-quality actors, the performance will remain unconvincing. It's not one area that needs focusing on, then... it takes a lot of different qualities to create a truly compelling character. If you guys had to choose a single aspect of next-gen gaming to be worked on, what would you cast your vote for? Think it over.

Rip it up! PS3 taken completely apart

A while back, we did an article about someone tearing up their SIXAXIS controller to peek inside and it was, well, interesting? Now, why don't we take the same concept and apply it to the Playstation 3 itself? Someone did! Check out the pictures of the parted out system and giggle in glee at the sexy circuits and revealing undergarments. Personally, I've no idea what half of the things are I'm looking at, but I'm pretty sure one of the pictures is of the cell processor. We've seen it before, but it's still kind of breathtaking to know you can pull it out and hold it yourself, thinking "oh, the power... if only one of these were implanted in each of my fingertips. I would be super-duper computational."

Another set of pictures looks like the fan, or cooling system, whatever. Might be completely wrong. Regardless, this is cool stuff. The one thing that isn't made completely clear is the actual size of each chip, board, walrus, croissant, apple cider... what? Oh, sorry, wandered off there. But still -- they should have used some sort of object as a frame of reference, like a ruler or a dollar bill. What do you guys make of these revealing, candid photos of the PS3 baring all? Hardware guru, step forward and educate us! Give us your two cents!

PS3 to put bigger focus on Blu-ray

We've all debated the HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray topic to death, so we'll try our best to keep this post, this blog as it were, this entry, journal, whatever you want to call it, away from any sort of comparisons or snide comments. No promises, but we'll try. We'll just present the material as presented by one of the top execs at News Corp, Peter Chernin. He believes that the PS3 will provide the market with a nice push towards the Blu-ray format, but at the same time, admits that "I don't think there's likely to be a quick resolution, I think the resolution, if it comes, is likely to be driven by the marketplace." Which makes incredibly intuitive, logical sense. If the PS3 sells, Blu-ray will probably sell. And the PS3 will sell. They just need the damn supply.

But you've also got to keep in mind, News Corp. is 20th Century Fox -- a company that has only been releasing on the Blu-ray format anyway. There aren't many players for either the HD-DVD or Blu-ray format and "most of the HD-DVD players are at the US$1,000 range and you're going to see a huge number of Blu-ray players entering the marketplace through PlayStation 3." So what we've got to look out for, at long last, is the market's move towards or away from Blu-ray. If market demands the PS3, it will give incentive for companies to demand Blu-ray support. I think that was fairly unbiased... just presenting the info. Leave your thoughts, predictions, etc. Cookies for the best argument!

Kaz Hirai makes himself comfortable with US PS3 price, still

Sorry guys, no last minute price changes for the North American PS3 release. As you may have heard, Kaz Hirai is "very comfortable with the pricing we have announced." He also claims there has been tremendous support by retailers for their pricing also, which is probably true. What store wouldn't want to guarantee selling out of a $600 machine? Also of note, which we already know but it bears repeating, all 20GB models in all regions have HDMI support -- not just the special price-cut PS3's in Japan. For some reason, a little bit of confusion surrounded that. Hopefully none of our well-read readers had such an issue (we know you're smarter than the average bear). That's really about it. Good luck, everyone! If you're camping out, be sure to take pictures and send them in as tips. We'd love to toss a few of them up in lieu of our generally boring pictures.

Who needs a Wii when you can play Nintendo games on your PS3?

Who needs Wii and its Virtual Console library when we can take our PS3 online via its kickass browser and check out any number of free flash games totally free?! Only problem: no Java support.

PS3 System Software User Guide -- tutor yourself now!

What we'd normally do at this point is explain the website, tell you what you'll find there... but would that not be tutoring you on a tutoring website? You couldn't possibly desire such redundance! Instead, we'll brief you on the website itself rather than explain the content therein. The website of which we speak is the recently activated PS3 online manual for using the system software. If nothing else, it shows you how close we really are to getting the PS3. They are ready for us!

If you've never touched a PSP or are altogether unfamiliar with the XMB interface, this site might just help you out (especially if you got your PS3 from Japan and don't want to guess how to change the language to your native tongue, should it not be Japanese). The remote play option is detailed a little further, but I'm personally still fuzzy on the whole operation of it. It's a pretty comprehensive site (as it should be) and it pretty much explains absolutely everything you've been wondering about the interface we've failed to cover adequately. Heck, if you don't have a PS3, just pretend you're using one and that's the web browser in action. Imagination is great, huh?

PS3 kiosk is a phony! A big, fat phony!

Man, that word looks weird. But the meaning behind it is the truth -- the PS3 kiosks you may see around actually aren't running the PS3's encased in plastic. No, no. See, the actual PS3 is behind the kiosk, in a well-ventilated area. Seems the scare of the Tokyo Game Show hasn't completely gone away, as no one wants the PS3 kiosks to overheat and/or explode. The most likely result would be fairly frequent freezing.

Some people may cry out in anger at Sony for such a crafty move, but really, it's better safe than sorry, right? Just remember, when you get your PS3, do not put it in a plastic box and commence playing it for extended periods of time. Common sense, people. This isn't necessarily a big deal -- people are just afraid of what happened in the past. It's natural, so let's not think on this too heavily.

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