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Archive for December, 2005

Launch date could be announced this week

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

CES Logo There’s only one big gaming expo left before the PlayStation 3’s planned Spring 2006 release — the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Jan. 5 - 8. Sony’s CEO, Sir Howard Stringer, will be making the keynote address, and we can expect there to be a lot of new revelations about the PS3. The most important one: a release date.

Of course, there’s no official confirmation of what Stringer will say, but this seems like the perfect venue for the announcement, and time is running short — especially if the system is still on track for a Spring release in some territories. The next question: where will the system be released? The rumors floating around now generally point to a release schedule similar to that of the PS2: Japan around March, North America around October, and Europe and the rest of the world a few months later.

This is still all speculation, but by the end of the week it could very well be set in stone. So stay tuned, and we’ll put it all right here as it happens.

• The Week Ahead: Jan. 2-6 [Forbes, last item]

EARLIER: Rumor has it PS3 development has run into a lot of problems. And will Microsoft pit Halo 3 against the American PS3 launch?

Will development issues delay the PS3?

Friday, December 30th, 2005

Kotaku reports on a story from a somewhat-reliable tipster, who says he’s spent some time with the PS3 and that there is no way Sony will work out all the issues with the system by March. The same source apparently had some inside info on Xbox 360 in the weeks before it was unveiled, so his tip might be reliable this time, too. He says:

Have fun waiting a while longer boys. No way that thing is coming out in March. The games just arent there and lots of other isseus I cant delve into right now.

Uh oh!

• Rumor: PS3 Riddled With Issues, Delay Likely? [Kotaku]

A sub-$300 price tag for Nintendo Revolution?

Friday, December 30th, 2005

Nintendo Revolution It sounds like Nintendo is positioning itself as the lower-priced competitor to the expensive PS3 and the mid-range Xbox 360. The company’s president revealed to Japanese press that the system will launch below $300, making it cheaper than the cheapest 360, and almost certainly cheaper than the PS3 as well. Here’s one of the ways they’re cutting costs:

The Revolution will be cheaper in part because Nintendo is stepping away from HD support. The company is betting on low initial HDTV adoption over the next few years; less than a quarter of American homes will have HDTV by the time the Revolution launches.

Sounds like a pretty reasonable strategy to us. After all, the Revolution is a gaming machine, whereas the other systems try to be wide-ranging entertainment devices. Still no word on when the Revolution or PS3 will launch.

• Nintendo Revolution less than $300 [Ars Technica]

UPDATE: Actually, the guys at Revolution Report quote the price as sub-$399 … and the Japanese translation is hazy. Either way, we can expect something cheaper than the 360 and PS3.

360 Roundup: Pimp my Nissan

Wednesday, December 28th, 2005

Xbox Car • Turns out Nissan and Microsoft have been working on a new concept car that allows the driver to play Project Gotham Racing 3 on Xbox 360.

The concept car allows a driver to play Microsoft’s driving game Project Gotham Racing 3 on an embedded Xbox 360 while the car is in park mode, using the car’s steering wheel, the gas and brake pedals, and a flip-down screen.

So if you can’t get it at the stores, maybe you can have it built into your car!

• We know consoles cost more to manufacture than their retail price, but just how much is always something of a mystery. A new estimate says 360 could cost $715 to make, amounting to a loss of more than $300 per unit. Previous estimates put the loss around $126.

• Nissan to Debut Xbox Car [Red Herring]
• Xbox 360 costs $715 to make [Joystiq]

Halo 3 to take on PS3?

Wednesday, December 28th, 2005

Halo Among the many launch rumors circulating the web, we like this one: Microsoft will release Halo 3 to compete with the release of the PS3 console. Both the game and the console seem to be on similar release tracks, and not for nothing, but we’d like to play both as soon as possible. And as with every moderately credible rumor, we can only wait and see.

• New Details On Halo 3 For The Xbox 360 [Xbox Today]

Grand Theft Auto: London for PS3?

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

According to the rumor mill over at, Rockstar is working on a London edition of the Grand Theft Auto series for release on the PlayStation 3 in the fourth quarter of 2006. The article’s author is openly skeptical about the tip, which came from an anonymous “alleged employee” of the game developer. Here are some more of the details:

According to our source (who admittedly doesn’t have the most perfect spelling), the “3 Island” system will be replaced by a new “North, East, South, West” system, and the main character will be an ex-gangster starting off in the “rough-and-tumble east end of London.” Unlocked regions are to include the North End, South End, and West End, in order. The game is supposed to be about 60% finished, with the graphics and physics engines both completed.

• Rumor - Grand Theft Auto: London for PS3 in Q4 2006 [Joystiq]

Microsoft wants 360 to be profitable by July

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

As we’ve mentioned when analysts predicted that Sony would lose $1 billion on the PS3 in its first year, it takes a while for consoles to pay back on their intial investment in hardware, marketing and so on. According to a story about Microsoft’s 2006 challenges, the company hopes to start making a profit on the Xbox 360 by July 2006. The plan goes something like this:

“Getting to profitability will require a big-name software launch while withstanding a concentrated marketing blitz from Sony. Anything less could mean years of red ink ahead.”

• Xbox 360 profitable by July? [Kotaku]

ATI calls the PS3 ‘unrefined’

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

Edge Magazine interviews Richard Huddy, the European Developers Relations Manager for ATI, the company that developed the graphics chip for the Xbox 360. He discusses the process for developing 360’s graphics system, and hates on the PS3 a little, calling its power “brute force” rather than the refined, console-specific power of the 360.

He goes on to explain that ATI worked with Microsoft from day one to develop a console-specialized graphics chip, whereas Sony more or less threw some specs at nVidia and got a slightly tweaked PC graphics card in return. It’s hard to know how much of this is legit, and how much of it is fueled by the competition between Microsoft-ATI and Sony-nVidia, but it’s an interesting read nonetheless.

• ATI Says PS3 Is ‘Unrefined’ [GamersReports]

The year in gaming

Monday, December 26th, 2005

The San Francisco Chronicle rounds up all the big gaming news for 2005, plus some analysts’ predictions on how the next-gen console market will look by the end of next year. They talk about Nintendo DS vs. PSP (DS is winning), the people vs. mature video games, and even a little about EA delving into cell-phone gaming.

The highlights on next-gen: Since the new consoles are coming out, analysts expect Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to sell a combined 37 million units in 2006. The industry as a whole did $24 billion in business this year, and that number is expected to grow.

As for who’ll come out on top in this generation, the paper provides only one prediction:

“We definitely put Nintendo in third place,” she said, noting that the Japanese firm’s Revolution is likely to become more of a niche player, appealing to the younger demographic.

We know it works for Nintendo to go in a “different direction.” Speaking of which, have you seen the Revolution’s remote/controller? As for Sony vs. Microsoft, we’ll just have to wait and see.

• Gamers console themselves with hardware windfall [SF Chronicle]

200 million PS3s — and slow development?

Sunday, December 25th, 2005

Business Week reports on Sony and the new Cell processor, which will make its debut in the PlayStation 3. Lots of PS3 details in the story:

  • One analyst suggests PS3 will sell 12 million consoles in the first year and 200 million in five years. That’s almost double the PS2’s five-year count, and probably a wild exaggeration. But we’ll allow it.
  • An anonymous developer complains that the current dev kit for the PS3 isn’t up to par without an nVidia graphics chip that Sony promised to deliver in November. “The machine we have is 10 times slower than the PS3 should be.”
  • Sony’s semiconductor chief plays up the new processor: “The Cell chip is as good as the Pentium, if not better.” There’s speculation that the Cell could be used down the road for things beyond gaming — from 3D design to MRI scanners in hospitals.

• Sony: Shooting from the Chip? [Business Week]