E3: Sony Pre-E3 Event - Details

E3: Sony Pre-E3 Event - Details E3: Sony Pre-E3 Event - Details

Sony's pre-E3 press conference held very few surprises; two retail packages, one with a 20 GB HD for USD 499 and one with a 60 GB HD for USD 599, a redesigned controller and lots of game promos contributed to a very anticlimactic affair.

Speaking to a packed venue at Sony Pictures Studios, company President Kaz Hirai announced that the PlayStation 3 will launch in the U.S. on November 17 2006, Japan on November 11, and will be immediately available in two retail packages. A 20 GB version of the new console will cost USD 499 (59800 yen, 499 euros) while a 60GB version will retail for USD 549 (open price in Japan, 599 euros in Europe). The material handed by Sony also suggests that the cheaper (USD 499) will not be able to read data from Sony memory sticks, SD or compact flash cards and will also not offer 802.11 b/g wireless compatibility. The final and most surprising omission however, will be that of an HDMI output on the USD 499 PS3. It seems that Sony believes only USD 599 buys you next-gen, HD gaming.

Putting an end to speculation regarding Cell yields Sony said it will avoid the shortages consumers faced last holiday with the Xbox 360. It appears that the company can confirm that it will ship two million PlayStation 3s at launch and plans to have shipped a total of four million before the end of 2006. Sony said it expects six million units to have been shipped by the end of its fiscal year in March 31, 2007

These targets seem modest enough for a big player but fans have to face the reality of the price. A vote, set up by MSNBC" TARGET=_blank>https://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12694724target=new>MSNBC online, suggests that only 15 per cent of gamers are certain they will buy a PS3 at these prices while 61 per cent claim that they will definitely not purchase a PS3. You have to remember, of course, that MSNBC is not what you can describe a gaming portal while the vote is definitely not a scientific survey.

The Controller

Sony confirmed the full redesign of the PS3 controller while the new design seems almost identical to the PS2 controller with a few next-gen features. One feature that won't be making it to the PS3 controller however, is vibration; Sony didn't actually reveal this during the press event but issued a press release which was circulated later. During the live Warhawk demo presentation, Sony's Phil Harrison pretended to be demonstrating a feature which had a Wii smell about it. The PS3 controllers now support tilt sensitivity which will use a tilting accelerometer device. The similarity to the Nintendo Wiimote is obvious but it appears that the functionality of this PS3 feature is best compared to the so-called nunchuck add-on to the Nintendo controller. A Nintendo spokesperson, asked to comment on the similarity said …imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Expect more news from E3 2006, as the show progresses.