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Hearing the Buzz

Sometimes it pays to just sit down for a few minutes in an area and listen to the buzz. I was at the "Into the Pixel" art exhibit (they have comfortable chairs) and I heard some people talking about the show as it closed for the day Thursday. One of the guys was saying that he doesn't know anyone that would pay $600 for a PlayStation 3 -- or any game console.

He also said there wasn't any game on PS3 that really stood out from Xbox 360 games. He said that while Heavenly Sword looked good, the fighting mechanics while in the air switch to a button-tapping rhythm game -- which he did not like.

Another guy was talking about the role of online games and basically said Microsoft owns that space through Xbox Live. His point was that since Microsoft has been in the online business with MSN since the early days, there's no way that Sony, as a newcomer, can compete with its PlayStation Network Platform for PS3.

Lastly, the conversation went to Wii.

These guys thought the console would appeal to the Nintendo faithful (and trust me, there are a lot of them), but he didn't see hard-core gamers going for the device. A Hollywood screenwriter who's working on a PS3 game said he likes the system, but was disappointed by the games Sony was showing. He thought Insomniac could have gone in a better direction with Resistance: Fall of Man.

I also talked to some other journalists, developers and publishers at the show yesterday. And from my own observations, it seems that Xbox 360 and PS3 games are pretty even. One journalist told me he was "underwhelmed" by the show in general, but thought Wii could put Nintendo back in the game.

Even a Nintendo exec, who said she was surprised that Sony announced the price of PS3 (I heard from analysts they did this because they didn't have enough games to show off), said the buzz for Wii was overwhelmingly positive.

Game developers and publishers who are working on PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the same game said the systems are equal. That means when you buy a game like John Woo's Stranglehold this fall, it really won't make a difference if you buy the Xbox 360 or PS3 version.

I had a chance to play some PS3 games yesterday. Gran Turismo HD is awesome. That's one franchise that Sony has always relied on for selling its hardware. But I have to say that Microsoft's FORZA Motorsport 2 for Xbox 360 really gives this game a run for the money.

With Konami's Metal Gear Solid 4 coming out in 2007, Resistance is likely the game that Sony will be pushing along with the new GT HD. I don't think the hard-core gamers will care much about the $600 price point. They didn't balk at the $400 Xbox 360. (I'm hearing Wii will come in at $250.)

But Sony needs to have a game that players "must have." I saw some great-looking games like Genji 2 and "Resistance," but I don't think I saw the killer app that Sony needs. And next-gen games are too expensive to develop for many publishers to provide many exclusives these days.

By Bob Greiner  |  May 12, 2006; 12:34 PM ET  | Category:  E3: Off Screen
Previous: Photo Gallery 1 | Next: Video: Metal Gear Solid 4

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Okay, more than once I've seen it printed in this blog that the new Grand Theft Auto will be coming out THIS fall. It's actually fall of '07, correct?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 12, 2006 1:13 PM

don't buy an xbox for obvious reasons: it's hardware from Satan in Redmond...

on the other hand, Sony would do well to examine its Japan-only titles and import them here on the PS3 - U.S. gamers would be astounded!

Posted by: willie | May 12, 2006 2:06 PM

wii will winn

Posted by: linlin | May 12, 2006 2:10 PM

i think the key for PS3 is that it could run the PS2 & PS1 games that we already have.

Also if there is a new version of the same PS2 titles that my kids use to play , it will be another plus for the Sony consul.

If not we may look at X.Box 360 or Nintando Wii, we already got a Nintendo DS and it is great..

Posted by: khaled | May 12, 2006 2:24 PM

Wii will infact win as to the most owned system I believe simply because its price is 1/2 the 360s and almost 1/3 of the PS3s. I will be buying a ps3 for many reasons, 1 is ofcourse the fact that it has titles like FFXIII and MGS4 but the other is that it allows me to play high def DVDs (high def dvd players are currently $1000) and doesn't think online play is somthing you need to subscribe for if you already pay for the internet thats being used. what are you paying for with x-box live? nothing. in addition, if I had to choose between two equal systems (which I do dissagree that the 360 is) one of wich had a motion sinsitive controller and one wich did not, I would go to motion sensitive, even for $100 more. the X-box 360 seems to think that the fact that its $100 less than the PS3 makes it the cheaper is not. Wii is running a compleatly different demographic with its system. parents will be able to affored it for thier kids and kids will be able to save up for one, it is the adults and hard core gamers that will be willing to shell out the bucks for a 360 or ps3, and I don't think $100 is going to make them disside to go with the 400 doller 360 as a "cheap" system. if your shelling out that much you get whats best. FF and MGS will keep existing PS fans comming back but I agree that it needs a new title to bring in the new fans, perhaps resistance or killzone two, but I haven't seen anythign that leads me to believe that. assasins creed looks good. the 360 just needs a console specific title that is actualy fun. if they don't get a halo of the 360 soon they will be passed up for the new systems. gears of war may do it, but I don't know how many people will buy the 360 for one game. I personaly bought an x-box for the first halo (and sold it after playing the second) for $150 but I wouldn't for 300 or 400. GL to x-box but they need fun titles.

Posted by: Ian | May 12, 2006 2:27 PM

The Wii will win hands down. What we're seeing here, with the consoles, is a mirror image of e3 2004 with the portables. At that time, everyone thought, what is nintendo doing releasing a system that is techically inferior? But, what nintendo knew is it's all about the gameplay experience and the quality of the games themselves. PSP was just a on the go retread of the PS2 and-with its ubber slow load times and limited IPs-PROVED that Sony didn't know anything about the handheld market. Relentless commercials, still, couldn't sell the system. The DS, on the other hand, only had TV ads air during the week of new big GAME releases and relied on the positive buzz of the PLAYERS to sell it's systems. All the buzz I hear coming out of e3 2006 is: wii wii wii wii wii...360...wii wii DS wii wii sonys overpriced wii wii wii. SO MARK THESE WORDS: the Nintendo Wii will be the TOP selling next gen console. Viva la Revolution! (not a phanboi, just a savvy analist)

Posted by: Bob | May 12, 2006 3:58 PM

I may buy a wii (when it hits $200) but I have no interest in the 360 and I hope Sony gets their butts handed to them for releasing a system for $600. In lieu of creative gaming MS and Sony are trying to push horse power that isn't there. I just bought a Dell for $670 that outperforms the 360 when running Oblivion; and the game costs $10 less for PC. Now that the consoles are approaching the price of PC there is no cost benefit to buying a console. MS likes to compare apples to oranges when talking about the price of their box. You don't need a $3K gaming machine to outshine PS3 or 360. It looks like Nintendo has a solid game plan (if not a stupid console name). Perhaps if MS and Sony take a large enough financial hit they will start releasing systems (and games) at a reasonable price.

Posted by: Sean | May 12, 2006 4:08 PM

It's just funny to see the blatant Sony fanboyism when some criticism starts getting thrown Sony's way. Funny that someone mentions Satan, when Sony in 2005's E3 tried to pull the magic trick with Killzone CGI movies to provide a glimpse of what PS3 would offer in the spring of 2006. Where was Killzone this year?

Competition is good. Nintendo will offer something fresh, and will please those in the gaming community who don't really need HD gaming, robust online features, etc. I think Nintendo has been stagnant the past few years, but this gets them back in the ball game. I don't think they will dominate, but they've improved their status to me.

MS has actually delivered a product that it said it would, and offers next gen games NOW. Oblivion, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, Fight Night Round 3, PGR 3, COD 2 are titles worth their pricetags and do show off what Next Gen should be. Gears of War will be a big success in 06, with Halo 3 being the killer app in 07.

XB Live has given XB/360 owners inside glimpses into E3 in demo's, trailers, etc. Being able to download a demo free and trying it out is a HUGE benefit.

This E3 was all about Nintendo making a splash, MS showing it's SW titles upcoming and building on a solid foundation, and Sony putting itself in a position where its not accustomed too... being questioned.

Posted by: Fairfax gamer | May 12, 2006 4:08 PM

670 cpu + 50 = 720 bux for Oblivion experience

400 + 60 = 460 bux for Oblivion exp on the 360.

And you are talking about value and saving money? PC gaming is different then console gaming. Console owners don't have to worry about 2-300 graphic cards, and tweaking their system to enhance performance. Their are pro's and con's for PC and console gaming. This blog I believe was about the buzz on the Wii, the 360, and the PS3. If you don't care for console gaming, why even post?

Posted by: WB | May 12, 2006 4:16 PM

I like consol gaming. I just don't like where it's going (increased cost - no new content). If you want power go with a PC. It's refreshing that Nintendo isn't trying to compete with the other two in this power race. I just hope that wii stets a standard that horse power and a pig price tag doesn't necessarily equal good gaming.

Posted by: Sean | May 12, 2006 4:25 PM

Sean had a valid point WB. The PS and xbox console systems are becoming increasingly more and more PC like from generation to generation. But the problem with this is that EVERYBODY ALREADY OWNS A PC! So the closer the consoles get to mimicing a standard PC, the lessor the need to own a console to have the same gaming experience. What Nintendo is doing with the Wii, like the DS before it, is to offer the consumer an entirely unique gaming experience at a reasonable price. Just think back to the late 70s/early 80s when arcade gaming was all the rage. Arcade gaming offered a new and unique entertainment experience. It was fresh and fun and it had you coming back with handfuls and handfuls of coins but look what happened when the Atari and NES consoles 1st started to offer a comparible experience, combined with the convenience of at home play. The exact same thing that is happening here where the major consoles are becoming more and more similar to the PC. The Wii, however, offers us something completely fresh and will provide an experience to be shared among others.

Posted by: Bob | May 12, 2006 5:05 PM

The Beginning of the End of Sony's Dominance in the North American Marktet:

Sony had a chance this year at e3, they had a chance to show up microsoft, had a chance to solidify their domincance in the video game industry, had a chance to put that one final stab in their closest japanesse rival, nintendo, and a chance to bring in a new era in gaming. They failed misserably at all. Not only was I dissapointed, I felt as though I had been alienated as a gamer, I felt that Sony thought all they had to do was just show up and people would bow down to the "GODS OF VIDEO GAMES." Newsflash you have to try, you can't just sit around bring out a weak product and expect people to buy it because of brand image. Actually quite a few people will buy it out of loyalty, however, at that rate loyatly is diminishing quickly. Everyone knows gamers are some of the least loyal consumers out there. We as gamers need competition, competition makes a better product. Here is a little advice Sony, if your going to enter the market later you need to have a better product, and you need to have an original product, so please quit copying everything microsoft and nintendo comes up with. For the price of the new Playstation 3 I can buy a Nintendo Wii, and a Microsoft Xbox 360... I for one more then likely will not buy a Playstation 3, If I want graphics Xbox 360, if I want inovation Wii. How many others feel this way?

Posted by: Justin | May 12, 2006 6:26 PM

I thought that Nintendo did the only thing it could do, which is emphasize fun and a the unique controller. The Nintendo games don't look that good, but the actual game play is probably as good or better than MS and Sony in many cases. Still, looking at the Wii games, it was really hard to even say that Wii is even selling the same product as the other two, as the graphics are almost crude in comparison. The remote looks like a real pain too. Still, at $250 or less, if you are a Zelda fan, and also want some fun party games, it's almost a no brainer. OTOH, who is going to pay to play old SNES games from online? That seems crazy to me.

Posted by: Gamer | May 12, 2006 6:26 PM

Its a matter of quality and reliability,
xbox360 unreliable, looks cheep, too many bad microsoft lies before.
wii not in same league.
ps3 sony reliability,good looks,sony great trak record ps1,ps2.

Posted by: sneall | May 12, 2006 7:34 PM

At this E3 microsoft really flexed its muscles. Being able to play friends on any platform (pc/xbox360/mobile)is a big step. Windows Vista and xbox 360 working together is HUGE. Sony did nothing to impress me. That was left for Nintendo, who blew me away. Being able to play the new GTA on xbox 360 first is a big deal.Madden 07 is on xbox 360 monthe before it will be available on ps3. After many discussions with programmers and publishers it turns out XBOX 360 is in many areas more powerful then PS3. Memory bandwith for 360 is something like 224gb compared to 24gb for the PS3. The xbox 360 GPU with 3 cores is more powerful then sonys single cell GPU. According to a few websites like gamespot both are equal in system power but PS3 is lacking in quality of games (unless you are a fanboy who likes playing games made for people half way around the world). Ps3 was a BIG dissapointment. Where's Killzone? Wheres the new GTA? Wheres Madden ? No Ps3 previews at E3 what so ever. Looks like the xbox 360 might Dreamcast the PS3... .Imagine that. Wii looks awesome. Greatest innovation of controller i seen in a long time. but i think my wife will enjoy it more then i will. If the only reason to buy a PS3 is for blu-ray then they might do well in sales but i play games alot more then i watch dvd's of a movie i already seen. Id rather make my own experience on the xbox 360.

Posted by: BLaZeNxXx | May 13, 2006 12:40 AM

Sony has priced themselves out of the console wars. One might also fairly accuse them of "feature creep"... They no longer know who they are as a games company, and I am beginning to question whether they were ever a games company at all... They are a consumer electronics company that for once has lost touch entirely with the consumer! (Not that they ever understood customer service... Sony is an image company that is about to lose face.)

Microsoft has done well to release a year ahead of Nintendo and Sony. They will do no better in Japan than Hudson did with the TurboGrafx-16 in the United States, which means both Sony and Nintendo will likely catch up to them in the worldwide market, but not for some time (at least in Sony's case.) If the Wii follows in the footsteps of the Nintendo DS, they will pass Microsoft sometime around June of 2007. (Note that the Nintendo DS has been outselling the PSP in Japan by as much as 7 to 1 recently, and consistently at 3 or 4 to 1 as long as hardware is in stock.)

With Nintendo's victory at E3, I have to wonder what will happen in the mass market. They showed a game portfolio ten times the strength of Sony's with a console price less than half that of Sony (perhaps a third.) How long were those lines? Four hours at Nintendo's booth vs. 5 to 30 minutes at Sony's (I've heard varying reports with 30 minutes being the longest.) Nintendo's booth was slightly larger than Sony's, so this was not poor planning. To equalize the demand per square foot, Nintendo would have needed a booth larger than the South Hall (i.e. - more than half of E3 itself!)

Sony has been outmatched on every front. The two biggest titles for the PS3 are what, Final Fantasy 13 and Metal Gear Solid 4? You can get the same heroes, more or less, on Nintendo's system with Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles (with AMAZING visuals--see the trailers) and Solid Snake from Metal Gear in Super Smash Bros. Brawl... Does anyone really care about Warhawk?

If Nintendo can market itself to the mass market of casual gamers (not at all an easy job, considering they are probably not paying attention to E3), Sony may become insignificant in this war. They will lose their synonymity with gaming and become a Blu-Ray player in the living room that will collect dust until at least a few hundred BD movies are released. Hopefully Sony will package a dust cover in with the PS3, as, I swear, that is the most used and useful item included with my PSP value pack! NO JOKE, ask another PSP gamer and they will probably know exactly what you mean. :)

Posted by: Jed Merrill | May 13, 2006 12:47 AM , Yes the xbox 360 is more powerful, looks like sony is the one lieing .. here are the specs and side by side comparison's .

Posted by: Gamer1337 | May 13, 2006 12:53 AM

Time to buy an Xbox 360 and a Wii or two.

Posted by: American Gamer | May 13, 2006 12:55 AM

PS3 for #3!

Or will it be N-Gage?!

Who I feel bad for is the developers spending tens of millions of dollars on a Sony platform that will likely be more used for movies than games--until Hollywood studios pull their support for Blu-Ray the way they have for UMD. Format wars are all about the money, and movie studios are supposed to make most of their money on DVD. Can Blu-Ray really replace DVD as a money maker? Until Sony proves it can, Blu-Ray is not a $600 bet I'm willing to take.

Posted by: PSWho? | May 13, 2006 1:01 AM

OMG... Gears of WAR looks like it will win the war for xbox 360 its fricking awesome. Halo 3 will be the nail in the coffin. BYE BYE PS3.

Posted by: Gamer1337 | May 13, 2006 1:04 AM

I've owned every system out there since 1985, I don't want a winner because the loser goes the by way i.e. Dreamcast. Some games play better on different systems and other games are cheaper on different platforms. In the end it is we the consumer who wins. I have the Xbox360 and will buy the PS3 & Wii when there released, because in the end were here to enjoy life and when your dead it's game over.

Posted by: REDRUM | May 13, 2006 12:55 PM

If anyone is planning on upgrading their operating system to Windows Vista next year might want to find out what Live Everywhere is and what it means. When you get an Xbox 360 it will allow your console to communicate with the Vista platform as well as mobile phones. Remember kids what Microsoft said, It's a marathon not a sprint. Sony's will be loosing market share because the 360 has a fall line up that no one can touch. Mass Effect is just one example of the many titles that will launch this fall. The future is Xbox 360 and if you keep ignoring Microsoft your going to wake up one morning wondering why the world passed you by.

Posted by: Mr.mcgoo | May 13, 2006 4:00 PM

"Its a matter of quality and reliability,
xbox360 unreliable, looks cheep, too many bad microsoft lies before.
wii not in same league.
ps3 sony reliability,good looks,sony great trak record ps1,ps2."

BAHAHAHAHAHAHA... Sony reliability? I'm on my fourth ps2 because they break all the time, conveniently just after warrantys are over and done with. I don't call that reliable. Sony mass produces everything like pieces of shit. My xbox has never failed me, and none of my Nintendo stuff has EVER failed me, not once. I have my original game boy from 1990 still in working order. That's reliable.

Posted by: Nemesis Darkbane | May 13, 2006 7:23 PM

Sony really dropped the ball. It's incredible how badly they've handled themselves this week. Not only did they come out with an astronomical price tag, but they're game announcements were so underwhelming that it left most gamers yawning and finding renewed interest in Nintendo.

The Wii was the talk of the show. Nintendo is back in the game, and they are pulling out all the stops. New versions of Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and Smash Bros all look amazing, and new interaction with the controller seems intuitive and fun. Expect big things from Nintendo this generation.

Microsoft came out with a solid performance. Gears of War looks truly next-gen and getting GTA4 was a coup for them. More sand in Sony's face.

As a gamer, I will end up owning all the systems eventually, but this generation will have huge shake-ups in the ranks. Will Sony lose its top spot position? Will Microsoft lead the pack? Is Nintendo gonna pull off the biggest comeback of all time?

Who are the real winners in all of this?

Gamers, of course. :)

Posted by: Chris | May 13, 2006 7:40 PM

Yes GTA 4 will be coming out Oct 2007.

Posted by: Jeremy | May 13, 2006 7:59 PM

I got to admit im a Xbox fan boy yet the wii got my attention with its innovation! and Sony was just wrong to try to take the wii controller buzz by saying there controller has motion sensing built in too! I believe Gears of War will be HUGE, and with all the other impressive games in 360's lineup this fall and halo3 coming 2007 make u wonder if Sony can just come into the market with ps3 and own this time around.

Emergency Day is coming!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 16, 2006 1:40 PM

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