Wednesday, May 18, 2005

E3 Conference Roundups

Ok I have now watched the Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo conferences all in loverly full screen quality and since there was so much in each video that the press is ignoring, I am posting some notes I made.

Duration 1 Hour and 19 Minuets.

  • Microsoft describes the XBox360 as "the most powerful gaming system ever created". And interestingly enough when it came to Sony, they didn't actually say the same thing with the PS3, even when they had the big chart on the wall with the floating point calculation comparison between the XBox360 and the PS3.
    Sony instead just said that the PS3 was "twice the speed of the XBox360 processor". I am probably reading too much into that, but if I was selling my system I would want to push the point of any advantage that my system had over the competition, as much as possible.

  • Microsoft said they will have 2 Million XBox Live subscribers by the end of next month. To put that in comparison FilePlanet gets 3.5 million unique visitors per month, GameSpy gets 6 million unique visitors per month and IGN gets 22 million. So there is plenty of room for improvement.

  • Talks about the HD era. Which to me is the era where every game looks stunning and every game you buy, makes you feel more connected to friends with the same game.

  • You will be able to use Live to talk to friends with use of the headset while you watch DVDs, TV or anything else on your XBox360. Producing more of a shared experience.

  • One of the most significant things that was said is that Microsoft wants to use the Live Marketplace so that gamers can buy, new cars, custom models, new weapons or maps and the thing that exploded my head was when he said episodic content. Which effectively is the same retail model that Guild Wars is using.
    Imagine a developer that releases a game called Adventure Guy And The Tomes Of Sorrow, then instead of releasing a retail sequel, they could instead sell the sequel as an expansion pack on the Live Marketplace that you would payfor and download. So you would effectively have a marketing model where a developer could make one game and then use that as a platform for continued revenue.

  • XBox360 will offer iPod and PSP connectivity as well as many other devices.

  • Marketing target for the XBox360 is one billion units.

  • Microsoft gave everybody at the conference a limited edition XBox360 faceplate. And a few of them have found their way onto eBay.

  • All games released on the XBox360 will have
    -720p (HD TV Support)
    -16:9 viewing ratio (widescreen)
    -5.1 surround sound
    It is interesting to note that although Sony supports a higher resolution of HD TV, they haven't said that every game released on the PS3 will support that resolution.

  • Gotham Racing 3 will be the first game to have a spectator mode, so you can see how other people play.

  • 40 titles for the American, European and Japan launch this November.

Duration 1 Hour and 49 Minuets.

  • The opening voice over said that "the PS2 redefined computer entertainment with unparallelled power speed and graphics. Converging movies, games and music"

  • The PS3 has almost double the XBox360's data processing capabilities.

  • The PS3 has just slightly more memory bandwidth than the XBox360

  • The PS3 has two independent output channels. So it can display a games on two screens at the same time.

  • PS3 has equivalent graphics capabilities to two GeForce2800 GPU chips. So using that logic my system is equivalent to half a PS3!!!

  • The PS3 GPU has 300 transistors, so it can do all the Hollywood effects in realtime, including light shining through flesh and 128Bit HD lighting.

  • The PS3 has a screen resolution of 2048X1024. In comparison the PS2 used a screen resolution 720X486 and the PSX used a screen resolution of 320X240.

  • Supports upto seven Bluetooth controllers (that means seven gamepads for use with multiplayer).

  • Gamepads are USB rechargeable and will last for "more than a full day's gameplay before needing recharge"

  • Fight Night 3 looks stunning on the PS3, but the demo had no audience members, which is significant when you consider that most sports games even today are still using sprites for audience members.

Duration 50 Minuets.

  • The DS has sold a ratio of 4:1 games per console, compared to the PSP's 2:1.

  • "our wireless solution tackles three, of the main challenges which have so far prevented meaningful expansion, of console online play"
    -No need for broadband line installation.
    -Its free.
    -Has welcoming play. (I am confused also)

  • Americans will be playing Mario kart DS and Animal Crossing DS multiplayer by the end of this year.

  • The game demo reel showed Trauma Center Under the Knife for the second year running.

  • The Revolution design shown at E3 is the prototype and not the final design.

  • Nintendo is not giving away the revolutionary feature for the Revolution yet.

  • "The Revolution's controllers are very unique, in ways we will share with you later"

  • The Revolution will play Nintendo's archive of games for the last 20 years. There is no indication that this will include GameBoy titles however.

  • The Revolution will be released next year.
    Interestingly enough Sony did not mention when the PS3 will be released, but I suspect next year also.

  • In the coming Game Cube titles trailer, they showed stuff that was shown last year. And loads of multi-console titles that are also coming out on the XBox and PS2. This suggests to me that developers only develop for the GC if they are making a multi-platform game.

  • With the PS2 VS XBox battle Sony proved that an early entry into the market is good and that graphics although important, are no replacement for good marketing. With the coming war, the roles are reversed and I suspect that the XBox360 will be a clear winner.

  • The PS3's graphics are much better than the XBox360's, but the XBox360 has a more mature multiplayer model and the development kit is far better than anything Sony will be able to produce. So it is likely that the XBox360 will have more creative, and more complex games, with much better multiplayer.

  • The PS3 will probably be the most expensive console ever. And by the time it comes out the XBox360 will probably be on it's second price drop.

  • Nintendo's franchises are overworked and they need something fresh.

  • The GameBoyMini might actually do well as a cheaper alternative to the PSP, but it will have to be priced right.

  • Microsoft had by far the best press conference, but then Microsoft does that kind of stuff all the time with the PDC and TechED.
    Sony needs to both shorten the conference length and put better content in because it was dull.
    And this year Nintendo's E3 offering is their weakest in a long time.