sony

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Matt Barton's picture

Disc-Less Netflix for PS3

Looks like there's some relief coming from PS3 owners with Netflix subscriptions--Joystiq reports that sometime before October a new version of the interface will allow Netflix viewing without the disc.

Bill Loguidice's picture

E3 2010 - It's about the Hardware and a Console Middle Age

Nintendo 3DSNintendo 3DSIn an interesting twist, this E3 has been about hardware and a console middle age. How is that a twist and what do I mean by that? Well, instead of the usual E3 when the focus is on hardware and the usual new, dedicated platforms, this E3 has really been about enhancing two of the three existing platforms with hardware add-ons, and, as a nod to the maturity of this console lifecycle, a rash of sequel-itis from the big three, with new entries in well worn game series. With no sign of either the Xbox 360, Wii, or PS3 being replaced any time soon, it's all about distinguishing your particular platform in a particular manner--Microsoft and Sony went with new, relatively expensive hardware add-ons (and the former one fairly slick redesign), and Nintendo went with its usual franchises. And oh yes, Nintendo slammed the gavel down with full details on the extremely impressive 3DS, the logical successor to the DS line (and thank goodness they went with the 3DS name and not some of the other names being bandied about).

So, let's take a look at what the big three offered up both right before and during E3, and provide some analysis:

Bill Loguidice's picture

The Great Debate - Tablets versus eBook Readers and the Fight for our Senses

Over at another forum I frequent, a topic that ostensibly began, Dell Streak Available Next Month, AT&T Not Required, soon morphed into a discussion on the merits of an eReader, like the Kindle, over a tablet, like the iPad, and vice versa. To summarize the lengthy battle (though I recommend you read you yourself using the link), the argument on the eReader side essentially goes like this:

- eInk provides a superior reading experience
- The two top eReader devices offer free 3G
- Target will soon be offering the Kindle in their stores, so Kindle sales will naturally skyrocket
- The iPad is too expensive
- iTunes is too draconian
- Grandma and moms don't want a tablet

The argument on the tablet - and specifically the iPad side - goes something like this:

- The reading experience is just good enough for most people, and just good enough often wins over better
- Color eInk is still a ways away, and for black and white, static devices, eReaders are fairly expensive
- The iPad costs more, but also has many more features and capabilities
- If you're going to carry around a device the size of an eReader, it's not that much of a stretch that you'd carry around something only marginally bigger to get access to many more features
- The iPad has become a sexy, must-have device, thanks to slick advertising and the well regarded Apple brand; eReaders are unlikely to ever been seen as sexy, must-have devices
- In roughly two months, the iPad is closing in on the LIFETIME (since 2007) sales of the Kindle

The way I see it, while I'm a fan of eInk, especially for black and white and limited functionality devices, they tend to cost too much, even though the Kindle and Nook offer lifetime 3G service to purchase more books from just about any location you happen to be at (and a select few other online features to take advantage of the connection), though it's arguable if you really ever have to buy a new book every time you're out and about on the town. If they hit $99 or less, they might be able to gain more momentum outside of the successful niche I expect them to remain in for the foreseeable future, but I still find it unlikely, particularly with the coming onslaught of iPad-like tablet clones, which will continue to steal any new eReader thunder. What they really need though on the eReader side are color eInk displays, which right now are too expensive for mainstream price points. If they had color screens combined with a $150 or lower price point, they might stand a chance to be something a bit more than a niche product, though it's arguable how many truly avid readers there are anyway to support such dedicated products, no matter how refined they become (even recent tests with students at universities have not shown them to be reasonable substitutes for text books--at least in their current forms).

So to summarize, my main point is, is that the iPad's momentum will continue, price be damned, a ton of clone tablets will be released to further place the spotlight on the form and functionality factor, and as a result, sales of dedicated eReaders will remain at roughly the same rate and pace they are now. As a result, the dedicated reader's time in the spotlight has probably come and gone, and it's just a matter of time before the tablet format becomes the de facto companion (when called for) to cell phones, smart or otherwise, since they also give you full access to the same book libraries as the dedicated readers, as well all the other types of media (and games, apps, etc., etc.).

Even though I didn't lay out all the details in this post, I think you get the idea. Naturally I'm 100% correct in my prognostication, but I'm open to the remotest of possibilities that I might be a raving lunatic and don't know what the heck I'm talking about, so I would love to hear what YOU think...

Bill Loguidice's picture

Sony Continues to Bungle the PSP Line - Flips the Proverbial Bird to US Customers

In an effort to goose sales of the PSPgo - which any way you look at it, has been an abject failure for Sony, even regularly placing last in weekly sales in Japan (yes, even behind the Xbox 360 and PS2) - Sony has taken positive steps by lowering prices on a batch of top titles and offering free games for new purchasers of the system. But hold on a minute, in a stroke of corporate bravado the likes of which we haven't seen since the news first broke on the BP oil spill, Sony is only offering new purchasers of the system in the US just three free games only days after offering UK buyers 10 free games. See anything wrong with that math?

Of course, none of this addresses the more serious issue of a justification for the PSPgo's existence in the first place, since it's more expensive than the regular PSP model with fewer features. However, I know I would have been more likely to purchase one with an incentive for 10 free games, along with the reduction on the other top hits. As it stands now, because of their unbalanced generosity towards one territory over another, it all remains too much to swallow. Way to go Sony! Maybe you'll get it right with the PSP2, unless Nintendo and Apple obliterate you in the marketplace first with their next generation of handhelds that will release earlier and almost certainly with better software support and marketing. Maybe by then you can give UK buyers 20 free games and US buyers 6 free games to really push your sales over the top and continue to foster good will for your brand...

Matt Barton's picture

R.I.P. Floppy

I saw in the headlines today that Sony is suspending its million+ unit floppy disk production (3 1/2", of course). I guess what surprised me most was that it hadn't stopped long ago. Outside of retro purposes, does anyone seriously use these disks anymore? I have few good memories of them--just all the read/write errors and the inevitable march to destruction. The disk drives themselves were also always unreliable. I know I've replaced more faulty disk drives than any other component. They were a significant step up from the 5 1/4" disks, of course. It's too bad that the industry couldn't settle on a standard for the bigger capacity disks (iomega, zip, etc.), but of course those were mere flashes in the pan compared to the 3 1/2". The article suggests that USB and other types of storage killed it off, but I'd say it was more the CD and later DVD burners. Once the price got cheap enough, it made more sense to burn everything to those and tuck them away.

What are your thoughts on the floppy disk? Will they be missed? (And, yes, I realize that other companies will keep making them into the foreseeable future.)

Bill Loguidice's picture

Thoughts on Project Natal, Milo and the coming Motion Tracking Videogame and Technological Revolution

Amidst all of the usual software-centric sequels and somewhat tired continuations of long running series at E3 was a clear, present and somewhat surprising focus on hardware accessories, and, more specifically and perhaps most exciting, next generation motion tracking and control systems. This wasn't just an attempt to copy Nintendo's almost-there original Wii Remote technology, but rather an attempt to redefine the technology once and for all and influence videogames and the technological world at large for generations to come (think integrated touch and motion controls in your 2015 laptop).

Matt Barton's picture

Silly Gamer, the DSi is for kids!

Just saw this at Engadget: Sony says the DSi is for kids, the PSP is for winners. Apparently, Sony's PR team has reacted to the launch of the DSi by calling it a kid's toy with poor third-party support. The author of the piece makes a keen observation that it's probably the iPhone that poses the most serious threat to the PSP's market share.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Audio Recording of 2K Sports' Major League Baseball 2K8 conference Call (plus screenshots)!

I was one of a handful of videogame journalists invited to a 2K Sports' Major League Baseball 2K8 conference call that ended a few minutes ago with producer Ben Brinkman and others. Despite some static (the person who didn't mute did eventually jump off the call, but then the static came back) and technical issues with the conference call (not on my end), I was able to record the full presentation on my Windows Mobile cell phone. UPDATE: Or at least I thought - the phone recorded the whole thing but only as silence, so that's not a good future option obviously. I'll have to use an alternative recording method in the future. I would have uploaded the entire conference call exclusively for the benefit of Armchair Arcade members if it had worked. Even if you're not a fan of baseball or videogame baseball, it would have still been interesting to hear some of the behind-the-scenes stuff (if the recording is made available to me, I'll upload it and make it available).

LAST UPDATE: 20pGaming.com has made the audio available, here: http://2opgaming.com/2008/02/22/mlb2k8-conference-call-full-audio/

As a long time videogame baseball fan, I'm on record in regards to modern interpretations as being a fan of Sony's "MLB The Show" series (PS2, PSP, PS3) since the demise of 3DO's "High Heat Baseball" series after the 2004 edition (my favorite being the Xbox version). I actually liked EA's first version of "MVP Baseball" (Xbox, PS2, etc.), but it never really evolved properly to my liking from there. 2K Sport's "Major League Baseball 2K" series has had some interesting elements, but they never quite came together in my opinion to form a cohesive and fun videogame baseball experience (and its audio-visual presentation was comparatively lacking). Based on the data already released and this conference call, it looks like 2K Sports' "Major League Baseball 2K8" is on a very, very promising track to being a top game, finally, if not THE top game. I should be receiving a review copy of the game very soon (Xbox 360 version was my first choice for the achievements, though it's available for several other platforms including Wii and PS3) and I'll see first hand how it ultimately plays, which is really 95% of what matters.

We were invited to submit three to five questions ahead of time. It seems a lot of questions were focused on technical aspects, though mine, as I always attempt, were more focused on other areas that don't typically get asked...

Bill Loguidice's picture

Completing the Console Trifecta Earlier than Expected - Xbox 360, Wii and PS3 (also, DS and PSP)

Well, it happened sooner than I thought--I got a refurb Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) in late November 2007, completing the "next generation" console trifecta. With enough time passing now, I thought it would be a good time to provide some insight into my thoughts around this current generation of consoles and handhelds. I'll start in the order of consoles I purchased and then finish up with the handhelds.

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