Want a 320GB PlayStation 3 console but don’t care for the PlayStation Move motion accessory? Sony’s got you covered. Earlier this week the makers of PS3 introduced a new SKU into the market. For $349.99 you get the 320GB PS3 console (the largest storage capacity next-gen console) and a DualShock 3 controller. This new standalone PS3 model is available today. But before you decide to make a decision at the counter, take into consideration your other options. (1) For $50 less you can get the 160GB PS3; (2) for $50 more you can get the 320GB PS3 w/ Move bundle (which includes one Move controller and Sports Champion game). Don’t need the large capacity? Absolutely sure you don’t want to get off the couch and interact with games in a new way? Ultimately, the choice is yours.
The suits at Sony have something to smile about. Today the company reported having shipped 1 million PlayStation Move controllers in North and Latin America in the first 30 days of availability. SCEA CEO Jack Tretton is enthused to say the least. “Retail demand is incredibly strong and we’re working hard to keep the product in stock”, he said. “We believe consumers have already shown their preference for a precise, interactive game experience. We are on target to meet our end of year goals and expect sales to increase as our publishers and developers continue to update popular titles and introduce new games.” This is certainly great news for Sony, but Joystiq makes a solid point when they say this announcement does not help you figure the precise install base of the new motion controller. Many PS3 owners likely purchased more than one Move for two-hand and multiplayer functionality. Still, this does not take away the fact that Sony has something powerful in their (er, our) hands. Right now there’s 24 Move-supported titles out, with 17 more promised before the year runs out. I gotta get my Move on. Full PR after the break.
Are you a Netflix subscriber? Do you own a PS3? Well boy I have great news for you! Starting this Monday, October 18 you will be able to access, manage, and play Netflix content from your PS3 without the (until now) necessary instant streaming disc. Oh-ho-ho but there’s more. Netflix on PS3 will allow for full HD 1080p playback and 5.1-channel surround sound. Netflix has partnered with Dolby to support Dolby Digital Plus audio for selected content. In addition to all this, the Netflix user experience on the gaming console has undegone a redesign. Menu selection and browsing looks quick and intuitive, plus there’s the new option to search! Nabbing the new version of Netflix on Monday is a snap; scroll over to the Video icon in the XMB and it’ll be sitting there waiting to be downloaded. Look after the break for a brief video demonstration of the service.
Starting Monday, Netflix on PS3 will be the best way to stream Netflix on your TV. No other Netflix-enabled box supports Netflix 1080p + Dolby 5.1 surround sound content…yet.
Yesterday PlayStation 3 system software update version 3.50 started to roll out to PS3 users, bringing with it 3D Blu-ray playback support. Way back in February SCEA’s John Koller announced that the PS3 would receive 3D gaming and movies support. It took four months to make good on the 3D gaming promise, and a bit longer to unleash 3D Blu-ray support. Now that it’s here, fire up your PS3 and search for the new firmware update in the settings menu. Remember, you need a 3D-compatible TV for the full effect (for any effect, for that matter). In addition to 3D movie playback, version 3.5o also brings better Facebook integration and a new greif reporting function.
On Tuesday Sony revealed two new PlayStation 3 SKUs. The first is a plain jane PS3 with a 160GB hard drive. It replaces the older SKU and keeps the same price of $299.99. Buy it today. The second model is a PS3 + PlayStation Move bundle. Price at $399.99, it packs a 320GB hard drive and comes packed with one PS Move controller, one PlayStation Eye camera, a copy of Sports Champions, and a game demo disc. The bundle will hit store shevles September 19, the same date PS Move launches.
PlayStation Plus, Sony’s online premium offering for the PlayStation 3, was announced at the Sony press conference a couple weeks ago. Since then more details have spilled concerning what exactly it offers for paying subscribers. First, it’s important to remember that PlayStation Plus does not replace PS3′s current offering of free online gameplay and PlayStation Network usage. PS Plus is an additional, optional service that provides subscribers with discounts on games purchased in the PS Store, early access to betas, exclusive offers on select demos and early purchases, free monthly episodes of Qore, and automatic downloads. Let’s dive a bit deeper.
Subscribers have access to free monthly PSN games, minis, and PS One Classics from the PSN Store. You keep these games for as long as you’re a subscriber; if you decide to opt out of the service, the free games disappear from your library. Exclusive themes, avatars, and premium game elements/add-ons are also available to purchase; these are yours to keep “forever.” Exclusive PS Store discounts are also offered, ranging from from 20% to 50% off (that’s on top of the any current discounts currently available to non-members). Again, these are yours to keep “forever.” Early access to beta trials and game demos pop up as well. Members can download a full game trial for an alloted amount of time (typically one hour) to decide if they want to purchase the game. Unlike a standard game demo, full game trials do not restrict you to certain levels/game modes. You get the full game. And get this–if you decide to purchase the game after testing it out, all awarded trophies and saved data carry over from the trial. Lastly there’s automatic downloads. Subscribers can set their PS3 to wake up from standby at a determined time to automatically download PS3 firmware updates, game patches, and “select demos and videos.” PlayStation Plus is available to sign up for today over PSN. A one year subscription goes for $49.99 (this comes bundled with three free months at the end) and a three-month packaged is priced at $17.99.
PlayStation Plus came to the PS3 as part of firmware update version 3.40. Here’s what the update brings: Photo Gallery enhancements (allows you to upload, browse and comment on photos on Facebook and Picasa Web Album & share your photos between your PSN friends and print photos from Photo Gallery); Video Editor and Uploader (new XMB function enables you to edit, save and upload video files stored on the PS3 system to sites such as Facebook or YouTube); Five Star Rating Support (you can rate PS Store content on a five-star scale); and additional power save options. There’s also been a few upgrades to PSN-Facebook integration. A new PSN Facebook application allows you to display your PlayStation Network profile on Facebook, send friend requests, and view your PSN friends’ online status. Check out a few snapshots of the new features in the gallery below.
Sony’s advertisement go-to guy Kevin Butler is back, this time from the future where PlayStation Move is a huge success. The commercial is filled with mockery against Nintendo’s Wii motion (in)capabilities: “You’ve got the controller and a camera with microphone working together to give you total control over your gaming experience. Not just like this [he moves his hand side-to-side in 2D space] but this way too [he makes a forward-moving jab in 3D space]. Because real boxers to hit like this [he humorously flails his arms in front of his chest].” He also makes sure to troll Microsoft’s upcoming, controller-less Project Natal: “PlayStation Move is not only crazy precise, its also got what we in the future call buttons, which turn out to be pretty important to those handful of millions of people who enjoy playing shooters and platformers, or, well, anything that doesn’t involve catching a big red ball.” Oh, it’s on.
Yesterday at the Game Developer’s Conference Sony finally made official the PlayStation Motion Controller as PlayStation Move. Dubbed the “next generation of motion gaming,” PS Move will take on Nintendo’s Wii-mote directly with a wireless Move controller and sub-controller (don’t call it a nunchuck). Paired with the PlayStation Eye (Sony’s webcam device for the PS3) the PS Move will become an “extension of your body” with near 1:1 motion precision and accuracy. Sony says the Move’s latency is about the same to that of its DualShock 3 controller (about a 1fps delay). The Move contains “advanced motion sensors, including a three-axis gyroscope, a three-axis accelerometer, and a terrestrial magnetic field sensor, as well as a color-changing sphere that is tracked by PlayStation Eye camera.”
So what differentiates the Move controller from the Wii-mote? The answer lies in the Z-plane. The PS Eye tracks the colored sphere at the front of the controller and can sense when you are moving closer to or farther away from the on-screen action. The Eye+Motion setup will be able to detect motion in 3D space (the Z-plane) far more effectively than the Wii-mote+Wii sensor bar configuration (especially if you don’t have the WiiMotionPlus add-on). Other differences from the Wii-mote: the controller and sub-controller wirelessly pair to the PS3 via Bluetooth, they are USB-powered (no batteries), and the sub-controller does not have a motion sensor (the Wii nunchuck does). Also, since the PS Eye can capture images and voice, augmented reality experiences can incorporated into games.
Sony’s plan is to market the PS Move not just to casual games but also to the rabid hardcore, FPS-lovin’ group of gamers. They’ve come out and said that 36 third party developers and publishers are on board to make games supporting the new motion controller, promising that over 20 games “that are either dedicated to or supported with the PlayStation Move platform” will release this year. At the GDC press conference Sony announced the following Motion-supported games, many with tentative titles: Move Party (collection of mini-games with augmented reality features); Sports Champions (think Wii Sports on the PS3; demos included table tennis, sword fighting, and archery); SOCOM 4; TV Superstars; Slider; The Shoot; Motion Fighter; Eye-Pet; and Brunswick Pro Bowling. Click here to see Joystiq’s hands on coverage of the games.
PlayStation Move will be made available for purchase in three ways come Holiday 2010: a starter kit includes the PS Move controller, PS Eye, and a game and will sell for under $100; you can buy the Move controller standalone; or you can get a PS3 console bundled with the Move controller. An exact launch date and definitive pricing details will surface as we get closer to the holiday season.
A motion controller for the PS3 is coming soon. Question is, how will it fare in competition with the Nintendo Wii and the forthcoming Microsoft Project Natal? Wii-like motion controls being implemented into both casual and hardcore games in high definition sounds tempting, but it all comes down to execution. If Sony lives up to its promise and makes sure to release a decent variety of motion-supported games inside the launch window the new controller will likely be embraced by many PS3 users. PlayStation Move will find a niche in the gaming community, especially with a sub-$100 price tag. Motion-detection offers a new way to experience video games; in particular it invites users to become more immersed in the games they play (like what 3D did with Avatar). With Wii living in the stone ages (graphics/lack of hardcore third party games support) and hype for Project Natal growing louder every day, the ball is in Sony’s court and it’s up to them to get this right.
Look after the break for the Sony press release and the Move introduction video. The gallery below contains the first official press shots of the controller and sub-controller.
The PlayStation Network is about to get pimped with a slew of new movie releases in glorious high definition from all six major Hollywood studios. Sony signed a deal with 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., and Sony Pictures Entertainment that will bring a wide range of movies available for purchase or rental at the PSN. The initial batch of 19 include flicks Fantastic Mr. Fox, UP, Star Trek, District 9, Inglourious Basterds, and The Hangover. Look after the break for the full listing, and check the PSN video hub on your PS3 to find out if your favorites are making their way to PS3 HD land. Sony is happy to say that the “PlayStation Network is the first and only service to deliver high definition home entertainment from all six major studios, directly to consumers for download”…for now.
One of the most beloved video game franchises is making its way back onto the PlayStation 3 this year. After creating MAG, a PS3 exclusive multiplayer-only shooter, Zipper Interactive is going back to its roots and bringing the masses the next installment of SOCOM. SOCOM: Confrontation, the first game in the series to hit the PS3, was developed by SlantSix and did not fare well with SOCOM players coming from the PS2 due to lag issues, among other problems. Original developer Zipper Interactive plans to bring a solid single player experience to SOCOM 4, in addition to the obligatory multiplayer game it’s well known for. Though not a ton of details were let loose by the devs, they made it clear that this go around the SOCOM experience will be inviting and very much accessible to newcomers of the franchise. IGN sat down with Zipper and got the scoop on the single player campaign. Besides revealing basics like support for up to 32 players and a promise for “an all new experience,” nothing else was spilled about the SOCOM 4 multiplayer aspect. Although I personally feel SOCOM never felt the same after SOCOM II on the PS2 (that online experience was incredible!), with the promise of a hardcore single player feature and the multiplayer experience we’ve come to know and love, I still have faith in Zipper Interactive to create a handsome, solid SOCOM game for its allegient fanbase. Initial screenshots in the gallery below.
Last we heard the tentitively titled PlayStation Motion Controller was due out this Spring. But that was too good to be true, am I right? Sony has gone ahead and delayed the mystical motion controller until “fall 2010″ globally. The delay affects the following countries: Japan, Asia, North America, and Europe. Why the delay? Kaz Hirai, President and Group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.: “We have decided to release the Motion Controller in fall 2010 when we will be able to offer an exciting and varied line-up of software titles that will deliver the new entertainment experience to PS3 users.” They gotta pump out the games before the accessory is let out into the wild. Makes sense. With Microsoft’s Project Natal slated to release “Holiday 2010″ the final quarter of this year looks like it’s going to be an exciting one for gamers. Full press release after the break.