The best benefit to being a Gamespot Complete subscriber is the amount of access you get to the E3 conference that takes place every year in Los Angeles. For those not familiar with E3, it’s basically the mecca of videogames. Each year, E3 is the place where every major console company, game developers and media converge to see the latest and greatest from the world of gaming. You’re virtually guaranteed to see a few major surprises, and the whole things is basically treated like a week-long rock concert, complete with spectacular lights, pretty women dressed up as characters from videogames, and lots and lots of drinking. It’s Nerd Nirvana.
As I said, I’ve got a Gamespot Complete subscription, and so last night I was able to tune into Sony’s press conference and watch it live via streaming video. Sony was about 45 minutes late starting the press conference, which had nerds (like myself) across the world in a tizzy. When they finally did start, I was pretty excited to see what they had to offer. I’ve got an Xbox 360, and it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread (or maybe even TOAST), but I still looked forward to seeing what Sony could offer. I used to own a PS2, and in fact have owned several since they were released. When I returned from Iraq in early 2004, all we did for hours upon hours each night was play SOCOM II. In fact, about 1/2 of our 30-man medical platoon would get on right after work and play the game until it was way past our bedtime. We had a clan and everything, and each morning we’d stumble into work at 5am and immediately start talking about the previous nights gaming session. A whole community was made stronger around the PS2 and SOCOM.
So I don’t hate Sony products. Well, except for when they release albums with rootkits built in. But I’m not biased against them, because they’ve had some great software that helped me pass the boring times in Iraq and back here in the States. But last night, they gave us all the info on the launch of the PS3, and…man, I don’t even know what to say. So I’ll break it down, bullet-point style, and hopefully all this makes some sense.
1. They announced that the controller was motion sensitive, and gave a brief demo of the tech running Warhawk. At this point, my jaw dropped — I couldn’t believe they’d do such a blatant ripoff. Not only did they completely rip off Nintendo’s Wii controller, but they had the gall to say it was “innovative” and act like it was a huge surprise. Not only was it not surprising, it was embarrasing, because everyone in the room was completely shocked that they’d not only copy the competition, but act like it was something of their own making.
2. Oh my god, the price. The “cheap” version of the PS3 is $500, and the premium is $600. For the cheap version, you don’t get HDMI, Wi-fi or Bluetooth.
$600. For a console.
Something tells me that this thing is going to bomb. Most people simply cannot afford to buy one of those things. I know I’d never spend that much money on a system that exclusively plays games, and neither will a huge majority of parents in the world. They’ve effectively priced themselves out of the competition, and Microsoft is going to get a huge boost from this, especially if they lower the 360 price to $349 as has been rumored.
I’m off to watch the Nintendo press conference. Somehow, someway, I think Nintendo is going to make a huge comeback and be the #2 player in this industry for a long time to come.