Consoul's Blog Consoul Games: Sony Shenanigans!

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Sony Shenanigans!

The post E3 buzz is starting to die down and it appears that Sony's massive bluff has worked. Nintendo's new handheld (the DS) was at the show in playable form with loads of titles and many innovative features (touch screen, voice recognition, wi-fi, etc.) and was still massively overshadowed in the mainstream media by Sony's PSP - the console that doesn't exist.

Sony had a number of PSP's on show at E3...didn't they? Contrary to popular belief, they didn't. The one handheld prototype shown was not functional - it was an empty shell. The other prototypes were all conveniently bolted to display units and walls in order to disguise the fact that they too were shells cabled to workstation hardware that fed the screens. The vast majority of these showed only movie footage or played music. A couple were just barely interactive.

The PSP just isn't real - at least not yet. Sony have not pulled it off. They have aimed high and can't quite deliver. All the footage shown of upcoming PSP titles was running off devkits approximating the expected capabilities of the PSP. The DS titles on the other hand (NPI) were all running on real handheld units. Even the mighty Sony can't pack hardware of PS2 level capabilities, a new optical disk drive, an LCD widescreen, analogue controls and an adequate lithium ion battery into a unit the size of what they have shown. It's smoke and mirrors I tell you.

Sony were hoping to steal the spotlight with the emperor's new clothes and for the most part they got away with it. The Sydney Morning Herald was certainly fooled and impressed. Sony have no doubt planted the seeds of doubt in many gamers' minds as to whether they should buy the impressive but non-existant PSP instead of buying the real and much more innovative NDS.

Don't get me wrong - the PSP will eventuate (though it might be a little bigger than what we've seen so far) and will be the most powerful handheld yet (though hardly innovative). I'll most likely buy one. It just annoys me that Sony have pulled such an obvious hoax on the public and no-one called shenanigans.

The PSP as Sony would currently have you believe it.

The Nintendo DS (aka Game and Watch 2004).

This week I have been playing mostly Katamari Damashii on PS2 and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles on Cube with a brief burst of Metroid Zero on GBA.
Finished MGS: The Twin Snakes - still one of the best game storylines ever written.


Blogger Petras said...

The ds bears a striking resemblance to Donkey Kong! So what's the innovation there?

11:50 pm  
Blogger Robin said...

Yep, it sure does have the retro Donkey Kong style about it. No innovation points for physical design.
Still, Nintendo are bringing a lot to the table with this new gadget: two backlit colour screens programmable in high-quality 3D or 2D with one of them being a touch-screen usable with a stylus or finger, voice recognition, wireless sixteen player gaming or text/picture/voice instant messaging with anyone within 100 feet, or anyone in the world who's near an open wi-fi network with the ability to remotely "wake-up" other consoles to initiate communication and even transmit entire programs to them, plus GBA backwards compatibility. They're launching it this year at a price point expected to be well below US$200.
Its fate is still unknown of course, as all features aside, like any other console, it will sink or swim on the strength of the software.

10:50 am  
Blogger Petras said...

With that sort of accessibility, I hope their security is a lot tighter than Bill's!

6:09 pm  
Blogger Petras said...

Hey, who's putting the pressure on Sony, commercially wise, for them to go out on limb and pull this shit! Can't imagine them doing this when they pretty much had the market cornered at the height of PSI/II.

6:15 pm  
Blogger Robin said...

It's not so much pressure, as ambition. Sony had easily conquered the home console market, but Nintendo were still selling way more consoles than Sony every year, thanks mostly to their GameBoy line. Sony realised that there was a lot of money to be made in the handheld market and decided to up the ante.

9:42 am  

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