Macswain

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Nerd News: PS3 With Blu-Ray?

Sony made its big announcement just before the start of E3 this week --- Sony's latest incarnation of its video game console, the PLaystation 3, will be released in the U.S. on November 17th, just in time for Holiday shopping. Additionally, Sony announced it will come in two incarnations --- a version with a 20 gigabyte drive for $499 and a second version with 60 gigs for $599.

Reaction was mixed --- August Pollack, one of the left's best cartoonists and commenters, expressed surprise at hearing of a game console selling for $600. Yet, he overlooks the fact that the PS3 has been advertised as being much more than just a game console. It provides a digital music center than can be plugged directly into your home entertainment set up (see ya, cds) and, most important to the high tech geek, its supposed to include a blu-ray DVD player (this is Sony's version of high definition dvd --- a technology that will blow away the current DVD format in terms of clatirty).

Upon release as a stand-alone, a blu-ray dvd player is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $1,000 and, with a game console comparable to an Xbox 360 that goes for $400, a PS3 for $600 actually comes off sound like a bargain.

But as I previously, and correctly, doubted Sony's prior assertions of a Spring release for the PS3, I was skeptical that Sony could actually pull off all that it is now promising.

Lo and behold, the BBC has an update in which Sony is already doing some backstepping:

Sony announced the launch date and price for the PS3 at a big news presentation at its studios in Culver City in Los Angeles.

At the time it only talked about the difference in the size of the hard drives. The basic model has a 20GB drive, while the model costing $599/599 euros comes with a 60GB one.

Only later, after detailed press releases were distributed, did it become apparent that there were other key differences.

The lower end model lacks wi-fi, a slot for memory cards and, in particular, a port to hook up a HDMI lead for high-definition programmes.

The decision to offer a model without HDMI has raised concerns about the high-definition compatibility of the PS3.

Mr Harrison shrugged off these fears, insisting that the both models would offer full HD output.


My guess is that the PS3 will launch on November 17th but that the blu-ray player will not be included but available as an add-on.

6 Comments:

  • Man, buying a new video game system anymore has just gotten too hard.

    But regarding the blu-ray deal, well, I'll tell ya. I bought the PS2 the day it came out, and one of the selling points for Mrs. M is that it was also a DVD player. As she doesn't play video games, upgrading our household to dvd is the only reason why I even got the thing.

    I haven't been following the marketing and strategy here, but I will say that the omission of the blu-ray in the release of the system would be a serious mistake. Let's face it, it's that math you did that makes buying a five or six hundred dollar video game system pallatable.

    And I really don't like the idea of the cheaper version not having memory card ports. It's one thing trying to net more customers by making your machine more versatile, but let's not forget your core consumer, your base, if you will. I buy a video game system to play games, so initially, having a memory card is going to be more important to me than having the blu ray.

    One last question I have is is there any word on backward compatability? That's another biggie. I think backwards compatability was a huge factor in PS2's success, as well as the GBA. Again, it's all about satisfying your core customers, right?

    By Blogger Mr. M, at 4:32 PM  

  • The xbox 360 is backward compatible so I've been assuming the PS3 will have to be so as not to risk Sony getting its teeth kicked in by Microsoft.

    But it's a good question and I have not seen the answer.

    BTW - welcome back to the 'sphere.

    By Blogger Macswain, at 4:38 PM  

  • Thanks, Mac. You've done a bang up job over at Comments thus far!

    By Blogger Mr. M, at 5:18 PM  

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