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Sony Unveils PlayStation 3 Features, Games

20 Oct, 2006 By: John Gaudiosi

Less than a month from its Nov. 17 PlayStation 3 debut, Sony Computer Entertainment America showcased its launch titles for the next-gen console at San Francisco's Dog Patch Studios.

Sony will have 400,000 PS3s available at launch in North America and expects to have 1 million available by the end of the year.

The console hardware will come at two prices: a $500 version with a 20GB hard drive and a $600 version with a 60GB hard drive and built-in Wi-Fi support. Both versions will include HDMI support.

To hook gamers on its next-generation Blu-ray Disc technology, which is the core format for PS3, the first 500,000 hardware units will include a free movie: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. (The film doesn't ship until Dec. 12, which means PS3 fans will be the first to experience the 50GB disc.)

Sony will ship a Blu-ray Disc remote control in December for $25 with one-button controls, but gamers will be able to use the in-pack wireless Sixaxis game controller to watch movies on the PS3. Additional wireless game controllers will cost $50 each. The PS3 HDMI cable will cost $50, although it is included in the $600 PS3 package, and any standard HDMI cable should work with the console. Memory cards will retail for $15.

There will be 22 games available by the end of the year, including three games from Sony: the sci-fi first-person shooter Resistance: Fall of Man, the action sword-fighting Genji: Days of the Blade and NBA 07.

Electronic Arts, which has 30 games in development for PS3, will release Madden NFL 07, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07, Fight Night Round 3 and Need for Speed Carbon in November. Activision has three launch titles for PS3, including Call of Duty 3, Tony Hawk's Project 8 and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance.(Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas, Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII), Sega (Full Auto 2: Battlelines, Sonic the Hedgehog) and 2K Sports (NBA 2K7, NHL 2K7) each have two launch titles slated.

While first-party Xbox 360 games from Microsoft retail for $50, Sony's PS3 games will sell for $60. Third-party PS3 games are expected to sell for $60, which is the going rate for Xbox 360 third-party games.

“Our line-up of PS3 games that will be available through the holidays is unprecedented in terms of volume, variety and innovation, surpassing any previous competitive launch catalog and even our own original offerings for other PlayStation platforms,” said Kaz Hirai, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America.

The PlayStation Network Platform will allow gamers to play online games for free (something Microsoft charges for with its Xbox Live service) and will offer a PlayStation Store that can be integrated into game worlds. Gamers will be able to download free game demos and game and movie trailers and purchase old PlayStation games such as Jet Moto and Syphon Filter, as well as new casual games and game content for PS3 titles. Downloadable content won't cost more than $15, and parents will be able to set a spending cap for their kids, as well as use the parental lock feature to make sure only appropriate movies and games are played on PS3.

Over time, the PlayStation Store will deliver additional entertainment content, including movies and music, and potentially TV shows, since Sony owns studios across all entertainment platforms.

PS3 is backwards-compatible with Sony's entire line-up of the PS and PS2 games, which number more than 15,000 titles. In addition to supporting Blu-ray, PS3 will play CDs and DVDs.

According to Phil Harrison, Sony's worldwide studios chief, many of Sony's early PS3 titles, including Resistance, already are filling more than half of the 50GB storage capacity of Blu-ray Disc. He expects games next year to use the full 50GB of storage.

Sony will announce a new limited-edition PS2 that will ship this quarter, likely in the next few weeks, according to video game analyst P.J. McNealy of American Technology Research. In addition, Sony is working on new PlayStation Portables. One will be a hard-disk-drive-equipped PSP, which will retail for $200 or above. The second is a PSP with no hard-disk drive, but with a large amount of flash memory. This one is expected to retail for less than $200. Both PSPs are expected to ship in Spring 2007.

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