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PS3 Conference Report


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Sony held its PlayStation Business conference in Tokyo today and 1UP's correspondents were on hand to report back all of the details.

Ken Kutaragi, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, took center stage and delivered the big news: PlayStation 3 will not release until November 2006, as previously reported earlier today.

However, he also revealed that Sony plans to release the system in Japan, North America, and Europe simultaneously this November. That's right, the PS3 will be in stores before the end of the year - within the first 10 days of November, to be exact. According to the company, it will have a production capacity of 1 million units a month to attempt to keep up with the demand. 6 million units are estimated to be shipped by the end of March 2007.

Kutaragi stated that the purpose of today's meeting was not to show any new hardware or games, it was to offer an apology. He wanted to give the world an update since it was now Spring. He stated issues over the finalization of copy protection technology related to the Blu-ray disc drive were the cause for the delay. But Kutaragi also mentioned that the delay would allow for the latest HDMI (high-definition connection, essentially) support.

He did offer some tantalizing new details about the system, though. PS3 will include a 60GB hard drive (which is upgradeable) with Linux preinstalled. According to Kutaragi, developers should create games for the PS3 with assumption the hard drive will be present in the system (his slide was titled "HDD is required!"). He also revealed that the system will be backwards compatible with the entire PS1 and PS2 libraries, and that games will be displayed in high-definition resolutions when played on the PS3 (similar to what the Xbox 360 does with compatible Xbox 1 titles).

Kutaragi described the shift to the PS3 as a move into the 4D world. The 8/16 bit era with 2D sprites was refered to as "Plane", the PS1/PS2 era with 3D graphics was described as "Space", and the PS3 era was with its, according to him, 4D worlds, was described as "Live" (Space + Time). Some of this concept is surely lost in translation.

Kutaragi also revealed details on the online service Sony is planning for the PS3 called the "PlayStation Network Platform". Beginning at the system's November launch, the service will feature such functions as matchmaking, messaging, rankings, friends lists, voice/video chat, in-game shopping, and game downloads to the hard drive. Best of all, the service will be free (as of right now, it isn't clear on whether there will also be a paid tier of service similar to Xbox Live Gold). The service will also allow for publishers to connect their own game servers. Sony Online Entertainment (SOE), makers of such online games as EverQuest and Star Wars Galaxies, is provided the infrastructure and GameSpy is providing tools and middleware. Kutaragi also mentioned that the PS3 can serve as a wireless access point for the PSP.

Final PS3 controllers and development kits are going to be sent to the development community by May. This will include the final specs for Cell, the final RSX graphics chip, the final Blu-ray specs, and will be at a cost close to that of a PS2 development kit.

Kutaragi also had a few big announcements that pertained to the PSP, the most immediate being a price drop to $199 for the basic pack at the end of March in the U.S. This spring will also see a browser upgrade that will include Macromedia Flash 6.0 support. Kutaragi gave details on some later technology enhancements to look forward to this fall as well: RSS support, video and voice-over-IP, and a USB GPS receiver that will interface with new games (a version of Hot Shots Golf was mentioned for this). A PSP EyeToy camera will release in September and will feature a version of EyeToy Play and video chat.

Interestingly, Kutaragi also discussed an "E-Distribution" strategy for the PSP which will include downloading classic PS1 games to a PSP's Memory Stick. Users will be able to boot games directly off of the Memory Stick and the games will play under emulation.

What follows is the original story, which featured live updates from the press conference.

1UP reporters are on hand at the Playstation Business Meeting underway in Tokyo and are reporting back with details as they happen. Continue to follow this story as it develops.

Updated 11:42 PST

Sony plans to produce 1 million PS3s a month. 6 million will be ready by March 2007.

Updated 11:38 PST

Final PS3 development kits will be sent to developers by June.

Updated 11:30 PST

Sony have confirmed that the PS3 will be backwards compatible with PS1 and PS2 titles and that these games, when played on PS3, will be displayed at high-definition resolutions (similar to what the Xbox 360 does with Xbox 1 games).

Updated 11:21 PST

A 60GB hard drive is apparently being included with the system. Kutaragi has told publishers to develop titles with the assumption that a hard drive will be present.

Updated 11:05 PST

Sony has confirmed a worldwide November PS3 launch for PS3. It will be within the first 10 days of the month in Japan.

Updated 10:56 PST

Kutaragi has moved on to discussing PS3. He's stated that the system has indeed been delayed because of copy protection functionality isn't ready with Blu-ray. He's reinforced that the software medium is indeed the next big step for PlayStation, though -- the PS1 used CDs, the PS2 used DVDs, and the PS3 uses Blu-ray.

Updated 10:42 PST

Kutaragi has mentioned to expect a major new PSP update this spring. He revealed there will be PSP videophone capability in Fall, with an EyeToy and voice-over-IP for the PSP. He also revealed some sort of GPS functionality for the PSP, with the first title to use this being Hot Shots Golf. The next version of the PSP web browser will have Flash support.

Interestingly, Kutaragi has mentioned an emulator for PSP that will play PS1 titles.

Updated 10:30 PST

Sony's Ken Kutaragi has taken the stage and has confirmed that the PS3 and PSP will be the main topics of discussion. But first he is going over the PlayStation business thus far -- it's been going on for quite some time.

He's expected to announce the release dates for the PS3 in all three major territories.

Edited by CKN
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Very sweet, I don't know if I'll pre-order one for November or get other people to get it for me for Christmas and hope someone has one.

Maybe I'll just get lots of money for my birthday and pay half of it, get games for Christmas.

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Guest clintcasey

Now you see I've been saying for a while that PS3 was going to have a hard drive and there would always be someone out there who'd argue me over it so for you nay sayers out there. IN YOUR FACE!

Looks like we have a new christmas rush item this year. Its completly understandable why PS3 wont be out till November though. The final version of the development packs arn't going out until may. They developers and technicly working on a beta.

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Oh man...I've only got what, 8 months to get off my lazy ass and get employed so I can buy one of these? Better get cracking now, as I know none of my no good family will chip in to help me buy one <_<

I may have to shell out for a PSP eventually too, as FunkAsPuck mentioned if there's a PS1 emulator I'd be incapable of resisting the urge to play FF7 through 9 while travelling.

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Guest clintcasey

Final Fantasy 7 = Gold. Not only did it cause Square to break the mold of never making sequals to one of its games (they started work on Advent Children before they started making X-2 and they re-used alot of stuff rom 10 to make it.)

But they have two more Final Fantasy 7 games comming out this year.

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