Arnold's Press Pause and Rewind: February 24th
Someone Failed Media Studies at SCEE...
This week was all cool and calm until Sony Computer Entertainment of Europe decided to drop a bombshell on us by announcing the inferior backwards compatibility of the PAL PS3s. Honestly, the press release SCEE released was downright terrible. One of the most important things about public relation is that you must never slight your own brand, it's PR101. I'm not telling Sony to lie, but the press release could've been worded differently by telling people the potential advantages of having B.C. done via Cell, and not embedded PS2 architecture.
Advantages include: enhancing resolutions (480p, 720p), keeping frame-rates steady and making load times quicker. Essentially, what emulation of consoles on PCs does to the graphics, can be done on the PS3. Likewise, SCEE's comments about not focusing on PS2 B.C. support were downright suicidal. Someone must not be in the know over at SCEE, because they've got an entire studio dedicated to resolving and perfecting PS2 emulation. Unless they've disbanded that studio or something...
Additionally, it'd have been nice of SCEE to give its first wave of 1 million PS3 owners a rough estimate of the percentage of PS2 games that'll run with the 1.6 firmware slated to hit the end of March. We know for now that PSOne emulation should be just fine, so in case you're concerned with that, don't worry about it. Updates in compatibility will come with every firmware, and we hope that those updates will soon add up to the 98% compatibility rate that American and Japanese PS3s currently have.
My prediction is that the initial emulation will probably pull off at least 80% compatibility, which would be very acceptable...but I still don't understand what the statement meant by "limited range" of PS2 games. I mean, I doubt many people will make a stink about not playing Hello Kitty's Adventure in Crapland, or some SpongeBob game...but the world will likely implode if either an A) Final Fantasy, B) Metal Gear Solid, C) Grand Theft Auto, or D) Gran Turismo game don't run. Mark my words, it'll be catastrophic.
Hedgehogs Sting, the Newest Sonic Sucks
Sonic Team coming out and admitting that their last Sonic game pretty much sucks was sort of nice to see. While they didn't come outright and say it, they did talk about the time constraint they had while making the game and the issues of working on two consoles. Honestly, it's nice to know that they sort-of admit that Sonic was terrible, but developing on two consoles wasn't really the issue here. I mean, you either design a good game, or you don't. The game wasn't marred with technical glitches, it was marred by crappy gameplay, terrible level design, horrible story progression, and a horrible story altogether.
Sonic Team needs to cut this crap out, and go back to the basics: Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. Please, just let their friends die a painful death already, Sega. No more. They suck. We all hate them. We hate them so much that I just wrote three hate filled sentences using only eight words. Stop destroying my childhood, your mascot, and your name. No more of these Armageddon themed stages, we hate those too. Give us colors, bright skies, and lush greens. Go play Sonic 1-3 and use the brightest stages between the three games as inspiration. Get hopped up on some hallucinogens, if you must. Heaven help me if I have to anticipate another Sonic game, only for it to suck. Just make it stop.
Good Games Rawk! \m/>_<\m/
On a lighter note, one that actually has me singing Sega's praises, I've been a happy gamer this week. I got my copy of Virtua Fighter 5 and my, my, my do I love it. I can't talk too much about it, because you'll have to wait for the review, but it is great. Likewise, Formula One is yet another terrific game I've been playing for the past two weeks. The review for that is embargoed until the 26th, so look for it then. Then I've got the new PSP Mastiff game, Gurumin. It's cute in every way, and surprisingly very enjoyable. It's very simple, but quite a bit of fun, for sure. So that's what I've been playing this past week.
You Can Do It!
Lastly, the long overdue NPD sales show some pretty serious promise for Sony. While the PS3 was outsold by the X360 and Wii, Sony still picked up the highest amount of revenue. But market share is what Sony needs, because that's what will drive increased software sales. Additionally, with an abysmal software showing in December, January and most of February, the PS3 is selling fairly briskly for a console with minimal software. In comparison, the Xbox 360 is riding on a wave of pretty solid games right now, such as Gears of War, Lost Planet and Crackdown w/Halo 3 beta and only managed to outsell the PS3 by 50k units. Me thinks that Spring and Summer will prove to be an interesting race in terms of sales between both consoles - with the PS3's software schedule picking up steam, and all.
2/24/2007 Arnold Katayev