Sunday, November 19, 2006

Christmas gaming

Yesterday, I was able to preview PS3 (in a Sony event in Paris, which will go on until mid January) and play with it a little. This even is supposed to generate some buzz for PS3 since it will only be available in Europe in March 2007 and Nintendo Wii will be available starting December 8th. Here is a little report about this event : it is taking place in a nice gallery on Place des Vosges, transformed into a showroom with 15 PS3, many Full HD TV (both LCD and retroprojector), some PSP and a Full HD projector too. This is supposed to give you a VIP feeling but you can get an invitation very easily on Sony website and it is running until mid January. Since it was their first day, the entire set was not finished and they were still glueing some part of the decorations ;) Gran Tourismo 4 was offered to each participant and it was also possible to register to win a PS3. 5 games were available among the various PS3 but since about 40 people were allowed in the showroom at the same time, you had to wait for sometime 15min just to play one of the games (and the entire session was 2h only). Not very good for giving you a "VIP" feeling (whatever Sony is hoping). Among the various games, only two were really impressive regarding graphics (moreover on a Full HD TV set) : Gran Tourismo HD and Resistance. The three other games weren't that good, compared to what PS2 latest games are capable of (and I tried GT4 this afternoon and it is really able to use PS2 hardware). Moreover, Sony didn't even used multiplayer over network feature, which is sad since their set was sometime giving the impression you were competing against other people in the room.
Conclusions about this preview : before going there, I wasn't thrilled by PS3, mostly because all its mediacenter features are mostly available for free with my DSL set-top-box (Freebox HD), Linux installation feature, while nice, isn't that useful (you won't be able to run Linux or another OS in parallel to PS3 OS so don't hope to use it as a low end server unless you don't plan to ever play with it). And after this test session, I still don't feel an urge into buying a PS3 next March.

On the other hand, I'm much more impatient regarding Wii console : Nintendo guys are really trying to rethink how to play : after testing differents gameplay like Guitar Hero, Bongo or Eye Toy and DS games, I think they are going in the right direction. Moreover, targeting broad audience (and not pure hardcore gamers) can only help them gaining more market share.
So, Santa Claus, you know what I want for Christmas ;)