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New PS3 news

Discussion in 'Playstation Forums' started by Miyazaki, Jul 24, 2005.

  1. Miyazaki

    Miyazaki
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    This week at Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation Meeting, company president Ken Kutaragi appeared on stage to discuss further information on the current status of the PlayStation 3, and gave a glimpse of some new titles in development.

    Kutaragi started out by reconfirming that the PS3 will be backwards-compatible with PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games and support high-definition TVs. "We're looking at a life cycle of 10 years with the PlayStation 3. We're currently shifting from standard TVs to HD TVs," said Kutaragi. "But in the next couple of years, most flat-panel TVs will be full HD. We're releasing the PS3 with full HD features from the start so that consumers won't have to buy another version of the console in the future. For the same reason, we're using Blu-ray as the PS3's disc format."

    "I'm aware that with all these technologies, the PS3 can't be offered at a price that's targeted towards households. I think everyone can still buy it if they wanted to," said Kutaragi to a mostly Japanese crowd. "But we're aiming for consumers throughout the world. So we're going to have to do our best [in containing the price]."

    Then Kutaragi issued a somewhat ominous warning. "I'm not going to reveal its price today. I'm going to only say that it'll be expensive," he stated.


    The rest of the discussion on the PS3 during the meeting was mostly oriented towards developers. Kutaragi began by showing a few slides of the PS3's development kit hardware, the first time it was officially unveiled. The preliminary development kit, code-named "Shreck", was a huge square metallic machine that ran with a 2.4Ghz Cell chip and 256MB XDR memory. The machine got a face-lift during spring and was renamed to "Cytology", and it is currently at about the size of a normal PC. Though it still runs at 2.4Ghz, it comes with an upgraded memory size of 512MB.

    Kutaragi revealed that Sony plans to shrink the developer kit to a "rack mount" size of a server (around 19 inches wide) when the next, near-final version is released in December. Called the "PS3 Reference Tool", the kit will run at 3.2Ghz, equal to the PS3's spec. Kutaragi commented that he also plans to offer a free-standing PS3 Reference Tool.

    Kutaragi surprised the crowd by revealing that, to date, only 450 PS3 dev kits have been shipped worldwide. Sony plans to release an additional 200 units in August and 300 more in September, but most developers probably will have to wait until October, when the company will ramp up its production to 3,000 units per month. For the time being, though Kutaragi admitted the current shortage is a problem. "We've been getting a lot of requests from developers since E3 that they want more development kits for the PS3," he said. "The demand for the kits has gone beyond what we can handle. We've been discussing what we can do about it."

    Ever since the PS3's debut at E3, the biggest concern amongst publishers has been a rise in development costs due to the complexity of making games for the console. Currently, developers lack familiarity with the console's technology, such as how to use the seven synergistic processing elements (SPEs) of the PS3's Cell CPU. Those fears returned during the meeting, as Kutaragi showed the "duck in the bathtub" demo from E3 and explained it uses a total of 16 programs, including eight physics simulations and eight programmable shaders.

    To assuage the audience's fears, as Kutaragi said Sony has been looking in into ways to make PS3 development easier and support game designers. Kutaragi revealed that SCE has signed licensing agreements with a number of renowned development-tool companies to include their programs as a part of the software developer kit that will be provided to PS3 game developers.

    Sony has signed licensing agreements with two of the leading developer middleware providers, Havok and Ageia. Based in Dublin, Ireland and San Francisco, Havok has seen its physics engine used in Max Payne 2 and Half-Life 2. The agreement will let Sony include a "Havok Complete" middleware suite in its PS3 development kit, which will come with an optimized physics engine, animation engine, and other tools, including linkers and debuggers.

    Ageia is a physics tool and hardware developer based in California, which is best known for its Ageia PhysX physics library, also known as NovodeX. According to Sony, the PhysX's multi-threaded capability makes it ideal to leverage the power of the Cell. Sony's licensing agreement with Ageia will allow a PhysX optimized for the PS3 to be included in the third-party publisher SDKs.

    Sony Chief Technical Officer Masami Chatani was also present at the PlayStation Meeting. He disclosed that Nvidia, maker of the PS3's RSX graphics processor, is currently working on a line-up of programmable shader tools for the console. These include: a CG compiler, a standard for PC graphics that's oriented towards C language; an FX composer, which is a program for creating shaders of various textures such as skin and hair; PerfHUD and ShaderPerf, which are evaluation tools to optimize the quality of the shaders; and Melody, which allows normal maps to be used in order to drop polygon volumes without lowering graphics quality.

    Chatani reconfirmed that the PS3 will support Open GL/ES as its standard API, and he also revealed support for Collada, an open-interchange file format for the interactive 3D industry.

    In terms of supporting developers on their use of the Cell processor, Sony is forming an alliance with chipmaker Transmeta Corporation, a company renowned for its software emulation technology and it x86-compatible, software-based microprocessors. Transmeta will be offering an SPE optimizer and software that will allow developers to effectively program for the Cell processor and its seven SPEs. The tools will allow Statistical Process Control (SPC) simulation on PCs, and it will also let programmers debug and tune their programs with runtime info. Transmeta's tools will be shipped to developers in Q4 2005.

    Sony has acquired SN Systems Limited, a leading middleware supplier best known for its renowned ProDG tool. The company has had a 10-year-plus relationship with SCE. With its agreement to become a part of Sony, SN Systems will continue to deliver upgraded editions of its ProDG and other development tools as well as provide extensive support to developers.

    Chatani revealed that there are already nine major middleware vendors that will be releasing development programs for the PS3, including Metrowerks, CRI Middleware, NDL, Web Technology, Alia, Dolby, Softimage, Autodesk, and RAD. He said that there are currently 2,000 SDK libraries available for development of PS3 games, but that number will expand to over 20,000 libraries when those of new licensing partners such as Havok and Ageia are added.

    For developers that want to learn the basics of how to program for the PS3, Sony will be releasing the source code, documents, and graphics for the "duck demo" in August. According to Chatani, the demo is a good example of how the PS3's physics and shader programs can be used; if even just one duck in the bathtub moves, it impacts the movement of all the other ducks in real time.

    Sony has also signed an agreement with Epic Games. It has obtained sublicensing rights to Epic's Unreal Engine 3, a game development framework which was the basis of the flashy "Man versus machine" technical demo at E3. Unreal Engine 3 includes a programmable shaders tool, physics engine, and GUI-based physics attribution tool, as well as other tools, such as scenario development, movie-scene development, and particle animation tools.

    Unlike the other development tools, the Unreal Engine 3 will not be for free. Publishers will be given an evaluation version in September, and they can choose whether to purchase the suite at the end of November. Sony did not disclose the Unreal Engine 3's price during the meeting, but assured developers that it will be "extremely affordable."

    Epic Games' founder and CEO Tim Sweeney appeared on stage to show the powers of the PS3 and Unreal Engine 3's programmable shader tool, using the man-against-robot demo from E3 and a new first-person demo that featured a corridor with different effects. With the Unreal Engine turned on, the graphics looked like they were taking full advantage of the PS3's capabilities, with realistic shadows and water effects. Turned off, the graphics looked much blander, like PS2 games with higher resolutions. "The shader programs here [in the demo] are typically about a hundred instructions long [per pixel]. With the PlayStation 2's graphic capabilities, it was about one to one, or two shader instructions [per pixel]," explained Sweeney, emphasizing the PS3's power.

    Following Epic Games, Bandai showed off a real-time demo of its PS3 Gundam game. The game is clearly still in development, as the demo featured a low frame rate, but high-resolution graphics and detailed mechs. Bandai Games company president Shin Unozawa revealed that the demo is only using one of the Cell's SPEs, and that he was amazed at the power of the PS3. The demo was developed by Bandai subsidiary BEC, and was made solely with in-house developed engines and shading programs.

    After Bandai, Koei showed a real-time demo of its PS3 game, Ni-Oh, which featured a Dynasty-Warrior-esque character fighting multiple enemies. Pausing the game and changing the camera angles, Koei chairman Keiko Erikawa zoomed in on the character's face to show its detail, which even showed the pores on the skin. Flanked by an assistant wielding a PS2 controller, Erikawa explained that with the PS2, developers were able to allot about 1,000 polygons on a character's face. With the PS3, Erikawa's team was able to allot up to 1.5 million polygons. Erikawa explained that additional polygons allow for more subdivision surfaces, allowing more wrinkles and personalities to the face. Erikawa also zoomed in on the door of the room in the demo, and showed how the PS3 allows the reflection on the floor to change naturally when the camera's angle is shifted around. Like Bandai, Koei developed its demo using its self-produced program engines for the PS3. "Our challenge will be to create a game that is as high quality as the graphics the PS3 can create. We look forward to the Tokyo Game Show," commented Erikawa at the end of her presentation.

    Following the real-time demo presentations, Sony announced a number of new PS3 games and showed their trailers, which were created solely with in-game footage. New titles announced at the meeting were; Lair, developed by game studio Factor 5 and Sony Computer Entertainment America; Endless Saga, developed by Korean maker Webzen; a new Genji title, developed by Game Republic; a new mech game tentatively named as "Project Force", developed by From Software; and Resident Evil 5 by Capcom. The trailers are available for viewing below.

    In his final remarks, Kutaragi hinted that PS3 demos of games will be playable at the Tokyo Game Show in September. "We hope to use the Tokyo Game Show as a chance for everyone to get to know, or possibly experience, what next-generation entertainment is all about," he said.
     
  2. CAS FAN

    CAS FAN
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    A 10 year life cycle!! :eek: Surely they can't mean 10 years until the PS4, this must mean 10 years as in the PSone is still being sold today.

    If they make it expensive then they will really have to produce something special for it to become a success. It seems odd for Sony to bring out a 'high end' console when their previous success has been more with the mass market. A lot of kids and casual games buy PS2's and to bring out a £400 - £500 (I assume that it will be somewhere in ths bracket otherwise they wouldn't be making a big deal about the price) will alienate a lot of them.

    On the other hand this could be a brave move that pulls off. As things stand video games consoles are still pretty much viewed as toys and Sony seem to be wanting to produce a higher end piece of AV Kit. Maybe this is just all part of the bigger Playstation picture, which was to move gaming away from toys and into the realm of a respected media format. If we think about it - the two 'toy' manufacturers Sega and Nintendo have been muscled out of the fight with Sega already gone and Ninty on the brink. The only real competitor left (IMO) is MS who are taking another router (that of expanding gaming around a huge online community).

    There's definately a lot more than just 3 consoles coming out this time. I really think that the next generation of consoles will mark a major shift in gaming and how it is perceived. It's almost like the current generation (and machines like the PSX) have all been testing the water. They have dabbled in the likes of DVD & multimedia functionality, Hi Def, HD storage and online gaming and it seems that both MS & Sony have settled on their own visions of the future. The only company who seems to be getting left behind is Nintendo, although to be fair to them they haven't shown their full hand yet.
     
  3. Miyazaki

    Miyazaki
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    IMHO sony are really take a massive gamble with the ps3. What if bluray becomes the new betamax or minidisc? They would be royally screwed then!
     
  4. Tejstar

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    But even if that is the case, at least blu-ray will allow the high storage capacities needed for next-gen games. At least they have that to fall back on! :)
     
  5. Miyazaki

    Miyazaki
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    Companies are fitting 3gb plus onto cd-roms nowadays for games, and the xbox 360 can fit 9gb onto a disc as it is.

    With compression methods that is likely to be over 20gb.

    The xbox and ps2 can fit around 4-6gb on their discs, but the gamecube only 1.8gb.

    I doubt whether the 50gb+ of bluray will ever be used, and if it is, it probably won't be until the end of the console cycle.

    Besides, compared to standard dvd, bluray will have very slow loading times indeed.
     
  6. drskhaled

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    It'll be 4-500 quid for the first 6-12 months then it will go down in price. You used to have to pay that much for an amiga in the past. Youve got roughly three camps, kids gamers and rich people. Kids will keep playing ps2 till ps3 or 360 come down in price. gamers will buy 360 first and wait for ps3 to go down in price and the rich kids will just buy it because they can. I'm definitely in the buy 360 first and wait for ps3 to go down group
     
  7. CAS FAN

    CAS FAN
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    BluRay will actually have much faster access times than DVD (that's another of it's advantages - much shorter loading times, or more info loaded in a similar time). BluRay's access speed is 54.0Mbps and DVD is 11.1Mbps (so it's around 5 times faster!). See here for my source.

    GT4 on the PS2 fills a DVD9 and (due to the PS2's poor power) that's with low polygon counts and texture resolutions compared to what we'll get on Next Gen consoles. I agree that initially most stuff will be DVD but don't forget that back in the days of CD we all questioned whether we'd ever need more than 700mb for a game. DVD's are now the common format for games but this didn't happen overnight. The majority of games are now at least 4gb with some like GT4 being over 8gb and I feel that the huge graphical leap forward with the next gen consoles (as well as our desire for bigger and more realistic & detailed games) will see game sizes increase to over 15gb in the near future. Game sizes have increased by around 5-10 times in the last 5 years and I see no reason why this advancement should slow up.

    It seems that from what Sony have said that they are looking to produce a machine that will almost span two console lifecycles, which could be why they seem to be going for the absolute best now. MS on the other hand are taking the approach of two consoles over that time span. Personally i'm favouring the MS route but I do have to admit that the Sony method is brave. If things go for Sony as planned then they should easily have the best console over the first 4-5 years in which time I guess they will be looking to capture as much of the market as possible. Then when the next X-Box comes out they will be hoping that technology will not have moved on that much and that Blu Ray, 1080p and HDMI will all be the formats of choice. If that's the case then many people may not bother with the new X-Box as the PS3 already has all of those features. The only real advantage that the new X-Box would have would be better graphics, but will graphical improvements be that noticable by then? Also by then developers will have really learnt to get the most out of the PS3 where as they will be staring from scratch again with a new X-Box. This may also lead to more software developers becoming exclusive to PS3 as having a longer console cycle makes their job far easier. When you also consider that by then the PS3 would probably be pretty cheap compared to a new X-Box then it seems that their move may be a pretty bright one.

    Sony are no doubt taking a risk with the PS3 but as we are on the eve of the HD era then it's a good time to be taking that risk. Any major developments to home HD resolutions and HD storage should be a way off after this and their console therefore has a great potential life span of at least 8 years if it all works out. They are also the only company who has the brand to possibly pull this off as there are still a lot of people who will just buy it because it's a Playstation.
     
  8. Rob20

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    Blu-Ray's standard transfer rate is 36MBps, with the current max 2x @ 72MBps. Unless Sony has a 4x or higher drive ready for mid 2006, the 360 will have a higher transfer rate what with it's 12x dvd drive. What's that, roughly 120MBps? As for getting more info onto 360 discs via compression, would this be possible in real time. I can't imagine console gamers will want to wait for their games to be uncompressed everytime they wish to play. Also, Microsoft has stated that the HDD is not essential to play 360 games. So unless the 360 can uncompress in real time, 9.4GB will be the max per disc. Still, multiple dissc are always feasible. What with dvd discs being so cheap now.
     
  9. AML

    AML
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    At this time blu rau wont be necesary for games. It will be more for movies and other Blu Ray content.

    Games will never fill the full 50gig, but it will still be the media of the future for sony.

    The PS3 will simply be one way sony introduce Blu Ray to the market.
     
  10. Tejstar

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    Does that meant PS3 games will still be on DVD’s as opposed to BD’s?
     
  11. D-man

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    I think Sonys "extended console life cycle" is a very good idea. Developers are always moaning that as soon as they get used to a piece of hardware, it's changed. Consider the difference in quality of graphics between first gen releases and final gen. I think this will be even more pronounced with next gen consoles as they are, by definition, much more sophisticated machines. You never know, developers may manage the rare feats seen at E3 after the 10 year cycle. ;)

    Whether this approach is enough to suppress the consumers innate desire to buy something new every other year, remains to be seen.
     
  12. Malone

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    I suppose it depends on the software suitably improving over the 10 yr period.

    Matt
     
  13. Tejstar

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    I think their proposed 10 year cycle is very optimistic. Although the CPU and GPU market won’t move as quickly as it has in the past, I still think that after 5 years the console will start to show its age.
     
  14. Miyazaki

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    As has been mentioned before, I believe the term "life cycle" pertains to the length of time the ps3 will be produced. If I am correct, they still made the SNES until around 1998, and the PS1 still has games produced for it.
     
  15. CAS FAN

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    Indeed, as mentined in my first post I believe this to be the case, however there is still the possibility that Sony is trying something a little bit longer term. I guess it's wait and see.
     
  16. scrapbook

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    I notice the PS3 is up on the sony.co.uk website now.......a spring 2006 release, supposedly!

    I am assuming this isn't a UK date....although it doesn't exactly specify
     
  17. Tejstar

    Tejstar
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    Here’s the link if anyone’s interested!
     

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