Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Pondering the E3 press conferences...

Well they've all wrapped up the pre-show conferences and a lot of info was divulged (except by Nintendo who didn't commit to hardly anything.).

Sony kicked off the week with a delayed conference Monday evening. They let it all hang out so to speak, and street dated & priced their new console (Nov. 17 US, and $499.99 20gb version, $599.99 60gb (bells & whistles) version). WOW! After researching the different versions (which didn't last year they say was a bad idea for Microsoft, because it confused the customer?) I found a .pdf with the info. The "core" 20gb version loses the media reader (Pro Duo/SD/Compact flash), WiFi (802.11 b/g), HDMI output, not to mention 40gb of HD space. I don't see the media reader as a big loss, but the WiFi (no PSP<>PS3 connectivity) and the HDMI port (no Blu-Ray DVD true res output) are huge. You could probably add the WiFi back in via USB dongle, but the HDMI port wouldn't be as simple. I think I'll call them the "crippled" and "premium" sets. I wasn't planning on getting one, and this helped me solidify that thought.

Up next was Nintendo's conference which was streamed live through various sites. Unlike Sony "they felt it was in their best interest to keep the launch specifics a secret for a while longer.". All they stated was 4th qtr 2006 you would be playing with your Wii, (sorry, couldn't resist). Then they went on to show off some of the Wiimote game play, and talked about Wiiconnect24 (the console is always on, even when it's off!? Internet connectivity specifically). He mentioned like you have a town in Animal Crossing your not at home playing (say your at work), a friend could still come by your town and leave you a message. So the next time you turned AC on you would see that you had a visitor. They didn't show a whole lot of DS stuff, but did say that by this Christmas there would be another 100 titles available. I was on the fence about picking up a Wii, but the gameplay they showed looked great. If the price is right I'll definitely pick one up at launch (I've heard $249.99, personally I'd like $199.99).

Microsoft followed shortly after Nintendo's conference. There was a lot of game talk including a Halo 3 trailer, and word about GTA 4 being release simultaneous on the 360/PS3 in October next year although Microsoft has an exclusive deal with Rockstar to get "episodic" add-on content through LIVE. Most of the video's shown at the conference are up in the Marketplace (the Halo 3 one was up before it was shown at the conference!) I've checked out quite a few and found some things I'm really looking forward to. On a side note if you haven't checked out the Lost Planet demo, do so now! I love this game. They were tight lipped on the release date for the HD-DVD add-on, as well as the price.

I got up today to find they have updated the Press site with screenshots, and info about upcoming stuff. They are evidently coming out with a 256MB memory unit (about time), and some interesting wireless items including a LIVE headset, and steering wheel. Although there was no mention of the larger hard drive units.

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