With the launch of the PLAYSTATION 3 just a month away I figured it was time to sit down and do a little prognosticating about what we can expect after the Sony’s next generation console hits store shelves. The following ten items are based on what I saw after the launch of the Xbox 360 last year, the information that that is currently available from Sony's, and a bit of speculation on my part. This piece was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek so it shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Check back on Thursday for my Ten Wii predictions.
1. PS3’s will be on sale on eBay for over $3000
It’s a no brainer that the systems are going to sell out. Given the low numbers of PLAYSTATION 3's that Sony will be shipping at launch compared to the existing installed base of PS2 owners, I don't think that the consoles selling for five times the sticker price to be that far out of the picture. Xbox 360's were selling for close to $2000 on eBay at launch last year and it's not too far out of the picture to think that the PS3's extra cost and scarcity isn't going to add another $1000 to the price of the system on eBay. I hope I'm wrong on this one but I think we’re going another round of massive price gouging on the PS3 this year.
2. Retail employees are going to be very popular people after November 17th
This dovetails to the first point a bit as retail employees (those working at Best Buy, Target, Circuit City, etc) are going to be the ones with the scoop on when new shipments are going to be coming in and when they are going to be available for sale. People are going to be very nice to them to get information on when those shipments are coming in. I wouldn’t even be surprise to see reports of people giving “financial” incentives for that kind of information.
3. Hardware horror stories will be rampant
There will be a lot of overheating/defective hardware stories appearing on gaming blogs, and some of them may actually be from people who own a PS3. Early adopters always face getting defective units and given the manufacturing issues of the PS3 I imagine there is the chance for even more problems with the PS3.
Right after the launch of the 360 last year there was a rash of stories about the units overheating and breaking down and while a good number of them turned out to be true (something Microsoft verified last month by issuing refunds for people who had to pay for repairs) there were a lot of people just making stuff up and posting it to the various sites. I fully expect that we'll see exactly the same thing happen this year.
4. flOw isn't going to be the PS3's Geometry Wars
I know a lot of people were impressed by the cool online demo of fl0w that appeared a few weeks ago and are expecting this to be the Geometry Wars Evolved for the PS3 but the game just doesn't have the same frantic feeling and pacing that Geometry Wars Evolved had. It's going to be something of a sleeper hit and I'm sure a lot of sites will draw parallels to Geometry Wars Evolved but the game play of the two just isn’t there.
5. Resistance: Fall of Man is going to do well but not as well as Call of Duty 2 did for the 360 launch
I'm not ripping on Resistance as I think the game will do well, it's just that Resistance is going to have to go up against Call of Duty 3 which is something that Call of Duty 2 didn't last year when it was one of the launch titles for the 360. The only real FPS game that Call of Duty 2 had to go up against was Project Dark Zero and that really wasn't that much competition.
6. Crab monster jokes will populate nearly every single Genji II review
Sony dug their own hole with this one and they are going to have to sit in it when the reviews start to show up. Yeah, this is the kind of the middle of the list fodder you see on most Top 10 lists so let's keep moving.
7. People won't really miss the rumble as much as they think they will
As long as the games are good and the system runs without a hitch, people aren't going to notice the absence of vibration in the PS3. I know people (especially the people at Immersion) want to make a big deal about the lack of rumble/force feedback in the PS3 but if the game experience is fun and the motion sensing works as advertised then I think people are going to be able to get on with their lives. This does raise a question about if developers will stop supporting this function on multi-platform games I severely doubt this will happen although it could happen if the PS3 gets a severe numerical advantage over the Xbox 360.
8. The motion sensing component of the controller is going to go over better than expected but it won’t go over as well as the Wii
I know this is another no brainer but after my session with Warhawk at E3 I was genuinely impressed with how well the motion control could be worked into a game. After reading this month's new roll of toilet paper, errr, issue of EGM and seeing how the other PS3 games are going to use the tilt sensor I think there's a lot of potential for the PS3 here and a lot more than they are getting credit for. Since it's not the main focus of the console I don't think it's going to generate quite the buzz that Nintendo's new console is but it certainly brings something new to the table but I think we’ll see some innovative uses for the technology in the second generation of games.
9. Sony's new online service is going to be better than people expect but still fall short of Xbox Live. People will forgive this as it is free
While the Eurogamer article last week filled in some gaps about the Sonly online experiece there are still a lot of details missing about the Sony online program. Sony's online service should certainly be as good if not better than the one they've deployed for the PS2. I'm sure that Sony will probably make some big strides in catching up with Microsoft in terms of the features available online such as demos, micro-transactions and other downloadable content. I still think it is going to fall a little short of Xbox Live though. People forget that one of the big reasons they pay for Xbox Live is the entire infrastructure that Microsoft has built into the service and relying on budget conscious developers to build a lot of that into their games is asking a lot. Besides the obvious things like matchmaking the service provides several different feedback mechanisms as well as different environments so that you don't have to play with the foul mouthed kiddies if you don't want to.
10. Sony has one last surprise left up its sleeves related to their online service and I think it might be access to the vast Sony music and video library.
There are still more than a few gaps left in the Sony online strategy (will there be anything like what Microsoft's achievements, gamertag, and gamer points) one of the big advantages that Sony has is a ginormous library of content that they could easily make available online. If they could somehow allow gamers to download movies on demand or download video and music clips from their online service this could be a huge advantage over Xbox Live as Microsoft is dependant on other companies to provide them with downloadable content.