About a week after the Playstation 3 was launched in Japan, consumers learned of several problems that happened during and after launch. First off, some entrepreneurs were smart enough to hire a bunch of homeless men and illegal Chinese immigrants to line up at the stores retailing the PS3 so they can get copies and sell them for higher prices on ebay. I am sure there are a bunch of grey market PS3s selling on ebay even as I write this and it is even more appealing because all PS3 games are region-free, which means they can be played on any PS3 regardless of country of origin. The other problems stems from production snafus in the Sony assembly lines, which means there will be shortages in North America and Europe won’t even get a PS3 until March 2007.
Now, when the PS3 was first introduced to the press and curious consumers, Kazuo Hirai and Ken Kutaragi told us that the PS3 was going to be 100% backwards compatible with PSone and PS2 games. However, it turns out to be a bunch of lies since the Japanese Playstation 3 website now has a page that will allow you for search for compatibility issues for any PSone or PS2 games. So far, it looks like Gran Turismo 4 will barely load, the Guitar Hero peripherals will not work at all, while Tekken 5 will have no sound with some game modes do not work. What this means is that my Logitech steering wheel and Guncon are only good for my PS2; just great. One would think that Sony would actually do a great deal of quality assurance before making such outlandish claims just like when they claimed to have signed up SEGA and NEC to their version of Nintendo’s “Virtual Console” when that was never the case.
I also found out that Sony will be making official PS3 HDMI cables, which will retail for about $50 USD. So let’s see: PS3 will cost $700, PS3 Memory Adaptor will cost $20, HDMI cable $50, optical cable $30, and one game will be $60. With tax and potential markups, it looks like I will be paying at least $900 USD for the Playstation 3’s total solution. I think I will wait at least 2 months when they start cutting the price due to tanking sales. The Wii is becoming increasingly appealing at this point.
The Zune came out today and it does not impress me. The system has severe limitations on what sound files it can accept, what videos or songs can be shared, and all online music stores are not compatible with Zune (not even MSN music). If there are any innovations on the Zune, Apple will just observe how it’s used by Zune users and incorporate those features on their next generation iPods. Worst of all, the Zune cannot accept any podcasts! Microsoft has failed to “emulate, improve and innovate” in the portable music player market just as it did in the video game console market.