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Friday, December 30, 2005

Look Ahead: 2006

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Look Ahead: 2006

"Journey into gaming's future as we gaze into our crystal ball and predict next year's developments, innovations, and major sellers.

Picture this: It's December 31, 2006. Some things have changed. For example, the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Revolution are both sitting on the shelves at your local electronics retailer. Other things haven't: Dead or Alive 4 is still coming out next week, you still can't stop playing World of Warcraft, and your granny is still not talking to you because of that that time she walked in on you playing San Andreas. Join us for our predictions on what to expect from 2006.

PlayStation 3 Premiere

2006's big news is certain to be the PlayStation 3. Sony's still talking up a spring release, but so far hasn't specified whether it'll be a worldwide simultaneous launch, like the Xbox 360, or a staggered launch in multiple territories over the course of several months. This would follow the trend of the PS2, the PSOne, the PSP, and just about every other major console release in history. Yeah, our money's on a spring launch in Japan, and a Western debut sometime in October or November.

Despite promises to the contrary, Sony probably won't make enough consoles to meet the demand, and this time, Microsoft execs will be the ones paying thousands for a competing console from an online scalper. The 360 launch demonstrated that if you get the marketing right, people will pay considerably over sticker price to secure an in-demand product, so it's unlikely Sony will lose too much sleep at launching over $300.
Although the launch games line-up won't enthuse critics -- launch line-ups never do -- many purchasers will be just as interested in the high-def movie promise of the machine's Blu-Ray drive as they are in the games potential. In years to come, it'll be seen as a major driving force for the eventual dominance of the Blu-Ray format. Oh, and we're also expecting -- no, hoping -- Sony will come up with a name for the format that doesn't make it sound like some kind of fish.

Meanwhile, PS3 owners will have good reason to look forward to the next Gran Turismo game. In a quest to bring an unsurpassed level of realism to the genre, you'll start your racing career with a battered Honda Civic and have to buy all your upgrades from knockoff dealers on Ebay." [more]

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