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What about that PS3, eh?

December 15, 2006 ・ Blog

Cos I’ve been doing a spot of writing for them, Three Speech invited me to their special evening at Sony’s ‘3rooms’ installation in Spitalfields on Tuesday. They kitted out a couple of floors of what seems part of the Truman Brewery with Tom Dixon et al furniture and laid out artfully-chosen trendy magazines among a collection of flat-screen TVs to demonstrate the joys of its March(?)-bound console.

The picture above is from an intimate Q and A with Sony’s head of worldwide studios, Phil Harrison. It was fascinating seeing him in the flesh. He’s given to sounding like one hell of a braggart in quotations, saying things, referring to Nintendo’s DS versus Sony’s PSP, like, “The idea of a handheld rivalry with Nintendo is an irrelevance, … Those formats don’t appear in our planning. It’s not a fair comparison; not fair on them, I should stress. That sounds arrogant, maybe, but it’s the truth."

However, he came across quite differently at the event - smooth, though not slick, wry and open. He’s become something of Sony’s spokesman for English-speaking world, even though his actual job - managing Sony’s games development - is rather more focused. That he’s extremely good at an event like the one I attended, full of slightly breathless young games bloggers, eager to wrest any morsel of PS3 information they can from him, seems to me remarkable. He answered questions unhesitatingly, yet very carefully - answering just enough to get away with essentially saying nothing.

Oh, actually, we learnt that his favourite recent non-Sony game was Nintendogs, and he completely avoided answering my question about whether Sony would be supporting homebrew Linux-based games development on the PS3 by releasing games. And still everyone was pretty happy.

Anyway, actually getting to play some games was fairly underwhelming, as expected, and I can’t really be bothered to say anything about them. We’ve all seen videos of lucky Americans and Japanese (oh, and Brit importers) playing on their PS3s, so the PS3’s first impact was never going to be spectacular.

Experiencing a game and a movie trailer in 1080p on a massive plasma telly with surround sound was highly impressive, mind. And its interface design makes the 360’s look highly ugly and awkward. If the launch games don’t excite me much, I must confess I rather covet the PS3’s general look and feel. How shallow of me…