My thoughts on Video Games
XBOX 360, Playstation, Wii and PC Gaming

Archive for August, 2009

Sony PS3 slashes price by $100 introduces new slim PS3

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Sony introduces lighter, smaller PS3 with a slimmer price at $299 to regain market share and potentially capture expand the blueray HD market.

It’s official. Sony today slashed the price of its PlayStation 3 game console by $100 to $299 in an effort to goose sales ahead of the crucial holiday shopping season. Sony also unveiled a sleeker, thinner model of the PS3 that packs an 120-gigabyte hard disk drive, 50% larger than the current model. The newer model is expected to hit store shelves by Sept. 1, said Peter Dille, Sony’s senior vice president of marketing.New-PS3

"This is a game changing moment for us," Dille said in an interview. "There’s a lot of pent-up demand for the PS3. It’s been a tough economy, and a lot of people have been sitting on the fence waiting for the price cut."

The announcement, made at a Sony press conference in Cologne, Germany, was widely anticipated by a number of analysts who said a price cut would help the company gain momentum. Game publishers have also been pushing Sony for a price cut in order to broaden the base of console owners to whom they can hawk their software.

"A price cut is long overdue on the PS3," said Colin Sebastian at Lazard Capital Markets, who earlier  this year predicted a price cut. "We expect an uplift in unit sales, which is the typical pattern at retail when console prices are cut. But the question longer term for Sony is whether they can sustain market share gains, especially when competing platforms, such as the Xbox 360 lower their prices as well."

Sony’s cost for making the console has fallen 70% since introducing the device in November 2006, according to Daniel Ernst, an analyst with Hudson Square Research.

The PS3 currently lags behind in the three-way console race. Nintendo has sold slightly more than 50 million Wii consoles worldwide, while Microsoft has sold slightly more than 30 million Xbox 360s, according to Sebastian. Sony, meanwhile, has sold roughly 24 million PS3s as of June 30, according to Dille.

Besides the smaller price tag, Sony is hoping the sleeker PS3 will beckon reticent buyers this coming holiday. The new model, which will replace the existing version, is 36% smaller and weighs 7 pounds, or 32% lighter than its predecessor.

"Even in the tough economy, families have been reluctant to give up their at-home entertainment," Dille said. "For $299, you’re getting a game machine, a Blu-ray player and a 120-gig hard drive you can use to download movies. It’s a tremendous value."

Hello Kitty Online interview with a fan

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

It is not very often — and not very easy — to transform a pop culture icon into an online game, but the developers of Hello Kitty Online, which is coming to the Philippines through exclusive publisher Level Up!, have pulled it off rather nicely, according to online gamer Tiffany Chua.

For Chua, a BS Psychology student at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, the release of an online game based on the iconic Hello Kitty is a very welcome development, particularly for fans of the Sanrio franchise like her.

Chua said that even before the release of a Hello Kitty online game, she’s always been a Sanrio fan. She shared this photo of the piece of cartolina that she received from her friend on her birthday. Chua’s friend filled it with the nickname “Tiffy” in the shape of Hello Kitty’s face.

Chua actually works for the company that’s been in charge of since 2006.

“I first heard about the game being in the works around that same year. Back then, my workmate and I were joking around about being GMs in the game,” Chua shared.

She said that when news came that HKO was accepting closed beta testers, she immediately signed up.

She admitted that she was not immediately accepted for the closed beta because so many players signed up.

After a few weeks, she said she eventually received an acceptance e-mail instructing her to download the game.

“I was ecstatic. I have been a fan of Hello Kitty since I started working on the blogs and forums,” Chua said.

So what’s it like to play Hello Kitty Online or HKO, and what are the game’s main attractions?

Chua said that unlike the other online games that are currently available, HKO has absolutely no element of violence, and so gamers will not see their beloved Hello Kitty and friends wielding swords and killing monsters.

“HKO has never been about violence. You don’t get to kill the monsters, and there are no PvPs,” Chua shared, adding that the game is instead “devoted to fostering friendship and camaraderie.”

Online gamers need to cooperate to accomplish tasks, like building a house, for example, she said.

And there’s more than just putting the house together brick by brick. The twist, Chua said, is that you need to provide food and drinks to your co-workers as the act of building the house drains their energy. You will need to manage your resources for this purpose, making the game still somewhat guild-based.

“What happened was, I planted a lot of watermelons, harvested them, and made juice. It was in this setting that I was able to meet a lot of my Sanrio friends,” Chua shared.

Chua said that contrary to what people might expect, HKO doesn’t just appeal to girls, and that many of her fellow HKO players are actually guys.

She jokingly shared that her guy friends who are playing HKO might be following the “real men wear pink” fad and that “real men play HKO.”

“I even met a guy in his 30s playing the game. He was really decent and helpful to all of us in the guild,” she said.

Chua added that she would recommend HKO to everyone “because it’s such a nice place to make friends.”

Reposted  article by Joel Pinaroc originally from here.