Thursday, July 12, 2007

And the next generation console war winner is....Epic Games?

Two very interesting announcements were made this week at the new-and-improved E3.

Microsoft announced that its Games for Windows Live technology is being included in the Unreal 3 Game Engine.

Sony announced a partnership with Epic where the Unreal 3 Game Engine will be optimized for the Playstation 3.

What does this mean? The wikipedia has an excellent explanation of what a game engine is.

These developments basically mean that game developers will have an easier time developing for the 360, PC and PS3 because the Unreal 3 engine will be optimized for all three environments. This may level the playing field for those that feel one system is more difficult to develop for than another.

This also means lots and lots of cash in Epic's pockets. I would love to be at their post E3 party!

Is the Playstation 3 a victim of the Playstation 2?

I ask the question because while everyone is looking at Sony's competition to understand why it is "struggling" in the next gen console race, I think Sony can look in the mirror to find their answer.

Microsoft took a lot of heat for quietly discontinuing its support of the original Xbox. They seemed to think that supporting two consoles was not beneficial to their business, even though the black box had a lot of life left in it. Looking at the success of the 360 since that decision it is easier to say that they were right.

Nintendo made a similar decision with the Gamecube. Although I think that the overwhelming demand for the Wii, made discontinuing the Gamecube a no-brainer.

Sony is trying to support two systems, the Playstation 2(PS2) and the Playstation 3(PS3). Take a look at these numbers from 2003 taken from a Gamespy report on the gaming market in Japan. Sony has a huge install base for PS2 owners. It is very lucrative for them in the short term to continue support for PS2. Sony is also still strongly supporting the PS2 with titles like God of War 2.

Short term support is where Sony is short sighted. After launching the PS3, the system is still lacking killer software that make the system a must have, Resistance: Fall of Man being the exception. The recent price drop is making the console more attractive to consumers. At this point though, people are basically buying an entry-level blu-ray player and not a game system.

Should Sony have halted the support of the PS2? On one hand, if Sony had titles like God of War for the PS3 at launch people would be more excited about the system. On the other hand, they would be leaving tens of millions of dollars on the table if they completely walked away from supporting the system. If ten percent of their user base purchase a new game at $50, that is roughly 300 million dollars for the company.

What do you think? Is the Playstation 3 a victim of the Playstation 2?

Trips Ahoy

My wife and I decided in 2006 to try for a sister for my oldest daughter. Even though it was just over a year since we our first child, we went for another round of IVF because we're in our mid 30's and didn't want to wait much longer to try again.

We were not shooting for triplets. We implanted two eggs and wound up with our daughter. We figured that we were older and we wanted to improve our chances for another child, so we had the doctor implant three. And they all took.

My wife held up like a champ during the pregnancy. Between taking care of the house and a toddler while carrying three babies, I am sure she was perpetually exhausted. Eventually she was admitted to the hospital for bedrest and about a week or so after that, the triplets were born. They were premature, I think about 10 or 12 weeks, but they didn't have any serious issues. All they needed to do was eat and grow. They were about 3 pounds each at birth;at almost five months old they are probably 15 pounds each.

Please meet Aidan, Nia and Tim. You'll see them occasionally here on my blog.