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TGS: Sony Q&A Reveals HDMI Changes, Japanese Price Drop

TGS: Sony Q&A Reveals HDMI Changes, Japanese Price Drop

September 21, 2006 | By Simon Carless, Tokyo

September 21, 2006 | By Simon Carless, Tokyo
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At a press conference kicking off the 2006 Tokyo Game Show, Sony Ken Kutaragi has revealed several specifics about the PlayStation 3's plans, both in a heady keynote speech and in a post-keynote Q&A with a Nikkei BP representative.

In the post-keynote Q&A, Kutaragi was quizzed on the lack of the key HDMI standard in the lower-spec PS3, and he commented: "At the time of E3 there was no [consensus on] HDMI", and that Sony was "concerned that it was overkill." But negative reception from the press and manufacturers has caused the company to reconsider. Kutaragi slyly commented: "If you just open the model on the day of the launch... you may see HDMI." [UPDATE: An official Sony Japan press release confirms that HDMI will be included in all Japanese PS3 models, and official Sony contacts are indicating that this will be true for all worldwide PS3 models.]

When asked about the expensive nature of the PS3, Kutaragi somewhat bizarrely claimed that in the U.S., the $499 pricing had retailers and publishers happy at "such a great function for that price", trying to paint a picture where Europe was similarly happy, and it was only Japan (where the lower-spec model is 59,800 yen ($515), and the higher-spec price up to retailers) that price came up as an issue.

He commented: "We set the price in other currencies and converted back to Japan", but there has been a change of heart, and he directly stated that the lower-price model will now be below 50,000 yen in Japan when it launches - presumably 49,980 yen ($429), an effective 10,000 yen price cut for the machine. [UPDATE: The same official Sony Japan press release confirms the 49,980 yen price point, and Sony contacts indicate that this is a Japan-only price drop.]

The keynote itself revealed the PlayStation 3's ability to emulate titles from Sony's gaming archive - including titles for the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 - over a network connection. Kutaragi also announced functionality, similar to Nintendo's upcoming Virtual Console, including confirmed Sega Genesis and Turbo Grafx 16 functionality. No specific titles or price points have been confirmed as of yet, with Kutagari simply stating that these specifics will be discussed with individual publishers.

Kutaragi also talked briefly about the concept of network-downloadable content for flagship franchise Gran Turismo, and a post-keynote press release revealed two separate parts to the Gran Turismo HD product, respectively called GT HD Premium and GT HD Classic - the latter "allows for the long awaited feature of additional cars (ranging up to 770 car models) and tracks (up to 51) available through ongoing downloads."

[UPDATE: Coverage of Kutaragi's keynote speech in full is available in a separate Gamasutra article.]


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