DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Donna Roces watched her friend Jonathan Nipales try out a game on the PlayStation 3 at the Sony Expo at the Ala Moana Hotel on Friday.
A test drive leaves many ready to shell out for PlayStation 3
EVEN THOUGH most people at last weekend's 2006 Sony Expo only had a few minutes to try it, the new PlayStation 3 had them itching to spend $599 on the new home entertainment system when it arrives in stores Nov. 17.
"I didn't reserve it, so I hope I can get one at a place that doesn't take reservations," said Tim Mah. "It has really good graphics, and the new R2 and L2 buttons are cool."
The East Honolulu resident had just finished playing "Resistance: Fall of Man," one of three titles to be available when the PS3 goes on sale. "Genji: Days of Blade" and "NBA '07," are the other two, with about 20 more scheduled to follow by the end of the year.
Cameron Spangler spent a few minutes playing "Motor Storm," a driving game, and knew almost immediately that he would be setting aside his old Nintendo Gamecube for a PS3.
"I don't know about standing in line, but I'll probably get one right when it comes out," he said. "It's so realistic. Every time you crash, every single part of the car goes flying!"
With eight processors and the ability to perform more than 200 billion calculations per second, the PlayStation 3 wields more power than some home computers.
By utilizing new Blu-ray disc technology, the system can run games (and movies) that would have required multiple DVDs for the PlayStation 2. Blu-ray discs can hold up to 50 gigabytes of data, more than five times the capacity of a traditional DVD.
Joseph Lee of the Kaneohe Marine Base was among thousands of gamers who took advantage of the chance to test the PS3, which won't be in stores until Nov. 17.
The extra storage space, when coupled with the PS3's new internal hard drive and Cell Broadband Engine, means users will enjoy an incredibly rich gaming experience.
"In the past when you were playing games, all the processes -- whether it's audio, sound or graphics -- they all had to be processed linearly," said Kazuo Hirai, president and chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment America, during a press conference on Thursday. "Now we have seven processors and one extra backup processor ... that can simultaneously process different information.
"That's all done in real time, which gives the content creators a lot more leeway in terms of what they want to visually show on the screen, as well as the environments and sound. It also gives the characters the ability to have their own artificial intelligence."
Using "Resistance: Fall of Man" as an example, Hirai explained the difference between what users would have seen if the game were released for the PS2 instead of the PS3.
"On a PS2, we had about maybe 30 characters maximum that you could have moving around in a particular scene," he said. "With a PS3, you can actually have up to 400 different animations that are moving at the same time ... using their own A.I."
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kelly Tran and Alvin Santiago checked out a PlayStation 3 video demonstration at the Sony Expo on Friday.
Salt Lake resident Sixto Palacios owns both a PlayStation 2 and XBox 360, and can't wait to pick up the PS3. Not only was he impressed by the images he saw on two 23-inch LCD monitors set up at the expo, but the processing power afforded by the new Cell Broadband Engine made things run smoother than he'd seen before.
"There's no hesitation on there, compared to the (XBox) 360," he said. "The graphics and transitions are better than any of the other systems I've seen out right now."
But for some hard-core gamers, the new technology generates more questions than answers.
Kaneohe resident Joseph Lee is an avid player of "SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs," and founded the largest online community for the game (Special Operations Training Group) five years ago.
"The A.I. isn't all that it was cracked up to be, especially on 'Resistance,' " he said. "It was probably one of the most hyped games of the year, but I'm not really that impressed."
He also has questions about Sony's online service, and is curious to see how the company responds to concerns from users who don't immediately upgrade to the PS3.
"I asked as many questions as I could about online play, but there's still a lot that's being kept in the dark," he said. "Nobody really knows, and it's a huge question, considering that Sony's biggest online community is 'SOCOM.' I'm really concerned about backwards-compatible online games."
The concerns haven't stopped him from jumping on the PS3 bandwagon, however. Lee has reserved eight of the machines for purchase.
"I'm still stoked," he laughed. "I can't wait."