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Wednesday, May 17, 2006
PS3 Launch Hampered by Lack of Development Kits


With another 6 months to go before Sony launches its PlayStation 3, game publishers have not gained access to final hardware, making it difficult to create games that utilize the console's power at all this holiday.

Financial news publication Bloomberg.com is reporting that when the PlayStation 3 launches this November there will be "fewer and less-powerful games because the company hasn't given final technical details of the new console."

The result is that publishers that do want to take part in the PS3 launch will have to release games that may not fully take advantage of the power of the Cell processor. A number of other publishers, however, will likely decide to delay the release of their titles so that they have more time to perfect them. In fact, THQ chief executive Brian Farrell said that THQ opted not to release a version of The Sopranos for PS3 simply because the publisher didn't have enough information about Sony's next-gen console.

While THQ is waiting, other publishers don't seem too concerned. Both Activision and Electronic Arts have been working with the development kits as is. "While we may not have the final, final hardware, we know what the processor's capacity is,'' explained Activision CEO Robert Kotick. "We have active development under way.'' Added EA president Paul Lee: "We're happy with the development kits."

Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft's chief executive, noted that not having final hardware is a new trend that developers and publishers will simply have to adapt to. Microsoft didn't get its Xbox 360 dev kits out on time either.

Still, larger publishers may have the resources to be able to deal with this problem but others may not, especially when development for the other platforms is noticeably more affordable.

Kaz Hirai, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO, claims that there will be upwards of 15 titles available and that Sony is now giving game makers the final prototypes and software, "allowing for plenty of time to prepare games for PS3's debut." For the sake of comparison, Xbox 360 had 18 titles available at its launch last year.


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