Playstation 3 - Big in Japan Part II
Monday Update: 11:58AM EST
On Saturday, anxious Japanese citizens braved the November chill and the throngs of fellow citizens as queues formed in front of shops such as Bic Camera, Seibu, Gamers, and Softmap. A few of our customers in Japan wrote to NCS over the weekend to report their success (or lack thereof) in obtaining a PS3 console. Prospective customers who waited in front of well known stores with very long queues were largely turned away while wily buyers who waited in front of lesser known shops with smaller crowds were able to buy the PS3. Some stores implemented a lottery system with lucky winners allowed the chance to pay up for a PS3. Repeat: allowed.
Lines in Japan
Press Coverage in Yurakucho
NCS Receives Partial Shipment
The first batch of confirmed PS3 preorders will ship out today but the remainder will ship tomorrow when the bulk of our stock arrives. As long as you confirmed or placed your preorder with us before Sunday at 11:33AM EST, your order will ship tomorrow. If your order is shipping today, you will receive an email before 1:00PM EST with tracking details. NCS is currently accepting new orders for both 20GB and 60GB models to ship on Friday of this week or Monday of next week (Note: our new shop processes transactions automatically and you will be billed at checkout):
Order a Japanese 20GB Playstation 3 at US$879 + shipping
Order a Japanese 60GB Playstation 3 at US$989 + shipping
Super Shiny Shiny²
Sony's stock photos of the PS3 don't convey how shiny the console is when it catches the light. Remember Padmé's glittering golden starship in Star Wars Episode 2? It's like that. Position the PS3 on a well lit table and be blinded by the bling. We're waiting for Flavor Flav to tie a chain around the PS3 and hang it from his neck while wearing a Viking helmet because that's what time it is. The membrane buttons on the console are also slick.
NCS was able to test the USA versions of Marvel Ultimate Alliance and Tony Hawk's Project 8 on the Japanese PS3 and we confirm that both games boot and play perfectly. Kudos to Sony for doing away with region locks. With only five Japanese PS3 games available at launch, the availability of incoming USA PS3 games in the next few days will be a welcome addition to the fledgling software library. Please note however that PS1 and PS2 games are region-coded - USA PS1 and USA PS2 games are not recognized by a Japanese PS3 and will not boot.
PS3 Supply Situation
Sony plans on shipping 100,000 PS3 consoles in Japan every week after the launch. That should reassure buyers of ready availability for Japanese PS3 consoles up until the big holiday. NCS will update our website if there are any price changes in the next couple of weeks.
No Exploding PS3s Reported
Of the 58 Japanese customers who wrote in to NCS over the weekend, none reported glitches or errors with their new consoles. This is in stark contrast to the PS2 launch where we started receiving emails and reports of problems within hours of the launch in Japan. Many also remarked on the polished interface and the smooth sliding disc ejection. A cursory check with a few of our suppliers in Japan who sold a few hundred units locally was also satisfactory - no defects or returns yet.
NCS customers: Please update your Japanese PS3 firmware with v1.10 upon receiving the console. The download is linked below and is a little under 100MB: http://djp01.ps3.update.playstation....b/PS3UPDAT.PUP
Playstation Network Online
The PS3 network lit up and went live over the weekend and gamers may chat with fellow Playstation devotees, check out rankings for games, view demos, and download Playstation games. That's right, a total of ten PS1 games are available for download at JPY2000 each. The titles "in stock" at the moment are:
» Arc the Lad
» Biohazard: Director's Cut Edition
» Bishi Bashi Special
» Jumping Flash!
» Konami Antiques MSX Collection Vol. 1
» Konami Antiques MSX Collection Vol. 2
» Hot Shots Golf 2
» Mr. Driller
» Silent Bomber (in our opinion, the best game of the lot)
» Tekken 2
The launch line-up of Japanese PS3 software was meager but that proved to be no deterrent to buyers. The Playstation brand continues to be a strong selling point for Japanese consumers and we suspect USA consumers as well when the console launches here later in the week. That loyalty may assure Sony of a third term as the reigning industry juggernaut as a new generation transitions into place. Every new hardware launch carries a mix of excitement, trepidation, and fears of shortages. We've witnessed them all since the days of the Super Famicom and watched a few botched launches. That said, the PS3 debut has been one of the smoothest in our experience despite the onerous price hikes from suppliers. We've had fast deliveries and only a smidgeon of hemming and hawing from overseas distributors concerning inventory allotments. We're looking forward to a similarly smooth Wii launch in Japan on December 2.
Links of Interest
Watch Impress dissected a PS3 console (note the PS2 chip onboard)
Watch Impress swapped a HDD, You can too (Must be ATA 2.5" form factor)
NNN News Report on the PS3 (May be traumatic for some viewers)
Early adopters may peruse the USA PS3 manual in English
Monday, November 13, 2006
Playstation 3 - Big in Japan Part II
For example, when poised on a battle field, the girls only have a set number of positions where they may move on screen. In a close combat situation where two opponents are face to face, there are exactly five cardinal positions to move the fighter - high, level, low, and towards the left or right to evade and strategize. Level refers to being face to face with the opponent. There is no true freedom of movement but the stutter-step action seems to work if you're the kind of fighting game fan who enjoys fast, chaotic, and constrained action. Although the fighters have limited range of movement, they can ignite attacks and special blows in quick motion and pound out HP draining combos. «NCS Game Notes»
» B2 Size folding poster which features Arika Yumemiya, Natsuki Kruger, Mai Tokiha, and Nina Wang side by side in compartmentalized spaces.
» 24-page art booklet which contains new illustrations of the My Otome cast, handwritten notes and comments from the voice actresses who breathe life into the HIME gals, and commentary from the creative staff.
» Mikoto cell phone strap figure which has a little gold ring attached to its left ear for hanging purposes. In the anime series, Mikoto is a dark-furred feline with a ninja-star shape on its forehead and a golden bell around its neck. These details make it to the figure intact.
The items are packaged in a limited edition box which sports variant cover artwork. All preorders will ship today and new orders are welcome.
NCS Game Notes
» Fighters are cel-shaded and colored with bright colors for a distinctive look. The fighting is presented on a 2D plane and hearkens back to old school fighting games where the camera pulls in when the combatants are close and out when they're far apart. Backgrounds are well done including one where a troupe of yankii-styled gangsters are apparently punching the air and another where seated monks sit forlornly in the background.
» There are 8 playable characters in the beginning but another 13 fighters may be unlocked as they're encountered and beaten during the course of the game. The fighting mode is like KOF where one chooses three fighters and then battles against another trio. The order of each fighter on your team is chosen by pressing the button that corresponds to whom you want to fight first and second. Third place is then filled automatically. «G-Notes»