GDC 09: Sony Slashes PS3 Price (Sort Of), PC Tops for Gaming

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The best parts of GDC are the ones you'd probably find the most boring. They're spent hunkered in crowded, slightly gamy smelling rooms listening to panels of game celebs wax prolific about anything from high-definition physics and platform-independent shader development to tongue-tanglers like "Riding the Waves of Change: How Video Game Companies Can Flourish in an Environment of Relentless Volatility and Flux."

And then you get headline-grabbers like these...

Sony Cuts PS3 from $10,250 to $2,000. The debugging Reference Tool, that is. Yeah, $10,250 mazuma for one of those bad boys. Not to be confused with the debug units we in the press use to access non-retail review discs, these things look like brick houses (see pic at top) or the sidewise desktops we used to prop our CRTs on. The new ones apparently look just like regular PS3s. The reason that drop's important, is that it's essentially Sony dialing the air with one finger and silently mouthing the words "Call me."

Microsoft claims Final Fantasy XIII will sell better on Xbox 360. Yeah, well, claims are free, but results cost in cachet. Microsoft knows no better than you or I or anyone else what the multi-platform performance of a game like Final Fantasy XIII is going to be. To claim (confidently) otherwise is either evidence of hubris, paranormal superpowers, or — you smelled it — marketing. With Capcom's Street Fighter IV selling nearly as well last month on the PS3 as the 360 despite the 360's nearly double unit footprint in the U.S., MIcrosoft ought to be a trifle more cautious. In fact what the company ought to be talking about is what it's going to offer along with Final Fantasy XIII to make an Xbox 360 purchase more compelling. Unique DLC? Themes? Avatar accessories? Time-exclusive demos? Developer interview clips? Come on guys, competition on the field of services, not hyperbole.

The PC Gaming Alliance releases a report stating that the PC is the "No. 1 platform for gaming world wide." No arguments here, though how your arrive at that number is partially a question of how you define the term "game." If you're counting freebies like solitaire and minesweeper and not restricting your benchmark to revenue, the only way the champ could ever not be the PC would be the total implosion of Microsoft Windows...which has roughly as much chance of happening as confirmation of aliens among us. That said, according to the PCGA report, "the PC is the largest single platform for games with annual worldwide revenue of about $11 billion." That's more than any competitor, be it the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, or...yes, even the Nintendo Wii. I've got the report in hand — it's full of all sorts of fun facts — and I'll be back to say more about this shortly.

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