Features// SPOnG's Review Of 2006: August

Posted 29 Dec 2006 09:00 by
"We cut the umbilical chord during the birth of the metrosexual"

Sony Shows Some Pink. Sexy Pink

Sitting comfortably? Good. Because contrary to commonly held knowledge about summer, August was rife with hardware news and speculation.

August got off to a… well, sober start for Sony. The Guardian picked up the next-gen ball and weighed in on the PS3’s outlook. Its well-respected technology editor, Jack Schofield wrote a thoughtful piece that basically painted a losing battle for Sony. Twasn’t all peeing on Sony’s parade, however (please note the avoidance of a very obvious/bad pun). Jez San, of Argonaut Software fame, stepped up. He claimed that Sony will eventually come up trumps thanks to Blu-ray and the fact that although we’re paying through the nose for the PS3 now, we won’t be forever. Once more the dogs of Sony-bashing were let loose on SPOnG’s Forum.

Sony hit the headlines again at the halfway mark in August when it made the remarkable move of not stating that they were about to drop the price on the PSP. Analyst P.J. McNealy went on record at CNN Money to state, "There is a price cut coming in the second half of the year." He divined this information because the PSP "...has lost momentum. Nintendo has had a great run since it launched the DS Lite and Sony needs to regain some ground." When asked to comment Sony did not tell customers to change their plans and wait until after a price drop before purchasing the hand-held. SPOnG was stunned.

Microsoft got its finger out of its ear in August and unveiled its HD-DVD add-on. It wasn’t pretty and it turned out to be about the size of a kettle, but we figure if you’re getting it you already have a 360 next to your telly. So you’re probably not too bothered.

We saw further speculation from analysts on the Wii front. Tokyo-based Nikko Citigroup reported that it expected to see the Wii launch at less than $200 USD and less than 19,800 yen, a figure that would have converted into £100 (by currency conversion rates at the time of writing). It should be pointed out that no one ever really expected us to pay the exact equivalent of the US or Japanese price, we were always going to get stung on that front. As it happens, they were wrong on both counts anyway. The Wii launched at $250 and 25,000 yen. Which is why you should never trust an analyst. Unless they’re telling you something you already know. In which case, you should never pay an analyst.

By far the most exciting thing that happened in August for SPOnG was Sony showing off its pink. The pink PS2 that is! ‘Nuff said.

More Sony hardware sexiness followed shortly after with some carefully composed press images of the PS3 looking like the final model. Say what you like about Sony and the PS3, it sure does know how to build a purdy console. These pics confirmed for SPOnG what our Marcus already knew: big is beautiful.

To round the month out those pesky analysts got to analysing again. Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities claimed that the PS3 shares much of its commercial DNA with the Xbox 360. He pointed to the fact that price-wise the 20GB PS3 isn’t a million miles away from a top-end 360 in terms of both price and spec. As such, he claimed, “consumers will compare the $499 PS3 to the $399 Xbox 360 and will likely decide based upon the potential selection of software”. We know there’s a dirty joke about commercial DNA in there somewhere, but four months have passed now and we still don’t know what it is.

SPOnG also managed to tear itself from lolling around in the sun for just long enough to notice a few games coming out. Dirge of Cerebus: Final Fantasy VII made its way to the PS2, Dead Rising set us loose in the mall to kill zombies with an electric guitar on the 360, SingStar Anthems on the PS2 set our ears afire as some of the ladies in the office decided they could sing, Saints Row blatantly attempted to rip off GTA for the 360 and another Star Wars game came out in the form of Battlefront II.

And that was August.

Look back at SPOnG's review of July

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