Afrika per Ps3

ESCE OGGI IN Giappone (e per adesso solo là) Afrika per la console di Sony PlayStation 3. Non l'ho ancora potuto provare (a differenza del Wall Street Journal) ma ho la sensazione che, se il gameplay è all'altezza delle premesse, la casa di Tokio abbia azzeccato un colpo niente male: potrebbe essere la killer application per la Ps3 anche sui mercati internazionali.

Dal WSJ:

By Yukari Iwatani Kane
TOKYO -- Sony Corp. is releasing a new safari game this week for its PlayStation 3 videogame console that purposely steers clear of attributes found in most popular videogames: It has no shooting, little action, no winning or losing, and not even an ending. Players simply observe wild animals in the savanna and take virtual photos.
But Sony is hoping that the game, called Afrika, will impress players with its advanced graphics. The developers, who spent nearly four years creating the game -- including two visits to Africa -- packed a fictitious national park with photo-realistic zebras, elephants, lions and dozens of other exotic animals.
Afrika, which goes on sale Thursday in Japan for about $54, is an important test for Sony, which is seeking to broaden its videogame sales beyond a core audience of young male players who love action-packed games. The electronics giant is hoping the game could lead to a new genre of nature-exploration games.
"This is a different approach to interactive entertainment, and some people may not see it as a game," said Kazuo Hirai, chief executive of Sony's videogame unit.
There is no doubt that Sony is trying a new approach. Because it costs so much to develop games for today's technically advanced consoles, videogame companies often stick to sequels of popular games or surefire hits along familiar themes.
But whether a different tack will succeed in drawing new players to the PlayStation 3 is unclear. "I prefer games that are a little more challenging and [have] some kind of thinking element rather than just observing," says Jeremy Howard, a 32-year-old in Tokyo.
PlayStation 3 sales recently have accelerated after a slow launch two years ago, but they still lag behind rival Nintendo Co.'s Wii, which has been more successful at capturing casual game players with innovative, easy-to-play games. Mr. Howard, for example, says he mostly plays Nintendo's Mario Kart racing game with his three small children.
As of June 30, Sony has sold 14.4 million PS3s cumulatively world-wide, compared with 29.6 million Nintendo Wiis and more than 20 million Microsoft Corp. Xbox 360s.
Sony officials say they hope to sell at least 100,000 copies -- respectable in an industry where unit sales must be more than 500,000 to be considered a hit. They hope the game will trigger purchases of PS3s by first-time game players. If the game sells well, Afrika could also help persuade independent publishers to develop newer games that take advantage of the PS3's technological capabilities more fully, says Sony. The company declines to say how much it spent to develop the game.
David Cole, an industry analyst with DFC Intelligence, says most PS3 owners are serious game players who could find Afrika too tame. "It has a lot of potential, but a lot of the consumer base that might really like that type of game may be tough to attract," Mr. Cole says.
Another challenge: The PS3 has the ability to render images more realistically than ever before, and developers took extra care with the smallest details like the way muscles ripple when they move. But the digital renderings may not be enough by themselves to impress players, who likely have seen the real thing in zoos or through ubiquitous nature programming on television.
To keep things simple, the game doesn't have features common elsewhere. There is no online capability other than being able to put up a single photograph to share with others. Players also can't customize the character beyond choosing a man or woman, and they never die, though they can faint and get sent back to the base camp if they get too close to dangerous animals.
Nevertheless, some longtime industry observers say the game could draw game players looking for something brand new. "The graphic quality in this one is so high that it could be fun to watch what the zebras are doing all day," says Hirokazu Hamamura, president of Enterbrain Inc., which publishes Japan's foremost videogame magazine.
Afrika is a single-player game. The player takes on the role of a photojournalist, exploring and watching the way animals behave. Players can see cheetahs hunting, a band of hyenas stealing another animal's kill, or other scenarios. "I think there's room for a gorgeous game that can be lazily played," says Katsumoto Tatsukawa, who created the game with just 25 developers, far fewer than the 100 or more developers that would typically be assigned to a high-profile game.

2 commenti:

Anonimo ha detto...

Non so in Giappone, ma davvero c'è un mercato per questa roba?
I filmati sono raccapricianti, le animazioni non hanno neanche il senso del peso e della gravità. Meglio un DVD di National Geographic, dal quale sembra sia tratta la sceneggiatura delle sequenze del trailer.
Certo nel DVD non c'è interattività ed esplorazione e capisco il lavoro immenso necessario ma trovo lo sforzo un po' ridicolo.
Inoltre credo che la longevità di un prodotto simile dipenderà soprattutto dall'AI: cosa fanno gli "animali", recitano dei loop o gli scenari non sono predeterminati ma si evolvono?
Perchè vedere una scena di caccia del ghepardo da mille angolazioni è figo la prima volta ma poi che fai? guardi quella del leopardo e poi quella del leone ...
Forse mi sbaglio ma non ci vedo niente di entusiasmante.


Antonio ha detto...

Lo so, hai proprio colto il tema. Da quindici anni c'è polemica se i giochi professionali (come quelli dove si guida il treno, si fa la vita del contadino etc, caratteristici di una parte del mercato giapponese e diversi dalle simulazioni perché hanno in realtà una forte meccanica di gioco) siano adatti al mercato occidentale oppure no. Quando arrivano in Europa e negli Usa hanno spesso un buon successo, ma la maggior parte non è mai stata tradotta. Come dice anche il pezzo del WSJ, c'è il discorso che Sony deve controbattere allo strapotere di Nintendo, che con la Wii e il Ds si è inventata una categoria di giochi interattivi completamente nuova. A me tuttavia piacerebbe vederlo, Afrika...