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'Technogadget Guy' Analyzes Playstation 2

Aired October 24, 2000 - 2:52 p.m. ET


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Now, we know Halloween is not even here yet, but it's never too early to start thinking about Christmas, and Sony is trying to beat old Santa Claus to the punch with the biggest consumer electronics product launch in history. Are you ready for this? The Sony Playstation 2, it hits stores Thursday. I guess if you're the parent of a teenager, Ed Curran, our "Gadget Guy," you know all about it. We're still in Teletubby land at my house, so you're going to have to introduce Playstation 2 to me.

ED CURRAN, TECHNOGADGETS.COM: Oh, your kids will be into this in no time, and you will, too. You'll actually like this, you know.


CURRAN: I'm not really big into videogames, but this is just marvelous when you see what this can do. Playstation 2 is very, very popular, and one of the popular games on it will be this. It's Madden NFL 2001, which is football.

ALLEN: And we have the creator here with us.

CURRAN: Jeff Luhr is the assistant producer from Madden 2001 and worked very hard on this thing. And Jeff is going to first show us how to build a character.

Now, you used to be able to build a player in the old version of this, but look at the new version. We're going to build a player. First of all, we're going to name...

ALLEN: I like this.

CURRAN: ... name the player, OK. So we named him.


CURRAN: And you can see the player's name is Waters.


OK. Waters. And skin, light. OK, hair color, you're going to have to work on the hair color their, Jeff.

JEFF LUHR, EA SPORTS: What do you think? Maybe...

CURRAN: OK, so we're going to pick out -- there we go.

ALLEN: There you go.

CURRAN: Go down to "pick out a hair style." Let's see what looks good on you.

LUHR: Ooh.


CURRAN: I like that.

ALLEN: That, that's it.

CURRAN: Nice hair. OK, fine.

And now...


ALLEN: Is he still Lou?

CURRAN: See, so we can build the player the way we want. OK. And now, we'll put a helmet on him and everything. We'll be ready to go.

And while we get a game ready to go here so you can actually see the wonderful motion of this game, we'll tell you that Playstation, which is here on the table here, this black one here -- and this is Playstation 1, which you can now get for about $100 out there -- Playstation 2, which launches on Thursday, will sell for $300.

Now, it's a marvelous, fast computer. It's really computer entertainment that allows you to have such smooth, wonderful games. You can play games and they look fantastic, but you can also play your DVDs on there. So if you like to watch DVD movies, you can pop the DVD in there and watch it, which is pretty neat considering that it's a $300 price tag. I just bought a DVD player, it cost me about $240. So for 300 bucks, you get the game, playing machine, you get a DVD machine, and you also have the capability to in the future link into future broadband gaming, where you could be here in Atlanta and I could be in Chicago, where I live, and we could play games across broadband Internet. But that's in the future.

ALLEN: And not only are you getting DVD for this extra $200 I guess parents will have to fork out if they get their kids this, but you get a lot more opportunity to play an assortment of games. Is that it?

CURRAN: That's right. For the Playstation 2, it'll launch with about 26 titles. By the end of the year, there will be 50 titles. However, a lot of people have Playstation 1: In fact, Sony estimates that one in three households have a Playstation. There are 800 Playstation titles out there, and people can use them in this machine because it's backwards compatible, which means it plays your old Playstation titles. Now, look at this. Here are the players coming out.

ALLEN: Where's Lou Waters?

CURRAN: And it looks like...

LUHR: He already...

CURRAN: He already came out. He came out first...

ALLEN: Of course.

CURRAN: ... because we -- because we chose him. And now here it looks just like you're watching football on television, and you'll see the playability...

ALLEN: That's amazing.

CURRAN: ... of the game here and the smoothness and everything as they start to get into the game. Really rich graphics, a great deal of detail. And Natalie, you have to admit, when you walked up here an hour ago and glanced to what was on TV, what did you think?

ALLEN: I thought I was watching a videotape of the football game.

CURRAN: After you did that, no less than two other people walked by here and thought there was a football game on TV. It looks that good.

Look at the players. And Jeff, tell us a little bit about some of the detail that's in here. Especially, I like the helmets.


LUHR: What we have going on with the helmets we call environment mapping, and it's actually a reflection of the stadium that you're playing in. So you'll see a different environment map in a domed stadium like the Georgia Dome here than you would in an outdoor stadium. So we think that's pretty cool.

CURRAN: So the reflection in the helmet actually mimics the stadium they're in.

LUHR: Yes.

CURRAN: The players are extremely detailed, and some actual player faces appear in here, right?

LUHR: Yes, we have 200 faces for unique NFL players, the more popular players, and you can really recognize them out there.

CURRAN: It's gorgeous. It looks just like regular football on TV.

Now, put it in the play mode. Here we have the computer playing the computer. Jeff can put it into play mode here, and he'll actually be behind the quarterback, and he'll be running his own controller here and playing the game. This is the version that you see when you're actually playing the game.

Again this a Madden Football 2001, one of 26 titles that this launches with when it comes out on Thursday.

Now, Sony says that by the end of the year there will be more than a million of these. The big news, of course, was that only a half million will be available on Thursday. Sony will roll out 100,000 more players every week through the end of the year.

ALLEN: Sony's racking it up...

CURRAN: Oh, yes, there will be more than a million out there by the end of the year, and by March, there will be more than 3 million players out there by the end of March, 10 million worldwide. So it's an incredible rollout of this product, and part of it is because it's driven by the popularity of the original product, Playstation 1.

ALLEN: Have I seen Lou Waters make a touchdown yet?

CURRAN: What has Lou been doing for us here?

LUHR: Lou is not on the field. He's on...

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: He's probably injured somewhere.

ALLEN: He's probably injured. Lou's down. Get some help.

CURRAN: There's Lou on the side. He's looking for a script.

ALLEN: He doesn't have a Teleprompter. He can't play.


CURRAN: All right. So anyway, that's Playstation 2, very exciting technology, coming out on Thursday. And good luck in your hands on...

ALLEN: All right. Everybody be kind to each other when they stand in line for it. But that's our show. Thanks so much for watching. Now over to the star quarterback, Lou Waters.

WATERS: Thanks so much, Natalie.



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