PlayStation 3 Offers News Channel With Evangelion Newscaster

By Spencer . May 27, 2009 . 12:25pm

nerve

Misato Katsuragi Houdou Keikaku (Misato Katsuragi Report Program) is a PlayStation 3 news brodacast with Nerv’s operations director as the newscaster. The PlayStation Network show pulls news from the Mainichi Shimbun, a major newspaper in Japan, and has Katsuragi read the headlines.

 

She actually reads the news with a synthetic voice provided by Hitachi’s Speech Synthesizer program Ruby Talk. The program covers headline news, sports, and “subculture.” Users can also change Misato’s outfit to something other than her Nerv uniform.

 

Misato Katsuragi Report Program is created by Cellius, a company co-owned by Namco Bandai and Sony. The service starts on June 6 and of this is only for Japan.

 

Update: A press release explains the service costs 800 yen ($8) for a 30 day subscription.



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  • TurkeyPotPie

    So that’s what the PS3 Evangelion app was? And that’s what Cellius has been doing? Jeez. I mean it is kind of a cool app, but I thought this was going to be an Eva game, and I had hoped that Cellius was actually working on games. I mean if the PS3 was the smashing success the PS2 was, then I could see spending resources on something like this, but the PS3 really needs more must-have games. Or course, I’m sure the planning for this was done back when the PS3 seemed like a sure bet, but this is still disappointing news.

  • CleruTesh

    I think CNN, Fox, etc. should replace all of their newscasters with this program.
    I might actually watch the news if that were the case.

    • Pulstar

      It’s the content that sucks, not the presentation. Besides with Jon Stewart who needs a crappy synthesized voice?

      • CleruTesh

        Misato is WAY hotter.

  • Aoshi00

    So is this a free channel on the PS3? Is it only limited to PS3 owners in Japan or can we access it thru PSN w/ Jpn accounts? This would be so cool, I was a huge Misato fan, haven’t heard Mitsuishi Kotono in a long time, it seems like she’s disappeared from the voice acting scene. Misato as a news anchor, bravo idea!

    • Lucky

      They don’t have VA do the voice though, it’s stated it is done through a synthetic voice program.

      I was hoping for an awesome Eva game. :(

      • Aoshi00

        Oh.. I was wondering what it means.. so it’s a voice program that sounds like Misato, like Hatsune Miku? What’s the point of having Misato’s face if it’s not her seiyuu reading the lines.. Still this idea is very interesting, I hope it’s not only limited to people in Japan.

    • http://www.siliconera.com Spencer

      There isn’t any information about a price, but I don’t think this will be free. Like if this had the Sony cats I would believe it, but there’s just too much money to be made with Eva.

      • Aoshi00

        True.. if it’s a paid service, it’s probably for Jpn only. Still, if I could hear Misato’s voice actress reading news headlines, I would gladly pay. If they really want to milk EVA again, they could just make another Rei-raising game, so we can make SD Reis swim w/ the sixaxis like FLOW, lol..

        I wonder how the Speech synthesizer works, if it would sound like her at all, or Hatsune Miku robot-like. I don’t think they’re at a point to be able to simulate a real person’s voice yet, at least w/ emotion.. otherwise they could’ve done it w/ Roshi or Tenshinhan in Dragon Ball Kai.

    • TurkeyPotPie

      Before anyone gets the wrong idea and think I’m completely down on this application, my concern is Sony’s focus with some of these non-game apps (the thing they did with Bandai for Gundam videos, Life with Playstation, Folding at Home, etc.) From a tech and geek standpoint, I think these apps are very cool, but considering the position the PS3 is in I’d rather they focus on games.

      That aside, I still find this app interesting. I did some digging on the Ruby Talk software. You can hear some samples here:

      http://www.hitachi-ul.co.jp/middleware/rubytalk/summary.html

      It’s still quite obviously machine-generated voice, but it sounds pretty good and much better than Hatsune Miku. There is actual emotion there, and if it wasn’t for the “stitched together” effect of the syllables, it could almost pass for real speech (I suspect the nature of spoken Japanese makes this sort of software easier than for something like English). I wonder if the software can be “modeled” after a real person’s voice? That way you could end up with something that actually sounded like Misato.

      The tech side of this interests me also. You can see that Hitachi has ported it to various SuperH processors (makes sense considering it’s their own) as well as ARM and Xscale. The DS samples (running on ARM) don’t sound nearly as good, but that makes sense considering how low-powered the DS ARM is. If this is running on the PS3, I guess Hitachi has ported this to the PowerPC and/or Cell APUs. I’d like to see more info on this, as I find this sort of tech fascinating.

      • Aoshi00

        Thanks for the link, I think this is all very fascinating too, of course I wouldn’t understand technical aspect of it. I just listened to the several samples on the page, I think they might actually pull off a life-like Misato w/ some emotion. Also reading news requires a relative flat voice, plus like you said Japanese is a rather rigid language phonetically to begin w/.

        I just re-read the post, too bad it’s for Japan only.. it might turn up on Youtube once it’s out at least..

        • TurkeyPotPie

          Well, here you go. Apparently they did sample Mitsuishi Kotono’s voice:

          http://b.bngi-channel.jp/ps3_misato/p_movie.html

          • Aoshi00

            Thanks again for the link! Hm.. just listened to it, as expected sounds a little truncated and robotic which can’t be helped. Is this the best they can do or they could still instill some warmth and emotion into her voice like the other sample, to make her sound more playful you know.

            Mitsuishi Kotono was one of my favorite VA and Misato was one of the most memorable anime characters. I like this innovative idea a lot, but 800 yen for 30 days, wonder if you even get to keep the voice bytes or just like a monthly radio subscription thing..

  • Pulstar

    Heh.. Back when this show was airing Sega had a viable console in Japan and they sponsored NGE’s merchandise (hence at least one reference to Sega in the series). Really now most developers can’t get mecha games right so why the long faces?

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