After a trouble-filled launch for the PS3, Sony found itself in a position similar to Microsoft last year. The system was unproven with few reasons to convince potential buyers that they needed the system in their living room. It shouldn’t surprise anyone then that Sony’s E3 2007 Press Conference – something Sony really needed to hit a home run with – took on a similar tone as Microsoft’s E3 2006 conference; it was all about the games.
Sony kicked off their conference with an appearance by SCEA President Jack Tretton – only it wasn’t the real Jack Tretton, but a digital Jack Tretton addressing the audience from within PlayStation Home, Sony’s upcoming online system. This would become a running theme over the conference and was a really inventive way to nab the attention of a jaded press and show off Home.
After joking about his digital appearance not being quite up to par, Tretton stepped out of Home and into the real world where he presented the now-traditional E3 numbers. The only notable sales information regarding the PS3 was that MotorStorm has sold 1 Million copies. Most of the big sales news involved the PS2, which has seen $26 billion in sales in the US alone. He also mentioned the success of God of War II and the PSP, which will see 140 games released this year. This led into a montage showcasing some upcoming PSP software, including Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow, God of War: Chains of Olympus, Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles and Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions. Of all the titles shown, the one that looked most interesting was Patapon… something to keep an eye on – especially for LocoRoco fans since the two have a similar look about them.
After the video, Tretton again enters his virtual pad in Home and takes the time to show off some of his furniture. As it turns out, SCE President Kaz Hirai is loafing around on Jack’s deck playing PSP. Kaz then steps out of Jack’s home and onstage to show off the new PSP – which looks just like the current model… hmmm…
Actually, the new model is lighter (33% to be exact) and slimmer (19% for you numbers people). The big news about the new PSP is that it has a video output, allowing you to hook the system to a TV and watch video on a larger screen, in effect making it a UMD player. Hirai showed off this feature showing the Spider-Man 2 trailer (you knew it would either be that or Hitch… sorry, Will..) on the huge screen. The output can even be used for playing games, eliciting applause from the audience, and not that polite, “oh, cool” kind but the full-blown “FINALLY!! We’ve been waiting for this!!” type.
The new PSP will be available in October for $199. In addition to a black version, a silver version will also be available as will a special Star Wars - themed white version, which sports an image of Darth Vader on the back. To help announce this new version, Sony called in Chewbacca… who appeared onstage next to Tretton.
Cue Sony Worldwide president Phil Harrison to show off the PlayStation Network. He first introduces another really cool game called echochrome, which is a platformer build around M.C. Escher-like puzzles. Visually the game is about a minimal as they come, but it only adds to the game’s appeal. Harrison also showed off Wipeout HD as well as a few other games that will be available as either a Blu-ray disc or over PSN: SOCOM: Confrontation and Warhawk. A new MotorStorm update is coming as well.
Harrison appears as his digital Home persona to show off some areas players will be able to purchase, as well as the ability to jump into games right from Home.
Tretton then pops out on stage to tout some Blu-ray numbers and announces the $100 price-drop on the 60GB PS3 model and announce the new 80GB model, which is the price of the old model. He also announces that 15 exclusive titles will be showing up on the system – beginning with a newly-signed deal between NCSoft and Sony for exclusive content. Haze and Unreal Tournament III will be PS3 exclusive this holiday season.
After trailers for both games, and the announcement that UTIII will support mods, a montage of upcoming PS3 games is shown: Kane & Lynch, Burnout: Paradise, Guitar Hero III, Madden 08, Assassin’s Creed… all leading up to a special guest, Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima, who introduced a new Metal Gear Solid 4 trailer. Good news, the game looks great. Bad news, it won’t be out until next year.
Things then move back into Home where Harrison is sporting a rubber Ratchet suit… any guesses on what he’s about to show? After some footage of Ratchet and Clank Future (which is THE reason I bought a PS3 in the first place), Harrison then showed off trailers for upcoming games like Folklore, Heavenly Sword, NBA 08, LittleBigPlanet (the other reason I own a PS3) and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.
Next up, Harrison shows off a brand new game from Sucker Punch, Infamous, which is an open-world game where you get to decide if you want to be a super hero or anti-hero. Looks cool. Gran Turismo 5 is shown and Gran Turismo 5 Prologue will be available for download soon. Harrison then heads back to Home where Hirai and Tretton are already chilling out… oops, looks like Harrison forgot to show something.
The room goes dark and Hellghast appear on each screen – Killzone 2 time!! I’ll admit, I was a doubter, but it looks pretty close to the 2005 trailer visually. Sony even makes it a point to show that someone is on stage playing the demo.
And, with that, it’s over and Sony finds itself in a great spot.