Tuesday, June 2, 2009

E3: Sony press conference

Welcome back to ... well ... for an explanation of why I'm not in Los Angeles, scroll down, I'm tired of explaining it. The point is, I'm at home watching from G4's glorious commercial-free coverage, providing you whatever updates you need.

G4 just shifted its coverage from Nintendo's event (again, scroll down) to Sony's, and this time we have a pair of top-flight hosts, Kevin Perreira and Adam Sessler. The big expected story here is "God of War III," which our hosts are discussing now, but the big question is what will Sony unveil? Microsoft had "Project Natal," and Nintendo didn't have much more than a couple of games and a heart monitor. So what does Sony have in store? A new PSP?

Steve Wiebe, by the way, tapped out at 923,400 points, over 120,000 shy of Billy Mitchell's record. His second attempt has still yet to start.

1:57 p.m.: We're still 24 minutes away from the start of Sony's show, so hit tight. Of course you know the drill by now, we're watching G4 recap Sony's past 12 months. At least this year we don't have to see more previews of "Home."

2:00: The first mention of the rumored "PSP: Go," Which will apparently NOT include a disc drive. Rather, the system is rumored to download the games straight to the system. Stay tuned...

Wiebe just died after only 13,000 points, so he's intentionally killing off the rest of his men. That's just good strategy.

2:09: Sony's press conference starting, early.

The company opens with a montage of game clips, none of which seem to be anything newer than "Infamous."

OK, I was wrong, there are definitely a lot of games to be seen here, including the new DC Universe MMO, which I'm now hopeful to see more of.

2:14: Jack Tretton takes the stage. I think he's the least likable of all the presenters, even less than Cabbie this morning. But that's just me.

2:16: Uh-oh, Jack is promoting Sony as the "only player with three successful consoles at once." You're still promoting the PS2? Really?

2:17: Jack runs off a list of six big games coming out, only two being exclusives.

2:18: Jack opens with ... the PS2. Yes, the PS2. Sony really knows how to open big.

"We're committed to this system as long as people see value in it."

Jack says PS2 will feature 100 new titles this year and a load of screen shots hit the screen behind him ... TWO of which were "Lego Batman."

2:20: We're just hearing lots of corporate numbers. Remember last year when Sackboy and "LittleBigPlanet" so skillfully showed off the Sony graphs? Not the case this year, boys.

2:21: The first game mentioned? "Infamous" ... which is already out.

2:22: "Unchartered 2: Among Thieves" hits the screens. Here's a good PS3 exclusive, 20 minutes into the show.

The beta of multiplayer is available midnight tonight.

A hands-on demo of the upcoming game begins, and we find our hero Drake in what appears to be South America, running around rooftops. Pretty stuff. Much nicer than the latest "Tomb Raider" games.

The demo also shows off the game's third-person shooter aspects, as Drake and friend comes under Helicopter fire. Again, just real pretty and smooth gameplay.

2:28: "MAG," a 256-possible-player game which debuted a year ago at E3, finally has in-game footage for us to see, footage that includes, year, 256 players at once.

The game's graphics are probably either on-par or a half-step down from the "Halo 3" level. And yes, there is a heck of a lot of action going on at once. This is a game that could absolutely make the PSN.

Wiebe just lost his first man just shy of 160,000 points.

Back to "M.A.G.," we're getting a good view of what air-strikes and helicopters look like as our player tries to secure areas of the map. What I do wonder about this game is, what if one or two of the 256 lag?

2:35: Kaz Hirai takes the stage. Now this is a likable guy.

We're talking changes to the PSP... Yes, the new PSP is officially introduced, the "PSP: Go"

Over 50% smaller and 40% lighter, offering 16 gigs of memory to store games, movies and photos. It also has a memory stick port.

"Media Go" is a new application replacing the media manager, and you use it to access the PS Store.

Kaz makes it clear physical games will still be sold as they are only looking to make an alternative to the PSP, not a replacement. It will be available for $250 on October first. A little pricey for a re-hashed system in my opinion.

2:42: Kaz moves on to the video delivery service. It will now be available on the PSP, which just about kills the UMD market.

2:44: "Gran Turismo" for the PSP is announced. It's creator is showing the game is running flawlessly on the PSP Go. Nice little bit of tying things together by Sony.

After a load of gabbing, we have a trailer for the game, which looks beautiful for a PSP game.

2:51: Wiebe just lost his second man, again on the board with the patrolling fireballs.

2:52: Hideo Kojima takes the stage to talk "Metal Gear Solid."

"Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker" is announced, and it will include Solid Snake, 10 years after "MGS 3," in the 1970s. It is the "true sequel to the 'Metal Gear Solid' franchise."

Hideo brought a trailer to show... a decent looking game with lots of stealth elements evident as Snake tries to - it seems - free Costa Rica. There are also several scenes with four Solid Snakes at once...

3:00: Hey! Jack's back. Still waiting for any true big news, though, mostly because the PSP Go wasn't that much of a secret.

Jack is showing us a montage of PSP's upcoming games, most of which were already announced, like "LittleBigPlanet."

3:05: More numbers on why the PSNetwork is so awesome. Only, it isn't. Heck, it's free and Xbox Live stil kicks its butt.

3:07: A video showing "Home." There I was hoping we'd finally get an E3 without it.

At least Steve Wiebe is still keeping me entertained, he's over 451,000 after two deaths.

3:09: Another video, this time showing a montage of upcoming games for PS3. Doesn't Sony realize these videos don't really show us anything?

3:15: A new PS3 exclusive Rockstar Games title called "Agent." But no footage or images are shown.

3:16: Ubisoft takes the stage to showoff "Assassin's Creed 2." The footage Ubisoft showed last night was absolutely gorgeous. Hopefully we get different stuff here.

Last night we essentially saw a trailer, this time we're watching gameplay. However, it looks a whole lot like the first game, just in the Renassiance.

Apparently DiVinci specially makes you weapons and vehicles! Your hero, Eizio, can glide using a Divinci device. Man oh Man.

This game will have more assassination techniques than last time, very good news since last time the game was fantastic but it got old.

Apparently the AI can search bails of hay now also. Wow.

I'm officially PUMPED for this sequel. The game is out this holiday season.

3:23: A video from "Final Fantasy XIII."

3:26: Jack announces "Final Fantasy IV," an online title exclusively for PS3. Crazy. I thought he was kidding at first.

3:29: Jack mentions motion-controlled gaming... and a couple of very nervous guys take the stage to show a prototype for a new controller which looks like a motorized lollipop...

I wonder if this guy is so nervous because of "Project Natal?"

The PSEye picks up the sensor on the controller, and yes, the movements show up one-to-one on screen.

The technology is certainly better than the Wiimote. Still, yesterday's Microsoft product looks like the far and away better idea.

Using the controller, we're now back to painting, much more precisely than "Natal" could. And no more elephant people, I assure you.

And while I would give Microsoft the edge overall, this Sony technology could possibly be better for hardcore games, since those precision controllers could have buttons on them as well. Using "yourself" as the controller means certainly no buttons.

Now we're being shown how, using two controllers, we can fight on screen. Pretty cool.

3:40: Wiebe is out after 683,700 points.

3:41: Jack promotes Sony's motion control for the spring of 2010.

3:42: "ModNation Racers," a PS3-exclusive "Play, Create, Share" game is announced.

Apparently you will be able to make your own racers and your own cart-style cars for this game. The graphics are pretty nice, with a somewhat cartoon-style. And yes, just like other cart racing games, you can pickup weapons.

The racing doesn't look all that tight, though. And that's the main necessity in a racing game.

Now we're being shown that you can BUILD your own TRACKS. Can you imagine a "Mario Kart" game with that?

And you know what else, I sincerely doubt the Xbox 360 can so quickly and beautifully make tracks like these.

The game control still doesn't look very tight, though. Tempers my enthusiasm a bit.

No release date mentioned.

3:52: A sneak peek at "The Last Guardian," another PS3 exclusive.

Microsoft may still have out-shined Sony due to the motion-sensitive market, but this has been a really good Sony showing.

3:57: A look at "Gran Turismo 5"

3:59: Finally, "God of War III." Sony is about to show the first few minutes in a live demo.

4:07: Jack's wrapping up a pretty darned great presentation.

I'll be back with more soon. If any of you have been reading these live blogs, thanks for reading, it's been fun!

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