With the other two consoles' press conferences finished, it was up to Sony to bring us home, literally.
It began with announcements of figures and features and strangely entered into the area of PlayStation 2, which mentioned that there will be 130 Titles coming to PS2 in 2008. With the ninth year of the PS2's life cycle already underway it amazing that development is still going on such an old system, especially since better consoles are currently on the market.
However Sony Computer Entertainment of America CEO Jack Tretton describes the Playstation 2 as a "perfect entry level gaming system", mentioning that the "PS2 will keep going strong" as it is a perfect family friendly gaming console, adding to this he introduced the new Batman PS2 bundle, which will come packaged with the Lego Batman game and the animated film Justice League which will price at around US$149 this fall.
When the Sony conference got underway with the its "flagship product" the PS3, Tretton exclaimed that "2008 is year of the PS3" and that this "year we will set in motion things that will define industry in 2008 and beyond".
After making these somewhat over-confident remarks, Resistance 2 is previewed with help From Ted Price, CEO of Insomniac Games. After seeing the impressive in-game footage, viewers were treated to the knowledge that there will 8 player online Co-op and 60 player competitive gaming available to consumers.
Upon continuing we were briefed that "The word we most often use [at Insomniac] to describe it is, Scale, scale describes single player bosses like you just saw, expansive environments, giant Chimeran warships, epic battles, single player, coop and competitive online experiences." According to him, Resistance also "offers more than any shooter in 2008."
Towards the end of the segment for Resistance, the audience is shown "Twin Falls Idaho" trailer;
Little Big planet also made an appearance in the conference, a game Tretton presents as being made by "mad geniuses" at Media Molecule. It is through the use of the ever lovable SackBoy that the figures for Sony are revealed, including the sales for all 3 sets of hardware, as well as revenues generated by Sony for themselves and others.
According to the presentation, in the year to date, 1.8million PS3's have been sold in the United States alone, 1.6mil PSP's and 1.5mil PS2's which of course totals over 5 million units shifted by Sony since June 2007. They go on to include figures that Sony has helped generate US$6.6 Billion in 5 months and that Sony is at the "forefront of our industries expansion", citing sources that suggest US$23 Billion is expected to be made in 2008 from the lucrative video gaming sector while also mentioning that since 1995, Playstation alone has generated US$50 Billion at retail.
For those that cry at the wall of text and numbers above and were unable to make it through without falling asleep, here it is instead, shown through the cuteness that is SackBoy;
Video of SackBoy presentation available on KamikazeTutor's Dtoid Blog.
The next segment highlighted the Playstation Network, or PSN, that Tretton suggests is perfect as "for many next gen consumers, being connected is all they've ever known", in return for the next-gen consumer loyalty, they are prepared to work at making PSN the "best online gaming experience in the industry". As such it is noted that PSN is a popular download facility, bringing 20 million downloads to consumers last month taking the total since November 2006 (PS3 Launch) to 180million downloads.
"What's an E3 press conference without a few surprises?" was uttered next, which was a lead into the upcoming game "Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty". Now no offence Sony, but a surprise to me is either being hit by a car, or being greeted by a naked woman I don't know in my living room when I get home, which is apt since I have my own "quest for booty" continuously going on.
The story will be "a continuation of the Ratchet and Clank feature" in which the last part Clank was mysteriously abducted, much like the strange naked woman I may or may not have found in my living room, and the game will be focused more on exploration and platforming, whilst "making gamers think".
Once Tretton was finally wheeled back on, he mentioned that at Sony they're "not interested in filling up our stores so we can say we have the most games". OH YOU BITCH! This meany mean comment, which is clearly a blatant jab at Microsoft, has some truth to it, since we all must to agree that Live Arcade does have some seriously appalling games, but oh dear Sony, that was rather harsh!
GRAN TURISMO TV was announced, which is to be part of the Gran Turismo 5: Prologue package, which includes "Worldwide TV features and a wide variety of content" from Polyphony Digital, these will be free and pay-per-view licensed such as Nuburgring, a Ferrari show, the Super GT, D1 Grand Prix Series and everyone's favourite show featuring a hamster and a moaning old man, Top Gear from the BBC.
Next up was the new achievements, sorry, Trophies system that will have an impact on the community experience of PSN, so that users can "compete, share and brag" (XBOX RIP OFF COUGH COUGH COUGH). Followed up by the quote "PSN is providing game play and community that is defining this industry", now that's a funny suggestion since I could have sworn Microsoft came up with the achievements system.
However PSN also has innocent similarities to Xbox Live in the form of entertainment, while it doesn't have the deal with Netflix, some could say it outdoes Microsoft by having so many movie companies signed up to publish it's content online, these companies include; Sony Pictures, Fox TV and Movies, MGM, Lionsgate, Warner and Disney.
The pricing of the content is also attractive, TV episodes will be $1.99 and above each, movies from $2.99 to $5.99 as rentals, or $9.99-$14.99 to buy. Compare this to Xbox Live and it works out as a little cheaper, except you also have the option to purchase movies, instead of paying extortionate prices just to keep them for 24 hours after watching. These are also available from PSN right now.
PS3's Home was also involved in the press conference, some simple screens below to illustrate, since everyone pretty much knows everything already.
PSP's also got a pat on the back, with Tretton being "pleased to announce this fall, a new entertainment pack, targeted at a younger demographic and family friendly audience will feature Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters, including a
Silver PSP Slim, a UMD of National Treasures 2, a 1 gig memory stick and a PSN Voucher all for $199."
Other announcements for PSP revolved around Resistance Retribution a way to literally have the fate of the world in your hands, which is based in a post apocalyptic version of the UK still battling after all of Europe has already been lost, typical, it's up to dear old England to save Europe from destruction once again.
The Force Unleashed will also make a debut on behalf of Light saber wielding on the PSP as well.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the PS3 conference for me was the piece about MAG, AKA "Massive Action Game" which is a humongous new IP from Zipper, just how massive you may ask? "MAG will support battles with 256 players" in "sweeping battle experiences using only real players" made up of "8 player squads" which are "lead by those proven to be strong players".
A system for "character growth provides players long term goals" such as upgrading your online persona with guns, skills and other equipment that will better enable you to have a chance in hell of holding off 128 other players while everyone else goes for dinner. MAG appears to be a persistent game, with "faction based campaigns" so you'll need to check every day to see where the battle lines are and what is happening in the game world.
To me this looks like an amazing concept, perhaps one not too far off on 360, due to the merger of Activision and Blizzard, it is just a matter of time until Call of Duty: World at War really means just that, instead of just a bad name for a most likely bad game made by Treyarch.
The conference ended with Tretton asking the audience to "imagine year 3 and beyond" and believe me, if games like MAG and The Agency keep getting made, I might just have to invest in a PS3 to snuggle alongside my 360 like a fan-boy hated Yin and Yang.
(Edited images to fix this article for my beloved IE7 users, even though they're ugly.) read