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GDC 2007: Phil Harrison's keynote; alternative reaction (with bonus Churchill)

4:10 PM on 03.07.2007 // Earnest Cavalli

We just wrapped up the keynote presentation by Phil Harrison, and as Robert has already mentioned, it was quite impressive. It certainly helps that the British are naturally as charming as Christ, but, beyond that, what was on display was quite spectacular, as well.

Now, don't get me wrong, I still believe Sony would have been as effective as they had been this last year if they had just bludgeoned the general public repeatedly with hammers, instead of actually releasing anything, but they do have some very shiny things coming in the near future. First off was PlayStation home, a sort of virtual lobby world that this bloke in a robot helmet remarked to me was the new Second Life.

My head is still ringing from the inflatable soccer ball that had smashed into me previously, I agreed, but without the lure of sex with anthropomorphic foxes, could it possibly manage the same appeal of the former? Of course, it doesn't have to, but they are including the same kind of user-created content that has made Second Life so popular, so one can safely assume it's merely a matter of time before you can't swing a dead whatever-the-hell-Daxter-is without hitting a man seducing a sexy unicorn. That's just how the Internet is, kids. Welcome to Web 2.0.

Hit the jump for more (and I promise, no more furries).

On the topic of Web 2.0, Sony's new favorite buzzword is GAME 3.0. It brings that same confluence of people and ideas that websites like Wikipedia and Google have sprung out of, but, of course, it also includes gaming. In an electronic nutshell, GAME 3.0 is the idea that consoles are merely receptacles for online, worldwide content, as opposed to the static systems they have been in the past. What this means for people who have no Internet access is debatable, but if I had to guess, I'd imagine that you're going to be missing out on a ton of content if you happen to be sans broadband.

Singstar, Sony's upcoming karaoke replacement, seems to be taking great advantage of this innate connectivity. Phil mentioned to us that not only would you be able to download tracks directly into the game to expand the playability, but you would also be able to record yourself, and rate other players' abilities within the game. I imagine that combining the angst and rage of the typical fifteen year old Internet dweller with the fragile self-esteem of the twelve year old girls imagining themselves as the next Kylie Minogue via this title, is a recipe for children around the world to end up sobbing as their parents explain to them that they aren't even of that skin color, let alone homosexual. 

The real meat of the presentation was LittleBigWorld, a game developed by the team who brough you Rag Doll Kung-Fu on Valve's Steam service. It seems to build on that same sandbox style popularized in Viva Pinata and Animal Crossing, but instead of a sex-starved mexican party favor, or a vaguely human ball of joy, you play as a psuedo-human hackeysack. You create and manipulate objects in the world in an amazing-looking physics-based environment (with stunning real-time lighting), and in accordance, everything falls, spins, and smashes into things as you would expect. Taking advantage of this, and the previous pedigree of the developers, violence becomes hilarious, while still remaining cartoonish enough to appeal to Ma and Pa. 

There are still questions remaining as to how well Sony can translate the things they showed today to real-world use, but if they can manage to make it even nearly as cool to play with as it seemed, it could be the start of Sony dominating yet another generation of video gaming. 

(Editor's Note: Did you really think I was going to spend all week here without using that image? -- Nex) 

Earnest Cavalli, Contributor
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I'm Nex. I used to work here but my love of cash led me to take a gig with Wired. I still keep an eye on the 'toid, but to see what I'm really up to, you should either hit up my Vox or go have ... more   |   staff directory

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