E3 2007: Sony makes its big third-party push

Since its release, fans have been quick to question the amount of third-party support that the PlayStation 3 will eventually receive, worrying that Microsoft would herd most of the big names into its stables. Sony knows this, and that’s why they took the opportunity at their keynote during the 2007 E3 Media & Business Summit to let the world know who’s on their team. They’re hoping to pull gamers down off the fence and into their yard to play.

Sony was excited to say that over 100 new third-party titles will be released this year for the PS3, bringing the total number up to 160 titles available in North America. Developers like Capcom, Electronic Arts, Konami, Namco Bandai, Activision, Ubisoft, and more are on board, ready to make games for the system.

We told you earlier today about how NCsoft will be creating online titles for the PS3. The word “several” was used, and refers to online titles for both the PS3 and the PSP. This could mean big things if NCsoft teaches Sony a bit about how the whole online thing works. Perhaps Sony hopes to pull in some of the 60 million users that follow NCsoft’s Lineage. That couldn’t hurt.

We also mentioned that Epic was working with Sony earlier. They announced a “multi-stage” agreement to make Sony systems purr. Their opimization of the Unreal 3 engine for Sony’s systems will not only benefit the PS3-first title Unreal Tournament III, but will also help out 20 other games using this engine already in development for the PS3.

Ubisoft and Free Radical are bringing the exclusive Haze to the PS3 this holiday season. This first-person shooter will feature multiplayer action for the PlayStation Network, and will help strengthen Sony’s new title front.

Of course, the big announcement for Sony is the exclusive on Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid 4. It’s been up in the air for so long, but now Sony has the ball, and from what we could see at the keynote, Sony was pleased as punch to be announcing that. A new trailer with the new English cast was shown, and plans for a simultaneous worldwide release were announced.

There’s no denying that Sony needed Metal Gear Solid 4, even if Sony acts like they really didn’t. Jack Tretton has said that he would like the PS3 to be desired as a console that has a wealth of gaming choices rather than banking on a single title, but it seems they got that single “system seller” anyway.

Will Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots with its glorious chest-stomping goodness be enough to move PS3s now? Did the recent price drop help? Are you still on the fence? Do you still need to see more?

Sony’s fatty ‘third-party’ release after the jump.

July 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Computer Entertainment 
America Inc. (SCEA) today previewed a robust third-party software line-up and
announced new exclusive game publisher alliances for PLAYSTATION(R)3 (PS3(TM))
at their annual press conference during the E3 Media and Business Summit. In
addition to the more than 30 third-party titles available since launch, this
fiscal year over 100 new third-party titles will be released for PS3, bringing
the total number of first- and third-party games in North America to more than
160. This extensive library encompasses industry leading franchises as well
as new intellectual properties from Activision, Capcom, Electronic Arts, NAMCO
BANDAI, Ubisoft and Eidos.
"We have been working hard to provide third-party game publishers with the
tools they need to maximize the technological power of PS3 and we're excited
today to showcase first-class exclusive titles from our partners, as well as
new developer relationships," said Riley Russell, vice president of third
party and developer support, SCEA. "This support from our third parties is
ultimately a real win for not only the PlayStation brand, but more so for our
valued consumers who will find something for everyone on PS3 this fiscal
year."
During the press conference, exclusive third-party PS3 games and key
partnerships were announced from NCsoft(R) Corporation, Ubisoft, Midway and
Konami. The strategic alliance with NCsoft, the world's leading developer and
publisher of online games, will provide a wealth of connected gaming expertise
and create several online games exclusively for PlayStation platforms,
including PS3 and PSP(R) (PlayStation(R)Portable), accessible through the
PLAYSTATION(R)Network. NCsoft is the creator of Lineage, the world's largest
online game franchise with a customer reach of more than 60 million.
In addition, PlayStation fans will have further reason to get excited
about growing their game libraries as Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) and
industry veterans Epic Games announced a multi-stage agreement.
Revolutionizing the industry with the advent of the Unreal(R) Engine when
first launching the Unreal franchise several years ago, Epic Games has joined
with SCE to fully optimize the Unreal Engine for PS3 development to assist
developers using this engine to accelerate game creation and maximize
performance. Already underway, this optimization currently affects seven
developers using the Unreal Engine to create 20 games already in the works and
with many more to come.
As a result of the agreement, Midway and Epic Games will make the platform
debut of Unreal Tournament 3, one of the world's premiere first-person
shooters, exclusively on PS3 this fall, unleashing the full power of Unreal
Engine 3 with graphics, gameplay and challenges brought to a whole new level.
Featuring powerful futuristic weapons and vehicles unlike anything seen
before, players will engage in intense and hyper-realistic battles with other
players online, or against the Unreal artificial intelligence that has become
the defacto industry standard.
"The raw power of PS3 and Unreal Engine 3 allow us to provide gamers the
full Unreal Tournament 3 first-person shooter experience normally found only
on a PC," said Mark Rein, vice president, Epic Games. "The PS3 is the ideal
platform for us to deliver stunning visuals and awesome gameplay. But now,
with the PLAYSTATION Network, we're also delivering a great community
experience and robust user-created content -- everything that gamers have come
to expect from the Unreal Tournament franchise -- for the first time on a home
entertainment system."
Also, releasing this fall, legendary PlayStation development team Free
Radical Design and leading publisher Ubisoft have teamed up to deliver the
mind-altering, technologically superior game HAZE exclusively for PS3 this

holiday season. This highly anticipated first-person shooter marks the next-
generation debut for Free Radical, and will introduce unique gameplay driven
by 'Nectar'. Providing players with the opportunity to fight on both sides of

the same war, HAZE also features genre-defining multiplayer action for the
PLAYSTATION Network.
"Ubisoft and Free Radical are thrilled to be introducing Haze exclusively
for PS3 this holiday," said Yves Guillemot, chief executive officer at

Ubisoft. "When you combine Ubisoft's reputation for top quality FPS games,
Free Radical's outstanding track record on SCE platforms, and PS3's power and
network functionality, it is clear that HAZE will open up a new arena of

entertainment possibilities for players everywhere."
Set for a simultaneous worldwide launch in early 2008 exclusively on PS3,
a new trailer for Metal Gear Solid(R) 4: Guns of the Patriots also was


unveiled during the press conference. In a six minute presentation of all-new
footage, the latest Metal Gear Solid 4 trailer features stunning real-time
graphics, new revelations in the ongoing Metal Gear saga, and a new location

that will be one of many backdrops of Solid Snake's final, globetrotting
mission. In its first-ever presentation in English, the new trailer also
offers a taste of Kojima Production's ambitious, stylized localization of the

game's original script, penned by Hideo Kojima himself, and highlighted by the
return of the industry's most memorable voice talent, featuring David Hayter
as Old Snake, Pat Zimmerman as Liquid Ocelot, and Phil LaMarr, who will

reprise his role as iconic Metal Gear Solid 2 character, Vamp.
In addition to these key exclusives from NCSoft, Ubisoft, Midway, Konami,
Epic Games and many other publishers, gamers can look forward to 15 more PS3

only games from SCE this fiscal year that truly demonstrate the advanced
technological capabilities of the system.
Dale North