Archive for May, 2006

Sony’s E3 Press Conference

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

We’re not there, but we’re liveblogging from a nearby couch!

Kaz Hirai defends the delay in a roundabout way, and adds, “The next generation doesn’t start until we say it does.” Or until we get bored and buy an Xbox 360.

Bunch of stuff about PS2 sales, yada yada yada. Sony will be making new PS2 games for many years to come.

By the way, G4 TV, which is supposedly “covering” E3 this year and is probably somewhere around channel 150 on your digital cable, is running an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation right now.

Let’s take a look at some PSP titles. Ape Academy 2??? No way!

PlayStation commercial featuring 20-somethings in Times Square, an older dude in London, some people in Australia, talking about all the awesome things about the PlayStation brand and the PS3. We’re sure these are real interviews. A girl in a Japanese shopping mall is “looking forward to how graphics will evolve on the PS3.” This commercial may actually have been filmed at Epcot Center.

On to PlayStation 3… sweet.

FULL STORY:

(Woo, we’ve never seen this Star Trek episode before. Hope the holodeck doesn’t malfunction!)

Ken says a bunch of technical jargon, followed by, “so, what does all this mean?” Good question. Tells us how great Blu-ray is. PS3 will ship with a hard drive. 10,000 dev kits have shipped. Playable games at the Sony booth, awesome.

Phil Harrison’s up. God, his accent is hot. The creator of Gran Turismo will now speak in translated Japanese and show off a GT prototype. Scattered applause. Several minutes of race footage prove that the graphics are good. The big thing seems to be that it’s all done in HD. Also, the load time is faster than on PS2.

The Grand Canyon track is pretty cool, especially since the spectators lining the road run for cover when you swerve toward the edge of the track. And the view’s not so bad either. GT HD will hopefully come out “not too far from the launch of the PS3.”

Phil’s back, and he has some playing cards in his hand. The creator of eyeToy will now show off the “eye of judgement.” This is pretty sweet. A videocamera recognizes each real-life playing card as a character, and manifests them on screen. Like all those magic card games, but in 3D.

Ken talks about online gaming, Star Trek goes to commercial. PS3 will create an online “society, or community.” PSP will be able to directly download and emulate old PS1 games from the Sony network. Gee, which game is it? IT’S RIDGE RACER! RIIIIIDGE RACER!

Apparently you can buy new levels and weapons and stuff through PS3’s online system. Is that good or bad? Phil shows off Singstar, which is playing a Good Charlotte song. You can download and buy music for this karaoke game in an iTunes-esque way. Includes music video in HD. (He’s chosen Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” for song 2.) Oh god, you can also record and upload your karaoke video… I guess they’ve been checking out YouTube.

Now on display, a game where you kill lots of things in Dynasty Warriors fashion. “First I’m going to have to defeat this large enemy character here.”

(Dave adds from the other side of the apartment, “I think I’m more impressed with the Gamespot octopus.” Captain Picard looks pissed.)

What the hell? In the new Formula 1 game, you can use your PSP as a rear-view mirror while playing PS3 on your TV. A REAR VIEW MIRROR? That’s what the “content producers” made from all this cutting edge technology?

Phil describes Lair, which we thought was a launch title, as one of the “games that are a little further out.” Out of this world? Or out of time before launch? Trailers for “Getaway” and “Afrika.” Hey, there was a giraffe. And now, crazy cartoon golf, which is actually the most interesting trailer we’ve seen thus far.

Here we go, two new titles: Eight Days looks like a pretty cool hitman / mafia / renegade game where two guys speed around in a bullet-ridden car fucking shit up in the Arizona desert and blowing up oil tankers. You’ve seen this in hundreds of movies, but still, it’s lookin’ good.

In the next game, a guy who is dressed like he just got out of a Ben Folds concert is running around jungle ruins knocking dudes out with the butt of his shotgun and searching for some lost treasure.

In another new-ish game, Resistance: Fall of Man, we get a cool revision of history where World War II never happens, but somehow Europe is overrun by aliens (or something) and you have to save England, the last free state. Looks like a Call of Duty upgrade. War is awesome.

(A new episode of Star Trek has begun.)

Now we race through some third-party titles with trailers about 20 seconds long: Assassin’s Creed, Gundam something, Coded Arms Assault (”commence hacking!”), something that I think was Ridge Racer, Brother in Arms, Tekken 6, Sonic, Virtua Tennis 3, Virtua Fighter 5, Stranglehold (starring Chow Yun Fat)… and our feed is dead! Damn you, Gamespot, don’t make us leave the couch!

EA big shot Larry Probst takes the stage. “The results … is inspiring.” And now, some EA Sports games. They’re working on a lot of cool stuff to make players move more realistically (and plant their feet correctly). Live basketball gameplay looks really, really good.

Next up, an alarmingly realistic “UCap” recreation of Tiger Woods, which looks great, but also lands about as deep in the uncanny valley as we’ve ever seen.

Wow, the new MGS4 trailer looks awesome, seems to involve AT-STs, and, at the end, Snake puts a pistol in his mouth. Does he kill himself? We’ll find out in 2007.

By the way, I’ve been calling Kaz “Ken” up until this point. Sorry, guys. Ken Kutaragi is up now, and he’s talking about the controller. Boomerang… or something better?

IT’S EXACTLY THE SAME! ZING!!! Screw you, boomerang. Let’s see “what it can do.” Apparently, you can control objects by physically moving the controller, obviously taking a page from the once-revolutionary Nintendo Wii. Phil keeps saying “six degrees of movement,” which basically translate to “if you wave the controller around, things will happen on screen, because buttons are so passe.”

A total Wii ripoff? Yeah, big time. We’ll opine in depth after we get to play them both this week. Man, it is exactly the Revolution controller idea. It looks cool, though, and now inexperienced gamers who try to “steer” their controller will actually get some results.

How can they honestly stand up there and pretend like this was their idea? Jesus. First the boomerang, now Grand Theft Controller.

One last thing: Global Launch.

The cheap PS3 tier will ship with a 20 gig hard drive, and the expensive version will have a 60 gig hard drive.

Japan: Nov. 11. 20 gig = 59800 yen. For the 60 gig, retailers will set the price. Thoughts on this coming soon.

US & Canada: Nov. 17. 20 gig = 499 US, 549 CN. 60 gig = 599 US, 659 CN.

Europe/Australia: Nov 19. 20 gig = 499 euros, 60 gig = 599 euros.

Sony will ship 2 million worldwide during “launch period,” total of 4 million by end of december. another 2 million during first quarter. total of 6 mil by end of march.

Not too shabby. And now, the people who actually showed up get to try out the playable PS3s. We’ll keep watching Star Trek. Watch out for more columns on the launch plans and the controller theft coming soon.

Breaking! Sony Delays Something!

Monday, May 8th, 2006

Much like the new console whose secrets it will eventually reveal, the Sony E3 press conference is running a little late. We hear the event is overflowing with eager journalists and fanboys, and it’s been pushed back an hour to accomodate them all.

We, on the other hand, will be watching from the comfort of David’s apartment on this live feed, which hopefully will afford us a much better and more convenient view, whenever things get started. So while we recover from our collective cross-country flights and nights out in Vegas drinking ink-filled wine with Swedish twins, we’ll keep you updated on Sony’s announcements.

We love the way you say “L.A.”

Monday, May 8th, 2006

We’re hittin’ the clear blue skies this morning on the way to E3 in Los Angeles, so watch this spot for updates throughout the week, and hopefully some debauchery totally unrelated to the giant gaming expo. Stay tuned!