The Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California kicked off today. The show floor doesn’t actually open until Wednesday, so the only thing really shaking today was some announcements from a few developers…… and of course the official Sony Press Conference. The wait is over, and the exposÃ© on the future of Playstation is, too. Oh, and the price is in green near the end of the article if that is all you care about.
There will undoubtedly be dozens on articles out tomorrow that will be infinitely more extensive than this, but I just wanted to give a brief look into exactly what was shown off, and cut right into the details that people actually care about. I got all the following info from watching the video feed on IGN Insider’s Livewire, so thanks to them for that. Made me feel like I was really there 😉
Anyway, the demo started off with a lot of boring charts and statistics on PS2 and PSP sales. I guess Sony is really happy about them, and I guess they have the right to be proud. 103 million PS2’s, and 17 million PSP’s as of March 31. They went on to say that there will be PS2 support for years to come, and then reiterated a bunch of PSP stuff we already knew (future firmware updates to add GPS, video camera, etc. updates), but also mentioned something called Memory Stick Boot, which I’m pretty sure is what they use later in the show to boot PS1 games from the memory card, though it may be something entirely different that they didn’t go into detail on. Also, PSP will get a Greatest Hits program, which was inevitable.
Now on to the PS3, what everyone actually wants to hear. It will support 1080p HDTV, despite what so many online articles were rumoring. It will also still support gigabit ethernet, bluetooth, as well as have SD and Memory Stick flash card functionality. Every PS3 will ship with a hard drive, the size of which depends on which model you get (see very bottom of this article for more on the two models). Blah, blah.
Then the tech demos started. There was a couple clips from Gran Turismo 4, except instead of being the PS2 version, it had updated graphics to support high-definition. I thought it looked pretty neat, but hardly anything special. However, then came the real wow!, for me at least. There is this card game that reminded me of Yu-Gi-Oh! that works along with the Eye Toy and actual real cards. In the demo, some cards were placed on a table, and then the digital representations of them appeared in the game, and monsters started to be summoned. It appears as if you move your cards in order to interact with the game. VERY COOL. Then there was just more games… all the same stuff we’ve already seen.
Then it got to the game we actually care about: Metal Gear Solid 4. The following is a quote from GameSpot’s summary of the teaser that is probably better than anything I can come up with:
“It’s in Japanese. Snake is sitting down, he’s still old. “War has changed,” he says. Talk about nanomachines, soldiers getting cut down in the streets by that crazy walking mech. Ther’es a ninja… is it the ninja? His mask looked different. Naomi Hunter. Col. Campbell says “you’re the world’s only hope!” Meryl says that we’re the new Foxhound. Otcan claims the Onus is ours! The ninja is Raiden! Liquid Ocelot! This is rad! Back to Snake, sitting down, smoking, holding a pistol. Oops, he just put it in his mouth! Is he taking the coward’s way out? “This is my final mission.” Gun shot, cut to black. Coming 2007.”
Definitely going to be interesting! I am hoping there will be a nicer view of this teaser tomorrow, as an isolated download that I can hopefully link to. I actually didn’t even get to see the whole thing… my stupid feed died out on me in the middle of it and I missed the second half 🙁 I’d love to see the whole thing in better quality soon.
Then they get on to the actual hardware stuff. Ken Kutaragi and Phil Harrison show up on stage to demonstrate the new controller which looks a lot like the current PS2 controller. The only difference is that the L2/R2 buttons are a little bigger and it has a button right in the middle… kind of like the middle button on the 360 controller. No, actually… exactly like the 360’s button. Anyone want to wager what that button’s going to do? Maybe bring out the dashboard interface from the side of the screen? And then Dylan Jobe, producer of Warhawk (jet plane fighter game) demonstrates the ability of the controller to track motion, which Sony calls “six degress of freedom”, whatever that is supposed to mean. In all reality, it is motion sensoring in the controller, just like Nintendo Wii’s controller. The only thing is that it only really senses tilts in directions, but not actual relative motion. That is, the game will know you went right, but not how far right you went, which is necessary to let you control a 3D sword or whatever. So, it still seems that the Wii will be the only system to get light saber games 🙁
Then Ken Kutaragi comes out for the big announcement, the one that everyone was waiting for. Pricing and release details, and here is the skinny. The PS3 will have two separate packages (sound familiar?), one with a 20GB hard drive and one with a 60GB drive. The 20GB one will be $499, while the 60GB one will be $599. And it looks like a November 17, 2006 release date for North America. Let’s just say I’m going to reserve mine this weekend.
EDIT (05-09-06): News has come in that the $499 and $599 versions are quite different. Aside from the aforementioned hard drive size differences, the $499 will not include Wi-Fi capabilities, the memory card (SD/Memory Stick) reader, or… and this is the big one… HDMI output.
The price is a little higher than I expected, but I am definitely still getting it the first day it comes out. I’m probably going to reserve it this weekend at Toys ‘R Us. I will never reserve at Gamestop considering what they did to all those people that reserved 360’s… and I don’t think anywhere else is even taking reservations yet.
On a very quick side note, Square Enix also had their conference today, and they announced a few notable things. There will be three new games coming out under the title of Final Fantasy XIII (yeah, I know… they’re getting carried away with this stuff). There will be a prequel RPG for cell phones. Then there will be the main FF13 RPG for PS3, in addition to an action game for PS3 called FF Versus 13. They also confirmed Final Fantasy III for Gameboy Advance, which was pretty much a known fact now anyway. Also there will be a game called Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII for the PSP. It will be interesting to see how that news shakes out.
All in all, it was an interesting day with a lot of cool stuff. I look forward to seeing the whole MGS4 teaser video downloadable tomorrow, as well as the Nintendo Wii news!