Sony E3 Press Conference Highlights

Today Sony had their E3 press conference. Here’s a recap:

* The successor to the PSP, the NGP, now has an official name: PlayStation Vita. It will have two analog sticks, two touch pads and cameras on the front and rear, motion sensing, and an OLED screen. It will feature cross game chat. AT&T will be the exclusive 3G service provider, which leaves those with other carriers out of luck on that front. The Wi-Fi only version will retail at $249, while the AT&T 3G version will go for $299.
* Playstation CEO Jack Tretton addressed the PSN outage by thanking third party publishers and retailers for their support, yet only directed an apology to consumers.
* Naughty Dog presented a demo of Uncharted 3. Multiplayer beta starts on June 28, with the entire multiplayer portion being accessible by going to a Subway. The game itself drops on November 1.
* Insomniac Games showed Resistance 3. It will be bundled with the Move, Sharpshooter, Navigation Controller, and a PS Eye camera and cost $150.
* Two HD collections were announced. The God of War Origins Collections is a remaster of the PSP God of War games. Ico and Shadow of Colossus will likewise receive HD remastering. Both will be available in September.
* Sony trotted out a PlayStation branded 3D 24 inch TV, which comes with a pair of glasses, HDMI cable, and Resistance 3. It can produce two full screen images, meaning instead of splitscreen each player sits on a side and sees two different images. It will be available in the fall and cost $499, with additional pairs of glasses going for $69.
* 2K Sports had Kobe Bryant demonstrate how the Move will work in NBA 2K12, with passing being done by pointing at a player and pushing trigger to pass the ball. It will be launched October 4.
* Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest, a Move game, was shown next. It stars a skeleton navigating a haunted castle. It has exploring, puzzles, and battles using sword and shield and archery.
* A video of Infamous 2 was shown, despite the fact that the demo was put up on the PSN last week and that it drops today. Though Sony did note that user-created levels won’t be available until the fall.
* Sony announced that LittleBigPlanet 2 will be getting Move support.
* More games were announced: StarHawk, from the developers behind Warhawk; Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, the first Sly Cooper game to be made for the PS3; and Dust 514, which will connect with EVE Online, have Move support, and be a PS3 exclusive. All have a 2012 release date.
* Irrational Games talked about Bioshock Infinite, which will come with a copy of the first Bioshock and be released in 2012. It will have Move support, though Ken Levine has been vocal about his lack of fondness for motion controls. A Bioshock game will also be coming to the Vita, but no further details were revealed.
* THQ stated that Saints Row 3 will have more content and a new game mode for the PS3. It will be released November 15.
* Paramount announced a Move-compatible Star Trek game, complete with a phaser shaped accessory for the Move. There will also be a downloadable prequel that will also support the Move. It will be released in 2012.
* EA announced three PS3 exclusive games: SSX, which will feature a race down Mount Fuji, Need For Speed: The Run, which will feature a special blu-ray disc with seven more cars, and Battlefield 3, which will come with Battlefield 1943 on the same disc.
* Games shown for the Vita: Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Ruin, Modnation Racers, LittleBigPlanet, Super Stardust Delta, and Street Fighter vs. Tekken.

Analysis: Three things stood out here as the hot topics of the conference: 3D, the Move, and shooters. It’s apparent that Sony wanted to shoehorn the Move into every single game on the PS3, which was especially obvious with Bioshock Infinite. While the Move controls could work for some games, it could make some game awkward to play, and it makes me a bit nervous that traditional controls will begin to go by the wayside. The 3D PlayStation TV was the biggest example of Sony’s attempt to push 3D. The full screen images do seem like something that would benefit those that play local multiplayer, though it would require shelling out for another pair of glasses to take advantage of the 3D. I was pleasantly surprised about the price point for the Vita – I was expecting it to be a lot higher considering all the technology Sony crammed into it. The AT&T exclusivity is somewhat disappointing, but the fact that there is a Wi-Fi model makes it accessible for those who do not have AT&T. Tretton did make a cursory attempt at addressing the PSN outage, though he could’ve stood to also direct an apology to publishers whose bottom line was affected by the outage.

In terms of games, shooters were the main course of the day. There were a number of big titles announced, but a lot of them were sequels. Subway seems like a bit of a random choice as a host of Uncharted 3’s multiplayer beta, but the fact that the whole multiplayer game will be playable is nice.The fact that Bioshock Infinite and Battlefield 3 will both come with their predecessors on the same disc are nice bonuses. The Ico/Shadow of the Colossus HD collection is nice, though some word about Last Guardian would be great too. Overall, though, while Sony’s conference had more to show for it than Microsoft, it remains to be seen how they fare against Nintendo.


About Aileen Coe