Sony keeps us hanging on but finally reveals all as the first big press conference throws up some surprises.
So the sun was finally out and beating down as we all waited patiently in line for the Sony press conference. Held in the Sony Pictures Studio, where films are still made – Spider-Man 3 is in production round the corner – this was E3’s first big media feeding frenzy. With a couple of thousand journos and analysts in the audience, there seemed to be at least a hundred posting online directly as any words were uttered.
Sony’s trick was to leave the details everyone was waiting for until the end however. The pricing was almost presented as an afterthought. Personally I thought Ken Kutaragi would do the deed, but instead it was US president and CEO Kaz Hiral who uttered the magic words “$499/$599” and “the 17th November”.
No one seems too surprised by the relatively high pricing. After all we’ll still be getting a Blu-ray equipped piece of kit plus a game console with a hard drive and a free online gaming service. The trick, of course, will be availability. Unlike Microsoft, which could pretty much ignore Xbox 360’s Japanese launch (a favour the Japanese returned), Sony will have to split two million PlayStation 3s between three high demand markets. Even another two million in the six weeks after launch isn’t going to help much. Better get your pre-orders in quick if you want one.
Perhaps more interesting however was the new/old DualShock 2 controller for PS3 which features six degrees of freedom motion so you can tip, rotate and levitate game characters by just moving your controller. Sony reckons it’s been working on the tech for years and has patents pending but it clearly seems to take a leaf out of Nintendo’s book. Still, the controller feels okay, if extremely lightweight.
As for the games on display, the standout for me was the absence of Killzone 2, which after last year’s over-polished demo won’t be shown until it’s looking brilliant. Still Heavenly Sword’s animation was amazing, while Naughty Dog’s unnamed ‘Tomb Raider but with a bloke,’ showed promise.
Also interesting in a conceptual sense was Konami’s video for Metal Gear Solid 4, which ended with Solid Snake sucking down the barrel of his own gun. A game character pondering suicide – now that’s something that should get people thinking.
But not just now. It’s time for some shut eye before the early start that is the Nintendo press conference.