Sony 2011 E3 Press Conference Recap

After Microsoft’s E3 press conference which focused only on software, it was time for Sony to take the stage to show off its PS3 lineup and its PSP sequel, the Next Generation Portable or as its now known, the PS Vita.

Sony started off the press conference with a long video which highlighted the Playstation 3, Playstation Move and the PSP. This was played in 3D as was most if not all of the trailers that were shown.

Jack Tretton took the stage and began with the inevitable or what he called “the elephant in the room” and that was the Playstation Network. He apologized to publishers as they weren’t able to get their content out there to make money and thanks to the retailers for giving them shelf space while the outage went on. And then last but by no means least, a humble apology to the customers. This was expected and they did a nice job in apologizing and Jack seemed to genuinely mean it. They followed this by highlighting the benefits of the PSN such as content and announced that the PS3 accounts for 30% of Netflix total streaming which may increase when Netflix becomes available in more countries.

Naughty Dog came on stage next to talk about Uncharted 3 and showed off new gameplay footage and it looks amazing. Uncharted is one of the best gaming franchises now in my opinion and this looks to improve on Uncharted 2 in every way. They announced a partnership with Subway to give customers access to the full multiplayer mode before the game hits stores on November 1st. Definitely a day 1 purchase.

Insomniac Games took the stage to talk about another franchise that was born on the PS3, Resistance. They showed off some gameplay footage of Resistance 3, in 3D of course, and it looked like a Resistance game so if you looked the previous games, you should like this. It reminded me of a Call of Duty set in the 1950’s with aliens. They then announced a special Resistance 3 bundle which includes the game, a Playstation Move starter kit and the Sharp Shooter peripheral for $150. Not bad but not sure how it will sell.

Jack Tretton came back on stage for 2 big announcements. Firstly new classics collections. A God of War collection which includes the 2 God of War PSP games remade for the PS3 in 3D and the Team ICO collection which includes ICO and Shadow Of The Colossus remade in 3D coming this September. The second announcement regarded 3D. They basically want to make 3D more accessible for people and that means making it more affordable and announced a PS3 3D display. A 24 inch 3D monitor which allows 2 people to see separate images. Very impressive although current games on the market won’t work as the games have to specially coded for it. The monitor will come packaged with a HDMI cable, a copy of Resistance 3 and 1 pair of 3D glasses for $499. Very impressive deal considering the current price of 3D and the glasses have also seen a price reduction to $69. Again not bad but I would have preferred to see 2 pair of glasses included with the monitor.

Next, it was time for the Playstation Move to shine. 2K Games were bought out to show off NBA 2K12 and bought out Kobe Bryant to play it and he said it was realistic. Next up was  a new game from the makers of Sports Champions called Medieval Moves and it looked like a lot of Wii titles. It looked ok but nothing really special.

Next up were some games from sony which included a new Infamous 2 trailer, this game will surely be a big seller like Uncharted 3. A LittleBigPlanet 2 update was announced that will bring more Playstation Move support to the game, a new trailer for Starhawk, and a new Sly Cooper game coming in 2012.

Next up was third party support which included a game titled Dust which is a PS3 exclusive and they said its a console shooter which combines with a PC MMO game, so good for multiplayer. It looked like Halo and I’m sure its one of those games you just have to see in action to appreciate. Coming Spring 2012. Anew Bioshock Infinite trailer was up next which was made up of in game footage and looked visually impressive. Also announced that the game will be Move compatible, and Bioshock 1 will be included on the same disk exclusively on PS3. Also announced but not shown was a new NGP game from the team but it was not shown and we know nothing about it. Also announced were an exclusive game mode on Saints Row 3 for PS3 and a new Star Trek game coming to PS3 which uses Move and a new Move accessory based on Star Trek. And also EA PS3 exclusives which were aPS3 exclusive level on SSX, an exclusive Need For Speed: The Run blu ray disk which supercars and the PS3 version of Battlefield 3 will have Battlefield 1943 packaged with it.

And finally, it was the moment everyone was waiting for. The NGP. They started out talking about the Playstation Suite which was announced in January but gave no new details, then moved on to talking about how powerful the NGP is which again, we already knew. Then came the confirmation. NGP is dead and PS Vita is born. PS Vita is the official name of the console and vita means life. They announced 2 models, a Wifi only console and a 3g+Wifi console with Sony partnering with AT&T in the US (which garnered some boos from the audience), with international information coming at a later date. 2 new features were announced – Party Room which lets you know what your friends are up to and Near which lets you socialize using the PSN.

PS Vita games were shown, these included Uncharted Golden Abyss, which looked almost PS3 like graphically and utilized the touch screen nicely. Ruin which is an action RPG which looked ok but definitely not a system seller but included a nice feature in which you can play the Vita version, save the game to the cloud and carry on the game on the PS3. A new Modnation Racers game was announced which lets you create tracks by drawing on the touch screen, use the back touch panel to make mountains and will also have access to all of the tracks which were made for the original game. Wipeout 2048 was announced which lets PS3 players take on PS Vita players, a LittleBigPlanet game for Vita trailer was shown and also Capcom showed off Street Fighter X Tekken on Vita with Cole form Infamous as an exclusive character. Sony announced that there were 80 titles in development from third parties and then showed off another Vita trailer. Then it was time for the prices. $249 for the Wifi model and $299 for the 3g+Wifi model. I have to be honest and say that I expected them to be a lot higher but I can’t wait to find out if they really did downgrade the hardware to meet that price point. The console releases this Holiday season. UK prices were not announced, I wonder why?

In conclusion, Sony had to deliver in a big way due to the PSN outage and did they, not really. They showed off PS3 titles that we already knew about mostly in trailer form and that was the problem. Too many trailers and not enough gameplay from different games. It was nice to see more Move support but there is still no killer app for the accessory. And PS Vita was what we all expected as they announced it in January and showed off some games that we have either seen before or knew were coming. The price was ok as it fits in line with the Nintendo 3DS but UK pricing was not announced although they announced the price in Euros and in Yen, which can only mean 1 thing. It’s going to be expensive. At current time of writing, play.com has the 3g+wifi version up for pre order at £280. And we thought the 3DS was a rip off. The price will have to come down if they expect to sell a large number of consoles. That is a lesson Nintendo are learning right now as the price of the 3DS has dropped significantly and Sony must do the same.

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