LOS ANGELES--This year, Sony is the second of the "Big Three" to hold its Electronic Entertainment Expo press briefing, coming after Microsoft on Monday and before Nintendo's Tuesday morning conference. As is the case every year, the electronics giant will use its event to talk up all things PlayStation, from the four-and a-half-year-old PlayStation 3 to its new portable, tentatively called the NGP.
Sony's handheld will be of particular interest at this year's event, where the company is expected to rechristen it the "PlayStation Vita." Gamers who have been following the NGP since it was unveiled in late January are also hoping for more details about the portable, particularly its price and launch date. New information on its multimedia functionality and other features is likely in the cards as well.
As for the PlayStation 3, the console has some major exclusives that are likely to make an appearance, such as Twisted Metal, Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, Resistance 3, and Uncharted 3. Also, expect some major mea culpas from Sony for the PlayStation Network outage, which was finally resolved last week with the restoration of the PlayStation Store.
Sony's E3 2011 press conference will begin at 5:00 p.m. PDT Monday, June 6. GameSpot will be live-streaming video of the event.
[5:00] Even though Sony's event is being held at by far the largest venue of the four press conferences today, it is PACKED. The live-blogging section Sony helpfully set up is crammed, with reporters literally trying to snatch seats from each other.
[5:03] Some pleasant tech-house tries to soothe the crowd, but to little effect. The aisles are choked with people hawking for any open seat, with few having any luck.
[5:03] The official start time is upon us, but still there as been no commanding voice from the sky telling everyone to sit down….
[5:03] Given the number of people still milling about, there is no way this thing is starting on time.
[5:08] "Good afternoon everyone, today's program will start in 10 minutes." Anyone waiting to take a bathroom break might as well go take one now. It's going to be a while.
[5:12] "Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen--we shall begin in 5 minutes," says a disembodied-but-dignified British woman over the PA system. Is there a special school these announcers go to?
[5:13] The audience is now being urged to put on their 3D glasses. We're getting close, people.
[5:14] 1 minute warning!
[5:17] The music volume increases, trying to jolt people into their seats.
[5:17] The lights go down, and it begins.
[5:17] A deep rumbling bass precedes a sizzle reel showcasing the PlayStation Move, NGP, and PlayStation 3 hardware.
[5:17] Uncharted, God of War, Captain America, Mortal Kombat, and Green Lantern are all briefly shown.
[5:17] The NGP is showcased without the PS Vita logo.
[5:18] Move is also shown off, with EyePet and Resistance 3 being touted.
[5:19] Transformers, Infamous 2, Uncharted 3, and…a new God of War game?
[5:19] Saints Row: The Third, Madden NFL grace the screen.
[5:19] PlayStation Network pimped, followed by the PSP.
[5:20] Mortal Kombat and Uncharted 3 tease 3D games.
[5:21] The PlayStation logo comes up to thunderous applause.
[5:21] Enter Jack Tretton, president of Sony Computer Entertainment America.
[5:22] Fun fact: There are 6,000 people in the audience tonight here at the LA Sports Arena.
[5:22] He cuts to the chase, addressing the PlayStation Network outage with a joke. "To all my friends in the press I'd like to say, 'You're Welcome.'"
[5:23] He then apologizes to Sony's development partners and retail partners.
[5:24] He then addresses the consumers who are "the lifeblood of PlayStation" for the inconvenience caused by the outage.
[5:24] PlayStation Network activity is at over 90 percent of what it was prior to the PSN outage.
[5:26] The PS3 is responsible for over 30 percent of all Netflix streaming.
[5:26] Sony is getting a new partner, CinemaNow, later this year to provide TV and film content.
[5:27] Now it's onto the games, with Uncharted 3 getting top billing. Enter Naughty Dog's Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra.
[5:29] Kick off a demo which shows Nathan Drake on board the deck of a derelict cruise ship.
[5:29] He enters a ballroom and disables a sentry with a quick elbow strike to the throat.
[5:29] Now he's back outside, and can see how rough the seas are. Another sentry gets the chop as well.
[5:30] And a third, with a face to the wall.
[5:30] Drake is looking for something, saying "it's gotta be down this way."
[5:31] He jumps from a balcony onto some steel girders below decks, and finds…the ship's hold is empty. As Admiral Ackbar would say, it's a trap!
[5:31] Gunmen surround Drake, prompting a gunfight which leads to explosions that breach the hull. Uh-oh.
[5:32] Water comes streaming into the hold, flooding it as Drake fights off opponents.
[5:32] Now the water level is so high, he is able to swim and access the rafters again.
[5:34] He runs down a hallway, only to fall through a trapdoor into another flooded room. To make things worse, a large metal cabinet drops onto him, triggering a minigame to free himself.
[5:34] He finally frees himself but has to swim a long distance underwater, almost drowning.
[5:34] Up comes the logo.
[5:34] The Uncharted 3 multiplayer beta starts June 28.
[5:35] Through a deal with Subway, gamers can get early access to the "full multiplayer experience" early if they…well, buy some sandwiches.
[5:37] Cut to a second 3D trailer for Uncharted 3, which shows him facing off against a Helen Mirren-like villainess before heading off to the desert.
[5:37] Sully is skeptical, of course.
[5:37] Then it's off to Arabia for some more adventure.
[5:37] November 1, 2011, for those who don't know yet.
[5:37] Tretton is back to introduce something new from Insomniac, bringing out Marcus Smith who has Resistance 3 in tow.
[5:39] It's August 1957, and the Chimera have won. The last sentinel is going on a mission to New York, but the demo he's about to show takes place during an assault on a Chimera dropship in St. Louis.
[5:39] It's in 3D, of course.
[5:41] The player engages in a brutal shoot-out in the streets with the Chimera during a rainstorm. Droplets of water are on the "lens" of the game camera.
[5:41] Players then must steal the power core from the drop ship and evade a host of monsters, including winged chimera and hulking beasts.
[5:44] The game also supports PlayStation Move, and will be available as part of a bundle including a PlayStation Eye camera, a sharpshooter, a move controller, navigation controller, and the game for $150.
[5:44] As part of a 3D push, Sony is releasing God of War: Origins, a collection of the two PSP God of War games remastered in HD and 3D.
[5:44] Sony is also readying a 3D HD collection of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. Both it at God of War Origins are due out in September.
[5:45] But that's not all--Sony is also readying a 24" PlayStation-branded 3D display which will allow two players to see two entirely different things on the same screen.
[5:46] It will be available this holiday season bundled with a pair of 3D glasses, a 6' HDMI cable, and a copy of Resistance 3 for $499.99.
[5:47] Glasses will be available a la carte for $69.99.
[5:47] PlayStation Move has sold over 8.8 million units to date, and will see over 200 games supporting it by the end of the year.
[5:47] 2K Sports reps take the stage to show off how NBA 2K12 will support PlayStation Move.
[5:47] The mode is called "NBA on the Move."
[5:50] The player points the Move controller at the on-screen player the b-baller wants to pass to and they get the pass. It also works on defense, with players targeting rivals for the steal.
[5:51] And the LA Lakers' Kobe Bryant walks out to demonstrate it.
[5:51] They engage in some banter, with Bryant taking offense that the demonstrator is playing as the Miami Heat.
[5:51] Bryan takes the controller and proceeds to play as the Lakers. He ends up fouling as his own on-screen likeness.
[5:51] Miami makes a 3-pointer, and Bryant jokes, "That isn't realistic!"
[5:52] NBA 2K12 will come out October 4 with full PlayStation Move support "and a lot more surprises."
[5:53] Now it's an all-new title, Medieval Moves: Deadmund's Quest, a fantasy action game.
[5:54] The game has a cartoonish visual style, with the player doing battle with some goblin-style monsters with a very accurate bow and arrow.
[5:54] Actually they're skeletons.
[5:54] He dispatches the skeletons with some Move-enhanced swordplay, and then picks a lock on a door with the controller.
[5:55] And more skeletons!
[5:56] The player runs up a ladder and then picks off the skeletons one by one as they come up the ladder.
[5:57] Then he closes the trapdoor, only to uncover some secret passages by blowing up some explosive barrels.
[5:57] Now he does battle with a "brute" and then engages in some platforming.
[5:57] Medieval Moves: Deadmund's Quest will be available this fall.
[5:59] Cue a trailer for Infamous 2!
[6:00] Cole McGrath does battle with various foes, leaping from rooftop to rooftop and unleashing various fiery and electrical powers.
[6:00] He narrowly escapes a helicopter attack amongst other hazards.
[6:00] The game launches tomorrow in North America.
[6:01] The game is getting a "unique user-generated content experience" with a PlayStation Move level builder this fall.
[6:01] In September, Little Big Planet is also getting enhanced PlayStation Move support.
[6:01] Now it's time for Starhawk, due out early next year.
[6:02] The "run-and-gun" shooter gets a trailer, which has a Firefly-like sci-fi-meets-old West vibe.
[6:02] Surface combat turns into outer space battles rather quickly.
[6:03] "Welcome to the new frontier" is the tagline.
[6:04] Now another "family friendly" franchise is coming back to the PlayStation 3…and it's Sly Cooper!
[6:05] The masked bandit is chased over various rooftops by a police helicopter, then cop cars--but it's Dimitri, not Sly.
[6:05] Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is due out in 2012.
[6:07] Hilmar Petursson, CEO of CCP (Eve) to announce an all-new shooter, Dust 514, a PlayStation 3 exclusive. It will be connected to Eve Online on the PC to create a single universe. Dust 514 will also have PlayStation Move support and NGP support. It comes out next summer.
[6:08] Cue a trailer, which shows a dark first-person shooter that has assault troops coming off a dropship to assault a spaceport.
[6:08] The protagonist will be a mercenary of some sort.
[6:08] The camera then pans up to a whole invasion fleet in orbit around a planet, then expands out to a galactic map.
[6:10] Tretton is back again.
[6:10] Closed beta is slated for the end of this year, full release next spring for Dust 514.
[6:11] Now its time for a little bit of BioShock: Infinite, which is not for the agoraphobic.
[6:11] The protagonist jumps between various levels trying to defend a woman--to no avail.
[6:11] And look, it's Ken Levine from Irrational Games.
[6:12] He is now joking about how he said some "uncharitable" things about the PlayStation Move, prompting a call from Sony.
[6:13] The Sony reps told him "we want to make you a believer." But, being a core gamer, he was still skeptical.
[6:15] Sony said that "What if you could get the motion gamers onboard and still keep your core audience?" They then sent him a Move SDK, and he said he was so impressed, that BioShock Infinite will now support the system.
[6:15] There's also another game Irrational is working on, set in the BioShock universe…and on the NGP.
[6:15] That's right, portable BioShock.
[6:15] As an added incentive, the PS3 BioShock Infinite will have the original BioShock on the same Blu-ray disc.
[6:16] Saints Row: The Third will also have PS3 exclusive DLC.
[6:17] The new Star Trek game will also have PlayStation Move support, and Sony is readying a shell for the Move that looks like a phaser.
[6:17] Cut to a trailer of the game, which shows both interior combat and spacewalks under fire.
[6:18] Both Chris Pine (Kirk) and Zachary Quinto (Spock) have lent their likenesses to the game, which is due in 2012.
[6:18] Three exclusive deals with EA on PlayStation 3.
[6:18] SSX will have an exclusive level which sees a race down Japan's Mt. Fuji.
[6:19] Need for Speed: The Run will have seven additional cars, including the Bugatti Veyron, on PS3.
[6:21] Finally, EA is using the extra space on Blu-ray to bundle Battlefield 1943 with Battlefield 3 on a single disc.
[6:21] Now it's time for NGP, and out comes Sony Computer Entertainment president and Sony Corp. vice president Kaz Hirai to discuss it.
[6:21] Hirai then gets down to business, talking about Sony's 10-year plan for entertainment.
[6:21] He says that Sony is humbled and overwhelmed by its customers' loyalty.
[6:22] Now he talks about how the PSP helped usher in a new level of portable entertainment.
[6:23] He says Sony is going after smartphone users with the whole PlayStation Suite imitative, which will bring PlayStation content to Android devices.
[6:24] Now it's NGP time, with Hirai talking up the device's dual thumbsticks, two cameras, and OLED screen. He says it will help players connect with their environment.
[6:24] The official name? PlayStation Vita. (Surprise!)
[6:25] Since "Vita" means "life," Sony is hoping the new handheld will help players enhance their lives.
[6:26] The handheld will come in both 3G and Wi-Fi only models.
[6:26] Sony is partnering exclusively with AT&T in North America--audible groans from the audience ensue.
[6:27] The game will have a feature called Party that will allow for chat during gameplay, even if they are playing different games. It will also have its own social-networking feature called Near.
[6:28] Scott Rohde, SVP of Sony Worldwide Studios, takes the stage.
[6:29] He introduces a brief demo of Uncharted: Golden Abyss from Sony Bend.
[6:29] The studio has had a Vita SDK for over two years.
[6:30] The game's graphics are very impressive, with dynamic lighting and real-time shadows.
[6:32] Golden Abyss will be playable using regular PlayStation Controls, but will also feature some Vita controls as an alternative.
[6:32] The demonstrator drags his fingers along a series of ledges and Drake jumps across them smoothly.
[6:34] A shoot-out ensues, with the player reloading by simply tapping on the weapon icon.
[6:35] Next up is a "social action RPG" that is directly compatible with the PS3. It's called Ruin.
[6:35] Which is just a "working title," apparently.
[6:37] However the game will have players become rivals over the PlayStation Network and other social services such as Twitter and Facebook.
[6:38] The current level that the demonstrator is destroying is actually the lair of a rival player--you're essentially trashing your competitors' cribs.
[6:38] The game is compatible with the PlayStation 3. The demonstrator saves his Vita game to the cloud, and then picks up exactly where he left off on the PlayStation 3.
[6:42] (Separate from Sony's presentation, the game company has announced that Vita will be available with 3G compatibility for 29,980 Yen (including tax), $299, and euro 299. A cheaper Wi-Fi-only edition will cost 24,980 Yen (including tax), $249, and euro 249.)
[6:42] Next up is a demo of Mod Nation racers for the PlayStation Vita.
[6:42] The game's level editor will take advantage of the touch panel in the front.
[6:43] Using the Vita touch screen, the demonstrator moves around tracks and light sources.
[6:48] Now it's time for a trailer for Little Big Planet on Vita. It will offer content creation tools for the Vita's tools such as cameras and touchscreen.
[6:48] Street Fighter X Tekken for NGP just revealed, and here comes the trailer.
[6:48] Ryu, Chun Li, the gang's all here.
[6:49] Yoshinoro Ono from Capcom Japan is in the house to demonstrate the game.
[6:50] Cole from Infamous 2 will be a playable character in the game.
[6:52] Now comes a demo which sees Cole fighting Ryu in the game.
[6:52] Cole gets his business handed to him and loses.
[6:52] No release date, but Ono says it "won't be long" until the game comes out.
[6:53] Friendly reminder: The game is also coming out on the PS3.
[6:53] It will be playable on the show floor.
[6:53] Ubisoft, Activision, and THQ are also on board the Vita bandwagon.
[6:56] Cue sizzle reel of Vita games: Uncharted, Wipeout, Little Deviants, Little Big Planet, Sound Shapes, Project: Gravity, Hustle Kings, Mod Nation Racers, Super Stardust, Ruin, Reality Fighters, Hot Shots Golf, Shinobido 2: Tales of the Ninja, Virtua Tennis 4, Dynasty Warriors (of course!), Dragon Crown, are all in the pipeline for the handheld.
[6:56] Kaz is back.
[6:57] Hirai is now telling the crowd the price to major applause. The 3DS better watch its back.
[6:58] Kaz bids the crowd good night.
[6:58] Tretton is back, and ribs Kaz over his infamous "Ridge Racer" comment.
[6:59] Now Tretton is wrapping up, going over the presentation's major points.
[6:59] Now that's it!