Despite frequent delays to flagship products such as the PlayStation 3 and PlayTV, Sony Computer Entertainment has long emphasised its commitment to Europe. The console manufacturer made a huge splash last year at the Leipzig Game Convention--the continent's biggest trade show--when it announced a plethora of new products such as the Go!Cam PSP camera and the Go!Explore GPS navigation system. Today, the Japanese electronics firm will return to Europe for a new event in London, with SCE president Kaz Hirai and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president David Reeves both in attendance.
The event at the indigO2--part of what was once the Millennium Dome--features an extensive press conference hosted by Reeves and Kirai that GameSpot UK will be liveblogging, followed by an opportunity for the press to sample products from Sony's 2008 lineup. No specific games from Sony's roster have been confirmed, although European-developed LittleBigPlanet, Killzone 2, and Home are likely to be highlights.
5:34 BST: With the journalists becoming restless after a one-and-a-half hour presentation, Reeves wraps up the show and invites us to play the games.
5:32 BST: This means that classic PSP games will be available for download later in the year. Like the video store, games will be downloaded and stored on your PC, for transfer to the PSP over USB.
5:31 BST: Go!Explore will launch in most major European territories next month. Starting in the summer, expect to see classic UMD titles for download. Wipeout and Gran Turismo on PSP shown on the presentation slide.
5:29 BST: PlayTV will be launching in Europe in September.
5:29 BST: The next focus for Sony is music, and a new show for PlayStation Network will highlight unsigned music from around Europe. Spencer and Martin will be guiding you through the musical jungle in their bright yellow campervan.
5:25 BST: Echocrome will be the Rubik's Cube for the PlayStation generation, according to Reeves. We're shown a young male and female couple playing the game on PS3 and PSP, and it will be on show on both formats on the show floor.
5:23 BST: "Gaming is an acceptable, if not desirable form of entertainment," says Reeves. More sales figures, with 6.7m sales of EyeToy, 12m for SingStar, and 6m for Buzz. A new EyeToy Game called EyeToy Play Hero, which will come with a sword peripheral. There'll also be a new EyeToy game based on PomPom dancing.
5:20 BST: Go!View will use a computer to download video content, which can then be transferred to the PSP to watch on the go. Looks very similar to the iTunes/iPod integration. It will include films and sport. As for a similar service on the PS3, Reeves says to "watch this space."
5:19 BST: We're moving onto Go!View on the PlayStation Portable. When it launches on June 30, it will be the first downloadable service of its kind, incorporating content from Sky on a subscription or pay-per-view basis.
5:17 BST: We're shown more examples of BD-Live: Water Horse will have a virtual pet, Walk Hard will have extra bonus content. Vantage Point will have a "GPS Tracker," although we're not told what that actually means.
5:15 BST: David Reeves can't help but celebrate the success of Blu-ray this year, saying that European PS3 owners are embracing the new format. BD-Live is being flaunted as the future of the format, and from June we'll be getting Men in Black in Europe incorporating BD-Live. Features will include interactive trivia games and "exclusive downloadable materials." Colour us excited.
5:10 BST: Every stage of the GT Race Academy will be filmed and made available online for download on the PlayStation Network.
5:08 BST: The GT Race Academy will allow virtual racing drivers to see if they can also perform in real life. It will launch on the 23rd May on the PlayStation Network, although Sony is being incredibly sketchy about the ACTUAL details.
5:07 BST: Gran Turismo 5 has sold 1.5 million copies, and in conjunction with Nissan, they are going to be running the GT Academy. Virtual and real-life competitions--the prize being a real-life race in the 24-hour Dubai Race next year in a top-of-the-line Nissan.
5:04 BST: Mirror's Edge is a free-running action game set in a contemporary city. The main character of Faith can be seen wall-running, diving backward and shooting, and performing acrobatic hand-to-hand combat. No release date, unfortunately, but the new trailer will be released later in the week.
5:02 BST: Sean Decker joins the proceedings to talk about EA Dice's new game Mirror's Edge. You will be put in the shoes of a character called Faith. We're being shown a new trailer that will be available in HD on the PlayStation Network later in the week.
5:00 BST: Just to confirm the earlier Killzone 2 release date of February 2009--no news on whether this is worldwide, but as this is a European conference, that will definitely be the Euro release date. [UPDATE] Thus far, this delay has been announced for Europe only.
4:57 BST: Water can be used to cool down the engine temperature, adding a new tactical element to the game. Bikes, ATV, rear-wheel drive buggies, rally cars, racing trucks, and mudpluggers will return, with new monster trucks for the first time. There'll now be split-screen racing for up to four players, with 16 players online.
4:54 BST: Motorstorm Pacific Rift will have 16 brand-new tracks, twice as many as the last outing. We're shown the new vegetation technology, which is there to be bent, broken, and crushed. Only the larger vehicles can destroy it, so smaller vehicles have to avoid it or follow larger vehicles.
4:52 BST: Hollywood says that the new Motorstorm will add new aggressive moves, dangerous, unpredictable events, with "the island" at the center of this. Influenced by the islands of Hawaii, with waterfalls and volcanoes, but no hula dancing or Elvis.
4:50 BST: Motorstorm 2 will be called Motorstorm Pacific Rift. Paul Hollywood joins the stage to talk about the game and always putting the player at the centre of the action.
4:49 BST: Metal Gear Solid 4 will be launched 12th June, with an exclusive MGS4/PS3 40GB bundle.
4:48 BST: Price is concerned that more players could possibly harm the multiplayer game as much as it could expand it. Every squad gets a rival squad, and with 60 players on the field, there are always going to be five or six players who'll you'll develop a hatred for. You'll often be spawned close to these players, according to Price.
4:46 BST: We're being shown work-in-progress content from Resistance 2 multiplayer. Mobile bubble shields are shown on soldiers in multiplayer, as well as static flat shields. You WILL be able to play as the Chimera, although they're not shown in the video. The game will be going from 40 players to 60 players online.
4:44 BST: Ted Price of Insomniac jumps onstage to talk about Resistance 2. MyResistance.net will be receiving a full upgrade, and is compared to Facebook in the way it will work.
4:42 BST: We're now being shown a new video for Killzone 2, and it will be playable on the show floor tonight. The video doesn't seem to show off anything startlingly new, but we'll report back later on when we've played the game itself.
4:40 BST: Killzone 2 will be released in February 2009 in Europe.
4:39 BST: We're now being shown a compilation of videos uploaded by SingStar users online. Dancing Chewbacca covers the Scissor Sisters; journalists collectively cringe. Next up is a video from LittleBigPlanet--Sony clearly has a lot riding on this title. The developers at Media Molecule have re-created some of the characters from Killzone, so hopefully they'll make it into the final game.
4:34 BST: Moving onto user-generated content and sites like Facebook and Flickr, Reeves highlights the way you can change the PlayStation 3 media bar, as well as SingStar and Buzz. 220,000 copies of SingStar PS3 sold, with over a million songs downloaded. Each user buys an average of over six songs.
4:32 BST: Reeves says Sony has consistently been outselling their closest competitor (read: Xbox 360) in Europe since October.
4:31 BST: Sony Europe has sold 12 million PSPs, 48 million PS2s, and 5 million PS3s.
4:29 BST: PlayStation is starting to define itself by "our passion and our desire to play." Hirai exits the stage and hands over to Reeves, not having given very much new information.
4:28 BST: LittleBigPlanet will be released on the PlayStation 3 in October. Hirai highlights the success of PlayStation Network, and says that communities will make PlayStation hardware the "staple diet for gamers." [UPDATE] Thus far, this date has been announced for Europe only, with US Sony reps saying the game has no official North American release date.
4:26 BST: Apologises for the delay of Home, and says he "will not open it up until he's happy with it." We'll get a look at how you can launch games from within Home later on.
4:24 BST: The first year of PlayStation 3 was "something of a difficult one." He says that "things have improved considerably," highlighting Gran Turismo 5: Prologue and Grand Theft Auto 4 as examples, with Metal Gear Solid 4 going forward.
4:23 BST: Hirai wants to highlight PlayStation's multi-faceted approach. Consumers are experiencing "huge leaps in gameplay and graphics," with Uncharted used as a highlight of this. He wants the PS3 to have a 10-year lifespan.
4:21 BST: Kaz Hirai says that this is an invaluable opportunity to emphasise the importance of Europe to Sony. He's bringing out the stats: 10.5m PS3s sold worldwide by the end of last year, 34m PSPs, and 127m PS2s.
4:19 BST: Reeves introduces Kaz Hirai, who has not spoken publicly for a while.
4:18 BST: David Reeves is taking the stage, who wants to introduce us to the delights that PlayStation has over the coming months.
4:17 BST: Echocrome on the PSP is next, along with more Go! games for the portable console. Buzz! Quiz TV is shown, as is SingStar and the SingStore. More Killzone 2 footage, and what looks like Sony Home and a bowling demo. Next up is another big hitter in the form of Resistance 2.
4:15 BST: The presentations are starting. We're being shown a video about Play, with LittleBigPlanet, Go!Explore and Play TV highlighted.
4:12 BST: We're informed that after the presentation and preview sessions, Paul Oakenfold and Hot Chip will be DJing until 1.00am. Brilliant. Now show us the games!
4:09 BST: We're looking round, and behind the main presentation area are the requisite huge Sony TVs running an assortment of games. Sadly, from our vantage point all we can make out clearly is a feature on the FIFA Interactive World Cup.
7:08 PST: The keynote is set to start in the next few minutes. Attendees are politely informed to grab their drinks and canapes and grab a seat.
7:07 PST: The press badge that Sony has given us says that both Killzone 2 and Resistance 2 will be present, although we're not sure in what form. LittleBigPlanet will also be here alongside new Buzz! and EyeToy games.
7:07 PST: We're sat at the Sony PlayStation Day event in London. An assembled throng of journalists is sitting impatiently, as the keynote is due to begin in a matter of minutes. Apart from the fact that both Sony Computer Entertainment president Kaz Hirai and Sony Computer Europe chief David Reeves are set to take the stage, we have little idea about what the company intends to present.