SAN FRANCISCO--With the 2010 Game Developers Conference starting to ramp up with the announcement of the OnLive launch, all eyes are now on Sony Computer Entertainment. The PlayStation 3-maker will hold a press conference from San Francisco's SoMa district at 4 p.m. today in which it is expected to lay out its latest gaming wares and tools for game developers.
Given that SCEA is holding a programming presentation on Thursday called "Introducing the PlayStation 3 Motion Controller," it is widely expected that the company will use its Wednesday conference to show off the device, due out sometime this fall.
First revealed at 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo, the system will use the PlayStation Eye Camera and controllers with multicolor, light-emitting diodes to provide real-time, three-dimensional tracking. Currently, only the Wii MotionPlus accessory offers anything similar, although Microsoft is readying a controller-less, camera-based system--code-named Project Natal--for a holiday launch.
Though recent trademark filings and executive statements indicate the motion controller may be called the "PlayStation Arc," little else is known about it. (Although the latest rumor has the device being called the "PlayStation Move.") Last September, Sony used the Tokyo Game Show to reveal a slate of games for the controller, including Echochrome 2 and a new Ape Escape title. Other games, such as Pain, Flower, and EyePet, will be made compatible via downloadable updates. Yesterday, EA Sports announced Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 would support the technology.
GameSpot was on hand at the Sony press briefing, which began shortly before 4 p.m. PST. Full liveblog transcript below.
[3:59] Sony has gathered the international press and various industry luminaries in a cavernous yet narrow venue in San Francisco's market district. The event is reminiscent of 2007's unveiling of PlayStation Home, with pumping music, an open bar, and waiters circling with platters of nibbles.
[4:00] "Ladies and gentlemen, we will be starting in a few minutes. Please take your seats. This would be an ideal time to silence your cell phones," booms a voice. However, given the average journalist's wage, the bar and food areas are still jammed.
[4:04] Reluctantly the last stragglers begin to wander over to the narrow seats, which are zip-tied together. Given the average frame of a game journalist, the result is many fierce competitors being forced into intimate proximity.
[4:04] Here comes the A/V crew for final checks. They swarm over teleprompters and wires as security looks on impassively. The seats are filling up now.
[4:04] And the lights go down.
[4:04] SCEA vice president Shu Yoshida takes the stage.
[4:05] "Today is a special day for fans of PlayStation players around the world, as we officially unveil the PlayStation Motion Controller."
[4:05] "We are giving consumers exactly what they are asking for--more responsive control for more realistic game experiences."
[4:05] "The types of games we can create with them are amazingly diverse."
[4:06] Apparently the audience will be able to play the new controller games.
[4:06] "May I introduce to you PlayStation Move." Applause.
[4:06] A slide shows the controller in various colors.
[4:07] Enter Peter Dille, SVP of marketing for SCEA.
[4:08] He jokes about how he needed a security badge to get in.
[4:08] Apparently several hundred people are outside who couldn't even get into the event.
[4:08] "PlayStation Move will allow us to innovate and build on our momentum."
[4:08] Now, to talk about that momentum.
[4:09] He references the infamous Killzone 2 E3 2005 trailer.
[4:09] "It made people ask 'could games look that good?' We proved it."
[4:09] Dille is talking very fast--it sounds like he's on a clock.
[4:10] Obligatory reference to recession, but the PS3 saw 50% software growth despite the economic downturn.
[4:10] "We're having problems keeping [PS3] hardware in stock."
[4:10] Dille touts MAG and its 256-player capability and the "unbelievably original experience" that is Heavy Rain.
[4:11] Other 2010 highlights so far, White Knight Chronicles and Final Fantasy XIII (natch).
[4:12] Oh yeah, "A little product called God of War III…this will be a platform driver." The game takes up a whopping 35GB of data, meaning it could only happen on a Blu-Ray disc.
[4:12] ModNation Racers gets a shout-out, with the create and share mechanic.
[4:12] He promises "Gran Turismo 5 will ship this year," eliciting chuckles from the crowd.
[4:13] SOCOM 4 will deliver a "cinematic" experience.
[4:14] "We always save some surprises for E3," teases Dille.
[4:14] Now back to PlayStation Move, which Dille says is "fast, precise, and accurate" and is the "next generation of motion gaming."
[4:14] Says the PS2's EyeToy was the first real motion controller.
[4:15] He says that motion sensing is now accepted, thanks to the Wii. "However, these people will soon be upgrading to HDTVs, so we see these Wii households gravitating to the PS3."
[4:15] Slides now show that the Move will have two components--one controller with an LED on the end, the other without one.
[4:16] Dille references' Sony's "dual audience," which will include social gaming and core gamers. The Move's precision will allow for motion-based games for those who "look down their noses at the Wii."
[4:17] There will be a variety of configurations, including a bundle with a PS3 console, PlayStation Eye, controllers.
[4:18] Starter bundles will have a game, the PS Eye, and a Move controller will be available for under $100.
[4:18] Sony is treating this like a console launch, with massive TV advertising support.
[4:18] Cue montage.
[4:18] Boxing games being shown off now, unnamed boxing title with high precision.
[4:19] Archery game now, with two LED controllers.
[4:19] Multiplayer table tennis game with two women. This all looks VERY familiar….
[4:19] Golf game now.
[4:20] Gladiator game now with shields and swords in an arena.
[4:20] Kids' painting games and some kind of shooter game--oh snap, Little Big Planet support confirmed.
[4:20] The leaked PlayStation Move logo is authentic.
[4:21] Those looked like real games, not tech demos.
[4:22] Scott Rohde from Sony Worldwide Studios now on stage.
[4:22] Latency is the same as the DualShock 3 controller--virtually no lag.
[4:22] True 3D tracking will combine with the controller's buttons.
[4:22] First title is called Sports Champions, and it has a Gladiator Duel mode, which is what we saw before.
[4:24] He takes it to an opponent in a medieval arena, blocking her attacks with a shield and smashing her with a warhammer. No waggle play here, it's very clear the on-screen action is in 3D and VERY responsive.
[4:25] Next minigame is from this Sports Champions compilation, which is basically Sony's answer to Wii Sports. $10 will get you $20 that's the game in the starter bundle.
[4:26] The Table Tennis game looks like a lower-res Rockstar Presents Table Tennis. He can put various spins and powers on it.
[4:27] Now it's time for Move Party! which uses the PlayStation Eye camera to snap your photo and put it on the game's character.
[4:28] The game will actually show live video of players onscreen via the PS Eye. The demonstrator plays a painting game in which she has to paint inside the lines.
[4:30] In the next minigame, she has to shave a cartoon head of hair. The controller turns into an actual razor. In the next one, the controller turns into a fan with which she must help flightless bird chicks fly from nest to nest.
[4:30] Demo ends, and Rodhe's back, and he introduces a demonstration of Move-compatible Little Big Planet.
[4:31] The Move controller lets players manipulate objects on screen. Rotate the controller, the object rotates on screen.
[4:32] Demoers use the controller to bounce on a trampoline, sending Sack Boy to a flaming death.
[4:36] But since this is a street-fighting game--as evidenced by the burly tattooed figures on the screen--he starts fighting dirty.
[4:33] One demonstrator is using the Move controller to clear a path for Sack Boy, while the other used the DualShock 3 to control Sack Boy.
[4:33] Demo ends, cue Eye Pet video.
[4:34] They pet the EyePet on screen using the PS Eye, then wash it with a PS Move controller which turns into a shower head.
[4:34] "Coming Holiday 2010"
[4:35] Now for a new title, the boxing game shown before. It's called Motion Fighters.
[4:36] Demonstrator gets in a fighting stance and shows off some boxing moves. There was a little lag there.
[4:36] Demonstrator gets in a fighting stance and shows off some boxing moves. There was a little lag there.
[4:36] Rodhe back to show off the PS Move sub-controller.
[4:37] Will have a thumb stick, which you can use to play hardcore shooters---like SOCOM 4, which will let players move all the way through with the Wii Nunchuck-like sub-controller and a PS Move controller.
[4:38] Demo shows the demoer controlling a targeting reticule with very clean precision, with movement being controller via the sub-controller's thumbstick.
[4:38] The build is a bit jerky, though.
[4:39] "The Zipper team was able to integrate the technology very quickly," says Rodhe, giving the obligatory GDC developer pitch.
[4:40] Dille back now, emphasizing that the game builds were pre-alpha. He also emphasizes the fact that there will be a very wide range of games.
[4:40] He says "virtually every major developer" is making PlayStation Move games right now.
[4:41] Activision, Ubisoft, EA, Disney, Sega, Konami, Namco Bandai, Square Enix, Capcom, Tecmo Koei, WB Games, Crave, and more.
[UPDATE] And the full list is: 505 Games U.S., Activision Publishing, AQ Interactive, Arc Systems Work,Ltd, Atlus, Bigben Interactive, Capcom, CCP, Crave, Cyberfront Corporation, Disney Interactive Studios, Electronic Arts, From Software, Game Republic, Gust, Hudson Soft, Irem Software Engineering, Koei, Konami, Majesco, Marvelous, Namco Bandai, Ongakukan, Oxygen Games, Paon Corporation, Q, Q-Games, Sega Corporation, Sony Online Entertainment, Spike, Square Enix Group, Tecmo, THQ, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive, and Zoo.
[4:42] Now back to the PS3 tag line "It only does everything," which he says reflects the console being future-proof.
[4:42] 3D gaming coming to PS3 "later this summer."
[4:43] Dille is wrapping up now.
[4:43] They have an arcade next door with over 30 games for the press to play.
[4:43] And that's it!
[UPDATE 2] In a subsequent press release, Sony said that "SCE Worldwide Studios will also release more than 20 games that are either dedicated to or supported with the PlayStation Move platform" by March 31, 2011.
Also, the Move Controllers will have built-in lithium-ion batteries like the DualShock 3, and will feature full rumble feedback. Their buttons will also communicate via Bluetooth to the console. Finally, the company confirmed that a DualShock 3 or Sixaxis wireless Controller can also be used in place of the sub-controller, if users don't want to shell out extra money.