Sony's GDC Keynote, a look from the inside

Gamers, analysts, and by now, even hermits living in the Outback, knew that Sony went from gaming behemoth to another fish in the pond since E3 2006. But guess what? They're baaaaaaack. The Sony keynote delivered by Phil Harrison at the 2007 Game Developers Conference was exactly what the company...

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Gamers, analysts, and by now, even hermits living in the Outback, knew that Sony went from gaming behemoth to another fish in the pond since E3 2006.

But guess what? They're baaaaaaack.

The Sony keynote delivered by Phil Harrison at the 2007 Game Developers Conference was exactly what the company needed to re-establish itself as a gaming giant. The announcements of Home and LittleBigPlanet were the types of things gamers had expected to hear about a year ago, but as the old adage goes, "better late than never."

Even just waiting for the keynote to begin, the crowd could tell that something was up--that this wouldn't be another Sony keynote like the ones from E3 2006 or Tokyo Game Show 2006. This would be the Sony of old, the one that wowed the audience at its E3 2005 press conference.

Among the faces I happened to spot in the crowd were Keiichi Yano, the creator of Elite Beat Agents and Gitaroo Man, Joseph Olin, president of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, and even Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America. And of course, DS owners were furiously sending entertaining (and obscene) messages back and forth to each other over Pictochat.

About 10 minutes before the keynote began, Sony staff threw gigantic soccerballs into the crowd which were bandied about like beachballs at a baseball game--with the intent being to knock the balls into makeshift goals set up on the flanks of the stage. Giant screens kept score of the "game," which was a heated match between team A (a portion of the crowd on the left) and team B (a portion of the crowd on the right). If you're keeping score at home or had money on the match, team B won.

That was a glorified example of audience participation--a key component of Sony's strategy moving forward. The buzz phrases "user-generated" and "emergent gameplay" were used about a billion times during the keynote, but they were backed up.

Home, the PS3's answer to Nintendo's Miis, Microsoft's Xbox Live and achievements system, and Linden Labs' Second Life, is a free service designed to foster communities among PS3 owners in a virtual world populated by corporate-branded virtual items and locations (hey--the Home service is free). The audience was clearly impressed with the seamlessness of the software, which allows gamers to bowl, play arcade games, hang pictures (customized of course), furnish their own digital apartments, and more.

However, the real darling of the presentation was LittleBigPlanet, a game from the makers of Rag Doll Kung Fu, now under the studio name of Media Molecule. The game is LocoRoco on steroids, or hallucinogens, or probably both. The word 'cute' doesn't do the game justice, nor does the phrase 'totally fricking insane and fun.' At it's heart LittleBigPlanet is a fancy tech demo showing off an incredible range of physics, but on the surface it's an adventure created by the player--and that player will range in age from 5 years old to 90 years old. I haven't heard applause like that which followed the LittleBigPlanet demo in a long time.

Miyamoto and Nintendo, it's your move.

To watch the Sony keynote in its entirety, watch the video.

Discussion

110 comments
Gol_Kolea
Gol_Kolea

Wow....3d chat...because I haven't done that a hundred times on a hundred different 3D chat "games" on pc...I can't wait...SNOOOOOOORE.

Lowz1
Lowz1

Isn't it amazing to see all of the 360 and Wii fanboys come by and post what they think about PS3's Home? And they know deep down in their heart of hearts they too wish to own a PS3 and anticipate the release Home. Well, all the PS3 community can offer these types is to sit tight. Sony's got you covered once they recoup. There will be a price drop and you too will be able to go Home. As for the rest of us, Home Sweet Home Baby!!

nolimitsolja86
nolimitsolja86

Sony delivered without a doubt in my mind! I was definitely trying not to hype GDC and keep my expectations as low as possible, but in the back of my mind I knew something BIG was about to happen and it did! :) I'm now extremely excited as a PS3 owner and can't wait till I participated in the closed Beta Testing of HOME this Spring ;) Home will be coming to PS3 owners by this fall hopefully and not get delayed.

ratchet_usa
ratchet_usa

It's true though that still doesnt change the fact micro$oft is still paying alot of bloggers and people from gamestop,1up and the likes to always tweak the good Sony news into bad ones,its corruption at it fullest. either way Sony is the real underdog and i sopport Sony for ever.

NotAFurry
NotAFurry

Darn it, Little Big Planet is not the long awaited sequel to Little Big Adventure 2 (Twinsen's Odyssey)...

Ark_rf22
Ark_rf22

Hey!!! this are really good news. my fate in sony is comming back. I really don't care the online interactrion(even though is a great idea) but the thing that i'll be able to show trophies to my friends really makes my blood to boil and, What's the matter of making a "virtual life" online? i'm playing tennis with a wii-mote instead of taking a tennis racket anyways. home is the first step for sony's comeback...

Ark_rf22
Ark_rf22

Hey!!! this are really good news. my fate in sony is comming back. I really don't care the online interactrion(even though is a great deal) but the thing that i would be able to show trophies to my friends really makes my blood to boil and What's the matter of making a "virtual life" online. i'm playing tennis with a wii-mote instead of taking a tennis racket anyway. home is the first step for sony's comeback...

dreamkin
dreamkin

Ez3k1eL_360= Nope you do not get everything with XBOX Live Silver. I am pretty sure you can't video chat. Also you can't even get some of the demos for until later (this is a new MS thingie) And really. XBOX LIVE GOLD for playing ANY game online? And it's all free on PS3. PS3 has a lot of weak points but let us not speak about the price of the online system ok?

theKSMM
theKSMM

First off, the state of online gaming on consoles only makes me appreciate more how forward-thinking XBOX Live! is. It launched five years ago, and still remains untouched by its competitors. Having said that, I remain cautiously optimistic about the Home service. Clearly they want to one-up Live!, and the avatars and virtual environment may give them a way to do that. But the more important thing will be giving the developers an infrastructure in which to create online experiences. Right now the PlayStation's online experience is so hit-or-miss that it's frustrating, and that's true on the PS2, PS3, and PSP. I hope Sony's service lives up to the billing. It could tremendously increase the value for PS3 owners. If they could tie PSPs into it somehow (PlayStation Home Anywhere perhaps) it would be even better.

KrazyKev26
KrazyKev26

wait Sony left? where did they go?

Ez3k1eL_360
Ez3k1eL_360

superman2OO7 Free VOICECHAT = you do not get free voice chat on xbox 360 ! you need to be a gold member !!!! ....all u can do on silver is download demos Seriously you have to be the most ignorant person I've seen in these forums, With a Silver membership you get everything except online play,the Gold members get the ability to download movies, downloadable content. I don't know but I noticed that Sony fanboys always talk about the service being FREE!!!. COME ON THINK AT LEAST BEFORE YOU TYPE!!! You're talking aout a $600 console with tax would be $630, thats $200 difference from the 360.With those $200 I could buy 4 years of Xbox Live, the only reason(well in my opinion) Sony is not charging for their service is because the fact that you people are "clever"enough to pay $600 for the console, paying for online would be like Sony mugging their customers, and if you people think $4 is alot for playing online the you're people are plain sad. As fot the home thing I would be satisfied if they made a next-gen Sims to play online, then again it's kind like Phantasy Star Universe, where all you see is sad and lonely perverts writing dumb messages.

judge__judy
judge__judy

My respect for playstation is coming back

superman2OO7
superman2OO7

Free VOICECHAT = you do not get free voice chat on xbox 360 ! you need to be a gold member !!!! ....all u can do on silver is download demos

monkey_man322
monkey_man322

This was a really entertaining keynote to watch... I do have one question though, where was all this stuff while i was falling asleep watching the E3 Press conference. Only problem is, if you add the entertainment value of this keynote and the E3 conference and then divide by 2, it is still boring as hell. And why in the hell is "Mr. Um", Phil Harrison giving a keynote at GDC, he isnt even a freaking game developer. Overall the Playstation home is a cool idea.. well its not so much an idea as it is a compilation of everyone elses ideas... I dont think it alone will sell PS3's, i mean honestly $600 is WAY to much to spend for The Sims. i will not be buying a PS3, or any sony product for a LONG time because i am choosing to boycott them... but maybe they finally realized what gamers wanted... i however believe that xbox live will always be a step ahead on all fronts. Note.. i may be a Fanboy for M$, but my boycott has little to do with Xbox vs PS, and everything to do with: 1. Rootkits 2. Destruction of US Electronics market 3. Increased Price, Decreased Quality 4 Lack of Grasp on what the market truely wants 5. Overly Proprietary product 6. Lack of Respect for game developers.

Bananna2
Bananna2

This is no Killzone CGI BS this is the real thing, it was played in front of everybody. What more do you want fanboy?? (to angelserval)

angelserval
angelserval

Coming promises Arrival of broken dream Shattered money

Mohsin4
Mohsin4

This feature itself is going to blow away the xbox 360 and the wii. THE best part is we can all share multiplayer games with friends. How awesome is that!!!!!!! Also it's completely FREE!!!!! Holy Crap!!!

YoYo_Bridget
YoYo_Bridget

"slick_gio Awesome social interaction? Call me old fashioned...but I personally like to have my social interaction in person. And inviting people to your "Home" and doing stuff? I actually AM ABLE to invite people to my real life home and do stuff. Stuff that can't be done online. Meh, who knows...maybe the kiddies will get a kick out of some kind of online drinking party. PS: I'm a Wii owner and I don't want what you claim we want. I'll just have friends over and play my Wii. No online thing can compare to that. Kids these days...they don't know what they're missing if they think big online gaming situation is where its at. No, having a room full of friends taking smack on each other while playing a game...that's fun ." Are you just saying that because of Nintendo's unwillingness to not want to do any sort of online gaming? Jk jk, but seriously, I go out and hang out with friends. But when you're going to college, have no car, and live in an apartment through your school where your friends have to come see you....it becomes harder to hang out with all your friends WHENEVER you want to play video games. That is what I mean by the "awesome social interaction", that for those who don't know people in the area can reach out and talk to a community with similar interests. That's all I was really trying to imply.

faizali86
faizali86

killer announcements. its good they saved the best for last.

johnnyboy232
johnnyboy232

That keynote was impressing. Not only is Home cool, but Little Planet is amazing!

NathanHawkins
NathanHawkins

I agree with Tim. It's now Nintendo's move... Let the media battle begin.

neovota
neovota

playstation is paying my rent ! I'm moving up to the east side in a deluxe apartment in the sky! sony have 1234321234 zillion dollar for all of us just buy their system that all they ask D!(%$

screamingdean
screamingdean

There is virtually nothing but good things being said about Home and Little Big Planet being said on virtually every games site. To knock Sony for this is simply proof of a personal dislike of Sony .

acslater017
acslater017

umbracascade...i think "miyamoto your move" because he's the next big keynote speaker at GDC ^_^

joboja
joboja

I am not that impressed with Home, I do not think I am going to use it, but it looks good. The LittleBigPlanet looks very cool, that is a thing I am going to buy and use when I am bored of playing my normal games. Superb Sony you are back, and have convinced me that your ps3 is going to be awesome

robotopbuddy
robotopbuddy moderator

it certainly looks pretty darn good...i'm still more interested in the actual games more than anything tho...and so far i've always prefered offline multiplayer over online as well, tho that littlebigplanet does certainly look like an interesting online co-op game...

OldWiseBob
OldWiseBob

I don't even have XboxLive, and I can tell you that this PS3 Home will not be able to takeout XboxLive. It's still bettter than nothing. Let's see what Nintendo has for its online servece then all the chips will be out on the table.

blueoystercult2
blueoystercult2

So this is what's supposed to make PS3 owners vey happy?!! A virtual chatroom? I could care *less! I was holding out for the rumour of an HD upgrade for certain PS2 titles, that would,ve made me happy. This I could give less then a crap about.......

SonyPSP
SonyPSP

All free as well as free online gaming!! Sony sure know how to treat their customers!

SonyPSP
SonyPSP

All free as well as free online gaming!! Sony sure know how to treat their customers!

BrideInDream
BrideInDream

yeahhhhhh sony is getting better and better and there nothing that microsoft can do now :D

SirNicoli
SirNicoli

well for those of you that say big deal this is just a 3d chat, theres more to it then that. sony is taking big leaps forward with "user generated content" that you can share with all your friends bla bla bla. get over it 360 fanboys the ps3's online market place is going to be amazing and be free. sony keeps on updating, cant wait for all this

ThePhilatron
ThePhilatron

They should have been patient and waited a few more months to release the PS3 in the first place, but I guess they just had to have it out by Christmas.

jayree05
jayree05

Sony just brought sexy back! *apologizes profusely for lame comment*

Gmacrusher
Gmacrusher

Well sony now its stepping into the plate ..even deeper now...cool!

markbart0305
markbart0305

Uh, am I the only one that thought the Sony keynote was yet another disappointment? C'mon people, what exactly was exciting about it? No new game trailers, no new exclusive announcements, only a lame Second Life-esque virtual world chat room that is completely pointless. If Gamespot actually thinks this was an impressive keynote from Sony, then they are merely blinded by Sony's flashy power-point presentation. In reality, they still have nothing to compete with Microsoft and Xbox Live.

itisa87
itisa87

for the sake of human mankind.. i dare the gamespot to make a poll about what people think of ps3's HOME.. gamespot usually will have a thing to say about sony but how come this one doesn't HAVE A POLL?!

itisa87
itisa87

for the sake of human mankind.. i dare the gamespot to make a poll about what people think of ps3's HOME.. gamespot usually will have a thing to say about sony but how come this one doesn't HAVE A POLL?!

snoman99991
snoman99991

Simply put, this is a great step, but it wont be enough. Nintendo offered a free avatar system, and it was a new and unique idea. It also has that new and unique feel to it. Do you have to pay at any point using home? Heck yes! Does anyone want to pay for a free service? HECK NO! So why is live so successful? Here's some insight for the Sony and Nintendo fans (I'm also a ninty fan), it works BECAUSE people pay for the premium service. If you want to play online, you probably are a little more serious about gaming. At least enough to not play single player. Banking on this, Microsoft charges the only people willing to pay. Brilliant marketing if you ask me. And not only that, it also guarantees a cash income into the program, meaning it will GROW. How much do you expect Sony to shell out on home a year from now? It doesn't make much money because it charges for frivolous things people wouldn't waste money on. The novelty vs. money priority equation is heavily balanced against novelty. If people had to pay to use a different colored Mii avatar, they wouldn't bother, because they know that it isn't incredibly useful to do. The money going into X-Box live helps to create a reliable and fun experience for 360 owners, and I highly support it. Not home, which is just another excuse for Sony to try and rip you out of money and pretend that they didn't take another idea from it's competitors.

TheJoker003
TheJoker003

I like Home, I was never into chat with the computer or myspace but on my console, I love to do that. Go Sony!

dmn_link
dmn_link

That was an awesome presentation.

crithon
crithon

interisting.... I'm not a big fan of Second Life, but I think it's the step into the right direction for the PS3. Yes it's free, but I wonder what kind of annoying ad campaigns we will get as we walk around our Playstation store in order to keep the service free? "Hey come check out my pad, where I'm playing the new Spider Man 3 trailer." And how do the Arcade games work? Are they like flash files projected onto the 3D objects? Or will we have to log out of Home and then run them on another program on the PS3? And when will this be up and running on the PS3? I feel that even when it does come out they still have a lot to do in order to catch up with XBox 360 from what they showed us. again..... insteristing.

Mohsin4
Mohsin4

OMG!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

Sweet! Instead of achievement points to show off, I can show off my clothes!

slick_gio
slick_gio

"YoYo_Bridget What crawled up your butt and died? A cowbell? Seriously, it's not the fact that it's a 3D sims like thing, it's the possibilities for awesome social interaction. Being able to invite peopleto your "home" and have them listen to your music or have them watch your movies...that's awesome. You're missing the point entirely. And the matchmaking itself sounds very interesting. About as good as Xbox Live. So, before you judge or write it off as lame, how bout you wait till it actually freakin' comes out. I think it's too early to say anything, positive or negative...but in any case it sounds interesting. Oh, and for the one guy saying PS3 owners don't have fun...we do, but we wish the social interaction was as good as Xbox Live. Even Wii owners want more of that." Awesome social interaction? Call me old fashioned...but I personally like to have my social interaction in person. And inviting people to your "Home" and doing stuff? I actually AM ABLE to invite people to my real life home and do stuff. Stuff that can't be done online. Meh, who knows...maybe the kiddies will get a kick out of some kind of online drinking party. PS: I'm a Wii owner and I don't want what you claim we want. I'll just have friends over and play my Wii. No online thing can compare to that. Kids these days...they don't know what they're missing if they think big online gaming situation is where its at. No, having a room full of friends taking smack on each other while playing a game...that's fun :).

SergeantSnitch
SergeantSnitch

"They just keep POUNDING YOU AND POUNDING YOU AND POUNDING YOU! WHERE'S THE GOOD NEWS?" Here's the good news!

bondps3
bondps3

I personaly cannot wait for this. It is inovative even though many say not. I think it is awesome and pretty damn well close to the XBOX fanboys favourite thing to brag about, XBL. cant wait for fall 07