White Knight due before April '09, MGS4 sells 3M in two weeks

Sony confirms Level 5's anticipated fantasy RPG to launch this fiscal year; Solid Snake's final adventure hits massive milestone; PSP-to-PS3 gaming Remote Play expanding.

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As the Western world slumbered, Sony held a press conference in Tokyo today that provided an update on the electronics maker's corporate strategy through the end of its fiscal year 2010 (which ends March 31, 2010). Although the presentation addressed the company's expansive electronics, film, and finance businesses as a whole, its PlayStation brand received particular attention by way of a reveal for the long-awaited video-download service for the PlayStation 3, as well as Life With PlayStation, which offers international news and encyclopedic geographic information, among other details about the world at large.

Aside from addressing new firmware features for the PS3, the presentation also offered a few tidbits concerning the entertainment device's bread and butter: games. Specifically, in touting its upcoming lineup of PlayStation 3-exclusive games, the publisher revealed that Level 5's White Knight Story is expected to launch during the current fiscal year, which ends March 31, 2009.

However, uncertainty was added to the equation when White Knight Stories was referred to by its Japanese moniker--Shirokishi Monogatari--and it was not immediately clear whether the game would be available in all regions during that time frame. Sony had not responded to requests for clarification as of press time. Level 5's fantasy role-playing game wowed audiences, thanks to its graphical prowess, when it debuted at the 2006 Tokyo Game Show. Though Sony has kept the game on a short leash, GameSpot was afforded a hands-on with the game at last year's TGS.

The publisher also heavily emphasized its initiative to expand the network services for its flagship console and handheld during the presentation, and briefly touched on the PSP's Remote Play functionality. Save for a handful of games, Remote Play has thus far been relegated to nongaming-related interaction between the PSP and PS3.

However, as noted by SCE CEO Kaz Hirai, the publisher intends to "further broaden" this feature "through a variety of upcoming nongaming content and services, as well as through gaming content." Hirai's words were accompanied by a slide of Factor 5's Lair being played on both the PSP's screen and a PS3-equipped TV.

Lastly of note, Sony offered sales figures for Konami's PS3-exclusive Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, a game that received GameSpot's highest rating when it was released earlier this month. According to Hirai, MGS4 has sold more than 3 million units worldwide in its first two weeks at retail. Proving the value of high-profile exclusives, Hirai noted that PS3 sales jumped eightfold week-over-week on the game's launch in Japan. That's in direct contrast to Take-Two's multiplatform hit Grand Theft Auto IV, which received equal honors from GameSpot, but failed to translate to system sales for either Sony or Microsoft (at least in the US), according to NPD Group figures.

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