E3 '09: Sony's Keynote

Sony & Nintendo E3 Reports

Sony held the third and final keynote of the system manufacturers at E3 2009, and even they acknowledged that some of their surprises were no longer, well, surprising, thanks to leaks in the past couple of weeks.

A trailer for the PSP led off, including an official look at for the portable system. The game will allow gamers to create and play levels on the go. Jack Tretton of SCEA then took the stage to start the announcements.

Tretton started with a joke about how Sony is the industry leader in press leaks, referring to last week’s leak of the PSP Go announcement. After some sales stats, he noted that 364 games are shipping this year for PlayStation platforms, with 35 of them being exclusives.

One such exclusive, , had some gameplay footage to show off, coinciding with tonight’s launch of the multiplayer beta. The graphics and sequences shown had a lot of fast action, and seemed to be a natural step up from the first game.

Another exclusive, , showed off a 256 player shooter battle. The game looked like it was running smoothly with the full complement of players, though the map was so huge that the game went from having no one else on screen to having two dozen in a heartbeat. We’ll have hands on coverage with from the show floor later this week.

Kaz Hirai, Sony Computer Entertainment’s President and CEO came out next to officially announce the PSP Go. The new portable is 50 percent smaller and 40 percent lighter than the PSP. With built in wifi and a 16 GB solid state drive, it’s made for gamers to download and install games directly to the system. The system’s screen slides up, reminiscent of many cell phones, to reveal the controls. The $250 system arrives in the US and Europe on October 1st. All games from here on out will be available either as digital downloads or as UMDs, to accommodate both PSPs.

The PSP will now also be able to download video and music directly to the device, including content from Showtime, Viz Media, G4, and many more providers.

The most important thing for a gaming device, though, is the games. for PSP has an insane 800 cars and 35 tracks. You can trade unlocked cars with other players, and the game is a “true ,” not a crippled portable version.

is a new featuring Solid Snake in an adventure that takes place a decade after . The game is “not a side story,” but a full new game, designed, written, and directed, by Hideo Kojima and his team. The 2010 release will feature several Snake clones, further confusing fans of the series.

An exclusive game will be coming to the PSP next year, joining the aforementioned and new chapters in the , , and franchises.

After a final PSP video montage, the focus switched to the PlayStation Network. The PSN has over 50 new additions to the PlayStation Classics line, including the seminal , available now.

The virtual world, PlayStation Home, received some brief attention, followed by another video montage, this time of PS3 titles. Some were exclusives, some were multiplatform, but most were already announced games.

, a new game from Rockstar North, is coming exclusively to PS3. The game is a style game set in the 1970s spy games.

took the next focus, with an extensive live gameplay demo. Gamers that play it on both PS3 and PSP will get six extra exclusive weapons on the PS3 edition.

Footage of , both pre-rendered and in-game battles, was shown, segueing into the announcement of . This will be a new online adventure, and it’s console-exclusive to the PlayStation 3. The game is set to launch in 2010, making the total number of new s available for PS3 next year three.

Like Microsoft and Nintendo before them, Sony then took the conference to new motion controls. Like both companies (Nintendo via Ubisoft) as well, their new interface focused on using a camera. A wand “controller” complements the PlayStation Eye, allowing it to be used as a bat, a gun, a golf club, and many other cylindrical objects. It has a trigger on it, and was demonstrated as a gun, a pen, and even with two being used simultaneously by one player. The live demo then went to using it as a bow and arrow (again, repeating something done at Nintendo’s conference), with a high level of precision shown. The wand launches in Spring 2010, and no pricing was mentioned yet.

is the next game in the “Play, Create, Share” series that started. It’s a cart racer that allows players to customize their characters and make their own tracks in game. On stage, they demonstrated creating a full featured track, complete with obstacles and weapon pickups, in under five minutes. The game debuts next year.

is the next game in the “series,” with an interesting mix of and gameplay shown in the initial trailer. The PS3 exclusive led to talk of two other exclusives: , which still looks pretty, and .

is “the final game in the trilogy,” and shows Kratos tearing apart mythological creatures in hidef. The viciously violent game is now due out March 2010.

With that, Sony wrapped their conference and sent the masses off to play some of the games featured. We’ll have a full floor report with previews and interviews coming soon.

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