Notes from Sony's E3 press conference

While the call of the open E3 show floor left us with nobody in an actual seat at Sony’s two-hour-long press conference, we have eyes and ears everywhere. Everywhere.

Here are some highlights from Sony’s presentation.

Jack Tretton —  President and CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment America

  • 364 games coming out on PlayStation platforms this year
  • “In 2009, if you want to have the ultimate gaming experience, you need a PlayStation.”
  • Committed to PlayStation 2 as long as consumers see value in it
  • 100 new titles for the PS2 this year
  • What consumers really care about: great games
  • 35 exclusive PlayStation titles in 2009

Evan Wells — Co-president, Naughty Dog

  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves “sets the new gold standard in limit-pushing”
  • Multiplayer beta launches at midnight tonight
  • Gameplay demo shown: graphics look great; think Gears of War meets Far Cry.

Andy Bowdoin — Zipper Interactive

  • Live 256-player MAG multiplayer first person shooter battle shown — wow, that’s a lot of people. Controlled mayhem.
  • Game debuts on PS3 this fall

PlayStation Portable

  • Looking to expand into tween market
  • Hannah Montana bundle with lilac-colored PSP this July
  • Content from Disney and Nickelodeon

Kaz Hirai — President, Networked Products & Services Group; President & CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment

  • Officially announces PSP Go
  • Two names for the device: The PSP Go, and “The worst-kept secret of E3”
  • PSP Go will NOT replace the PSP-3000
  • More than 50% smaller and 40% lighter than the original PSP-1000
  • Downloads from PlayStation Network via Wi-Fi
  • New PC application for PlayStation Store called “Media Go”
  • New PSP application called “Sense Me” for building smart music playlists
  • PSP developer toolkit price will be reduced by 80%
  • All services, features, and functions will work on PSP Go and PSP-3000
  • PSP Go for $249 on October 1st in North America and Europe
  • Video delivery service now available natively on the PSP — direct downloads, etc.
  • New content from Showtime, E!, G4, HDNet, UFC, Magnolia, and more.

Kazunouri Yamauchi — Polyphony Digital

  • Announces Gran Tourismo PSP
  • Full-scale, runs at 60fps on PSP Go
  • 800 cars, 35 tracks, 60 track layout variations
  • Not a shrunken-down version of the series
  • Ad-hoc multiplayer (up to four nearby players)
  • Trade and share cars with other players, cooperative car unlocking
  • Video shown: graphics look amazing

Hideo Kojima — Kojima Productions

  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker announced for PSP
  • Setting is ten years after MGS 3, in the 1970’s, so it’s a true sequel
  • Kojima will be “deeply involved” as will the team of MGS 4, so it’s not a spin-off
  • Set in Costa Rica

Jack Tretton

  • Resident Evil coming to PSP next year
  • Coming to PSP this year: Little Big Planet, Socom, Monster Hunter, Hannah Montana, Harry Potter
  • Adding 50 PS1 titles to PlayStation store, Final Fantasy 7 added today
  • PlayStation Home has 6.5 million people worldwide, with 85% return users — looking to add more content from partners (EA, Ubisoft, etc.)
  • New PS3 exclusive from Rockstar: Agent set in the late 1970’s. Cross the globe, espionage, assassins, etc.


  • Demo for Assassin’s Creed II shown
  • Gameplay looks good, similar to the first game
  • Set in the Renaissance period, uses Leonardo Da Vinci’s inventions; a flying machine in some parts — kind of like a hang glider, etc.
  • Over 30 different weapons in the final game, six additional weapons if you play the game on PSP and connect it to your PS3
  • On store shelves by the holidays

Square Enix

  • Video of Final Fantasy XIII shown, looks amazing
  • Coming in 2010
  • Video of Final Fantasy XIV Online shown. PlayStation exclusive in 2010. “A new online epic begins.”

Motion Contoller

  • Working to create a much more realistic experience
  • Pulls out what looks like a black Wii-mote with a glowing ball on the end of it
  • Glowing ball is tracked by PlayStation Eye, true 1:1 tracking
  • If you pick up a virtual tennis racket, you’ll see yourself onscreen, EyeToy-style, holding a tennis racket.
  • In a first person shooter, you can actually move around the room and your on-screen character will move where you move in 3D
  • Drawing, painting, etc. tracked with sub-millimeter accuracy
  • Looks like a souped-up version of the Wii
  • Still an engineer’s prototype, launches spring 2010

Little Big Planet

  • Costumes coming from Disney — Jack Sparrow, etc.

ModNation Racers

  • Kart racing: create and modify cars, characters, and tracks
  • “Unlimited number of combinations”
  • Gameplay looks like Mario Kart with PS3-level graphics
  • Track editor looks pretty simple: drive out the track in front of you using driving controls and then lift terrain, spray dirt, add trees, etc. Sort of like SimCity 3000.

The Last Guardian

  • Looks like The Neverending Story set in ancient Greece: a kid rides a giant flying chicken-cat around
  • Graphics and animation look stunning — superb lighting and shadows
  • Exclusive to PS3

Gran Tourismo 5

  • I can’t tell if I’m watching HDTV or a video game, so that’s probably a good sign
  • Exclusive to PS3

God of War 3

  • Graphics look good, pretty gory. Dude ripped out a minotaur’s intestines. Lots of blood. Stabbed some horned beast in the eye with its own horn after ripping it off its head.

Jack Tretton

  • “This will be the biggest year in PlayStation history.”