Sony Presser: ImpressED

12 07 2007

Sorry for the delay, I’m currently in Montreal for a French Immersion program, so I’m a little behind on my contributions.

However, I did want to spend a little time on what is inarguably the best presser of E3 2007. Sony’s had a very hard go of it pretty much since they launched the PS3. With the shitty production cycles of the console, and not being able to sell many of them—even in their home base of Japan—and their terribly uncoordinated PR, Sony had a lot to prove this year, and I think they succeeded for the most part. The announcements were impressive and the demos worked well, but most interesting was how subdued Jack Tretton and Phil Harrison seemed. Or maybe humbled is the better word.

So, they started by showing off a bit of PS Home. Kaz shows up and makes a Ridge Racer joke. I continue to understand the intentions of Home while being totally unconvinced by it. Don’t get me wrong, I love that they’re essentially bringing Xbox Live to life, but the Second Life aspect of paying real money for fake mansions? Go away.

They followed that with the PSPslim reveal. This was kind of a disappointment to me. I think—and Jastrick will flame me for this—that the change should have been much more drastic. Maybe it’s best they didn’t add a second analog stick, but making it a smaller version of the exact same product is…dull. Also, the fact that they didn’t give exact length of battery life is pretty shitty. That being said, the Dexter pack is pretty good. $199 for the newer version, plus a good game, plus a memory stick, plus family? If I didn’t think it was worse than the NGage, I’d totally buy that. The Chewbacca thing was really cheesy, but I know plenty of people who will buy the Darth Vader PSP.

Next were the PSNetwork games that are coming. Wipeout HD was anticipated, but they could have showed a little more. Or rather, they could have better emphasized the “HD”. But what was most impressive to me was essentially Relativity the game, Echokrome. The way you manipulate the world to change not only how you solve the puzzles, but the puzzles themselves, was very interesting. I’m excited for that. They also showed Warhawk and SOCOM, and there wasn’t anything really new there. Then Phil took a picture on his Sony Erickson and posted it on the wall of his “Home”. Boring.

But lets get to the meet of this presser. Where MS was all about what was coming between now and Christmas, Sony seemed to really be saying, “The future is coming, and it’s going to be PS3.” They showed a lot of interesting new IPs, like Infamous—which Jastrick and I agreed looked like advanced crackdown with story—and a little more of Haze, and also tantalized racing fans with GT: Prologue. Also, using the actual in-game engine to recreate the E3 ’05 Killzone 2 video was a very nice touch, and so far it’s really winning people over.

They also made a couple announcements that heavily peaked my curiosity. The first was announcing that they would work with NCSoft to make a PS3 exclusive MMO. Now, console MMO’s aren’t a new idea—FFXI is currently on Xbox 360, and MS has said they’re working on another MMO—but next to Blizzard, NCSoft is a pretty big name when it comes to MMO’s. It’ll be interesting to see what they have going on.

The second announcement was that Unreal Tournament 3 would be coming out on PS3 exclusively this year. Timed exclusives seem to really be the big thing this generation, and since losing Assassin’s Creed and GTA IV, UT3 seems to be Sony’s biggest exclusive. What was most interesting about it was that Sony will be allowing User Created maps from PC players to be used on the PS Network. This is especially huge considering Epic has gone on record to say that MS won’t let them do it.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Sony presser without Kojima—whose translator had the stage presence of an ashamed concubine—and this year’s MGS4 trailer was probably more impressive than the TGS one. This game, more than any other, is really showing what the PS3 can do with those in-game videos. Also, Raiden is so fucking bad ass! I’m so glad/surprised they’re bringing back Vamp for this game. As much as people want to deny that this will be a console seller, at the new $499 price, people will buy PS3 in droves for this game, myself included.

Which brings me to my final point, the PS3 price cut. Personally, I am one who agrees with the outlook that the PS3 is a great value at $499 because it is a hi-def game machine that does Blu-Ray. I am totally sold by Sony’s marketing when they say that. So the price cut is a smart move for them. What isn’t so smart is making an 80gb Motorstorm-packed PS3 with software emulation for backwards compatibility. I don’t understand the need for it. 20gb is nothing in the console space right now. 360 has proven that 20gb is space enough, let alone 60. This second pack will do nothing but drain money from their production.

So, that’s the Sony presser. Easily the best press event of this year.

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