Sony E3 Conference

I was a little concerned since Sony started their event about a half hour too late and right up front, a very somber Jack Tretton, President and CEO of Sony, came out and spoke immediately about the PSN hacking. I was surprised that he was so upfront about it and very impressed by his apology and thanks to players who stuck it out with PSN throughout the whole affair. Kudos to Sony for doing that.

However, it put a strain on the event. I’ve always found Sony’s guys a little more formal than the Microsoft and Nintendo guys, and that was even more evident tonight. They just didn’t seem all that thrilled to be there or about the things they were announcing. At least, not at first. But I’ll get to that.

So… what did they talk about?

Cinema Now

The first thing mentioned was a partnership with Cinema Now for PSN. That, still doesn’t compare to the partnerships XBox Live has, though. But I’ve always felt that XBox Live was worth paying for and PSN wasn’t (even moreso now).

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

We saw a demo of this game. And it is nice looking. I have a little familiarity with this title, although I do not own a PS3, and it is a game I would play if I had the console. The demo looked great. It is also boasting a multi-player experience unlike anything else. Also on June 20th, PS3 owners can go to their local Subway and get early access to the multi-player (this is not a beta, they explained, but access to the full multi-player experience).

3D

I’m going to mention this just once. Sony is obsessed with 3D. And talked about it at great length. Enough to put me to sleep and not even notice at one point that the stream had stopped because my cat sat on my computer keyboard. Sony has a lot of money tied up in 3D entertainment and games. I don’t think 3D is ever going to take off the way they hope, though. It’s a gimmick. It does not replace a good story or good art design in either a video game or film. But there is a 3D bundle coming out with a 24″ display included soon. The price point is good. But really? 3D on a 24″ display? I’m not feeling it. I think Sony needs to lighten up on this obsession.

Resistance 3

This is a title that I’ve always felt was deliberately created to compete with the XBox 360 shooters. And the new game seems about the same. Not my cup of tea. And not really that impressive. Maybe it’s because I didn’t watch it in 3D like everyone in the real audience did.

Move

I’m lumping all the Move stuff under one thing here. Mostly because Move feels like the thing Sony did in order to keep up with XBox’s Kinect and the Wii. It doesn’t look or feel right to me. It never did. But Resistance 3 will work with it, as well a new God of War HD/3D collection (again with the 3D) and a new Eco and Shadow of the Collosus collection. ┬áThere was also an NBA title and a fantasy title I didn’t catch because my cat sat on my keyboard again. My cat doesn’t like Sony, I guess. I was starting to get bored at this point, myself.

Infamous 2

If I ever bought a PS3 for a single game, Infamous would have been it. I just really liked that game – the story and the design and the graphics. Infamous 2 looks equally as appealing, but one game in a sea of many games isn’t enough to motivate me to shell out nearly $300 for a gaming console anymore. I have trips to Europe to pay for, after all. Gorgeous looking game, though. Also compatible with Move.

Little Big Planet 2

I love Little Big Planet. It’s one of the few games I’ve played on the PS3. It’s addictive. I’m sure the second will be, as well. More on Little Big Planet later, though… No trailer for the second title in this series.

Starhawk
This is another game that looks an awful like Sony took a bunch of XBox 360 games and threw them together. It’s pretty, but it didn’t grab me.

Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time

This looks adorable. I’m not familiar with this particular title, but I can see myself playing it. If I had a PS3.

Dust 514

Another PS3 exclusive. It’s a shooter that will support for Move. It’s created by the Eve Online guys. It looks a lot like Eve Online.

Bioshock: Infinite

I’ve been wanting to see this trailer since E3 began this morning! But why is it showing at the Sony conference? Turns out they’re actually making it compatible for Move. I demand that it also be made compatible for Kinect. Kinect is SO much better.

But there was more. The NGP is finally mentioned, the new portable device that Sony has been working on. And apparently, there will be a Bioshock game created for that device. Now I’m intrigued. But more on that later.

However, Bioshock: Infinite looks amazing. Very different from the previous games, but still keeping that feel of the first two in the series. I’m really looking forward to this new take on the franchise.

Game Partnerships

This felt like filler during the conference, but there will be some exclusive content for some various multi-platform games for PS3. But honestly, I bet there will be different content available for XBox 360 that will be exclusive to it. This isn’t really something to brag about. At this point, I’m debating turning off the conference and turning on my XBox 360 to play some more L.A. Noire. I am super bored. There will be some Saints Row 3 extra content, as well as some extra content for the new Star Trek game, a phasar-shaped Move controller will be available, an extra race for SSX, more cars for Need for Speed: The Run and a second game added to the Battlefield 3 disk called Battlefield 1943.

Playstation Vita

This used to be called the NGP. And this is the BIG GUN that Sony was pulling out for the conference. After explaining that the word “Vita” means life, we are told that it has two analog sticks, a multi-touch 5″ OLED screen, motion sensing technology and front and rear cameras. It will come as a wifi model or a wifi/3G model. And it will be awesome. Because that’s how this thing came across. This is where the Sony guys started getting excited during the conference. Once they’d showed off this little baby, everything felt better.

The first thing we see on the Vita? Actual gameplay from Uncharted: Golden Abyss. And it was as beautiful as the Uncharted games on the PS3. It had great production values and fantastic graphics and animation. This thing is a workhouse and obviously has some serious processing power under its little hood. And it was smooth.

It’s also directly compatible with a PS3. And I think I want one for Christmas.

But more titles were announced., including Ruin, a sort of strategy action RPG thing that also looked gorgeous. It was during this game that we saw the cloud-based saving that allows you to jump from gaming on the Vita to the PS3 and back again. Pretty cool. There was also a ModNation Racers game being demo’d on the Vita. The audience got particularly excited hearing about Street Fighter X Tekken on the portable device, as well, which also has Cole from Infamous as one of its playable characters.

But what sold me? Little Big Planet. With all the features, including the community and user-created content, of the game, right there on a handheld. I have never wanted a handheld until now. This thing just officially stole my heart and made the Sony event the highlight of my E3 experience.

According to Sony, there are more than 80 titles currently in development for Vita and almost all of the major publishers are on board.

And thanks to Sony Vita, I may have a Merry Christmas, as it was announced that the Vita would be available this holiday season. Price? $249 for wifi model and $299 for wifi/3G. Not bad at all, Sony. Well played.

The crowd was officially won over after seeing Vita and boy, did Sony need that.

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