This year, Sony is poised to come back swinging in the portable market, and continue marketing their high-end PS3 to gamers that love richly detailed games. Sony's Jack Tretton started Sony's PlayStation Media Briefing last week by apologizing for the PlayStation Network outage, which has been a huge source of embarassment for the company. While a very small joke was made about the outage ("nothing pleases editors more than controversy"), most of the comments were apologetic to retail partners, developers, and to the fans of PSN. Almost no time was wasted leading the crowd quickly to their efforts in bringing service back online, and from there, the game and PSVita announcements hit like hammers for 90 minutes.
Jack Tretton used this year's E3 to appeal to Sony's audience of "hard core" gamers. Each game that was shown beat the drum of fan service, and the march of the conference was deliberate and meant to drive the point home: Sony wants the core gamer. A big part of the E3 conference this year was detailing Sony's new system, the PS Vita.
The PSVita is the next generation portable system from Sony. PlayStation Vita, or PSVita will be available exclusively on the AT&T mobile broadband network for 3G play. There will be a WiFi model available, but if you want to play the PSVita on the go with 3G support, you need to use the machine on the AT&T network.
The portable is claimed to be as powerful as a PlayStation 3, and has a laundry list of features. Dual touchpad, dual cameras (front and rear), and an OLED touch screen. Dual analog sticks. Front and rear touchpad. 3G and 3G+WiFi models will be available upon release. The PSVita list of features seems to go on and on. The Vita even supports SixAxis tilt controls.
The PlayStation Vita (PSVita) will be $249 at launch for the WiFi version. This announcement was greeted with applause at the Sony Press Conference, and the pricing puts the machine on par with the Nintendo 3DS.
Sony says that virtually every major publisher has signed up for developing against the PS Vita, and Holiday 2010 is the release time frame.
The crowd reacted with audible boos against Sony during the announcement of the AT&T exclusive partnership, but turned back to mild applause shortly after. Other partnerships / providers were mentioned, but were nearly drowned out by the murmoring during the AT&T part of the announcement. The 3G model of the system will be only $299 - another big suprise that the crowd loved, despite booing Sony earlier in the press conference when they announced that AT&T would be the 3G provider for the PS Vita.
The first game demo shown for the PS Vita was a new Uncharted game. Some unique controls were shown, including drawing where you want to go, tapping enemies to do stealth takedowns, and moving with the SixAxis controls. While the game looks far better than anything previously shown on a portable, it's clear that the portable isn't quite to PlayStation 3 levels of detail. There's some pixelation visible, and there aren't quite as many effects used as in a PS3 title. I'd guess it's around 80% of a PS3 title - again, pretty impressive for a portable.
The game Ruin Features Twitter, Facebook, and community site connectivity. Ruin also has a PlayStation 3 version, which connects to the PS Vita version of the game. The dungeon crawler (combat RPG) allows you to save to the cloud and play exactly where you left off on either version of the game.
ModNation Racers was the next game shown for the PS Vita, which is a racing game with a track editor that is completely usable with the touchpads on the PS Vita. The back touch pad allows users to modify the terrain, by "pushing" mountains and terrain upward, and the front screen allows the user to add lakes and trees. The touch screen also allows people to modify lighting with a simple finger press. Owners of PS Vita version of ModNation Racers will have access to all of the tracks etc created on the PS3 version of the game.
LittleBigPlanet will allow for touchscreen, rear touch, tilt, pass n play, and multitouch game types. Like the PS3 version of the game, LittleBigPlanet will allow you to play Online. The PS Vita version of the game allows you to share your costumes with the PS3 version of the game, take pictures with the cameras, and more.
Street Fighter Cross Tekken was also shown for the PS Vita. SFxTK was previously shown for the PS3, and as a partnership with Sucker Punch, Cole from Infamous will be playable within SFxTK. Cole is then shown as a playable character for the game. The game uses the Street Fighter 4 engine, and the PS Vita allows you to use the back touch pads to perform more complicated moves with fewer timing problems, inviting users to more quickly adapt to the game.
Rounding out the PS Vita presentation was a montage of new games in development for the PSVita. Pool, a cell shaded game, a new Dynasty Warriors, Virtua Tennis, dungeon crawlers, and more was shown.
A new Bioshock was also announced in the press conference for PS Vita! No screens were actually shown for the game, but the announcement of the new BioShock title was a welcome one.
Go to the next page to see PS3 titles!