Sony 2006 E3 Press conference notes

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posted 5/10/2006 by Charles Husemann
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Since John has already posted the events of the Sony press conference as they were happening I’m not going to repeat everything he had but try to add a little flavor from my perspective of being at the press conference. 

For some reason they didn’t start letting people into the press conference until after 4:45 which means that those of us who got in line at 3:50 to beat the rush stood in line for almost an hour.  Frustrating in the heat and for those of us who are “folicly” challenged it means that we have a little bit of sunburn on the top of our heads but nothing we can’t handle.

Once we got seated (thanks to Sony for putting us in the front area of the show) it was show time.  Sony started off talking about the numbers for the PS2 and mentioned that the PS2 will continue to be supported and with some 216 games coming out by years end for the console they are certainly going to continue to support the console (something that Microsoft has failed to do with the Xbox).

The new PSP titles look like a bit of a mixed bag.  While I don’t own a PSP right now (I’m borrowing one from a friend for the trip though) the only titles that really stood out for me last night was the footage from Roboloco and Killzone: Elimination.  Both look like they could be killer games for the system, the rest of the titles just didn’t have as much pull.

For me the rest of the Playstation 3 stuff was a bit of a mixed bag.  Sony showed off a lot of cool new technology demonstrations but I’m not sure how well a lot of it is going to go over in the real world.  Here are some random thoughts on what was shown.

Eye of Judgment: A combat card game that uses the Eye Toy camera to scan the cards and then show animations over the cards.  For some reason I was kind of reminded of the holo-chess game on the Millennium Falcon in the original Star Wars movie but that’s just me.  Of course you’ll need to buy the board, the special Eye Toy rig (it had to hang over the board) as well as the cards.  Again kind of a cool demonstration but I wonder about the real world applications.

Online/Microtransactions – This is one area where I think Sony can really make some in roads on Microsoft in both a good in a bad way.  The good side is that you’ll be able to purchase content from the vast Sony library.  They showed some footage from Singstar, a karaoke type game, that allowed you to go online and purchase new songs from Sony recording artists.  Not only do you get the song but you also get the video which plays behind the scenes.  One could easily imagine them offering the same music and videos separately which could be kind of cool for those of you who like to collect music and movies.

The downside is that the example for the new Warhawk game that they showed featured the ability for gamers to download new weapons and levels for download.  While new levels are nothing new having to download new weapons seems a bit off.  The prices they listed while certainly only placeholders were also a bit high as it cost almost $7 for one level of a game. 

It also looks like Sony will offer the prices in denominations rather than abstracting the cost of items by having users having to convert their currency into something else like Microsoft does with their credit system.  Sony will be selling stored value cards which you will be able to purchase separately and use yourself or give as gifts (much like Microsoft currently does).

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