Sony Gets It Right at E3 - $250 PSVita, Blockbuster Exclusives, PSN Humility

PlayStation 3

Jack Tretton started Sony's PlayStation Media Briefing by apologizing for the PlayStation Network outage.  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.  This led quickly into their successes in bringing service back online, and from there, the announcements hit like hammers for 90 minutes.

Jack Tretton said that as of today, network traffic on PSN is now at levels over 90% of what they were before the hack.  He reiterated Sony's commitment to the PSN brand and service. 

"We hope that the next 90 minutes will convince you..."  And they did.  Mr. Tretton outlined several partnerships that currently exist within the PlayStation Network.  He then announced that a new partnership with Cinema Now will provide PlayStation Network users with access to movies and TV shows, on demand.  With the mea culpa out of the way, the press conference moved on to the marquee titles of this Holiday season. 

The one element that was present throughout the conference Sony's appeal to their 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.

As you'd imagine, Uncharted 3, the latest from game Naughty Dog, looks unbelievable on the PlayStation 3 platform.  Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception was shown during the E3 2011 Sony Press Conference in 2D mode as well as 3D mode.  The first part of their demo showed Drake fighting his way through a sinking ship, and was action packed!  While the weapons aren't exactly powerful, they're standard fare for Uncharted.  Uncharted 3 looks to continue a great series for the PlayStation.

During October, a partnership with Subway will allow players access to the complete multiplayer experience - not a beta.

Uncharted 3

Uncharted 3 will be in stereoscopic 3D, and the second demo, a cinematic trailer for the game, was shown in 3D.  Again, the game looks incredible, cinematic, and is well acted throughout.  Uncharted 3 will be available this Fall.

Another anticipated PlayStation exclusive scheduled to arrive in the Fall is Resistance 3, wherein the aliens have won the War, and humans face extinction.  During the Sony press conference, a selected assault level was shown.  The humans lose the initial assault, and the demo moves us forward in time where they're fighting a stereotypical crawling beast of an alien.  Resistance 3 will be in full 3D, and the demo was shown entirely in stereoscopic 3D. 

The real story behind Resistance 3 however is that it will be included in several bundles that Sony is creating this year.

On September 6, Resistance 3 will be offered in the SharpShooter Edition which includes a PlayStation Move controller, a plastic gun attachment, a camera, etc for $150. 

Late this year, Sony will be releasing a new 24" TV with 3D support, as well as "with glasses split screen support".  Each player wears a pair of 3D glasses, and sees an entirely different scene.  The TV bundle, which includes Resistance 3, and an HDMI cable, will be $500.

In a rather interesting announcement, several classic PSP and PS2 titles will be remade in HD and full 3D for the PlayStation 3.  In addition to annoucing that all of the PlayStation Portable God of War titles are being remade for PS3, the crowd went wild when it was announced that the cult classics ICO and Shadow of the Colossus are also getting the up-res treatment. 

Shadow of the Collosus was a game made for the PlayStation 2 which had you climbing and defeating gigantic creatures - each of these creatures are so big that they are a level of the game.  ICO has you rescuing a little princess/girl from a dungeon, in a wonderful, wistful graphical styling unique even by today's standards.  The remakes of these classics are certainly welcome news, and for those of us with 3DTVs, it'll bring a level of depth we haven't yet seen.

Speaking of what hardcore gamers love, it doesn't get much more hardcore than EVE Online.  CCP, the developer of EVE Online announced a new FPS called Dust 514 which is linked to EVE Online.  The PlayStation 3 game features you, as a mercenary, fighting in scenarios brought to you in the EVE Online universe.  What's not clear is whether or not the game will itself be combined with EVE or just use familiar elements of the larger PC MMO.

Immediately apparent in the trailer shown during Sony's Press Conference was the use of ISK, the currency used within EVE Online.  Dust will be exclusive to PSN, so while we're garaunteed that it won't be on any other consoles, we don't know much else - like if it will be also available on PC, or if there will be cross platform play directly within the two titles.

Sly Cooper Thieves in Time was also announced at Sony's E3 Press Conference. In 2012, a new Sly Cooper will be released for the PlayStation 3.  Not much was shown about the game other than a trailer, but as Jack Tretton noted, Sly Cooper has been one of the most requested titles ever on the PlayStation platform. Hardcore gamers and casual gamers alike love the series.

Also announced was a new Star Trek game - a demo was shown in 3D and using the in-game engine.  The new Star Trek game in fact uses the new crew from the JJ Abrams movies, and has a ton of action sequences, if the game demo is to be trusted.  The new Star Trek game is also slated for 2012. 

Some other announcements:

  • Need for Speed gets some exclusive PS3 content
  • Battlefield 3 is coming with Battlefield 1943 on the disc
  • Bioshock Infinite comes with Bioshock on the PS3
  • SSX is coming back exclusively to the PS3.


More detail was given today about 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 crowd reacts with audible boos against Sony during the announcement of the AT&T exclusive partnership, but turns 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.

Playstation Near allows you to see other PSVita users nearby. 

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.

The PlayStation Vita (PSVita) will be $249 at launch for the WiFi version, and $299 for the 3G version of the system.  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 Wifi model of the PS Vira costs $249 US, 299 Euro, and 24900 yen.  This is a great price point that the crowd absolutely loved. It's safe to say several members of the press that were expecting a $400 price point were relieved.  Further, it matches the 3DS price, which now seems artificially high, especially given the power and additional features present in the PS Vita.

The 3G model of the system will be only $299 - another big suprise that the crowd loves, despite booing Sony earlier in the press conference when they announced that AT&T would be the 3G provider for the PS Vita.

Before the PS Vita was shown, the PlayStation Suite was announced for Android smart phones - like the Sony Xperia Play. No further details were given.'s coverage of the Electronics Entertainment Expo 2011 continues. We'll be bringing you all of the news to come out of the Sony E3 Press Conference, as the event happens. Stay tuned June 6th through June 10th for additional details on brand new games as they're revealed for the first time to the game playing public.

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