Sony News Conference at E3

So, I wanted to jot down some of my thoughts after watching most of the Sony Press Conference at E3.

Overall, I was fairly underwhelmed with the show. Even the audience seemed underwhelmed — I don't know if it was just that the microphones weren't capturing it, but there was very little applause and cheering from the people in the stands. I counted at least 5 times where the Sony presenters asked for applause – it seems like it should be more spontaneous.

Most of the demos were unimpressive — come on, we saw videos at last years' E3. There were a few demos played, though. They started off with Gran Turismo HD (which they admitted is just newer textures on the GT4 engine). While Kazunori Yamauchi (the president of Polyphony Digital) was holding the controller acting like he was playing, it was fairly obvious by the camera views that he wasn't playing — seriously, who can hold a perfect racing line in turns while in the camera “fly-by” modes?

Some of the other games looked impressive: Eight Days stood out in my mind. Another cool thing was using the PSP as a rear-view mirror for the Formula One game they showed. That's a novel use, albeit a little expensive. Their Sony Network seemed pretty much like an Xbox Live copy (video chat was the only thing that's currently not there, but there's reports that the Xbox Camera will make video chat possible on XBL as well):

  • Friends list: check
  • Micropayments: check
  • Voice chat: check
  • Text chat: check
  • Rankings: check
  • Video chat: pending, supposedly

Back to the audience seeming, well, unexcited. Even the presenters didn't seem excited (except Kaz Hirai yelling “Ridge Racer” on the PSP), they all talked in monotone voices. Get some liveliness, guys!

And that worldwide launch thing? Good luck with that one, guys. It didn't treat the Xbox 360 team very well.

So, I didn't catch the tail end of the presentation (I watched up until Electronic Arts showed up, then decided to drive home). Engadget has the blow by blow which talks more in detail about a few events, shows off the new (erm, I mean old) controller (bluetooth? Weird.), pricing details (ouch), etc. Engadget follows up with posts about the launch details, the controller, and pricing info.