PSVita. That’s the name Sony has given to its PlayStation Portable successor. And let’s just say that the name has been met with less enthusiasm than the device itself — which looks pretty darn great.
Sony also showed off footage and demos from their hottest upcoming titles. But will 2011 always be Sony’s year of the PSN meltdown? Or did their showing at this year’s E3 help that image fade?
PlayStation head honcho Jack Tretton took the stage and addressed the “elephant in the room” right off the bat, apologizing to gamers for the PSN security breach. With that out of the way, Sony got down to business.
Something about Sony’s events always feel humdrum to me. They throw just as much money into the production as Microsoft does, but their format — lifeless speeches from corporate suits and game developers who are both more comfortable behind a computer screen than in front of an audience — is just dry. They also tend to throw a ton of details at the audience, apparently hoping that some of them will stick.
Anyway, they’re not nearly as bad as Nintendo, I’ll give them that. I’ll get back to the big N later.
Sony’s big event this year focused mostly on the PSVita handheld device. It was good to finally see the machine in action and get a feel for what it can do, but I was struck by how Sony didn’t have much of anything new to announce. There were no Portal 2-sized surprises.
Back to the top story. PS Vita was unveiled in all its glory, and we got to see quite a few games in action, being played live. First of all, take a good look at the hardware. There’s no denying the similarity between the form factor of the PSV (I think I shall take to using that — it sounds so much better than the alternative) and the PSP. The major differences exist under the hood.
This bad boy’s got tons of horsepower, along with a fancy OLED touchscreen, a rear touch panel that can also be used for unique game controls, dual analog sticks, both front and rear cameras, gyroscope and accelerometer, and more. It runs games off of digital downloads and a specialized flash memory card, and it comes in 2 flavors: Wifi, and Wifi + 3G. The 3G version is wired for AT&T’s network (an announcement that caused loud groans throughout the audience), and will cost $299. The Wifi-only model will run $249. Both are expected in stores by this holiday season.
The most memorable moments from the PSV demo were the Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Little Big Planet demos, which bothshowed off how PSV changes the gaming dynamic with its touchscreen controls. It’s nifty stuff, but looks awfully familiar to anyone who’s used an iPhone or iPad.
Sony also announced a dedicated 3D TV built just for PlayStation players. (You can use it for watching live TV too, of course, but it’s branded for PS gaming.) The medium-sized flatscreen offers a very unique capability: instead of splitting the screen when two local gamers are playing together, the screen will display two different images overlaid atop one another. Both gamers get a full-screen experience, but their orientation to the screen will determine which image they see. And both images are in 3D. It’s undeniably cool.
The PS3 has no bigger upcoming blockbuster title than Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, and the trailer and demo we saw didn’t disappoint. The demo featured Drake fighting his way through an enormous ship at sea, which eventually starts to sink and even turns onto its side at one point, changing Drake’s entire orientation. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom for some sweet new screens from this hot title.
Here are some of the other games shown off during Sony’s E3 event.