Pre-E3 2006: Sony E3 Conference notes

Alright, so Sony had their big conference yesterday and among the amazing looking games announced, Playstation 3 took center stage of course. Along with the newly redesigned controller, a price point and official release date were also announced during said conference.


Let's get right to it. The Playstation 3 will release in Japan on November 11th. The US/European release will occur on November 17th. As for pricing, here is where it gets interesting. The "base" unit will retail for $499 US, and come with a 20GB HDD. The next step up is the $599 US machine, and that comes with a 60 GB HDD. Here is where it gets tricky folks. The base unit while cheaper, also has some important features missing that it's big brother will enjoy. For one, the machine won't have any WiFi capabilities at all. It will also lack an SD/memory card reader and most importantly will not have any HDMI support. Why is this important you say? Well, when little Billy gets home, he's going to find out that his shiny new PS3 can only play those awesome Blu-Ray discs in analog 1080i output. This effectively makes the PS3 a non-starter for anything other than playing games. And let's not even mention once Blu-Ray discs start shipping with the HDCP protection on them now.


In better news for Sony fans, the new controller also made an appearance at the conference. Well, new as in features, old as in design. It looks just like the old PS2 controller, at least as far as I can tell. But one important new feature has been added - motion sensor technology. Yes that's right folks, Sony has taken a page out of the Nintendo Wii controller and added the same basic motion sensing technology. It however looks like it does not sense the distance from the screen, which the Wii controller does. It will also have a new "six degrees of movement" system. This would allow seamless interactive operation without the need for setting separate TV settings for example. The controller will use the Bluetooth interface, however a USB connection is possible for those that wish to use it.


Well with that out of the way let's get to some other news on the Sony front. Games. Yes Sony showed off several games, not the least of which was Grant Turismo HD. Also shown in no particular order: Warhawk (yes!), Genji 2, Heavenly Sword, Final Fantasy XIII, Virtua Fighter 5 and Metal Gear Solid 4. A fairly impressive EyeToy demonstration was done as well. Square-Enix had their own little conference, where they announced Final Fantasy XIII as I said before along with some other new games. Today (the 9th) Nintendo and Microsoft have their own conferences. I will post updates as I get them for those two events. And once E3 starts I will try to post as much as I can on all the gaming goodness.


Enjoy E3 2006 everyone.

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