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Sony Playstation 3 Press Event - My First PS3 Experience

Posted BY: FoolThrottle, Tuesday, May 09, 2006, 4:43AM EST

First let me tell the tens of thousand of people who downloaded the cool E3TV player and are anxiously awaiting their copy of the Sony Press Event: it's coming.  It's just taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r to process. Hopefully the Nintendo and Microsoft events will roll faster.  Hang in there!  We'll also have an edited version in the Floored player tomorrow afternoon.

Before we crash for the night, let me tell you a few things about the Sony Press Event. 

The event started fairly late, but the steadily flowing free drinks and food made it bearable to everyone who wasn't standing in line with a carload of camera gear.  And frankly, a few frozen alcoholic drinks can make a two-hour press event an agonizing bit of torture.  Once we got inside, we saw one of the most impressive press environments I've ever seen.  The main screen was monstrous, and the side walls of the room contained 10 columns, each of which had 7 giant screens.  Add the monitors at the edge of the stage and the two house-sized prompter screens in the back of the house, and you had about 80 screens.  But wait! There's More!  If you added up all the tiny camcorder and phone-corder screens glowing in the house like an 80's hair-band concert, then you'd have, like, 800 screens! 

Without going into Engadget-like play-by-play, I'll summarize: 

The Playstation 2 sold over 100 million hardware units and over 1 billion software units.  We all know the PS2 was dominant.  The PS3 will ship in November for $500 and $600 and by the end of March 2007, they will have shipped 6 million units. 

The PS3 will have an online marketplace that will, at the very least, allow you to download songs for your SingStar game. It will also work with the PSP in interesting ways, such as using the PSP as a "wing-mirror" for Formula-One racing.  In this mode, the PSP shows you the rear view while your 60" Plasma shows you the front view.

The Blu-ray disc drive sets the PS3 apart from the XBOX 360, which currently has a standard DVD player built-in but plans to offer HD-DVD, a Blu-ray competitor, in the near future.

They also revealed a big surprise: the new PlayStation 3 Controller.  It looks and feels very much like a PlayStation 2 Dual Shock controller, but it has a secret inside: tilt and motion sensitivity with six degrees of freedom. While they demonstrated mostly tilt-based functionality, the controller is reported to also track horizontal and vertical movement, which emulates most of the Nintendo Wii controller functionality.  It will be very interesting to see how Nintendo responds tomorrow (later this morning). 

And most importantly, there were lots of games shown in various degrees of development, all at 1080p.  A few highlights were Gran Tourismo HD, Sonic the Hedgehog, Formula One Racing, Heavenly Sword and Resistance: Fall of Man.  I took a few minutes to play Resistance: Fall of Man.  The Controller felt light and familar, but the sticks had a lighter feel to them, making the whole thing easier to use and more responsive.  The game itself was a blast for shooter fans, with a variety of powerful weapons and unique firing modes.  One mode, called tagging, I believe, allowed you to mark a target and send a pile of live ammo to hover over the target, only to unleash it in one crushing blow.  A bouncing-betty-style grenade blew nasty spikes at crowds of enemies.  The whole thing had a Halo/Half-life feel to it, which is two compliments in one, I suppose!

It's a safe bet there are many more announcements to come between now and November.  For example, there's a round button in the middle of the controller that wasn't explained. Also, there were some conspicuous software absences including Grand Theft Auto, Soul Caliber, and critical platformers like Ratchet and Clank, and Jak.  In fact, the whole lineup was decidedly mature, making the positioning and pricing of the PS3 seem directed towards older gamers with larger wallets. 

We'll have a lot more to say about the PS3, PS2, and PSP in the days to come.  Enjoy the photos we uploaded, the videos of the event that are on their way, and all the trailers coming through.

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