Sony's media briefing at E3 2010 felt fairly hefty - if not just a little bit snarky towards the other big two, at times.
Straight off the bat, Sony hit out at Microsoft, cracking wise about not needing ponchos unless used as a spittle-guard, and declaring the last time you pretended your hand was a gun was in the third grade. None-too-subtle digs, but they raised points about Microsoft's Kinect that still stand. A lack of high-precision inputs with Kinect leaves the hardcore gamer at the door, while Move has buttons. Buttons!
3D was the next big thing Sony needed to get off its chest. Along with every other man and his dog, Sony is gearing up to ride the 3D tsunami set in motion by the underwater earthquake that was Avatar. While still seen as a gimmick that hurts your eyes by many, Sony reared up to remind us that we need 3D in our drab two-dimensional lives. Pointing out the coupling of Bravia TVs with the PS3 was some sly in-line advertising on their part.
The games profiled in all-the-dimensions-the-gods-intended included Killzone 3, Gran Turismo 5 and Crysis 2. Those in attendance were treated to a stereoscopic bloodbath. Killzone 3 will be ready to impress those eager few with 3D televisions come February 2011 (US release date). We were shown a playable stage which involved a jetpack fight scene, which looked mightily impressive - although we would have liked to have seen it in non-3D 3D. The other morsel that was fed out on Killzone 3 was that it will have launch-day Move controller compatibility.
Next on the block was the much-vaunted Move itself. After seeing the somewhat laggy performance of Microsoft's Kinect, it was an interesting comparison to see the Move in action. Sony showed off the Move with two titles, The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Tiger Woods Golf 2011. The former was a Harry Potter-esque fantasy romp aimed at the young teen market. Each flick of the controller let loose a fluid on-screen movement, seemingly matching the 1:1 synchronous behaviour Sony had promised. Tiger's game was equally impressive from a control perspective, showing off realistic driving, pitching and putting in real time. The lack of lag between man and machine is a good sign for Sony, as at this stage we have little else to judge the motion controlled generation of controllers on.
While serious gamers still hold reservations about motion controlled titles, Sony's attempts to bridge the gap have been the most compelling shown to us thus far. Being able to track each Move device accurately in 3D space holds potential for combining the control system with a 3D display. Showing off a video of developers talking about how impressed they were by the system was a nice touch, albeit one Nintendo had employed earlier in the day. The presence of Killzone 3 with Move compatibility already went a long way to appeasing the more discerning gamers in the crowd, although many more solid titles will be needed to crack the hard, leathery skin of the PS3 purist.
Once all the glam was done with, it was down to games, games and more games. Sony puffed out its chest and had Kevin Butler exclaim "I love games! I love games!". Picks of the crop were the aforementioned Killzone 3, Gran Turismo 5 and Crysis 2. There were a couple of non-exclusives in the form of Medal of Honor and Dead Space 2, each of which will come with a revamped bonus in the form of Medal of Honor (the original, remastered) and Dead Space Extraction (re-jigged from the Wii version for Move). For long running PlayStation franchise fans, there was a brief glimpse of Final Fantasy XIV and then a surprise drop of the terrific looking Twisted Metal, due sometime in 2011.
Finally, Sony announced that it will be introducing a paid 'premium' membership on PlayStation Network. With over 50 million users on PSN, Sony is clearly eager to start taking some coin from them, but is hesitant to lose its price advantage over Xbox Live - the new PlayStation Plus subscription option will not be required to play games online, with all the existing offerings on PSN remaining free. Instead, Plus will entitle members to access exclusive, premium content, including priority access to betas, digital content, themes, PSP minis and various other things. At US$49.95 (about NZ$75), it remains to be seen how many gamers will be persuaded to upgrade.