As far as I’m concerned, and contrary to most of what Martyn told you yesterday about Xbox and its raft of E3 announcements, Sony is still king of the console pile. Handling a Playstation controller is about as basic an instinct as breathing, and an object only rivalled in familiarity to teenage boys by their own cocks. It’s a good thing, honestly. Anyway, Sony announced a bundle of awesome stuff at E3 including their own take on motion-controlled gaming, a tonne of incredible exclusive titles, and a new paid-for premium tier of their online services, Playstation Network Plus. Lets dive right in.
I guess the biggest news was the announcement of more details relating to Sony’s Playstation Move controller, the lovely piece of kit you can see above. While Microsoft’s Kinect/Project Natal hardware resides by your TV, much like the sensor bar for the Wii, the Move controller needs to be held as you play, much like the WiiMote. There’s even an accompanying secondary controller that looks suspiciously like the Wii’s Nunchuck. At £39.99 for the main controller, it undercuts Microsoft’s Kinect quite heavily, plus you don’t need to jump around in front of your couch to get stuff done. Move works by tracking the weird glowing ball on the end of the main move controller, as well as using motion-sensing feedback from inside the unit. There’s buttons (because, in the future we have these things called buttons), which means support for a wider range of games than Kinect. It launches September 22nd, just in time for the new semester.
As far as supported games goes, Sony have already confirmed patches to add Move support to Heavy Rain, Resident Evil, and Toy Story 3, while forthcoming titles such as the new iteration in the SOCOM franchise, the visually devastating Killzone 3, and the new Time Crisis title will all launch with Move support out of the box. Of course, there are also games custom-designed to support Move – there’s a pretty rad looking wizard game, for instance – but the vein Sony seems to want to hit here is showing that Move works perfectly alongside games and control methods that people already know and love. Adding support to Killzone 3, their largest FPS exclusive title, is surely a bold move. Which brings me on to game announcements…
First up, the gorgeous beauty you see above you is Gran Turismo 5, now slatted for release November 22nd. Pretty much the undisputed king of driving sims, Gran Turismo looks set to make its 3rd-generation hardware debut with a splash thanks to out-of-the-box support for 3D, something Sony was keen to push at this years E3. There’s a tonne more modes, cars, tracks, and frankly everything, than the previous titles – plus it looks like an absolute dream. Second up, Sony gave us some more details on Killzone 3, its jet-pack toting, 3D and Move enabled sequel to one of the most visceral games on either PS3 or Xbox 360. Killzone 2 was already about as in your face as a first person shooters looked likely to get, but it looks like I was wrong. For me though, sucker as I am, it was LittleBigPlanet 2 that stole the show. Taking the incredible depth of creativity and freedom offered in LittleBigPlanet and expanding on it is no easy feat, but then the guys over at LBP developers Media Molecule are no ordinary guys. It’s all best explained by watching the demo below, but safe to say that this literally blows every platform game around at the moment out of the water. Plus, Sackboy is hella cute.
Last but not least, Sony also announced a premium tier to its Playstation Network service, bringing it more in line with Xbox Live’s pricing structure. Thankfully though, nothing is taken away from the existing services offered for free, you can still play online for free and download whatever DLC or demos are out, Sony are just adding a load of optional functionality. There’s cross-game voice chat for instance, as well as a promised raft of premium content, and a subscription to Sony’s digital magazine Qore. The damage? $50 a year or $18 for 3-months. Information is still blurry on a UK/Europe rollout, but when does a company ever turn down the chance to make an extra buck or two?