UPDATE: The video of this press conference has been added for your viewing pleasure.
In college, I only minored in Press Conference presentations, and I joined the Press Conference Club because of a pretty girl I sat next to in PC 302: Deep House & Powerpoint. But if it were me planning Sony’s GamesCom press conference today, I probably would have lead with what everybody already knew about. You just can’t keep something like a lilac purple PSP a secret.
So, doing this write-up out of order, we’re finally at $299 and a reduced size. As an owner of one of the last 60GB backwards-compatible and overweight PS3s, I don’t believe I have the right to comment on these recent developments. But I will say that 120 GB of storage is nice, and the matte finish on the top is pretty good looking, if you’re not into being all glossy and showy. But when all is said and done, the more PS3s that get into more homes equals more people enjoying great games, and even the system fanboys can’t deny that it’s a good thi—just kidding. You guys are certifiable.
No, if it were me in charge, I would have ended with David Cage’s Heavy Rain presentation.
In contrast to the rest of the executives and scripted developers we heard during the day, it was mildly exhilarating to hear the Quantic Dream leader talk about their game in a manner that just wouldn’t translate to a PR one-sheet. “How far would you really go for a GameStop pre-order bonus?” just doesn’t evoke the same emotion as, say, love. We got to hear about the last two remaining characters in the game, with a focus on a guilt-riddled father, estranged from his wife and his life collapsing around him while the Origami killer remained on the prowl. Cage revealed that the inspiration for this character came when he and his wife lost track of their own son for 10 minutes – which doesn’t seem like a long time, but it’s more than enough for a parent to completely freak out – and he wanted to somehow capture that feeling of panic and helplessness. You guys already know we’re into Heavy Rain in a big way (Billy actually got goosebumps after the new trailer), so feel free to join us as we wait.
Continuing the out-of-order impressions, the PSP Minis initiative is a great idea on paper, but the video they showed of games in progress left a lot to be desired – hopefully we’ll get to see something on the show floor, and if not then, at next month’s Tokyo Game Show. Something more than EA’s Sudoku and Tetris, which elicited quite a few sarcastic laughs from the crowd. Minis plus female-targeted new PSP colors equals an attempt at swiping Nintendo’s (and Apple’s) lunch money.
Also at TGS will be the next big reveal for Sony’s motion controller. It was kind of disappointing not to see anything at GamesCom, but not unsurprising that they’re saving it for Tokyo, which is clearly a larger event. Their short “developer update” video gave a nice little jab at the Natal and other “waving your arms around”-based technology, so it’s fun to see that war heating up already. Should be good times on the forums and in the comments section when that gets rolling in full force.
The conference had a lot of small morsels scattered throughout, mostly appealing to the European audience. They’re finally getting PSN cards in denominations of 20 and 50 Euros, Audi is getting its own space in Home, alongside Singstar (the video for which looked like a dance club at 6PM), and the upcoming PSN store revamp will feature country-specific television from the European Union. The new Video Delivery Service also sounds like an excellent answer to Xbox’s Video Marketplace, so there’s no reason for either media-centric console owner to be jealous of the other side.
Aside from Heavy Rain, the conference stayed away from actual games. The biggest news was of course Gran Turismo PSP being completely free to (as of now) Euro customers who register their new PSPgo. Hopefully that makes its way over Stateside, because we like free things, too.
And that was about it – a good show of announcements, small and large. And hopefully there’ll be more software to talk about on the show floor this week. We’ve got appointments lined up to see Heavy Rain and Uncharted 2, among others, so stay tuned for that in the next couple of days. Until then, auf Wiedersehen!
(Oh, there were also sales charts. The PlayStation family is popular in Europe. Now you know.)