PlayStation Meeting: PSP2 revealed Finished
Sony did not disappoint.
This morning, Kaz Hirai, Shuhei Yoshida and chums strode onto a Tokyo PlayStation Meeting stage to unveil the PSP2. It's known, for now, as the NGP (Next Generation Portable).
It's powerful. Boy is it powerful - this puppy was demonstrated rendering games as capably as a PS3.
Plus it's got a massive screen, a left stick
No console will succeed without games, however, and Sony has those too: big first-party blockbusters Uncharted (demonstrated on stage), Resistance, Killzone and WipEout, as well as huge third-party support from Call of Duty, Monster Hunter, the Dynasty Warriors team and none other than Hideo Kojima, who's expecting big things.
It was an action-packed reveal, then, but one lacking two very important pieces of information: date and price. Whether that can stay under wraps until this summer's E3 - if that's the plan - remains to be seen.
Our live coverage has now ended. Here's what you missed: Updating...
Good morning, Eurogamer readers! Or is it night time? The sun doesn't seem to know.
Are we about to find out what the PSP2 cam do? I hope so.
We're touching base with our man on the ground, Oli Welsh. His updates from the PlayStation Meeting will begin shortly.
Hello, come in over. Tokyo calling.
Good morning! Welcome to a crisp and sunny winter's afternoon in Tokyo. Well done for getting up.
We're in the giant ballroom of the Prince hotel, right by the Tokyo tower. We were greeted by approximately 800 SCEI staff. This is a Big Deal.
Informed estimates are putting the length of this "meeting" at one and a half to two hours, so I hope you're refreshed and ready and have girded any loins that may be appropriate.
Thanks to a potent cocktail of jetlag and, er, cocktails, I slept for ten hours last night, so I'm raring to go.
An hour and half, though, eh? This is Sony, so I imagine Bertie is right: they'll fill it with many graphs indicating the purposeful onward march of PlayStation.
You should fortify yourselves. Go and get some breakfast. It's cool, I'll shout if anything happens. At the moment it's just tasteful disco lights and tasteful disco music on the PA (and in my translation headset).
I love new hardware too Bradach. (Are you who I think you are?) Captain Carl, don't worry, you haven't missed anything yet.
I'm sorry, I haven't had time to do any Gibson-style sleb spotting. I'm pretty sure the entire Japanese games industry is here, though.
Light down. Volume UP.
Here we go. It's Kaz Hirai!
He's nervous since it's a long time since our last PlayStation Meeting. Guess what though, he's excited to discuss strategy and possibilities going forward.
There's going to be a major strategic announcement! No kidding.
We're going to start with a video clip from E3 2005. "Revisiting the future that we envisioned back then."
The film's called "Cyber society". 3D cameras combined with digital information. Virtual golf. "Reality becomes data. It's a new way to view information. Imagination and dreams come true." That made no sense.
PS3 has been connecting the two worlds of reality and digital data thanks to immense power etc. "We wish to deliver the joy of computer entertainment to people all over the world, regardless of age and ethnicity."
"Today I'd like to speak about a whole new world that PlayStation is going to bring to reality."
One word on the screen: "Home." Oh no.
It's OK, I think that was a red herring. He's talking about how great PlayStation Network is now.
More than 80 per cent of PS3 consoles are connected to the internet. 69 million registered PS3 accounts. 50 countries, 25 currencies, billions of downloads. STATS.
Cross Platform - Portable - Home. Are the words on the screen now, linked in a circle. So I guess home was meant literally.
Now we're talking Cross Platform. I see where Kaz is going with this.
The environment surrounding portable gaming has undergone a radical transformation since the launch of PSP.
He's talking about the poor system performance of phones when PSP came out. It's going to be a challenge getting through the next 10 minutes without mentioning, iPhone, but Kaz has been training his whole life for this moment.
He's announcing PlayStation Suite, which extends the PlayStation experience beyond PSP by providing PlayStation content on mobiles.
It will make PlayStation content available on Android-based smartphones and tablets.
The PS experience will be delivered on Android through collaboration with developers and publishers.
A service called PlayStation Certified will "help" developers with testing and quality assurance for PS Suite.
"Legendary original PlayStation content" - i.e. PSone games - will be available on Android devices.
There's a screen of a snowboarding game (SSX?) with PSone controls overlaid on the phone screen: dpad and symbol buttons.
There's a "hardware-neutral game framework" that enables "PlayStation-quality" content to made for all kinds of mobile hardware.
Now: distribution strategy. With PS Suite, devs and pubs will have a unique and secure framework for distribution and users with an easy experience. That means PS Store for Android.
"We envision PS Suite an an initiative that is essential to the world of portable entertainment."
PS Suite content will be available within this calendar year.
At the same time, we want to pursue what PS has always strived for: "a captivating ultimate portable gaming experience". That takes an integrated system.
The successor to PlayStation Portable! It's codenamed NGP - Next Generation Portable.
Revolutionary control system; location based entertainment; social connection; augmented reality features; and PS Suite compatibility.
Video time. A pale man plays with CG bubbles of information in the street.
Kids do social networking, a young chap plays games virtually on the bus.
There's a heavy emphasis on social networking and apparently using this to get girls. At one point a guy clicks and drags a girl from the street into his bus. "The power is now in your hands."
Our goal is to transform every aspect of your everyday life into entertainment, says Kaz.
It looks - exactly like a PSP! DUAL ANALOGUE.
Front and rear touchbads. 3G and Wifi. Sixaxis motion control, threeaxis compass.
He's got one on stage. Very halting applause.
There's an eject button on the back and a physical medial slot, folks. Dpad and symbol buttons above the two raised analogue sticks. They look good.
5" OLED display with four times the resolution of PSP.
Front and rear cameras "suitable for gameplay".
The new game media looks like a SD card. Saving data directly on the card and allowing higher capacity in future.
Released starting from the holiday season this year.
Here comes worldwide studio president Shuhei Yoshida to talk games.
The advantages of NGP are PS3-quality graphics, a large-size high-quality screen, dual analogues and the combination of traditional control with motion and touch panels, Shuhei says.
Game time: Golf Next! Gravity Daze, a sort of free running thing?
Killzone! Looks very nice.
Pool and "reality fighters". An augmented reality puzzle game. A game where you roll a ball around by stroking the back of the screen.
WipeOut! Resistance! Uncharted!
Now we're going to play Uncharted live. The graphics really aren't far off PS3, you know.
The screen is spectacular. Lovely dynamic lighting going on in-game. The 5" display is about twice the size of the PSP's 3.5".
Very wide viewing angle on the screen.
"Perfect for users like me who like to lie down while playing games."
Rather than a sliding analogue like PSP (or 3DS), it's a micro analogue stick designed to give you the feel of a Dual Shock.
He's running around in Uncharted. You can jump with X, or use the front touchscreen to "push" Drake over obstacles. You can tlit the console to swing him on a rope. Shuhei climbs a vine by stroking his fingers on the back touchscreen up and down alternately, as if he's actually climbing.
The additional controls are supposed to give you a connection with the character, and put you inside the game. You can use swipe touch controls to move Drake around when climbing, as well as use the stick. Shuhei dispatches enemies using swipes to pull and push them off cliffs.
Now he's aiming a rifle using the "very sensitive" gyro sensor.
The device looks quite big, but comfortably sized in his hands.
Muneki Shimada, a young suit from Sony software dev, is on stage.
Kaz is recapping first: dual analogues, dual touch screens, dual cameras, motion sensors, location sensors. The touch pads enable "touch, grab, trace, push or pull" sensations.
Shuhei's now playing a game called Little Deviant, which uses the rear touch panel.
There are mischievous, prank-playing orange cartoons characters around the world. The player catches them by using the back touch panel to push the world up underneath them, and roll them around.
The back touch panel is the same size as the 5" screen, so your finger's loaction is exactly replicated on the screen.
Tap the back to make the deviants jump. You can use two fingers - is that multi-touch, then?
Using front and rear panels at the same time you can "pinch" or grab the deviants, pull and release them like slingshots.
There are a few buttons along the top, start and select on the front. I can't tell if those are shoulder buttons in the top corners but I would assume so. I can see a white NGP as well as black units on display on stage.
Now Shimada-san is going to talk about user interface, social features and the network.
The user interface has all your games, apps and features in circular, 3D lozenge icons.
The "Live Area" is what they're calling the front end for games. It links to the store. Everything is tap and touch controlled. You can switch very quickly between the game and the Live Area.
Live Area also supports communication. Go through to social features, you can see a feed of what your games are up to in the game (it's a golf game we're looking at). Comments, too.
Basically, it's Xbox Live and Facebook features embedded in the device's front end.
You can play online over mobile networks. It's constantly online.
Now we're talking about "Location-based entertainment" - basically using the GPS compass in gameplay.
Select "near" and you can find out who's playing what where you are.
The Near application - it's an app - tracks where you go during the day. A video shows someone walking around Tokyo and the NGP recording this.
Retrace your footsteps in Near you can see what the most popular game is in each area you've walked through.
There's a loaction-based user search which shows what users were in, say, Shibuya, up to an hour before or after you were there. You can view a ranking of the most popular games in that area.
You can the click through to more information about a game you don't have or aren't familiar with. You can view stats about it, or go and buy it from PS Store immediately.
Now Kaz wants to talk about "converging real and virtual worlds" with augmented reality features. The cameras, mostly.
Shuhei's going to demonstrate with Hot Shots Golf.
He taps his lady golfer and she waves at him, rather than initating a sexual harassment suit. Sweet.
He moves the NGP around to move the view with the tilt sensors. When he holds it end up, the scenery stays level, showing a portrait view.
He turns around 180 degrees on stage to rotate the view all the way round to a close up of the golfer. He points it down to look at her feet and the golf ball.
He uses a button to swing and play the shot, though.
It has the same gyro sensor and accelerometers and PS Move.
Now Kaz is going to talk about PS Suite and its cross-platform abilities. It works on NGP, too. PS Suite Compatible software will work on a wide number of devices then, and Kaz hopes it will entice them to buy PSP2s. Sorry, NGPs.
He's talking some impenetrable marketing speak now, but the gist is that PS Suite is a kind of advertising Trojan horse for the PlayStation brand.
It's goodbye to Shuhei and his friend. Thanks, guys. Now Kaz is going to invite some game creators on stage.
"Our friends from Capcom, Sega, Tecmo Koei, Activision, Epic and Konami." First up: Jun Takeuchi from Capcom.
Takeuchi is going to talk about two things. One of them is not going to be his beige rollneck. One of them is going to be how much money he's making from Monster Hunter.
There's going to be a download version of Monster Hunter 3 Portable, apparently.
MH Portable 3 will run on NGP. It's the download version of the PSP game. Jun's playing it on stage. He's quite excited - he claims he hasn't touched one before.
They've implemented a right-stick analaogue camera. "The stick feels... great! You can quote me, that's my first impression. I think it is very suitable for an action game like this."
Now Jun wants to talk about Capcom's NT Framework engine. They're preparing it for NGP.
Here's a video of the opening of Lost Planet 2, rendered real-time on NGP. It looks spectacularly good, to be honest.
NT Framework moble can do shaders, HDR rendering just as PS3. Light filters, shadows and all the physics are the same.
"NGP's specification is not yet to be announced."
Capcom's devs thought the NGP envirnonment was very flexible and easy to develop for. The Lost Planet 2 demo took two weeks.
No new game announcements from Capcom, though.
Here comes Toshihiro Nagoshi from Sega! YES. Mr Monkey Ball and Yakuza. What a hero. He is rocking a cad moustache and a low-cut muscle shirt under a black suit with some discreet bling.
Not sure about the orange hair, though.
"This is hardware with no excuses," he says.
It's a Yakuza cut-scene. "We took about three months to export it to NGP."
It's all running in real-time. The shaders and shadowing are great. Zombies burst in - so it's a new one.
He's excited to develop something new for a network gaming expience. It was just a demo using the latest version of Ryu Ga Gotoku, i.e. Yakuza, explains Kaz.
Here's Akihirio Suzuki from Tecmo Koei. Here's his obligatroy opening spiel about how great NGP is.
He's from the Omega Force development team and he's showing touch pad controls in a Musou (Dynasty Warriors) game.
You can select multiple enemies by tapping them and then attack them all at once.
Tap one enemy a few times to focus on him. This is a live demo, by the way. You can trace across the touch pad to select multiple enemies at once.
That's it from Tecmo and Suzuki-san. He reckons it's going to be awesome - it will be easy to port popular series, but they will also be reborn through implementation of new features like touch.
Here comes Hideo Kojima!
His spectacles are from the future. Funnily enough, the future is what he wants to talk about.
A demo of MGS4 running on NGP. Holy cow. Some environmental detail lost, but the characters (Snake and Otacon's mini Metal Gear) look incredible.
Is this native res? It looks unbelievably sharp.
The demo used the model data and environments from the PS3 game, exported directly to NGP and rendered in real-time at 20 frames per second.
Not so fast then, he admits, but it proves PS3 quality can be done. But that's not really what NGP is about, he reckons.
He's recalling his comments from the Peace Walker launch last year about cloud computing (which kind of annoyed Sony at the time).
But he's arguing that NGP kind of enables this kind of cloud computing environment - a seamless, connected experience whether you're at home or out and about. Most of this has come true, apart from one aspect: the same game in the living room or portable.
That's what he wants to realise with NGP. You can use your PS3, large screen TV and audio system to enhance the game at home, and NGP with its location and camera features to enhance it on the move.
He's working on that concept right now and would like to present what he's doing at E3. MGS Rising across PS3 and NGP maybe? Or something new and exclusive?
Here's Tim Sweeney from Epic with - gasp - an Unreal Engine 3 demo.
"We at Epic regard this system as a game-changer" - but the demo is the fantasy castle environment that eventually became Infinity Blade for iOS.
It's smoother with more effects, to be fair, and Tim says NGP has roughly four times the performance we've seen on any previous mobile platform. They also like the console-style operating system with efficient control over memory and resources.
Here's a demo of a cartoon action-RPG. I don't recognise it.
Sorry for the double post. Now here's Philip Earl (a Brit) from Activision to show Call of Duty.
Or announce it, at any rate. There's a COD logo superimposed on a picture of an NGP on the screen. Well done.
Bars will be set, deep and immersive gaming at the core of the PlayStation DNA, etc.
Now he's listing the device's features for the umpteenth time today. There are a lot of them, to be fair. No details on COD for NGP today, I'm afraid.
Kaz in on stage recapping and thanking his partners. There's a lisdt of developers who've announced there suport. It's pretty much everyone - I spot Rockstar, PopCap and Ubisoft, as well as the entire Japanese industry.
PS Suite will offer "a wide population of users a taste of the PlayStation experience" while NGP emphasies high-quality hardware and gaming.
The two together will revolutionise mobile gaming, announces Kaz. Maybe not, but you know what, it's a good stab.
And that's it. It's all over. Sorry I didn't do more jokes but a) there was a hell of a lot of information actually and b) I'm not Ellie. I know, sad right?
Watch the site later today for an interview about NGP, PlayStation Suite and everything else I can cram in with a high-ranking Sony executive.
I'm going to dash and take some photos of it now. I'm not allowed to touch one, sadly.
I do actually want it. It's powerful, the rear touch makes more sense now I've seen it in action and my God that screen. If the sticks are good, it's what Sony always promised for PSP - an actual console in your pocket. Well, bag. It would have to be a big pocket.