GC: Sony conference Finished
Earlier today, Sony delivered its Games Convention 2007 press conference, announcing a new PlayStation 3 PVR gadget for recording and watching TV, a corresponding PSP update for watching TV on the go and piping it from your PS3, and a range of PSP initiatives, as well as some other stuff. Hit the frontpage for full news coverage, or read on for our blow by blow run-through of the conference as it happened. Sorry for any offence caused, etc.
Our live coverage has now ended. Here's what you missed: Updating...
Tom and Pat are standing in a very big queue outside the conference. Reports suggest it is hot and stuffy and Pat is getting fed up.
They're in. Any minute now we'll be getting messages from the other side.
Right, we're in. Sorry for late start [and he was late - Ed]. Trailer reel is up - PS3 games, shockingly. Uncharted, DMC4, Ratchet - a montage of fun exploding onto a 60-foot screen in front of people who had to really sweat for their seats.
David Reeves is taking the stage.
He's here with the German Sony director and some "key announcements" for PlayStation and the European market. Now he's translating himself into German. Meanwhile, why not read all those announcements in the embargoed news we just posted.
"Games Convention is even more important and influential than normal this year." On with the news. "Games Convention is primarily about new games" and he's going to show us some, he says.
But first, he's going to talk about growth. "This is not a new topic," he concedes, but he's not apologising for mentioning it again.
He's showing a graph of units sold across PAL regions and he says that competition between games and hardware contributes to a "healthy" and "vibrant" industry. "All the growth trend lines are upward."
TV based consoles up by 66 per cent, handhelds by 316 per cent. Software sales for TV based consoles up by 200 per cent, and handheld by 900 per cent. We're as riveted as you are.
He's projecting 140m PlayStation consoles in PAL territories by 2010.
PS3 actually enjoyed a faster curve than PS2 did in the first three months, he says. He calls it "an impressive pattern of growth".
"Our key strategic objective ... is to grow not just our share of the market, but to help grow the overall size of the market for interactive entertainment in Europe" and elsewhere.
Time for some key sales performance detail for each of their formats. He says he's not going to take long on this. Good - my knees already hurt!
PS3 had a "stunning" launch in Europe, he says. 13 million units of software sold to consumers throughout Europe. Resistance and MotorStorm top selling titles - both million-sellers worldwide, and nearly 500k each in Europe.
Over 65 titles will be available for PS3 in Europe by Christmas, he says.
He refers to the Starter Pack, which he says added EUR 170 of added value. He says consumers and retail have reacted well, and sales have risen over 240 per cent in Germany in the first week of sale. In the three weeks following its introduction, it prompted 61 per cent growth overall.
On to PS2. "Sales of hardware and software continue to exceed all our expectations." Biggest installed base globally in the history of the industry. Over 500 million pieces of software produced. "And it's still outselling our dear colleagues Xbox 360 weekly by a ratio of three to one."
Almost 5 million PS2s sold in Germany. He points to sales in emerging markets as a key driver. Russia in particular is doing well with over a 40 per cent share of recent growth.
Social gaming is somthing he's quite chuffed about. "This year SingStar titles have been top of the charts in six territories."
More females are playing games now than in 2004! Woo! Ladies - it's tom [at] eurogamer [dot] net.
He's pointed to Phil Harrison and thanked him for bringing social gaming to Europe. A spontaneous smatter of applause from the audience.
Promises "more fun" with SingStar "German style" later.
PSP has installed base of 8.6 million units in PAL territories, he says. And over 320 games available.
Says the price drop prompted a 40 per cent uplift in sales for PAL markets over the following weeks.
PlayStation Network time!
He's basically saying what it is. If you don't know what it is yet, use Google.
645,000 PS3 accounts have signed up for the Network. "That's almost half our installed base for PS3 in Europe." 186 pieces of content available, download tie ratio of 12:1.
Tekken 5's sold 103k, Flow 47k, Supr Rub a Dub 35k and Calling all Cars 31k. And someone near me is smoking, which is really helping.
If you look in value terms, they've exceeded EUR 4 million in wallet top-ups since launch. "Let's move on" to something that isn't stats, he says.
PS3 first. "A stunning games machine." Got one yet?
He wants to talk about it as an entertainment hub first.
Early in the new year we're getting PlayTV. Turns your PS3 into a personal video recorder (PVR).
"PlayTV will turn your PS3 into the centre of your entertainment experience." Snoooooore.
Sorry Dave. It's the heat, I swear. It's built around a small peripheral containing two small free-to-air TV tuners. He's holding it up. It looks like a sunglasses case.
It allows you to record a TV programme while watching another. Can receive SD and HD signals. Will receive Freeview, too.
"Some of the more observant of you will have picked up that Freeview is also launching in New Zealand early next year." I did, Dave! I did!
You can export recorded videos to your PSP.
"What better excuse would there be to buy both a PS3 and a PSP?"
He's introducing Mark Bunting from Worldwide Studios Cambridge. He's demoing it.
He's showing a football match happening live, through PS3. It's all future-proofed to support HDTV, too. The Episode Guide (EPG) comes up in a fairly swanky PS3-style interface.
You can launch recorded videos directly from the library.
There's a thumbnail viewer of programmes which takes up the whole screen. If you select a snapshot it will play a 15-second clip so you can make sure it was the one you thought it was.
Connectivity between PSP and PS3 means you can use PlayTV's advantages on the go. The Remote Play feature helps PSP become "your very own live TV viewer".
Can play live TV or every programme you've recorded on the way back home. The PlayTV library is pulled up on Mark's PSP, and he's now watching it on his PSP. Or would be, if the demo was working. Ah, there it is.
Took just a few seconds to get going. He can switch back to the EPG on PSP and start watching his live channel immediately.
Someone starts clapping and the rest of the audience picks it up. To launch in UK and a few others early next year, with the rest of the PAL territories to follow.
"We should not forget the games," Reevesy points out.
Heavenly Sword is a bit good, he reckons. Look out for it on 14th September in UK, 19th in Europe. Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune are the sorts of things he's into, by the sound of it.
Little bit of downtime there. Not to worry - he's just showing a trailer reel. Uncharted's up.
It looks mostly as good as that old target footage. WipEout HD looks pretty sexy for a PSN game.
And now a bit of SingStar. Video of girls singing. LIFESTYLE.
Heavenly Sword. Bits from the demo and elsewhere. Snowy bits, grassy bits, Nariko's bits.
WarHawk is shown. He's zooming around, running around, driving around, sniping around, and morphing into Lair via a splash screen.
Lair's out fairly soon if I recall correctly. Stirring music plays as dragons swoop. Oh god they've moving on. Folklore. Green, red, blue, a man is in my way.
Eye of Judgement. Guitars and drums, pirate ships and men on horses. STOP GOING SO FAST SONY.
GT5 Prologue. It looks like the other GT HD Prologue wotsit. "All coming Christmas 2007 on PlayStation 3."
"Good - I hope you enjoyed it," says Dave.
He's introducing MGS4. Now he's speaking Japanese. I don't know why. Maybe if he spent a bit more time selling PS3s than learning languages people would stop slagging him off.
Buzz coming to PS3 with Buzz! Quiz TV. It's another of those embargoed news stories on the main page, look!
He's introducing, well, Buzz. The host from the game. He's going to tell us about the game. In his wacky voice. "Boy! My time has come!"
Questions about soap operas in Pass The Bomb. Someone explodes. It looks like PS2 Buzz but with more graphicsability.
"For the first time in Buzz, me, you, anyone can choose the topics you want."
"We've got everything on one disc." Movies, sport, telly, etc.
Buzz wants more, he says. Internet play, for example. "Strangers are just people you haven't humiliated yet."
You can create your own quiz questions, too, with Create A Quiz.
Which is probably why it's called that.
Premium content. Downloadable question packs.
Reevesy reckons it's the perfect game for integrating disc-based content with PSN blah blah bespoke rah rah.
I've got really bad cramp in my legs now. We're on weird little green Sony stools. I don't usually ask for sympathy, readers, but WILL ME WELL.
Many of us will be eagerly awaiting the latest instalment of Gran Turismo, says Reeves. And Kazunori Yamauchi is here at Leipzig for the first time ever. He's in the audience.
GT5 Prologue will allow up to 16 players to race against each other online. It will be 1080p, and have 50 cars and five tracks.
He's going to show us a new video now. I'd try standing up but I think the ligaments have gone bye-bye.
Would you believe that the cars are shiny? I scarcely can. The slightly sinister Gran Turismo elevator music is playing. Mechanics and drivers stand around VERY SHINY cars.
More shiny cars. None of them is actually driving around yet. Ooh! Darker, moodier music! A shiny, shinier car!
Light flicks across its silvery curves. And we're looking at the game! There's grass next to the track! And cars on it! They're moving very quickly! Possibly in some sort of contest to see who can race around the track quickest out of the ones who are on it.
The course is a proper race-track, unlike the one off the first Prologue. There's stadium stands, banners, gravel traps.
Quite a few of them.
Due out before the end of the year in PAL territories. Or you could just make a fake Japanese account and get it off there, probably, a friend told me.
Also looking forward to stuff on PSP like Pursuit Force, God of War: Chains of Olympus and WipEout Pulse.
Coming to both PSP and PS3, remember.
Oh, he's not going to demo it - he's going to show a PSP trailer reel.
WipEout Pulse looks PULSATING. Pursuit Force looks FORCEFUL. ATV Pro Something Or Other looks INDISTINCT. Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow looks SHADOWY.
I missed the name of that one. Patasomething [Piyotama, maybe - Ed]. There's a woman's head in my way. I wish she'd die or something.
Echochrome again - pretty much what we've seen before. They're all up for about five seconds. God of War looks like God of War PS2. Kratos is fighting people. Smash, crash.
And that's it for PSP trailers. Clapsing!
Rupert tells me to tell you that our Xbox Live integration is live on Eurogamers. What has this got to do with Sony conference? Nothing.
He's saying PSP Slim and Lite will be coming to Europe in early September, and that we'll get black, silver and white models. He's holding it up.
I've not seen one of these in person before (Ellie covered the E3 conference). Not bad. He's got a yellow one in his hand.
Due to launch on 5th September. Two special limited edition colours available as a bundle: Simpsons-themed yellow one, and a red and black Spider-Man one.
I apologise - red on the front, black on the back. That'll teach me to type things before he's done a pirouette, won't it?
My knees are now basically dead. I will never walk again. I hope you're happy.
He's announced the new "Go!" brand. It's for entertainment and services. The Go! camera is already out, obviously - but he's got three new ones to announce! Woo!
Go! Messenger is the first one. It's being done with BT, so presumably it'll be good until you need to move house.
A firmware update in the New Year will add a program to do video chats and instant messages over Wi-Fi with other users anywhere in the world.
You'll need the camera though, obviously. IT'S NOT MAGIC, BOFFINS.
Let's see how the service will work, Dave. "Let's see how the service will work." I just said that. "January next year."
It will work with lifestyle-style swishing of graphics and shonky music by the sound of it.
I would type things, but they're really not showing much. Just some spinning PSPs and cityscapes.
Nope, still nothing. There's a grey train station on top of a grey planet with blue lines flying over the top of it.
Go! Messenger, then. For talking to people who aren't next to you. With a PSP.
And now he's going to show Go! Explore. But first he's going to say nice things about a pair of BT men. Well done, BT men. You made a grey train station.
Ellie thinks he said "worldwide in PAL territories". I wasn't listening. It didn't seem important.
Go! Explore is a sat-nav wotsit that helps you avoid speed cameras, restaurants and other things, says Dave. I suppose you could use it to find them too. Weirdo.
He's showing us a route from the Houses of Parliament to Trafalgar Square (GET A BUS!).
That was me, not them. They are selecting it by typing in a place name (or post code), and then a street name, and then selecting it from a list of suggested options.
They are then shown a big swanky overhead map, and you can zoom around it in semi-3D too, seeing landmarks stand up against the landscape.
A menu allows you to pick the route and then travel along it as a little blue arrow. Road names and other locational info splash up on the screen, in much the same way lactic acid is splashing out of my knees.
It's due out on February 2008. The actual content is free once you buy it, he says.
It's perfect for "any car driver or any PSP owner" apparently.
Seems like the reason they pre-announced the TV on demand service was Sky's financials had to be stated in July.
But now they're talking about it. He says Sky reckons PSP is the ideal handheld for high definition video wotsits. It won't be available on any other handheld console or mobile device, he says. Gizmondo is in trouble!
Sky content spanning sports, entertainments, sports, probably some sport and other Sky stuff.
"This is the first time Sky will offer video content through a non Sky branded service," says Dave, who's doing well up there. Better than me.
There'll be a choice of options for payment - subscriptions and so on. Pay-per-view options too. Customers will be able to download their programmes via PC to their PSP, or alternatively via Wi-Fi.
We're going to see some of the content the download service might deliver. Film actors and actresses bounce around the screen, including Bruce Willis, a penguin, Robbie Coltrane, a fireman, Jose Mourinho, PEOPLE'S HERO PETER CROUCH, and the England cricket team "in happier times" if you ask me.
Man United are on the PSP screen holding up the Premiership trophy.
It's due to be branded as part of the Go! thing when it launches in early 2008.
That's UK and Ireland, mind. But he says they're "active" in French discussions, and will be turning their attention to Spain and Germany "in the very near future".
Change of subject!
He's going to tell us about a partnership.
FIFA, EA and PS3 get together and hump one another. They're going to be presenting partners for the FIFA Interactive World Cup, which is the thing Microsoft used to do before Sony had a PS3.
Players all around the world will compete using FIFA 08 to play. They're going to help explain it more and all that by introducing FIFA's Chuck Blazer (real name, surely a fake beard).
He says the FIFA Interactive World Cup is an excellent platform for the global something or other.
You wouldn't care if I did type this stuff, to be honest. From October 2007 to May 2008 you get to "show off your gaming skills at more than 20 physical qualifying events" and others on that Internet. The best 32 get face off at the Sony Centre in Berlin in May 2008.
He says it's going to be great. Which is probably his job, in all honesty.
I swear I can smell naughty drugs being smoked. I'm not making this up. DRUGS AT SONY CONFERENCE SHOCK.
You can look on the Internet to find out about the FIFA Interactive World Cup, says Chuck. And you can register on the PlayStation booth. DRUGS THOUGH. SOMEONE CALL A JOURNALIST.
Some fellow whose name I missed is going to demonstrate FIFA 08. He's not one of the ones I met in Vancouver, who were all lovely. He seems alright though.
Apparently they made FIFA 08 for PS3 by making the game work well on Cell.
Hold the frontpage! Just don't for goodness sake go there and read all the news stories that negate what I've spent the last hour doing - that would be very unfair.
They're playing FIFA 08. It's obviously a bit further on from the proof of concept stuff I saw in May. They're talking about the "organic building-block skill moves" and how you use the right stick to build those up.
"Almost a little bit like atomic sequencing", he says. You'll be able to play as yourself in FIFA Interactive World Cup, he says, not just real life players like PEOPLE'S HERO PETER CROUCH.
All 22 players are making 1000 decisions a second, he says. It boggles his mind, says mystery man. Calls it a level of intelligence never seen before in a football game. Stand up Rob Styles.
He's talking about "emergent play" now, and adapting to the CPU and all I can think about is how my knee is never going to heal.
"Thank you very much." No no, thank you. Reevesaaay is back, I think, but can't see due to a poorly placed man in a rubbish shirt.
A German man is here to talk in German about the German market, which seems only fair after all the English.
I'll see if I can pick out any words. I speak a bit of German. Did you know that "halb acht" is actually half past seven?
I've got a chair! I've got a chair! I think the woman next to me is worried about the smell! I would be. I've been sweating a bit.
There's a "brilliant German band" on the screen now according to Friend Of Eurogamer Keza MacDonald, who is providing my in-ear translation by leaning over and saying words into my ear. "They're like the German version of the Rolling Stones."
They're playing SingStar and shouting "scheisse" a lot. SingStar Die Toten Hosen. They're on stage! Woo!
They're about to demonstrate SingStar Deutsch Rock-Pop. Good work Keza. At first they laughed at karaoke, says spiky hair singing man. But then in the middle of the 90s he experienced SingStar and karaoke become something he was into. He's talking about a party he was at.
Keza's excited. She loves these guys. And I can feel my knees again!
"His favourite song is ... actually this probably isn't very interesting."
The question is, should I go to the Call of Duty 4 party after this even though I'm drenched in sweat or should I go back to the hotel and finish the interview I was transcribing and have something to eat and maybe a drink?
They're going to play SingStar AUF DEUTSCH on-stage. I wonder if it was their naughty smoking drugs.
The whole compilation is Die Toten Hosen, which is probably why the game's named after them.
The German Sony guy's playing too. There are four German men singing a heartfelt song on-stage in German. I've got a lighter and I am getting Keza to wave it.
She's doing it! I have control over women!
Team two won. I have no idea who was on it, but good work them. The band are wandering off now.
Davey Reevesy is back and announcing the end of the press conference. He's just wrapping up.
He reckons all this can excite and entertain everyone in the family.
"That's it - thank you for coming."
And thank you for reading, Eurogamers! See you all back here for Tokyo Game Show in a month or so!