Sony gamescom conference Finished
Sony Europe boss Andrew House was joined by Kaz Hirai in Cologne, Germany this evening to deliver the platform holder's gamescom keynote and finally unveil the PS3 Slim.
We also saw graphs, heard that Gran Turismo PSP will be free to people registering PSPgo, got a date for the European video rental service, heard about a new PSP Minis dev tool and witnessed even more besides.
Read on for our full live coverage of Sony's 2009 gamescom conference. The earliest updates are presented first.
Our live coverage has now ended. Here's what you missed: Updating...
Good afternoon! Ellie is queuing to take her seat at the Sony press conference. We'll begin shortly.
HELLO WEMBLEY. Here we are at Sony's gamescom conference in Cologne.
So far there has been an announcement about not using tripods on the ground floor. And not much else.
A big screen is displaying some lovely lifestyle ribbons of light zooming round a spacey landscape. Lots of squares, triangles, crosses etc.
Playing in the background are some jolly beats. I believe it's Track 4 on The Best Pre-Games Conference Contemporary Yet Unchallenging Mid-Tempo House Music Album in the World Ever Vol II.
I am sitting between Phil "GamesIndustry.biz" Elliott and Tanja "Eurogamer Germany" Menne.
At the front of the stage are big white letters saying "THE GAME IS JUST THE START". I ask Tanja if she is offended that the message is in English, seeing as we are, you know, in Germany. "No." Kristian from Eurogamer Germany says, "German is a very clumsy language. So it's fine."
"The press conference will begin in five minutes." Crikey oh riley, what are we going to do?
Let's take some bets on what's about to be announced. PS3 Slim: 2-1. Price cut: 4-1. PlayStation 4: 10-1. Shuhei Yoshida and Kaz Hirai to take part in civil partnership ceremony live on stage: 50-1.
So much for that SingStar Beatles to be announced at EA rumour. Unless they're about to announce it now? 8-1 I reckon.
Tanja has a lovely tan. I do not. It's like a pint of milk sitting next to a cup of tea.
Eurogamer TV's Johnny Minkley is sitting just behind me, How are you enjoying the conference so far, Johnny? "I'm just glad I got here massively late and Sony are even more massively late than I am. Did I miss any sausages?"
"The press conference is about to begin." Come on then! We are PUMPED, as VG247's Patrick Garratt would say.
Aaaa it's starting. Video of ModNation Racers, God of War III, some old PSP nonsense, EyePet.
PlayStation Home! Is it out yet?
Ratchet & Clank and Heavy Rain. These are all just brief clips though. SingStar, My SingStar Online community share. Dizzy Rascal really is Bonkers, isn't he?
Buzz, billiards, DC Online, White Knight Chronicles. Yes very nice WHERE IS THRILL DRIVE.
"Please welcome to the stage, Andrew House." We don't have a nickname for him at Eurogamer, but every time we say his name we do the big box-little box-cardboard box move.
"I've been part of the PS family for over 15 years." How come we only heard of you six months ago then? [After SCEE boss David Reeves retired - Ed]
He's definitely trimmed his goatee specially. It's as neat as that bit in Police Academy when he uses the megaphone with the shoe polish round the end. "When we launched PS2 in 2000" yes yes very nice well done NEW GAMES PLEASE.
"We began to see gaming coming out of the bedroom and into the living room." And yet, strangely, pornography remained where it was.
"Tonight I'd like to take you through our business strategy" oh good. "But before we talk about where we're going, let me remind you about the solid foundations of our current business." GRAPHTIME!
PS2, "Or as I like to call it, the Michael Schumacher of games consoles."
138.8 million PS2s have now been sold globally. That includes 52m in SCEE regions alone.
PSP now. Global sales at 52.9m, 17m in SCEE regions.
"We're confident PSP will go from strength to strength."
PS3. Global sales are 23.7 million, and SCEE installed base has broken through the 10 million barrier. In just over 2 years.
"But that's only half the story. The industry has changed and we now find ourselves in a networked world." Didn't they already do a network adapter?
Oh right. PlayStation Network. The number of PSN "registrants" is now over 27m, including 11m in SCEE alone. That's a "connection rate" of 60 per cent.
The number of global downloads has now passed 560 million.
They've generated over $280m worth of revenue, says Andrew. Take it home, House!
And he is. PlayStation Home. "PS fans are using PlayStation Home in the same way people use other social media." To send them invites to take part in zombie fights and go to barbecues?
Home has been downloaded 7.5 million times globally, 3.5m times in PAL territories. It's all about "the increased quality of the content available", says Andrew. Big fish.
He's announcing a new game space for Home - SingStar.
A quick video of it now. The SingStar Rooms, Music Quiz, Video Jukebox, Interactive Dance Floor, more to come...
Also, Audi is involved with Home. In September you'll be able to see Audi TV content in the Home cinema, and they'll launch a proper space before the end of 2009.
More dance moves and animations are coming to Home. You'll be able to roll a dice, flip a coin and roll a ball "at any time". Shrinking potions. Crumbs.
"We will be implementing a host of new features that will make PSN even better" from 1st September, improving "both navigation and aesthetics".
There will be a new area called What's New where you can view recently uploaded content. There will be shortcuts to TV websites like... iPlayer!
The initial channels on board are BBC iPlayer in the UK then some other ones I don't know about in the other countries because I live in Lewisham.
"As of next month, we'll be launching PSN voucher cards." In denominations of 20 euros and 50 euros. You won't need a credit card to buy stuff in the PSN store, is the point.
I miss David Reeves. Andrew House doesn't speak German or quote Bob Dylan or sweat.
VIDZONE! "We will be rolling out VidZone" to various Scandinavian regions "by the end of this year".
They're rolling out that video delivery service by the end of this year, just like they promised. "Hundreds of movies straight to your PS3 and PSP".
Pirates, Potter, Batman, Terminator - available to rent or purchase in HD or SD.
DEPP. "The latest releases at the click of a button. Coming November 2009 to PSN."
They've signed deals with Lionsgate, Paramount, MGM, Walt Disney, Fox, Universal, Universumn, Warner Bros, Constantin.
You'll buy them using the usual wallet system. You can watch films shortly after download begins. The service will launch in the UK, France, Germany, Spain this November, and will be rolled out elsewhere throughout 2010.
Say hello to the digital reader for PSP, available this December. It can read "many different types of media" and will launch with "digital comics" - hundreds to start with, many being added each month.
They will include Marvel comics like Spider-Man and X-Men, plus Transformers, Archie, Star Trek... From big graphic novels to small indie type stuff. Marvel exec Ira Rubenstein is coming on stage to tell us about it. Is that a Wolverine jacket he's wearing? Yes. Doesn't look that hot with a shirt and suit trousers, to be honest.
However it's a bit big for him so the sleeves do extend over the tops of his hands, making his fingers stick out like flesh-coloured titanium claws. Sort of.
"This service could eventually become our most significant," he reckons. It's almost as if Hugh Jackman is actually here.
Digital Comics video now. Sony London Studio logo. That flicky comic thing that always happens at the start of Marvel films.
Spider-Man! X-Men! Hulk! Captain America! Iron Man! Fantastic Four! Wolverine! Daredevil! Thor! Bedingfield!
Maybe not the last one.
Reading is "made easy with autoflow".
FIN. Now Andrew House is on about PSP again. LocoRoco, Eye of Judgment PSP to be on show floor.
"Content, content and more content" is their policy, says Andrew, Plus "a completely new offering". WHAT IS IT, ANDREW? Draw a picture with your glowstick.
It's a new initiative - "Minis on PSP". What are minis? "Minis allow many developers who have never developed for PSP before to do so for the first time. They offer smaller, downloadable games at low prices." They will have a 100MB size limit.
Gameshasta in India and Halfbrick Studios in Australia are involved.
So are more traditional games publishers - EA is doing Sudoku and Tetris, "With other titles to follow before the end of the year."
The Minis thing will launch on 1st October. 15 new games for launch. 50 games before the end of the year.
Time for a Minis video now. Top-down brawling, Meteos/Lumines-style block matching, a hack-and-slasher, something to do with Space.
Andrew's back now. New PSP-3000 colours - Lilac Purple ("OH MY GOD," says Tanja), Blossom Pink and Turquoise.
Hannah Montana bundle YES HEADLINE NEWS QUICK BERT WRITE A NEWS STORY!
Gran Turismo PSP now. "To celebrate the launch of PSPgo," there's a special offer. PAL people who register their PSPgo between the 1st and 10th of October will get a free downloadable version of GT PSP. It's not a cut-down or demo - it's the full version.
"Continuing with the theme of games," yes good idea, "EyePet will retail at an RRP of €44.99, which will include the PlayStation Eye camera as well as the game."
Uncharted 2 logo is on the screen. Time for another video.
Nathan is climbing a mountain in a blizzard. "I suppose I should have quit while I was ahead... Little late for that now." He's wounded and collapses in the snow.
Now we see him exploring old tombs, on that Kathmandu rooftop, embracing some kind of native, the blonde chick with a gun to her head, slow-mo fighting and hand-grabbing, jumping off a bridge.
"What's that saying? Fortune favours the bold? Lucky me."
"Also at E3," yes yes Andrew that was YEARS ago.
It's Heavy Rain O'clock. David Cage is coming on stage to talk about his game. Or as we call him, Caaaaage David.
"How far would you go to save someone you love?" The Watford Gap, I reckon.
"Would you kill someone to save someone you love?" Yes, if the people in question were Jimmy Carr and Ben Fogle.
Heavy Rain will feature four characters, four lives, four ways to answer the question.
We're going to meet the two last characters - Shelby, a private detective, and another one who is inspired by a personal experience.
Cage David lost his son in a shopping centre. He was found 10 minutes later though. "I wanted to write a story that would convey a fraction of that panic."
The character lost his eldest son in a crowd two years ago. The kid was hit by a car and killed.
Ethan, as he's known, now has just four days to save his surviving son from who he has become distanced. Or something. Sorry, the computer seized up for a moment and so did my brain.
Video time! There's Ethan with his wife, sons, playing with light sabers in the garden. He leaps out to save the kid from the car.
But fails, obviously. Cut to him putting the other kid to bed. Lots of rain. RAIN. DO YOU SEE.
He picks up a newspaper, the headline is about the Origami Killer. Looks like his surviving son has been kidnapped by him. A car chase, a bit of gunplay, some police kick down a door and someone says, "Everything I did, I did for love." Presumably Bryan Adams.
"All the images in this trailer are real-time 3D and fully interactive."
"Heavy Rain will be a different type of game" yes we've heard that before "based on something deeper and more emotionally involving."
"Ask yourself how far you are prepared to go to save someone you love." Well, I've come to Cologne because someone's paying me. No motion controller stuff today, says Andrew - you'll have to go to Tokyo Game Show for that. Good job I booked the tickets last week.
We do get a video though. It explains how you can be "bang in the centre of the action... Gone are the days of just standing there waving your arms around." Movements are captured with amazing precision, apparently, "down to a sub-pixel accuracy".
Colour and light signals - "it's all about game feedback."
The motion-sensing controller can be a sword, a torch, a shield... Everything you want it to be.
Andrew's back "Tokyo Game Show will be well worth the wait." And the 12-hour flight, hopefully. Special guest! Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit's... KAZ!
For the first time ever in Europe, Laydees and gennulment. Nice chinos. His shirt looks beautifully ironed and so does his hair.
Phil's pointed out the chinos are high waisted. Kaz goes Retrooo.
Anyway yes what's he saying? Something about Europe being brilliant at making games - LBP, Killzone 2, yadda yadda.
"But of course, I'm not just here to celebrate this fantastic event." Come on Kaz, Slims out for the lads.
Here it is... "Did you think this podium was here just to stand here for the entire evening?" Pull it out!
"In 2004" SHUT UP SHUT UP SHOW US YOUR BITS
"Allow me to introduce the latest version of PS3, available in stores throughout the world from the first week of September."
It looks thin and square and matte, not fat and shiny and pianoy like the old one, but still curved.
32 per cent smaller, 36 per cent lighter, consumes 34 per cent less power than the original.
"Two nine nine." That's the price. In Euros. Er, AND dollars. And it's 29.980 yen. So that's about 400 pounds then? That price will apply to the old model too, from tomorrow.
Bye Kaz! Thanks for that. Andrew's back!
"I hope you've found tonight interesting and informative. PS is a company with a vibrant future" etc.
"We believe everyone enjoys entertainment differently" and should have a choice.
"PlayStation is all about individuality."
"Please join us for a celebratory drink in the next room." We'd love to, Andrew.
And it's over. The PS3 slim is being mobbed like Keeley Hawes dipped in honey and handing out free fags.
See you tomorrow for Microsoft!