TGS: Sony conference Finished
Earlier today. Kaz Hirai, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, delivered his Tokyo Game Show keynote address. What follows is the archive of our Live Text coverage of the speech, taking in all the key announcements. Be sure to check the Eurogamer frontpage for our condensed report.
Our live coverage has now ended. Here's what you missed: Updating...
Welcome to Tokyo! I'm sitting in the TGS Forum conference room where the atmosphere is ELECTRIC. Or at least HUMID. And I am SLEEPY.
Kaz Hirai will be on stage in about 10 minutes or so, and I've got my translation headset on.
Hurrah, an English voice in my ear! Tremendous.
There's a man up on the stage. It's not Kaz. People aren't all sat down. PANDEMONIUM.
It's not really pandemonium. But the room is basically full now and we seem to just be waiting on the last few stragglers. They're playing music in my ear to keep me happy. Sadly not "Viva Forever" by Spice Girls, which they played on my flight for no reason.
They keep raising and lowering the lights, and there's a laptop on my right where someone's on Facebook. Now people are wondering around again. Is this interesting? Probably not.
They haven't announced a price cut yet. I mean, the conference hasn't started, but you can still write that on your blog now if you want to go to bed.
It's too loud. There's a CESA logo and dancing leprechauns and rainbows.
Kazuo Hirai takes to the stage. He comes out to the middle and bows and everyone claps. He's doing his speech in Japanese, as you may have realised, so our quotes are from the official translation.
GRAPH. PlayStation Platform Growth. 1994 - 2006 - over 250 million hardware units (PSone/2/3/P) worldwide.
He's talking about how he wants to make further advancements and contributions to the entertainment industry.
"Since I took up my current position, I've been telling my people that we need to go back to basics at SCE."
"I think with PS3 we took a very important first step" in moving PlayStation forward.
He's going to talk about PS2 first. Sorry about the slow pace - it's all a bit rambly.
Graph of PS2 hardware sales in its eight years. He's listing the worldwide prices and showing a graph going up to about 130m, demonstrating how the PS2 outpaced PSone and continues to sell strongly.
He'll target emerging markets with PS2 going forward, in addition to US/Europe/Japan. He says it's much easier to create PS2 games these days, too.
PSP's turn. He's talking about the million-sellers. Midnight Club 3 Dub Edition, GTA Liberty City Stories and Monster Hunter Freedom 2, which is "big in Japan".
Showing pics of the PSP Lite & Slim. They're out today in Japan you know. They cost 19800 yen. The Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII version launched last week, you may remember.
I saw one in Akihabara yesterday for twice the RRP. They made 77,777 units - clever clogses.
He's talking about the US bundles with Daxter and Star Wars Battlefront. No sign of Chewbacca, sadly.
As well as having games of course, PSP has USB peripherals like camera and GPS, which have been out in Japan for some time. The 1 SEG Tuner for the new PSP is another option.
We're told to expect lots more variety in services for PSP. We saw some of this in Germany of course, with the Go! range of products - Messenger, Cam, Explore and video downloads.
He's clearly a big fan of the PSP multimedia action, and continues to pay tribute to things like the big screen, the MP3 playback and so on and so forth.
Sony needs to expand in this direction more, says Kaz. He's talking about PSP Remote Play now - the thing that hooks PSP in to PS3.
He's going to show us what it's all about, he says. He's invited the director of product planning up to demonstrate Remote Play.
Kaz has disappeared into the corner, probably to have a drink and read our Live Text. Hi Kaz. The Remote Play demo is being done on PSP Slim - looks like the silver one.
He's using the video output on the PSP Slim to hook it up to a massive TV. So, we have a PS3 image on the big screen and then the PSP on a 40" LCD down below. Ah, excess.
Actually, I believe I've got that the wrong way round. The PSP seems to be on the big screen and the PS3 is at the bottom. Silly me. He's using the PSP to turn on the PS3 remotely.
That's pretty clever isn't it? Further updates will add more functionality, he says. He's browsing through the PS3 using the PSP, and he's fired up the Mainichi somethingorother content. The one with the odd cat. It will be possible to play games and enjoy music and photos etc. on the PS3 hard disk through your PSP.
The point seems to be that if you're away from home at a hotel or something you can log into your PS3 back home using the PSP and enjoy whatever's on there. But then we pretty much knew all that.
He's now turning the PS3 off remotely. And he's yielding the stage to Kaz Hirai again.
Kaz is a big fan of Remote Play, you know. He likes how you can use the PSP as a controller or an additional screen for what's being shown "so you can have a more real experience".
He's just said something about the "voice recognition function of the PSP", but presumably that's through the camera peripheral or something. Translation was indistinct.
An example of why it's ace - friends will be able to join your ongoing PS3 golf game using PSP Remote Play and spectate.
He's also pointed out how you can transfer progress in a PS3 game to the PSP to continue playing it on the road - similar to the way OutRun 2006 PS2 and PSP interacted.
In future, the host PS3 will allow PSP owners to play as different players in a football game while others spectate, judging by the graph on the screen. Seems to be hypothetical rather than specific for now, mind.
Right then - PS3.
Taking us all the way back to launch with another graph. It's between 5 and 6 million units worldwide as of end of August, judging by that. Toward the 5m end.
Sony will be aiming to further enrich the software line-up, he says, and he hopes PS3 will become the core home entertainment system for enjoying digital content.
He's referring back to the titles shown at E3 as some of the 40 titles being demoed on the show floor at Sony's booth. He's going to show us some of them now. Trailers.
LittleBigPlanet, Final Fantasy XIII, Lair, Aqua...
Uncharted, some platformer with a mouse (Ratatouille), DMC4, LocoRoco PS3 Cocorecho thing, PixelJunk Racers...
Eye of Judgement, Pirates of the Caribbean, some anime thing, SEGA Rally, HORSE RACING, Call of Duty 4, NBA 08, more anime...
Spider-Man 3, train driving, Oblivion, Go! Sports Ski, GRAW2 (?), something about flowers, Tony Hawk, Harry Potter, Turok, Guitar Hero, Heavenly Sword...
FIFA - SLOW DOWN SONY - Killzone 2, echochrome (gosh it looks fun), Transformers, Time Crisis 4, possibly Last Remnant...
WarHawk, Bladestorm (possibly), Final Fantasy XIII Versus, GT5 Prologue, Afrika!
Ratchet & Clank, some samurai game (Yakuza 3?), Gundam, and I'm sure I missed a couple there. "Play Beyond." None of the trailers were all that revelatory. Or decipherable. Mostly CG. NOT MAKING THAT MISTAKE AGAIN.
He reckons these titles will drive lots of sales of the hardware.
Kaz wants to clear issues for developers working on PS3, and says Sony will assist on marketing too. He wants a "much closer relationship" with partners, and offers the Crisis Core PSP Slim Square Enix collaboration as an example of that in action already.
Some of these collaborative endeavours are going on behind the scenes already, he says, largely in terms of development assistance courtesy of Sony Worldwide Studios. Sony is trying to listen to opinions of developers whose games are already out, he says.
Periodical dev meetings of the advisory board will help with that, he says, and Sony is also implementing "various plans to improve development efficiencies".
One thing Sony will do is share the SN Systems tool chain, having acquired the company a while back.
Sony will be strengthening first party title development, he says. Worldwide Studios is critical to that, with its sharing of assets and know-how.
He's also trying to gather talents from outside SCE, he says. He's just announced the Evolution Studios acquisition - Evolution handled MotorStorm, obviously.
(You can read more about that deal on the frontpage now.)
He's showing an Evolution and BigBig trailer. It's highlighting their successes, including WRC titles like Rally Evolved and of course MotorStorm, which sold more than 1 million worldwide.
Pursuit Force is a BigBig title of course, BigBig being an Evolution - and consequently now a Sony - satellite.
The third thing SCE has to do is reduce costs, says Kaz. Further shrinkage of semiconductors etc.
Cost of hardware drop will come at some point. "We will be doing this for the PS3 hardware as well." He says Sony is listening to the voices of its customers in order to utilise their feedback in creation of new products.
He says he wants to show us the fruit of such an endeavour.
He says that feedback drove them to do this. The pic on screen looks exactly the same as the Sixaxis, but it says DualShock 3 on it, obviously. He calls Sixaxis "an extension of your arms" but "users had requested we resurrect the vibration function".
Originally they thought it would be very difficult to have tilt and rumble. "We have been able to overcome this difficulty."
"We have not made any changes to its outward appearance and design, but it does have vibration." Japan: Nov 2007, US/Europe: Spring 2008.
Actual date and price will be announced "at a later date".
We'll be able to see and experience DualShock 3 on the show floor today. It's used by the likes of MGS4, Devil May Cry 4, Echochrome, Toy Home, Ratchet & Clank and Uncharted.
Nine titles support it at TGS.
G1 Jockey is also among them. Nay! Yes.
Metal Gear Online supports DualShock 3 as well, he says. Crikey, he's just flashed up an absolutely vast list of titles set to support it.
Could barely take it in. Now we're moving on to the PlayStation Network. More than 2.7 million accounts so far.
"We are quite happy having so many users joining us," he says. One exciting announcement to make here, he says. GT5 Prologue disc and network distribution will be on 13th December in Japan.
He's coming back to the thing with the cat that the Japanese seem to enjoy getting their news from using PS Network. New bits for that are being lined up by the sound of it.
PlayStation Home. Ooh, nice icon. Like a house with a bit hanging off the bottom.
He's just talking about it, not showing it - or going into it or anything. It was originally scheduled for this year, he says, but it's been delayed - it's due in spring next year instead "so we can truly meet the needs and feedback of the users".
He's going to show something called "Dress" - "Everybody's Fashion Entertainment", which appears to be part of Home.
Now he's going to talk about the PlayStation Store. He reckons it's "exploding". 30 PS3 titles, 300 add-on items, 100 game archives and 90 demo movies on the Japanese store.
(The Dress thingy is on the show floor, apparently, with a movie too.)
Anyway, the Store. We're going to be able to access it using the PC as of today.
PSPs with USB can connect via PC. Looks like it's through a web browser.
I just sneezed quite loudly, which seems to have thrown Kaz off his pace. Well, not really.
Lastly, he'd like to talk about PS3. He thinks it's comparable to a supercomputer, as we're seeing in the Folding@home stuff. Stanford University's capacity has exceeded 1 terraflops, or something. I don't understand.
He's still talking about Folding. "Unbelievable computing power" in PS3 will "support us as a backbone" for games, films and music, he says.
He's telling us it'll be worth going to Sony's booth at the show. And I think he's wrapping up.
Sony is a "unique" company that is going "back to basics" to try and keep pushing PlayStation forward, says Kaz.
And he's off. I wonder if he'll do a Q&A.
They're going to set up for this now and it will take a little while. I'll stick around and hopefully something interesting will come out of it. Last year, you may remember, it was this bit that saw the Japanese PS3 price get cut pre-launch.
So I wouldn't wander off. Well, I literally would, because my bottom hurts a bit.
Remember that UK Resistance pic of Kutaragi? It's that man and Hirai now. Come on Gary, get your camera out.
The first question from the moderator was something like "why are you so lovely?" Kaz laughs. "Go and do all the things I just said in my speech," is basically what he says.
He's been asked if he's used the DualShock 3. "I've checked it, and I enjoyed the feel." Brilliant.
The moderator says he would like to play with DualShock 3. "I was wondering what will be the future direction for games."
"Larger and larger content" was the translated answer, followed by something about echochrome, which seems to be the opposite of that. So goodness knows. Ah, "it doesn't have to be a full HD envrionment to enjoy that game," he points out. But I have no idea what point he is making because the translation woman is butchering his response.
"With racing games, you want to be able to see how the other vehicles are behaving as opposed to the vehicle you are controlling." I don't know either.
I think he's pointing out that future games will have more stuff on screen.
Something about what are the games on the booth and how they relate to PS3. Something about "high level of reality." "I am sure you will be able to enjoy the power of PlayStation," says Kaz.
The moderator asks about units sold. "We have gone beyond [5m] to some extent, but again we're going to try many things..."
Lots of games, lots of marketing strategies. "Moving toward to the end of December, we're going to become a lot more active so we can truly expand the [something] units."
11m is the target for the end of the year, apparently, which he says he's pointed out before.
Is he confident of hitting the number? He's answering it by saying he's got lots of interesting software, and that Worldwide Studios is ace.
So yes, he has confidence. Kind of.
He's referring to the PS3 price surprise announcement last year. "No surprise in this regard this year."
"Price is a very important aspect, but at the same time the urgent matter is to what extent we can further enrich the software titles."
He says "there is [a] possibility" for a price cut in the future.
Now he's asking Kaz about Wii. Is it a new partner, he asks. "We belong to the same industry and I think we seem to be aiming to different targets...I think we are really good competitors."
Asked whether Home is a game. "I like to call it an interactive game." What? They've switched back to word-mangling translation woman now. She's struggling. Not that it's easy. God - I could barely find TGS and I had a Japanese man with me.
Asked about business model for Home. "We have had a lot of discussion." Obviously Home is non-traditional, so he expects "many different types of business model".
In-game advertising, or "something that can reflect the real world", would be an example of that.
"The more I think about it, I think there are a multitude of business chances - not just from ourselves, but from our partners as well." Non-game companies will have the doors opened to them too, he says.
Asked if the delay is down to tech problems. No, says Kaz, it's because Sony wants this to be a worldwide service...and to have functionality suitable for people in different regions.
He thinks it can be satisfactory to all kinds of users when it launches, and that that's why they delayed it. "We want to make sure we have a full range of services."
Question: "How is this different to Second Life?"
Well, Second Life is on PC and...nope, she's waffling for him again. I don't really know what he's saying. If I were him, I'd say "well, Second Life is a load of boring cack".
He wants to make it a controlled environment, a managed environment, instead of a lawless environment, so that's one thing. Comfort and security.
Last question - go for the jugular, moderator man!
He's asking about group computing. "How are you going to go forward?" Paxman would be proud.
Kaz says if he had an hour and a half to talk about PS3 he could fill the time. No comment?
He's saying about back to basics again, but he sees PS3 as a versatile game machine and Blu-ray player with power and potential enough to rival a supercomputer.
Fundamentally though, it's a game machine, he says, and then "all sorts of directions" are available for expansion.
And it's all over by the look of it. Round of applause, bows etc. And everyone's breaking up, and I'm going off to get a drink. Good night, Eurogamers. Thanks for all the fish.