And so it begins! Or nearly does. Looks like the last few people are taking their seats for Sony's E3 conference.
Hold onto your hats, ducks, and giant enemy crabs! Tonight is the night that Sony takes a bow at the Culver City Studios in Los Angeles to reveal its future plans to the packed auditorium of slavering videogaming hounds.
This time it's Ellie Gibson who will be on hand to take down every last noteworthy utterance of Phil Harrison and co. as they try and make up for last year's rather regrettable performance.
This year is very much a new era for Sony, being as it is the first post-Kutaragi E3 for the company. At the very least it'll be interesting to see what it has in store after taking an awful lot of flak from certain quarters in recent years.
Having spent the last two pre-E3 conferences talking up what the PlayStation 3 has to offer, now is definitely the time for Sony to deliver on some of its promises.
Of all the three major conferences, this is definitely the one with the biggest weight of expectation upon it. Will Sony buckle under the weight, or come out all guns blazing to answer the doubters?
We'll be there from 19.30 BST to see what the company has in store. Release the hounds...
We're in a giant warehouse, with four huge screens up the front. So far all they're displaying is the swirly wavey thing that you see on the PS3's main interface.
There's music playing, obviously - a bit more dark and dramatic than Nintendo's chirpy selection and not quite as thumping ROCK as Microsoft's. It's all jolly contemporary.
There's just been an announcement - it's all starting in 10 minutes. There's a weird glass table on the stage that looks too short for a podium. Is it going to act as a display stand for something exciting?
If so we predict it probably won't be a Halo-themed PS3.
Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot is here, as he was at the other two conferences. We had a short chat before - he was very impressed by Nintendo's event, particularly Wii Fit.
The conference is starting in five minutes, according to the latest announcement.
Wonder if Phil Harrison will be first on stage? He's probably polishing his nice blue trainers as we type.
The lights are down...
First up, it's PSP - a big montage of swirly images is on the big screen.
Now there's PS2 - but no sign of PS3 yet.
Ah, there we go. Lots of flashing symbols, the shape buttons, pumping music. Sony goes House!
It's Jack Tretton, the president and CEO of Sony America. He's not on stage though - his Home avatar is on the screens.
Home Tretton is wandering out of his apartment and into "Home square".
"Good morning ladies, looking good," he says to some passers by. They look unimpressed.
And here's the real Jack Tretton, looking very smart casual.
"Incredible crowd." He's really pleased to see us!
"I'm more of a Power Point guy, and this is more Kaz's style, to have the wide open style."
"I'm hoping if we get to some exciting news I'll be able to moonwalk across the stage." We hope so too, Jack.
Everyone at Sony is extremely proud of Home - "Over the past 13 years, SCE has strived to deliver not only great innovation but great entertainment."
So today, they're going to show us "games, games and more games".
Along with "a few other surprises..."
He's talking about the 80GB PS3 now - USD 599 with MotorStorm packed in the box.
We'll be seeing almost 50 titles for Sony consoles.
"Once you've seen the scope... You'll understand why we feel we're in a very strong position."
"We're confident we'll continue our industry-leading role in this generation and beyond."
PS2 first. Has it really been seven years?
118 million installed base - that makes it "the most popular console of all time, worldwide".
10 million units in 2007.
God of War II is on the screen - it's on the way to becoming a USD $200 million franchise.
Buzz! and SingStar now. Wonder what he thinks of Scene It?
160 new games are coming to PS2 this fiscal year - in North America, it says.
And now it's PSP. "Our goal is to continue to build on the strong momentum following the recent price move."
Apparently everyone loves the price cut - weekly sales have been up 90 per cent since they did it.
UMD sales are up 35 per cent since 2006. Gosh.
9 million PSPs have now been sold worldwide, and 140 games are coming to the US this fiscal year.
Oops - that 9 million figure is a goal, sorry.
SOCOM PSP - lots of dramatic music and fightiness.
WipEout Pulse now. Zooom.
Syphon Filter Logan's Shadow - there's our Gabe, stealthing it up again.
NBA 08, and now God of War Chains of Olympus. These are all getting very short footage clips and pumping soundtracks.
Silent Hill Origins - good grief that's disgusting.
Patapon - little figures mashing and bashing down structures, it's all a bit LocoRoco.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08. Will it feature his new baby?
Sonic Rivals 2 - Tails is going mental! Frame rate interesting.
Sims 2 Castaway, and now SWAT Target Liberty. More top down gunning fun.
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions. Aslan vs. Simba?
Castlevania - Dracula X Chronicles - and that's it. Applause. No whooping.
Home Tretton is back to show us his "tricked out apartment" .
There's a lovely view from his balcony. "Hey Kaz what are you doing here?" Kaz is on the balcony! "Are you playing Riiiiiidge Racer?"
Kaz is ignoring the Ridge Racer jibe and waffling about burgers on the grill.
He wants to talk about PSP. Their avatars are talking without moving their lips, miraculously.
Oh, the real Kaz is here! Bold.
He's here to share some very exciting news about PSP.
Something in his pocket...
"The latest version of PSP will come available worldwide in September."
Doesn't look much different - still has same size screen and UMD.
"But when you have it in your hand the difference is clear."
It's 33 per cent ligher and 19 per cent slimmer.
The battery is more efficient too, and games load faster.
"But the coolest feature is the ability to output high quality video."
So you can use your PSP on the road and also hook it up to your Bravia so everyone can "enjoy the content on your PSP".
He's hooking it up to show us. Really does look very similar to the current PSP - same colours and all.
He's playing a trailer for Spider-Man 2 on his PSP. Now he's going to press the display button - and now it's playing on the big screen.
You can obviously control what you're seeing using the PSP's buttons. Clapping.
"The good thing is, you can do the same thing with all the stuff you have on your PSP" - games, photos.
PS3 and PSP connectivity and remote play now. Isn't it good, says Kaz.
It's all about the ability to do things on Sony platforms you can't do on others, says Kaz.
"The updated PSP comes in piano black, and SCEJ and SCEE will soon be announcing models for their markets."
But for now, Jack's going to show us some of the colours coming to the US.
Go on Kaz, do the Riiiiidge... Oh he's gone.
Tretton again. "It also comes in ice silver". He's holding it up; shiny indeed.
It will come in a PSP entertainment pack in US, including Daxter and a 1GB Memory Stick, and The Family Guy Frickin' Sweet UMD.
Will retail for USD 199.99 from September.
One more colour. Trumpeting! It's Chewbacca!
Whoops! Chewbacca looking well. He's clearly brushed.
It's going to be a Star Wars BattleFront entertainment pack.
It's a white PSP with Darth Vader on the back.
USD 199.99, again. Chewies doing some groans. Now we're seeing Battlefront in action.
Star Wars Battlefront Renegade Squadron will let you customise your character, weapons and abilities.
"This fall - only on the PSP."
Chewbacca's off. Tretton pleased to have been hugged by a wookie.
Time for a PlayStation Network update. He's waffling about remote play, Home, free play etc.
2 million registered users now. 950k in North America.
20 million downloads.
It's Phil Harrison. No trainers!
Phil's going to show off downloadable games. He's talking about how tip top it is having a big hard drive in the PS3.
"Two of the games I am about to show you will be available both on Blu-ray and as a download."
80 first party games in development worldwide.
"Every generation has a defining puzzle game," says Phil. Sony's designed one that has "the least graphics and most gameplay of any title you'll see this week".
It's called "echochrome". Japan Studio have made it.
An artist's wooden figure model is walking up some stairs and round some blocks. It's very simple black on white line drawing.
The figure walks into a hole and falls down, now he's projected into the air.
The blocks he's walking on are getting more complex; it's all a bit Escher.
So black circles make the figure fall down, and white circles project him up. This way he can move between blocks.
"How cool is that?" says Phil. Clapping. "And that's the easy level."
Four more games to come - the first is a PSOne franchise originally. Now coming in "eye-blistering" 1080p with full online multiplayer - WipEout HD.
The second is called Pain. It's about how misfortunes can be amusing.
Next there's the two on Blu-ray and PSN - WarHawk and SOCOM US Navy Seals Confrontation.
WipeEout HD footage - looks very sharp indeed, but the tracks and ships seem to be still in the traditional style.
As you'd expect it's very fast. Has anyone got any plasters for our eyes?
Pain footage. Looks a bit Jackass - a man is being catapulted off a rooftop and into a plate glass window, onto a bus, crashing into a bicycle.
RoSPA is going to have fun with that.
A bloke's talking about WarHawk now. Shots of the flying bit and the driving around bit.
Footage of David Seymour talking about SOCOM. "The game runs completely of PS3's hard drive."
Says fans spotted Crossroads when the game was first unveiled - this was to show the comparison with the PS2 graphics.
It's not being developed by Zipper, but by Slant 6 Games.
Hello again, Phil. Plenty more amazing things to come, he says. But for now he's going to talk about Home. The beta is "progressing exactly as planned for our fall rollout".
They've made some important new additions he's going to share. "We now have the Home client running on a mobile phone."
He's showing us his Sony Ericsson. "The ultimate 3D experience is only on PS3... but the touch features are extending sideways". Or something.
He's taking a photo of the audience, just like he did at GDC.
Now we're going to Home Square - which will replace the current lounge lobby. It's an open air space that looks like a town square.
"We'll be launching new spaces all the time."
In the Home Square there are lots of casual gaming elements. Also some nice trees and a fountain.
Montage now of Home stuff - a city balcony at night, a Japanese style water garden, people dancing outside an apartment.
Here's Phil's avatar, at a ski lodge in Norway, wearing a red MotorStorm racing suit.
He's got SingStar set up in there. More than 10 million units and 300 million songs have now been delivered.
SingStar on PS3 will push PSN "to new heights". It will ship on Blu-ray, but of course you'll be able to download songs.
BOZEK! Not in the flesh, though.
"It really is like iTunes meets MySpace."
You forgot to mention YouTube, Bozek.
She's gone, Phil's back in his Home, and the photo of the audience is displayed in a frame on his wall. So you can take pics on your phone and send them straight there.
Phil's taking a digital photograph inside Home and pushing it out to a PC website. It's the social networking site for Home, shown for the first time.
Key goal to "an integrated and cohesive space for gamers to meet, socialise, talk about games and play them".
You will be able to launch any PS3 game from inside Home.
So Phil and his Home mates are going to have a go at MotorStorm. Someone's bringing him a controller.
11 people around the world - "one of whom is rubbish at the game" - are going to play.
Straight into the multiplayer lobby. It's a brand new track, Eagle's Nest, which will be available for download next month.
And we're off. Phil's in 6th place.
Track looks like what you'd expect - rocks, ramps, all a familiar style.
Any games can be launched from Home, not just multiplayer. When you're finished you quit and you'll go straight back to Home, "Delivering on our promise to deliver a fully integrated platform."
You'll be able to visit specific lounges for your favourite games.
Bye bye Phil, and hello again Jack.
PS3 update - they want to broaden the installed base and "deliver a very wide selection of game services that offer something for everyone".
The 80GB model is part of this plan. He's talking about the price and the date again...
Yes, the price cut, we do remember that...
"Since Monday, sales of the 60GB PS3 have doubled at our top five retailers."
11 million units of PS3 to be shipped worldwide this year.
"We never wavered in our belief that Blu-ray was absolutely the way to go."
It's all about massive capacity. Not damage, then?
"PS3 success has contributed greatly to Blu-ray success, to the tune of 2 to 1 sales margin over HD-DVD."
Over 200 Blu-ray disc games due this year, as Kaz said.
"Support from game publishers is nothing short of outstanding."
So we're on to the third parties now.
"NCsoft will be joining the PlayStation camp," announces Tretton.
NCsoft will create "online games for our platforms accessible through the PS Network that will be found nowhere else".
Based on current intellectual properties and new IPs.
He's going to talk Ubisoft now. This autumn...
"If you want to play it this holiday, you'll only be able to do so exclusively on PlayStation 3." Time for a trailer.
"The name is Shane Carpenter. I was trained to handle anything."
He's blasting away and strangling enemies.
Shot of man walking through the rain. Looks like video footage?
Now back to the game, exploding oil barrels, a jeep leaping over a ramp.
Melee attacks, getting on board a helicopter.
"That looks great," says Jack. "Thank you, Ubisoft."
Unreal now. "Sony has signed a multi-stage deal with Midway and Epic." "The full optimisation of the Unreal engine for PS3 development."
It's to help developers speed up game creation.
Nearly 100 games in the works and more to come. "Epic's Unreal Tournament 3 is confirmed as a PS3 exclusive this year."
You'll be able to bring mods from the PC version you've created to the PS Network.
A trailer - "This November, the tournament for the next generation". Looks like the same one we saw at the Microsoft conference earlier.
Time for other exclusive "hardware driving games" for PS3 - Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare.
Night vision looks like fun.
Assassin's Creed. No sign of Jade, though. More shots of the combat in slow motion, and there Altair goes jumping off the roof again.
Kane & Lynch Dead Men - it's a bank heist, now a rooftop shooting on a helicopter pad.
Resident Evil 5 - looks like the same trailer we saw at the Microsoft conference earlier today. These all look very similar.
Burnout Paradise. Not so much with the crashing, just the zooming, it seems.
NFL 08 - some sort of rugby inspired title presumably.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Five out of ten says Eurogamer.
The Simpsons Game. Marge is running around beating up the police it looks like.
Guitar Hero III. It's all pretty familiar stuff.
Medal of Honor Airborne.
Rock Band. And that's it - back to Tretton.
Time for a new third-party exclusive. It's MGS 4 and here comes Hideo Kojima.
He's on stage with a translator. "I safely made it again on-stage to this E3."
"Well the game, Metal Gear, known as a stealth game is celebrating it's 20th anniversary this July."
"This Metal Gear Solid 4 is the finale."
"It will be a stealth game but with new elements. Stealth in the battlefield."
"I promise you all my skills are going into Metal Gear Solid 4." He's got some real-time footage to show us, the first we've seen.
We're in the battlefield learning about the mission no one can know about. War is the pillar supporting global economy, apparently. But no one wants to do anything about it.
It's a hired hit Snake is needed for.
Looks very atmospheric. Same desert-like battlefield. Trailer wasn't far off before. No HUD so far looks like a cut scene.
The soldiers are coughing and collapsing. Something's in the air.
The soldiers are going mental now, beating each other up.
Snake's coughing and falling to the ground.
A solider grabs him - he pushes him off.
He's pointing a gun at Liquid, who's trying to escape on a helicopter
"Snake, if you won't be a prisoner to fate, then go, fulfill your destiny."
"I just don't fear death."
Cyborg chopping off limbs in ninja fashion.
He's pulled a spike right through his chest and out the other side! Now there's lots of snipping in the air and flying about.
This is an epic battle. Cyborg pushes his own sword through his stomach and then that of his rival, who has grabbed him from behind.
"Could you be the one to finally finish me?"
Simultaneous worldwide launch, spring 2008.
"Exclusively on PS3", Tretton says again.
Kojima asks how it was. Everyone claps and cheers.
"This is real-time footage and you'll be able to play in this quality," says Kojima.
"Sorry, because of time we only have the trailer, but next week in Tokyo I will play a demo."
There he'll show more about how to operate on the battlefield. "It will look a little crazy and I think you'll like it, and I hope that everyone can come to Tokyo next week." 17th July at PlayStation premiere event.
Kojima's off, and Tretton's handing over to Phil Harrison again, who's also back in Home wearing a Ratchet costume.
Ratchet and Clank Future Tools of Destruction now. Where's Afrika?
Footage of an Insomniac chap talking. Ratchet sees the destruction of a city and encounters a new villain who wants to destroy his entire race.
"This is where some questions about Ratchet's history come up," he says. "Something we've never explored before in the series."
Ratchet is grinding on rails, lobbing grenades, avoiding giant blades.
It all looks very Bladerunner and frantic.
Phil's going to give us a sneak peek at Folklore now, which he describes as "a stunning work of art" - from Game Republic and Japan Studios.
More developer talk. "It's got a good mix of a lot of different genres, whether it's action, fantasy, or RPG."
Nice laser whip, sexy lady with shiny bottom, bloke going all evil.
Heavenly Sword now. They've built a special Home theatre for it - a bit stone pagoda type structure.
Tameem Antoniades of Ninja Theory is on screen. "It aims to emulate the experience of the big summer blockbuster."
"It's very story driven and really tries to raise the bar in terms of dramatic performance."
Everything looks sharp, fluid and super fast. Millions of enemies on a battlefield - "Without Blu-ray, we wouldn't have been able to create Heavenly Sword."
NBA 08 now. "The first sports game ever to achieve 1080p visuals at 60fps," says Phil. A lot of very tall men jumping around.
You'll get to go online and challenge people, including one on one matches. "You're only going to be able to do that on PlayStation 3," says man on screen.
Ahh, LittleBigPlanet! A new version of Sackboy with a chintzy pattern.
"The essence of LittleBigPlanet is play, create, share," says Phil.
Alex Evans of Media Molecule is on. Characters building wooden structures - oh, it's a tree - now a cardboard tank, which is rolling down a ramp.
Bowls of chillies used to create obstacles.
Building steps now, and then cutting holes out like the shape buttons. "Play, create and share" mentioned again.
Oh, is that all? Oh well, it's Naughty Dog's Uncharted: Drake's Fortune now.
"The Cell processor is allowing us to do things we were never able to do on PS2," says Evan Wells from Naughty Dog.
That includes realistic facial animations. "Uncharted is going to be the best game Naughty Dog's ever made."
The footage is of Drake running round temples, gunning and jumping. Back to Phil. Six of the 15 games Sony is bringing exclusively to PS3 this year.
Now Harrison's announcing a game from Sly Cooper developer Sucker Punch. "An organic and open city" where you choose to be a villain or superhero.
It's called Infamous. We're seeing a US city at night.
Helicopters flying over a bridge, again at night. The camera swoops down into the street and on to one man.
"Some would call him an anomaly," says a women in a voice over.
Now the action. Our hero is leaping over cars, blowing stuff up, fighting some kind of robot.
Due 2008. And that's it. Interesting - and clearly nothing like Sly Raccoon.
On to Gran Turismo 5 Prologue now. Trailer up and it looks shiny. Look at the reflections on that.
A shot of a silver car in London to end on. "Truly a beautiful game," says Phil.
That's the last we'll see of Phil, it seems.
Oh dear. He's talking to Tretton's Home avatar. "Hey Phil, didn't you forget one thing?"
He did. "Everything you're about to see is real time." It's Killzone 2.
A hellghast's eyes stare down from the big screen.
A group of soldiers loading their weapons on a flying vehicle. Wonder if this is the same footage Tom saw last night?
They're swooping over an industrial landscape now. There's an explosion and the ship seems to be going down.
They've landed and are leaping into the action. There's a close up of the hands of the guy demoing the game.
There are explosions and gunfire sounding everywhere. The player is taking out enemy after enemy. Nice blood splatters on the floor, smoke and fire all over the place.
Snippets of gameplay. All very busy and cinematic. Very immersive. Moving into a building now, again very dingy and run down.
The general consensus of those who were at the Killzone 2 event last night seems to be that it's looking better than they expected. This trailer is backing that up. Using sights on gun to zoom in and splatter enemies.
The trailer's over, and Phil's back and thanking the Killzone 2 director for the demonstration. And now we're truly going back to Tretton to wrap it up.
He's banging on about being dedicated to new entertainment experiences and consumers.
Summing up - the new PS3 price, the new PSPs, 500 games for PS2, PSP, PS3 and PSN over the next few months.
"We look forward to a bright future together. Thank you very much."
And that's it. So, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have all done their conferences now... FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!