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Sony TGS 2009 keynote

Kaz Hirai talks up the "age of the network".

Sony Computer Entertainment president Kaz Hirai delivered his keynote address at the Tokyo Game Show today and spoke of "the age of the network".

"A little while ago a network was a nice thing to have, but at this point, if you don't have connectivity you're not really there," Hirai told a packed audience during a speech that was light on announcements but heavy on Sony's current thinking.

Citing the success of LittleBigPlanet's user-generated content facilities - with more than two million levels now available for the game - Hirai noted, "If you have the added element of network connectivity, you can broaden the enjoyment."

Industry observers had been hoping for further updates on the PlayStation 3 motion controller and 3D TV technologies, but while Hirai mentioned both in passing and emphasised their long-term importance to PlayStation 3, he offered no more information on the timescale for the public launch of either - except to reiterate that the PS3's wand controller will be out in spring 2010.

(Update: Announcements subsequently materialised in a second press conference where Gran Turismo 5 was dated and Resident Evil 5 support for the PS3 magic wand was demoed.)

Read on for Ellie's full transcript of Kaz Hirai's TGS-opening speech, which we covered live.

Our live coverage of this event has finished.

Coverage

Hello London! This is Tokyo. It's day one of the Tokyo Game Show and the opening keynote speech is due to begin shortly. As you're probably aware.

Robert Purchese

This year the keynote is being delivered in one of the giant exhibition halls, which is a bit weird. It feels like sitting in the middle of a warehouse. There are lots of super-bright coloured lights. Gentle ballady J-pop plays in the background. It's a bit like the world's most rubbish rave.

Robert Purchese

Perhaps it IS a rave? Perhaps Kaz Hirai has cancelled, and Andrew House is stepping in? Big fish little fish cardboard box.

Robert Purchese

They've issued us with translator headsets, which is a bit worrying. Kaz speaks perfect English, even though he does sound a bit like a robot from the future sometimes, so what's the deal?

Robert Purchese

The chap next to me says he's going to do it in Japanese. Crikey.

Robert Purchese

Looks like all the seats are taken now and it's standing room only for the people still coming in. Good job we got here early. Despite the best efforts of the Tokyo transit authority to addle our brains and ruin our day with their hilariously complex system.

Robert Purchese

Trying to negotiate the Tokyo subway is like trying to do a sudoku puzzle while playing chess and learning how to knit. Unless you're from Tokyo, presumably.

Robert Purchese

Lights down! A video to start. A little computer man is sitting in space, surrounded by silhouettes of dinosaurs, hearts, power buttons etc. Bit weird.

Robert Purchese

It's a great pleasure for Kaz to be here and he's very grateful for the opportunity. Now he's banging on about how marvellous the old games are. "Today we are commemorating the 15th anniversary of PlayStation first-generation."

Robert Purchese

There were many questions about Sony entering the games industry back in 1994, says Kaz. He's talking about the original PlayStation now. Thanks to the game creators, the users etc. What about the journalists, Kaz? Thanks a LOT.

Robert Purchese

He's expressing more thanks and gratitude. It's all getting a bit Paltrow.

Robert Purchese

A slide is on screen showing all the evolutions of PlayStation, from PSone to the PS3 Slim. "We have to be flexible in designing new games and business models."

Robert Purchese

Oh good, he's going to talk about networking later. Look forward to that one.

Robert Purchese

Any predictions for what else he might talk about, readers? Riiiiiiiidge Racer?

Robert Purchese

He's on about diverse interactive entertainment experiences now. Listening, viewing, playing, creating, sharing, watching, communicating - these are the elements required for interactive experiences. You forgot Achievements.

Robert Purchese

OK, my translating headset is working. And here's Kaz! He's wearing a very sharp suit. Is that a pink shirt?

Robert Purchese

A LittleBigPlanet slide now. User-generated content is good, to summarise.

Robert Purchese

A user playing for six hours every day would have to play for 29 years to play every LBP user-created level.

Robert Purchese

SingStar now. Hazy memories of performing Time of My Life in honour of Swayze in a karaoke booth 36 hours ago are swimming round in my brain. Anyway, SingStar represents a new business model and you can play it with your family etc.

Robert Purchese

A general Interactive Entertainment slide now, showing those elements again. "In the future there will be new elements that will come and go, I believe this situation will continue."

Robert Purchese

"The question is what do we need to develop? We have to open our eyes and be sensitive to what users want." I want a hoverboard, or failing that a pony. Any chance?

Robert Purchese

"In regard to PS3, already there have been many different attractive titles that have been launched. On the TGS show floor you will be able to experience many different titles." That's a relief.

Robert Purchese

GRAPHWATCH! No idea what it means. Lots of spikes and numbers.

Robert Purchese

"The new PS3 has been doing very well, and one of the reasons for this is the price... As a system in the living room, we have managed to realise this price without making any changes to what is good about it."

Robert Purchese

But it's not about the price alone - it's about the GAMES, innit. Shots of Heavy Rain, EyePet, Gran Turismo 5 and the like.

Robert Purchese

"Since the launch of PS3 we have looked at over 200 titles which will be packaged for the holiday season." Not sure if this translator is totally on top of that one.

Robert Purchese

A video: Uncharted, God of War, InFamous, Yakuza - all looks like stuff we've seen before.

Robert Purchese

White Knight Chronicles, Final Fantasy, The Last Guardian - again, all familiar from previous trailers.

Robert Purchese

'Evvy Renn, as Cage David would say.

Robert Purchese

"All of these titles are games we would like you to try as soon as possible." Join the club sir.

Robert Purchese

"We believe that the high-capacity Blu-ray was the only technology which could support the true creativity developers have." What about holographs and teleportation?

Robert Purchese

Now he's going to talk about the PlayStation controller. A new colour perhaps?

Robert Purchese

Now he's showing an EyeToy slide. Bit last-gen innit?

Robert Purchese

Aha! The PS Motion Controller! Looks like the prototype we've seen before on the slide.

Robert Purchese

Come on Kaz, show us your magic wand! "This will be something that will be familiar to operate, and even for core gamers who have stringent requirements, it will be beneficial."

Robert Purchese

He's holding up a magic wand. The magic ping pong ball changes from pink to green. There is a few seconds silence then he puts it down again. Slightly anti-climactic.

Robert Purchese

"It is possible to have the absolute position of the user captured and traced accurately, whether he's playing above his head or has his arms in front of him..." It's very accurate.

Robert Purchese

There is "light vibration feedback".

Robert Purchese

The motion controller is due to launch in spring 2010, following DualShock 3 as a second standard controller.

Robert Purchese

They will continue sharing info with game developers to enhance support "for light users as well as core gamers". "We want to attract even more gamers to our platform."

Robert Purchese

And now on to the PSP. Is that all we're getting of your magic wand, Kaz? But Lord Voldemort has not yet been defeated!

Robert Purchese

Another graph. It goes up. They're going to look at doing more bundle packs. And it's time for a video.

Robert Purchese

Gran Turismo 5, some sort of mental fruit machine thing, tennis, Final Fantasy, flying robots, Metal Gear, etc.

Robert Purchese

Again, this all looks like familiar stuff. Echochrome. LBP.

Robert Purchese

Fin. Kaz again: "We're going to accelerate the expansion of PSP's world with PSPGo." October 1st in Europe and US, November 1st in Japan.

Robert Purchese

Tempted to put my hand up and ask if you can access the App Store with it. Might not though.

Robert Purchese

The translator's losing it. Come on Madam, keep it together. "PSPGo is really an ultimate choice made for those users who can use the Network conveniently."

Robert Purchese

PSPGo and the PSP-3000 are both major players in entertainment. What about the DS? Oh yeah.

Robert Purchese

PS2 now. Definitely a bit last-gen. Penetration is 135.8 million units, 21.5m in Japan.

Robert Purchese

Just a stream of numbers now. Basically, they've sold a lot of PS2s.

Robert Purchese

Nice graph to illustrate this. And now, PlayStation Network. So far, this has been like watching QVC.

Robert Purchese

A graph. It goes up. It's a different colour though. Accumulated sales as of June 2009 exceeded 25 billion Yen, and they reckon it'll triple this year.

Robert Purchese

That's well over a hundred pounds, readers.

Robert Purchese

They want to expand the entertainment world to a non-gaming genre.

Robert Purchese

Back to the interactive elements. "Let's take the element 'watch'. We introduced a new video distribution service in the US, 300 movie titles at launch and 1200 episodes of TV drama. Today we have more than 13,300 TV dramas and 23,000 movies, and this service is going to be expanded outside the US."

Robert Purchese

As he said at gamescom, they're introducing it in Europe this November.

Robert Purchese

Now he's talking about the recent firmware update released on 1st September. Show us your wand again, Kaz!

Robert Purchese

PlayStation Home. "More than 8 million users in the first ten months." The number is "literally" growing.

Robert Purchese

He's talking about the Red Bull space. Perhaps later he's going to chill here on the deck?

Robert Purchese

PSN is going to evolve in the future, perhaps somewhat predictably.

Robert Purchese

"We want to work with the games industry members and users to offer enjoyable entertainment experiences. Thus we'll be able to realise a future which can be pictured with PlayStation."

Robert Purchese

"Please visit many booths and enjoy the show."

Robert Purchese

Er, that appears to be it. A Japanese lady is on the stage now. There's going to be "a dialogue". Kaz is going to talk to a Japanese journalist live on stage, looks like.

Robert Purchese

The journalist in question is Mr Asami of EKBP. Seems like they help organise TGS. "We think the entertainment industry is very strong in Japan, so we'd like to talk with Mr Hirai about the future of the industry."

Robert Purchese

Kaz has jetlag, apparently - he just got back from the US yesterday. Guitar Hero and Rock Band are very popular there, he points out.

Robert Purchese

"Enjoyable games have the added brand strength of the Beatles, so there's much more attention and build up of excitement." It's not just games journalists who are writing about it, but proper journalists too.

Robert Purchese

Mr Asami says the games industry is at a turning point. Games have become more mature and a new innovation is expected.

Robert Purchese

Kaz says there's the element of 3D. There's "considerable attention" focused on this.

Robert Purchese

The Sony group has talked about how it will be focusing on 3D - Stringer talked about this. They would like to push 3D for PS3.

Robert Purchese

What does Kaz think about 3DTV sets in the home? "I did feel it was quite enjoyable," Kaz says of the time he had a go. "3D is suited for TV, films or games, but when it comes to films, CG-based content would be the easiest to make for this technology, so when it comes to games there are considerable expectations people have."

Robert Purchese

Mr Asami is bringing up the magic wand. Is there a lot of evolution room there? "Yes I think so," says Kaz. "I've always felt that when you're enjoying games, there may be a buildup of excitement or sadness or joy... But it's not possible to reflect your emotions into the game... I think we haven't really realised the potential yet."

Robert Purchese

For example, maybe RPG characters could interact with you - saying "you look excited" or sad or whatnot.

Robert Purchese

"The basic idea is to express emotion." Why not try doing that with some kind of chip, Kaz?

Robert Purchese

Maybe games could measure your "heartbeat or body temperature or sweat" but "it's not realistic to have sensors all over your body". Take THAT, Mr Iwata. But maybe, says Kaz, some non-intrusive technology could measure that sort of stuff. How about a magic wand, for example?

Robert Purchese

"Emotional input is still not fully developed... I think the games industry can still develop even more. One of its unique characteristics is that as technology develops, the way you express things, the number of colours on the pallette increases as technology develops."

Robert Purchese

"A little while ago a network was a nice thing to have, but at this point, if you don't have connectivity you're not really there." It's a bit like air conditioning, says Kaz. What?

Robert Purchese

He's banging on about LBP again. "If you have the added element of network connectivity, you can broaden the enjoyment." As those who have made the transition from jazz mags to internet pornography will surely agree.

Robert Purchese

Mr Asami: "You are head of Sony Computer Entertainment, but you also have another hat to wear." Please let it be a sombrero.

Robert Purchese

Oh. It's being in charge of product development or something.

Robert Purchese

A sombrero would definitely liven up this Q&A session. Mind you, so would a small balloon.

Robert Purchese

Network network network blah blah value to users network network etc etc.

Robert Purchese

"The PlayStation platform, as I said earlier, enriches games... Players are the first priority we always have to keep in mind." If he says network again I'm walking out.

Robert Purchese

"Everything will be based upon network, again." /coat

Robert Purchese

What messages does Kaz have for publishers? "This is the age of the network." No kidding. "You may have heard this many times." 47 in the last eight minutes.

Robert Purchese

Global market network network network franchise titles network.

Robert Purchese

And that's it.

Robert Purchese

So there you have it. Today's keynote was brought to you by the letter "network" and the number "network".

Robert Purchese

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Ellie Gibson avatar

Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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