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E3 - 2006 : LIVE :: HEXUS reader's opinion : Sony Press conference

by Parm Mann on 9 May 2006, 14:12

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Reader Opinion

HEXUS.E3 A 23-year-old avid gamer and HEXUS forum member from the West Midlands, Parm Mann, stayed up to tune into Sony's E3 press conference, which didn't end until the early hours of this morning. We were impressed with his enthusiasm for the show and his insight into the conference - so much so that we decided to publish his work!

Parm Mann, writes: I watched Sony’s Press Conference at E3 last night and I watched with a lot of anticipation. For a long while now, the PS3 has been talked about as the machine of all machines. After so much hype, one couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed over what they had to show.

The conference did begin with some positives, Sony had a look back at their console history and pledged a lot of support for the PS2 and PSP for years to come. That’s always great for gamers to hear and full backward compatability from PS3 to PS2 is a great bonus!

They went on to showcase their online functionality for the PS3, and for a moment I could have sworn they were talking about XBox Live. They seem to have copied Xbox Live almost entirely, which isn’t a bad thing! But unfortunately they didn’t seem to add much to that. The highlight would have been when we were told that the online service would be free. Unfortunately, almost immediately after,  they touched on all the things you’ll be able to ‘buy’ - from in-game add ons, to whatever they can think of.

Click for larger image

The Gran Turismo HD demo looked very nice, it was a shame we didn’t get to see an actual game with someone playing. Was it leaps and bounds ahead of Project Gotham Racing 3? I’d have to say no, not yet.

After a pretty lacklustre start to the show, they finally got to some gadgets. Lets talk about these two: The Eye Toy and the PSP Rear View Mirror. The Eye Toy demo I thought was pretty impressive. It seemed to work well and could be a lot of fun. How many games will be able to take advantage of it is, of course, questionable but it was really good to see some new and fresh ideas. The PSP Rear View Mirror? I wasn’t convinced by this gimick. Where users are recommended to use big, expensive, 1080p screens for their PS3 gaming, what need would they then have for a tiny £200 rear view mirror?

Some of the Game Trailers they went on to show looked really impressive - the press conference was finally beginning to heat up. Heavenly Sword was one of the games that particularly stood out. However, it has to be stated that a lot of these trailers weren’t as playable as we had hoped, we saw a lot of trailers which were most probably CG and, although those who bought into last year's CG show will most likely be sold again, it would have been nice to see more in-game footage for the rest of us.

They then went on to unveil the new PS3 controller. Well, new might be the wrong word to use. It was at this point that I couldn’t help but feel that innovation was really lacking on Sony’s part. It seems they were unable to design a new controller, the previous ‘boomerang’ controller is out the window, and the old dual shock is back. Although the dual shock is a well established controller that many many people are accustomed to, I still felt it was time for Sony to do something new.

That said, the controller does have some new touches. On the downside, the rumble has been completely removed. Sony have been officially quoted as saying that rumbling joypads is last-generation. I’m not so sure. However, on the plus side, it has the trigger buttons of the Xbox, it has the Guide button of the Xbox, and it also has the tilt technology of Nintendo Wii. With all that Sony have copied from other next-gen consoles, they may want to seriously consider renaming the PS3 to PSBoxWii. But who said taking all the best features from the other machines is a bad thing?

The last bombshell of the night was, of course, the price. For most fans it won’t be a concern, the PS3 is the PS3, it just has to be bought…for some. I  personally have to admit that I’m not interested in a Blu-ray player. Once the Blu-ray and HD DVD format war has settled down, I’ll pick up a standalone player. I’m sure nobody, even from Sony, can argue that standalone players are always better. Sony don’t have much of a choice other than to include a Blu-ray drive into their console - it’s their own format and they have to do whatever they can to force it into the mainstream. However the inclusion of Blu-ray can’t achieve without big price tags - the PS3 will retail at approximately £350 for the 20GB version (rumoured to have no Wi-Fi, no HMDI and a few other omissions) or £425 for the 60GB fully-loaded version.

I’m still eagerly awaiting the PS3, it will be a very very good console. It might not be earth-shattering as Sony have made it out to be, but it’ll be a great piece of kit. Well, at least after the first price drop or two.

It’ll be really interesting to see Nintendo and Microsoft’s conferences, as I’m sure they’ll be feeling good after the Sony show.

Parm will be joining HEXUS.gaming staff  in providing his thoughts on the Nintendo conference later today.


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