Sony eGames Keynote

17 November, 2006 at 7:12 pm Leave a comment

To kick off my coverage of the eGames expo, I am going to cover the Sony keynote, the first of the big 3’s keynotes.

Now I have sat through some very boring game keynotes in my life, both in person and on video, but none have come close to how boring this keynote was. It essentially detailed nothing, except for an illogical explanation of the cell processor and its use, hence the title of the keynote, ‘The Cell Job’. There were 2 Sony HD sets with a real PS3 hooked up to them via HDMI cables. The input kept flickering on and off during the presentation, an issue many PS3 owners have complained of when using HDMI. The only thing the PS3 was used for was for viewing slides and the 3 trailers we saw.

The presenter was Micheal Ephraim of Sony Australian and New Zealand. First off he stated his disappointment with the delay in the Australian release of the PS3 due to the blu diode production problems, but like any good business man, managed to put a positive spin on it saying that it can be seen as a good thing as there will be more content available on launch.

Micheal then went on to list the buzz words associated with the PS3; cell, RSX, blu ray etc, but when on to say that specs aren’t important, it is the EXPERIENCE, the continuing theme of the keynote. He gave the example of cars, that even though there is a lot under the bonnet of a car, it is the end performance that most drivers car about. He said that Sony won’t be advertising the specs of the PS3, rather the user experience, “true next gen gaming”.

Micheal then gives a very brief history of the games industry, Sony’s version, which went Atari 2600, ps1, ps2, ps3. Each time he referred back to how the power of the cell offers more cars, more bots, bigger environments and how the developers of these consoles would have wanted this when making games. Revolutionary was how he described the games on the PS3.

We were then shown a trailer of Resistance, not a new one, but was surprisingly underwhelming, even in 1080p. It was visually good, but nothing spectacular. Micheal used Resistance of an example of the power of the cell in terms of physics, and went on to explain the basics of physics in games, as though it was something new and as if the audience had no understanding of games. Micheal explained that humans expect a certain reaction from a physical event, and it is when something unexpected happens that we notice, and then emersion is lost from a game. He said in this aspect that the PS3 simulates life.

AI was the next topic and supposed example of the power of the cell. To explain this we were shown a gameplay trailer of Motorstorm. Although it looked great (much better than Resistance), it had nothing on the supposed real-time trailer form E3. He explained the features of the AI in Motorstorm, but none were new to racing titles. He was ecstatic about revenge from AI, but this has been a feature in many last gen games, such as Forza Motorsport. He went on to explain his concept of game psychology, in that what you don’t see is most important.

Heavenly Sword was the next trailer shown, but it was a CGI trailer. It was used to explain that high quality visuals are not just for aesthetics, but also add emersion and emotion. He also stated that the PS3 offers great graphics, then corrected himself saying the best graphics.

Micheal ended with the company line “This is Living”.

Cutting away the carefully chosen misleading words of spin, you were left with 3 short old trailers and a very short glimpse of the PS3 interface. One would have though when a console has launched, they might have actual games, demos of the services and interface, mention of the SIXAXIS or even a demo of it or a blu ray movie demo. There are no PS3 demo units on the floor either, amongst the sea of 360s and Wiis. There were 2 PS2s and 8 PSPs. That was it.

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