Today is the final day of e3 2011. What a year it was, we had an information blowout on the PS Vita, a ton of new Kinect games, and even a new Nintendo console. But which of the big three, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo had the best e3 showing? Not just their press conference, but developer round tables and booths included. Click "read more" to become pleasantly surprised, or possibly upset if you are a fanboy.
As predicted, the PS VITA (now the official name of the NGP) was the star of the press conference. The system will start at $249, which might cause some trouble for Nintendo if Sony has a solid library of games to back it up. AT&T will be the official 3G and wireless internet provider of the handheld. Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Street Fighter x Tekken, ModNation Racers, Little Big Planet were major titles announced for the system, with more to come.
On the PS3 front Sony announced exclusive content for several third party games, including Battlefield 1943 on Battlefield 3's disc and the first Bioshock included on Bioshock: Infinite's disc. Speaking of Bioshock: Infinite, it now supports the Move peripheral. Previously announced titles like Uncharted: Drake's Deception and Resistance 3 both had delicious looking trailers.Sony also stressed the importance of 3D gaming, announcing a 3D a Playstation branded monitor bundle that will be available for $499 and include PlayStation 3D glasses, Resistance 3, and an HDMI cable. Extra glasses will be available at the steep price of $69.99. New games announced include the much rumored Starhawk and Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, both of which are likely to be very good. Dust 514, a new MMO from the developer behind Eve Online, will launch next summer and feature interactivity between the PS3 and VITA. Many games will feature interactions between the PS3 and VITA, even allowing you to take some games on the road with you.
Click "read more" to find my verdict and a trailer for Uncharted: Drake's Deception.
Sony's E3 conference takes place June 6 at 5PM PDT, an event that will surely focus on their new handheld NGP. Although I'm sure it won't be called NGP for long, as many rumors are suggesting it will be renamed the PS VITA. Sony will likely gloss over the recent hacking of PSN, instead choosing to focus on Move support in future core gamer oriented titles like Metal Gear Solid: Rising, Ninja Gaiden 3, as well as big first party titles like Uncharted 3 and Resistance 3. There have also been rumblings of a new entry in the God of War and Syphon Filter series, both of which I would expect to see sometime in 2012.
We will hopefully get some concrete information on the NGP's pricing. I am hoping Sony learned from their past pricing mistakes and launch the system at a reasonable price. I think $300-$350 would be a sweet spot for the system, without selling the system for too much of a loss. Speaking of prices, I also expect to see another price drop for the PS3, as well as Move, to make it more attractive to casual users in light of the Xbox 360's recent success in that demographic. The Xperia Play and the expansion of the Playstation brand onto tablets and other mobile devices may also be a focus of the event, but I question how much they will talk about those devices given that they might take attention away from their own dedicated gaming devices.
The NGP (VISTA next week?) will not only play all of the PSP games on PSN, it will make them better. The new device will offer much needed dual analog support to a variety of games, as well as smooth out any rough graphical edges. The dual analog functionality was shown with Resistance: Retribution, but it said to be compatible with several other games as well. This would certainly help the Monster Hunter games, as well as the obvious choices like first and third person shooters. Look for more details on what the NGP offers existing PSP games at next week's e3. Now to convince Sony to get Lumines on PSN...
For just $99.99 Uncharted fans can net themselves a copy of Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception, a replica belt buckle of the one Nathan Drake wears in the game, a necklace with a ring on it, and even a figurine of Nathan Drake wearing both of these items. The game itself comes in a steel case with the whole bundle packed in a chest. Sony is also offering unique DLC depending on where you reserve the game, so be sure to check with local retailers for access to unique weapons or powerups with a pre-order.
Sony is live streaming their entire 5 hour long e3 press conference in Playstation Home Monday night, even going as far to recreate their booth in the digital world. Be sure to log in June 6 at 8 p.m. ET to catch the show and wander around their virtual booth at 3 p.m. ET the next day. Doing so will unlock special Home content, which will probably include new trailers for the games announced during the conference.
Sony is notoriously bad at keeping secrets, whether it is new games, hardware or even their customers credit card numbers. Internet sleuths have discovered numerous references to VITA in the source code on Sony's own E3 2011 site, including two subdirectories labeled "Games and Media" and "Features." It looks like this will be the handhelds new name come e3. What do you think of it? It sounds too much like some sort of energy drink for my tastes, but maybe it will grow on me.
After a lengthy ordeal PSN gamers can finally breath a sigh of relief, Sony's gaming service will be fully functional by the end of the week. Full functionality includes the use of the PlayStation Store, voucher and code redemption, full use of Qriocity and Media Go. Don't forget to pick up two of the free games from "Welcome Back" promotion Sony is offering to seek your forgiveness for leaving their network open to hackers. You can choose fromDead Nation, inFAMOUS, LittleBigPlanet, Super Stardust HD, and Wipeout HD + Fury. Even more importantly, don't forget to sign up for their free identity protection service, AllClear ID Plus, to keep your credit card information safe in case this ever happens again.
01. Mortal Kombat 2011 (PS3, 360)
02. Portal 2 (360, PS3, PC)
03. Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (Wii, NDS, 360, 3DS, PS3, PC)
04. Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, NDS, Wii, PC)
05. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters (360, PS3, Wii)
06. Crysis 2 (360, PS3, PC)
07. Just Dance 2 (Wii)
08. Michael Jackson The Experience (360, Wii, PS3, NDS, PSP)
09. Pokemon White Version (NDS)
10. NBA 2K11 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2, PC)
Xbox 360 - 297K - Top Selling Console
PlayStation 3 - 204.3K
Things to note: Mortal Kombat had a stronger launch than Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs. Capcom 3! That's pretty impressive. I'm also amazed that Just Dance 2 is still hanging in there, despite having released for only a single platform. Don't get confused by the lack of Kinect titles in the top ten, both Dance Central and Kinect Sports have cleared 2 million in sales worldwide, the peripheral is still very much a system seller. This will no doubt allow Microsoft to stick with their aging hardware, despite Nintendo announcing a new console at next month's e3.
Sony Online Entertainment servers were taken offline earlier this morning. The reason? Sony Online Entertainment announced that it has lost 12,700 customer credit card numbers as the result of an attack and nearly 24.6 million accounts may have been breached. Out of those 12,700 credit card numbers stolen, 4,300 came from Japan, with the remainder coming from European countries Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. The PSN servers and SOE servers are said to be on different networks, but this attack could very well have come from that same individuals. The moral of the story? Sony needs to tighten up their security quite a bit. Hopefully the other console manufacturers are taking notes.