E3 2007: 60 fps; now that's a 'quick draw'!
1875. In a small town called Santa Monica the Rapp Saloon saw it's fair share of Wild West action.
132 years later the 'big guns' of the gaming industry took their fight to town. Or so you would think based on all the 'Sony won E3', 'MS won E3' and 'Nintendo won E3' threads that pepper the 'net today.
E3 2007 is now over. And just to make things clear, I've seen all three major keynote speeches (before anyone says I can't be objective!).
I'll be honest, there's only one clear winner - us. Regardless of whether you're a 'fanboy' or someone who buys every console, or even someone just in-between, there's something for everyone.
I already covered the Sony keynote in detail and followed up with my thoughts on why Sony did a fantastic job. I think MS spent too much time talking 'figures', which is what they do best anyway, but we all need to remember they had a year of selling over PS3 and Wii so it's no great surprise they've outsold everyone to date. Nintendo had some fun stuff but personally I still see the Wii as more of a last-gen toy than a next-gen gaming or entertainment centre.
Here's a complete wrap-up of my thoughts about Sony's E3 and what it means for everyone who owns a PS3.
First of all, we need more games for our beloved black monolith. And Sony came with new games. Over the next 'financial year' we're going to see literally hundreds of releases on both Blu-ray disk and via the Playstation Store (that's before March 2008).
PS Store downloads will include the likes of Warhawk (also available on BD), Socom, Wipeout HD and Pain. The new puzzler Echochrome will have user-generated content (but no-one can say what or how yet). We know that via the Store you'll get more and more additional content for your existing games, extending their life and adding new features. We've already had additional game modes for Motorstorm but look out for new tracks and extra levels over the next month or so.
New games coming along this Summer, Autumn and Winter include Heavenly Sword, Assassin's Creed, Haze, Guitar Hero III, Rock Band, Killzone 2, Lair, Eye of Judgement, Skate, GTA: IV and Unreal Tournament III to name just a few. 100s of titles before March next year, 15 of them exclusive to the platform.
Secondly, we needed to see improvements to the Playstation network experience. When I first saw Home at GDC I was blown away. But I wasn't prepared for the vast improvements already when Phil Harrison took the stage at E3 2007.
Now, not only do we get the single best 'network' experience available on any platform, we get to interact with it via our PCs and mobile phones. Thanks goodness I only buy Sony Ericsson phones! And we get to launch games from BD or our hard drives directly from within Home with our friends around the world. The entire Home exprience looks so compelling, and it's still free. No monthly subscriptions for us PS3 owners...
When they do launch video-on-demand for the PS3 and PSP, we'll have everything covered.
Finally, we wanted to see that the pre-rendered 'target renders' we saw at E3 2006 were actually achievable.
And we did. Oh boy, we did.
Killzone 2 looks just incredible. I wasn't a huge fan of the original Killzone - it never really grabbed me. Killzone Liberation on the PSP has been one of the outstanding titles for our mobile brother and that has kept me interested in the Killzone brand since the original PS2 game. Now it looks like the PS3 has yet another stand-out title that will shift units worldwide, and I can't wait to waste some Helghast scum!
And Metal Gear Solid 4? The latest trailer showed that the PS3 is capable of producing, in realtime, the kind of cinematic content that ensure you really feel part of the action. I'll be looking out for that demonstration in Tokyo next week...
There were issues at E3, of course. Assassin's Creed didn't look like it was close to finished by all reports - too many glitches. Some people say that's because they felt pressured to get the demo up regardless, but the issues did create a little extra pressure for the PR machine.
And then there's the whole $100 price drop/60Gb phase out thing. It's all over the 'net as you'd expect and Sony's execs seemed to be tripping up over each other to state and counter-state differing points of view.
But here's the deal. Personally, I could care less about the 80Gb model. I already have a PS3. I can upgrade the hard drive in my PS3 to 160Gb tomorrow for £50 and it will take me 5 minutes. Anyone who is buying a new PS3 may as well have the new one with the larger hard drive, but it they want to buy the smaller one and add in a new hard drive, they can.
That's because Sony made the hard drive a standard SATA unit so it's easy to upgrade. Try doing that in any other console right now.
And the 80Gb version isn't coming to Europe/UK anyway right now. Hate to be all UK-biased, but that means I really couldn't care less about the new SKU!!
There you have it. A brilliant E3 for all of us whether you own a PS3 or any of the other units. I believe that Sony really did bring everything we needed to see from them and more. Don't expect to see a Wild West undertaker coming out of his store to measure Sony up for a box any time soon...