Sony’s Big E3 Announcements For 2009

Various rumours gained increasing momentum during the build up to the E3 technology show in early June. Perhaps the most persistent rumour was that of a PlayStation 3 price cut and a new PSP handheld gaming device. The PS3 price reduction didn’t happen, although the new PSP did. We the take a look at Sony’s major E3 announcements.

Perhaps the biggest announcement was the first one. Sony unveiled a new PSP handheld console called the PSP Go. The main feature of the device is a moveable screen which slides open to revel the controls which appear to be much improved from the previous generation PSP with a more PS3 like layout including the introduction of an analogue stick. This new sliding screen allows the device to be a claimed 50% smaller and around 40% lighter than the original PSP. In what could be considered an admission of defeat, the UMD (Universal Media Disc) drive has been discontinued, a move which will surely see the disappearance of this little-loved proprietary format. In its place is a memory stick card slot (using the M2 format) along with 16GB of internal memory. Built in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth communication technologies also feature. The PSP Go will hit the shops in October 2009 for $249.99.

The second big announcement from Sony was a motion controller for the PS3 games console. The control system works in conjunction with the PlayStation Eye motion-sensing webcam which tracks the motion of the player around the room. The demo showed the player replicated on the screen, usually with some sort of weapon being held in their hand such as a light sabre or a sword. The technology is clearly a play on Nintendo’s Wii motion control system and looks to take the original Wii controller a stage further by using full body movement. It is interesting to note that Microsoft also launched a similar system at E3, although it has to be said that the Sony system looked a lot closer to making production than the Microsoft system.

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These represented the two major announcements at the show. Other news surrounded new and upcoming games. Some notable highlights were a live demo run of Uncharted 2, a live demo of the war game M.A.G showing a staggering 256 live network players playing in real time through the internet. Some new games were also announced including a PS3 exclusive by Rockstar (developers of GTA4) called Agent and based in the 1970’s. A new game from the Metal Gear Solid stable called Peace Walker was also announced, along with a little trailer to accompany it. The game is due in 2010.

That concludes our brief look at Sony’s E3 2009 announcement.