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Sony PS3 Conference E3 2006

4:53 PM: We finally get started with a heart-warming speech from Kaz Hirai. We are told that PS3 will launch in November. PS2 became a global format, and the install base continues to grow, recently hitting 100 million units sold.

4:57 PM: More than 3 million registered users on PS2 network. PS2 will continue to make contributions to the gaming world, and Sony will continue to support PS2 on hardware and software for years to come. There will be 216 new PS2 titles in 2006.

4:58 PM: Moving on to PSP. PSP is the culmination of the best that Sony has to offer, including UMD (huh?!). PSP is the fastest-selling platform in Sony history. Sold over 17 million units. There are 545 PSP games on the market to date (not sure where they are…). Showing a mix of upcoming PSP games.

5:03 PM: Greatest Hits program starting for PSP, including ATV Off Road, Ape Escape, Hot Shots Golf, Wipeout Pure, and one other game we missed. A game must sell 250,000 or more units to become a Greatest Hit. RSS Video will be in a future firmware upgrade for PSP. There will be an RSS feed of the press conference made available for PSPs for conference attendees.

Click to continue reading E3 2006: Sony Media Briefing Live Coverage

Gallery: E3 2006: Sony Media Briefing Live Coverage


HD DVDMicrosoft released more details about the HD-DVD add-on for the Xbox 360 this weekend, and it was confirmed that the new HD-DVD drive will connect to the Xbox 360 via the USB port, and will use the existing outputs for the Xbox 360 to display content. Microsoft pushes HD-DVD for a few reasons, primarily cost. However, cost eventually will be a wash, and while Microsoft says that initial Blu-ray players have been priced at $1000, they convieniently ignore the fact that the PS3 will cost nowhere near that amount. No pricing details for Microsoft’s add-on have been announced, and MS makes no mention of how they are working around the HDCP resolution limitations, given that no current video output option has any form of HDCP support. While no current discs implement the restriction, this can not always be guaranteed to be the case.

Read More | Xbox.com

Gallery: Xbox HD-DVD Details

Xbox LiveMicrosoft’s free Xbox Live Gold week for E3 has started. From Monday, May 8, 12:01AM PST through Sunday, May 14, at 11:59PM PST, all Xbox Live Silver members will be able to play online and make use of the Xbox Live Gold features. In addition, Microsoft will be dropping some exclusive E3 content in the form of game trailers and demos, and will be hosting a number of giveaways and contests. Of course, since the last dashboard update didn’t include the ability to download files in the background, gamers trying to access the new content won’t be able to game at the same time. But still, there should be a lot of great insider content available on Xbox Live that gamers wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere.

Read More | Xbox.com

Gallery: Free E3 Xbox Live Gold Week Begins

WiiThe latest Time Magazine has an impressive preview of Nintendo’s Wii, and confirms a few rumors that have been cruising around the Internet. First, the reporter at Time loves the Wii, and loves the controller. Time got to see three of the games in development, starting with Wario Ware, and it sounds like a blast: “In one hot minute, I use the controller to swat a fly, do squat-thrusts as a weight lifter, turn a key in a lock, catch a fish, drive a car, sauté some vegetables, balance a broom on my outstretched hand, color in a circle and fence with a foil. And yes, dance the hula.” Second, they get some hands on time with the Zelda: Twilight Princess, and they confirm the use of the Wii controller in game, in which the gamer is “sword fighting with the controller, then aiming a bow and arrow, then using it as a fishing rod, reeling in a stubborn virtual fish…” Finally, they play tennis on the Wii, and again the gameplay seems natural.

The article also drops a little insight into Nintendo’s strategy for the new console, and the market they are going after. Nintendo really wants the new console to be all-encompassing, and to attract people who possibly have never gamed before. One could take the Brain Age marketing strategy as an example, or perhaps see the Wii in the same light as the iPod: not the most powerful on the market, but simple enough for anyone to use, and just powerful enough to do what it has to do. The full article has been transcribed on Digg, and should hopefully show up on the Time website soon.

Update: Full article online here.

Read More | Full Article on Digg.com
Read More | Post at GoNintendo.com

Gallery: Time Magazine Plays Wii Early

The Luigi Code
Nintendo, perhaps feeling lonely after much of the fury over “Wii,” is now trying to hitch on to the DaVinci Code meme, with its own little puzzle, “The Luigi Code.” The “news” article promises E3 secrets, if only the reader can crack the code. The page leaves oddly capitalized letters interspersed within the document, a big clue to the nature of the code right there. Of course, impatient readers can just head over to Infendo, and get the cracked code. Not since “A Christmas Story” has a decrypted message not lived up to the hype.

Read More | The Luigi Code
Read More | Solution at Infendo.com

Gallery: The Luigi Code

Shadowrun Teaser

TeamXbox.com points out a new teaser image online at Shadowrun.com. The guys at TeamXbox.com have been tracking the game’s release for a while now, trying to put together the pieces, and this seems to be the final confirmation that a Shadowrun game will be appearing soon, possibly at E3. Shadowrun is one of FASA Corporation’s original pen-and-paper RPG properties, and the game made appearances on both the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis, with the Genesis version gaining a fairly large cult following since it more closely approximates the original role playing game. While the pen-and-paper version has gone through some revisions (and passed hands from FASA to Fantasy Productions when the former went out of business) the game concept has stayed the same: a futuristic world, where technology and magic mix. Microsoft’s rendition of the game will almost certainly be more action-oriented than previous releases, possibly as either a first-person or a third-person shooter.

Read More | TeamXbox

Gallery: Shadowrun Teaser Online

Ridge Racer 7

Impress Watch Japan has a quick preview of the upcoming Ridge Racer 7 for the Playstation 3. The new Ridge Racer is scheduled to be a launch title for the PS3, and promises to allow up to 14 simultaneous racers. Previously, Namco let slip that features from previous game releases for the PSP and Xbox 360 would be included. From appearances, it looks like some of the new screens could be from a scheduled E3 promo video or some kind of looping demonstration, so it remains to be seen if the game in motion will be able to sustain such detailed imagery.

Read More | Impress Watch Japan

Gallery: New Ridger Racer 7 PS3 Screenshots

Xbox 360 LogoMicrosoft’s E3 coverage started officially with launch of their Xbox.com E3 2006 mini-site. Currently available on the site are a “year in review” retrospective, and a few interviews, including one with Peter Moore. Moore’s interview, particularly, gives some insight into what messaging gamers might expect in the upcoming E3 Expo. He start’s by touting the recent success of Elder Scrolls: Oblivion: “To follow up as quickly ... with a roleplaying game like The Elder Scrolls® IV: Oblivion™...only four and a half months after launch, is a huge achievement.” Of course, Oblivion was originally scheduled to be a launch title, so “only” slipping the release date twice is still somewhat of an achievement.

Moore also touts the upcoming game titles, 150 - 200 in the next 12 - 18 months, quite respectable. Since Nintendo is talking about reaching out to different audiences, Moore also pumps up Rare’s Viva Piñata, where gamers must “...attract all 60 unique piñatas.” Apparently, you have to catch them all. The Xbox Live Arcade gets some support as another method to attrach casual gamers. The two games that get mentioned are Joust and Geometry Wars. It does seem a little odd that the big Live Arcade titles are the same ones that are present at launch, and four plus months later there isn’t another game that captures the same success.

On the plus side, there should be a bunch of exclusive E3 content available on the Xbox Live Marketplace during the expo, so gamers can look forward to that. Moore also looks to the future of MMORPGs, hoping for a Snow Crash like environment, of course, brought to the world by Microsoft.

Updates on the site will accelerate as E3 approaches, and gamers with an RSS reader can add the feed for the site to keep pace.

Read More | Xbox E3 2006 Coverage
Read More | Peter Moore Interview

Gallery: Xbox.com E3 Site Launched

Final Fantasy XIISquare Enix have updated the E3 2006 section of their website with the software titles they will be highlighting at this year’s Expo. The company will be showing Final Fantasy XII, Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria, Dirge of Cerebus: Final Fantasy VII, and Dawn of Mana, all for the Playstation 2. Square Enix will also highlight their recently released Final Fantasy XI: Treasures of Aht Urghan for the PC, PS2, and Xbox 360. DS gamers will see the port of Final Fantasy III in 3D, as well as Children of Mana and Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime. Other titles to be shown include Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth, a port of the original Playstation game on the PSP, and Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI on the Gameboy Advance. Square Enix also will be showing off some of its new mobile titles. Along with everything previously announced, one should expect to have some secret titles shown for the next generation consoles.

Read More | Official Square Enix E3 Site

Gallery: Square Enix Announces E3 Titles

E3 2006If all goes as scheduled, Sony, then Nintendo, and finally Microsoft will let the gaming world know their plans for the upcoming year. It looks like Sony will lead the pack on Monday, May 8th. At 2:00 PM in the Sony Picture Studios in Culver City, California. Sony should be playing up the PS3, possibly playing up themes like realistic gaming experiences and convergence. The day after Sony’s announcements brings Nintendo to the plate.

May 9, 2006, at 9:30 AM in the Kodak Theater in Hollywood will hopefully bring all Nintendo devotees the answers they are looking for in the Revolution. Nintendo will most likely be stumping for its unique game line-up, and continue to drill into the concept of games for everyone. The Revolution will take center stage, but also expect to hear about the DS Lite, and Nintendo will tout the success of their non-traditional content like Brain Age.

The last of the major pre-E3 conferences will be Microsoft’s. Microsoft will hold court at 11:30 AM at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Microsoft will certainly claim their successes in the Xbox 360 launch, and talk about Xbox Live adoption numbers. It should be expected that Microsoft will hammer home the fact that they have their console on the market now, and that there is strong content available now, and there will be great content in the future. It is possible that the HD-DVD add-on will be announced, but this certainly will not be the focus. Microsoft’s story in the upcoming year should be community, content, and availability.

It will be interesting to see how the announcements play out, especially in how each company addresses the others.

Read More | Gamasutra

Gallery: Sony, Nintendo, Then Microsoft: Pre-E3 Schedule Set