Sony had a lot riding on its E3 Media briefing this year. Not only did it follow an impressive show from Microsoft and two big announcements from Nintendo, but on the whole the PS3 needed a strong E3 to change public opinion in the wake of lagging sales. Did it deliver with a strong of new announcements, gameplay demos and hardware revisions? Mainly yes, with just one or two disappointments.
After a flashy video showcasing a number of upcoming titles for Sony platforms, first and third-party, Jack Tretton, president and CEO of SCEA took to the stage. Showing some must needed humour, he acknowledged the press leaks that have occurred over the last few days and said he was relieved that anyone turned up at all - then went downhill slightly by making a claim about the PS3's video output being higher than the competitors, which harked back to the Sony of old. According to Tretton 364 games are coming out on PlayStation platforms this year and 2009 will be the best year ever for Sony.
To hammer home the point that all the best games will be on the PS3 Tretton mentioned that Modern Warfare 2, FF XIII, Ratchet and Clank, Arkham Asylum, Heavy Rain and Rock Band Beatles will all be coming to the console this year. "In 2009 if you want to have the ultimate gaming experience, you need PlayStation."
Talk moved to the PS2 after that, with a few numbers to make some of Sony's rivals jealous. According to Tretton the PS2 outsold next-gen systems in April, in its ninth year on the market. Sony stated that it's committed to the system as long as consumers see value in it. More than 2000 titles are available for the console and it remains the perfect family console - it is set to receive more than 100 new titles this year.
Some more stats followed. 22 million PS3s have been sold to date. PSN had a monster year in 2008 with 24 million accounts registered worldwide. More than 35 exclusive titles will be released on PlayStation platforms in 2009.
The first big demo of the show came from Naughty Dog, with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Naughty Dog's Evan Wells feels Uncharted 2 is the studio's most ambitious game to date. The multiplayer beta will start from midnight tonight. The gameplay demo that followed proved to be one of the most spectacular of the entire show and something to show what the PS3 is really capable of.
Another game we knew about already came next, with Zipper Interactive taking to the stage to demonstrate MAG, the 256-player first-person shooter. The live demo featured 256 real players. As well as showing the game in action in public for the first time, we got a look at the impressive 3D map system that will assist you while on the battlefield. MAG will debut on PS3 this autumn.
The focus then switched to the PSP, with Jack talking through the handheld's evolution since it was first released. 15 million PSPs were sold last year, taking the global install base to more than 50 million units. As well as continuing to offer great bundles for core gamers, Sony will target girl gamers with a Hannah Montana bundle and a Lilac PSP later this year.