You could almost hear the sighs of relief at the Tokyo Games Show (which took place between 22 and 24 September), as Sony broke its self-imposed silence regarding the PlayStation 3, which lasted pretty much from the E3 Show in May. During those many months of silence, the console faced an almost relentless stream of negative stories & speculation.
However, with PS3 launch titles coming together, and the console itself finally going into production, Sony had the confidence to resume the business of talking up its latest slab of hardware, with a (mainly crystal-ball-gazing, as is his wont) keynote address by Sony Computer Entertainment head honcho, Ken Kutaragi.
In addition to the show itself, a select few were invited to a hands-on PS3 showcase event at Sony’s Tokyo HQ, which gave journalists and us, the chance to catch up with Kutaragi-san himself (aka The Father of the PlayStation) and head of Worldwide Studios Phil Harrison.
We thought it would be a useful exercise to pick out the ten most salient points emerging from TGS, so here goes:
1. There will be (at least) 20 PlayStation 3 titles accompanying the Japanese and US launches - according to Kutaragi.
2. The 20GB version of the PlayStation 3 will, after all, have an HDMI-out port, so it will be able to play Blu-ray movies & 1080p games, in all their glory. This makes the cheaper PS3 a much more attractive option, since its hard disk is easily upgradeable? It’s a shame that in all likelihood, we’ll only be getting the 60GB model for the UK / European launch.
3. Harrison would only confirm Genji and Resistance: Fall of Man as definite launch titles, adding: “Obviously, we’re at a slightly fluid time when games are in final QA (Quality Assurance) but not out of final QA, so it would be brave of me to name every single one.”
4. Gran Turismo HD is a real game, and not just a tech-demo as widely speculated. It’ll come in two parts on the same disk: an early peak at what will eventually become GT5, currently entitled GT HD Premium, and the online-enabled GT HD Classic, which is essentially GT4 with knobs-on. Fingers crossed, this will hopefully be a European launch title. Look out for our in-depth look at the game in the near future.
5. A key element of the PS3 will be a seriously flash web browser & photo viewer, that’ll let you open multiple sites & images at once, and flip between them.
6. Harrison hinted broadly that some PS3 games which have a major online component - and which will require you to pay for the download of some objects - will have a lower initial purchase price than current games.
7. It looks like those lucky Japanese will get the PS3 much cheaper than us - the 20GB version will cost 49,980 Yen, about £225; albeit Sony haven’t ‘officially’ announced the price in the UK, yet.
8. PS3 owners will have single-login access to their Storefronts, where they’ll be able to buy content (or download it if it’s free); Sony will sell pre-paid Storefront cards for those who don’t own credit cards, and all transactions will be in local currencies, to avoid any confusion.
9. The main PS3 interface - dubbed the Cross-Media Bar - will be instantly familiar to PSP owners. Only with more options.
10. The following Sony-published PS3 games were playable at TGS, so it can be safely assumed they’ll be available on or around the UK launch: Resistance: Fall of Man, Genji, MotorStorm, Lair, Eye of Judgment, Formula One: Championship Edition, Heavenly Sword, Gran Turismo HD, WarHawk and Ridge Racer 7. We’ll fill you in on likely launch titles from third-party publishers soon.