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2008 E3 SHOW COVERAGE

INTRODUCTION
Another year, another E3 but this is the second year that we have a scaled-down version of the show with only a few thousand people, or around 10% which we saw in 2006 when some 60,000 people hit the show floor. The Playstation 3 is strengthening its place in the market, the PSP has seen a 'rebirth' of sorts in Japan and the PS2 continues to sell. This year could be one which solidifies the futures of all three systems. Over the coming days we will cover all the news here...

E3 Related Previews

Want previews of the hottest games from the 2008 E3 show. Well stay tuned. We're going to have dozens of updates for you soon with all-new screenshots and details:

THURSDAY JULY 17, 2008

Sony America may have launched their movie service, but try to access it from outside America and you'll be out of luck. Even with an American account PS3 owners in countries other then America won't have access to the movie service. Not only are Europeans and Japanese out of luck but even Canadians and Mexicans too! It seems that Sony are blocking out PS3's by IP address.

That last bit of news was a bummer, this is pure shit. Not only will Europeans have to wait for the downloadable movie service to hit their territory, but that service will not be up and running until 2009, and we don't think they're talking about January. So no downloading from the US Store, and no store at all. Speaking of which, Sony Australia what happened to all our free music videos?!

Disappointed by the lack of big SingStar updates for the PS3, or should that be new content. Did the sight of Lips on the XBox 360 make you ask what Sony are doing to keep ahead. Well according to Sony Europe boss David Reeves in an interview with Eurogamer "If you come to Leipzig, you will see the next generation of SingStar, that's all I will say". THe Leipzig show takes place next month. Wireless mics anyone?

While Americans will see the expansion pack to Ratchet & Clank released as a downloadable game, those of us in Europe will be lucky enough to have the game released on Blu-Ray. Perhaps it's the number of languages needed to be included, or perhaps Sony are trying to make a bit more money? We doubt that the Blu-Ray version will sell for the equivalent of $US14.99!

WEDNESDAY JULY 16, 2008

Something we picked up from a Capcom Fact Sheet is the fact that Street Fighter IV will be released on consoles in Winter 2009. We put that as a Q'1 2009 release.

One of the surprises of the E3 show is something that didn't actually happen. While many expected Bungie to unveil a new project, and indeed even they had planned to show it, apparently the games publishers (we're guessing Microsoft) decided to pull the plug on showing the project. XBox 360 fanboys must be devistated!

Ubisoft held their press conference today and a large focus was on the upcoming Prince of Persia title and the combat mechanics - it did indeed look impressive. As you play through the game you will be joined by a female companion who will assist you in battles, and traversing the landscape. The company also showed a brief trailer for I Am Alive, a game which has a bit of a I Am Legend vibe to it (destroyed city, few survivors). Ubisoft also announced a 'Sports Games for Girls' type branding, and showed off some other upcoming games.

Capcom's press conference, which started almost 45 minuts late, was highly anticipated and they delivered, ermm, nothing. In fact the only thing covered in the 20-odd minute conference was the announcement of Lost Planet being turned into a movie. There was nothing else. No games, nothing.

Sony held their press conference today and we have to say, while there weren't too many big surprises, there was plenty to see and Sony have a strong line. Here's what went on...

  • Introduction to the Playstation Conference started with a heap of trailers showing inFamous, Motorstorm, Bioshock, LBP, Buzz, Killzone. A PSN logo and then clips of PAIN, Ratchet, SFIV, Ghostbusters.
  • A live demo of Resistance 2 was on stage. The game is looking super-slick.
  • A tonne of PS2 trailers are shown emphasising the social gaming strength including Singstar, Buzz, Rock Band (yar, if we ever get it released here in Australia!) and Guitar Hero.
  • Sony confirmed that 130 games will be released on PS2 this year including Yakuza 2, Madden 09, Mercenaries 2, Warriors Orochi 2, Force Unleashed, Tiger Woods 09, and Singstar Pop Vol. 2.
  • Sony have announced a Greatest Hits Program for the PS3. Games will sell for $US29.99 and include Resistance, Motorstorm and Warhawk initially (a bit later this year) and will be followed by many more later includin Rainbow Six: Vegas, Assassin's Creed, Oblivion, Call of Duty 3 NFS Carbon among others.
  • Little Big Planet is shown and yet again the October 2008 date is re-confirmed. The really should be a great title for the PS3.
  • Looking at the Playstation Networkd Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest For Booty has been announced. It will be released this Summer (which is anytime now) and retail for $US14.99 when it hits the Playstation Store.
  • A trailer is shown with a tonne of new upcoming PSN Games. Crash Commando, Fat Princess, Pixeljunk Eden, Fl0wer, PAIN Amusement Park, Siren Blood Curse and Ragdoll Kung Fu. All looking good (the Crash game isn't the Bandicoot just FYI, it's a 2D shooter).
  • More content for Gran Turismo TV has been confirmed, with a release date of August 1st. Top Gear TV shows, D1 Grand Prix, All About Ferrari are some of the content planned.
  • Sony have shown off Home with themed rooms (Warhawk, Resistance etc). Sadly, no mention here of the release date.
  • Sony has announced their Playstation Video Store - which is accesible through the Playstation Store. Companies on board include most major players including including Sony Pictures, MGM, Fox, Disney, Paramount, Lionsgate and Warner Brothers. Videos can be rented or purchased, with options for high definition or standard definition. Eric Lempel demonstrated the very slick interface and the ability to watch trailers for each movie. It will be possible to watch the movie while it continues to download. It's live tonight (in America at least!)
  • PSP is now being talked about... A new pack for $US199 which includes Secret Agent Clank, National Treasure 2, Echochrome and 1GB Memory Card.
  • PSP Resistance Retribution announced for the game. Trailer being shown. In-game footage of the third person action game looks absolutely stunnning. Obviously lower res then the PS3 games, but damn if that isn't one of the best looking PSP games to date. Coming in Spring 2009.
  • Other PSP games being shown including The Force Unleashed, Madden NFL 09, LocoRoco 2, NBA 09 The Inside, Super Stardust Portable (WOO HOO!), Lego Batman The VideoGame, Patapon 2, Buzz! Master Quiz, and Valkyria Chronicles.
  • Back to PS3 coverage. Talking about capturing videos directly from games and putting them onto Youtube. Announced a Life with Playstation service.
  • Sony Online Entertainment to demonstrate DC Universe Online. Trailer shows all your favourite DC characters, I can't say we're overly thrilled just yet, but it should be a landmark MMO title for the PS3.
  • 80GB is a primary focus of hardware lineup going forward. From September the unit will be released for the same price as the current ($US399) 40GB system.
  • Developers talking about how great the PS3 is to developer for, how powerful etc. Did I just hear a mention of user generated content for Fallout 3?
  • Video showing 2008 PS3 lineup. Let's see what we have - LBP, Motorstorm: Pacific Rift, MGS4, Quantum of Solace, SOCOM Confrontation, Ghostbusters, Soul Calibur IV, Resistance 2, The Agency, Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm, Mirror's Edge, Resident Evil 5 (2009?), SingStar, Guitar Hero World Tour, NBA 09 The Inside, Buzz! TV Quiz, Killzone 2 (again, 2009), and then a heap of other quick clips.
  • God of War III for release in 2009, a trailer shown.. It's way too short, no gameplay.
  • inFamous is now being shown the trailer has some nice comic book style images, and then plenty of gameplay. This game is going to rock. The only Sucky bit is that as previously confirmed Australia is getting a cut version of the game. Listed for Spring 2009.
  • Brand new title being introduced. "Only possible on PS3". Zipper Interactive, MAG logo behind "Massive Action Game". Well blow me away this game will support up to 256 players online! The game will be broken down into squads of 8 players (by our count that's some 32 squads!). Trailer for MAG shown and it looks pretty damn awesome, modern warfare setting... No release date... 2009 is a safe bet.
  • That's about it really. Show over. Impressive showing from Sony. No Final Fantasy XIII. I wonder if they're having some 'issues' with Square-Enix over their defection. No price cuts - not really needed actually.

Nintendo held their press conference prior to Sony's and, to be honest, there was little there. A Grand Theft Auto title was announced for the Nintendo DS, Wii Sports 2 was confirmed as well. No price drops. No new hardware. Plenty of jumping up and down about their sales numbers. In fact (looking back), this was probably the most disappointing, and announcement-free, conference of the big three.

TUESDAY JULY 15, 2008

Remember to join us at about 4.30am tomorrow morning (Australian Eastern Time) where we will start updating the site with news from the Sony Conference (and cover any major news from the Nintendo one, much like the Microsoft news below).

Microsoft held their press conference today and there were a few surpises, and a couple that will impact on Sony as well. Let's see what they had to offer...

  • Final Fantasy XIII is now coming to the XBox 360, although in Japan it seems the game will remain a PS3 exclusive. The XBox 360 version will see the game released on the same day as the PS3 version in Europe and America, although the game will be released well after the Japanese version with localisations and XBox 360 porting still yet to even commence. Our bet, late 2009 at best now!
  • Resident Evil 5 will include an online co-op mode. The game will be released worldwide on March 13, 2009.
  • Microsoft has announced that they will be providing exclusive downloadable content for Fallout 3. This is a similar move that the company made with Grand Theft Auto IV - which wasn't mentioned at all at Microsoft's conference today.
  • There was no mention of any price drops, or new models of XBox 360, at Microsoft's conference.

MONDAY JULY 14, 2008

Microsoft has fired the first salvo in the price war by slashing the price of the 20GB XBox 360 by $US50 to $US299 which many though may have been a permanent price drop. It seems not though as this system will be phased out with Microsoft since announcing a 60GB XBox 360 for release in America this August for $US349. There is no word yet on a European or Australian release for the 60GB system. The Arcade system will remain priced at $US279 while the Elite sytem will also remain fixed at $US449.

Ubisoft have confirmed they have no plans to release a demo for Far Cry 2 nor for Prince of Persia 4. Speaking of POP4 producer Ben Mattes has admitted that if the game is not ready it will not be released until 2009. Ubisoft do not want to rush the game to retail.

SATURDAY JULY 12, 2008

Sony Related E3 Predictions
With E3 only days away now we thought we'd make some predictions of what we may be seeing announced. Sony are certainly taking a strong position in the market, and these predictions, should they come true, can only help solidify Sony's standing:

  • 1. Sony will finally reveal (again) another expected release date for Playstation Home.
  • 2. Playstation 2 finally, officially, gets a price cut from $US129.99 to $US99.99. This price cut translates to a cut from $AU199.99 to $AU149.95 here in Australia.
  • 3. Sony finally unveils expansion pack, Quest for Booty, for Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction to be released sooner rather then later (we're tipping September).
  • 4. Sony's video service will be announced for release in America immediately, or almost immediately, and in Europe for late in 2008. Strangely there is a lack of big companies signed on, except Sony Pictures of course and perhaps MGM and Fox!
  • 5. LittleBigPlanet expanded Beta is confirmed for release this month.
  • 6. Could Sony be so bold as to counteract the iPhone's pandemonium by finally confirming the long standing PSP Phone rumour? It's a long shot, but possible.
  • 7. God of War will be shown albeit in video form with a loose 2009 date attached.
  • 8. Square-Enix delight and disappoint with a new trailer, but no playable demonstration of Final Fantasy XIII.
  • 9. We won't see a PSP2 as such, but perhaps a revised PSP with brighter screen, longer battery life and even in-built memory.
  • 10. The PS3 is in for some more changes. Perhaps the return of Backwards Compatability is on the cards, as is a return for more USB ports (and hopefully some on the back). A bigger Hard Drive wouldn't go astray either.