PS2 News: E3 2003: Sony Pre-E3 Press Conference Developments - PS2 News

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E3 2003: Sony Pre-E3 Press Conference Developments

   Here are the big developments from this morning's pre-E3 press conference:

   First of all, press conference faciliator Kaz Hirai confirmed that Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is to be a PlayStation 2 exclusive. The next Grand Theft Auto game was also announced to "debut exclusively on the PlayStation 2."

   Video was also shown for Rise to Honor (a first-party Sony title featuring Jet Li) and for the highly-anticipated Gran Turismo 4. GT4 director Kazunori Yamauchi went on record to say that GT4 will, in fact, have online capabilities, but could not comment further about it. Yamauchi went on to say that the car physics and AI engines are being completely changed for the first time since the series' inception back in 1997.

   While anticipated price drops were not announced, a new hardware bundle featuring a network adapter pack-in was unveiled. It will debut in June and retail for $200. Hirai also confirmed that the new PS2 model SCPH-50000 units would be released soon in North America. A new USB camera peripheral, the Eye Toy, was also unveiled. The Eye Toy has an interesting user interface and plenty of future potential. It will ship to retail in October and sell for $40.

   Hirai stressed the importance of online gaming at the press conference, and stressed a few key titles: SOCOM 2 (due in November 2003), Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain, and Final Fantasy XI. FFXI be published in North America by Sony, rather than Square-Enix, and will ship to retail sometime in the first quarter of 2004.

   EA COO John Riccitiello announced that online EA Sports capabilities would be exclusive to the PlayStation 2 console for 2003. A number of EA Sports' big hitters were shown live at the press conference, including Madden 2004, NBA Live 2004, and NCAA Football 2004. There was also a live gameplay segment demonstrating Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf 2004 featuring Cedric the Entertainer and Tiger Woods himself (who was via satellite from Orlando).

   Perhaps the biggest surprise of the press conference was held for last. Ken Kutaragi, the "father of the PlayStation", unveiled a new Sony handheld device called the PSP, or PlayStation Portable. The PSP will use a 60 millimeter disc, called a Univeral Media Disc (or UMD), which can hold up to 1.8 GB of information-- which is about three times the amount of a standard CD-ROM. The PSP will have a wide-screen TFT LCD monitor (complete with backlight) that's capable of 480x272 pixel resolution. Graphically speaking, 3D rendering will be possible, along with the use of regular polygons. The unit will also be MPEG-4 enabled, meaning that FMV will assume near-DVD quality appearance.

   Overall, it was an exciting press conference and a great prelude to this year's big show. We're less than 24 hours away from the opening, and we're looking forward to giving you E3 news both day and night. Be sure to check our forums for more discussion surrounding the press conference.

5/13/2003 Peter J. Skerritt, Jr.

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