E3 2006: Sony Manipulates Its Audience During Press Conference

Sony never needs to worry about development costs. They let other companies do their work for them. After last nights E3 press conference, the internet lit up with heavy and harsh criticism for video gamings leading seller, and all of that still isn't enough to give them what they deserve.

A Nintendo representative was famously quoted after last years E3 that they didn't reveal the controller for their upcoming console because other companies would steal it. Lo and behold, they were right. After what was already an under whelming showing, Playstation developer Ken Kutaragi pulled a standard Dual Shock controller from his breast pocket to a silent audience of journalists. When the controller was put to use, we learned it had motion sensors.

Not really motion sensors though. What's inside is a tilt sensor. Phil Harrison, president of Sony Worldwide, proudly boasted about how innovative this controller would be during a sloppy, obviously almost impossible to control demo of Warhawk. No one in the audience believed a word of this, and the lack of any real cheering proved it.

It's stunning enough that he had the audacity to claim innovation, but the controller doesn't even offer as much as Nintendo's upcoming Wii. The PS3's Dual Shock only senses tilting, not actual movement that could move a character in and out of the screen. A press release later stated the controller wouldn't feature any vibration features either, something they failed to mention during the conference.

Adding to a list of things they must have "forgotten" about, it seems like a pretty important detail when the lower priced $499 model won't have HDMI support, Wi-Fi, or a slot for memory sticks. They indicated the price difference would be because of the hard drives, a fine way to try and slip by important facts to the press who may not read the rundown on paper.

Even without the lies though, the press event was abysmal. Beyond the expected numbers (which of course use numbers shipped, not sold), a pointless video that ran for a few minutes showed gamers around the world discussing their Playstation experiences. All they seemed to care about was the graphics, and the pathetic attempts to build up the brand name failed miserably.

Sticking with the numbers, a Gran Turismo HD demo went on for ages. Showing the Grand Canyon stage would have been enough to get the point across, but Sony felt it was necessary to keep going to tell everyone the numbers. 1080p video was heavily pushed, a feature that again, you'll only get in the higher priced model since it's the only one with the proper video port.

One success was the Eye of Judgment demo, a radical new use for the Eye Toy, and a promising concept. The response to playing cards put in front of the camera was amazing to watch, and (for the sake of not avoiding the cliché) the possibilities are endless. This is more of what they should of showed.

Instead, they gave us an extended showing of SingStar, a previous European hit that will offer a "shop" when it makes it onto the PS3. For more wasted time, they explain features Microsoft had in place at the launch of the Xbox 360, including the sale of cards at retailers that can be used to purchase shop items.

In what would seem like a blatantly stupid move, they'll be allowing people to send videos of themselves singing thanks to the EyeToy to their friends or others. How long before someone starts spreading home made porn around Playstation land to minors? The repercussions to the industry could be devastating without strict control measures, and even then, they promised video chatting.

As if the blatant copying wasn't enough, most of the games were disappointing too. That's not to say everything looked bad. Resistance, a FPS set in an alternate 1950s, really raised the bar. Metal Gear Solid was of course unforgettable, Hot Shots Golf was a pleasant surprise, and Gran Turismo had some highlights, aside from the fact that it wasn't actually being played.

The rest of lineup was a total wash. Why they chose to highlight a sequel to the low-rated Genji is bad enough, but when the player couldn't see the boss for nearly a minute because the camera wouldn't move properly, that's not the way to debut a new system. Most trailers were nothing more than pre-rendered CG with little if any gameplay. The attempt at passing off Eight Days as gameplay was hilarious, with the cheap HUD disappearing at will, impossible to control camera angles, and the always important flashy graphics being the highlight.

Eventually, Sony will get bitten. They've had one single innovation since they entered this industry, and that's the EyeToy. Everything else has been a take off of a rival company, and it's getting to the point where even the mainstream will figure it out. This press conference proved how far they're willing to go to copy their competitors. Sony isn't innovative as Phil Harrison claims. They're thieves, and cocky ones at that.

Comments (6)

Since I cannot post this comment on BC (because of a "Banned Word," although who the hell knows which one) I will post this here:

I know some people turn the feature off, but force feedback has been in controllers for a while now. They should have just licensed the tech. like Microsoft did for crying out loud.

Nice of them not to mention the lack of HDMI port, Wi-Fi, and memory stick slots on the cheap PS3.

I suppose I could live without the HDMI. Although I have it on my set, I might as well hook the PS3 up with it. I could live without the memory card slots, unless those will be used for game saves?

But since I have a PSP, I don't think I can live without the Wi-Fi on the PS3. The PSP-PS3 integration is going to be there. And if I don't have to run more Ethernet to my TV stand, I will be thrilled.

Isn't the PS3 going to act as a LocationFree player for the PSP? That is still a rumor, I think, but that is a pretty strong argument for Wi-Fi in the PS3, if you have a PSP already.

This means it would be dumb for me to buy the low-end model.


You forgot to mention that, since sony has the best games, none of this really matters :) ... madden, nhl, mlb, tiger woods, socom, etc.... people buy consoles for the games, not for what some suits said at a conference.

You are right, the Xbox 360 doesnt have: madden, nhl, mlb, tiger woods.. Oh wait -- it does! And I have one word for the ONE exclusive that you mentioned for Sony:


I wouldn't count sports titles out on the Wii either. We have already seen Madden 07 for the Wii.


In fact, as far as exclusive A-List titles are concerned, I think Sony has a lot of catching up to do. Microsoft has Halo, PD, two awesome racing franchises and lots of other exclusive stuff. Nintendo has all the Nintendo properties, obviously, and most Wii games are going to be exclusively available for the Wii in their specific form. Sony has, like, what? Final Fantasy? Gran Turismo? What else?

If people buy consoles for the games, they'll buy the Wii and the 360. They'll get most PS3 A-List titles on their consoles, too.

LKM, I agree Sony does not seem to have enough A-list exclusives (something that is going away in general) but I just have to play devil's advocate here.

Metal Gear Solid 4
Virtua Fighter 5
Final Fantasy XIII

Gran Turismo, should be in that list, but that demo Monday was absolute shit, so it is not up there.

Also it is Sony. That George Forman Grill is gonna sell on the name alone, sadly. Why? Because the world is filled with idiots and not hardcore gamers.

Oh, and there is this little country called Japan.


I agree, the PS3 is going to sell, no matter what. If Sony shows the PS3 at E3, it gets them a two-minute news report (read: unpaid ad) on the swiss TV news. Nintendo? Not a word. Most people simply only know Sony and consider everything else to be also-rans.

However, that wasn't the original question. I wrote my post as an answer to ok saying "sony has the best games," which is simply not true. I'd say all three consoles have their strong points, but Sony is weakest if you look at A-List exclusives.

As an aside, while it has been ridiculed even by Sony fanboys, the Sony wiimote has done its job. In "normal" news (at least over here), it's hailed as a huge breakthrough and totally innovative.

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