Sony Unveils PlayStation Mobile, HTC Named First Partner
Jack Tretton, President and CEO Sony Computer Entertainment of America, kicked off Sony's press event by thanking the fans and calling E3 "the superbowl of our industry." In addition to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, Sony has been working to bring the PlayStation experience to Android tablets and phones.
Originally named PlayStation Suite, the Sony has been working with developers to bring a intuitive experience to users since 2007. At E3, Sony announced the initiative's rebranding as PlayStation Mobile. In another major announcement, HTC was named as Sony's first partner in the venture to bring PlayStation-certified games to Android tablet and smartphone users. Citing its innovative design, Sony heralded HTC as a worthy ambassador to bring the PlayStation experience to mobile users.
The Vita also had a number of big reveals including the announcement of 60 upcoming new titles, among them digital downloads of "Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified." Gamers with a touch of nostalgia can check out PlayStation Classics, featuring old-school classics such as "Tomb Raider" and "Final Fantasy VII." In terms of entertainment, Crackle and Hulu Plus will come to the handheld in addition to the recently added YouTube app.
"Assassin's Creed III: Liberation," the first Assassin's Creed to feature the first female assassin, was also announced for the Vita. The game lets players assume control of Conner, star of PS3's "Assassin's Creed III," as he engages in boat-based combat. Coming to stores October 30, PlayStation will offer the Vita-exclusive title in a bundle featuring a crystal white Wi-Fi-only Vita with 4GB of RAM.
In addition to Ubisoft's Vita-exclusive, "Assassin's Creed III" will also be bundled in a new PlayStation hardware bundle. Not to be undone, the makers of the "FarCry" series announced that the upcoming title "FarCry 3" will feature 4-way co-op multiplayer and a mapmaker. The audience was also treated to a visceral playthrough of "God of War: Ascension." Set to hit stores March 13, 2013 we watched as antihero Kratos wielded some sort of time manipulation powers and hacked the brain out of an elephantine creature before leaping into the mouth of an angry squid.
Quantic Dream's announced a brand new IP called "Beyond." Dealing with the mystery of what happens after death, "Beyond" follows 15 years of Jody Holmes, a girl that can sense a world outside of our own. Academy-award nominee Ellen Page has been cast as the game's heroine.
"PlayStation All-Star Battle Royale" was also unveiled. Highly reminiscent of Nintendo's "Super Smash Bros.," PlayStation's new title features fan favorites including Kratos, Sly Cooper, Sweettooth, Parappa and Fat Princess and pits them in a winner-takes-all brawl. The title will be available on PlayStation Vita with crossplay on PlayStation 3. "Uncharted's" Nathan Drake and "BioShock's" Big Daddy were revealed to be joining the madcap lineup.
PlayStation unveiled the Cross-Controller feature which enables Vita owners to engage in multiplayer co-op with the Vita and a regular PS3 controller. "Little Big Planet 2" will give gamers their first taste of the new functionality thanks to some new downloadable content. Not only will the Vita offer a different display from the PS3, it also allows players to navigate the game via tilt control.
In addition to the 1,500 current downloadable titles PlayStation Plus members can purchase, PS Plus will allow players to download popular games including "Infamous 2" and "Little Big Planet 2" for free with new titles to be added every month. As a token of the company's appreciation, everyone at the press conference received a one-year membership to PlayStation Plus.
We also saw a new playthrough of Naughty Dog's highly anticipated title, "The Last of Us." Fans cheered as Joel and Ellie fought their way through a dilapidated hotel, dispatching scavengers with molotov cocktails, shotguns and bricks.
Hoping to steal some of Xbox Kinect's thunder, a number of upcoming triple A titles such as "BioShock Infinite" will feature PlayStation Move functionality. In a touch of innovation, the company unveiled Wonderbook, augmented reality used in conjunction with Sony's EyeToy to bring physical books to life. Award-winning Moonbot Studios is working on "Diggs Nightcrawler," a noir-themed publication. Sony has also teamed with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling to release "Book of Spells," the first Wonderbook to be published. Called the "reinvention of the storybook," readers can cast spells and learn the history behind some of the more popular spells in the Potter universe.
Overall, Sony offered a lot of impressive titles that left the audience oohing and aahing at the appropriate moments. However, we are left to wonder what a "PlayStation experience" will look like on smartphones and tablets, and how it will differentiate itself from the Vita.