This is where it all happens -- well, this is where we'll tell you about it all happening. Tonight, we'll find out what Sony has in store for us. Will it be ... some kind of handheld gaming device? Or will Sony defy expectations by continuing to pretend that the PSP successor doesn't exist? Or maybe it'll talk about the other handheld it's pretending doesn't exist!
Chances are, something will officially exist after today's event. Let's find out together!
2:46AM Kaz is wrapping things up, going over PlayStation Suite, NGP, and Sony's big plans for portable gaming in the future. "We really hope for your continued support of PlayStation. I'd like to close PlayStation Meeting 2011. Thank you very much"
And that's it. You've got a lot of promises to follow through on, Sony, but ... we're just gonna say it. You done good. We'll start trying to get as many details as we can, while you guys start checking your savings account balances.
2:43AM There aren't many details beyond that. Yeah, we know Call of Duty games have been released on DS to date, but something tells us this isn't going to be another half-hearted handheld effort. Kaz is back on stage.
2:40AM "We believe Call of Duty for NGP will set the bar for the next generation of portable gaming."
2:40AM Whoa, Call of Duty business dude Philip Earl just announced that Call of Duty would be coming to NGP.
2:39AM Now he's showing off Dungeon Defenders, an Unreal Engine-based game that runs on Android and, now, NGP. Unreal Engine is like Netflix – its strategy is to really be on all devices.
2:37AM Tim Sweeney from Epic is on stage talking (what else?) Unreal Engine on NGP. He said they can deliver "four times the performance we've seen on any other mobile platforms." That's pretty impressive if you consider how good Epic's own Infinity Blade looks on an iPhone 4. To show it off, he's sharing the same "Epic Citadel" demo we saw on iPhone, but this is rocking some more interactivity ... like other characters.
2:34AM Kojima says his dream is to have games be portable from PS3 to NGP – save your game to the cloud and continue your game on the go. "This dream is going to come true in the near future, and right now I'm working on this project. I'm sorry right now I can't disclose further information, but I'd like to present what we're doing at E3."
2:31AM Kojima says that scene was exported directly to NGP meaning, we presume, that they didn't have to do any work to condense it for Sony's latest portable. Notice a trend here? They really want you to believe that all PS3 games can run on NGP if the develop clicks the "Export for NGP" option in Video Game Maker 7.
2:30AM "There's no announcement of a new title today, but I'd like to talk about the future perspective," he says. It's a demo of Metal Gear Solid 4 running on NGP; it's a cutscene rendered in real-time of Old Snake talking to Otacon via a Metal Gear Mk. II (remember the scene when Snake gets the Solid Eye?).
2:27AM And now we've got none other than Mr. Hideo Kojima from Konami/Kojima Productions on stage. Considering he just shipped a PSP Metal Gear Solid game, we're going to guess he's working on a new Boktai jam.
2:27AM Games can be ported to NGP but can also be reinvented or reborn for NGP, Suzuki says.
2:25AM Akihiro Suzuki from Tecmo Koei is on stage now, showing a demo of (what else?) Dynasty Warriors! Instead of spamming an attack button, now you can spam your touchscreen.
2:22AM And boom, there are zombies – it's the latest Yakuza title, Of the End.
2:21AM Yup! He's talking Ryu ga Gotoku (that's Yakuza for the gaijin in the house). "This was supposed to be a real-time demonstration," he says. "Everything can be transcribed [from PS3] to NGP." I think the point Sony is trying to make is that the NGP is powerful, and can run PS3 games with minor modifications.
2:19AM It's "just like the PS3. Only difference is the geometry capabilities. The same lighting shaders, same physics as the PS3." Color us impressed. Next up is Toshihiro Nagoshi from Sega ... we smell a Super Monkey Ball game coming up. Or maybe Yakuza?
2:16AM "The existing content can be displayed with new high resolution." MT Framework is Capcom's multiplatform engine, and it will be "ready for NGP as well." MT Framework Mobile (the same engine that powers Super Street Fighter IV on 3DS) is running on NGP – he's showing it running Lost Planet 2 in real-time. "NGP can run the full specification," he says, meaning better shaders, HDR, etc.
2:12AM "Monster Hunter Portable 3rd will now run on NGP. I have to confess, this is the first time I've touched this. I'm rather nervous." He's playing the download version and talking up the right stick as a camera control. "This stick feels great. You can quote me on that. It's better than the analog stick on PSP ... it goes down, it tilts further."
2:11AM "Of course you can play downloadable PSP titles on NGP." So it's backwards compatible, but only for your digital games. Since it doesn't have UMD, remember? NGP will have games from Capcom, Sega, Koei, Epic, Konami, and Activision. First up, Jun Takeuchi from Capcom talking Monster Hunter Portable.
2:08AM What's the PlayStation Suite strategy? Yoshida hopes PlayStation Suite "entices" new players to upgrade and try "the new ultimate entertainment experience." Yeah, it's a gateway drug.
2:07AM Contents newly developed for PlayStation Suite will be available on NGP – we'll translate for you: touch-screen games (Angry Birds) will be on your phone and on your NGP.
2:06AM So, we can all agree this sounds really impressive, but we're full-on cringing just imagining the price.
2:06AM "NGP is equipped with the same high-quality Sixaxis accelerometer and gyroscopic sensor as PlayStation Move."
2:04AM Yoshida: "Using the latest version of Hot Shots Golf, I'd like to show you what that means about the convergence of the real and virtual worlds."
2:01AM Since NGP knows where you've been, it will track your location over time and make a map showing where you've been – another possibly embarrassing feature! It's called "Near" and it keeps track of where you've been and syncs with PSN so you can learn what games are popular in your area. Since Near is hooked into the PlayStation Store, you can discover new games that are popular in your area, hop into the Store and buy it.
1:57AM It's got a 3G connection, so expect real-time updates for your games – not clear if 3G will support multiplayer yet, or if it's used for other services. "Location services will let you know what other players in your vicinity are playing" – that could be embarrassing!
1:55AM You can jump back and forth between the game and LiveArea. You can communicate in LiveArea and see others playing the game, and what they're doing in the game.
1:53AM "No matter how enjoyable your game is, it's meaningless unless you have anyone to enjoy it with." So: "LiveArea" is the solution. Every game will utilize LiveArea, which will have news of each game. It's a "Game-oriented communication platform."
1:49AM "Now you can feel and touch the world inside the game. Let us show you." Yoshida is back to show us how to "feel and touch" these games. This game is called "Little Deviants." The rear panel is the same size as the OLED screen, 5".
1:45AM Worldwide Studios' Shuhei Yoshida is showing off the front and rear touch panels on the device – yup, that 5" front display is also a capacitive touchscreen (take note, old-fashioned resistive touchscreen on the 3DS). In Uncharted, you can use that rear touch panel to "climb" up a vine – we're not quite sure how that works, but consider us interested.
1:40AM "The first thing you'll notice about NGP is the large beautiful screen." He says compared to traditional 3.5" displays, the 5" display is "overwhelming."
Other games shown to be in development include: Hot Shots Golf, Gravity Daze, Smart As, Broken, LBP, Little Deviants, WipEout, Resistance, and Uncharted (!)
1:39AM Games include a Killzone title, and an augmented reality title called "Reality Fighters."
1:36AM There will be physical media for games, a New Game Media, a flash memory-based card. So UMD is out, but retail isn't entirely kicked to the curb. Hey, that cart looks almost like a DS cart! Another pic from Engadget:
1:35AM That 5" screen has a 960x544 resolution. Compare that to the iPhone 4's 960x640 3.5" screen, and it's not as impressive, but OLED is going to look great. It's coming "holiday season" this year!
1:33AM So here's what it's packing: dual analogs sticks, a 5 inch OLED display, 3G and GPS, front and rear touchpads, electronic compass on 3 axes. Awesome iconography on the back.
1:33AM That's what it's called guys – not PSP2, it's NGP. And it looks just like a PSP! Here's a pic from Engadget.
1:32AM "Here's the successor system to PlayStation Portable, codenamed 'NGP.'"
1:31AM Sony's showing a flashy video, big on buzzwords, short on PSP2s!
1:30AM This "Next Generation Portable" will embody five new concepts: A revolutionary user interface, social connectivity, location-awareness, augmented reality, and PlayStation Suite compatibility.
1:29AM Kaz is onto the "Next Generation Portable." The idea of a cross-platform PlayStation experience already sounds pretty "Next Generation" to us, but we're old-fashioned. Let's see what this whole PSP2 thing is.
1:26AM Also announced: The PlayStation Store for Android. Users can purchase games directly from their Android phones or tablets. Titles shown on stage include: Cool Boarders 2, Syphon Filter, Rally Cross, Wild Arms, and MediEvil ... waitaminute, those aren't PSP1 titles. Those are PlayStation titles.
1:25AM "This new game framework is to attract as many new developers as possible... This is a hardware-agnostic game framework that simplifies content" creation.
1:24AM "We will first emulate the first generation PSP titles to be available on PS Suite devices." So that's PSP1 games in, and we imagine PS1 games as well, in addition to PS Suite-exclusive games. Wonder if there's any chance of seeing PSP2 games on PS Suite ... oh yeah, PSP2 hasn't been announced yet. PS Suite is a "unique and secure environment for distributing content."
1:22AM But it's not just existing PlayStation content, "it will also provide a new mobile framework for the development of totally new content." But it's not just the Sony-developed Xperia Play – Kaz says they'll be approving multiple devices to ensure a quality PlayStation experience. The platform will include "legacy games of PlayStation archives."
1:21AM "Ladies and gentlemen, today we are announcing PlayStation Suite." Wow! PlayStation Suite brings PlayStation content to Android-based smartphones and tablets.
1:19AM "After 6 years, these multifunction devices are tehcnically ready for a PSP-like experience." "As a company that provides new forms to users, we also consider it our mission to help the content creators in this room find the answers."
1:18AM He's now talking about portable gaming – "a ubiquity of entertainment" is how Sony will expand its appeal. "No one in the industry could even imagine such a dramatic change taking place," Kaz says, talking about the original PSP. But he says that while people would once play games on a standalone gaming device, like the PSP, smartphones are changing that landscape and Sony, as a platform holder, needs to recognize that.
1:16AM "PSN is free to access and offers a broad spectrum of services," including premium services like PlayStation Plus. We're not sure that makes much sense.
1:15AM Sony's Kaz Hirai is on the stage talking about Sony's vision of the future in 2005, and how close it's gotten with the PS3. We're familiar with a lot of this stuff: The network is an important component, etc. Entertainment enabled by hardware. "More than 80% of PS3 consoles are connected to the internet."
1:09AM "The meeting will start momentarily. Thank you for waiting." Well, now we feel like creeps for getting so upset.
1:04AM The less patient amongst you have undoubtedly noticed that we're four minutes past the expected start time. Trust us, we're as livid as you are ... just fuming. We're going to start with our breathing exercises, see if that helps.
0:51AM 10 minutes to go. This is when we start to get excited ... enjoy it while it lasts since with an estimated 90-minute runtime, the next thing you feel will probably be your butt going numb.
0:42AM Our peeps at Engadget are on the spot as well – former Joystiqer Ross Miller writes, "When walking past a door on our way in we're pretty sure we spied a slide in its place that read 'revolutionizing user interface.'" We're hoping what you're all hoping: Sony is getting into the ATM business. Who makes those UIs?
0:36AM While we wait for our man in Japan, Ittousai, to start updating things, we thought we'd provide some meta-coverage for you. The folks at PlayStation Blog just tweeted that they're on the scene and they've got the picture (which we totally jacked for the top of this post!) to prove it.