After a harrowing flight and about fifty trains across the Tokyo metropolitan area, we've arrived at Sony's Tokyo Game Show 2011 press conference and we're ready to kick off the livebloggening. As Mr. Samuel Jackson might say, "Hold onto your butts." Any minute now ...
2:39PM "Thank you very much for bearing with us for such a long time!" And that's it, folks! We're gonna go get some ramen!
2:37PM If the 31 titles on display at TGS for Vita aren't available to you (say, if you live in Kyoto), Sony'll be taking the unit on the road in the coming months, so keep an eye out.
2:35PM And hey, here's some totally sweet accessories for the Vita. Apparently things are wrapping up!
2:34PM "For the first 500,000 units, a pre-paid bundle with 100 hours will be included free," says Kawano. Presumably this is only for Japan, but hey, free stuff!
2:33PM The PlayStation Network will bolster that list of titles (with dual stick functionality!) for Vita, as "most" PSP games will apparently be available. As UMDs aren't supported in the Vita, Sony will make digital versions available. "Official plans" will be announced in "the near future," says Kawano.
2:31PM What's that? You wanna know what else is coming to the Vita? How about a huge list of upcoming games? Oh, here you go.
2:30PM And the Vita will apparently launch this December with 26 titles for the Japanese market. Riiiiiidge Racer!
2:27PM Kawano's back, and he's talking challenges. Vita is a challenge he doesn't expect creators to take on alone, and wants us all to know that Sony's ready to fight in the streets, on the beaches, and on the internet.
2:23PM Sugimoto says that games will be able to work in tandem with Niconico, enabling gamers to share videos via 3G/Wifi. Initially, users will only be able to view Niconico content, though he's hoping that by Summer 2012 people will be able to live broadcast their games. That's bananas!
2:21PM Oh, video sharing! Of course! Sorry folks!
2:21PM Niwango head Seiji Sugimoto is taking the stage next. He's "feeling very nervous," he says. He's got a pretty snappy suit. Also, he wants us to know that PS Vita will support Niconico. It's, umm ... a dancing thing?
2:18PM Beyond the calendar game, there's another friend finder game that acts a bit like an interactive Near minigame. It suggests potential friends and helps bolster already existing relationships. Also, Toro and Kuro are in it. Still adorbz!
2:16PM He's also got a crazy looking calendar game that bases itself around the tasks you enter into your calendar. It's ... kind of a gamification thing? It looks a lot neater than it sounds, we assure you.
2:15PM Sony Japan Studio head Masami Yamamoto is up next, showing off Everybody's Golf. It's totally a golf game! And uh, it's pretty cute? That's all we got.
2:11PM "I think this is the only portable device that allows the core functionality," Kojima says. Not too kind on the 3DS, eh?
2:11PM Speaking to KojiPro's Fox Engine, Kojima says that an original title is in production that is intended on bridging the gap between Vita and PS3. He's hoping the game is identical across both platforms, and says we'll hear more about it as soon as it's possible. It's a title he's heading up personally, so he joked that it could be "awhile." Indeed, Mr. Kojima. Indeed.
2:09PM Moving on from MGS, Zone of the Enders HD is the next talking point. Kojima is aiming for a 2012 launch of the HD remasters, but didn't give a direct release date. That said, content from the games will apparently be compatible across Vita and PS3.
2:07PM Kojima's talking release dates, reiterating a November launch for Peace Walker HD and a 2012 release of the MGS HD Edition for PS Vita in 2012.
2:04PM Kojima Productions head Hideo Kojima is up next, and he's got a whole bunch of Metal Gear Solid info to drop, we imagine. But first, transfarring!
2:02PM And the Final Fantasys just keep rolling! Final Fantasy X is being remastered in HD for the PlayStation Vita, says Hashimoto.
2:01PM Oh, and apparently Final Fantasy Type-0 arrives on October 27, while Final Fantasy XIII-2 is arriving sometime in December. Presumably these are Japan-only release dates, but we'll be sure to push on that when we can.
1:59PM Next up, Square Enix's Shinji Hashimoto, and he's got two brand new Squeenix titles to show off: Lord of Apocalypse and Army Corps of Hell. But then, you already knew that, didn't you?
1:57PM Ono's talking SF x Tekken now, showing off Toro and Kuro of Sony fame appearing in the upcoming game. They're said to be quite powerful. Also, adorbz.
1:54PM We'll be getting our (highly unqualified) hands on UMvC3 for Vita this week at TGS, and we'll be sure to let you know how it is as soon as we can. (Spoilers: It's like Marvel vs Capcom 3, but on a PS Vita.)
1:53PM Ono believes that the Vita will bring a stronger community to Capcom's fighting games, as seen in the bonkers slide above.
1:51PM Ono's promising a blistering framerate for UMvC3, and he's hinting at a variety of a PS Vita-specific functions. Some form of Near functionality, online gaming, and "much more." We'll see this December, of course.
1:48PM As you already knew, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is heading to Sony's PS Vita. But when will it be out? At launch, apparently, this December! Wowza!
1:47PM First up, Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono of Capcom. WHAT COULD IT BE? (Ahem.)
1:46PM Next up: developers! Kawano doesn't agree that Japanese development is stagnating -- he's "confident" that Japan's gaming industry will be able to help bolster the Japanese economy during these hard times.
1:44PM Kawano's back and he's running through the list of known Vita features. It kinda does a lot, in case you didn't know. And hey, multitasking, apparently!
1:41PM "Welcome Park" is comprised of a variety of applications that'll demonstrate the Vita's variety of bells and whistles. It looks neat! We'll no doubt get a chance to check it out sometime this week.
1:40PM We've got a simple touch panel demo up next, named "Welcome Park." In a basic way, it explains the use of multitouch and rhythm. It reminds us very much of Nintendo's StreetPass games, but, you know, for a touch screen instead.
1:38PM Now we've got a live demo of ... how to set up the Vita. And, um, Spider-Man. And hey, the music player!
1:34PM Apparently Kawano was born on January 1, 1991. He looks remarkably old for a 20-year-old!
1:33PM Okay, working now. He's peeling back the main page (well, virtually, with the touch screen) and setting things up. Yes, we're watching him search for 3G. That's it.
1:31PM And he's now resetting it. Live demo, folks!
1:31PM Getting deeper, Kawano is now giving an on-stage demo of the Vita. He claims the console to not be a final model and that the 3G won't work as it will in the final build. That is, if it loads, which it might not. (Seriously, it's not working.)
1:28PM Sony and NTT Docomo are hoping the plans "generates new business models" for both companies. We're ... uh ... hoping that too. Sure.
1:27PM Getting even more specific, the various data plans will allow for NTT Docomo to be used across various media platforms, beyond just the PlayStation Vita. You NTT Docomo fans must be going positively NUTS.
1:24PM The prez of NTT Docomo is up on stage to speak about the "exciting" partnership. He's speaking pre-paid data plans and how it'll work with the Vita here in Japan. We'd break it all down for you, but the slide above will be much more useful we imagine.
1:22PM And while AT&T will be supporting Vita's 3G in North America, NTT Docomo has been announced as the carrier in Japan. Good news, NTT Docomo fans! (Is that a thing?)
1:20PM And it's official: Sony's launching the PlayStation Vita in Japan on December 17. No dates for North America or Europe, unfortunately.
1:18PM After opening a fancy grey box with a PS Vita in it, a pair of ever-changing hands is having a multimedia experience with various Vita applications. Everything from niche titles to more casual-looking titles are on display. It's totally made for everyone, don'tcha know.
1:16PM Moving onto the Vita, Kawano says today's conference will focus on the Vita. And, ya know, Japan. And those two together. And now, a video!
1:14PM Dramatic sales numbers aside, Kawana admits that the PSN hacking issue was a major concern in 2011. Sony's recent hire of an ex-Homeland Security official certainly helps with that.
1:11PM Kawano says the PSP has moved 71.4 million units as of June 2011, and the PlayStation 3 is currently at 51.8 million. That's alotta silicon!
1:09PM Andrew House is up next, new head of SCEE. That said, today's conference is focused on the Japanese audience, Kawano tells us.
1:06PM Here we go, folks! Kicking things off with Hiroshi Kawana, SCEJ president.