Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

Joystiq live @ Sony's Tokyo Game Show keynote


Team Joystiq is on the ground in Tokyo, set up outside the Chiba prefecture's Makuhari Messe expo center, home to Tokyo Game Show 2009. At 10:30 a.m. local time, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kaz Hirai will address those in attendance and we'll be liveblogging it right here. Check the list below for the keynote's start time in your timezone:
  • London, England: 2:30 a.m., Thursday 9/23
  • Sydney, Australia: 11:30 a.m., Thursday 9/23
  • US Pacific Time: 6:30 p.m., Thursday 9/23
  • US Mountain Time: 7:30 p.m., Thursday 9/23
  • US Central Time: 8:30 p.m., Thursday 9/23
  • US Eastern Time: 9:30 p.m., Thursday 9/23

11:20AM "With this, we'd like to conclude this talk show." We're out! There's a panel discussion next, but we won't make you sit through a liveblog for that one. Look for relevant news posts on the main page. Thank you for reading!

11:18AM Hirai is asked about connectivity between members of the PlayStation family. The development of hardware, software and how that fits in with networking is something Sony has spent much time on, Hirai explains. "Borders are being blurred." Hirai says it's very challenging to expand Sony's scale of business in order to cover the worldwide market.

10:14PM They should have changed the title of this keynote to "Summary of the Basics of Video Game Industry 2009."

11:14AM If you have the added element of network connectivity, Hirai says, you can broaden the entertainment you extract from a game that may have previously been limited to just the disc.

11:13AM "If you don't have network connectivity, you're not really there." Hirai cites an example of car air conditioning -- nice to have now, but back in the day it was quite a luxury. So... that's sort of like networks. Or something.

11:12AM "It's not realistic to have sensors all over your body," Hirai says. New forms of entertainment can still be created, he says, and the motion controller is just one of those.

11:10AM "If I may talk about my dreams ..." Hirai thinks games don't have enough grasp on emotion yet -- he wants games to respond to your emotional state, like an RPG character sensing that you're lying. Expressing motion comes before e-motion, he quips.

11:08AM The element of 3D is an interesting addition to the industry, Hirai explains in response to a question about future innovations. Hirai notes that PlayStation is very interested in pushing 3D, which he feels is best suited for film and games.

11:06AM A Nikkei Business Publications representative arrives on stage. He takes a casual seat next to Hirai and the two begin a dialogue. Hirai reflects on his recent trip to the US: The Beatles game surprised him with all its media attention. "Enjoyable games have the added strength of the Beatles brand," he says. This made more people -- not just games writers -- respond and write about it.

11:04AM "Please visit many booths and enjoy." Kaz Hirai's speech is over. We'll give it 7 Camerons out of Ten.

11:02AM Oh, and now for a bit about PlayStation Home. 8 million users can play games and "enjoy conversations with each other," Hirai says. The PlayStation Network will evolve more in the future, he teases.

10:01PM Comic distribution will be available by the end of the year, and it's coming to Japan as well.

11:00AM The PSN's video service is looking to expand beyond the US. Look for it to come to European countries as of November and into the next year. Soon, we'll all be assuming vegetative states as we stream a never-ending, um, stream, of movies to our consoles.

10:59AM Hirai also touts PlayStation Network success -- 29 million accounts, with accumulated sales exceeding 25 billion yen. "Game content sales" have been the key contributor.

10:57AM It's been nine and a half years, and the system's install base is sitting at 138.8 million units. "Overwhelming support" helps, of course.

10:56AM The system's direct connection to PlayStation Network also opens up more choices to savvy consumers, Hirai adds. Game systems, communications and networking expand the gaming horizon. But what about our old pal, the PS2?

10:54AM Those are some of the games that will help propel the PSP into the hands of more users. Network-savvy users will find the PSP Go "more portable and convenient," Hirai says. He does not say that they will find it a lot more expensive, also.

9:53PM Gran Turismo PSP, Minna no Sukkiri, Minna no Tennis, Yuusha no Namaidikida 3D, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Last Ranker, Gundam Vs Gundam Next Plus, Phantasy Star Portable 2, Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker, LocoRoco Midnight Carnival, Echoshift, LittleBigPlanet Portable.

9:51PM The PSP has been out for 5 years so far, managing to have sold 52.9 million units so far.

10:51AM Sony will continue sharing information with game creators, who Hirai hopes will be attracted to a wider range of possible waggle-infused genres.

10:50AM Hirai says that "very accurate" movement can be realized. The reality can be "enhanced" via slight vibration feedback. It launches in Spring 2010.

10:49AM Sony plans to leverage the combination of the EyeToy and the motion controller -- he whips one out! Hirai hopes this device will also meet the "stringent" requirements of hardcore gamers. Image recognition, depth detection, and gyros should see to that, right?

10:48AM Now we're talking about the PS3 controllers: The DualShock, and of course, the Eyetoy which then gives way to the Sony Motion Controller.

9:47PM There are 24 million Blu-ray players in the world, according to Hirai.

10:47AM Hirai talks up the capacity of Blu-ray, with higher capacity encouraging more creativity and unique content, he says. "We've made a contribution here."

9:45PM Yakuza 4, Trinity Zill O'll Zero, Final Fantasy XIII, The Last Guardian, Heavy Rain, Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time.

10:45AM A snazzy video begins to play, depicting the new hardware (oh my, it's so attractive up close), as well as several upcoming titles:

10:44AM Hirai says they've looked at what's taking place in the living room (HE'S WATCHING YOU GUYS) and hope the PS3's new positioning will convey its "true attractiveness" to users.

9:43PM Why change the logo of the PlayStation 3? "We wanted to have further coordination between the three platforms": the PS3, PSP, and PSN.

10:42AM Hirai expresses pleasure in the many "attractive" PS3 games that have been launched so far, not to mention the ones that are yet to come. A redesigned model and a price cut have shown positive results: Over 1 million units sold in a matter of two weeks following the PS3 Slim launch in September.

10:41AM PS3 and PSP try to cater to changing lifestyles, networks and gaming habits, he posits. "We want to work together with developers and publishers to promote these two platforms."

10:40AM Content creators can find profit in many new ways (think -- DLC and online games), which is indicative of an ever-expanding interactive entertainment business. "What do we need to develop?" Hirai asks.

10:39AM A user will have to play for several years to get through all the stages available online, he explains. Another example listed is SingStar: users purchase new songs and participate in network communities.

9:38PM While the game launched with only 50 or so levels on Blu-ray, the "Network connection" has allowed the creation of 1,280,000 stages in LittleBigPlanet, notes Hirai.

9:37PM Eight elements of "Interactive Entertainment" must be provided by Network connection: Listening, Playing, Watching, Creating, Sharing, Communicating, Discovering and Learning. A specific example provided is LittleBigPlanet.

10:36AM "Game consoles and networks are now inseparable." Playing the same game with other people in distant regions is one area to focus on, Hirai says.

10:35AM He notes major changes in the environment and how consumers have approached gaming. "Conventional business" may inhibit growth in the long term -- expanding the business in new ways is a "serious challenge we all have to tackle."

10:33AM Hirai is very happy for the opportunity to speak to us. He notes how large the entertainment industry has become. Even he was initially concerned about Sony's entry into the market, but Sony's philosophy worked out. He thanks all the publishers that have supported the company throughout the years.

10:31AM The TGS forum is kicking off. Mr. Kaz Hirai appears on stage to the accompaniment of terrible elevator music.

10:18AM We didn't want to do another liveblog update about the music ... but we thought you should know that it's a piano tune now. Look for another update as soon something interesting happens -- and the current vibe for this keynote has us worried that this will be the last update.

10:09AM Sorry about that. It's just SO relaxing. Hopefully Sony's announcements will jolt us out our seats.

10:05PM Unlike most of the American press conferences we attend, this one isn't trying to kill us with obnoxious music. Nothing but calming classical ditties with panflutes and ... zzzz.

Special thanks to Engadget Associate Editor / traitor Ross Miller for photography.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr