Sony at E3: Alive & kicking with PS Vita and Playstation 3D TV

Sony had their E3 press conference recently and it showed that the Playstation brand is in rude health as Sony unveiled 2 new pieces of hardware and plenty of new games.

Before any of the announcements Sony US boss Jack Tretton took to the stage and talked about the Playstation Network hack and offered his and the companies sincere apologies.

Sony-NGP1

Addressing consumers, he said: “You are the lifeblood of the company. Without you there is no PlayStation. I want to apologise personally and for the company for any anxiety caused. It’s you that causes us to be humbled and amazed by the support you continue to give”.

To Sony’s third-party publishing partners, Tretton said: “I know the outage has been costly. We wouldn’t be where we are without you”.

He added: “We are committed more than ever to making sure the PlayStation experience is entertaining and secure for everybody”.

PSN was taken offline on 20th April following a security breach that left personal information tied to some 77 million user accounts compromised and the details of around 12.3 million credit card possibly stolen.

The phased restoration of the service began on 14th May, culminating in Welcome Back content being made available to users on 3rd June.

Tretton then went on to show what Sony has planned for the gaming over then next 12 months. The big news came in the form of the NGP which has now been named PS Vita, (Vita meaning life apparently) and more importantly, the release date and price was announced.

Sony has said that Vita would be release this holiday season in America with the UK release date soon after.

Vita will come in two flavours and two prices. Vita will retail for $249 (£150) for the Wi-Fi only model but will likely to cost closer to £200 when it lands on UK shores. But if you’re in America when it’s out you could save yourself a decent chunk of money.

The 3G model is be price at $299 (£182) but is likely to see mobile phone subsidies when the networks offer you a decent data package.

Sony announced that Vita would be exclusive with mobile operator AT&T which means we are likely to see the same deal for a UK network – don’t be surprised if Vodafone or O2 snap up the exclusive rights for the new 3G version of the portable.

Playstation-24-inch-3D-TV

Sony’s next big announcement came in the form of 3D. Tretton talked up the 3D capabilities of Sony and announced at that they are going to release a Playstation 24-inch 3D TV.

The monitor won’t be available just yet but should be available by Christmas 2011. The set has been designed for those of you who want a device in the bedroom or snug space. Sony’s idea is to bring a decent affordable 3D screen to the masses.

Sony’s new TV does have one particularly impressive party piece. It will allow users to play games with split screen action but each user will see a full screen instead of half. Were not sure whether it will only work with the glasses, but the the idea and tech is very clever indeed.

Included in the price of $499 you get a pair of 3D active shutter glasses, a 6FT HDMI cable and a copy of Resistance 3. Sony stated that the glasses can be bought separately for $69.99 and will be compatible with other screens.

Included in the price which we will get to in just one moment, will be a pair of 3D active shutter glasses, 6ft HDMI cable and a copy of the game already mentioned Resistance 3, for a price of $499. Sony have also pointed out that the new glasses can be purchased for $69.99 and will work on their different TV’s.

There was of course and a full compliment of new software for the Sony family and lots of new Move content for the next 12 months.

Nintendo 3DS: Review round up and hands-on

Nintendo-3DS

The 3DS, successor to Nintendo’s uber-popular DS handheld console, has been much anticipated and long awaited among bloggers, gamers and tech obsessives everywhere. Finally, at the E3 conference last week, a few lucky journalists were able to get up close and personal with the device.

Almost as soon as the 3DS been unveiled by Nintendo’s CEO Satoru Iwata, the blogosphere was awash with seemingly universal praise for the gadget. Keith Stuart at the Guardian was certainly impressed: “It works beautifully,” he gushed. “Nintendo is almost certain to have used an off-the-shelf lenticular screen technology, already seen in several mobile phones and laptops… Rich colours, a robust 3D experience and some intriguing games, this was my moment of the E3 experience so far.”

The Telegraph were quick to highlight the device’s impressive capabilities, (although Nintendo have yet to confirm the actual specifications): “Improving the hardware specifications of Nintendo’s best-selling DS handheld, the new 3DS gets improved graphics, a slide pad controller for more intuitive control and an internal gyroscope and motion sensor – like Apple’s iPhone. A slider at the side of the device lets users choose the intensity of the 3D display, from an extreme ‘in your face’ experience to a more subtle effect.”

The graphics were an obvious point of interest for many bloggers. Nintendo has long hinted that the gadget would boast crystal clear 3D graphics, without the need those silly 3D glasses, but have they managed to deliver? Wired thinks so, hailing the device as “unbelievable”. Chris Kohler wrote on their website: “It never feels like it’s straining your eyes and you don’t get any of that ghosting (when you can see a faint double image) you sometimes see at the movies. It’s was certainly the cleanest, clearest 3D we saw on the show floor, better than any of the 3D Sony Bravia sets we played PS3 games on.”

The picture-perfect graphics will also make gameplay much more satisfying, according to Mike Jackson at Techradar.com: “[The 3D graphics] made it easier to make acute judgments in the games. Flying through hoops or under bridges felt easier to accomplish just because you’re armed with depth perception like in real life.”

Amid the near-constant stream of kudos however, Michael Sawh at T3 noted a potential flaw: “The one slight let-down of 3DS is that nothing actually ‘jumps out’ of the screen in your direct vision. This is much more about what’s going on in the background.”

Suffice to say he wasn’t too disappointed though, as he then went on to claim: “Nintendo may have just created the most important piece of entertainment technology in decades.”

Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long out to discover if this is true, but with no official release date (although a pre-Christmas roll-out seems likely) and no details on price (rumours range from £125 to £300), we’ll just have to twiddle our thumbs and be patient.

Nintendo 3DS Hands on (by Shem Pennant)

Nintendo were kind enough to invite Latest Gadgets to a top secret location in London town to have a hands on play with a prototype of their hot new handheld the 3DS.

Unfortunately they didn’t have a fully working unit, so no one was able to fully confirm any hardware specifications, release dates or prices. It was more an opportunity for us to hold units, watch units and go wow.

Hands on with Nintendo 3DS

Fortunately there is a lot to be wowed by. The glasses-free 3D works well with the 3DS screen and can adjusted (or switched off completely) by a little slider on the side – which may or may not be there in the finished model.

There are two cameras in the back that enable you to take 3D images. Whilst I wasn’t blown away by the quality of the images I took, it was a fun little feature and I’m sure if you are snapping something a little more interesting than a room filled with surly technology journalists you could probably get some decent images.

There was also a trailer for a 3D movie which you could play back on the device (although how you got them on there in the first place was “unconfirmed”.

I saw unplayable 3D demos for Kid Icarus, Mario Kart and Metal Gear Solid, all of which looked pretty impressive – the 3D seemed to benefit Mario Kart the most. There was also a playable demo for Nintendogs which showed off some of the 3DS’s face recognition abilities. As I moved the unit to my face a small puppy ran at me and licked my cheek. Tilting my head left or right caused the puppy to mimic my actions. All pretty kawaiii.

In addition, there were some playable demos of Wii titles on display. Kirby’s Epic Yarn was a cute looking platform game, where everything was made from wool and Metroid: Other M had an immersive soundtrack and storyline. There was some sort of dancing game, where lots of Nintendo staff were happily bopping to Vampire Weekend but I quickly ran past to get to Goldeneye, which was a remake of the N64 classic (Pistols, Complex, License to Kill = ultimate test of skill) – right down to the ability to play OddJob and annoy your opponents.

Unfortunately, everything was TBA (Soon, we’ll rid the world of T.B.A.!) but hopefully should be out in stores later in the year.