Sony’s E3 2007 Keynote

After our Kaz announcing the new PSP (it’s the same, but lighter, thinner and with a better battery life) things start off fine, but then Jack Tretton gets involved and Chew-bloody-bacca appears alongside a video of what looked like crap, but was apparently some new Star Wars game for the PSP.

Then we’re onto the PSN. In the 7 months since launch there’s been 2 million users of the service, with over 20 million downloads. 1 million of those we later find out were for GT HD.

There’s plenty of Home integration in the keynote, but it’s all a bit over the top. The ‘barbeque’ scene might just be this year’s Giant Crab. Anyway, Phil Harrison’s here to save the day and shows off some great looking PSN games – Wipeout HD, Pain, Warhawk and SOCOM. The muted audience manage a few claps.

There’s also an amazing looking optical illusion based puzzler called Echo Chrome.

The Home beta is going well, he says, then proceeds to show some cool mobile-phone application that links with Home. To demonstrate, he takes a photo of the audience with it and then the image is automatically pasted onto a frame in his pad. It’s slick, and will no doubt work.

We see some new spaces within Home, plus Singstar. We then see Phil launch an online game of Motorstorm from within Home which works brilliantly, and also a sneaky glimpse of a new track that’s coming soon called Eagle’s Nest.

Back to Jack for some numbers, Blu-ray stats and info on the US price cut, and a new target of 11 million units worldwide, but I can’t remember the timescale. 200 disk-based games and 180 PSN-based games this financial year, although that includes regional variations.

NC Soft are now under the Sony brolly, so that’s loads of massively online multiplayer games coming our way. Ubisoft’s Haze is shown too, although it’s underwhelming knowing that Killzone is coming later.

Epic’s Unreal Tournament 3 is exclusive to PS3 this year, and Epic are spending time optimising the engine for PS3 use, thank goodness. News that UT3 will support PC-style mods is welcomed.

The obligatory MGS4 presence from Kojima and translator brings news that this will be the finale in the series, and we’ll get answers to all the mysterious abound in the MGS universe. Exclusivity to the PS3 is confirmed. The real-time trailer is stunning, and the one-on-one battle towards the end is truly amazing. The bad news – it’s now out in 2008, although ‘early 2008’ is promised, and it’s a simultaneous Worldwide release.

Infamous (from Sucker Punch) is announced, and looks like Crackdown with the ability to side between good and evil, plus new trailers and info on Ratchet and Clank, Folk Lore and Heavenly Sword. Little Big Planet is also looking great, as ever, as is Uncharted. Sony’s game roster is unmatched.

And as if to prove it, the show closes with trailers for GT 5 Prologue (wow at the engine sounds) and an extended version of the Killzone trailer from this morning. Gameplay continues straight from the dropship, without loading – it’s truly remarkable.

So it’s a neat line-up, the games ooze quality and consistency, and overall it’s a massive improvement on last year’s E3. Good times ahead.