Liveblogging Kaz Hirai's Tokyo Game Show Keynote

kaznote.jpgKaz Hirai is presumably backstage with his handlers, hyperventilating into a paper bag, panicked at the thought of delivering his first Tokyo Game Show keynote as the president of Sony Computer Entertainment. Hopefully, Kaz won't choke on his words or bore the audience to death Kutaragi-style. Everyone is turning off their cellphones in anticipation for Hirai's speech.

Make the jump for all the exciting PlayStation family announcements.Kaz has taken the stage. He's covering the history of the PlayStation brand, displaying some impressive sales graphs, one that includes tiny red bars indicating PS3 sales. His focus now is on the PlayStation 2 and its accomplishment of reaching the 100 million mark in just six years, surpassing the original PlayStation's path to 100 million.

He's boasting of million selling titles on the company's PSP platform, highlighting Monster Hunter Portable, Grand Theft Auto Liberty City Stories and Midnight Club 3. He's showing the six new colour variations, claiming that they will "help your lifestyle".

Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII is on screen. The limited edition version sold out within hours and nearly 700,000 units were shipped on day one. The pair of pack in games with Star Wars Battlefront and Daxter will push more units of the PlayStation Portable, he hopes.

The trio of PSP add ons—the GPS receiver, the camera and 1 SEG TV tuner—get some screen time. Kaz recaps Sony's Games Convention announcements for video download services and Go! series.

All of these products and services will expand the PlayStation world.

Kaz moves on to the Remote Play feature using the PSP and PlayStation 3 with Lair on the latest slide. A demonstration of Remote Play is now happening on stage.

The new Remote Play icon is shown on the PSP XMB, courtesy of the PSP slim video out cable.

He just turned on the PS3 with the PSP over the internet. This new feature is promised in a future firmware update. The demonstrator is guiding us through the PS3 screen via the PSP, settling on the Japan-only Mainichi Issyo.

Looks like wake on LAN and sleep on LAN are now available in PSP firmware.

Remote Play Applications are shown, including using the PSP as a second screen for Formula 1 Racing and using multiple PSPs as PS3 controllers. It sounds like some functionality for the latter may be limited to spectator modes, but we'll hopefully get confirmation on that later.

The future of Remote Play indicates that PS3s will be able to connect to eachother to view multimedia on remote consoles, with multiple PSPs acting as PlayStation 3 controllers.

PS3 sales data is on screen, pushing some 5 million units sold. Not a bad start, but Kaz says that he was a little disappointed in the penetration of the machine with sales not as strong as they had hoped.

Kaz moves on to a trailer featuring PS3 titles. They are, in order, LittleBigPlanet, Final Fantasy XIII, Lair, Aqua, Uncharted, Ratatouille, Devil May Cry 4, LocoRoco Cocoreccho, PixelJunk Racers, Eye of Judgment, PoTC, Sega Rally, Cod4 Modern Warfare, NBA 08, Spider Man 3, Oblivion, Go Sports Ski, GRAW 2, flower, Harry Potter, Tony Hawk 8, Turok, Heavenly Sword, FIFA 08, Killzone 2, echochrome, Transformers, Time Crisis 4, Last Remnant, Nobi Nobi Boy, Warhawk, Dynasty Warriors 4, Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Gran Turismo Prologue, Afrika, Ratchet & Clank Future, Yakuza 3, and Metal Gear Solid 4.

Footage from Afrika shows a number of safari goers taking photos of wildlife, driving Jeeps, following herds of animals. It looks pretty and we hope to see more than that brief tease.

Kaz moves on to talk about future business plans, including building relationships with licensees, sharing of SCE WWS assets and know how, periodical meetings of the advisory board, and more. Kaz talks more about supporting partners with their PS3 games.

Next, the strengthening of first party title development. Sony's Worldwide Studios is, as mentioned just before, sharing more assets and knowledge with other teams.

He talks about Sony's acquisition of Evolution Studios, developers of the World Rally Championship series and Motorstorm. Big Big Studios also joined the ranks as a first party team. They're responsible for Pursuit Force on the PSP.

Kaz moves on to PS3 hardware and reducing costs. He says that they've listened to plenty of feedback about hardware prices and other gripes.

Kaz formally announces the rumble equipped DUALSHOCK 3. Both the SIXAXIS and DUALSHOCK 3 logos are shown on the controller. There are no other changes to its outward appearance.

The new DUALSHOCK 3 is planned to ship in Japan this November, US and Europe in Spring 2008. No price is available today, but the new controller will be on hand at TGS, playable in echochrome, Metal Gear Solid 4, Uncharted, Devil May Cry 4, Toy Home, Metal Gear Online and more. In total, ten titles currently support the DualShock 3.

I'm guessing that Burnout Paradise will also show off vibration. Kaz points to dozens of other titles that will support the DualShock 3, which looks like just about everything going forward. Consider this unconfirmed, but it appears some older titles will also support the DS3.

Moving on to the PlayStation Network, after boasting of some 2.7 million registered users, Kaz reveals that December 13th will see Gran Turismo 5 Prologue released in Japan.

Next up is PlayStation Home. Looks like Home will be delayed until Spring of 2008 as the team wants to spend more time developing the platform.

Dress for Home is about to be shown. It's "everybody's fashion entertainment" No real details are provided.

Kaz shifts focus to the PlayStation Store, now featuring 30 PS3 games, 300 add on items, 100 game archive titles and plenty of demos. Players will soon be able to access the PlayStation Store on their PCs. A screen showing the PSP connected to a laptop computer running Windows with the new PC PlayStation Store interface is up.

Back to hardware, Kaz starts talking up the Cell and its floating point operation capabilities. One petaflop has been surpassed on [email protected], says Kaz.

Kaz sounds like he's wrapping up his keynote.

There was a bit of utopian PlayStation World rambling there at the end and Kaz says "Thank you!". However, it's not over yet. Kaz will be back for a Q&A session in just a few minutes. Stay tuned.

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We didn't have to wait long. Kaz is now on stage with the Q&A moderator, talking up the 40 playable titles on the TGS show floor.

Kaz is giving his hands-on impressions of the new DUALSHOCK 3. Guess what? He actually likes it!

When asked about future PlayStation 3 games, Kaz starts with echochrome, calling it a simple, but deep game. It doesn't have to be an HD environment but talks up plenty of high def games, including Gran Turismo 5 Prologue.

With some 5 million PS3 units sold, and a goal of 11 million units by next fiscal year, Kaz explains how they will reach that figure. Plenty of marketing! What about a price drop? Sorry, Kaz says, no surprise price drop announcement in the Q&A session of the keynote this year.

Kaz is being pressed once again about the price drop, but he deflects, simply saying it's possible.

How do you feel about the Wii phenomenon? Kaz says that they belong to the same industry but target different consumers. One company can't have everything, he says, but that getting more consumers to enjoy gaming is healthy for the entire industry.

On Home, Kaz calls the platform a new form of interactive entertainment. But is it a game? Yes, says Kaz. Debate over!

What about the Home delay? Kaz apologizes to users for the delay, but he insists that the game must spend more time in development, allowing users in Japan, North America, Europe and the rest of Asia to experience the game when it's ready. Some of Home's services simply don't sound ready for a 2007 launch.

The final question concerns the computing power of the PS3 for applications like [email protected] and how Sony will progress with entertainment versus applications. Kaz sounds like he's dodging this one a bit, saying he simply can't discuss too much of the future PS3 line up, but he says that the PS3 is, at its core, a game machine.

The moderator and Kaz Hirai thank the audience for their time, with Kaz's stage mate apologizing for not pulling a price drop bomb out of Kaz. The Q&A wraps up and everyone bolts for the door.

Thanks for refreshing with us! Off to the show floor.


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