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Sony's E3 Conference

Video download service goes live tonight for PS3 and PSP; 80GB PS3 to retail for $399 in September

Momentum was the key buzzword as Sony held its E3 2008 press conference today, as the company highlighted its three current platforms.

SCEA CEO Jack Tretton opened the event talking about the victory of Blu-Ray over HD-DVD and exclusive titles such as Gran Turismo 5: Prologue and Metal Gear Solid 4.

"2008 is the year of the PS3. But as great as 2008 has been, we're just getting started," Tretton said.

Tretton noted that some of the PS One's biggest titles - Gran Turismo, Final Fantasy and Tony Hawk - hadn't yet appeared two years into that console's life cycle. On the PS2, GTA San Andreas didn't appear until year four and God of War didn't appear until the system's seventh year.

"The truth is, we're just beginning to scratch the surface of what we intend to deliver to consumers in the years ahead."

Insomniac's Resistance 2 was the first game shown, with the on-screen player climbing to the rooftops to battle a 300 foot tall Leviathan in the streets of an alternate 1950's Chicago. A new trailer - showing a level taking place in Twin Falls, Idaho - was also shown.

"While many games talk about scale, Resistance 2 fully delivers," said Insomniac CEO Ted Price.

Next up, Media Molecule's Alex Evans used LittleBigPlanet - which Tretton described as the first time that user-generated content and social networking have come together in gaming - to present the companies statistics. During the first six months of 2008, Sony has sold 1.8 million PS3 consoles, 1.6 million PSP handhelds, and 1.5 PS2 consoles.

Later this year, Sony plans to distribute the PS3 in Latin America. It also announced a USD 29.99 Greatest Hits line, which included titles such as Resistance, Motorstorm, Warhawk, Call of Duty 3, Fight Night, Need for Speed: Carbon, Rainbow Six Vegas, Assassin's Creed, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Ninja Gaiden.

Tretton next turned the spotlight on the venerable PS2. Despite the fact that the console is now in its eighth year, he promised that 130 PS2 titles would be released in 2008. He also announced a new PS2 bundle - with Lego Batman and Justice League: New Frontiers on DVD - for USD 149.

This fall, all PlayStation users will have a single sign-in for the PlayStation Network across PS3, PSP and PC. Tretton said that the PlayStation Network's focus will still be the delivery of games, and towards that end he announced a new title: Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty - a continuation of Tools of Destruction. The game will be available this summer for USD 14.99.

"We're not interested in filling up our store with titles nobody wants to play just so we can say we have the most games," Tretton said - taking a swipe at Microsoft before showing a video of PixelJunk Eden, Fat Princess, Flower, the new Pain amusement park level, Siren: Blood Curse and Ragdoll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic.

Gran Turismo TV - a variety of standard and HD automotive content, including Top Gear - will be accessible through the PlayStation Network via GT 5 Prologue starting August 1.

Next, Tretton shared a new video of the oft-delayed PlayStation Home which showed dedicated areas to Warhawk and Resistance.

"I absolutely assure you, when PlayStation Home is available...your patience will be more than rewarded," he said.

Eric Lempell, director of PSN operations, then took the stage to demonstrate video offerings through the PlayStation Store.

Sony Pictures, Fox, MGM, Lionsgate, Warner, Disney, Paramount, Turner and Funimation are participating in the new video download service on day one. TV show episodes in standard definition or HD will be priced at USD 1.99. Movies will be priced at USD 2.99 - 5.99 for rentals and USD 9.99 - 14.99 for purchases. The content, once downloaded to the PS3, can be put on the PSP.

According to Lempell, it will take about an hour to download a two-hour film - although, with progressive download, it appears that viewers will be able to start watching a film while it continues to download.

Tretton said that the video content will be made available on the PlayStation Store tonight.

Turning to the PSP, Tretton stated: "From a portable gaming perspective, there is no equal."

Along with the upcoming Madden pack, Sony will be releasing the Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters entertainment pack in October, which consists of a silver PSP, National Treasures 2 on UMD, 1GB memory stick and a voucher for echochrome - priced at USD 199.

Next, Tretton announced Resistance: Retribution - a third-person shooter in the Resistance universe being developed by Sony's Bend studio - scheduled for a Spring 2009 release

A PSP video highlighted Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Madden, Lego Batman, Super Stardust Portable, LocoRoco 2, Patapon 2, BuzzMaster Quiz and Valkyria Chronicles.

Update: Although Valkyria Chronicles was indeed shown in the PSP montage, SEGA has since indicated that this is a mistake. The game is in development for the PS3, with no PSP version planned.

Last, but not least, Tretton turned his focus on the PlayStation 3. He announced that Life With PlayStation - a news and weather channel for network-connected PS3 consoles - will be available by the end of the month. Comic book artist Jim Lee then showed attendees a preview of DC Universe Online.

"By now, it should be clear that we've got great content for every gamer and the momentum is building." Tretton said.

Going forward, the 80GB will be Sony's primary focus. This September, the core 80GB will be sold for USD 399 - the same price as the current 40GB console.

Next, the audience was shown a teaser trailer for the PS3 version of God of War III and a video of Sucker Punch's inFamous.

The last title to be shown was "not remotely possible anywhere else" other than the PS3, according to Tretton.

Zipper Interactive's Andy Beaudoin came onstage to discuss MAG: Massive Action Game - an online shooter with up to 256 players split into 8 person squads and character growth through an advancement tree.

Tretton wrapped up the conference by telling the audience that - if this is what they could look forward to in year two of the PS3 - just imagine years three and beyond.

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