In its final announcement, SCEE announced the PlayTV, a combined TV tuner and personal video recorder (PVR) for the PS3. It will be available in UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain early in 2008, with other territories to follow course.
Designed to reinforce PS3’s rightful place in the Living Room at the heart of the home entertainment needs, the twin channel TV tuner peripheral and PVR software turns PS3 into a state of the art TV recorder, allowing users to watch, pause and record live TV. PlayTV will also record individual programmes or whole series1 to the PS3 hard drive for viewing later on the family TV, or for transferring to the PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) for remote viewing outside of the home.
Operating on the widely available Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial (DVB-T) format, PlayTV uses an incredibly quick and easy to use 7-day Electronic Programme Guide EPG2. that provides the navigation for programming the PVR features of PlayTV.
In line with PlayStation’s focus on advanced technology made easy, PlayTV provides a host of added value features seldom seen on anything but the highest cost standalone PVRs:
- PlayTV’s two TV tuners are High Definition ready and are able to view, record and play back High Definition signals in full HD1080P to fully complement PS3’s already impressive High Definition credentials.
- Unlike the electronic programme guides found on conventional satellite and cable services, PlayTV’s EPG is lightning fast, and simple to use with either PS3’s SIXAXIS™ wireless controller or the BD remote control to really enhance viewing pleasure.
- Intuitive controls, single button help features, tutorial videos and simple navigation make PlayTV a positive joy to use compared with the complexity of some standalone PVR models
- Seamless connectivity with PSP allows you to set recordings, watch Live TV and recorded TV programmes remotely on PSP via a Wi-Fi connection (using Remote Play feature). Alternatively, quickly transcode recorded TV shows for high quality viewing to PSP by USB cable for remote viewing away from the home.
- Optional on-screen graphical display provides a wealth of information about the status of PlayTV and provides quick access to programme information, stored TV programmes and the controls to pause or record live TV. PlayTV will also set the correct interface for either Standard Definition or High Definition displays, maximising the viewing experience.
- PlayTV will evolve with time, with great added value functionality being updated via PLAYSTATION®Network; a feature that sets it above all other set top boxes. PlayTV will never be out of date.
No pricing details were announced.
FIFA, EA and SCEE have announced the new season of the FIFA Interactive World Cup, the world’s only officially FIFA sanctioned global football gaming competition. Participants across the world will compete using FIFA 08 on the PS3.
The tournament will kick off early in October 27 and will culminate in the Grand Final in Berlin’s Sony Centre in May 2008. This year, players will be able to compete at one of more than 20 physical FIWC 08 Qualifier Events across the globe or online via the PlayStation Network in over 25 countries. Finalists will compete to be crowned the ultimate champion and win a cash prize of USD 20,000.
Interested players can find more details and register on the tournament’s official website.
In another announcement, SCEE announced Buzz!: Quiz TV, a quiz title for PS3 that will be available through Blu-ray in March 2008 featuring 5000 questions divided into five channels – music, movies and TV, sports, knowledge and lifestyle.
The game will let players download additional quiz packs through the PlayStation Store. It will also support online multiplayer gaming, letting users take part in leagues and tournaments. Finally, users will be able to write and share their own quizzes which can be created, played and rated via PC as well as PS3.
As stated above, the game is set for release during March 2008.
SCEE also announced that the PSP Slim and Lite will be available across all SCEE territories from September 5 onwards for €169.
Exclusive to the region for a limited time will be two limited edition PSP bundles. First up is the Spiderman bundle which includes a PSP in Spiderman Red and Black and a copy of the Spider-Man 2 game and a Spider-Man 3 Blu-ray disc. The other bundle will come in a “fetching” shade of Simpsons Yellow, which will come bundled with The Simpsons game. Both bundles will be available for €199.99.
In its third announcement, SCEE unveiled Go!Messenger, a wireless communications package for PSP due for release in January 2008 across Europe.
Utilising the very latest in VOIP technology, PSP users can now keep in touch with each other, for free, from any wireless internet connection. As part of a future firmware upgrade, Go! Messenger places a small application on PSP’s XMB (XrossMediaBar), which can be downloaded separately from the web and installed to the Memory Stick, and PSP owners will be able to instant message (IM) each other when connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot, using a new and intuitive on-screen keyboard. By adding a headset, voice chat and voice messaging becomes possible, and by connecting Go!Cam, the attachable video camera for PSP, users also have the ability to make video calls to their friends and leave fun video and voice messages.
The Go!Messenger suite of communications tools will become a key part of the PSP owner’s busy lifestyle, enabling a variety of communications options to help them stay in touch with their friends, and truly bringing the entertainment potential of PSP to life.
SCEE also announced that it will launch a video download service for the PSP in Europe in partnership with British Sky Broadcasting. The Go! Branded service will launch early next year and will offer millions of PSP owners the opportunity to turn their device into a personalized library of programs to enjoy.
The service will launch with a selection of programs from Sky, spanning sports, entertainment, movies, music and animation. Additionally, non-Sky videos will also be offered through third-parties. Customers will be able to download content through their PSPs Wi-fi connection or through a PC.
No pricing details were mentioned. It also wasn’t detailed if the service would launch elsewhere as well.
At its press conference at the Leipzig Games Convention, SCEE unveiled GO!Explore, a new satellite navigation package for PSP, due for release early next year. The company has collaborated with market leaders TeleAtlas and NavNGo to create a pedestrian GPS application for the PSP which includes a GPS receiver and software UMD containing the chosen maps.
Go!Explore supports 11 unique audio languages on every geographic version and will offer access to upgradeable Maps & Points of Interest that can be purchased via the PlayStation Network. Here are the main features:
- Multiple Languages 11 languages
- Find & Go Easy Search & Smart Keyboard
- Smart Zoom Automatic Zooming & Tilting
- Explore Map Search & Explore the map
- Points Of Interest 100 categories, with thousands of locations
- My Data Favourites, Home, History
- Route Settings Fastest/Shortest; Day/Night Mode;
- Improved Graphics 3D city maps & 3D landmarks;
- Customizable settings Customizable Route Settings & Visuals
- Itinerary Mode Turn-by-turn overview
* 7 geographic versions confirmed (with country maps, hundreds of 3D landmarks and thousands of POIs available) :
UK/Ireland; Iberia; France; Germany/Austria/Switzerland; Italy; Benelux; Scandinavia
Owners of the PPS in the UK and Ireland will soon be able to view on-demand video on the Sony console, thanks to a joint venture company set up by SCEE and SKY.
The company, with equal board level representation from either company, will offer a video download service offering a wealth of video and film content to more than 2.3 million PSP users in the region. The company is also in talks to extend the service to other European countries.
More information on the service will be announced at the Leipzig Games Convention on August 22.
The fifth annual Develop Industry Excellence Awards was held to honor the visionaries behind the greatest games in the gaming industry. Voted for by an independent panel of industry experts, this year’s winners include Motorstorm (PS3), Crush (PSP), Crackdown (Xbox 360) and many other titles. In all, there were 17 different companies and individuals claiming the 18 awards.
Evolution Studio’s PS3-exclusive racer and Zoe Mode’s Crush picked up the best new IP awards, while Traveller’s Tales picked up best indie developer and best use of a license for Lego Star Wars II. Test Drive Unlimited by Eden Games picked up the best use of online award, while Rare’s Viva Pinata grabbed the award for visual arts. Other winners include Sega, Ubisoft, NCSoft and many more. Below is the full winners list:
New Console IP
MotorStorm (Evolution/SCEE External Development)
New Handheld IP
Crush (Zoe Mode)
Best Use of a Licence
Lego Star Wars II (Traveller’s Tales)
Rare (Viva Pinata)
Real Time Worlds (Crackdown)
Best Use of Online
Eden Studios (Test Drive Unlimited)
Services & Outsourcing
New UK Studio
In an interview on semi-official Sony blog Three Speech, SCEE president David Reeves has said that they did consider a price cut in Europe, but that it was too early for it and would “annoy a lot of people.”
“We’ve only been on the market for three and a bit months,” he said. “Our thought process was ‘wait a minute, we’re actually not doing too badly – we’re not selling as well as Wii or DS – but seasonality-wise, compared to, say, PS2 at the same time we launched it in 2001, we’re actually doing quite well on a regional level’.”
He then went on to say that the UK is a unique market in the region, claiming that it leads to more intensive price wars. Also of note in the interview is the fact that he’s considering Q4 2008 – Christmas 08, specifically – as the real battleground for the console wars.
“I think each peak is crucial to maximise what you can do, but I don’t think this Christmas is necessarily the most critical one – I think that’s going to be Christmas 08. I see this more as kind of like a tsunami – it starts small and gathers speed, and eventually, after four or five years, it will start to take you over. At least, that’s the way we’ve mapped it out.”