Sony droppedthe flag on Tokyo Game Show season this week, confirming a long-tailed rumour of a new PlayStation 3 model.
New PlayStation 3 Slim
As is pretty typical when you have to herd confused journalists into small spaces, the conference kicked off a few minutes late. SCEJ president Hiroshi Kawano took the stage to greet guests, before handing off to SCE worldwide president Andrew House. The first order of business was the long-rumoured PlayStation 3 "super slim" as I've unofficially dubbed it.
House said the new model is half the size of the original "fat" PS3; it's about a quarter lighter than the current Slim.
The new console model will be available as soon as this month. The price of the Super Slim remains the same as existing models, but available HDD space is increased. A 500GB model replaces the existing 320 GB in the same price bracket, with a 250GB model doing the same for the 160GB. A 12GB black model with optional mount for an external SSD, or upgradable with 250GB Sony HDD, is apparently coming only to Europe.
In Japan, both consoles drop on October 4. The 500GB model comes only in black and goes for ¥29,980. The 250GB model comes in Charcoal Black and Classic White for ¥24,980.
In the US, only the black model will be released, and apparently only as a bundle; the 250GB model arrives on September 25 for $270, bundled with Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception - Game of the Year Edition. It includes all DLC and some bonus features for Naughty Dog's epic; the package also includes $30 worth of DUST 514 DLC.
In Europe, again, only the black model will be released, but in a slightly weirder fashion. The 500GB model will cost €299 in a bundle with FIFA 13 come September 28. That's straight forward enough, but rather than opt for a 250GB bundle, Europe will receive a 12GB version. Owners cna then purchase a mount to attach an external SSD, or upgrade via an official PlayStation 250GB HDD.
PS3, PSP and Vita
The rest of the presentation was a sort of random attack on news for all three curent Sony consoles. Moving onto the Vita first, House said PlayStation Mobile will kick off formally on October 3, with Sharp and Fujitsu joining a list of manufacturers certified for the platform.
House re-confirmed that PS Plus is coming to Vita, from November. It won't cost you any extra if you've already joined for the PS3 - $50 per year. He also briefly mentioned the Gaikai acquisition, noting that Sony is powering ahead with cloud services, but said Sony can't make any announcements yet.
Showing a long reel of Vita and PlayStation 3 games - many of which have not been confirmed for the west - Sony celebrated the upcoming 15th anniversary of Hot Shots (Everybody's) Golf, which will spawn a special bundle.
Lots of third-party games were highlighted by the sizzle reel, including Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which is unusually getting a Japanese sim-ship alongside the international launch in November. Another surprise Japanese launch is Rocksmith.
Sony then began talking about Wonderbook so I tuned out a little. When I surfaced again, Kawano was pimping the Sony Entertainment Network, which includes the PSN along with Music Unlimited and is available on a wide variety of Sony devices (including TVs). He also mentioned a couple of services like Torne and Hulu, none of which have anything to do with games nor seemed to produce any actual news beyond a Japan-only TV recording device.
Moving on, SCEJ paused to pay tribute to the PSP, which stayed vital in Japan long after we mostly forgot about it elsewhere in the world. A new range of colours is on the way, as are a number of new games; we're not likely to see either. The handheld is getting a price cut in Japan, too.
The console's big brother, the Vita, returned to the spotlight. Kawano highlighted Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F as a marked success for the system, and introduced Samurai & Dragons. It's a free-to-play title from Sega announced late last year.
PSOne Classics were passed over briefly, before Kawano moved onto Cross features, showing off how the Vita can be used like a PS3 controller for LittleBigPlanet 2 (Cross Controller); how you can share saves between the two devices in Sound Shapes (Cross Save); and how multiplayer can work between both consoles in PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale (Cross Play).
Oh and hello, what's this? Japan's getting two new Vita colours - Sapphire Blue and Cosmic Red. Both seem to be slightly transparent; backlit, they appeared kind of warmly pastel if that makes sense, but this photo shows them looking fairly boldly coloured. They arrive on November 15 - in Japan.
It looks like the Vita's getting keen on entertainment services; we saw a Nico Nico app and a comic viewer. After showing off a couple of likely Japan-only releases through the presentation, SCEJ began talking to the western gaming fans in its audiences, showing off Call of Duty: Black Ops - Declassified.
Keiji Inafune took the stage next to talk about Soul Sacrifice. The RPG has been delayed to northern spring 2013 for polishing, but there'll be a demo over the next few months.
I saw a little gameplay footage through Sony's disappointingly murky off-screen feed (well really, in this day and age) and it sure looked like an action RPG. Some of the monster designs were amazing - a huge sea monster with a human face - and also flipping enormous. It ticked a lot of my boxes.
Valhalla Knights 3 was the next title on show; the first two games released on PSP, and another turned up on Wii. The franchise has been quiet since 2009 but Marvellous is bringing it back for Vita after starting out on PSP. The developer made a fuss about adding more boobs this time.
Marvellous is also working on Shinobi Versus - well, the slide and logo said Shinovi but I'm almost certain that's a romaji error. It's due in Japan in late February. It's got another one coming too - Oboromuramasa, which arrives at the end of March, and also began as a PSP game. Marvellous showed only still logos for both of these, unfortunately.
Hilariously, when Tecmo Koei took the stage, the microphone had stopped working. Everybody knew what was coming anyway; a Vita game from the Warriors team, Omega Force. It's called Toukiden, and it's due in 2013 on both PSP and Vita, which is weird.
Namco Bandai then showed off a new Gundam game for Vita and PS3, apparently, but Sony politely pointed the camera at the wall during this bit. The screens which followed showed a third-person action effort with an emphasis on destruction which, if the franchise's history is anything to go by, we will never see outside Japan.
Gods Eater 2, which was revealed as a Vita and PSP release in Famitsu this week, was up next. Interestingly, it looks like it might support Ad Hoc multiplayer between the two systems, a thing I did not even realise was possible.
The rest of the Vita's substantial upcoming third-party slate was mercifully passed over with a page of logos. Kawano hyped the crowded release schedule along with PSOne Classics, presumably as a remedy to Vita's "where are the games" criticism.
Speaking of, Sony re-iterated its Tokyo Game Show lineup, including 15 PlayStation Mobile titles, and particularly noting the much anticipated Soul Sacrifice.