So Sony held their Tokyo Game Show 2012 press conference earlier tonight and as always happens at TGS, much of what was said had little relevance for non-Japanese gamers, such as talk of the Karaoke service that is offered only in Japan. Other examples include included a price drop for the PSP in Japan only (where the system remains a strong seller), a number of new PSP games that will likely never reach Stateside because they are on the PSP in the first place, and a new Manga reader for the Vita that will also almost certainly never move beyond Japanese shores.
As such I will be restricting this recap mostly to the information relevant to the rest of us outside of the US. Sony opened the conference with confirmation of the much rumored redesign for the PS3. The size and weight of this new model will be around half of the original fat model of the system and 25% less than the current slim model. The as-yet-unnamed new model will come in both black and white and will feature 250Gb and 500Gb hard-drive models. Each region will see its own version of the new model along with different bundles as well. The full break down follows:
First confirmed back in August, Sony announced that the PlayStation Plus subscription service will arrive on the Vita in November. Still no word on details of exactly what this will entail beyond the vague promise of free games, discounts, integration with the PS3′s entertainment options, and other bonuses. They did at least confirm that PS Plus subscriptions will be universal for both PS3 and the PS Vita, so no need to worry about having to pay for the service twice. While details remain scarce, considering how good of a job Sony has done overall with PS Plus on PS3 (especially lately), I remain optimistic about its arrival on Vita.
Continuing with the Vita, Sony also unveiled two new colors for the system: red and blue. With the black Vita from the system’s launch and the soon-to-be-released white Vita, this now brings the system’s total color options up to four. At least for Japanese gamers since for the foreseeable future the red and blue Vitas will be restricted to Japan only. The white Vita meanwhile will launch alongside Assassin’s Creed Liberation in North America on October 30th.
Moving on, Sony also used this event to speak for the first time about their acquisition of cloud-gaming service Gaikai (think Hulu but for games) earlier this July. Andrew House, Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, spoke in glowing terms about what this acquisition means for Sony’s future, both in the gaming industry and the large entertainment media, going forward. He also confirmed the plan for Sony to launch a new cloud service using Gaikai tech and manpower and that plans were to launch said service ‘soon’. No word if said launch would be limited to Japan at this time.
Sony also took time to announce that the long promised PlayStation Store for PlayStation Mobile will finally launch on October 3. The service will be available at first in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Italy, Spain, Germany and France on this date, with the intent for further expansion into more countries soon. The mobile PS Store will initially feature a selection of 30 games at launch, ranging in price from 50 yen (approximately $0.63) to 850 yen (approximately $10.77) including tax. No specifics on what games will be included in that 30 was give, although Sony did state that titles will be developed by third party developers in addition to Sony’s worldwide studios. They also stated their hope for additional releases as frequently as they can manage.
As an addendum to the previous announcement, Sony also unveiled the PlayStation Mobile Developer Program whose current release date is set for sometime in November. This program will allow developers to obtain access the PlayStation Mobile SDK (software development kit) in order to create their own games to distribute on the PlayStation Store for PlayStation Certified mobile devices and the Vita. The Developer Program will roll out in 11 countries and will be available for a subscription fee of 99 dollars yearly. It was also announced that Fujitsu and Sharp will join PlayStation Certified, which in turn will open PlayStation Mobile to a truly massive amount of new mobile devices worldwide, no more so than in Japan.
There was also talk of the Wonderbook. … Moving on.
In regards to actual news on specific games, perhaps the biggest reveal was the fact that Keiji Inafune’s extremely violent and gory monster hunting co-op game Soul Sacrifice has been delayed until in Japan until sometime in 2013. This in turn of course means that the already-listed-as-2013 Western release has also been pushed further back as well. A demo of the game is intended for launch sometime this winter. No word was given regarding if said demo will be limited to Japan only.
Among the news titles revealed was a new Gundam game that instead of ‘real’ Gundams, will put players in control of the numerous model variations released in Japan over the decades. The game in practice looked somewhat akin to a Lego title and was also absolutely adorable. Which in turn means its chances of release outside of Japan are likely are almost zill since that seems to be the way these things always go.
Another new game announced that had better see a Stateside release was a Vita remake of the Wii game Muramasa: Demon Blade. For those who never played this criminally overlooked game, Muramasa is a unbelievably gorgeous Metroidvania title that featured gameplay almost as fun as the graphics were breathtaking. Sony is promising DLC down the line for the game, which will arrive for the Vita in Japan on March 28, 2013. A US release has yet to be confirmed so let us all keep our fingers crossed on this one.
Also unveiled was a new IP by the name of Toukiden from Tecmo Koei and Omega Force (the people responsible for the Dynasty Warriors games) that, in Japan at least, will see both a PSP and Vita release. The two versions of the game will feature identical content but the Vita release will include upgraded graphics and a supposedly improved interface and control scheme.
Valhalla Knights 3 for the Vita was also announced. From what I remember, and my time playing those games is hazy at best no doubt as a defense mechanism for my sanity, the first two Valhalla Knights games released on PSP threatened to destroy my will to live completely. Valhalla Knights 2 in particular. So you can imagine how thrilled the announcement of a new game in this series leaves me. Still, I know the series (somehow) has its fans and I wish them all happiness with the game once it is released. As long as they keep it far, far, far away from me.
Look for more details, screenshots, and footage/trailers of the games spotlighted in the Sony press conference in a separate post to follow after this one later tonight. And in the meantime, be sure to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.