LOS ANGELES — The rumors were correct: Sony today introduced a new, smaller PSP with a sliding screen.
But Sony pulled out a few surprises, including exclusive PlayStation 3 titles and an early prototype motion controller that works with the PlayStation Eye camera accessory.
The wandlike controller going on sale in spring 2010 has a globe on one end that’s tracked by the Eye, which also captures images of the player and renders them inside a game on the screen. In a subtle dig at Microsoft’s Project Natal motion sensor, the Sony developers highlighted its potential with action games and said their experience with the Eye found that buttons are nice to have for titles such as shooting games that need a trigger.
Closer to reality is the new handheld. Called the PSP Go, it’s designed for “the digital media consumer,” said Kaz Hirai, executive vice president of Sony Networked Products & Services.
The $249 device, which goeson sale Oct. 1 in the U.S. is half the size of the original PSP and comes with 16 gigabytes of flash memory, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a slot for a memory card.
“Ultimately the PSP Go is one more proof point that PlayStation offers the future of entertainment,” Hirai said.
The device is also designed to make the PSP more of a media device, with new services and an application called “Sense Me,” which will analyze users’ music library and produce playlists “based on the moods you select.”
New games for the device include a version of the “Gran Turismo” racing franchise coming Oct. 1 and a “Metal Gear Solid” sequel in 2010.
“For users of digital content it represents an object of desire as well as an object of functionality,” Kirai said.
The original PSP will continue to be sold and the line’s being refreshed with a new pink colored “Hannah Montana” edition.
PlayStation boss Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, started Sony’s E3 press conference with jokes about all the press leaks about new hardware, then gave kudos to Seattle studios, including Sucker Punch and Zipper Interactive.
Sucker Punch’s “inFamous” is “this summer’s biggest blockbuster title,” he said.
That was followed shortly afterward by a full-size demo of Zipper’s “MAG,” with 256 players connected in Redmond, Los Angeles and San Diego to show the massively multiplayer online PS3 combat game going on sale this fall.
Tretton also announced a few new exclusives for the PS3, including espionage game “Agent” coming later this year from Rockstar North (won’t that confuse people with Sony Online’s “The Agency”?) and “Final Fantasy 14” from Square Enix coming in 2010.