Sony’s E3 opens with a hush

If you have small children hovering about the screen, please tell them to turn away. Their innocent ears don’t need to be poisoned by what I’m about to vent. Are they gone? Good, because you’ll be as surprised as I was at the atrocious laughable future Sony laid out during their E3 2006 press conference tonight.

I endured the press cattle call at Sony studios not to hear about what’s next on PSP or what PS2 titles are in the queue for greatest hits status. I came to be wowed by the almighty Playstation 3 console. And I left feeling like Richard Gere picking up Rosie O’Donnell instead of Julia Roberts.

At what point in time did Sony feel the need to pilfer from their rivals? And that’s rivals with an “s” as in both Microsoft and Nintendo bent over to share their best. On November 17, your deep pockets will be able to choose from a $499 20GB hard-drive or a $599 60GB hard-drive Playstation 3 console. Sound familiar? It sure does to Microsoft and their two-tier Xbox 360 price model. And we all already knew about Sony’s plan for an Xbox Live rip-off online network. Should I feel privileged to have seen a boot-up screen for “Warhawk” full of potential micro-transactions? Far more interesting is “SingStar,” a European import where you can buy songs and then sing Karaoke to them. Gee, wow. I nearly shit myself with excitement at that prospect.

For your hard earned dollars you’ll get to use the all-new Playstation 3 controller that has abandoned the Bat-arang look for the same old Playstation design you’re using now with one caveat: it has a built in gyroscope ala Nintendo Wii’s controller. “Warhawk’s” producer looked like a total ass bobbing around the stage trying to control his fighter. And for the record, he missed most of his targets before landing the craft half hanging off a cliff. And you’ll be able to download old Playstation One titles onto your hard-drive and subsequently PSP as well. No formal thank you was given to Nintendo for either idea.

On the games side there were a couple hits, more bombs and some notable no-shows. “Metal Gear Solid 4” showed up again as a CGI trailer even more whack than last year’s. The game “Afrika” looks a lot like a trip to the San Diego wildlife preserve and not much else. “KillZone” for PS3? The game I was looking forward to seeing the most? Yeah right. Not even a single passing mention was made.

The good news ” from a certain select point of view – is a handful of Playstation 3 titles were available to play immediately following the conference, of which only a small handful of press members flocked towards to check out. Of those, “Heavenly Sword” shows the most promise ” even if its combative gameplay and scripted kill moves borrows heavily from “Prince of Persia.” “Bloodrayne’s” thirst for blood has got nothing on what this chick can dish out. KOEI’s “Fatal Interia” will no doubt be fun but for my dollar, racing futuristic cars through caverns isn’t a next-gen gaming experience. Incognito’s “Resistence: Fall of Man” is nothing more than an orgy of “Call of Duty 2” and “Halo 2,” however pleasing to the eye it may be. “Grand Turismo HD,” a beefed up GT4, looks incredibly crisp running at 1080p. Too bad under the hood it’s still GT4.

I’d mention “Genji 2” but swapping out fighters in real-time looked about as exciting as digging for ear wax.

You know things aren’t going well for Sony when the audience barely makes a noise after each announcement. The big bomb, the new-yet-old controller, hardly elicited a peep from the speechless and rightfully angered press contingent. What should have been cheers and jumping for joy was jumping up to get out the door. Not even free beer and M&M’s could get me to stick around any longer than necessary. Good luck, Sony. You may have pilfered from your rivals looking for the upper hand, but you forgot to take their new unturned cards into consideration. Prove me wrong on Wednesday and in the months ahead. Prove half a grand is worth more than a snazzy new Blu-ray Disc player and your competitor’s scraps. I dare you.

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