SONY PLAY STATION PLUS: move release details and 3D game lineup at E3

ooks like Sony has been saving up announcements for E3 with the company revealing a number of PlayStation-related nuggets at the annual computer and video game trade show in Los Angeles. The announcements include the details of a premium subscription service for the PlayStation Network (PSN) called PlayStation Plus, release details for Sony’s motion controller – the PlayStation Move – and a list of upcoming games, including 3D compatible titles, headed for the console. Sony has taken a leaf out of Microsoft’s book and will begin charging for a new premium service on the PSN. Sony says the service will include access to content including games, game add-ons, avatars and dynamic themes. Plus members will also get exclusive discounts on PlayStation Store content each month as well as early access to selected game beta trials and demos. Full Game Trial The service will also allow members to try games before they buy. Full Game Trial allows users to download selected games in full and play them for a limited period of time before deciding whether to buy them. If they do decide to buy the game, progress and the trophies earned during the trial will be unlocked and saved so gamers can pick up from where they left off. Automatic Downloads PlayStation Plus members will also be able to take advantage of a new Automatic Downloads feature that lets users set their PS3 to wake itself up and download demos and game and system software updates. This will allow users to take advantage of any off-peak quota their Internet plan may have. Although it will be accessible on both PS3 and PSP systems, the service cannot be joined from a PSP and Full Game Trial and Automatic Download won’t be available on the handheld console.
The PlayStation Plus service will be available from June 29, 2010 and will cost US$17.99, 14.99 euro or GBP11.99 for 90 days access or US$49.99, 49.99 euro or GBP39.99 for a year’s subscription. Sony also announced that its motion controller designed to get gamers to stop twiddling their thumbs and get off the couch will be available from September 15 in Europe and September 19 in North America. Sony is touting the Move as the world’s first 1:1 motion gaming platform and it looks set to beat the Xbox Kinect to store shelves by a couple of weeks. There will be 16 dedicated Move titles available at launch with 40 more to arrive in the following months. PlayStation Move titles include Sports Champions, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, Time Crisis: Razing Storm and Toy Story 3: The Videogame. Sony is offering the Move motion controller in a variety of options: PlayStation Move motion controller – a standalone controller priced at US$49.99. PlayStation Move Bundle – includes a PlayStation Move motion controller, a PlayStation Eye camera, Sports Champions Blu-ray game and PlayStation Move game demo disc for US$99.99. PlayStation 3 Sports Champion Move Bundle – an introductory package for PS3 newcomers that includes a PS3 system, a PlayStation Move motion controller, a PlayStation Eye camera, Sports Champions Blu-ray game and PlayStation Move game demo disc for US$399.99. The PlayStation Move navigation controller (think the Wii’s nunchuk controller) and the PlayStation Eye camera will be available for US$29.99 and $39.99 respectively, while a charging station for charging two Move or navigation controllers at once will be available for US$29.99. Sony will also release a PlayStation Move “Shooting Attachment” – or in other words a gun. The attachment snaps directly onto a Move controller to form a light gun that can be used in upcoming games such as The Shoot! and Time Crisis: Razing Storm. Although Sony is pushing its PS3 as the device that does it all, it is still primarily viewed as a gaming console.
So it was good to see a stack of new titles headed for the PS3 with a spotlight on 3D compatible titles. These include MotorStorm Apocalypse, Killzone 3, The Sly Raccoon Collection, Crysis 2, Mortal Kombat 9, Shaun White Skateboarding, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Tron 2: Evolution The Game and perennial upcoming release Gran Turismo 5. Those who already have a 3D TV and can’t wait for these games to hit the shelves can head to the PlayStation Store and download the 3D Collection pack that includes 3D-enabled versions of PAIN, SuperStardust HD, WipEout HD (not including the Fury DLC) and a demo of MotorStorm Pacific Rift. Anyone who has already bought the games can upgrade them to 3D via a free patch. The PS3 is capable of playing 3D games now, thanks to a previous firmware update, and 3D Blu-ray movie playback capability will be added via an update later this year.  Those without a 3D TV or a PlayStation Move controller haven’t been forgotten either. Upcoming titles include Twisted Metal, inFamous 2, Killzone 3, Mortal Kombat 9 and Metal Gear Solid: Rising on the PS3, and Invizimals: Shadow Zone, EyePet, God of War: Ghost of Sparta and Patapon 3 for the PSP. And wouldn’t you know it.