E3 2006: The Final Word on PlayStation

How did the PS2, PSP, and PlayStation 3 fare at this year's show? We analyze the aftermath.

It was one of the biggest, most anticipated videogame shows ever and now it's over. The 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo was quite a circus this year as Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii expanded upon the hints first dropped during 2005's big reveals, while Microsoft continued to build on a next-generation it's already a part of. Likewise, the PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS continued their heated battle for handheld recognition while the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube maintained their presence on the floor.

But what does it all mean? Weeks after the event, and with plenty of time to reflect, your pals here on the IGN PlayStation Team have decided to get together and make sense of it all. Did Sony continue the buzz it created at last year's show with the PS3? Did the PSP finally show the software we've been waiting for? Is the PlayStation 2 still the biggest and most diverse development platform out there? In the following article, we'll answer all those questions and more -- as we understand how Sony did and where its successes and failures will take it in the remaining year.

Kaz Hirai talks specs on the world's largest 1080p screen.

Surprises and Expectations
In last year's "battle of the press conferences," Sony undoubtedly took first prize. The worldwide unveiling of the PlayStation 3 was handled with a great deal of flare, had plenty of bells and whistles, and gave the promise of a very powerful gaming future. It would be hard for those who attended the event to deny that the Japanese first party made a very good account of itself. The tech demos, the game trailers... they were all extremely well done; the editorial staff here in the IGN offices couldn't wait to see what the future would hold.

Naturally, it's hard to follow up on a presentation like that and the 2006 version of the conference certainly didn't leave us with the same feeling. The presentation that everyone had been waiting for all year long started almost 45 minutes late -- a precursor to other time-consuming disappointments like the GT HD presentation that ran far too long (and honestly wasn't needed) and a Genji demo that didn't highlight the key new aspects of the sequel. It was also curious that popular titles from last year's show like Killzone and Devil May Cry 4 weren't shown in any capacity whatsoever, and that the PlayStation 2 software (of which, there are lots of strong ones) wasn't talked about. Oh, and what was the deal with the previously-Sony-exclusive Grand Theft Auto IV getting announced at the Microsoft press conference a day after Sony's?

Phil Harrison and Ken Kutaragi show off the new controller.

Damaged expectations can be a powerful thing for sure, but as disappointed as we may have been with Sony's presentation, the information available there was actually better than most give it credit for. The most talked about revelation, of course, was the launch day (November 17, 2006) and the fact that there are two different systems available for purchase (a $500 model with a 20GB HDD and a $600 model with a 60GB HDD). While it really came as no surprise how expensive the system will eventually be, the fact that it was announced so early was a bit of a shocker. Admittedly, we all were a bit disappointed that the 20GB PS3 would lose wi-fi capabilities, HDMI support, and the card reader, but Phil Harrison told us later in an interview that those things can be added as options later.

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