At an opening day keynote at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Sony Corporation Chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer discussed Sony's plans for 2006, including the release of the PlayStation 3, the integration of the firm's LocationFree technology into the PlayStation Portable, and its vision of the "virtual multimedia world of tomorrow."
Though previously announced, the keynote gave a brief demonstration of Sony's LocationFree TV
technology - a device that enables local broadcast viewing worldwide via an internet connection - running on a PSP unit. The technology, says Sony, will allow users to, for example, watch American television programs from London. "Though why would you want to?" joked Welsh wit Stringer.
Sony Computer Entertainment America CEO Kaz Hirai joined Stringer toward the end of the discussion to show video footage of PlayStation 3 software in action, which included some previously-seen footage, but a number of new unspecified titles, with the mix including Sony's own Formula 1
title, the dragon-related Lair
project by Factor 5, and a behind-the-plane shooter.
Hirai also revealed that over four thousand PlayStation 3 development kits have been shipped to game developers, though no names were disclosed. Disappointingly, no live gameplay of the console was shown, and no specific release date was pinpointed for Sony's next-gen video game system other than "later this year", perhaps shifting even the console's Japanese debut past the original 'spring' announcement.
Finally, Sony announced that the PlayStation 2 had experienced a 10.5% year-over-year gain in holiday sales, indicating that it was the only (presumably non-portable) platform in the video game industry with positive growth from the 2004 season, compared to Nintendo's Gamecube and Microsoft's obviously-superceded Xbox.
Beyond gaming, the keynote also highlighted a number of additional new products, including the Sony Reader - a portable, easy to use electronic display that simulates the look and feel of reading a printed book - and the W810 cell phone, featuring digital music playback and a 2.0 megapixel camera.
Gamasutra will have more from CES, including multiple write-ups of the game development related panels that took place at the show, in the near future.