Today was the day that the conference really got going. The exhibition was open and we had the first keynote presentation.
Before the presentation we played a kind of football, bouncing a large ball into goals each side of the auditorium. Our side lost. Then it was on with the show. This one was from Sony, who make the awesomely powerful (so they keep telling us) PS3. Very little that I've seen of the PS3 has convinced me of this power.
With the exception of MotorStorm and some tech demos there has been little that has impressed me about this machine so far. Namco should be singled out for an especially big kicking at this point, their PS3 versions of Tekken and Ridge Racer are a textbook exercise in lazy launch coding. I can understand the pressures that they must be under, but I still can't see an excuse for serving up poor rehashes of previously great games. Anyhoo, I digress.
Fortunately today the talk was not pixel pushing power, but community. Things kicked off with a description of the Home service. This is not an old BBC radio channel, but a virtual world of take on your personal space on the PS3.
You can wander through an advertising adorned 3D environment, select and position furniture and Sony products around the place and generally make your pretend existence and appearance better than the one you have at home. There is a community area too where you can play pool better than in real life, and a place to put the trophies from all the games you've bought.
There was no evidence of a world between these virtual spaces, so whether you can walk across rolling hills and ford babbling brooks to get to your friends pad for a spot of low quality Tekken remains to be seen, but if Sony get their act together on this one I can see property values in Second Life taking a bit of a downturn.
At the end of the talk was the best bit. The game "Little Big Planet" takes social gameplay, realtime physics and the rendering power of the PS3 and creates a really fun place to be where you can build and modify the game environment as you play the game. This did look good, and had a Nintendo like appeal, in that I could actually see a game that was using the technology to make new kinds of gameplay experience.
At the end of the presentation I must admit that I'm now quite happy to be getting a PS3, something that I wasn't too sure of when I went in...