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GDC: Phil Harrison keynote - full report

PlayStation Home, Little Big Planet and giant footballs

We've arrived in the overly-purple Sony conference room where a bizarre mix of Nirvana and Eminem is pumping from the stage. We sort of like it.

Sony has resorted to desperate tactics; giant PlayStation footballs have fallen from the ceiling and the audience is battering them around like it's a Chilli festival. There's even goals projected on the walls! Let's hope this doesn't turn out to be the most amusing part of the day.

Alright, we can't fight the cynicism any more; this is brilliant. The big screens have separated both sides of the room into two teams and we're winning 14-12. We're taking our shirts off and jumping in head first...

If only Genji was this amusing. Goal!

Fun over, a Sony man has taken the stage. "If knowledge is power..." this bloke is a bit like Morpheus.

Big Phil is introduced, takes the stage. "Thankyou for taking part in our pre-conference entertainment, and well done Team B." Yeah!

Says Time magazine calling "you" person of the year was a pivotal moment for the internet, or "web 2.0". Google, MySpace, Digg etc on screen. "This is what we want to do with game 3.0", says Harrison.

Game 1.0: The disconnected console, static game disc or cart. Game 2.0: The connected console, Game 3.0: The connected console with dynamic content. Unsurprisingly, DS is listed as 2.0 and PSP as 3.0.

PlayStation Home confirmed, launching later this year and runs directly from the PS3 cross media bar.

Producer for Home introduced to the stage, dons a headset. Trouble ahead: "can we bring up the PlayStation 3 please?" It's crashing. "Don't you just love software that's still work in progress?" says Phil.

Home boots up, ambient electro music. A realistic avatar walking around a room - he has a virtual PSP!

Phil is buying clothing, says games will unlock specific stuff. Phil puts on a Singstar t-shirt. There's also realistic face moulding, a bit like Star Wars Galaxies, if you remember it.

In-game ads via virtual video screens. Other PS3 users are running around, looks a bit like an MMO. There's a virtual keyboard to type messages - Scott the producer accidently calls the other bloke a "ho", as apposed to saying hi.

Pool table; you can walk staright up to it and play physics-based pool, along with bowling. There's even an arcade - this looks quite cool.

You can invite friends into your apartment with the virtual PSP. Phil does a bit of interior decorating. Even the furniture is physics-based. Apparently you can put any image from your hard drive on the wall.

"time for some user-created content." Phil takes a picture of the audience, plugs the camera in to the PS3, only to realise it's the wrong one. "Imagine I just put the picture on the wall." OK, Phil.

Music and video can be streamed to other users. Phil places a Sony Bravia into the house and plays a Casino Royal trailer. It's all very Sony.

Phil's now moved to the movie theatre, where user-created content and movie trailers will be available to watch. It's just like a real cinema with lobbies, snack aisles etc.

You can visit areas assigned to specific companies; EA, Rockstar THQ etc are shown as options.

Phil enters the trophy room, which has 3D trophies you can arrange for certain game tasks. A bit like achievements, then. The trophy room is epic; it looks like the council hall from Star Wars.

Home presentation over. We're impressed. Large-scale beta trial begins next month, with full launch currently planned for fall 2007. Oh, and it's all free by the way.

"Lets move on to another game which we think embodies the game 3.0 idea." It's Singstar. Phil brings the online store on screen to show how it works - it all looks very similar to what we saw at E3.

Lots of shopping carts, streaming video and customisation options, such as being able to change the wallpaper on the GUI. It's coming out in May/June in Europe, and later in the US.

Another very exciting product now, apparently. But first, Phil announces that at 2:30 today Sony will be presenting PlayStation Edge, which is core Sony technologies that will be shared with developers, no matter who devs are working for (Other than Microsoft, we're assuming)

"Anyone who's interested in PS3 game development I would very much encourage to go along".

Little Big Planet revealed, it's from the guys who did Ragdoll Kung-Fu on Steam.

We just spotted "Killzone GDC" listed on screen. See!

Little Big Planet dev brought on stage. A tiny, freakish teddy bear is on screen - he's quite cute. It looks like a bit of a building game; everything is made from real-world materials.

He's got a mate now, and they're all building stuff like trees, giant fruit etc. You can bring in any picture from your hard drive and stick them to things. They're decorating the cloth walls with houses, suns and a crazy king.

They've made themselves a Wilson-esque friend now. He's basically a big orange with eyes and stars coming out of his head. This is looks fun!

"If you want to sit down with a bit more time you can basically make an entire game level," says Little Big Planet man. To prove it they've loaded up a garden, it looks a bit like a side-scrolling race setup.

They're all clambering over cloth blocks, knocking things over and generally causing mischief. They're using objects to build a staircase now; the audience is impressed.

They've all picked up jetpacks tethered to a tree. It's all very co-operative. This level is massive, and all created using the tools we saw at the beginning; apparently you can bring up tools and tag stuff even as you're playing.

For the finally they're all on a giant skateboard going down a ramp, with a photo finish. This looks brilliant and the audience obviously agrees. The PS3's first must-have?

Looks like you can publish your levels online so that other people can play it, comment, vote etc. It all looks very much like YouTube.

Thank you very much for your attention says Phil, and the footballs are back out.

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