Sony at E3 2010: the highlights

After first criticising "the competition" (Microsoft) for charging users $50 a year for access to online gaming, Sony's Jack Tretton then announced its own premium content channel - for $50 a year.

Of course, Sony will continue to let PS3 owners play online for free, unlike Microsoft, but what you're getting with PlayStation Plus is lots of value added content hidden behind a paywall.

Your $50 gets you options to "expand and enhance" gaming features, like access to beta tests of upcoming releases, full PSN games and PS Minis, and discounts through PlayStation Store promotions.

It'll also add increased functionality to PSN, enabling "automatic downloads" of games, content and patches. If you're one of the people who didn't just sign into PlayStation Network once then go back to Xbox Live, it sounds like a nice deal.

Initial subscribers get themselves WipEout HD plus two PlayStation Minis for "free" - although your freebies will only be usable "for the duration of your subscription," so if you cancel your package you'll lose it all.

The car's the star (for the third E3 running)

The final killer announcement as far as long-suffering Gran Turismo fans were concerned, was an actual, definitely-going-to-happen-now release date for GT5, a game which first appeared on PS3 in public demo form way back in March of 2008.

Gran turismo 5

Gran Turismo 5 release date is, in North America at least, 2 November 2010 - and will be fully playable in 3D. Which goes some way to explaining the rather long wait. Gran Turismo 5 UK release date UK is also November, although the exact day is yet to be confirmed.

And thanks no doubt in part to know it was finally about to get GT5 out of the way and stop people on the internet laughing about its endless delays, Sony managed to exude a quiet confidence about everything it displayed at this year's E3.

The understated delivery of Triple-A game after Triple-A game was in stark contrast to the Sony of previous years - and indeed rather refreshing compared to Microsoft's choreographed whooping and cheering from the previous day.

Sony also used a remix of Reel 2 Reel's 'Move It' on its PlayStation Move game compilation trailer, which always gets the heart pumping and the synapses firing.

That might explain why we enjoyed Sony's show so much last night, but we think it was more to do with its emphasis on having a wide range of software for all its users, rather than an odd focus on one peculiar current trend.

And there were release dates and prices, which made it all feel so... real. Sony has a plan now, and it's looking like a good one.