Sony just won E3. That’s the simple answer to the above question. How was their conference? Truly? Pretty freaking fantastic. Sony was big, bold, decisive, and probably just won over a ton of new buyers by doing the things Microsoft has been very vocal about not doing.
No used game restrictions (see below video for explanation), no required internet connection, and if the Gaikai powered Cloud service works the way it should, backwards compatibility. Oh, and did I mention it’s priced at $399, a hundred dollars cheaper than the Xbox One?
Sony’s Press Conference, above all else, felt exactly like a Sony Press Conference, only bigger. Which is, of course, both a good and bad thing. This means that Sony did stray into some schematics and business information that most people don’t care about, as well as spending too much time on Sony Pictures, the movie and TV side of the PS4.
However, even with their minor shortcomings, Sony won this year’s E3 by a landslide by giving gamers almost everything they’ve been asking for.
Despite spending some unnecessary time on showing off PS3 games we’ve already seen a lot of, as well as displaying a lengthy demo for Watch_Dogs and Bungie’s Destiny (both of which look great, but went on too long), Sony nailed the gaming side of things.
We finally got to see gameplay for InFamous: Second Son, which, while not blowing me away the way I hoped it would, still looks absolutely awesome, and I’m a little bummed it’s coming out in the first quarter of 2014, rather than at the PS4’s launch. Also, Sony demonstrated the technical prowess of Evolution Studios’ DriveClub, a social-centered racing game set to release at launch.
In addition to the four games mentioned above, Sony proved once again that they are the go-to publisher for indie developers by announcing and briefly showing off almost a dozen indie games ranging from quirky kids games to scary horror games. They’ve proven they’re trying to appeal to gamers, and their conference just reinforced this.
And if that wasn’t enough, Sony revealed a new steampunk/fantasy game in the form of The Order: 1886, a flashy and fantastical shooter developed by both Sony Santa Monica and Ready at Dawn. It was bold and explosive, and I can’t wait to hear more about it.
The only downside to all of the good news Sony shared with us is a little tidbit of information that was actually quite cleverly hidden amongst all the obvious burns against Microsoft. And that’s that, to be able to play online, you have to be a member of PlayStation Plus.
While PS+ is an amazing deal as it is (you can earn back the $60 yearly fee in as little time as a month with all the free games you’re given), this is still something that could, but shouldn’t, irritate some.
For one, the Xbox 360 has been doing this since the beginning, but without the free game aspect, and also, multiplayer is the only thing offered only on PS+, as all the streaming services and such are offered to all PS4 owners, regardless of whether or not they’re a part of PlayStation Plus.
Despite that little piece of information, there was little to no bad news from Sony tonight. They not only outwardly burned Microsoft, almost to the point of humiliation, but also secured the PlayStation 4 as a console for gamers, by gamers. Sure, it offers movie and TV services, but the focus is on the software.
Sony was not only able to deliver an incredible payoff to the promises they made back in February with the reveal of the PS4, but also succeeded in practically wiping Microsoft and the Xbox One from my memory. And priced at the too-goo-to-be-true price of $399, I don’t think there will be much competition between which next-generation console ‘wins’ this holiday.
While there wasn’t an Uncharted reveal, something I was really hoping to see, there was more than enough to compensate for the lack of truly big game reveals. And sure, the Vita wasn’t talked about much, but once again, this was Sony’s moment to show off what ‘next-generation’ means to them, and I think their message rings loud and clear.
I hope people take away from all of this that Sony wants to have your back, and they’re willing to bend over backwards, even risk profit, to do it.
I’m sincerely interested to see how things play out when these two consoles go toe-to-toe this holiday, as well as if Sony’s effort tonight was enough to convince Xbox fans to ‘switch sides’. All in all though, there’s only two words I have for Sony: well done.