Grading Sony's E3 Press Event
Going into Sony's press event, there were a lot of unknowns. It seemed Sony had the gamers on their side even though nobody knew what Sony's policies were. Most gaming journalists (myself included) expected the same restrictions on the PS4 that Microsoft has in place for the Xbox One. We honestly couldn't have been more wrong.
After revealing the PS4 system, they briefly went over upcoming titles for the Vita and PS3. I was a bit disappointed in the lack of Vita games, however; I do understand that Vita games just don't show well, at least at E3. I expect games on the show floor or at smaller more personal gaming events. They showed off some stuff on the PS3 including a Beyond: Two Souls trailer. I'm excited for that game but the trailer really did nothing for me. It looked like some modern military shooter which I suspect is only a small fraction of the game. Possibly to appeal to the masses.
Sony then went off and talked about the entertainment side of the PS4. Just like the PS3, they will have quite a few options for movie, television and music lovers. It's not as focused on entertainment as the Xbox One, but some options are there for you if you want and I'm more than okay with that.
When it comes to the PS4 I think Sony did a very good job. The list of games weren't anything super surprising (except for Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy XV) but what they showed really covered the bases. They brought out Supergiant games to show off the lovely Transistor as well as many other indie devs. This really showcased Sony's love for the indie scene and totally puts Microsoft to shame in that regard. This should excite you as the PS4 (and even PS3/Vita) are going to be getting a plethora of new and unique titles. Couple that with the ability to self-publish, the sky's the limit for smaller developers on Sony's new platform.
They also showed off brief trailers for Killzone Shadow Fall, Infamous Second Son, Knack and Drive Club. We knew about these going in but each seem to be looking quite good even though not much was shown at the actual conference. They did show off an intriguing new game from Sony Santa Monica and Ready at Dawn Studios called The Order 1886 which looks like a steampunk type game. The CG trailer showed little about the game but it did get me excited. They also had spots for Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag. Pair those with the Elder Scrolls Online showing and the jaw-dropping Destiny gameplay reveal, it's clear that the PS4 won't have third party issues.
Up to this point, the conference was standard fare. It covered a wide range of games and I was quite satisfied with it. Sony took it to a whole new level once Jack Tretton came on stage and took on the hot-topic issues head on. Jack announced that the PS4 fully supports used games and will not have any restrictions regarding them (we later learned that they will be using the standard policy they use today). They also announced that the PS4 will not require an internet connection to use. These two bombshells were met with a thunderous ovation from the crowd. Something that I have never seen at an E3 event. But that wasn't enough for Sony.
They ended the show with announcing that the PS4 will retail for $399. This is huge. A full $100 less than the competitor for a (on paper) more powerful system is a huge hit to Microsoft especially since Microsoft didn't announce any subsidized models of the Xbox One.
Never have I seen a company play off of it's competitor’s weakness so much. Much like a boxing match, Microsoft left a huge opening and Sony went in for the knockout punch. I've also never seen an E3 crowd erupt the way it did at this conference. It was nice to see especially given the sluggish start to the PS3's life. There is aura of excitement around Sony for the first time in a long time and it's good to see.
Plenty of things could change between now and launch. I still see Microsoft having subsidized subscription based SKUs available and there is still time for Microsoft to change some things and Sony to screw up. Just going off of the E3 conferences though, Sony killed it. Sony went for the jugular and never let up. Sony wasn't talking to just the gamers but also the consumers while we still aren't sure who Microsoft is talking to. In my book, Sony's E3 conference was a home run and one of the best conferences I've seen in years.
And now, enjoy some of E3's best GIFS: