After Microsoft’s spectacular blunder of a press conference last month, people were already saying that the PlayStation 4 was going to blow away the Xbox One. And even after Microsoft tried to claw its way back from the hole they dug themselves into, with a decent showing of new games earlier today, Sony took full advantage of their competition’s previous stumble and blasted even further ahead, leaving Microsoft to eat their dust… Gran Turismo style.
And all with just three simple announcements.
1) PlayStation 4 will play used games with no restrictions.
2) PlayStation 4 does not have to be online. Ever.
3) PlayStation 4 will be $399.99.
It was the first two of these announcements where Microsoft epically opened their mouth and inserted their foot last month. At today’s conference, they tiptoed around these issues and (smartly) focused on games to try not to raise the ire of the blogosphere. Sony, on the other hand, while not giving a perfect conference, unveiled the PS4 and ended it with a three punch TKO sending Xbox One to the mat.
The conference started slow, with CEO Jack Tretton pushing the PSVita and PS3. While I appreciate that the PS3 is not being flatlined right away, I found it odd there was no announced price cut for the Vita. Sony’s handheld is really suffering in sales at the moment, and a price cut would be a push in the right direction. Also, for a system that has no killer app, the new games announced for it just didn’t excite me, or anyone else in the audience from what I could tell. Instead, we are told how great Skype looks on Vita. I don’t want to buy a handheld game system to use Skype. My phone, laptop, PC, and toaster oven all have Skype on it. I want killer games. I loved my PSP. I want to love Vita too. Give me a reason to love it, Sony.
After Vita, we were treated to a few fun announcements for PS3. Puppeteer looks great. Rain’s design has me intrigued. And Gran Turismo 6? It’s for PS3, not PS4? Ok. Looks pretty, I suppose.
On to the meat and potatoes of the conference, where we finally got to meet the new Sony Parallelogram… er PS4. First impressions (other than the parallelogram gag) were it looks kind of like the Xbox One. It’s a black box. Maybe the designers of both systems went to the same screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey before they went to the drawing board? Also did you know the PS4 will play movies, does networking apps, and will do other movie things and blah, blah, blah, blah… SHOW ME GAMES!
Then the clouds parted and a beam of light shined through. Someone was listening to me. First out of the gate was what appeared to be a Steampunk infused Zombie/Monster game called The Order 1886. Just the trailer was shown, not gameplay, but I definitely got a “Left 4 Dead in a Steampunk Victorian Era” vibe from it. Also, airships. Airships are cool. The Order 1886 is part of a reported 20 new Sony IPs to be released within the first year of the PS4’s lifespan. Some others include Killzone, Driveclub, Infamous, and Knack.
Moving on to the independent scene, Sony smartly announced that indie developers will be able to self-publish their games on PSN. They then proceeded to knock it out of the park showcasing a ton of these smaller titles, each with its own individual quirks and eye catching gimmicks. I will definitely be keeping my eyes on these, in particular Transistor and Mercenary Kings.
Now for third parties, where better to start off than with the current kings of disappointment, Square-Enix. Director Tetsuya Nomura appears on screen to talk about Final Fantasy Versus 13, yet again. How many years has it been since they announced this? I mean seriously, Square. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times… wow, that game looks amazing. Is that actual game play footage? Holy shit, is that Leviathan!? No, no, no, there is no way it’s going to be this good. It’s too good to be true. Wait, what?! It’s not Final Fantasy Versus 13 anymore? It’s Final Fantasy 15?!
Ahem. Sorry about that. Slight geek-out. I promise it won’t happen again– Holy shit, Kingdom Hearts 3?!
And that’s when I blacked out for a few minutes. I have been a die-hard Final Fantasy fan since I began gaming as a wee little Daniel, but it’s no secret Square’s recent endeavors have left me cold. These trailers awakened my sleeping inner Square fan and made me feel all tingly and strange, as I’m sure it did to many of my fellow disenchanted FF franchise lovers.
After this, things were kind of a euphoric blur. There was something about Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dog, and Mad Max I think. All very exciting, especially Watch Dog. Then Jack Tretton returned to the stage with his “Eat it, Microsoft” speech. PS4 will have no DRM and fully supports used and rent/lent games. The PS4 does not have to be online at all in order to work properly. There was one minor hiccup, where it was implied that you would have to subscribe to PlayStation Plus to play multi-player games online, but I think we can forgive that. Besides, Microsoft has done that from day one on the Xbox360, but still, it’s a small step backwards for Sony.
The speech was followed by a long-ish demo detour through Bungie’s new game, Destiny, and then they announced the PS4 price. $399.99. And internet exploded. It was the final KO punch of E3, with Sony knocking Microsoft (who had earlier announced an Xbox One price of $499.99) down for the count.
And that was it. The execs dropped the mic and left the stage. Sony was declared the winner of E3 by… pretty much everyone.
But wait… hey guys come back. You didn’t say when the system was coming out? Later this year, but when exactly? Guys? Hey guys?
Oh well, I’m sure we will find that out soon enough.
So, fellow otaku and gamers, what do you think? Decisive win for Sony? Or is it still up in the air? Let us know. Anime Diet wants to hear your impressions so far.
Daniel is also very excited about the announced sequel to Mirror’s Edge, but since it wasn’t part of the Sony Press conference there was nowhere to mention it.