Sony followed Microsoft’s E3 press conference on Monday and came out with its sights set on one-upping the Xbox One announcements with some revelations for the PS4 that were clearly meant to take advantage of the competitor’s perceived weaknesses. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, the ugly and the missing from Sony’s 2013 E3 press conference.
Sony sent a series of shots at Microsoft and the various Xbox One restrictions by putting no restrictions on the games or internet access with the PS4 and smiled knowingly at Microsoft the entire time. This was a theme of trust that Sony brought up a couple of times during the presentation that was easily a home run for Sony.
Microsoft served up another easy underhanded toss during its press conference by giving the Xbox One a $499 price and Sony hit it out of the park again by announcing the PS4 at $399.
The Order: 1886
A steampunk game set in Victorian-era London with Werewolves developed by Sony Santa Monica and Ready at Dawn Studios? Sold and there wasn’t even any gameplay shown.
The Dark Sorcerer
“First time in a video game?”
“Welcome to hell.”
Sony has spent a considerable amount of time and effort to woo independent developers to the Playstation platform and it payed off during a stage demo where multiple indie games were shown at the same time with the promise that all would be available at launch.
Give it up for Bungie as their on-stage Destiny demo was one of the best of all of E3. The game looked good, the banter wasn’t forced and had some genuinely witty moments. The game itself looked fun to play with its mix of guns and sci-fi “magic” as a single-player was joined by a second as they fought through a giant wall. Finally, a third joined the group and the trio seamlessly hopped into a public battle with multiplayer players fighting the alien Fallen.
This was an excellent way for Sony to wrap up the press conference.
A Fond Farewell to the PS3
The Last of Us, Puppeteer, Gran Turismo 6, Rain and Beyond: Two Souls are all exclusive to the Playstation 3 and should give owners not ready to upgrade to the PS4 plenty to keep them busy over the next year along with the third-party titles like Batman: Arkham Origins.
Sony failed to reveal the PS4 in February and then put out a dramatic tease for this? It’s not a horrible design but by no means is it worthy of the hype or anticipation. It’s unassuming and designed to blend into the entertainment center just like the Xbox One and doesn’t feature any of the dramatic flair of previous consoles.
Sneaks in PS Plus requirement for online multiplayer
With the talk of trust, it was odd that Sony didn't come right out and say that PS4 would require a PS Plus subscription to play online. It was included as a bullet point for the PS Plus but the change from free access on the PS3 and PS Vita was not made clear as many viewers were left wondering what was just announced. It wasn’t until Sony released a “Used Game Instructional” video that contained fine print that it was clear that PS Plus was required to play online.
The good news is that access to entertainment apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus are still available without a PS Plus subscription.
Movies and TV Talk
For all the snark that Microsoft was given over its Xbox One reveal event that focused on TV and entertainment apps, it was extremely odd for Sony to jump in with Netflix, Redbox and other entertainment apps like Sony Music Unlimited first for the PS4 instead of the games. Fortunately, this segment didn’t last long.
Un-compelling PS Vita Lineup
While Sony promised 85 new games for the PS Vita over the next year, the ones shown weren’t particularly compelling outside of Killzone: Mercenary and Tearaway. The biggest response came from an HD re-release of Final Fantasy X & X-2. It’s still hard to justify dropping $270 to $330 on the handheld and required memory card even a year after launch.
Assassin’s Creed IV demo hitch
Whoops. It is hard to blame Ubisoft too much for this as accidents will happen similar to what happened during Microsoft’s conference. However, having a premiere AAA game get a case of the intermittent freezes before completely freezing at the end during an otherwise impressive demo is unfortunate. Just fix it for the game release, eh?
Crowd reaction to the announcement that the PS4 will have no used games or internet connectivity restrictions
It’s a sad state of affairs that Sony’s announcement that the PS4 would have no used game restrictions, no internet connectivity restrictions and no lending restrictions that the audience would give a standing ovation. No, this is not a rant about audience decorum. It is a rant that this conversation is even being had.
The Last Guardian
This highly anticipated game from the creators of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus is approaching Duke Nukem Forever level of development hell.
Price Drop on the PS3 and PS Vita
The Playstation 3 has been at $249 since 2011 with sales slowing dramatically over the last year. Meanwhile, PS Vita has never really gotten off the ground in part because of its high price and the cost of mandatory memory cards. There’s many reasons that the handheld needs a price drop, not the least of which is that it is supposed to be integrated with the PS4 with mandatory support for remote play for all games. Sony needs to get more PS Vitas in the hands of consumers to justify that extra development requirement.