If you had a chance to catch yesterday’s Sony E3 Press Conference, you were in for a real treat. When it comes to E3 presentations, I always have some pre-conceived notions that never really deter me from the experience, but do shield me from feeling jaded if things don’t always go as hoped. However, while Sony may not have catered to all of my deepest, most heart-felt interests, the experience was, oddly enough, uplifting.
Sony started off their presentation with their much-under appreciated handheld, the PS Vita. As of late, the push for Vita games has been disappointingly slim and left me wondering what Sony’s marketing strategy was for the handheld. Luckily, they eased most of those worries with their exciting lineup of portable games including Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, CounterSpy, Destiny of Spirits, Killzone: Mercenary, God of War HD 1/2, Flower, Final Fantasy X/X-2, The Walking Dead: 400 Days and many more. While it’s tough to say if Sony will attempt to consistently promote upcoming Vita games, my hope is that they will invest more time into it.
A push was also made towards exclusive games on the PS3 like Rain, Gran Turismo 6, Beyond: Two Souls, The Last of Us, Batman: Arkham Origins, Grand Theft Auto V and Puppeteer. Companies like Sony are constantly looking forward in their pursuits, but it was refreshing to see continued support for a console nearing the end of its life cycle.
Next up was something we’d all been anticipating: the PS4 hardware reveal. While nothing terribly mind-blowing (I’m pretty sure we all the knew the design well in advance), it did serve as a nice intro to the most exciting part about E3, the games.
Developing more than 30 PS4 exclusive titles (12 of them new IPs, no less) with 20 of them being released within a year of launch, Sony’s presentation was already looking extremely positive, delivering creative, original content to the next-gen gaming experience. Exclusive games like Killzone Shadow Fall, inFamous Second Son, Knack, DriveClub and the newly announced The Order: 1886 (steampunk werewolf hunting at its finest) all managed to wow in their own unique way.
On top of that, Sony also announced several other much-anticipated games like Final Fantasy XV (originally Final Fantasy Versus XIII), Kingdom Hearts III, Watch_Dogs, The Elder Scrolls Online, NBA 2K14, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, Mad Max and Destiny. Bungie, the makers behind Destiny, even introduced the world gameplay premiere of the game, giving us a better sense of the environment and battle system.
Indie games also made a surprising entrance with a full line-up of games on the PS4 including Transistor by Supergiant Games, Don’t Starve by Klei Entertainment, Mercenary Kings by Tribute Games, Octodad: Deadliest Catch by Young Horses, Secret Ponchos by SwitchBlade Monkeys, Outlast by Red Barrels, Oddworld: New N Tasty by Oddworld Inhabitants and Galak-Z by 17-bit. I was amazed to see these games featured in the presentation and gave me a whole new outlook on the upcoming console.
Jack Tretton, President and CEO of SCEA hit the nail on the head with the following statement:
We are proud to unveil today the most advanced gaming system ever created, PlayStation 4, which demonstrates everything PlayStation stands for — a relentless focus on the gamer, an inspired community of developers equipped with the most powerful technology, and the long-standing legacy to building worlds without boundaries through one-of-a-kind gaming experiences. What’s equally exciting for us, however, is transforming the PlayStation ecosystem into a stronger, more vibrant destination that enables gamers to engage, share, play, and connect on their terms.
Sony’s pursuit for consumer-friendly brands really pulled me in. That need to satisfy a variety of gamers should be second nature, a console shouldn’t simply cater to a particular scope when there is so much potential for growth. I know that Microsoft will cater to a variety of gamers as well, but prioritizing a particular type of gamer in their presentation didn’t help promote that message.
You can also say the same about Sony’s support for the indie game market as well. They proudly showed off several different indie games, each ripe with potential and something that Sony is willing to tap into. I found it humbling to know that a company of its caliber was so proud to represent.
In terms of functionality and features, the PS4 did not disappoint. Probably the two biggest highlights here were that the console will support used games and will not feature an online check-in in order to play games. This is a surprising retaliation from Microsoft’s drastic move and something I’m personally very relieved to see. Players shouldn’t be limited by their internet connection in order to play games nor should they have to face such drastic measures for sharing games with friends and family.
Sony also unveiled new details for PS Plus, which will let you enjoy several benefits including exclusive game discounts, multiplayer access, cloud game saves, early access to betas and access to the Instant Game Collection across the PS4, PS3 and PS Vita. The first game set to be featured in this program will be a special PS Plus edition of DriveClub and will eventually also feature games like Don’t Starve, Outlast and The Secret Ponchos. If you’re an existing PS Plus member on PS3 and/or Vita, you’ll get to easily carry over your membership as well.
Overall, I’m extremely pleased with Sony’s presentation, not just because it’s been presented as the go-to gaming console, but also for their willingness to engage everyone. I hope Sony continues to promote such a positive message to its fans and win back those who may have lost hope. I think this is just the change we needed.