Sony’s E3 2013 Conference: A Landslide Victory

No one really expected for Sony to come out at their 2013 E3 press conference and leave a massacre in their wake after their reveal of the official console structure of the PlayStation 4, but they did—and without very much warning. Like a ninja waiting to strike at a moment’s notice, Sony was cleverly sneaky in their tactics to crush the competition and they may have done so unnoticed if it weren’t for one special giveaway that may require a double take.

Go back and watch the President of Sony Worldwide Studio Shu Yoshida’s appearance during today’s conference, because he said something that should have clicked with everyone early on. During his talk on the development of the PS4 console and how their 40 studios keep in touch with the needs of developers and consumers he noted on something really important; something that all video game console developers are supposed to do.

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“As we approach the PS4 design, we looked at not only what developers wanted, but also how consumers play and enjoy games these days. We, the gamers, use social media to find out new games and to discuss what we like and do not like about games and game platforms,” Yoshida said.

There! Did you see it? Sony went into this press conference knowing what Microsoft didn’t and they also were aware of what dangers may come to the video gaming industry if perspectives weren’t turned towards a different way. More importantly, they resonated and listened to the outcry of fans—though hateful and extreme as they can be—and delivered.

However, before we get into the bread and butter, let’s start with the jelly.  Sony’s first bit of the conference showed nothing but sheer dedication in developing content for the PS3 and ensuring to consumers that the console still has some replay value. Coupled with Naughty Dog’s masterpiece in The Last of Us, Sony presented trailers for the female protagonist-heavy thriller developed by quantiodream, Beyond: Two Souls, driving simulator Gran Turismo 6 and the eerily melancholic Rain. If that wasn’t enough, they brought up several independent developers on-stage to show of their games, announcing that each of those games will debut exclusively for the PS4. Titles like Oddworld: New and Tasty and Secret Poncho’s caught my eye, and it reaffirmed that Sony takes the relationship with small, DIY developers quite seriously.

When Sony moved on and unsheathed the console structure of the PS4, I was a bit put off. Maybe there’s a certain preference when it comes to the aesthetic of a console, some prefer to be loud and out there while other prefer the subtle approach. There’s nothing atrocious about PS4 console makeup but it also doesn’t make a lick of sense either. Why does the console look slanted? Why the simple, dull black look? Some could argue that the all black and some blue agenda have been around since the PS2, but Sony could have spiced things up and went into a more daring direction. The exterior isn’t bad, but it isn’t revolutionary nor anything to get really excited about.

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The games that are coming to the PS4 however are something to behold, especially with the long-awaited titles like Final Fantasy Vers—erm, Final Fantasy XV and everyone’s favorite anime-Disney hybrid Kingdom Hearts III. While it’s no Final Fantasy VII remake like I had hoped, these two title announcements from Square-Enix were two of the many bombs that were dropped. Other exclusive nuclear attacks included 2K’s announcement of NBA2K14, complete with Lebron James gracing the trailer, as well as Destiny and Watch_Dogs unveiling new gameplay. The former of the two delved into some really deep gameplay mechanics as it shows off some action packed co-op play as well as the seemingly drop-in, drop-out public event in which players can easily find themselves sucked into multiplayer online experience such as having to work together with other players in the world to take down a robotic threat such as the one shown on-screen at the conference. Destiny so far looks like an unstoppable feat of non-stop FPS glory.’

The games that PS4 showcased had lacked some exclusivity. Sony needed some more original titles aside from what they unveiled back in February. With new trailers for Knack, Killzone: Shadow Fall and Infamous: Second Son being shown with no gameplay, the conference almost seemed like Sony didn’t have any big guns to show off, which was kind of sad until we gotten into the later half of the show, a shocker announcement that moved everyone to tears of joy.

Bungie and Activision seem to be shaping up their Halo-clone and Square-Enix seems to have gotten their head out of their ass and presented their core franchises. But these news alone didn’t make up for the epic Sony PS4 press conference. Toward the end of the conference, PlayStation President Jack Tretton stood in front of the crowd with seriousness and conviction in his voice and expressed what nearly every gamer was itching to hear concerning the issues of how we use our hard earned games.

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“PlayStation 4 won’t impose any new restrictions on the use of PS4 games. When a gamer buys a PS4 disc, they have the rights to use that copy of the game. They can trade in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend, or keep it forever,” Tretton said.

“PlayStation 4 disc-based games don’t need to be connected online to play. If you enjoy playing singleplayer games offline, PS4 won’t require you to check in online periodically and it won’t stop working if you haven’t authenticated within 24 hours.”

Even with the PlayStation Plus following in the footsteps of Microsoft and switching towards a paid-monthly service for online capabilities, it’s only $5 a month—that’s $60 a year for online service, about the same retail price for games in new condition. If the company who listens to their consumers and does away with all the negative restrictions that make game purchases an uncomfortable hassle and ward from a mandatory online connectivity, then slap me on my ass Sony—I’m sold. Come “holiday season” the PS4 will be sold $100 less than the Xbox One, another crowd pleasing announcement that sent the conference room into a frenzy of cheers and praise.

Sony literally had the entire press conference in the bag and they knew coming into this that they would be pleasing a lot of people with this agenda alongside the games that they’ll be unleashing onto the masses of the game community. In all actuality, Sony didn’t really need the games to win over the hearts of E3; all they really had to do was state their position on the issues at hand and show off the console structure. That’s it. Everything else was an added bonus. A lot of people were hot about Microsoft and their plans for the era of next-generation, but now that Sony has clarified the grounds that they stand on, I’m sure many are curious to see how Microsoft will respond or if they plan on ever responding at all. At the end of the day, Sony’s conference was a landslide victory of Microsoft.