Sony embraced the gamer and hit a home run at their E3 2013 press conference on Monday night, and firmly placed the ball in Microsoft’s court as consumers get ready to pick sides in the lead-up to the launch of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One later this year.
Here’s your roundup of Sony’s big show!
Please buy a PS Vita!
The smooth talking Jack Tretton kicked off the conference by bigging up the PS Vita, as Sony looks to promote an increase in the install base ahead of the release of Killzone: Mercenary and Media Molecule’s delightful looking Tearaway. We also got first news of the first DLC for Telltale’s HSR 2012 Game of the Year The Walking Dead, which will be coming to Vita in a console bundle this summer. No news on a price cut, but for UK gamers it may be worth a look at GAME, who are currently selling some rather enticing £149 Vita bundles for this week only.
The year of the PlayStation 3
Sure we’re all excited for next-gen, but Sony also put forward a pretty convincing argument as to why it may be the 7 year old PlayStation 3 that plays host to the best line-up of games this year. A launch trailer for Naughty Dog’s masterpiece The Last Of Us was followed by new footage of Beyond: Two Souls and Gran Turismo 6, both of which looked highly impressive, as well as a quick peek at downloadable titles Puppeteer and Rain. Sony also announced an exclusive Grand Theft Auto V PS3 bundle, which also includes a nifty looking branded headset.
The PlayStation 4 is a black box!
We finally got our first look at the actual PlayStation 4 hardware, and in truth it looked like a cross between the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox One. It certainly looked a bit sleeker than Microsoft’s new box, but, at the end of the day, it’s a black box.
TV TV TV, MOVIES, TV!
Having said nothing about their entertainment options on PS4, and having seen Microsoft spend the best part of an hour detailing their TV and movie options last month, Sony took a few minutes to provide some details on their offerings. Sony will continue to provide movie and TV download and streaming options, and will also produce exclusive content for the PlayStation Store.
PlayStation 4 exclusives
Shu Yoshida announced that 30 PS4 games are in development at Sony’s first party studios, with 20 to come by the end of 2014, and 12 being new IP. One of those new IPs is The Order 1886, which was unveiled for the first time via the means of a cinematic trailer. The action took place in what looked like a Steampunk interpretation of London, with stereotypical accents and monsters dominating proceedings. We then got a few brief glimpses of Driveclub, Killzone Shadow Fall, Knack, and Infamous Second Son, all of which had been announced at the PS4 unveiling back in February. The first three are solid looking launch titles, with the more impressive looking Sucker Punch title due in February 2014. The exclusives segment ended with an incredible tech demo from Quantic Dream, dubbed The Dark Sorcerer. It’s well worth a look.
Sony made sweet love to the indie community with a tonne of titles shown on stage simultaenously. Supergiant Games unveiled Transistor, which will debut on PS4 early next year, with the crazy looking Octodad and brilliantly named Secret Ponchos the other stand-outs out of a selection of what felt like about 872 games.
YOU GET A NATHAN DRAKE NECKLACE FOR YOUR CHARACTER. ONLY ON PLAYSTATION 4.
Final Fantasy Versus XIII is now Final Fantasy XV and still looks absolutely absurd, albeit very pretty. What really brought the house down was the long awaited announcement of Kingdom Hearts III, which looked fabulous in teaser trailer form. Both were confirmed for multiplatform release at a Square Enix event later in the day, but given the history between Square and Sony it’s not beyond the realms of possibilty that both titles may recieve some exclusive content on the PS4.
Ubisoft showed off a typically impressive demo of the latest game in their most popular series with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, at least until the demo locked up to cause an awkward and impromptu end to proceedings. Up until that point it had certainly looked slick, although after the disappointment that was last year’s entry, despite a similarly impressive E3 showing last year, it may be best to stay cautious of Edward Kenway’s adventure. Watch_Dogs on the other hand ran flawlessly and also looked fantastic, but I have no idea why Ubisoft insist on the use of an underscore in the title. Both titles will feature exlusive content on both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3.
Sticking it to Microsoft
Sony upped the ante when Jack Tretton returned to the stage to basically go through a list of all the things people don’t like about the Xbox One and said, “we’re not doing any of that”. People were so happy that they would be able to own, sell and share their games that they didn’t even seem bothered that online multiplayer on PS4 would require a PlayStation Plus subscription. Seriously, though, if you’re already on PlayStation and don’t have a PlayStation Plus subscription then you are a fool. Sony also announced that PS4 games will cost no money and that the new console will be able to play used Xbox One games.
The best stage demo of the night came from Bungie as they finally showed off Destiny for the first time. Stunning vistas, seamless multiplayer and large scale firefights were all present and accounted for, and exclusive PS4 content was confirmed. There’s also a gun called Thunderlord, which is a fantastic name.
Gaikai will stream PS3 games to your PS4
Andrew House entered the stage to divulge further details on the partnership between Sony and Gaikai, revealing that a huge catalogue of PS3 titles will be playable over the cloud on PS4. So for any Xbox 360 owners out there who have missed out on such greats as Uncharted and The Last Of Us, I guess you can kill two birds with one £349 stone.
Yes, £349! Pretty good, and at $100 less than the Xbox One in the US, Sony ended the night with a bang.
Sony’s first party line-up for PS4 didn’t really live up to the high standards they’ve set for themselves over the years, but strong third party support and some great looking titles for the PS3 and PS Vita ensured that there were still plenty of great looking games on show. What really won the day for Sony though was the announcement that the PS4 would support used games, not require an internet connection, and wouldn’t boot you off the console if you didn’t authenticate your games every 24 hours. The price was also a masterstroke, and ensured that Sony left the stage with all the momentum they could ask for. Your move, Microsoft.