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Sony Drops Some Bombs at E3 2013

The PS4's opening salvo for the console wars is a lethal one.

The legacy of the PlayStation brand is an interesting one. Back in 1995, Sony was the scrappy underdog, and fought tooth and claw to ascend to the top of the video game heap, crippling Sega and putting Nintendo on shaky ground for the first time ever. The PlayStation 2 cemented their dominance over the market, with tons of instant classics released for the console. But by 2005, Sony had gotten soft, comfortable at the top. Their hubris was easy to see, and even the biggest PlayStation fans have to agree that they made some bone-headed moves at the beginning of the PS3’s life cycle. If one thing was made abundantly clear at Sony’s E3 press conference, it’s that they’ve come to reclaim their fans, as well as win over a whole new host of them.

As with the Microsoft conference, Sony started out by showing their commitment to their existing hardware. While the upcoming Vita games did little to impress, it’s clear that Sony is playing a long game with the troubled handheld, and it could see its best sales in the next couple of years. The PS3 showed strong, with The Last of Us, Rain, and a new, gameplay-focused look at Beyond: Two Souls that reminded fans how great this current generation still is.

After that, it was all PlayStation 4, and if Microsoft came out with some great jabs and footwork, Sony was bringing the uppercuts and hurting bombs, if you’ll forgive a Rocky reference. They started out by showing the console, a sleek-looking trapezoid that looks futuristic while at the same time recalling the glory days of the PS2.

New footage was shown of Killzone, Knack, Driveclub, and inFAMOUS: Second Son. While all of these games looked even more impressive than they did at the PS4 reveal a few months ago, inFAMOUS stood out, showcasing some natural dialogue between the protagonist and his brother, as well as some amazing destruction when he unleashes his powers. Killzone and Knack were confirmed to be launch titles, while inFAMOUS will be out in the quarter following the launch.

Sony capitalized on the impression that Microsoft has left indie developers behind, with another strong showing of independent games. Indie devs took the stage, showing off the “console exclusive” titles like Don’t Starve, Mercenary Kings (from the people that brought you Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game), Octodad, and Secret Ponchos, among others. Also on stage was Bastion developer Supergiant Games, who showed off an impressive new trailer for their game Transistor, and announced that the game would be launching first on PS4 and PC.

Although Square Enix didn’t take the stage, a video presentation from Tetsuya Nomura debuted a new trailer for Final Fantasy Versus XIII, the long in development, oft-rumored to be cancelled final part of the “Fabula Nova Crystalis” saga. However, rumors from last year proved to be real, and this game is now officially Final Fantasy XV, and seemed to really resonate with (most) of the people watching. Kingdom Hearts 3 was also announced, and a teaser trailer simply stated that the game was “in development”, which likely means it’s far from being in a playable state. Additionally, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will be available for the PS4 sometime next year.

Ubisoft showed off some impressive (and quite lengthy) live demonstrations for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Watch_Dogs. Even with AC IV being somewhat of a known quantity, the game impressed with amazing graphics, destructible environments, and fluid animation. The demo hitched up and froze towards the end, but things like that are bound to happen with works in progress. Watch_Dogs showed just how much freedom players have when it comes to completing missions. Manipulating cameras to spy on enemies, setting off alarms to distract enemies, and even calling in other players to help with their game are just a few of the ways that Aiden can get the upper hand.

The last game shown was an extended, on-stage demonstration of Bungie’s Next Big Thing: Destiny. This first person shooter resembled a hybrid of Halo and Borderlands on steroids. The lighting was impressive, as was the designs for enemies. The “public event” system was shown, which generates large-scale battles that multiple players need to band together to combat. A full-on loot system was shown off, as well as a weapon-based skill tree.

However, as impressive as the game demonstrations were, the bombshells came just before the Destiny demo. Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, came back out on stage to give people some excellent news. The PlayStation 4 plays used games. In a series of vicious jabs at Microsoft, Tretton went on to say that the PS4 never needs to connect to the internet to authenticate. Gamers will buy their games, be able to trade them, sell them, lend them out, or own them forever. If all of this wasn’t amazing on its own, Tretton took a page from the infamous 1995 Sony E3 press conference, and announced a price point for the console a full $100 lower than the Xbox One. That’s right: the PS4 will be launching in November for $399.99.

It’s easy to fall into hyperbolic talk during E3, but with this press conference, it sounds like Sony not only came ready to fight a console war, but they’ve already won it in the eyes of many gamers.




06/11/2013 at 01:21 PM

Sony's conference last night was an emotional roller-coaster ride and it all climaxed when Jack came out with the policy statements. It was the most exhilarating, satisfying, and ridiculous press conference I've ever seen in my years of following E3. To understand why it was such a huge relief and huge deal you have to think about it in context.

The whole internet, including our little Pixlbit here, has been in total meltdown mode ever since the reveal of the Xbox One. People have had their pitchforks out and they've been ready to burn modern gaming to the ground it has seemed. People have been pissed off about blocking used games, internet requirements with a daily verification, DRM, and the shunning of indie developers and putting up even higher walls to the "walled garden" etc. People going into Sony were really afraid in their guts that this is just what they were going to have to deal with in the new age of gaming. Even all us gamers who were actually excited about new games and new hardware still had a somewhat defeated attitude towards the changing times.

Well last night Sony came out and relieved a huge mountain of tension and hesitation people have had about the whole future of gaming, including myself, by addressing pretty much every one of these issues that have been pissing people off. Seeing Jack mention that the PS4 plays used games, doesn't require an internet connection or authentication to access your games, and comes out $100 cheaper than Xbox, and seeing the crowd roar for 5 minutes as all of us on Twitter totally go was this great cathartic moment that we were all able to share together. Jack tackled all those issues that have been pissing us off and apparently it seems Sony wants to be on the right side of history, they want to be pro-consumer, and they want to fucking WIN.

For years E3 has been a little lackluster and without too much fervor or craziness, and last night offered something shocking and satisfying that you can only really get during a brutal bloodbath console war between two bitter enemies and entrenched companies. To be honest Microsoft launched an amazing salvo of its own early in the day, and I can be assured that anybody who decides to get an Xbox One will get a ton of great games and a good console experience, as long as they are willing to put up with the crappy policies that piss so many of us off. But Sony came out even stronger and in the end they not only launched a salvo of great games and big reveals, but they hit gamers where it matter on these policies and price. People will remember it for many years to come, just like we remember 1995 and what Sony did then.

I certainly needed to use some hyperbole last night, I was way too excited. When the screen came up listing all their policies my jaw dropped. And when they announced price I was pumping my fist in the air and whooping at the television lol.


06/11/2013 at 02:04 PM

Me not buying an Xbone is almost a moral obligation at this point. Aka, do I want to support anti privacy acts infringing upon our constitutional rights as Americans? Do I want to support anti-consumer policies robbing us of our ability to actually "own" games? Do I want to see Mom & Pop game stores fail in our already shitty economy putting even more good folks out of work and out on the street? Do I want to see indie game developers get cut off and get shafted?

 No microsoft,just no. You are a mockery and anti-thesis of every principle I hold dear to my heart.


06/11/2013 at 02:15 PM

Sony's conference was brilliant. True, it started with all the TV/movie/music BS that we all just l-o-o-o-ved with Microsoft's disastrous Xbone reveal last month, and I could hear a collective groan in the gaming industry. Then it got better. For me, Final Fantasy XV and KH3 were the highlights of the games themselves - yes, I know both of those games are also coming to Xbone, but I'm getting them on PS4. Then Sony coming out in favor of consumer rights in sharp contrast, and as a direct counterpoint, to Microsoft's anti-consumer polcies was awesome. Sony really listened to its customers this time. The fact that the PS4 will be $100 cheaper was the icing on the cake. The crowning moment of Sony's E3 performance was their "Official PS4 Game-Sharing Video" with Shuhei Yoshida and Jack Tretton, which was a direct slap in the face against Microsoft.

Our Take

Nick DiMola Director

06/11/2013 at 03:10 PM

I was very happy to see Sony take the consumer side of this whole debacle last night, but I don't think we should look at them as white knights. At the end of the day, I have no doubt they would've followed suit with Microsoft if their plan went over more smoothly. Regardless of their motivations, this is a win for gamers and it's hard to complain about that.

Other than that, I didn't see too much that really caught my interest. Final Fantasy XV was pure eye candy so it's hard to really throw much excitement behind it right now, but you can consider me at least intrigued to see what the game turns out like. Surprisingly, I thought Destiny looked pretty good (don't typically like Bungie games), so we'll see how that turns out.

If anything, I can confidently say that I'll eventually get a PS4, but for the time being, my main priority is going to be on building a gaming PC. I've already got a huge library there just waiting to be played and almost nothing on the PS4 that I'd consider getting right away. Maybe when Uncharted 4 is released, I'll finally take the plunge.


06/11/2013 at 05:11 PM

Of course Sony wants money. No company is entirely altruistic,Nick. lol. However, I don't think they "changed everything at the last minute" just to appease us. To me it seemed to be their plan to be more consumer friendly from the get-go and to sit back and watch MS shoot itself in the foot.

Assuming sony originally designed its' console to be like the Xbox one would require ALOT of alterations at the last minute to advertise it as it is now. They really did not have that kind of grace period. (Thus my hypothesis the PS4 was mostly the same before its' big reveal)

However, you're smart to go pc. A pc is easily upgraded and maintained. That and the prices for decent pcs aren't quite as ridiculous as they used to be.

Super Step Contributing Writer

06/11/2013 at 07:09 PM

This Forbes article certainly makes it seem like Sony was simply taking advantage.

(link set to open in new tab)

Granted, it's their VP of Worldwide something-or-other painting that narrative, so ...

Of course, I've been hearing from not-at-all legitimate sources on my facebook and my own extrapolation from some fine text in an e-mail given to leeradical42, that Microsoft has essentially stated it can change its policies at any time. That would be nice. I want my Killer Instinct, but I also want to own my Killer Instinct and not feel like I'm supporting an anti-consumer status quo simply cause nostalgia and excitement got the best of me.

 Then again, I'd prefer One just lose its exclusives, and they hop over to PS4, cause the fact MS is even thinking these things annoys me.


06/12/2013 at 12:54 PM

Microsoft will never change its policy on Xbox One. No policy change will come until the Xbox Two, if that ever comes out. Their corporate culture is always convinced of its "rightness", based on their monopoly of the PC OS market, and they'll blindly rush headlong into disaster.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

06/12/2013 at 12:01 AM

I can almost guarantee that the price and the used games stance was probably finalized after the MS conference. I'm sure they had all sorts of plans in place that would be executed upon based on what was done at the Xbox One conference.


06/11/2013 at 04:56 PM

Sony certainly won me over. How can you resist getting a PS4 now? It's got everything I want and none of what I don't. The game lineup was impressive,as well as their commitment to gamers wants and needs. By the end of Sony's press conference I'm sure Microsoft was yelling"Cut me,Mick! Cut me!"


06/11/2013 at 04:57 PM

Sony didnt fail me this year with E3, Im soooo happy!!

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

06/11/2013 at 11:54 PM

All I gotta say is - OMG I WANT A PS4 SO BAD! 

I'll probably be picking one up this holiday, if all goes well money wise.

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