E3 2013: Sony Press Conference – Damn right, it’s better than yours
Sony had been keeping news on the upcoming PS4 close to their chest since the PlayStation Meeting announcement event in February but last night their was their time to shine and shine they did. Sony were eager not only to pledge their continuing support for the PS3 and Vita but also to make it perfectly clear that the PS4 will be true gamer’s next generation console.
- Upcoming on Vita
It’s no secret that the Vita hasn’t been doing particularly well with the mass-market since it’s launch in early 2012. The console itself is brilliant, with some great potential and 3rd party support, but Sony have found it difficult to compete with Nintendo’s 3DS in terms of market share as well the growing strength of cheap smartphone and tablet gaming. Indeed it has been suggested that the lifespan for dedicated handheld consoles could be limited when fun and addictive mobile games can be had for as little as 59p but if Sony have excelled at anything with the Vita then it is in their ability to showcase the kind of games which just couldn’t work on a phone.
Batman: Arkham Origins and Killzone Mercenaries were trailered along with announcements for ports of God of War: HD Collection, Final Fantasy X and X-2, ThatGameCompany’s Flower and indie title Dead Nation.
Fans of Telltale Game’s incredible episodic adventure The Walking Dead are also pleased to hear that both the original series and it’s sequel The Walking Dead: 400 Days will be on Vita and a new Vita console bundle will be launched to coincide with their release.
PS3: Not gone and definitely not forgotten…
Sony have continued to support the PS2 throughout the vast majority of the PS3’s life cycle and fully intend on repeating that pattern for the PS3 when the PS4 is launched later this year. Approximately 300 titles will be released for PS3 before the end of 2013 and these include the PlayStation Move-compatible The Puppeteer, Beyond: Two Souls, and Batman: Arkham Origins. There will also be an exclusive 500GB Grand Theft Auto 5 PS3 console bundle priced at $299.99 (UK pricing not confirmed) and an exclusive GTAV headset.
An in-game demo of Gran Turismo 6 was shown which features new physics and graphics engines and the downloadable exclusive Rain looks like a phenomenal addition to the PS3’s already outstanding indie back catalog.
PS4: A new generation at it’s most sleek…
Whilst it’s definitely nice to see Sony continuing to big up their current hardware, the main reason why everyone tuned into the presentation was obviously to get a glimpse of the PS4 and Sony were only to happy to accommodate. PlayStation CEO Andrew House said that PS4 will offer “unparalleled power” and exclusive media content system available from day 1 which will include Sony’s own Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited services as well as support for Flixster and local pay-per-view box office events although the UK-applicable specifics were not mentioned. The PS4 product design was also unveiled and the Japanese-styled box looks arguably much slicker and more refined than it’s American counterpart.
Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida took to the stage to confirm 20 new and exclusive titles for the PS4 within the first year and including 12 brand new IP’s.
The Order: 1886
Set in a hybrid Victorian London and not looking altogether dissimilar from the styling of last year’s Dishonored, The Order enabled players to “discover a unique version of Victorian-Era London where technology and the supernatural collide”. The Order is a PS4 exclusive although release specifics weren’t confirmed.
KillZone: Shadow Fall
Sequel to the PS3’s most popular exclusive FPS franchise. This game was originally shown at the PS4 reveal earlier in the year but, again, Yoshida shied away from confirming whether or not this game would be available for the system at launch.
Again, this one had already been revealed by Sony in February and is currently being developed by the UK-based Evolution Studios who were responsible for the Motorstorm franchise on the PSP, PS3, and Vita. This one is confirmed as a launch day title and incredibly will be free to new and existing PlayStation Plus subscribers from day one in the form of Drive Club: PS Plus Edition. A similar scheme was ran in the US for Evolution’s last game Motorstorm: RC, a top-down micro machines styled racer which was made available free for users of the American PlayStation Network due to a unique sponsorship agreement with a major car manufacturer. It does remain to be seen how, if indeed at all, the PS Plus Edition of the game will differ from the retail boxed product though as the PS3/Vita cross-platform functionality was removed from the free version of MotorStorm: RC.
This charming-looking platformer was the first PS4-exclusive title ever to announced back in February and features some stylish visuals as well as the voice-over talents of Jennifer “FemShep” Hale. Knack is confirmed as a launch day title and could be a good choice for those looking at family-friendly games for the system.
Infamous: Second Son
Another one that was originally announced back in February, a new in-game trailer was shown and the game looks to be shaping up nicely although players eager to get back into the world of Infamous will need to wait until early 2014.
Kingdom Hearts 3
A short trailer was shown of this sequel in the popular disney-fused JRPG franchise by Square Enix.
Final Fantasy XIV
This will be the last Final Fantasy to be released on the PS3 as well as also being launched on the PS4.
Final Fantasy XV
This was definitely the jewel in Square Enix’s crown yesterday and will be released on PS4 as a next-gen exclusive although it wasn’t confirmed whether this title would also be coming to Xbox One. A trailer is included below for the enjoyment.
This was confirmed in February as a PS3 and PS4 cross-platform port of one of last year’s most controversial PC releases. The PS3 version will feature exclusive content featuring some characters from the PlayStation universe so you can expect to see Sackboy and Nathan Drake making a slightly awkward and unexplained appearance in there at some point.
From Supermassive Games, the creators of Bastion, this RPG will be a timed console exclusive on the PS4 in 2014.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Ubisoft were keen to give a live demonstration of this year’s swashbuckling iteration in what has easily become their biggest annual franchise. The demo itself was not without technical issues and actually ended on a slightly impromptu note due to a crash but what we did see saw the game’s new protagonist perform an assassination on a Caribbean island before taking to the seas in real time for a nautical battle. It doesn’t look to be completely different from Assassin’s Creed 3 in my opinion but I’m definitely happy to reserve judgement until the game launches in November. Assassin’s Creed IV will be released on PS3 and PS4 as well as most other current and next gen platforms.
The current poster boy from Ubisoft, this is the game which took everyone by surprise at E3 last year and has continued to dazzle ever since. There arguably isn’t a games-enthusiast on Earth who isn’t looking forward to playing this and last night’s live demo which included mobile app integration only aided the saliva flow. This is another game which will be released on both current and next gen machines in November although it is highly likely that all of the footage so far has been from the PC and next gen versions and it will be interesting to see how this game shapes up on the aging PS3 and Xbox 360 hardware. Watch Dogs will include an extra hour of exclusive content for the PS3 and PS4.
Elder Scrolls: Online
Bethesda’s first RPG since Skyrim is actually an MMO set in the Elder Scrolls universe on campaign to save the city of Tamriel from destruction. I’m still personally not convinced how well this will work but PS4 early-adopters will be treated to an exclusive beta in Q1 of 2014.
Mad Max received it’s short reveal last night in the form of a trailer that can be seen below. Be warned that it isn’t especially family-focused though. PS4 owners will receive the exclusive ‘road warrior survivor kit’ although exactly what that is remains to be seen.
Bungie again were happy to hammer down their new found allegiance to the PlayStation brand with a live multiplayer demo of their latest shooter. Whilst technically not a Sony exclusive, Sony do seem to be working with Activision and Bungie to create an impressive roster of exclusive content and make Destiny a unique PlayStation experience. The game looks incredible, if not slightly reminiscent of Borderlands and could definitely have the potential to take Halo’s crown as the world’s favourite Sci-Fi online shooter.
As well as incredible and humorous tech demo from Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream, Sony were also keen to point out that Indie Developers will be able to self-publish on the PS4 and as well as a forthcoming HD port of the original Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey, the PS4 will feature more exclusive indie releases like none other seen before.
There are currently over 140 games in development for the PS4 with 40 of those being format exclusives and 100 of them due for release within the first year of the console’s life cycle. Next year, Sony will also launch their Gaikai streaming service for the PS3 and PS4 which will enable cloud streaming of PS3 games on both systems with Vita support to follow later. The service will be initially trialed in the US before hopefully making it’s way to European shores later in 2014.
And you’re going to love this….
PlayStation of America CEO Jack Tretton has confirmed that the PS4 will not carry any restrictions on used games or any mandatory online features. No periodic online check-in or ’24 hour’ rule will exist and players will be welcome to remain offline on their PS4 permanently if they so desire although Sony will be working hard at making PSN into an online platform on which no serious gamer will want to miss out. News reports which have come out since the presentation took place have confirmed that the console will be fully region free, unlike the Xbox One which will carry a region lock, and although a motion camera device will be available as an add-on peripheral at £44.99, it certainly will not be mandatory.
PlayStation Plus will now be mandatory for playing multiplayer games online but will also include at least one free PS4 game each month along with continuing PS3 and Vita content and at no extra cost.
Best of all, the PS4 will be launching at a retail price of $399 in the US and £349 in the UK, making it £80 cheaper than the launch price of Microsoft’s Xbox One. Sony’s Andrew House ended the presentation by stating that “true consumer ownership and consumer trust is central to everything that PlayStation does” and that Sony want as many players as possible to experience the fun and incredible potential of their next generation platform.
Sony have come out and done everything right. They have presented a brand new console which will boast more powerful hardware than any of it’s rivals and with a great looking line up of exclusives to boot. PlayStation have gone out of their way to correct mistakes made prior to the PS3 launch and to prove that they are the format to listens to the consumer and acts in the interest of the player as well as their share holders. Early reports indicate that whilst preorder figures for the Xbox One today have been high, the PS4 has today sailed it’s way to the top of Amazon’s pre-order list, with the imminently due PS3 exclusive The Last of Us in 2nd place and the Xbox One in 3rd. Whilst Microsoft did confirm that their machine will be launching worldwide in November, Sony have not announced anything more exact than a ‘holiday season 2013’ release date, most likely indicating that the Xbox One will arrive first. At this point it is impossible to predict what will happen as the next gen console war edges ever closer but I think I can safely say which brand will be getting my money this Christmas.
Your move Microsoft, wow me….
What did you think of Sony’s press conference? Have you preordered a PS4 or Xbox One already or are you planning to see what happens or even just stick with what you have? Do you think consoles are dead and PC is the only way forward? Let us know in the comments section below or via Facebook or Twitter.