Sony at E3 2013: our top 5 moments
18th Jun 2013 | 21:04
PlayStation 4 and more. Well, not much more
Top 5 moments
Another E3 has come and gone, leaving a vast expanse of starry-eyed gamers in its wake. The next wave of high powered gaming consoles will soon be upon us, ushering in a new era exciting, high-definition joy.
Between the two new consoles previewed at E3 2013, Sony's PlayStation 4 enjoyed the most positive response from the crowd. Sony's press conference seemed tailored to target Microsoft's policies of requiring internet access and clamping down on used game sales with its Xbox One.
Of the two competitors, Sony came away from E3 looking the best. While Microsoft showed plenty of exciting titles for its Xbox One, attendees rejoiced at Sony's promise of keeping used games around and not demanding an internet connection for its system.
We've collected our top five moments for Sony at E3 2013. Read them over and give us your opinion in the comments below.
1. The PS4 is $399
If Sony's no online check-in, used games are OK policy was a black eye for the Xbox One, then the PS4's price tag was the "sweep the leg" move that took Microsoft to the mat. Seeing the Sony system priced a whole hundred dollars cheaper than the competition was a massive surprise for the E3 crowd. If Sony wanted to guarantee strong sales right out of the gate then there couldn't be a better plan.
Surely it must owe some of its ability to lowball Microsoft to selling the PS Eye camera separately. Unlike the Xbox One Kinect, it's not an essential part of the system. Therefore it can let consumers choose whether they want to pick one up. That does splinter things a bit for developers, since there's no guarantee a PS4 player will have one, meaning there could be less integrated features for it. Still, we hardly think that matters, we rarely heard a kind word about the Kinect for Xbox 360 or the PS Move anyway.
2. Microsoft says let them eat 360
Sony has been having a field day with all the complicated restrictions and PR gaffs from the Xbox One. Just when we thought the Microsoft flub-o-rama had been drowned out by a sea of great looking Xbox exclusives, President of the Interactive Entertainment Business Don Mattrick did a little interview with GameTrailers.
Regarding gamers whose internet connections aren't reliable enough for the Xbox One's online requirements, Mattrick had an answer. "Fortunately, we have a product for people who can't get some form of connectivity, and it's called Xbox 360," Mattrick added. "If you have zero access to the internet, that is an offline device."
It's hard not to consider Mattrick's response just a tad bit insensitive and sarcastic, especially since many of those people are those living outside of the U.S. and U.K., or soldiers stationed abroad.
Once again, Microsoft's fail was Sony's win, and the PS4 came off as a hero without even having to lift a finger. It's beginning to feel like a good cop, bad cop cliche.
- E3 2013: The Xbox One Strategy via GameTrailers
3. The redesigned DualShock 4
Ask a gamer about their favorite controller, and you'll probably hear about the Xbox 360's more often than not. That could change in this next generation though, as Sony's redesigned DualShock controller was one of the best we've ever used.
Dubbed the DualShock 4, it has the classic look Sony has been sporting since the PlayStation 2 days. The most noticeable difference is the big touchpad you'll find slapped above the sticks. We don't play any games that did anything too revolutionary with this piece of touch interface, but it's nice that the tech is there for developers to tool with.
It may look like a classic DualShock, but the feel of the controller has been vastly improved. Its more ergonomically curved, which makes for a more natural, comfortable grip. The tops of thumbsticks have been dimpled, making them easier to pilot with precision.
The DualShock 4 is excellent so far, but it's no shoo-in for the best gamepad of the next generation. The Xbox One has an excellent controller, with triggers that give jolting force feedback. All in all, it's nice to see the essential gaming peripheral improved without needlessly reinventing the wheel *ahem* PlayStation 3 boomerang controller.
4. The Order: 1866, exclusive new IP for PS4, is introduced
Sleek new systems are all well and good, but they're not much fun without something play on them. New intellectual properties and potential franchise starters are key to launching a platform, especially if they're not available on your competitors platform.
Sony didn't have a ton of exclusives to show at its press conference, but it did have one that looked especially intriguing. It's The Order: 1866, a steampunk-ish vision of Victorian era London full of airships and big old guns. Its E3 trailer opened with somber music, the logo for the much-loved Santa Monica Studios and quote from the classic Arthurian novel Le Morte d'Arthur.
The game wasn't playable on the E3 show floor, so it could be a ways off, but the trailer's spooky tone and revisionist historical fiction had us intrigued.
5. Finally showing the PS4
Sony sure took its sweet time showing the PS4. It had an event months ago where it announced the systems existence, showed some of the new titles it'll be powering, then waved goodbye and switched off the lights without actually showing the system.
Why would Sony do that, subjecting itself to considerable ribbing when its PS4 event didn't have an actual PS4 present? The answer is simple: it was saving the surprise of the system's asymmetrical design for E3. And it got plenty of press out of teasing gamers; remember that blink and you'll miss video it put out?
Sony piqued curiosity by keeping something behind the curtain, then made good with a striking design that was at once new and classic PlayStation material. It kept gamers guessing, and when it came time to put up or shut up, Sony delivered.
- Read more: Sony finally shows the PS4
News and reviews from Sony at E3 2013
Sony has made quite the splash at E3 2013. After teasing us in February with a partial reveal of the PS4, the electronics manufacturer completely pulled back the curtain on the new Playstation 4 and introduced features and pricing that was music to many gamers' ears. But that was just the beginning.
We're compiling all of the Sony at E3 2013 news for you to digest, and here's what we've learned so far:
Hands on with the PS4
Since its initial announcement event, Sony has taken its sweet time showing the PlayStation 4, and it took some ribbing when the event turned out to be more of a proof of concept than an actual unveiling of the system.
But after a stellar press conference that addressed whether or not the console would allow used games, disc sharing, and not require any sort of online check-in, the PS4 quickly became the belle of the ball.
Just as the second day of E3 came to a close we were able to get a hands on with the device.
Nvidia taking the high road
Even though Sony and Microsoft chose AMD graphics chips to power their next-gen gaming consoles, Nvidia isn't taking the snub to heart.
And to prove is, Nvidia Senior Vice President Tony Tamasi is saying the move will only benefit his company. What's more, Tamasi claims that this exclusion will only help developers build content that can scale to PC."
Tamasi revealed a chart that further explains his point and shows how Sony's PlayStation 4 graphics helped close the gap against the Nvidia's more expensive cards like the GeForce GTX Titan.
'We will not dictate the online used game strategy'
Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, further explained why Sony chose to allow third-party publishers to set their own DRM policies for the PS4.
"As announced last night, PS4 will not have any gating restrictions for used disc-based games. When a gamer buys a PS4 disc they have right to use that copy of the game, so they can trade-in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend, or keep it forever."
Sony undercuts Xbox One price, but how?
However, Sony is planning on putting less in the box than Microsoft.
Going hands on with the Dualshock 4 controller
Leave it to E3 to give us our first chance to grip the controls for the next-gen console ourselves. After the long wait, which started with the PS4's February reveal, we were very pleased with what we felt.
A collective gripe was heard from the gaming community when Microsoft announced that the Xbox One would not be compatible with used games.
But the competition seized an opportunity and Sony chief executive Jack Tretton revealed that the PS4 has a no used games ban.
The PS4 imposes no new restrictions on used games, news that was music to the PS4 event crowd's ears.
Final Fantasy 15 headed to PS4
The new PS4 has a ton of notable titles heading its way, but the news of Final Fantasy 15 and Kindgom Hearts 3 coming to the newly revealed gaming console really got the crowd going.
Sony outs the PS4, and price
We knew it was coming, we just didn't know what it would look like.
Sony finally showed us it's next-gen console during its E3 press conference Monday evening, giving us our first glimpse at a sharp-angled, shiny and matte slab.
What's more, they gave us the full details on the price of the gaming console - ensuring that it was a bit lower than the Xbox one.
New titles headed to PS4
E3 hasn't even officially begun yet but that hasn't slowed down the litany of announcements from game developers and console makers.
In fact, EA stepped up to the plate today and announced a slew of new titles for the PS4 and the XBox One.
Among the titles introduced was Star Wars: Battlefront, the shelved LucasArts game that is now in development at DICE with the same folks who concocted Battlefield 4.
Take a look at our wishlist for Sony at E3.
Sony, a once mighty electronics giant, has been humbled by some lean years. It's PlayStation 3 has become one of its strongest products, but it took awhile to accelerate after a slow launch.
Its PS Vita hasn't fared as well. The powerful but under-loved handheld has had a hard time competing with the iPhones and S4s already in peoples pockets.
With E3 2013 right around the corner, it's make or break time for Sony. It needs to show gamers why they should grab a PlayStation 4 over an Xbox One, and get them to dust off that Vita, if they even own one.
We've racked our brains to make five predictions as to Sony's approach. We'll see what comes true when TechRadar heads to Los Angeles for Sony's presentation on Monday June 10 5:30pm PST.
1. It'll show a strikingly designed PS4
During the initial PlayStation 4 unveiling event, Sony impressed the crowd by trotting out beloved developer, clips of next-gen graphics with games like Killzone: Shadow Fall, and teasing sweet cloud features like play-as-you-download and easy uploading to YouTube.
But one thing it didn't do was show the actual PS4 console. This was a purposeful choice, obviously, probably meant to leave something behind the curtain that Sony could trot out at E3. It left a lot of people mystified though, some even theorized that Sony hadn't finalized the PS4's design.
We find it difficult to believe that Sony is still sweating over the drawing board. After that blink and you'll miss it, rapid cutting video, we just think its just fallen in love with the tease. We also think it must be in love with its design for the PS4. Expect an overhauled and striking aesthetic from Sony's new system.
2. The Vita will actually get some airtime
Another E3 is rolling in and again we're singing songs of lamentation for the poor PS Vita. The mighty handheld garnered a four-star review from our own James Rivington, but it still seems like there are more sitting on store shelves than in gamer's bags.
Why? Probably because there aren't a whole lot of games for it, and Sony seems to forget about it everytime it gives a presantation. At last year's E3 it hardly even got the "and one more thing treatment."
Now Sony has hedged its bets by making it into a second screen experience for the PS4. Gamers will be able to control their PS4 with the Vita as well as stream games right to the handheld.
That'll certainly please anyone who already owns a Vita, but will it actually move units? Probably not, since most gamers are saving cash to take the plunge on a next-gen system. We wouldn't be surprised to see either a Vita price drop like the Japanese market got, or a new bundle to kindle some interest.
3. Sony will trot out a surprise guest
During Sony's 2010 E3 presentation, jaws hit the auditorium floor when none other than Gabe Newell walked onto the stage. People were gobsmacked not only because Newell is the head honcho of the beloved Valve Corporation, home of Half-Life and Portal, but the man had talked some serious smack on the PlayStation 3, calling it "a disaster on many levels."
The PS3 was known for being notoriously hard to program for, a criticism that Sony seems to have taken to heart. During its initial announcement, it carted out developer after developer to state that its new system was breeze to work with.
Sony's focus on developers at the PS4 unveiling made us happy, but now who does it have left to take the stage and praise its system at E3? Perhaps someone from Naughty Dog, home of the Uncharted series and the upcoming The Last of Us? Maybe someone from Blizzard, the company that's porting its PC dungeon crawler Diablo III to consoles? Or maybe a developer with some indie cred, like Kim Swift of Portal and Quantum Conundrum fame, or somebody from thatgamecompany, the home of Journey? The possibilities are endless, but we guarantee Sony will continue to hammer home its focus on developers, developers, developers. Yes!
4. It'll do its best to capitalize on Microsoft's mixed messages
After Sony caught some flack over choosing to not actually unveil the PS4 at its PS4 unveiling event, Microsoft probably thought it had things sewn up. It could just waltz out there, introduce the Xbox One name, put the console in everyone's face and bask in the praise, right?
Well, maybe if it had spent a little more time focusing on games for the new system, not just DVR features and an always-on Kinect. Now, don't get us wrong, we think a lot of the criticism over of the Xbox One presentation is overblown, but we were shocked at how Microsoft fumbled its answers to some gamer's most burning questions: the status of used games on the system and how much internet connectivity the system will require.
Microsoft's failure to present a consistent message could mean much love for Sony. If it can step out onto the stage and provide definitive, upfront answers to those questions, hardcore gamers will turn their heads. Of course, Microsoft has an equal opportunity there, and could steal Sony's potential thunder, since it's presenting first.
5. Last minute PS3 game plugs
The next generation of consoles is just around the corner, but the PS3 and Xbox 360 still have life left in them. In fact The Last of Us, a game that's currently being praised as one of the best of this generation, is coming out the week of E3 on Friday, June 14.
In his Last of Us review, GamesRadar's David Houghton called the post-apocalyptic title, "the swansong that a whole generation of gaming deserves." That's high praise, and the fact that the game is exclusive to the PlayStation 3 is certainly something Sony would love to remind everyone of.
Then there's Grand Theft Auto V, the next installment of Rockstar's veritable crime saga. Even though that multiplatform title is a guaranteed megahit, some plugs wouldn't hurt to ensure that consumers keep consuming current gen titles. After all, neither the PS4 or the Xbox One will be backwards compatible, so it's not as though people will tossing their systems in the trash as soon as Christmas morning rolls around.
What are your predictions?
Alright, so what did we miss? What are you predictions for Sony's E3 2013 presentation? How can they win? And where might they fail? Tell us in the comments below. Who knows, you might even be closer to the truth than we end up being.
And if your personal crystal ball has more to say about Microsoft at E3 2013, head over to that prediction page and weigh in.