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Sony E3 2013 Press Conference Recap: Capitalizing on Momentum

Sony was the last of the four today to have their E3 press conference and a lot was riding on them to capitalize on momentum Microsoft has been lacking with the Xbox One, especially after their conference today. It was Sony’s E3 to lose, but the folks at Playstation were able to rise to the challenge and listened to complaints gamers had about the other competing systems in the next generation of consoles. After tonight’s press conference, it is pretty clear to many which system gamers are getting for now.

Before talking about the Playstation 4, Sony’s other systems had to be addressed first. The Playstation Vita is still going to be a pivotal part in Sony’s future because of its integration with the PS4, but the biggest Vita-related announcement is a Walking Dead bundle. This bundle includes the system, Telltale’s Season 1 of the Walking Dead game, and the 400 Days DLC episode, which is also downloadable for PS3 owners. As for the Playstation 3, a montage of trailers was shown off. The Last of Us, Puppeteer, Beyond: Two Souls (seen below), and Gran Turismo 6 were among the games with new trailers.

Jack Tretton then moves on to third-party support for the PS3 this fall. After showing off the latest trailer, Tretton announced that Batman: Arkham Origins will have PS3 exclusive skins, which are Azrael Batman and the infamous Adam West Batman outfit. He also briefly mentioned Grand Theft Auto V as a new PS3 bundle with the game and an unique headset comes out on September 17th for $299. With the current gen stuff out of the way, it is finally time to talk PS4 as Andrew House comes to the stage and introduces the console itself.

Even though it may look your everyday console box, the Playstation 4 is actually a parallelogram, which is surely something different for once. House then introduces Michael Linton, CEO of Sony Pictures, to the stage as he talked about new opportunities in the entertainment world for the PS4. He announced that Sony Pictures will have exclusive programming content on Sony’s new console and that was pretty much it. This is probably similar to Microsoft TV Studios’ thing, but with Sony Pictures around for the PS4, they have more material to mess around with. Speaking of entertainment, as Microsoft spent nearly the entire Xbox One reveal event talking about entertainment features, Sony spent a few minutes announcing apps such as Redbox Instant and Flixster along with the return of Music Unlimited to the PS4.

The president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, was next up on stage to show off some Playstation 4 games. First is a new IP from Sony’s Santa Monica studio and Ready at Dawn, the folks behind the God of War games on PSP, called The Order 1866. This new game looks to be steampunk themed with some co-op team-based shooter mechanics. The trailer for this new IP can be seen below. Folks that familiar with Ready at Dawn should know this game is in good hands.

The PS4 games that were announced back at the reveal event in February were next as new trailers for Killzone: Shadow Fall, Driveclub, Infamous: The Second Son, and Knack were shown. While the new Infamous won’t be till early 2014, Knack, Driveclub, and Killzone will be released the same day as the Playstation 4’s launch. A new tech demo by Quantic Dream followed the series of trailers was next called The Dark Sorcerer. While everything was in-engine, the video did end with a green screen, which was a nice touch.

Adam Boyes then came to the stage to start discussing the indie space on Playstation 4. They already got the support from some of the best indie developers such as Jonathan Blow with The Witness, but Sony didn’t stop there. Supergiant Games was first up to show off the latest with their next game, Transistor, out early next year on PS4. If Bastion was any indication, then their latest game is surely shaping up to be another indie hit. Then a bunch of new indie games were next in rapid succession. Don’t Starve is PS4 bound along with new games by the makers of Skulls of the Shogun, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and others. Octodad is also coming to the PS4 and even a remake of the original Oddworld by Loren Lanning’s team of Oddworld Inhabitants is being made for Sony’s new console. The setup on how these demos were shown off was also done beautifully done thanks to Sony’s impressive stage design for this presser.

After a brief mention of Diablo III having PS3 exclusive content in the form of PS3 exclusive goodies such as weapons from the Uncharted, God of War, and other Playstation franchises, Square-Enix was next on a video with Tetsuya Nomura as he shows off a new trailer for Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Turns out this game is not dead and still coming, but the big surprise is that Versus XIII is now Final Fantasy XV for the PS4 (trailer above). This is a name change I personally approve of because the franchise as a whole needs a shakeup and being an action game could mean a new beginning of one of the most beloved franchises in gaming. However, that was not Nomura’s only bombshell as he finally announced Kingdom Hearts III for the Playstation 4 (trailer below). This has been a long time coming, but it is about damn time even though both these games are ways off from release (late to 2014 to 2015 are my guesses).

<pAssassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag by Ubisoft is next on stage with a gameplay demo and kind of odd that they have a demo in the Sony presser than their own earlier today. While we see glimpses of on-foot combat and naval battles, the demo actually crashed. Honestly, is this year’s E3 conferences the worst yet in terms of botched game demos from the lack of sound in parts of Microsoft’s conference to this? This is pretty crazy and you gotta feel bad for the developers that wanted their game to make a big impact at the main stage of E3. Another Ubisoft demo followed Assassin’s Creed, which is Watch_Dogs. This game has been getting a lot of stage attention at these press conferences since its initial reveal last year and I feel that the fatigue to starting to kick in with this game in terms of stage demos. Sure, the game is still shaping up to be one of the most anticipated games of the holiday season, but I personally seen enough of it at shows like these.

After a brief demonstration of the next-gen tech with NBA 2K14 of Lebron James’s character model, it is time for the Elder Scrolls Online, which I didn’t expect to see at this press conference. It turns out that Sony was able to partner up with Bethesda for a console release early next year and exclusive access to the beta before the game’s release. How ironic that this announcement was made considering the numerous issues Skyrim’s PS3 version had. The Playstation 4 is also getting a return of another legendary franchise, which is actually Mad Max. This new entry is out next year and the reveal trailer is below.

Jack Tretton returns to the stage and simply responds to the all the concerns Microsoft’s Xbox One have with “always on,” DRM, and used games. He announced that the Playstation 4 will allow used games, no need for online authentication every 24 hours, and Playstation Plus will carry over to the new console. This is directly a slap to the face at Microsoft and the crowd reactions were astounding. I never heard such loud uproar for an announcement like this since the one Nintendo press conference where The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was revealed for the first time. It seriously shows that Sony does care for the consumers first and if you thought enough shots were fired, this video is icing on the cake. Sure, we probably have to pay to play multiplayer with Playstation Plus, but the used game and DRM announcements alone have turned this console war lopsided before the consoles haven’t been released yet.

The last game to be shown off at Sony’s press conference was Activision and Bungie’s Destiny. Gameplay was finally revealed for this highly anticipated shooter and with multiplayer mechanics such as raids, public events, and loot addiction, it is shaping up to be one of the premier shooters to get next year.

House came back to the stage for the concluding remarks. He announced that the Gaikai cloud gaming service will be released sometime next year, which is not surprising and something I didn’t expect making launch. The big announcement, however, was the Playstation 4’s price and it is… $399. That is $100 cheaper than Microsoft’s Xbox One and with its consumer-friendly features, it is looking like the system to get if you had to buy one this holiday season.

All in all, Sony’s press conference at E3 2013 had everything: address the current-gen with a still an amazingly solid PS3 lineup this fall, show off the PS4 console for the first time, mention entertainment for just a few minutes, and announce big game after big game. Some games were missing from this presser such as a new Uncharted and The Last Guardian, but I have a feeling we’ll find out if Team Ico’s game is still alive this TGS (I probably said this year too). Despite those missing games and a botched game demo, there is a lot of excited for the Playstation 4 at launch and the years after. From new IPs like The Order 1866 and the return of beloved franchises such as Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, the lineup of games is impressive. Of course, the announcements of no used games, no need of always online, and price are probably the main highlights for many as well. Is the next generation console war over before it even started especially after Sony’s E3 2013 press conference? Let us know in the comments below.

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