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Thoughts On Sony & Microsoft @ E3 2013

 

Okay, so yesterday was the start of the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, the largest event solely dedicated to games, and it was a treat! Both Sony and Microsoft showed off their next-gen consoles and they look lovely. First up was Microsoft and after their “Next-Gen Reveal” weeks ago that had almost nothing to do with games they decided to make this showcase all about them… And they did not disappoint. From Metal Gear Solid V to TitanFall to Ryse the company came to play (no pun intended). I will say that Microsoft has put in a lot of money to secure some pretty legitimate exclusives like the aforementioned TitanFall and Ryse, created by Respawn (the core team that created COD Modern Warfare) and Crytek respectively.

Insomniac, the studio behind Resistance & Ratchet & Clank, showed off a new exclusive for Microsoft called Sunset Overdrive that looked different. We even got a very brief glimpse of the next Halo and even though it wasn’t as memorable as the Halo 3 Teaser it got the job done. The problem here is that they didn’t address the issues everyone is talking about, i.e the restriction on used games and the required internet connection . They avoided these things, while showing amazing games, but not amazing enough to make us forget. At the end of the conference they hit us with with a $500 price tag and even though it was expected it was not well received. The console will be released in November.

Now if Sony didn’t have a conference then Microsoft would be doing great. They showed amazing games that will only be on their console and honestly I’m excited for it and I don’t even plan on buying one. They did exactly what gamers wanted which was show games… and those games were good. The problem for Microsoft was that Sony stole the show a few hours later.

First, I must say that I am a bit of “Sony Fanboy,” but I will do my best not to sound bias. With that being said Sony gave Microsoft the biggest Round House kick to the face since the PS2’s heyday. No, but in all seriousness looking at Sony’s conference in retrospect it is clear they “won,” but its also clear that Microsoft is much more aggressive with the exclusives. Sony is is going to depend heavily on their great first party studios like Naughty Dog and Sucker Punch to provide those exclusives. They showed off the actual box and it’s cool I guess.. the funniest thing I heard is that it looks like a Xbox One in italics.

Sony is determined to corner the indy market and during the conference they showed off several small games by small developers that looked promising. We got an update on Killzone: Shadow Fall, inFamous: Second Son, Knack and Drive Club and they look good. inFamous is a game I enjoyed so I’m looking forward to playing it on PS4. They also showed off a new game from Ready At Dawn, the guys who created God Of War on PSP. The game was called The Order 1886 and the trailer looked interesting. Watch Dogs got a demo and that looked good as usual, sadly Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag suffered from technical difficulties.

One of the bigger surprises was the revelation that Final Fantasy Versus XII has been recreated as Final Fantasy XV, and even crazier, Kingdom Hearts III is in development after about seventeen spin-offs and HD remixes.

The biggest news came at the end when Sony looked into the green eyes of Microsoft and said that they wouldn’t impose any restrictions on used games and there would be no need for online connection. If you watched the conference than you heard the crowd going wild, and when they settled down they announced the $400 price tag and dropped the proverbial mic.

Now, to be clear Sony is allowing developers to restrict used games anyway they want, but even so, with that announcement they are determined to win back the gamers they lost between the PS2 and now. I think they did pretty good, but it would’ve been over the top if they decided to show something, anything related to a new Uncharted Game. They ended the show with a gorgeous yet dull demo of Destiny, the new game from Bungie (who made Halo 1-3 & ODST). It looked a lot like Borderlands, and even though I loved Boarderlands I wasn’t that excited to see this other game. They still haven’t talked about the new “Facebook”-like friend system or the Gaikai streaming service. We also aren’t entirely sure about the entertainment aspect of the box, or what the user interface looks like (although there is a video out but it has not been made legitimate yet). They plan on releasing it during the “holiday season” and I would be surprised if it came out after the Xbox.

Either way I think both companies had great showings. Microsoft showed the games and I think they did enough to keep many of those diehard Xbox fans. Sony reacted well to Microsoft and counter beautifully to deliver a pretty damaging Haymaker, but not a knockout. These two have five months to convince us which to buy this holiday and it will be fun to see how Microsoft bounces back. Many people on twitter seem to already be aligning with Sony, but we still have a bunch of time for them to mess up, or for Microsoft to buy Rockstar and make GTA an Xbox exclusive (impossible by the way).. be patient my gaming friends.