Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Reactions to E3 So Far

Pretty much specifically Sony and Microsoft.

Well now, it's been a while since I think I actually wanted to cover something that was E3 related. The last couple of years have seen me growing less and less enthusiastic about the entire affair to the point where I could barely bring myself to care anymore. This year though with more information about the Xbox One and the Playstation 4 forthcoming, there was actually something to grab my attention.

Now, you may find that I'm being a bit biased here by not going into much detail regarding the Xbox One conference. The reason I'm not though is because while I believe that they made up a little ground by, you know, actually showing games, that it was still the Playstation 4 conference that everyone was anticipating. Whether Sony could take advantage of the current anger that gamers had with Microsoft was something that people were debating on quite a bit.

I actually came down in the camp of those that believed Sony was basically planning the same thing as Microsoft, but in the wake of the reaction to the Xbox One reveal decided to put off dropping the news for as long as possible so that momentum would be on their side. I figured that both companies would be giving the same sort of options, just with slightly different spins. My hopes weren't high to be honest.

Then the Sony conference happened, and everyone was floored.

No anti-used game features, no in-built DRM, and a price point at $399 dollars, a full one hundred lower than what Microsoft has announced the Xbox One is selling for. People went apeshit. It's become clear that in the minds of many that Sony has taken this E3 and made a complete slamdunk of it. It seems like they actually used the fact that Microsoft was making the first presentation to their advantage, by effectively negating any hype that Microsoft might have built up. Perhaps the most important thing was actually the undercutting of the cost by $100, which might have provided motivation even if the other two announcements hadn't been made.

If that ad didn't make it clear enough, Sony's plan was to pretty much just mock Microsoft's decisions at every available turn, something that the latter company made quite easy to do it seems. What interests me is the fact that it seems that Sony was ready to announce their plans (or lack thereof) for things like DRM and used gaming earlier, but it was actually in reaction to the Xbox One and the gamer outcry that they delayed it. From this Polygon article the particular passage goes:

"I literally have goosebumps right now, because that was always our plan," Rohde said. "It's something that we believe in. We know gamers come first; we know what they want. I was personally overwhelmed with the massive explosion on Twitter, with everyone essentially begging, 'Please don't do this Sony, please don't do this PlayStation!' It was so hard not to say, right away, 'Well, we never were going to do that, but now let's have a little fun and announce it in a fun way at the PlayStation press conference.'"

TotalBiscuit also mentioned on Twitter that Sony had, in fact, made comments regarding their policies towards DRM and such as early as February. I'm trying to find the Gametrailers interview that he told me about, but if that's true then really Sony has pretty much just been waiting for the right time to remind everyone that, hey, this game console isn't going to be like a jailhouse.

A lot of people are calling this the death knell for the Xbox One. That is a drastic overstatement. If you look on Amazon right now under the computer and video game top sellers you'll certainly see that Playstation 4 is the number one seller via pre-order, but the Xbox One is also in the top five, probably in the second or third position. Sony may have made a lot of fans and affirmed a lot of fanboys, but it's never going to be as simple as people make it out to be.

Still, I'm not going to lie, this is the best news that I've heard in a long time. I just wish that it wasn't a necessary confirmation of things that wouldn't be done, rather than having the secure knowledge that they wouldn't be done in the first place. Oh well, hats off to you nonetheless Sony, seems that you actually have learned from the past after all, at least so far.

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