Highlights from the Sony / PS4 press conference:
– Sony won.
I could end it at that, but let’s take a serious look at what the PS4 has to offer.
- $399 US price point, $100 less than the Xbox One.
- Holiday 2013 launch date.
- Support of pre-owned games (PS4).
- Indie developers have the ability to self publish content.
- The hardware is a nice throwback to the PS2 design.
If there ever was a time to just drop the mic and walk off stage, Sony could have used a Power Point to pop those five highlights on screen and ended the night and still come out on top. Instead the company brought us a spectacular two-hour event that highlighted their dedication to gaming and the fans. Addressing many of the concerns fans have voiced since the announcement of the Xbox One, Sony drove home the point that their next gen console is a true gaming entertainment system.
Sony kicked off with full support of their Vita, calling it the “companion to the PS4.” God of War HD 1 and 2 were announced, along with the highly anticipated sequel to Telltale’s The Walking Dead. Also, not in a hurry to bury the PS3, they unveiled some new titles that had fans hollering in the crowd. The Puppeteer looks increasingly charming while Beyond: Two Souls could be intensely heart breaking. We also got the prequel to the Arkham games. Batman: Arkham Origins which brings a whole slew of rogues out to squash the Bat, including the return of The Clown Prince of Crime!
Now, onto the PS4. The box itself is a reminiscent of the PS2, which the Twitterverse lit up at. Angled and sharp, it looks like the next gen systems for both companies is sticking with the boxy design. It’s simple and modern, but what really counts is what’s inside. We didn’t hear a lot about the tech specs of the system, but there’s still a week’s worth of E3 to fill up.
Game wise, Sony came out hard with a new IP from Santa Monica. The Order: 1866 looks like a supernatural survival game set in a dystopian world. Graphics and the few measures of story we were treated to shows it to be a strong new title.
KillZone and Drive Club will also make launch title debuts. A nice look at InFAMOUS: Second Son shows the game to be as fun as it’s predecessor, but we won’t have that in time for launch.
Quantic Dream revealed more of their creepy old man. At first I thought we were getting a DragonLance game, as he looked strikingly similar to Raistlin, sans the gold skin – but turns out it’s The Dark Sorcerer. The video was hilarious, and the graphics unbelievable. There will be a full demo on Tuesday. This is one to keep your eyes on.
One of the other major titles to come out of the PS4 conference was Final Fantasy XV, the formerly titled Versus VIII. Square Enix has created a world not too unlike our own, but with a mix of high fantasy and not-so-distant sci-fi elements. The two main characters will certainly appeal to the Tumblr crowd, meaning they are young boys that you will probably want to avoid any fanfiction about. While I wasn’t overly impressed with the graphics and game play (looked a little too much like God of War), I know hard core Final Fantasy fans will buy the system just for this. And of course, Square Enix couldn’t resist not teasing us with the next installment in the Kingdom Hearts series.
The bevy of indie games showcased really drove home that Sony is trying to do right by the fans. They announced that developers will have the ability to self publish games via the marketplace, opening up a slew of opportunities for up and coming companies. This alone packed a huge punch to Microsoft. Sony followed it up by announcing that the PS4 would support used games. PS4 discs will act just like PS3 discs, and games can be traded, sold or simply shared between friends. They even gave us a handy PSA on how this works.
The last game of the night with Bungie’s Destiny. It was like Mass Effect and Halo had a love child and this beautiful creation was born from their night of passion. Seriously, the game is gorgeous in every way. The lighting effects, weaponry, graphics is a dream for FPS fans. I expect to hear a lot more about this blockbuster in the coming days.
It was a superb performance from Sony. Not only did they listen to what fans have been saying against Microsoft, but they took a lot of criticism from their last system and have worked hard to improve on that. It’s not a fully immersed entertainment system like the Xbox One, but the PS4 is a true gaming console. Both systems will find homes with their demographics, but it’s great to see a company really listening to what the gamer world wants.