Sony’s entrance into this year’s E3 was in a position of apparent strength; with sales continuing at a pace that will keep them as the market leader of this latest console generation. But from that point onwards, did they really deliver anything to solidify that position at E3? Some think so but I’m not so sure.
Project Morpheus, Sony’s own Virtual Reality headset was there for the world to see but wasn’t really showcased at their presentation which was odd considering it is the only console to have one (not counting the Oculus and Xbox/Windows 10 solution).
There was some talk that it was a last minute withdrawal which may have been in response to the other technically superior VR headsets stealing all the good press. Whatever the case, it apparently demoed well on the show floor but lack of exposure in the presentation doesn’t help. It really should be released this year while the momentum is good.
The games considered the showstoppers for the event are a mystery to me. First up here I’ll mention The Last Guardian; a game that was almost certain to take Duke Nukem Forever‘s crown for longest development cycle ever. This was originally announced for PS3, dropped off the radar, reappears, disappears again and finally shows up as a PS4 game.
It’s great that it will finally come sometime next year at the earliest but looking at the video, I can’t help thinking this is still to all intents and purposes a PS3 game.
Then there was the surprise announcement of Shenmue III, a Sony backed Kickstarter that broke records on the service for perhaps all the wrong reasons. It’s an odd choice of game to pursue considering it’s more known now for driving forklifts, talking to sailors and costing Sega more money than it every made.
Whatever incestuous relationship conjured up the idea for this game’s resurrection in this fashion is certainly not going to help itself in the long term if it isn’t going multiplatform. Those curious about the Kickstarter can find it here.
We also had the fans whipped into a frenzy over the upcoming remake of Final Fantasy VII… something that has been talked about over the years and appears to be finally coming to fruition.
PlayStation and Final Fantasy have had a strong connection over the years and it’s natural to expect this kind of announcement to have been made here with Sony. The original FFVII may have been one of the games that helped make PlayStation but will it help cement it now?
This E3 seems almost a distillation of Sony’s recent approach when it comes to games and that is to stir up the fan service as much as possible. A lot of this has the potential to succeed but is hampered by an inability to deliver these titles sooner rather than later. That and some of the games on show are multiplatform titles (FF7, No Man’s Sky) further dilutes their impact.
Yes, that’s right. PS4’s indie game great hope is coming to PC too. Though it had been known that No Man’s Sky would also receive a PC version, finding out later at E3 that it would be release day and date with the PS4 version takes some shine off it for me. This was perhaps the first PS4 exclusive game I knew of that would convinced me to drop a pile of cash and get the console but now I can just get it through Steam instead.
The game continues to astound with its potential backed with an amazing visual design and will continue to be one of the most talked about titles over the next year but it’s unfortunate though that it’s not going to arrive this year; if Sony announced No Man’s Sky was available before the end of 2015 that would have been a massive win for them and one that could potentially steers sales away from Xbox.
Sony have got some brilliant console exclusive content in the pipeline but none of those are going to compete for shelf space this year. Instead they will have to compete against next year’s PC and Xbox announcements as well as Oculus and Valve’s VR solutions. With so much competition at this time, being first to launch may be what decides if you continue to get an even bigger slice of the market or not.
I know I’m being a lot more negative towards Sony in this post and it’s mainly from disappointment than anything else. There has been hype stirred up by a few selected titles (some mentioned here) but apart from The Last Guardian or Uncharted 4, few other big titles are exclusive to the platform. And none of those are appearing this year either. In addition, no announcements really seemed like they were trying to compete with Xbox so for a second year running they are able to successfully forge their own path.
Sony’s greatest success this generation was their ability to make Microsoft accountable for bad choices leading up to their console’s launch. It literally changed the platform’s entire strategy. They’ve been able to ride that wave for a long time now but I wonder if that moment was merely a fluke of timing and there’s little else coming that can take that same initiative again.