On 10th June, 6 PM PDT at E3, Los Angeles, Sony finally announced its cards. It finally revealed the PS4 and gave answers to the questions that every gamer had on their mind. This conference took around 6 hours after the Microsoft conference had ended, a time where everyone would have formed their conclusions or opinions. Microsoft’s conference had shocked many consumers with the price tag of $499 and had showed many of its exclusive games. Microsoft’s conference had also lacked any significant presentation of the much touted Kinect V2 which is compulsory to be on for the Xbox One to run or the Smartglass.
The Sony conference came at the right time to put itself on the top of the Microsoft console and prove that it could win against it. The Sony was able to pull it off and has taken advantage of the negative mindset towards the Xbox One and become a more popular option. On the first day of the conferences, Nintendo mainly stayed away from the this console rivalry and revealed its cards later in its Nintendo Direct.
It was quite a unique conference for Sony as it announced lots of games, made some revelations and finally revealed the price of the PS4 before leaving! The PS4 will cost $399 / €399 / £349 / AUD$549 on release and it will be releasing by the end of 2013. This price was declared at the absolute end of the conference so the viewers had to wait through all the gameplay videos to find out this piece of juicy information! I let you know in the beginning! See, I am so nice
The PS4 was also finally revealed and what do you know, it looks a lot like the new Xbox One, just thinner and more Playstation-ish.
Looks like the consoles not only have nearly identical hardware, the consoles look pretty similar in design albeit one console is much thinner than the other!
The funny thing about the Sony conference was that the point which drew the most applause from the crowd and was the most popular aspect of the conference was one that was actually nothing much. The point has been valid for all consoles to date and its inclusion on PS4 drew mass cheering. It was the issue of used games. Sony stated that “The Playstation 4 won’t impose any new restrictions on used games”. Sony’s Jack Tretton also said that there would be no online checking of discs and that there would be no compulsory internet login. This has been the case with all consoles but this time a huge applause was received by Sony due to the fact that Microsoft’s Xbox One puts many restrictions on used games and gamers were fearing that the same would be true for the PS4.
In fact, Sony has even made a troll video of used game sharing which has gone viral:
This “function” is obviously present in Wii U as well so this makes it and the PS4 more lucrative options for used game users over the Xbox One.
In later statements, Sony representatives have clarified that the DRM would be similar to PS3. They will not provide DRM infrastructure like Xbox One but they will not stop 3rd party publishers either. Sony 1st party games will have no DRM. You might see online passes again if this statement is to be seen. Sony is not going back on its words, it is just revealing something it “forgot” to mention at the conference.
Sony’s Gaikai Cloud Game streaming will launch in 2014 from which you will be able to download PS1, PS2 and PS3 games. The backwards compatibility as I said before is software only and one will have to repurchase any PS3 games. This puts the PS4 in a similar vein to Xbox One with no backwards compatibility (at all). Wii U has hardware compatibility with Wii games and software compatibility with old Nintendo consoles, including the Gamecube.
Well now that I have dealt with the price and cloud streaming issue, we can see the games! PS4 has various 1st party and 3rd party exclusives in the pipeline and unlike the Xbox One, it also supports the indie developers! This makes it resemble a Wii U as Nintendo has been ramping up Indie developer support these days and has even passed free development kits to some Indie devs.
Here are the main games that stole the headlines (I might touch upon them in more detail in separate articles):
This amazing looking sci-fi shooter is a new game from Bungie, the legend behind the creation of the Halo series on Xbox and Xbox 360. They made the first 3 games of the trilogy and left Microsoft as an exclusive publisher. This shooter resembles a Halo fused with an MMORPG being reminiscent of the Halo series. The game started with a slow exploration followed by fighting with cliche bad guys and finally a boss.
Here is the trailer shown at E3:
Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III
The much awaited Final Fantasy Versus XIII and Kingdom Hearts III were revealed by Square Enix at the Sony conference. Yes you might have seen that I wrote Final Fantasy XV above and Versus XIII below. The latter has been rebranded as the former! And just in case you didn’t know, my blog avatar is a picture of the original game teasing screenshots, so I am pleased by this game’s final reveal although not completely happy the direction the series is entering.
We were revealed a trailer for this upcoming game which apparently uses the power of the next-gen engine for the PS4. It showed gameplay similar to an action RPG not a a turn-based Final Fantasy. Some fans like it, some don’t. I am waiting to see how it turns out.
Here is the trailer:
Also as in a grand reveal, the long awaited Kingdom Hearts III was revealed! We see a trailer with Sora discovering an old Keyblade of a past Keyblade Master. These 2 SE games are not PS4 exclusive and will make an appearance on Xbox One while a Wii U port has been neither confirmed nor denied.
The Order 1866
An original PS4 IP was revealed to the public in the form of Order 1866. It is similar to a sci-fi shooter and has either werewolves, aliens or alien werewolves in it! Sony claims that all the graphics of the trailer were rendered entirely by the Game engine! This featured plenty of fog, high polygonal models and much more!
Also a PS4 tech demo was shown called “Dark Sorcerer” which demonstrated the technology of the PS4 in animating faces.
More PS4 exclusives such as inFAMOUS: Second Son, Killzone: Shadow Fall and Knack were also shown. These games had been revealed along with the PS4 reveal in February.
The gameplay video for inFAMOUS: Second Son:
Sony also decided to showcase the nice treatment it gives to Indie developers and showed off some PS4 exlusive games!
Ray’s the Dead
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
Sony also made an announcement that did not too go too well with fans. They announced that now PS+, Playstation’s paid online network would be compulsory to play PS4 games online! This would cost gamers around $60 per year.
Sony also revealed the next-gen 3rd party games that are not exclusive! Many of these titles are coming on PS3 and Xbox 360, the past gen consoles but the Wii U, PS4 and Xbox One versions feature better graphics and also better gameplay.
Here are some of the showcased games:
Watchdogs (with an “extra hour” of gameplay on PS4)
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (also has exclusive gameplay)
Elder Scrolls Online (an exclusive beta on PS4)
and many more. Sony said that it has 140 PS4 titles in the pipe line, although I doubt they would come out in 2 years.
Sony also put less attention on Vita and mentioned that PS Vita has 85 games to come (this year, they claim) including Arkham Origins: Blackgate, Destiny of Spirits, etc. as well as remasters like God of War, Final Fantasy X/X-2, etc.
Much less attention was paid to the PS3 as already announced titles such as The Last of Us, Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, and Gran Turismo 6 were shown. Also PS3 would be receiving the cross-gen non-exclusive titles.
In the end, Sony demonstrated that unlike Microsoft, it could listen to its fans and not implement a shocking DRM scene as well as the fact that the PS4 is powerful and has unique games coming on it.
Many fans feel that Microsoft has sunk its boat with a very high price point and large restrictions to match, although Microsoft still has time to rectify its mistakes and wow us! The PS4 represents solid competition for the Wii U which is struggling with 3rd party support but has great exclusive games coming which will never make their way to the other 2.
Now let’s see what happens