Sony won the PR battle, but lost the E3 war 1 Published: 18. Jun 2013 By Knox
I spent much time experiencing Xbox One and PlayStation 4 games on E3 and I think Microsoft wins the E3 war speaking of power and capabilities.
Sony, on the other hand, won the PR battle.
Having now seen what both consoles can do, that's clear to me because gamers have been persuaded by a very slick, shiny presentation which preceded the E3 festivities last Monday. Riddling your press conference attendees with alcohol and free food from multiple cuisines tends to get people up on their seats. Sony's presentation was fun, though, and I think the cheesy competitiveness is good for the industry, which I feel is a bit stale.
One of my biggest disappointments of E3 was Knack, a launch day platformer that looked the goods to show off the PS4's capabilities. It plays like a PS2 game and looks like a glossy, shiny PS3 downloadable title. I won't be surprised if it ends up a download-only title. Infamous: Second Son looks great, though, as does Killzone.
But they are just games, and I left Los Angeles feeling that the entire new generation of gaming consoles lacks the excitement of last generation.
Microsoft, while still part of that stale and trivial new generation, is in a different situation, because it showed to journalists the Xbox One in a different light.
The Forza Motorsport 5 demo I saw was very eloquent, almost poetic. As far as I'm concerned, Sony didn't delve quite as deep into demonstrating its games like Microsoft did. The Forza 5 demo made me want to elope with it. It looks outstanding, and is a far more appealing racing exclusive than Driveclub, although that is looking great on its own accord. Just remember it's a launch title being offered up for free to PlayStation Plus subscribers. Expect people to forget about it within 12 months of launch. Forza is maturing at an impeccable rate, and its frequency and improvement I feel are giving it the edge over Gran Turismo.
The buzz on the E3 showroom floor was that Dead Rising 3 looks outstanding, while Project Spark, Xbox One's answer to LittleBigPlanet, is a more visually realistic god game, and it seems like it was built out of the dreams of Peter Molneux.
E3 in general lacked the excitement one might have expected from a new generation of consoles, but that's to be expected as developers and publishers still work out the kinks of the powerful new architecture. Many new games are coming to both current gen and next gen consoles, representing an industry yet to fully embrace the developing capabilities of the PS4 and Xbox One.
As far as confidence in the hardware goes, Xbox One appears to have the edge. It's not that I think the console will be better over the course of the generation, but based on what I saw personally, the sentiment towards development, the evolution of development, and the future of the industry is significantly different from behind Microsoft's doors than it is behind Sony's. For the whole of E3, Sony seemed like a confident prom king nominee almost certain he'd be walking away with the crown at the end of the night, while Microsoft was the cool cat opening its doors to anyone curious enough to see what it has to offer.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, it failed to recognise just how entitled gamers can be. Following the DRM and always-on fiascos following its unveiling last month, gamers took to forums to vent anger at what they thought would be the end of the Xbox brand. It's eventually turned into a relentless war against a company that really is doing no worse than its closest competitor.
The recent revelation that Xbox One won't work in certain countries is a perfect example of this, with gamers suddenly — all of a sudden — caring about third-world countries and how they won't have access to Microsoft's new console. It was a petty thing to hold against a company making a leaps and bounds with its development technology. Unless you have seen the Xbox One behind closed doors, you can't argue against that. When has a gaming console from the major players ever come to these regions?
Microsoft responded to queries about the console's online capabilities, saying anyone without an internet connection powerful enough to handle the console's online requirements would have to settle for an Xbox 360. Australian gamers baulked at this news, like as if regional Australia matters in the design of a gaming console by an American company.
Hypothetically, if it were to create a console that appeased a market as small as regional Australia, it would hold the hardware back, and ultimately disadvantage developers that need to create software for small markets with hardware that has been scaled back.
All of this represents a growing anti-Xbox One sentiment that is unfair, even in the face of Sony subtly saying gamers now need to pay to play PlayStation 4 games online. Once one of the most appealing aspects of Sony's online service, free online gaming is now a thing of the past. Yet barely a word has been spoken, probably because Sony managed to so well smudgily attack its closest competitor with opposing features that had neither been confirmed nor denied for Xbox One. It was all just a product of Microsoft's miscommunication.
Sony ended E3 very confident that it had "won" the event, but if what it showed is the best the PlayStation 4 has to offer at this point, then the industry is even more stale than I imagine. Microsoft was the victim of miscommunication, and Sony benefitted by jumping on Microsoft's misdemeanours, while showing an average games lineup. I am happy for anyone that saw both consoles first hand to disagree.
I don't feel players are yet to judge Microsoft. Many have been cheated by convenient announcements.
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