Sony is still cashing in on the goodwill it earned with last year’s E3 presentation. From the mic-dropping announcement of the PS4’s cheaper price to the way it answered lingering questions of the console and its differences to its competitor, there’s no question that it was a big win for the brand.
That has been reflected in sales with the console having sold nearly double the amount of units that Microsoft’s console has. Many thought the gap between the two would get smaller with time, but just released results for May 2014 show the opposite with 572,000 PS4 units sold for the month compared to 178,000 Xbox Ones.
The company can’t rest on its laurels though because the main criticism lobbied against it has only gotten louder – the lack of medium to large titles. Sony launched with a weak opening line-up of exclusives with “Killzone: Shadow Fall” and “Knack” proving disappointments. “Resogun” was well-regarded though, and on the indie front they’ve generally been praised.
The PS4 has been able to beat the competition in regards to third-party titles performing better on its slightly more powerful system (eg. “Tomb Raider: Definitive,” “Watch Dogs”), but it has really only had one well-regarded exclusive thus far – “Infamous: Second Son”. Even that game, though highly praised for its visuals, was criticised for ‘last gen gameplay’ and short length. Two other AAA exclusives from last year – “Driveclub” and “The Order: 1886” – have since been pushed back into late 2014 and early 2015 respectively.
Sony needed to push hard with games at E3 this year, especially big titles. They pretty much delivered, although one or two more AAA titles (especially new IPs) would not have gone astray. The company also seems to be heavily pushing exclusive content from third party games and/or console exclusive premieres of certain games. Unlike Microsoft, Sony also had several hardware and service announcements.
Hardware & Services
PlayStation TV has been confirmed for a U.S. release this Fall. The $99 streaming box can play PS1, PSP and PS Vita games on a TV set with a standard Sony game controller. It can also stream a game from a PS4 within the same network, and will have access to the PlayStation Now service – effectively giving the box a library of around 1,000 available titles at launch.
The PlayStation Now online game streaming service will be available in a North American open beta testing on the PS4 from July 31st with a range of rental durations and prices being tested. It will roll out to other PlayStation devices and Sony televisions soon after with over a hundred of PS3 titles expected to be available for access including the likes of “Dead Space 3,” “God of War Ascension,” “Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes,” and “Ultra Street Fighter IV”.
Later this year, YouTube will be available on PS4. The ‘Share’ Button will allow users to upload their gameplay videos to their Youtube channels and you wall will be able to include Youtube gameplay videos from your friends.
A new 500Gb ‘Glacier White’ version of the PS4 will be available as part of a package with the release of the game “Destiny” on September 9th. Project Morpheus got a brief shout out and it was confirmed that the PlayStation Camera is an essential tool for it to work.
The biggest exclusive AAA title that scored a great trailer, and the single upcoming game I’m anticipating the most, was “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End” which is getting a 2015 release. The game is reportedly targeting 1080p/60fps and Nathan Drake is set to sport double the polygons of Joel from “The Last of Us”.
There was a cinematic trailer for 2015’s “Bloodborne”, the new IP by From Software and director Hidetaka Miyazaki (“Dark Souls,” “Demon’s Souls”) which appears to be set in a hellish, gory gothic city. Like their previous games, expect it to be very difficult and challenging.
There was an extensive demo of “LittleBigPlanet 3” which is scheduled for Christmas, 2015’s “The Order 1886” got a new trailer showcasing its blend of cinematics and gameplay, and there was a live-action trailer for the gory looking fighting game “Let It Die”.
A trailer was shown for the upcoming “Ratchet and Clank” film which preceded word that Insomniac Games is working on a PS4 reboot of the series which will be available in the first half of 2015. A trailer was also shown for the gorgeous looking undersea game “ABZU” which comes from the art director and composer behind “Journey”.
Remastered games got some love, the crowd going absolutely nuts for the announcement of a new version of the classic “Grim Fandango”. The remastered version of “The Last of Us” also scored a new cinematic trailer showcasing the game’s new visuals and announcing an official July 29th release date.
Solid looking indie titles galore were on hand like “Entwined” which has just gone online in full, “Magicka 2” which got an amusing live-action trailer featuring a cat exploding, and Devolver Digital revealed a reel of new indie titles such as “Hotline Miami Wrong Number,” “Broforce,” “Not a Hero” and the puzzler “The Talos Principle”.
Various DLC and expansion packs of existing games were announced including “Killzone Shadow Fall Intercept,” and “Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Ultimate Evil Edition” allowing you to fight the infected from “The Last of Us”.
Most strikingly on that front was “Infamous: First Light,” standalone DLC coming in August that doesn’t require owning “Infamous: Second Son” to play (but if you do you’ll get some exclusive content). The DLC follows the neon-powered female hacker character Fetch.
Finally, they confirmed over 100 titles are being developed for PS Vita including “Child of Light,” “Tales from the Borderlands” and the full console edition of “Minecraft”.
The entire presentation kicked off with a lengthy look at Bungie’s costly “Destiny” with the likes of Bill Nighy and Peter Dinklage doing voiceovers on the trailer ahead of the announcement of the game’s beta on July 17th. A PS4-exclusive ‘First Look Alpha’ kicks off this Thursday through to Sunday.
Rockstar’s “Grand Theft Auto V” was confirmed to be coming to both next gen consoles and PC this Fall. Interestingly, the current community of both PS3 & Xbox 360 players will have the ability to transfer their GTA Online progress and characters to the PlayStation 4.
There was truly excellent gameplay footage from both “Far Cry 4” and “Batman: Arkham Knight” along with the news that PSN members who don’t own “Far Cry 4” can be invited by their friends to play it. The ‘Arkham’ trailer effectively showcased the much larger scale of the new Gotham City (and how the Batmobile gets around).
There was also bone crushing galore in the first gameplay footage from “Mortal Kombat X”, stunning gameplay footage from the highly ambitious “No Man’s Sky,” a brief new gameplay trailer for “Battlefield Hardline,” and new cinematic trailers for “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” and a Los Angeles-set “Dead Island 2”.
Finally there was a brief reel of the two dozen or so Free to Play games coming to various PlayStation platforms like “War Thunder” and “Planetside 2”.