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Talking Point: Did Sony Do Enough to Win the Battle of the E3 2013 Press Conferences?

Posted by Sammy Barker

Presentation punch-out

The LA Convention Centre may have only just opened its doors for E3 2013, but the primary press conferences are now over for another year. After a long day of media briefings from Microsoft, Ubisoft, and EA, Sony finally took to the stage late last night to raise the curtain on the PlayStation 4’s chassis – and announce that the system will retail for a surprisingly reasonable $399.99. But did the show live up to expectations, or did the Japanese giant fluff the opportunity?

There were some rousing moments during the platform holder’s showcase for sure – the most notable coming when SCEA executive Jack Tretton milked every last minute from the confirmation that the PS4 will not block used games. While this probably shouldn’t have proved a highlight – it’s incredible that we’ve reached this point at all – the delivery of the news will probably go down as one of the most remarkable instances in E3 history.

As will president Andrew House’s almost aggressive confirmation that the console will retail for $100 less than its closest competitor. Both announcements prompted rapturous applause on a scale that we haven’t seen since Shigeru Miyamoto turned up to a Nintendo briefing dressed as Link and Don Mattrick confirmed that everyone in its press conference's audience would be getting a free Xbox 360. The latter sure put the gloss on an otherwise lacklustre showing.

And so too did the aforementioned reveals. Last night’s PlayStation keynote was certainly not bad by any stretch, but it definitely had some weak spots. Wheeling out an executive from Sony Pictures to talk exclusive programming on the PlayStation Network seemed like an ill-advised move in the wake of Microsoft’s calamitous Xbox One unveiling, even if it provided the first signs of a more unified company under the leadership of new overlord Kaz Hirai.

The absence of the PlayStation Vita was also a weak point, relegated to just a few hurried minutes, and devoid of any noteworthy announcements at all. The confirmation that the first two God of War titles are coming to the console was nice, but would have been far better received if it was supplemented by some big first-party games. As it happens, Tearaway and Killzone: Mercenary remain the only big exclusives that we know about from Western studios – and Freedom Wars from Japan Studio was not even present at all.

And content was perhaps an area that the platform holder was weak on across the board. The unbelievable PlayStation 3 montage that opened the briefing was tellingly the strongest sequence of software, with the platform holder reeling off hit after hit in the form of Gran Turismo 6, Beyond: Two Souls, The Last of Us, and many more. Granted, this is a transitional year, but after Microsoft’s strong commitment to content during its briefing, we’d expected Sony to bet the bank on new PS4 titles. As it happens, it didn’t really have a lot to show at all.

That said, it did do the right thing by glossing over titles that it had already announced during its PlayStation Meeting – though we think that inFAMOUS: Second Son looked good enough to net a stage demo – but in doing so, the platform’s lineup came across a touch light. The Order: 1886 certainly looks like an intriguing concept – its visuals on another planet – and Quantic Dream’s surprising The Dark Sorcerer demo definitely impressed, but the commitment to software was not as strong as we’d initially expected. The company never really set out a content roadmap for its next generation console beyond inFAMOUS: Second Son, which is due out in the first quarter of next year.

Having said that, given the wealth of first-party studios at Sony’s disposal – and the number that have been silent for far too long – it seems inevitable that the titles are going to come, and the platform holder’s clearly biding its time in this regard. So, while we would have liked to have seen more from the manufacturer on the night, we’re not particularly concerned that it’s keeping schtum for the time being.

And it’s not like the next generation system’s going to be short on software anyway. The company selected its third-party showcases well, with Watch Dogs and Destiny demoing particularly well. The latter may have proved divisive, but it definitely looked the part, and it would be naive to rule out the developer behind the Halo series – even if the studio didn’t conduct itself in a particularly amiable manner during the on-stage demo.

And then, of course, there was Square Enix. While the PlayStation maker could have brought down the roof by confirming that both Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III would be exclusive to the PS4 – they won't – both seemed worthy of the wait. Prior to the press conference, expectations were at an all time low for Square Enix’s promised appearance, but we actually thought that the Japanese publisher knocked it out of the park.

That aside, the indie sequence was particularly pleasing to see, with Supergiant Games definitely deserving of its onstage spot. Titles such as Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee New ‘n’ Tasty and Octodad are unlikely to shift units, but they’ll add a lot of diversity to the platform – and that the company’s managed to negotiate console exclusive debuts for the wealth of titles that it showcased further evidences just how much goodwill it’s built up within the underground development community.

The conference delivered a fairly even split of highs and lows, then – letdown by some iffy pacing, but lifted by two show stopping reveals. And, as we indicated earlier on, it’s the impact of those that this year’s PlayStation presentation will be remembered by. There’s still a long road until launch, but the momentum is definitely on Sony’s side. And we suppose based upon that alone, the company did just enough to steal this year's round of press conference wars. But do you agree?


Do you think that Sony’s press conference was stronger than Microsoft’s? Did you prefer Nintendo’s more informal approach? What do you think that any of the platform holders could have done better? Let us know in the comments section below.

How would you rate Sony’s E3 2013 press conference? (52 votes)

Excellent

48%

Good

40%

Average

10%

Poor

  2%

Dire

  0%

Please login to vote in this poll.

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User Comments (46)

CrazyOtto

#1

CrazyOtto said:

I personally thought Nintendo's was better overall. Sony's wasn't bad, it was just spotty. But I'm very happy that PS4 is not blocking used games.

Gamer83

#2

Gamer83 said:

It was good but I thought the game content in MS' conference was actually the best. Mainly because Sony played most of its hand back in February and is still trying to support two home consoles while MS' main focus has switched to Xbox One and it had virtually no games at the reveal event last month so you knew E3 was going to be about that. That said, I was already sold enough on PS4 all Sony needed to do was get the policies and price right, they did and I think that, along with the great games on offer for all its platforms (including the Vita despite basically being left out of the show) brings it up from an 'average' to 'good' conference. As to who 'won' I don't really think there was a winner at this year's E3. Each company has stuff to look forward to.

Epic

#3

Epic said:

Sony won just for salting the wounds and that magnificent price.
Overall the best conference was from Microsoft.

hydeks

#4

hydeks said:

Nintendo won, but Sony was a good second, Microsoft was ok, and UbiSoft's sucked...badly.

Everyone's gonna have their preference, though.

Jaz007

#8

Jaz007 said:

The problem was that they didn't show enough new exclusives. Confirming that there would be no DRM restrictions really knocked it out of the park though, that pretty much guaranteed a victory of E3. I expect them to make up for the lack of game announcments later though.

ZeD

#9

ZeD said:

@get2sammyb No you have said that I can see it now! I looked at it over and over again but could not see it before! Thanks!

ShogunRokAdmin

#12

ShogunRok said:

I think Sony won for sure, but I agree with all of the points made in the article. It could have been far worse, it could have been a little better, but it was great overall. I thought it was better than the last few years.

Microsoft had a solid keynote too, with a great lineup of games - but I think Sony just really nailed the atmosphere as they usually do. EA was also solid - if a bit lacking in originality, and Ubisoft was pretty bad in my opinion, although they tend to receive a free pass from many because they tend to finish on a strong note, regardless if the rest of the show was painful to watch.

Nintendo didn't have a press conference, so I can't say they qualify. They had a 40 minute Nintendo Direct, and while they showed off some fantastic titles that really got me quite hyped, it wasn't a presser.

LordBagardo

#13

LordBagardo said:

Nintendo didn't have a conference... How on Earth could they win the "battle of the E3 2013 press conferences"?

Which leaves me with one obvious conclusion: Sony won.

Tasuki

#14

Tasuki said:

I have to say Sony knocked it out of the ball park this year. For me it wasn't so much the not blocking of used games or the online check in policy I think they really scored when they announced the price. While all that was nice compared to the Xbox One the pricing was the icing on the cake. I still have to watch the Nintendo Direct though but I have a feeling it wont be as memorable as Sony's.

rjejr

#16

rjejr said:

Sammy, Last Guardian is officially on HIATUS.
So says Gametrailers scroll.

rastamadeus

#19

rastamadeus said:

@LordBagardo the question was "Do you think that Sony’s press conference was stronger than Microsoft’s? Did you prefer Nintendo’s more informal approach?" If you want to nitpick then Sony had the better press conference but Nintendo have had the best show overall. The Nintendo Direct's are brilliant ideas and lets it feel more personal while also being quirky. The Direct has made me want a Wii U even more - Mario and Smash 4 made me sex wee - while Sony's conference has made me want to get a PS4 earlier than I had planned.

ShogunRokAdmin

#20

ShogunRok said:

@rastamadeus Still down to personal opinion, though. I love me some Nintendo - I couldn't be more excited for Super Smash Bros. and seeing Mario Kart 8 and project X have made me interested in a Wii U for the first time ever, but Sony still did more than enough to 'win'.

To be totally honest, I don't count Nintendo and Sony in the same competition anymore, and I think Nintendo solidified this message by not having a traditional conference,

BornOfEvil

#22

BornOfEvil said:

No DRM and a $400 price point is what really sold me on the PS4. Not to mention that I finally got to see what The Order: 1888 was all about, and having gotten a more in-depth look at Shadow Fall, Second Son, Drive Club and Knack.

I would have to say that Nintendo came in at a close second. Their show was good, but I'm still only interested in Bayonetta 2 and Smash Bros, with Mario Kart just barely joining the list. Everything else seemed really weak and uninteresting to me.

Microsoft had the best pacing, but their show was comprised of mostly shooters. I love shooters and all, but they're squeezing out way too many. Sunset Overdrive was the only interesting game I saw, and Titanfall was clearly trying to be Mechassault - which was a pretty mediocre game in it's day.

rastamadeus

#23

rastamadeus said:

@ShogunRok Yeah, they haven't been for a while. Sony and Microsoft fight over who has the more powerful machine that will create stunning and immersive titles while Nintendo just try's to create things that make you smile. There's more than enough room for both ways of thinking and long may it continue.

LordBagardo

#24

LordBagardo said:

@rastamadeus I was directing my statement more at the other comments rather than the article itself. People referring to Nintendo Direct as a conference in the same way as you would the MS and Sony keynotes is unfair for all parties

rjejr

#26

rjejr said:

Too close to call yet. TMI, need time to assimilate it.

MS had the advantage of that crummy revile a few weeks back and nobody expecting much. Then they came out boom-boom-boom w/ the games, something for everyone - way too many FPS, but Forza, Halo, MGS (there was a time on any Sony site when people would flip for Snake) followed by Crimson Dragon and Project Spark and Ted Price's colorful thing. Then the $499 price, ouch.

Sony has a great PS3 catalog - game of the year GOTY will be playable on the PS3, whether it's Bioshock or Last of Us or GTA5, then the Vita gets lost in the shuffle, and the PS4 has music and movies. Finally Squenix saves the game drought, and the $399 price and no DRM seals the deal.

Nintendo's 3DS has Pokemon and no rivals. The WiiU lacks games and will get a bunch, but mostly in 2014, and nearly every single game we've known about, except for the big Retro reveal, which is DKC:TR. Super Smash Bros. should have launched w/ the system. Nintendo should never launch a console, any console, w/o Smash Bros. Mario and Zelda are hard to deny though.

There's always a few more things - last year W101 wasn't even in Nintendo's presentation but everybody wanted it, Pikmin 3 was and we're still waiting - Sony lost support w/ time spent on Wonderbook last year and how has that sold? - so I'm waiting before declaring an E3 winner.

rastamadeus

#27

rastamadeus said:

@LordBagardo True.

@rjejr Nintendo have never launched a console with Smash and never should. The original came very late on the N64, Melee was a few weeks after the launch of the Gamecube and Brawl was over a year into the Wii. Personally I'd rather Project Sora took their time rather than rush the game. Plus the reason Smash is so revered is because of the amount of content, things which would never be in the game if it was rushed. Oh, and they had to finish Kid Icarus first - they've only been working on the game for a year. On Smash 4, the two new Nintendo characters (Villager and Wii Fit Trainer) look brilliant and Mega Man is just an ideal fit and looks very intriguing as he has no kicks and just one punch so should be an interesting character. If they put Girahim in I think I'll cry tears of joy.

MorriganIsHot

#28

MorriganIsHot said:

Only thing I'm upset about is pay to play online thanks to M$ and their dumba$$ supporters. I look forward owning a Wii U soon because of sonic lost world, smash bros. & hopefully mario kart 8 is not a piece of crap like 7 was.

doctor_doak

#29

doctor_doak said:

@MrSRArter

I'm disappointed by Nintendo's showing. A sequel to 3D Mario Land (3DS) is the big new 3D Mario title. Really?? There's nothing at all there that hasn't been released already in the last few years. I don't understand Nintendo at this stage. They have a console that's only slightly less expensive than the beastly PS4. No 3rd party support, and ultra-conservative 1st party titles that look like expansions to previous games.

PS4 gives me a fresh, gorgeous looking action-platformer IP in Knack day One. What's Nintendo's excuse??

Wesker

#31

Wesker said:

I thought Sony's conference was excellant. Nintendo didn't show anything I want and Microsoft just had the Respawn Titan game that I'm a bit jealous of, especially as I had always assumed their game would come to PS too. EA's Battlefield looked really great and Ubi's new racing game also looked interesting.

rjejr

#32

rjejr said:

@rastamadeus - "Oh, and they had to finish Kid Icarus first - they've only been working on the game for a year."

Thank you. So many people over NL kept thinking SSB would be out in 2013. This also goes along w/ my thinking that Nintendo sacrificed the WiiU for 3DS supremacy. Kid Icarus has more voice acting than any Wii game and is graphically as good. Luigi's Mansion sequel on 3DS rather than WiiU (based on the first being on Gamecube).

No SSB can't be rushed, but how long has the WiiU been in development? How long has it been since SSBB came out, 5 years or so? I think they should have planned on having them ready together. Or Mario Kart 8.

OK, that's way too much Nintendo talk for a Sony site, even for me.

Itachi

#34

Itachi said:

I think Sony still has alot of games left to show, but their probably holding out until Tokyo game show, the other big gaming conference. Overall i'm happy with what I saw from PS4 and even though I feel they could have done a little better it was still more than enough to crush Microsoft. While some people think they spent a little too juch time going over the other non gaming content, I'm actually glad they did. i was curious to know how they were going to respond to Microsoft and Nintendo's TV features and they did. The only problem I saw with that is the guy they had doing it tended to blabber on a bit too much.

fortius54

#35

fortius54 said:

Microsoft brought the games, but they did not bring it when it came to the system. That ultimately has hurt them. They were blindsided by the pricing, and the used game situation has left a bad taste in a lot of gamers mouths. Despite the games shown, they are in damage control mode. I guess basically what I am saying is that Sony did not as much win this thing as Microsoft lost it.

Madd_Hatter401

#36

Madd_Hatter401 said:

Simple answer....yes! I don't need my gaming system watching me lay the wood to my girl, xbox is big brother. If I purchase a game and it sucks I deserve the right as a gamer to trade it in even if its well under value. I can't imagine why an xbox fan boy wouldn't cross over after seeing their system becoming an over priced less powerful spybot. Screw xbox any fanboy should feel like Jodi foster on a pinball machine somewhere in the Deep South. Microsoft is an american company who cares nothing for America..their crap policies will take many jobs (gamestop gamefly ect.) from a economy in dire need of them as they export jobs to Mexico china and any other country with young children and no worker laws, not to mention when you call Microsoft a simple customer support question becomes a test of my bilingual abilities. Sony wins because they listened to their fans and it proves they pay attention to the hand that feeds their greedy little mouths. Sony WINS! Hands down!!

Gamer83

#37

Gamer83 said:

Maybe I was too hyped but after watching Nintendo's direct from earlier I'm slightly let down. I was really looking forward to the 3D Mario, probably more than any other game after The Last of Us, GTA V and Watch_Dogs, and when I went to pre-order the PS4 and the guy at GameStop told me Nintendo had announced Super Mario 3D World I was pumped. I expected, basically, Super Mario World in 3D, when I watched the video, what a letdown. It's Super Mario 3D Land HD, not really a bad thing but also not really what I wanted, I wish they would've gone with Super Mario Galaxy 3 instead. I didn't like Wind Waker back in 2003 and I don't care for it now so that too doesn't do much. I do think Mario Kart 8 looks great and I'm sure Smash and DKC will be as well but they're not franchises that are as high on my list as ones Sony has like Killzone, inFamous, The Order or, since I'm a big baseball fan, MLB The Show which should be on PS4 right away.

So now after seeing all shows and taking some time to think it over, game wise I'd rank them:
1. MS
2. Sony
3. Nintendo

Still no real 'winner' as I stated earlier, but Sony's policies and pricing have earned my first purchase. Wii U I'll get eventually as well but it's been put a little bit on the back burner due to the Super Mario 3D World disappointment. It kind of bothers me but for whatever reason I can't seem to get excited for Mario games like I used to. There was a time just a title of the game and a picture of Mario's hat would've had me hyped and rushing to pre-order.

MaxaMod

#38

MaxaMod said:

guys if u see how Sony didn't even made time to show on stage demo for kz or infamous tells a clear message that Sony on this e3 didn't fouces on games that much .. they only target ms
ms didn't show indie support lets do that
ms won't talk about entertainment let's talk about it
ms will show a lot off exclusive game after another .. let's role some in one role then we go multi-plat
ms won't talk about PR to the DRM lets have fan

Sony was plying dirty and they simply played MS, and as we all know Sony always a step a head of ms in the next-gen
And I can see Sony taking on ms on GC thn TGC all the way to lunch ms already showed almost everything they got while Sony teased 20 titles in the 1st year and we only saw 5 of them

Ginkgo

#40

Ginkgo said:

If there has to be a winner in these sorts of things it has to go to Sony for their for 1-2-3 thumping blows to MS. Internet not required, no DRM and cheaper price. Honestly that was all the press was talking about afterwards. Even the XBox fan boy journalist in the local rag over here was staggering about what it could all mean to his beloved machine.

A bit of realism though.This is all irrelevant to Nintendo. They beat to a very different drum and will not care one iota. As for MS, they will not give up, back down or disappear in any way shape or form. The Console wars are far from over, and thinking that one E3 means Sony has won anything really is very short sighted. Even if Sony has more momentum going into launch (and I hope they do very well!) MS will fight on.

And the best thing is that we want MS to be around. We need them. It is competition that helps spur innovation. It was competition from MS that stopped Sony in their tracks with their arrogant approach to the PS3, and they only fought back with the relaunch in 2009. It is competition that will stop MS from continuing down their repugnant path, they will have to back-step.

Sony has shone because they have learnt to listen. So in the end it is the consumer who is the winner of E3 and next gen.

Gamer83

#42

Gamer83 said:

Hopefully it stays that way. I'm glad I got my pre-order in at GameStop since its very limited. I think PS4 will be tough to find early on, which would be a good thing, means consumers would be buying in right away.

DevilMayDante

#43

DevilMayDante said:

Let me put it this way... The games I was planning on buying for my 360 will now be purchased for my PS3 instead. When the time comes I will upgrade to PS4.

Mahe

#44

Mahe said:

Nintendo and MS did so poorly that Sony won even if they could have been better too.

DeHorror1975

#45

DeHorror1975 said:

@DevilMayDante
I did the same exact thing, actually I traded in all my xbox stuff in 4 months ago when micro was pushing the kinect, I'm done with Xbox. Pre ordered my PS4, Battlefield 4, Killzone SF, and Ghosts with a second controller today.

Paranoimia

#46

Paranoimia said:

For me personally, Sony strolled it, and it was topped off nicely with Jack's 2m 20s demolition of Microsoft. After all the crowing about how they were going to "kill Sony" at E3, they left just shy of being torn a new one themselves.

Granted, I have a dislike of Microsoft (have for a very long time, before Xbox), but it doesn't stop me buying their systems; I had an Xbox and I have a 360. And in truth I wasn't really bothered by the whole DRM issue, as I buy all my games new.

But I saw not one single exclusive game for the Xbox One which made me think "I must have that system." Anything that to me is worth playing, is also coming to the PS4 - and in many cases (Watch Dogs to name but one) we'll get the better version. The whole TV/Sports aspect is also completely irrelevant to me, and not a selling point at all.

I'm not in the least worried about Sony not having shown enough exclusives, because we all know that exclusives are the one thing that Sony is never, ever short of. They have more variety than even Nintendo in that area. And speaking of Nintendo, I didn't even bother watching their conference, as their games have never held any interest for me.

I certainly don't count Microsoft out, as they will throw endless money at people to convince the world it's worth having. It's one of the things they've always done best - release a so-so product and convince people they need it. But I do wonder if they may have bitten off more than they can chew this time. But I can't deny it was nice to see them pretty much humiliated. They may have released Adam Orth for his "#DealWithIt" outburst, but that certainly does seem to be the attitude running through the whole Xbox arm at the moment; their arrogance certainly exceeds Sony's "get a second job" quip for the PS3, especially with the 'rape joke' at E3 and the subsequent "No internet? Get a 360!" quote from Don Mattrick. I think some heads will roll at Xbox in the coming months, and I wouldn't be surprised if Mattrick was one of them.

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