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Feature: Sony's GamesCom 2013 Showcase - Did It Meet Our Expectations?

Posted by Sammy Barker

Looking back on the PS4, PS3, and Vita's presence in Cologne

We’ve had press releases coming out of our ears since Sony’s explosive GamesCom press conference on Tuesday, but having finally had a chance to reflect upon it – and clean up the dirty coffee cups that have been sitting on our desks since the beginning of the week – we’re now ready to talk about whether the Japanese giant’s presence in Germany lived up to our expectations. From release dates to indie games to Andrew House’s immaculate facial hair, we’ve collated a collection of Push Square team members to discuss our thoughts on the big show.

Sammy Barker, Associate Editor

The brilliance of Shuhei Yoshida’s understated opening didn’t really hit me at first. I must admit that I hadn’t thought much about it until I read GameSpot’s analysis piece. Now that I’ve had a chance to ruminate on it, though, I’m really impressed. It’s become customary for console manufacturers – Sony very much included – to want to “sell” their products. They want to make sure that you see every single detail and point out every tiny thing that’s happening on the screen. Sometimes they fake their demonstrations to make the importance of these points even more apparent.

But the Japanese giant didn’t do that on Tuesday. Yoshida didn’t say a word; he just sat with his back to the audience and started messing around with the PlayStation 4’s user interface. And the real beauty was in the imperfections. It was a live demo, and there were minor niggles. The framerate jittered, for example, as the console sifted through the system's hard drive. When he joined a live game of Killzone: Shadow Fall, there was a five-to-ten second loading screen. It was very organic, and representative of the type of experience that you’ll have when the system launches in mid-November.

That the platform holder didn’t feel the need to scream about everything that was happening showed a supreme confidence in the product that it’s created. It didn’t need to tell you how snappy the interface is, how quickly you can stream other people’s gameplay, and how cleanly it all comes together – it was all just evident on the screen. And for that reason – among many others – I really feel like the company just gets it at the moment. I could ramble on about the incredible indie lineup and improvements to the launch games, but, like the aforementioned opening demonstration, there’s really no need. The PlayStation brand is in very, very good health.

Greg Giddens, Reviews Editor

I think that one of the most impressive and exciting things about the next PlayStation console is the variety of games being developed for it. It's a remarkably vast selection of titles that cover every aspect of gaming; every genre and mood. Whatever titles float your boat, the PS4 will have something for you in its launch window, and that's really exciting.

Despite the variety of new properties, though, I must admit that it’s some of the more immediate sequels that are getting me the most excited. My inner-child is really clawing its way to the surface, because, honestly, the two titles that really caught my eye at GamesCom are Lemmings Touch and Skylanders: Swap Force on the PS4.

I adore the Lemmings titles, so the chance to revisit that classic on the PlayStation Vita is going to be wonderful, and while Swap Force is hitting the PlayStation 3 as well as the PS4, the native 1080p and enhanced detail for the latter version has got me giddy.

Another highlight for me was the PS4 release date. Now I know which date to mark on my calendar. It’s a bit like the lead up to Christmas really – albeit a month earlier.

Katy Ellis, Events Correspondent

Wow, Sony sure did keep us busy the other night with all of those awesome indie announcements. It's great to see the manufacturer showing its confidence in the smaller development studios and signing on plenty of new titles, a project fronted by the wonderful Shahid Ahmad.

Tequila Works' RIME looks absolutely stunning, but I'm slightly concerned that it will amount to little more than an ICO clone, drawing on the PS2 title's cult gaming status. The Chinese Room's PS4 offering Everybody's Gone to Rapture was also very intriguing, and if Dear Esther is anything to go by, it's going to be another stunningly surreal experience.

But for me, it was BigFest that stole the show. Yes, you read that right, the music festival management simulation game for the Vita that was announced just before the slew of indie titles. I thought it was an absolutely fantastic idea to use Sony's musical endeavours to create a game which asks players to actively promote smaller bands. Genius.

Ben Potter, Staff Writer

I felt that Sony's press conference was a little basic this year, but in all honesty, that was precisely what was necessary. Most people will have already made up their minds about whether they want to buy a PS4 at launch, so all that Sony really needed to do at Gamescom was give us a release date, show us how the console works, and further flesh out the launch lineup.

Of course, there was other important stuff that came out of the conference – the plethora of indie content aiming to plug the gaps between blockbuster releases, for example, and the Vita’s well-timed price drop. If I had to pick out a few announcements that I'm personally thrilled about, it would be the much-anticipated arrival of the all-conquering Minecraft, Borderlands 2 on the Vita, and the mere fact that RIME exists. Seriously, how gorgeous did RIME look?

Slightly unprofessional Microsoft jab aside, this year's conference played it safe – and with just a few months until the big day, it's definitely time to start filling those piggy banks.

Nathan Michalik, Staff Writer

It was great to see a good amount of attention focused on the Vita and how Sony is working to increase the install base with a price cut and memory discount. These have been two of the most popular complaints since launch, after all.

However, I was disappointed that all of the "big surprises" that Sony had saved for GamesCom were either regarding games that we already knew about or indie games. Don't get me wrong, I love indie games, but I'd have liked to have seen a couple more blockbuster titles in action.

Robert Ramsey, Staff Writer

The reaction to Sony's GamesCom has been a classic example of gamers setting their expectations far too high – expecting a second E3 when, realistically, it was never going to happen. The PS4's launch lineup is set in stone, and big budget titles will be announced in time; it’s best to announce games when they’re ready, rather than long before release.

For me, it was a solid showing. Maybe the first party titles that I wanted to see didn't quite get their time on stage, but the sheer amount of indie support that the company has gathered is almost unprecedented. Games like ResoGun, Helldivers, and RIME all look truly fantastic, and seeing so much Vita support was also reassuring. Releases like Borderlands 2 and Minecraft have finally got me looking into upgrading my puny 4GB memory card, even if they are a little late to the party. Sony is once again investing in the future, and after GamesCom, I think that these really are exciting times for the industry.


What did you make of Sony’s show in Cologne? What were your favourite announcements, and what could you have done without? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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User Comments (24)

Matt_Berial

#1

Matt_Berial said:

Was a strong showing for me. I definitely can't wait for other events so Sony can show the big guns, i understand Sony's strategy most people don't get it though.

artemisthemp

#2

artemisthemp said:

All Sony had to do to meet my expectation was to give a Danish release date this year and they deliver, which means yes.

However the camera ad the show could have been better.

PMasterTy9

#4

PMasterTy9 said:

For the most part it did meet my expectations. I was hoping to see a PS4+Vita bundle but other than that I wasn't expecting much and I wasn't expecting to see that many indie games which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Reverend_Skeeve

#5

Reverend_Skeeve said:

The show was good, alas, more AAA games would've been appreciated...but only because I'm so eager to learn moar of next gen games...understand why Sony didn't show 'em.

And yes, the camera?! What the heck?! Call me old-fashioned, but if they show a trailer, I want to see the actual trailer, not the audience watching the trailer...but maybe that's just me... ;)

longshot28

#6

longshot28 said:

@Clamedeus at least someone else sees what is going on, Peoples selective memory is amazing sometimes, Sony said numerous times that they wished they had more time at E3 to focus on their indie plans, and they used GamesCom to do it.

TGS is gonna be fun, if you watch the engadget interview with shuhei he gets really excited when they guy asks him about TGS.

Matt_Berial

#7

Matt_Berial said:

@longshot28 Yup! I seen that, and that's why I am very excited. People just get mad very fast without knowing Sony's strategy, Sony is playing it very smart.

Totally agree with what you said. Me, you and my other friends know what's going on. :D

Itachi

#8

Itachi said:

I assume Sony is waiting until TGS to unleash the big guns, which I think is a smart move with it being the last big event before the console launches. Having said that, I think their gamescom event was pretty good. One of Sony's AAA titles would have made it much better, but I liked what I saw for the most part.

Gamer83

#11

Gamer83 said:

Well, I guess everybody figures this was coming and was probably hoping I'd avoid commenting on this article, but I'll try to not come off as much of an a-hole as I might've in my comments right after the show. I was just massively disappointed. Now, again, not expecting every game Sony has in its arsenal from now until 2019 to be shown but Syphon Filter and God of War or maybe a teaster from Naughty Dog, would've made this much easier to watch. I appreciate the indie push and think a lot of great games come from it but for me they should be compliments to, not replacements for, the big AAA productions like Sony seems to think, and that's what this press conference such a terrible one. Also, I like that it seems Vita still has a slight change at finding new life and the price cut on the system is good. The price of the mem cards is still insulting though.

Bottomline, TGS had better be a huge improvement over this.

@Clamedeus
It's not that people don't get it, it's that it's a ridiculous strategy. Showing one or two blockbuster AAA games, the releases that actually sell the console to the mass market, in addition to all the indie stuff makes the prospects for the machine a lot more exciting. And Sony has more than enough studios that it absolutely should be showing more than recycled footage of Killzone, Drive Club, Knack and inFamous.

DVS

#12

DVS said:

@ #11
To be fair - with over a million preorders - Sony needed to flesh out their 2013 PS4 games list. Which is exactly what they did. The strategy was simple and well executed.

With respect, I'd suggest that you are in fact one of those people that Clamedeus was talking about - you call the strategy ridiculous, when clearly it isn't - and then say that you get it - when you don't.

Templar_Dante

#13

Templar_Dante said:

Hey Sammy, did anyone except IGN gets hands on time with BF4 on PS4? Their article reeks of MS moneyhats for a negative Sony spin. Just had to ask. Dont trust anything IGN these days.

Matt_Berial

#14

Matt_Berial said:

@DVS Exactly what i meant. :D

@Gamer83 I don't mean any disrespect or anything, but if you actually know what's going on you would not be in disappointment. The strategy that Sony is using is a smart move.

We don't need to worry, like @DVS said. The PS4 already has over a million pre-orders. The big guns will be released, just be patient. :)

DirectAim

#16

DirectAim said:

when you look at the private, closed conference for the xbox one you quickly realise how far ahead Sony are in terms of games coming out and knowing exwctly what gamers want. Sony are saving the best for last and making sure that the Vita and PS3 offerings are given the limelight they deserve.

You might be dissappointed with the lack of AAA titles but Sony know exactly what they are doing, chill out, enjoy the show because it will be 8+ years til this happens again!!!!

PMasterTy9

#17

PMasterTy9 said:

@DVS @longshot28 @Clamedeus I agree. I understand Sony's strategy as well.

@Gamer83 I understand where you are coming from but you have to look at it from all angles. Sony accomplished what they needed to at E3 and they accomplished what they needed to at GC. Things are going in Sony's favor and there is no need to rush announcements. They already have over a million pre-orders so there is no reason pull out any big guns at this moment with the exception of the much requested release date and they delivered that. @DirectAim pretty much hit the nail on the head. If E3 went down differently you would probably see a different strategy from Sony and there is a good chance that you would probably see more of the AAA announcements that you are looking for. With all of the hype surrounding the PS4 Sony is doing something right.

DVS

#18

DVS said:

Not to mention that the odds of Uncharted 4 being announced at the VGA's in December are so ridiculously high that there's no point even mentioning it...

Slapshot

#19

Slapshot said:

I don't set expectations, but the vast amount of indie love shown in the conference made me one very happy dude, indeed.

Visiblemode

#20

Visiblemode said:

Yeah, great show and realistic. Would be dumb to cannibalize next years E3 with out of time announcements. Besides, look what happens when you do that. The Last Guardian STILL earns Sony bad press just simply by it's absence at shows. Games should be close before they are announced and never rob the next event to overdo this one. All in all, loved it, love Sony though, so I'm not a hard sell.

Templar_Dante

#21

Templar_Dante said:

@DVS Well, it is EA. You should watch their E3 conference and let me know how many times they say "playstation". There was a Gaf rumor pre-E3 saying EA got paid to even mention the PS4. Now after how bad IGN painted the PS4 ver, they made it out to look worse than BF3 on PS3. I just wanted to know if that was them being objective or not.

Gamer83

#22

Gamer83 said:

@Clamedeus

I know exactly what's going on, indie love and nothing else and that's why I'm disappointed. I figured after what I saw in February we'd have more than this by now. I gave Sony a pass on some big announcements at E3 because it had other things that needed to be made clear first. This Gamescom show should've had at least two more huge games announced, that's the bottomline. I bought a PS3 and had to wait 3 damn years for it to get good. Seems like that's going to happen again only I may not be able to afford an Xbox One or Wii U to help me get through this wait and I'm going to be furious if I paid $400 for an indie machine when the Vita and several other products I own already provide me that stuff.

Matt_Berial

#23

Matt_Berial said:

@Gamer83 Nothing wrong with Indie games. And no the PS4 isn't going to be just an indie machine, the big games will be shown in due time. Most likely Tokyo Game Show and we aren't going to see what the PS3 did, the PS4 has a larger library than what the PS3 had. So don't worry about it.

DirectAim

#24

DirectAim said:

@Gamer83 Stop bitching about the AAA titles. Microsoft announced EVERYTHING at E3, oh apart from Fable Legends, the game that isn't Fable 4. Even that announcement didn't show ANY ingame it was just a video mocked up because MS have nothing left.

Sony however will be announcing new titles at the big events over the next year. I predict Sony to release a steady flow of titles and big games throughout the next two years while MS just show new trailers for games the announced at E3.

Also you might be furious you paid $400 for a PS4 but I guarantee you will feel better than if you paid $500+ for the new xbox set top box and appears to also play games.

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