This has been an excellent week for the PlayStation brand; so good, in fact, that even reports of a jailbreak weren't able to subdue the mood. I predicted before GamesCom that it would be a low-key show - but Sony's found their stomping ground. Last year Sony dominated the European event with the headline grabbing platform redesign, but this year they ran on momentum alone. Nearly every big story coming out of GamesCom this week was attached to the PlayStation brand in some form; be it game announcements, blow-outs or hands-on reports. The other platform holders simply can't compete with the bulk of content coming out of SCE - it's not like this year's E3 was a particularly muted showing for the publisher, either.
The momentum's paid off. Sony walked away with three big awards out of this year's GamesCom. They'll have expected Gran Turismo 5 to take the crown for Best Console Game and Game Of The Show. It's a great coup for Polyphony Digital, who must have been feeling the pressure of fan expectation. I'm not sure whether Gran Turismo 5 will be able to win over any of its sceptics, but there was evidence this week that GT is set to lead the racing genre once again, and while I never doubted it — there have been plenty voicing their opinion the other way.
The bigger story from the GamesCom awards was the PlayStation Move winning Best Hardware though. A lot of the swagger from Microsoft's initial announcement of their motion camera appears to have waned — the reality of Kinect is much less than the promises of Natal, and I think people are responding to that. Equally, Kinect doesn't seem to know who it's aimed at. The Microsoft mouth-pieces are ensuring that the device is for the "core gamer", without demonstrating any evidence of that. Indeed, it would be refreshing to see some transparency from Microsoft.
But while they trip over the tech they've declared a revolution, Sony's been sneaking in through the back-door. Conceptually the PlayStation Move is a much more down-to-earth product, but at GamesCom we're really beginning to see the practicality of the device. MAG, Virtua Tennis 4 and No More Heroes were all announced for the device during the show; with other games such as Sorcery, The Fight and Sports Champions impressing the crowds at the German convention. The key is the diversity — Move's suitable for so many different experiences. Nothing proved that more than EA's demonstration of Harry Potter: Kinect. They showed an on-rails shooting gallery with unresponsive gestures controlling the on-screen action. But if EA had opted for PlayStation Move, they could have retained character control and given the player a much more responsive set of actions. It's these limitations that I believe will give PlayStation Move the long-term advantage. Kinect may break out of the gates quicker than Move - though going on the evidence of GamesCom, that's not yet proven - but it's unlikely to have the same longevity of Sony's motion device. There's a bright future for PlayStation Move.
There's a bright future for PlayStation in general. As if 2011 wasn't already stacked enough, Insomniac used the event to announce a further two PlayStation exclusives: a co-operative Ratchet & Clank game and, the big one, Resistance 3. If Insomniac can nail even ten percent of the atmosphere in the teaser trailer, they'll have an amazing game on their hands. The development cycle of this game looks to be a long one, and we're absolutely salivating at the prospect of the product they come up with.
The Mass Effect 2 announcement was merely the icing on the cake. With Microsoft producing so few first-party titles at the moment, the loss of one of their banner franchises is bigger than PlayStation's gain. I'm excited about playing the game that's excited XBOX 360 owners for the past 12 months, and I'm even more curious to see how Bioware bridge the plot gap. They're an amazing studio, and I don't think there's any reason to doubt them doing the best possible job they can at delivering a complete narrative experience.
GamesCom is just another reminder that Sony are back on top-form. I don't think they ever stopped hitting their stride, but there was certainly a quiet period around 2008 when it looked liked the platform holder was down and out. If this generation's proved anything, it's that you can never rule Sony out. From a business stance, I wouldn't be surprised if Sony ended up winning this current generation. They still have the magic $199 price-point to hit (which their competitors hit long ago), and the PlayStation 3 feels like it has at least another seven or eight years left in it. The Wii's going to be finished with soon, and I don't think Kinect's going to have the huge impact Microsoft expect long-term.
From a gamers stance - 2011's line-up looks unmatched once again. And remember that there are two little words we're yet to hear: Uncharted. Three. Yeah, this has been a great week for PlayStation.
Twiggy is an anonymous PushSquare columnist who has been spotted in three major cities across the globe. Its rumoured hes on the run from the British monarchy who accused him of treason.