Sony steals the show at E3 2014 to prove console gaming is in rude health

Tuesday, 10 June 2014 15:25 GMT By Matt Martin

Sony has the stronger portfolio of games at E3 this year and isn’t shy of telling everyone.

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“As much as Microsoft’s briefing was a welcome re-focus on core games and honesty, Sony’s offered the cocky punch-up we all know and love at E3.”

Sony wasn’t in any mood to be modest about its line-up of games at E3 2014 and it didn’t need to be. It’s got a much stronger portfolio of titles than Microsoft and it knows it. It’s undeniable and clear to see that the PS4 is the console system trying its hardest to deliver on the next-gen dream.

While Microsoft was humble, delivering a stripped-back presentation of good quality games, Sony went out all-guns blazing, taking full advantage of the hype wave that happens once a year. Exclusives, new IP, shiny hardware, big numbers, confident executives and and a roll-call of stunning trailers and gameplay footage – this is what we pay for. We were on the E3 hype train from the moment Destiny burst across the screens. Choo fuckin’ choo!

Straight out the gate, Sony turned heads with a white Destiny PS4 bundle and beta access, a mix of gameplay and trailer that showed The Order: 1886 as a Resident Evil throwback, and then rolled into an experimental art project called Entwind that’s available right here, right now on the PSN store. This was a show were indie and blockbuster shared the stage.

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Sackboy returned for Little Big Planet 3, and even though the dev team behind it weren’t very good at playing their own game it didn’t matter – the crowd were clearly loving what they saw, and not just the hired fanboys front and centre at the auditorium. From there the next 90 minutes was chock-full of new titles, actual gameplay, genuine surprises and confirmation of games we’d all hoped for.

It wasn’t a full run of glory and adulation. The briefing dragged in the middle when the Share button stats came out and the fun began to get sucked out of the room with all the talk of unique TV shows and free to play games.

“Microsoft has been waving a white flag for a couple of weeks now, only for Andrew House to come along and plant his boot inbetween Phil Spencer’s legs.”

And it was also a little too cocky. There were a couple of digs at Kinect and Xbox Live Gold that felt unnecessary. Microsoft has been waving a white flag for a couple of weeks now, only for Andrew House to come along and plant his boot inbetween Phil Spencer’s legs. Be careful with that, Sony. Public opinion can change with the wind and we all like to back an underdog…

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But when the briefing sagged and came across as bolshie, Sony pulled it back by coughing up more games and having genuine fun on stage. One of Sony’s strengths is that it has the characters in its executive team and knows how to play them. Andrew House is the right side of business casual. Shu Yoshida is the quiet exec who plays games and understands the creative process. Adam Boyes is a fanboy doing his dream job. Even new chap Shawn Layden managed to kick-start his own what-are-his-hands-doing meme.

Games were everywhere and in welcome variety. Far Cry 4 and its wild elephants, No Man’s Sky’s sense of exploration, Bloodborne’s dark adventure. PC strategy darling Paradox was welcomed to the PlayStation family, The Last of Us seeped into Diablo III, Grim Fandango was raised from the dead, Let It Die ushered in the return of Suda 51.

PS4 was the focus, but Morpheus and Vita got the right amount of love too. Sony has a big games business and a bigger story to tell than its rival, so the conference rambled in places. Microsoft’s briefing had been a bullet point list of games, release dates and extra content the Xbox One can offer. Sony’s show took a more scattershot approach. Some games are available right now, others are due in 2015. It was a little confused but it didn’t really matter because here’s that new Metal Gear trailer and, oh, excuse me – Grand Theft Auto V on PS4.

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“GTA V might well be available on Xbox One and PC this autumn but at the point of reveal it didn’t exist anywhere else on earth than on the PS4.”

Holy shit. GTA V might well be available on Xbox One and PC this autumn but at the point of reveal it didn’t exist anywhere else on earth than on the PS4. Sony scored a massive coup and used its platform to announce the game for Rockstar and Microsoft as well. And then to cap it all we got the pay-off we all expected – Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Want to talk about games? Sony could have done it all night.

As much as Microsoft’s briefing was a welcome re-focus on core games and honesty, Sony’s offered the cocky punch-up we all know and love at E3. It came out swinging with the muscle to back up its mouth. It’s weakness is the immediate future, where remakes of existing games like GTA V and The Last of Us have to fill the gap left by a lack of new IP, but when it comes to setting an agenda, Sony is happy to do that for next-gen consoles and anyone else who wants to come along with them for the ride.

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