Serving the core: Sony and PS4 kill it at E3 2015

By Patrick Garratt, Tuesday, 16 June 2015 07:45 GMT

Microsoft did its best, but Sony brought enough nukes to end any Cold War. It’s coming. It’s all coming.

the_last_guardian

When The Last Guardian came out as lead, a man behind me shouted, “I’m gonna fucking cry.” No one was saying that in the Microsoft press event. What followed was an exercise in pure fan service.

Poor old Microsoft. After delivering an excellent, worthy press conference at E3 earlier on Monday, Sony dropped a barnstorming performance consisting of a barrage of hits so violent even the sternest of opponents would have dragged itself off to bed with a bloody nose.

Sony demonstrated beyond all doubt its commitment to giving people what they want this year. The most enticing of the games they showed may not be coming till 2016, but no one in the conference cared. Sony knew what they wanted and handed it to them with unparalleled force.

When The Last Guardian came out as lead, replete with full gameplay and a 2016 release date, a man behind me shouted, “I’m gonna fucking cry.” No one was saying that in the Microsoft press event. What followed was an exercise in pure fan service. The crowd, at points, was on its feet.

The ethos of providing the right content to the core audience permeated every level of Sony’s presentation this year, engendering a raw excitement from the crowd sorely lacking from the Microsoft conference. Even the new IP showing of Guerrilla’s Horizon: Zero Dawn put the Xbox One reveal of Inafune’s Recore firmly in the shade. Was the content better? It’s hard to tell. Did the Sony crowd freak harder? No question.

Sony’s desire to serve the community is ably illustrated by its full exclusivity deal on Street Fighter V. It’ll never make serious money for Sony, but that isn’t the point: the forever committed Street Fighter community now stays on PlayStation. It’s an exercise in hearts and minds.

Because the attention of the audience in the Sony press conference was well and truly held. The Square Enix logo appeared on the screen for the Hitman announcement and the crowd hollered without even knowing the identity of the game. Then we had No Man’s Sky and Media Molecule’s fantastically ridiculous Dreams, utterly unique content mixed in with the fan specials. The PlayStation crowd wants to experiment. The cheers proved it.

Final Fantasy 7. Shenmue 3, for God’s sake. I was seated next to Dan Robinson, the Gamer Network sales director, and when the latter appeared on the screen he shouted and hugged me. Like, he was so excited he touched me. The crowd on the floor had its arms in the air. It isn’t Sony’s game. It doesn’t even exist. No one cared. What we saw tonight was a lesson in pure allegiance to the user.

Sony completely nailed it, and this time there were no cheap gimmicks, no sniping at the enemy and no showboating.

I’m trying to think of a better E3 press conference in recent years, but I honestly can’t. It was never dull. Even the peripheral content, and I’m mainly thinking of Morpheus here, was handled well enough to ensure no one was ever bored. Sony head Andrew House took control of this section, but showed he knew it’s an add-on product and didn’t stay too long: he said himself that it’s a “choice”.

The Uncharted 4 finish was, again, the perfect nod to the fans. They cheered the Naughty Dog logo twice, once when they started the demo and once when it crashed and they were forced to restart (“At least we know it’s real!”). What was on the screen looked like the ultimate single-player adventure. Truly amazing tech.

Sony’s commitment to serving the core gamer was born through tonight in what was unquestionably the most thrilling, satisfying press conference of this year’s show. PS4 is the home of Star Wars. PS4 is the home of Call of Duty. PS4, PS4, PS4.

To say PlayStation’s E3 2015 was a strong showing is an understatement. Sony completely nailed it, and this time there were no cheap gimmicks, no sniping at the enemy and no showboating. This was about next-generation video games, about serving the die-hard core gamer. Microsoft’s showing certainly gave you more reasons to switch on your Xbox One, but the prospect of anyone powering down their PS4 after today? Less than zero. A masterful display.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Comments