Staff Editorials

E3 2009: Why Sony Won
Posted: 09.06.2009 10:28 by Comments: 1
Microsoft may have stolen the show in the eyes of many, but Sony was the diamond in the rough at this year’s entertainment expo. They put up an overall solid show during the press conference, and despite not going for the same ‘wow’ factor that has been a Microsoft tactic these past few years, they even outshone Gate's giant in some areas. This is why Sony won this year’s E3...


Many people, from press pundits to industry analysts thought that 2008 was going to be the year of the PS3. Unfortunately, whilst the PS3 did have a good year, it was marked by serious blows in many areas. Games wise the PS3 was plagued by lost exclusives and games like Haze didn't turn out to be as good as everyone thought it would be. Even the great game that was Metal Gear Solid 4 was soured slightly by complaints of long cutscenes, while E3 last year for Sony wasn't as good as it could be.

This year though was an entirely different story. Tretton's speech last time included a little platitude on how PlayStation consoles are late bloomers, and this year might just prove him right. A strong opening with Uncharted 2 and MAG reassured gamers that the PlayStation 3 is still a serious contender in the console war. They also did the smart thing this year by playing up the console's strengths. MAG showed that, whilst the PlayStation Network may not be as cutting edge as Xbox Live, it can do things even a PC LAN party can't achieve. Even the game footage up on the big screen was a testament to the power of the console, as only the PS3 is capable of rendering properly on a screen that size.

Sony also met Microsoft's punches almost blow for blow. When Don Mattrick cheekily announced Final Fantasy XIII on the 360 last year, Tretton responded in kind by announcing an exclusive Final Fantasy XIV this year. Sure, it's going to be another MMO like FFXI was, but XI was still a respectable forte into the world of MMO’s, and follow up interviews with the Square Enix team have shown that they’re taking the right attitude towards the game.

Also, despite Mattrick getting Hideo Kojima up on the MS stage this year with Metal Gear: Rising, the legendary developer was up on the Sony stage barely a day later with a new PSP Metal Gear title. More exclusives were also announced in the form of Agent, and all in all Sony gave a stronger show on the gaming front than Microsoft.

Tretton was even on fire with the humour this year, firing out the jokes over press leaks, secrets and just generally showing that gaming giants do have a sense of humour. (Perhaps trying to improve on the image they may have portrayed over their handling of another press leak to a certain gaming website...)

 
But the main message of this year's E3 was plain and clear: The future of gaming. However, none of the big three able (or willing) to announce a new generation of console, they had to find new ways to enhance the gaming experience. Microsoft set the scene with Project Natal, Nintendo presented their offering in the form of the (laughable) Wii Vitality Sensor, and Sony unveiled their new ‘EyeStick’.

Admittedly, the demonstration was a bit stunted, and the lead demonstrator was clearly nervous about this demonstration. Still, the technology was never-the-less impressive. Even though Natal offers the most potential, Sony’s offering is more feasible, and offers a great deal more precision then even the Wii-mote can provide, Motion-plus included. Not only that, but it uses already proven technology in the form of the EyeToy, and so the PlayStation engineers have experience behind them, as well as a great idea. The applications of this ‘EyeStick’ are many and varied, and rather than taking a huge leap in the dark like Microsoft, Sony have decided to evolve their console in stages, another nod to the longevity of the PlayStation 3 console.

At the very least, PlayStation's motion controller will open up a new front in the console war, specifically against Nintendo. The Wii has been a cash cow for casual gaming ever since its novelty value was recognised by the general public. With any luck, the EyeStick will help shatter that reality, and force Nintendo to resume the path of serious gaming.

They may not have been as loud or as ‘edgy’ as their rival, but Sony showed that they have the muscle to back up their words. And so far only the main console has been talked about – Sony have pledged their continual support for the PlayStation 3, stating that as long as consumers are interested, they will continue to bring games to it. In many ways this dual console strategy legitimises the expense of the PlayStation 3, as they can offer nearly something for everyone.

 
Not to mention the ‘official’ unveiling of the new Digital PSP – PSP Go. This is being marketed as a separated product as opposed to a replacement, and is geared towards a more digital audience who find carrying around UMD’s a chore. Combined with the 350+ titles being released over all three platforms, Sony have shown that they will be the last man standing.

Without a doubt – Sony won E3. It was a quiet, dignified win, but a win all the same. The message of last year’s Sony conference was undoubtedly “Give us one more year”. The message of this year? “Thank you and now for your reward...”
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Comments

By Kres (SI Elite) on Jun 09, 2009
Kres
I was just reading the "hot" discussion over E3 2009: Why Microsoft won, and now I see we got another editorial on the same topic / slightly different title.

So I guess people (Joe, Mike, staticks, logikil and xDevastate from the MS editorial) are pretty divided on the results from E3. I presume that means that MS and Sony are sharing the 1st spot...