Five Takeaways From Sony’s PlayStation Experience

 

ps-event-experience

On Friday, December 5th, gamers around the world watched the 2014 Game Awards. This award show was a celebration in video gaming, including world exclusive debuts of upcoming titles.  If you missed any of the major announcements or winners, don’t worry:  you can read about the entire event right here.

But the excitement did not stop, at least for Sony PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Vita owners with the inaugural “PlayStation Experience.”  The two day conference, which was held in Las Vegas, kicked off with a two hour keynote, packed with major news and announcements.  While the conference can be watched in its entirety right here, I wanted to focus on my top five takeaways from the inaugural celebration of all things Sony.


SONY STRIKES BACK WITH AN UNEXPECTED TRADE SHOW

Despite all of the hype regarding this generation’s console war, it was readily apparent by everybody that Sony had clearly “won” in terms of total console sales.  VGChartz.com currently shows the Sony PlayStation 4 sitting at over 15 million units sold to Microsoft Xbox One’s 8 million units sold.  Sony has claimed for awhile now that the PlayStation 4 is the fastest selling console of all time.  Yet, many fans felt that after they had taken such a decisive lead, their drive for excellence faltered.

No Man's Sky, a procedural space exploration title, was on display during an extensive live demonstration.

No Man’s Sky, a procedural space exploration title, was on display during an extensive live demonstration.

After all, Microsoft dropped their console by over $100 dollars, began a campaign that netted current PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 owners a whopping $100 dollar trade in, and began bundling up to two games in an effort to reach out to new players.  PlayStation did not alter their price point.  Many felt (myself included) that the PlayStation Keynote at E3 lacked the “umph” to keep the momentum alive.

But with this conference, PlayStation went above and beyond to give back to the fans.  This event had the feel of E3 in December and really brought on a lot of attention.


UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END DID NOT DISAPPOINT

Nintendo has Mario.  Microsoft has Master Chief.  PlayStation has Nathan Drake.  In the extensive fifteen minute plus gameplay of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, we were all treated to the amazing gameplay Uncharted fans have grown to love, including stealth, climbing, and gunplay.  This year, the demo was played live on stage (at one point, Drake fell to his death – how anti-climatic!), and showed off some of the game’s impressive visual effects.  Naughty Dog has always pushed the PlayStation console to its limits and has clearly aimed to impress with this latest (and potentially final?) installment of Nathan Drake’s adventures.

A complete lack of HUD (with the exception of ammo) really enhanced the cinematic look and feel of this title.

A complete lack of HUD (with the exception of ammo) really enhanced the cinematic look and feel of this title.

In previous installments, Drake has always narrated his adventures, but I sensed that in this latest installment, that would be much more prevalent.  Every cliff that was scaled and every enemy that was taken down was summarized by Drake in some sarcastic tone.  It does add to the gameplay, especially in the long, fluid action scenes in which players are forced to navigate through an open world while fighting off waves of enemies.


DRAWN TO DEATH HAS A GREAT LOOK AND FEEL

At the very end of the keynote, David Jaffe (director of the Twisted Metal series as well as the God of War series) came on stage to hype up a new title he has been working on called Drawn to Death.  The heavily stylized art emulates a teenager boy’s doodles inside of a notebook that has come to life.  Enemies, and elements, are a strange blend of fantasy, horror, and comedy.  The feeling I got was that this was the next generation’s Borderlands, a witty, mold-breaking adventure that will break the existing mold of third person shooters.

Still in pre-alpha, one of the potential characters in Drawn to Death.

Still in pre-alpha, one of the potential characters in Drawn to Death.


SONY HAS NOT ABANDONED THE PLAYSTATION VITA

Many Vita owners have had buyer’s regret thanks to a plethora of mediocre titles, weak ports, and overall lack of support.  Even the highly hyped Borderlands 2 port failed to connect with many players, even with cross-save support to the PlayStation 3 version.  But Sony did spend an entire segment during the keynote regarding upcoming Vita titles, and all of them looked great.

Entries included Super Time Force Ultra (in which Sony President Shuhei Yoshida was a playable character!), Towerfall: Ascension, The Banner Saga, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Broken Age and Resident Evil Revelations 2 were all announced.  Each will support cross-play support with the PlayStation 4.  Vita owners will be very busy next year thanks to continued support by Sony.


STREET FIGHTER V IS A CONSOLE EXCLUSIVE

Despite the initial shock of Rise of the Tomb Raider being a timed Xbox One exclusive, Sony actually secured a true console exclusive with Street Fighter V.  It drummed up quite a stir on the internet after its announcement, prompting Xbox President Phil Spencer to release a press statement to disappointed Xbox One owners.  It’s surprising to see Capcom offer such an established franchise only to one console vice the other.

Until Dawn features Hayden Panettiere.  The survival horror game drew a lot of fan reaction at the PSX.

Until Dawn features Hayden Panettiere. The survival horror game drew a lot of fan reaction at the PSX.

Of course, the internet was quick to point out the console exclusive fighters of Killer Instinct against the newly procured Street Fighter series, which only furthered Sony’s position on picking up the title.  It will be interesting to see if this emerging trend of console exclusivity (timed or not) continues into 2015.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Sony put on an amazing two hour show that was filled with great announcements and had a great vibe.  It was odd to see Microsoft sit out of the 2014 Game Awards just one day earlier, which puts Microsoft at a disadvantage going into the holiday season.  But all eyes were firmly on Sony, as they put on a two day celebration of all things Sony.  Did you get to attend in person, or did you watch the presentation on the internet?  What were your thoughts regarding Sony’s conference?  Sound off below!

When I'm not writing about video games, I'm playing them! Hit me up on Google + for a list of all of my accounts if you're looking for some friendly competition: https://plus.google.com/+JimEfantis.

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