Opinion

Sony’s Underwhelming Press Conference

The Good

The E3 2018 Sony Press Conference had plenty of stand out moments. The Last of Us Part 2 looked stunning and so did Ghost of Tsushima. The Last of Us Part 2‘s gameplay showcased absolutely outstanding contextual animations and animation-blending. Its production values and level of detail put every other game to shame. Much like Uncharted 4 before it, Naughty Dog’s efforts make every other studio look a generation behind the times.

Spider-Man also looked about as good as I expected. I’m getting all these games day 1 for sure. Sony even had some low-key hyped announcements. Regardless of what your feelings on Call of Duty are, dropping Black Ops 3 as an extra PlayStation Plus game just after announcing four Black Ops remastered maps coming to both Blacks Ops 3 and 4 was a brilliant move. Those are the kinds of shadow drops that make a conference worth tuning into. Remember when Sony dropped that RE 7 demo on us after that reveal trailer?

Those are the hype moments that make you want to grab a random person on the sidewalk and scream “WHY DON’T YOU PLAY VIDEO GAMES”.

Beyond that, Resident Evil 2‘s trailer made me ecstatic. The way it chose to introduce itself through the rat’s perspective was a great way of keeping audiences guessing. The Control reveal, as a fan of Remedy Entertainment and Quantum Break’s combat, had me awestruck. Those were all good moments. Sony’s conference wasn’t all doom and gloom.

The Bad

With all of that said and done, though, it underwhelmed. Sure, it was far from the worst one. EA and Square Enix definitively held no candle to Sony. You can make a case, depending on your preferences, for Ubisoft or Bethesda, but Microsoft versus Sony is a different story.

Say all you want about how 80% of the games at Microsoft’s conference were multiplatform. None of that matters. Sure, you can play Devil May Cry 5 on your PS4/PS4 Pro and you can play Tales of Vesperia on your Switch, but those aren’t the best console versions of these games. If you want to make the argument “Oh, I can play all these games on my PS4”, then I can make the argument “Okay? I can play much better versions of all these games on my Xbox One X”.

The mentality that Microsoft’s conference was bad just because it mainly consisted of third parties is such a deluded fanboy mentality. Control at Sony’s conference looked great, but it’s also on Xbox One and PC. Resident Evil 2‘s trailer was one of E3’s most exciting moments, but again. That game is also on Xbox One and PC. Does that take away from how much they added to Sony’s conference? No, those were still kick-ass boons for Sony despite the fact that the Xbox One X and PC versions of both those games will look and run better. It doesn’t change that those games debuted gameplay at Sony’s conference.

Break-neck Speed

Microsoft understood that gamers just want video games. That’s why they showed us roughly thirty games individually on stage with the rest relegated to a Sony-style montage. E3 viewers tune into E3 to see games and Microsoft brought the goddamn video games.

  • Halo Infinite
  • New Ori and the Will of the Wisps trailer
  • New Fallout 76 trailer
  • The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit free to download
  • New Crackdown 3 gameplay trailer
  • Nier Automata announced for Xbox One with Xbox One X enhancements
  • New Metro Exodus gameplay trailer
  • E3’s first Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer, confirming Frozen as a world
  • Forza Horizon 4 gameplay
  • Devil May Cry 5 reveal
  • Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition reveal
  • Session Trailer
  • New Black Desert trailer
  • New Shadow of the Tomb Raider trailer
  • Dying Light 2 trailer and gameplay
  • Battletoads announcement
  • Jump Stars reveal
  • Gears Tactics
  • Gears of War 5 story trailer and gameplay
  • Our first Cyberpunk 2077 trailer since January 2013

But wait, there’s more

That’s not even listing every single thing that they showed or the business stuff, which is huge by the way. Microsoft acquiring Ninja Theory is massive regardless of whether you feel cheated or not. They are a top-tier developer that delivered with Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice and now their fate is in Microsoft’s hands.

Apprehensive and cynical folk can watch Ninja Theory’s video explaining the acquisition. They recognized long-time fans would be upset, but they did the best thing for their studio and it’s clear Microsoft is attempting to turn their vision and image around. They’re giving Ninja Theory full creative control along with the budget and resources they didn’t have with Hellblade under Sony’s eye.

Conclusion

Microsoft killed it whether you want to admit it or not. I’ll concede that Sony’s best showing, The Last of Us Part 2, showed us exactly why Naughty Dog has such a high pedigree. That gameplay makes everything else we’ve seen look last gen. They once again showed that they are the undisputed kings of animation and attention to detail. That kiss between Ellie and the girl was shockingly realistic.

No game has ever handled kissing properly. It always looks stiff or unnatural. The lips never quite connect or if they do connect, they just look like they’re resting atop each other. That kiss, though, wholeheartedly nailed the sensual skin-to-skin connection. I did not feel like I was looking at a video game kiss. For the first time in the industry, I witnessed a fully believable kiss.

Despite that game’s shockingly forward-looking tech, Microsoft delivered game upon game upon game. We come to E3 for big reveals, announcements, and to see video games. Microsoft brought the goods and that’s what matters most. Their conference played out exactly like Sony’s best conferences of the past. No bullshit. Just giving audiences what they want and letting the games speak for themselves.

While some of you guys argue about “Meh, Sony won because last of us meh”, I’ll be happily playing cheering Microsoft on for their first truly great press conference in years. They learned from their mistakes and took inspiration from Sony’s past approaches, leaving their conference as the one with the most talking points.


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