My Summary of Sony’s E3 Presentation: Buy Our 3D TV’s, We Make a Better Wii-Mote, People Are Too Dumb for the PSP

I am honestly beginning to believe that hubris is so tightly ingrained in the Sony Corporate culture that ‘berate the customer day’ likely stands alongside ‘casual Friday’ as a regular occurrence. OK, perhaps that is a bit harsh, but what came out of the mouths of Sony at their E3 press event were definitely NOT the words of a company in DEAD LAST in every possible category of gaming for the last several years who should be looking to ingratiate themselves with the customers who had previously made them the biggest name in console gaming.

How bad is it? Nearly 4 years after the release of the PS3 Sony is touting gameplay numbers … FOR THE PS2! Yep, the PS2 was the second most played console in 2009 – which given the awesome library is no surprise. But that only highlights where the PS3 fell … which was fourth … out of four.

Before I continue dumping on Sony and their E3 talk, let me be clear where they DID shine yesterday – delivering GAMES that will absolutely delight their faithful fans. Sony has not approached their next-gen console as a way to broaden the gaming market, but rather by making games with evolutionary gameplay and HUGE graphics improvements … and that looks to continue. If you are looking for games with solid gameplay and epic visual scope – Sony has the games for you.

So let’s summarize what Sony covered in their E3 announcements:

3D Gaming – the PS3 has hardware capability to run 3D games, and when coupled with a 3D TV (preferably from Sony for the ‘full experience’) and wonderfully uncomfortable glasses will provide a great high-definition 3D gaming experience.

  • 20 PS3 titles will be fully 3D by the end of Q1’11, with a few games (Super Stardust, PAIN, WipeOut and MotorStorm) offering 3D capability now.
  • Big intro for Killzone 3 shown in stunning HD and also 3D. Only really looked good if you weer there due to the usual 3D glass effects.
  • Playstation Move – Sony’s funny looking ice cream cone controller that is essentially a ‘next gen Wii-mote’ got some stage time and also release date and pricing.

  • Showed a Harry Potter clone game that had solid tracking, and Tiger Woods ’11 that … didn’t.
  • Loads of games coming out at launch, with loads more getting post-release patches.
  • Hardware required includes Playstation Eye camera, Move controller and Navigation controller. Sold as a bundle with a sports game for $100, or with the PS3 for $400.
  • Release schedule: September 15 in Europe, September 19 in North America, and October 12 in Japan.
  • Playstation Plus – Sony is tired of having the worse of the two major online console gaming services, and apparently decided that the problem wasn’t a lack of features but a lack of them charging customers!

  • Playstation Plus is a $50 per year service that will allow you early access to demos, somce free visual themes for your PS3 UMB, some downloadable minis on a occasional (i.e. non-specific) basis, and the ability to chat with friends regardless of what game they’re playing – so long as they also are paying Playstation Plus members.
  • If this sounds like a copy-cat version of XBOX Live with fewer features but the same price … that is the impression I got.
  • Playstation Portable (PSP) – Sony has recently called the over-priced, under-featured, customer-hostile PSP Go an ‘experiment’ and summarized what they learned as ‘customers aren’t sophisticated enough to realize that paying $50 more for a system and having to rebuy all of your games at higher than retail prices is THE FUTURE’.

  • Sony is promising more than 70 new games on the platform by December. Sadly, they are generally me-too multplatform releases (Tron Evolution, Toy Story 3), yet another iteration of tired franchises (Patapon 3 where #2 was already superfluous), and even highlighted games that won’t work on the PSP Go (InviZables, which needs the camera peripheral not released in the US and that won’t work with the Go). In fact Sony never actually said the words ‘PSP Go’.
  • They have a new campaign with a smart-mouthed kid whose focus on the hardcore aspects of the PSP – the very aspects that have failed AGAIN AND AGAIN to gain more platform adherents – is basically smack-talk to anyone foolish enough to enjoy gaming on the DS or iPhone. Which means about 91% of portable gamers … as opposed to the 9% and shrinking who play the PSP.
  • Playstation ‘Exclusives’ – You know how I keep detailing pre-order deals for upcoming games? Well, if someone gets a special cope included ONLY if they buy the PS3 version of the game … then Sony would claim that as an ‘Exclusive’.

  • The upcoming Medal of Honor game gets a retread of Frontline, the same game released last year on PSN … EXCLUSIVE!
  • The same for Mafia II and a new Assassin’s Creed game – undefined exclusive bonuses.
  • Portal 2 coming to PS3 same day & date as PC and XBOX360 – and also coming with Steamworks, meaning your info will be stored ‘in the cloud’, making it the ‘best console version’ (translation: has ONE feature the X360 version has, but still LESS than the customizable PC & Mac releases)
  • Yawn.
  • Sony’s Playstation Games – As I said from the outset, the one place Sony had a ‘hit’ was with GAMES. And for many, that is all that matters:

  • Killzone 3 looks absolutely killer … many are still breathless over the jetpack sequence.
  • LittleBigPlanet 2 expands upon the wonders of the original game in terms of what it contains and what it allows you to do. LBP was a slow-starter but has really developed into the major hit it always deserved to be. Kudos to Sony for giving it time to succeed and also continuing to work on it!
  • Gran Turismo 5 looks gorgeous, but my mediocre experience with GT on the PSP leaves me suspicious if they can deliver.
  • Despite the first game getting average reviews, inFamous 2 had a starring role for Sony, and the sequel looked great. Of course, great looks weren’t the problem with the original.
  • Twisted Metal – one of the original Playstation franchises is coming to the PS3 in HD and 3D in 2011 with loads and loads of features.
  • Overall I saw Sony’s E3 presentation as a mixed bag. The PS3 is a great bit of hardware, but Sony overestimated their power, customer’s willingness to fork over $600 for a game console, and developer’s willingness to struggle with the PS3, and as a result are playing catch-up. One thing is clear – they have a solid hardware platform with plenty of room for more development.

    Their new initiatives were fairly weak, but if they continue to develop the Move and work with publishers it might be a solid addition to the platform.

    Playstation Plus and the PSP concern me: the PSN store is pretty much the worst value in gaming and the Plus looks to merely expand that to all of Sony’s online offerings. As for the PSP … I am not sure what they SHOULD do, but pretty much the opposite of everything I have heard recently would be a great start.

    However, perhaps the most ironic thing was to have a theater full of folks in 3D glasses just a couple of hours after Nintendo showed how to do no-glass 3D for gaming. And on a handheld, no less. That in itself made Sony look silly.

    Categories: Editorials, Gaming

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    4 replies

    1. I think that Penny Arcade summed up the situation nicely in their strip on the E3 presentations today… especially as Sony doesn’t seem to know what the competition’s up to, and after spending years deriding the Wii’s motion controllers for being a gimmick have gotten into copying them…


    1. giantgizmonews
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