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E3 2013 | Why Sony (May Have) Already Won The Next-Gen War

By
Posted on June 11, 2013 AT 09:59am

The dust has nearly settled. The big three have shown their cards. Mario had a full house; Master Chief had the Jokers, the rules, a napkin, and a Get Out of Jail Free card; Kratos, though, had the ultimate straight flush.

Sony, after having spent the last two years regaining the trust of gamers since the PSN account hack debacle, came out this year as the better-looking of the console warfare. With the PS4′s sleek design, their we-play-used-games policy, and a price point that’s only $50 higher than the best Wii U and $100 lower than the Xbox One, the Japan-based company seems true to their word when they proclaim that “Greatness Awaits.” These alone do not mark Sony as the sure-bet winner of this upcoming console race, mind you, but there are a few other reasons why they may just as well roll out the victory banner:

GRAPHICAL MARVELS

While Xbox One did showcase a plethora of great-looking games (MGS5, Sunset Overdrive, Forza 5), it didn’t reach the emotional standpoint that the PS4 is pushing. Take for example the preview of Infamous: Second Son. Every snarky aspect of the main protagonist could be seen on his face, from his sarcastic sneer to the little smirk that curled as he started to land and cause chaos throughout the cityscape. Then, of course, there was Quantic Dream’s demo of The Dark Sorcerer, a title that started out as a hauntingly freaky devil-worshipping seance, only to transform in the blink of an eye to a green screen blooper with the main “actor” looking to add more to his dark character. The wrinkles, the weariness in his eyes, the powerful voice protruding from his trembling lips, and even his giddiness as he wanted to try a couple new things for his character in-between takes looked realer than anything we’ve yet come across in gaming today. It was the only time that made me exclaim with joy for the overall look of a game.

A WELCOME MAT FOR INDIE GAMES

Microsoft has its share of great indie developers making games for the Xbox One, but they still have their restrictions regarding what they can and can’t do. Sony, on the other hand, have left the door wide open for these smaller companies to go all out with whatever their imaginations come out with. Klei Eintertainment’s Don’t Starve, Red Barrels’ Outlast, and Young Horses’ Octodad: Dadliest Catch are all coming to PS4; three titles that couldn’t be more different from one another, but all share the common identity of being indie games with original twists. Most importantly they are being brought to this new system and totted up right next to the AAA-titles, because Sony knows that one day these developers that are making something small are going to one day create something that will be hailed as the next big thing. It also helps that some of these titles will be brought to PlayStation owners on a silver platter, which leads me to my next reason…

PS PLUS > XBOX LIVE GOLD

Microsoft may have just jumped on the free-for-premium bandwagon, announcing that Assassin’s Creed 2 and Halo 3 were going to be made available for free to Gold members, but Sony managed to one-up them with their PlayStation Plus program by giving their newest games out for free. At their presser it was announced that Don’t Starve, Outlast, and Switchblade Monkeys’ Secret Ponchos would be made available for PS+ members at no additional cost, along with access to a special edition of the gorgeous-looking racer DriveClub with free extra goodies for members. This is all we know for now regarding PS+ on PS4, but for now things are looking on the up-and-up for the current subscribers.

REGION-FREE GAMING

After the Sony presser, one of their spokespeople revealed that most of the games released on PS4 would be region-free, making the console the most import-friendly out of the three. While they recommend waiting for the games to come out in your area for the best customer assistance the fact that we’ll be able to buy any PS4 title in the world and play it on our local device opens up a whole world of possibilities and experiences for gamers to check out titles that may seem more unique in their part of the world. It’s yet another way Sony hopes to connect gamers from every continent to one another.

IT’S VERY MMO-FRIENDLY

I will admit that I’m not the biggest fan of MMOs, but there sure are hundreds of millions of them, that’s for sure! Those fans will have plenty to clamor over for when the PS4 comes out thanks to the upcoming releases for DestinyThe Elder Scrolls Online, Planetside 2, DUST 514, and Diablo III. While Xbox One may be getting Destiny and Elder Scrolls, all the other choices for console-friendly MMOs will be heading Sony’s way. If they wind up getting League of Legends in the process the next-gen race will surely be over in a flash.

It may be too early to call, yes, but the attitude of Sony towards the gamers seemed more welcoming, open, and above all personable, key elements that Microsoft appeared to have forgotten when they showcased the Xbox One. Maybe I’ll be wrong, but from a first-year perspective it looks more and more like Sony is going to trounce its competition. Then again E3 2013 has just started, and the gaming world still waits to go hands-on with the majority of these titles. Until that time comes that shadowy figure that stands above two other bodies in that fading cloud of dust looks like he’s got an S on his chest, and it sure ain’t Superman.

Evan Bourgault is an accomplished music, anime, and video game critic. His passion for discovering new bands, developers, and Japanese pop culture began in his college radio days and continues on today. Evan joined the ElectricSistaHood team in 2008, where he is a contributing editor and host of one of the network's weekly podcasts. Follow Evan on Twitter at twitter.com/King_Baby_Duck


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