What an interesting evening Monday night was. I abandoned my usual tradition of watching Monday Night Raw while snorting a bag of Doritos to take in the splendor and spectacle of the Sony E3 Press conference that was being streamed online.
This time of year is always fun for a fan of gaming and technology as E3 shows us what we will be blowing our hard earned money on this holiday season. This year in particular holds a special regard because we have finally reached that glorious occasion that any true gaming fan adores when the current generation of home consoles have finished their run and we have unleashed upon us a cornucopia of sexy new hardware.
This particular E3 sees the big 2 for hardcore gaming fans, (Sorry Nintendo) Sony and Microsoft, slugging it out with the PS4 and the Xbox One respectively. There had been some reveals earlier this year, letting us know both consoles were coming, but today was the big unveiling day. Today was about what matters. We’re talking specs, games and most importantly, Price points.
I watched Microsoft’s conference earlier today and enjoyed it despite them clearly avoiding some serious concerns from gamers about digital restrictions they are putting on this new Xbox system. I share the concerns as well, especially the idea that I am extremely limited in my options for sharing games with friends (a pastime I still enjoy even as I head toward my mid 30’s). Nonetheless, I watched the conference and happily preordered my “Day One” Console despite my reservations.
As I tuned in this evening I expected more of the same from Sony. Some lip service about how great the PS4 would be and then an eventual price reveal that would lead me to preorder my second console of the day. For the most part I was right; there were the long speeches and demos telling me how great their past ventures have been. Nothing out of the ordinary. At one point during a painfully glitch filled demonstration of Assassins Creed 4 I thought, “Ohh well, Sony’s not winning anything tonight.”
But then, it happened. Sony head honcho Jack Tretton took the stage back from several other presenters and in the span of a few minutes unleashed a fury of knockout blows to Microsoft’s newest gaming system. He blatantly addressed the issues gamers have been concerned with since hearing about Microsoft’s new & somewhat strict DRM policies and made clear to assure us all that with the PS4 those concerns are nonexistent. You want to share games with friends? Feel free. You want to play your games offline? Not a problem. Ohh, and you know that new Xbox costing $499? Yeah you can get a nice shiny PS4 for $399.
With each announcement the crowd at the presentation erupted in cheers. Sony cemented itself as the system for gamers and ignited a new console war, the likes of which have not been seen for quite some time. Likewise, the internet erupted in support as well. The usually hostile world of social media almost unanimously declared Sony the winner of a new home console generation that has barely just begun.
It was exciting to watch and be part of online as it all happened. For me, it was especially interesting because I in no way would have placed my chips on Sony before today. Don’t get me wrong, I in no way consider myself a fanboy of any console. I generally love all of my gaming systems. I find joy and quality games on both the current PS3 and Xbox 360 and have never seen a point in blindly aligning oneself with one corporate entity over another. What changed for me tonight was my consideration for making the PS4 my go to system for gaming. Currently I play games on both consoles but for the most part I use the PS3 to watch blu rays. If there’s a game that comes out multi-platform, my default choice has always been the 360. Honestly, since the days of the first Xbox and the PS2, Microsoft’s flagship system has always been my console of choice, but that may have just changed today.
I and what seems to be most of the gamers out there, like the idea of playing a game and being able to share it with a friend. If it weren’t for a friend sharing the First Arkham Asylum with me I may have missed out on one of my favorite gaming experiences of my adult life. A game that showed me what a true comic book based game could be ( I loved it so much, I included a nod to its’ sequel on my wedding cake topper).
To wrap it up, Sony did something pretty amazing tonight. They made a group of people who usually live to be cynical and come together to bash things online collectively cheer their name. For that, I tip my cap and happily lay down my $399 in anticipation.