The dust has settled, Angus delivers his thoughts from Los Angeles.
Sony ended a day of pre-E3 announcements with their press conference that took place in the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena on Monday evening. It would be an exaggeration to say that Microsoft had thrown down the gauntlet earlier that day. In fact all Sony had to do was to walk on stage and say one thing: "The PS4 plays second-hand games".
It turns out Sony did this and a whole lot more. We don't like to pick sides here at NZGamer.com, but it is safe to say that the crowd in attendance had decided on a winner by the end of the night.
Before they revealed their latest PS4 console, they warmed the crowd up by discussing their existing PS3 and Vita consoles. It turns out there is plenty for Playstation fans who don't want to splash out on a brand new console at the end of the year. For starters, there is still plenty of gaming goodness to be had on the PS3 over the next 15 months.
Obviously The Last of Us, which releases internationally in a few days, is still receiving rave reviews all over the globe. But this current-gen console will also see other promising titles like Puppeteer, rain, Beyond: Two Souls, Gran Turismo 6, Batman: Arkham Origins, and the eagerly anticipated Grand Theft Auto V. To help push sales around the launch of the PS4, Sony are releasing a special GTA5 PS3 bundle as well.
The Vita will be seeing a few hot new releases over the coming month too, including Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD, re-releases of God of War 1 and 2 in HD, and the charming looking Tearaway. Later this year Sony will also release Vita console bundles that contain the highly acclaimed The Walking Dead game, including a new thrilling episode titled 400 Days. Impressively, Sony also announced that the Vita will be completely compatible with the PS4 and other plenty of handheld interactivity.
Which led onto what everyone in the room was anticipating; the Playstation 4. Once again, the charismatic SCE President, Andrew House took to the stage to personally reveal the console's design. House stated that they strove for a design that was as revolutionary as the power behind it; which was accompanied by a pleasant cameo of the console's actual designer from Sony's Japanese studios.
The PS4 console was surprisingly smaller than anticipated, but like the Xbox One - has an industrial, purpose-built aesthetic. There are no fancy curves, colours or unnecessary flair here. Both Microsoft and Sony have decided on stripped down, back-to-basic robust designs.
After the console reveal, the President of Sony Pictures Entertainment entered stage left to announce all new original content to the PlayStation Network specifically for PS4. Unfortunately for New Zealander's, this means very little as they revolve around Pay-Per-View services like Redbox Instant and Flixster - both for American audiences. But we'll check in with Sony as there is likely to be NZ-related media services at launch.
Sony continued by listing some of the games we can expect on the PS4 - boldly claiming they are currently developing over 30 games for the new consoles, with around 20 ready within the first year. They include the steampunk shooter, The Order: 1886, Killzone: Shadow Fall, DriveClub, Infamous: Second Son, and Knack. At this stage, Killzone will certainly be a launch title, but the follow-up to Infamous will be sometime in 2014.
Sony continued to spew forth amazing titles set for the next generation of gaming. We'll cover all of these in more detail later, but they showcased some incredible looking Indie games to ensure that the PS4 and PSN feature plenty of ground-breaking, small gaming titles. Even Blizzard's Diablo III will be ported to both the PS3 and PS4 - complete with 'bonus' extras for PlayStation users, such as an amulet from the Uncharted series.
Super mega-guest star Tatsuya Nomura then revealed the newest trailer for the long awaited Final Fantasy game and also confirmed rumours that it will be titled Final Fantasy XV. The crowd totally lost their blob when a teaser for the long awaited Kingdom Hearts III was also screened - but it was purely a teaser with absolutely no details.
But then Sony really let loose. As I mentioned earlier, there were just a couple of things that Playstation needed to do regarding the PS4 announcement. And the perfect man for the job was Sony's enigmatic Jack Tretton who took delight at an obvious stab at Microsoft.
The Sony PS4 will not restrict used games - once you own a game you're free to do whatever you want with it; sell it on, keep it, set fire to it, etc. PS4 owners will have no problems lending or trading games with friends. And no online connection will be needed to play or activate games. We imagine the entire city of LA could hear the loving chants of 'SONY! SONY!' echoing from the memorial center.
To heighten the love, Tretton followed by announcing that Playstation Plus will continue, but more importantly that these memberships will carry across all Sony products (PS3, Vita, and PS4). Later news reported by NZGamer.com confirms that in order to play online multiplayer games on PS4, you'll need to have a paid PS Plus membership.
And finally, the price was revealed. For New Zealander's, the price of the Playstation 4 will be $649.99 (it will retail for $399 in the US). It launches in November this year in the States and NZGamer.com will be sure to keep hassling Sony for a launch date here in NZ.
Who do you think came out on top after the big press conferences?