Notes from the Sony PlayStation Event 2013
This article was updated live as the press conference was broadcasted
The cacophony of PlayStation rumours over the last few days has been tremendous, most notably the reveal of what could be the controller for the Orbis, the codename for the next console from Sony. That is why many with baited breath watched the Sony PlayStation conference with hope that, just maybe, the first of the (serious) next gen consoles will be unveiled. Bizarrely though less than a month ago Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai said in an article in the business section of The Times that he wanted to let Microsoft make the first move. Why Sony jumped the gun is not clear but we’re sure glad that they have decided to do something. So here it is- everything from the Sony PlayStation Event 2013.
Cue dramatic music and light show. Squares, triangles, circles and crosses galore. “PlayStation wants to win the war on reality”, the first phrase the audience were confronted with- but what are the big guns going to be? Andrew House took the stage first, the current president and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment. He talks of the “evolving sense of play”, the need for cross platform interaction. This of course led to a pitch for the Vita. Like all conferences though there is a lot to get through but House gets to the point- the PS4 exists and is of course called the PS4.
Worryingly tall Mark Cerny then took the stage. It came as no surprise that Sony were keen not just to have a powerful console. Cerny listed three objectives that his cross disciplinary team had while working on the PS4, a “powerful and accessible console”. Cue tech specs- the processor for the PS4 will be the X86, the graphics card an enhanced PC GPU and finally the PS4 will come with 8gb of RAM. Next he displayed the “duel shock 4” controller which includes a share button, touch pad and a light bar as well as a new peripheral that looked startlingly like a Kinect bar.
The first live demo was from Unreal, running on the Unreal Engine 4- brief but nonetheless impressive. The second came from Havoc which involved a lot of blue squares. Cerny went on to plug a game that he himself is directing from Studio Japan, an cutish animated game that has you play as Knack, a rock type robot built to fight Goblins as part of some sort of on going war with humans. Cerny returned to copious specs, the most interesting is the ability to play downloadable games as they download. Interesting stuff. Following this was the first glimpse of the new aesthetic, not dissimilar square tabs of the Xbox, as well as a demo of the gameplay sharing feature. The most bizarre feature is the consoles ability to “predict” which games you are going to download so that it can download said game before you have even clicked on it so it is immediately available. Equally interesting stuff- Minority Report anyone?
David Perry, CEO of Gaikai, the cloud gaming service bought by Sony for $380 million in July last year. The aim- the fastest online gaming service in the world. It will be possible with Gaikai to experience any game in the PlayStation store, only paying for “what you love”. Once again the share button is hyped, allowing you to share your gameplay real time with your friends. Equally, it will allow a friend to take over your controller to help you in a tough bit. Now this is next-gen stuff. Sony’s partnership means that it is possible to broadcast your gaming to a wider audience than just your friends- Sony has clearly picked up on the surge in the “let’s play” genre on YouTube. Further hype for the Vita with a demo of Cerny’s Knack. Interesting but PS4 games would be more interesting. What was interesting though was the “Everything Everywhere” project which will allow you to play pretty much every PlayStation game since the PS1 on the Vita.
Cut to a montage of devlopers repeating everything that has been said so far with pretty motion graphics to accompany. After, Michael Denny who quickly introduces what games the PS4 has to offer. The first, Kill Zone: Shadowfall, is jaw droppingly gorgeous. The stunning future urban landscape and the burning rubble that it becomes look like works of digital art. As Cliffy B put it “This feels like Brink but fun”. Next, Evolution Studios revealed Drive Club which is “all about team based racing”. A club vs club asynchronous and real time experience with a strong emphasis on, yes you guessed, social media and cross platform accessibility. Everything has been done meticulously. Even the paint.
On the stage next was a number of facts on security. “But what happens when humans themselves become walking weapons?” This was the intro to Sucker Punch’s latest addition to the Infamous franchise Second Son which looked remarkably like Deus-Ex-meets-Prototype. Following the violence of Second Son was a meek sounding Jonathon Blow with his 25 hour long puzzle game The Witness. With its pleasant -enough animated art style, it feels like a less sinister Portal. Next one of the most hyped studios, Quantic Dream, to the stage featuring a close up of an old man’s face. The most exciting of the demos, personally, was the next look at Watch Dogs which premiered at E3 last year which you can watch below:
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