For Our Consideration

E3 2013 PlayStation press conference

Once More Unto The Breach

Sony makes a reasonable argument for one last gaming console.

By Ryan Smith • June 11, 2013

It’s fitting that Sony Entertainment’s Michael Linton name-dropped This Is the End in a list of movies that will soon be available via the PlayStation’s online services. The title of the post-apocalyptic bromantic comedy serves an unintentional commentary on the inevitable fate of video game consoles. With smartphones, tablets, and the web browser continuing to flourish as legitimate platforms, the mega-corporations—Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo—have seen their role as gaming’s gatekeepers diminish. This upcoming “next generation” of big black rectangles whose top priority is to play video games will probably be the last, we’re told.

But at their big press event Monday evening at E3, Sony opted to ignore the barbarians at the gate and pretend like the brinkmanship that’s defined the system wars since the mid-’90s is still the only game in town. Here’s the surprising part—it actually worked. The two-hour show wasn’t without its hiccups—I’m looking at you, aborted Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag demo—but the message was on point: “We just made the best damn black-rectangle device (or parallelepiped) you’ve ever seen, and unlike the other guys, we give a shit about games.”

E3 2013 PlayStation press conference

Perhaps all Sony needed was a better foil. Their last few E3 press conferences have suffered from bloat and aimlessness—especially last year’s clunker, which used interminable segments to convince us of the great fun we’d all have with a PlayStation-themed Super Smash Bros. ripoff and a glorified digital pop-up book. But Microsoft unintentionally handed Sony some ready ammunition during last month’s Xbox One reveal, when those promoting The System That Master Chief Built opted to treat games as an afterthought. Instead, Microsoft to its ability to allow users to video chat with friends while watching The Price Is Right. Then, in the few weeks leading up to E3, Microsoft continued to stumble when it finally explained its rather draconian policies for used games and an always-on internet connection (not to mention recent speculation that the Kinect may be a secret Orwellian spy tool).

So with Microsoft busy courting the general populace by marketing Xbox One as a do-it-all living room entertainment center, Sony used Monday night as a grand opportunity to distance themselves from the questionable policies of their rival and double down on the antiquated idea of being a “games-first” device. “PlayStation is all about games,” Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Jack Tretton stated simply, while implying that the competition wasn’t.

E3 2013 PlayStation press conference

He then introduced a long series of executives and developers who tried to prove exactly that. Much of what was paraded before us were the usual suspects of action-heavy, big-budget shooters, racing games, and sequels. (Count me as surprised that our second long look at Beyond Two Souls made the game appear less like Heavy Rain and more like Splinter Cell: Ellen Page Edition.) But after the first hour, Sony vice president Adam Boyes took the stage to showcase interesting indie projects. In contrast to the Xbox One’s indie ambivalence, the PlayStation 4 will serve as an “open platform” that will allow small developers to self-publish, Boyes said. In doing so, Sony positions itself as the big movie studio that also fosters small games under an unofficial Sundance-like label.

The embrace of indie was a smart move that earned applause from the audience packed into USC’s Memorial Sports Arena—some of whom, we were told, camped out since Friday afternoon to attend the event—but it paled in comparison to the reaction to Tretton’s later pronouncements. The biggest cheer at any of yesterday’s E3 press events, in fact, wasn’t the trailer of some snazzy next-gen game. Instead, it came when Tretton dropped the news that the PlayStation 4 would support used game discs. “So that’s a good thing?” he quipped with a toothy smile as the audience continued to erupt.

E3 2013 PlayStation press conference

The reaction is sort of absurd when you consider the idea of Sony listing “disc-based games”—something it’s already done for almost two decades now—as one of the main selling points of the PlayStation 4, but it speaks volumes about our aversion to limits on the things we own. As Apple learned from its iTunes music DRM mess, people still like to feel like they own the entertainment they purchase—and not just borrowing it. Speaking generally, it’s safe to say that people also don’t like to spend money, which is why the second-biggest cheer was reserved for the long-awaited announcement of the PlayStation 4’s price. At $400, the PlayStation 4 will cost $100 less than the Xbox One’s asking price, and it sent shockwaves through E3.

While there were other moments of usual E3 shenanigans—overused buzzwords like “immersion” and “connected,” contrived gaming tech (Gran Turismo 6 features “adaptive tesselation”), and boasts about Metacritic ratings—Sony certainly didn’t look like a cowed company that just finished third in the current generation’s console wars. The sands of change shift around them, but they’re keeping their heads high and soldiering on. Once more unto the game-console breach, then?

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82 Responses to “Once More Unto The Breach”

  1. PugsMalone says:

    So, how about that Last Guardian?

    • His_Space_Holiness says:

      Duke Nukem Forever, Final Fantasy Versus XIII (which is now FF XV, I guess?) and Kingdom Hearts III will all have come out before The Last Guardian does. Laugh or cry as you see fit.

    • GaryX says:

      Sucks that it wasn’t there.

      BUT

      The fact that they had Jonathan Blow at their announcement conference and then the guys behind Bastion(BASTION) pretty much tells me that–holy shit–Sony gets it.

      I won’t buy it at launch because duh, but that was goddamn near a system seller for me. 

      Goddamn, the fucking sucker punches at the end of that press conference made me feel like a kid again. The paid multiplayer stuff sucks, but PS+ is pretty much worth it for the games alone (seriously, in the last few months I’ve gotten Bioshock 2, Sleeping Dogs, Vanquish, Dues Ex, Spec Ops: The Line, Just Cause 2, and Dark Souls–those are some GOOD fucking games, you guys).

      • ShrikeTheAvatar says:

        How much is PSN+ again?

        • GaryX says:

          It’s 50 bucks (or 5 a month or so), but they also frequently have it on sale. I think once you’ve got it, it’s also cheaper to renew.

          The other things they have are some pretty solid sales where they mark stuff down to 50% or so. You get one hour demos (where you download the game and can play up to an hour of it, then choose to buy/unlock the rest), and some other stuff.

          Also, apparently X-Com and Machinarium are both free on there right now (more really good games), so yeah, I’d say it’s definitely worth it. I may sound like a shill right now, but I’ve just been really impressed by it lately. I thought for sure it was gonna just be some shitty games here and there, but it hasn’t been at all.

        • Enkidum says:

          Here’s what you got if you subscribed a bit over a year ago:

          http://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/1dlqok/what_does_one_full_year_50_of_playstation_plus/

        • Tony Peralta says:

          $49.99 for a YEAR
          $17.99 for 3 months.

          There are a bunch of full games that are available for download now.  Also, after Infamous 2 leaves, Saints Row: the Third comes in this month.  
          I had 3 months subscriptions before and glad that old download games are still accessible for me to download again if I have a Plus membership.  

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      I’m beginning to suspect that Last Guardian is actually Team Ico’s first foray into LARP-ing.
         They’re going to create this ‘game’, a delicate and vulnerable creature that requires the attention and care of gamers to navigate out of the black labyrinth of game development.  Scripted moments such as delays and staff exodus will reinforce what a treacherous journey it will be.  And then, at the end, the game is just… gone.  Was it a dream?  A ghost?  A memory?  Who knows.  But did we, as gamers, grow a little through our nurture of this ephemeral sylph?  That’s the important question.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      Update:  Apparently, its “On Haitus”.  So… boo.

      • GaryX says:

        Yeah, see: http://kotaku.com/sony-exec-jack-tretton-just-said-on-spike-that-hotly-an-512632554

    • Phillip Collector says:

       I heard he’s going to be in the next Call of Duty.

    • Simon Jones says:

       I don’t want it to come out.

      http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/6/8/ handily explains why.

      • Cheese says:

        Wow, that comic is so old Kinect was still called Project Natal and people were excited about Metroid: Other M. Being announced.

  2. beema says:

    Flawless victory

    *sony spits on microsoft’s decapitated corpse*

  3. GaryX says:

    QUESTION: After Assassin’s Creed III, are we sure the Black Flag freezes aren’t just something Ubisoft decided to make a series feature?

    • HobbesMkii says:

      “Oh, no, not more screen artifacts.”
      “Pay no attention to that! That’s totally intentional…the world is…like…disintegrating because you’re desynching your memory…or something.”

    • RidleyFGJ says:

      Good point: I didn’t play AC3, but I did play the Vita game, and the number of technical issues that game had wouldn’t be covered by all the fingers on all the people living in the world right now.

  4. vinnybushes says:

    I don’t remember the last time I felt elated about any press from E3. Not since I was in my early teens I suspect. There were enough games that I could take some and leave some, and still feel satisfied with the whole experience. I didn’t feel as if I was grasping at straws trying to justify some sort of excitement.  A bunch of new IP’s, some old favorites, some new indies as well as a few familiar faces (I still maintain that Drew Toal probably lost his damn mind when they showed Don’t Starve).  It was a well varied event about games at a conference about games. That shouldn’t be as much of a rarity as it is, but I gotta say it was appreciated.
    Keeping the status quo in terms of used games and lending is doing dividends for Sony, but there was a lot to be excited about already. It was just icing on the cake. Hardware only matters when you’re making the initial purchase. The games are what’s going to decide if you keep using it or not. Microsoft needs to understand the idea of “jack of all trades, master of none”. You can try to branch out in every direction at once but no one aspect is going to be satisfying. Sony made a machine for games, and by god is it appreciated.

  5. Effigy_Power says:

    It’s a pretty definite slice-up of the market.

    Sony clearly went for people who are already gamers and people who like to play on the cheap. As such they adapted their presentation to say exactly that.
    “Look, we know you gamers don’t want this always-on DRM stuff and people live trading games, so there.” Definitely a good move.

    The coup-de-grace however should be something far more wide-reaching, and that has to do with Microsoft’s plan to appeal more to the casual and even non-gaming market. And that’s where it falls apart thanks to the Kinect.

    Thanks to the impeccable timing of certain unsettling news the Kinect’s reputation as a privacy-infringing Big-Brother device should now be set in stone in the collective psyche of its potential customers. IF for example the NSA could actually gain access to this data and IF they even would if they could, all of those things are fairly irrelevant. What matters is that people will at least have a bad feeling about it, facts be damned.

    “Hi, we, the company named amongst others to be at least compliant with the largest semi-legal surveillance program in history, would like to put a camera into your house that may or may not be on a lot. Would you mind?”

    It’s death. Especially since Microsoft is going also for the TV market. Most people probably wouldn’t want HAL9000 watching them play games, but what about watching movies or TV? Do we want Kinect to measure our heart-rate when Game of Thrones goes heavy on the nudity? What about porn? Is that an activity you’d like to share with a camera-device that is not only connected to the internet, but also a DVR?
    Whether or not any of those things are true is fairly meaningless. All that matters is that people will think about this. I can’t see who would feel comfortable putting a Kinect into their kids’ room. Ironically Sony’s big hacking problem just a year ago has shown that no system is
    invulnerable. Any nasty and likely unfounded rumors about “hackers targeting your children via Kinect and recording sexual content” will severely tamper with how much people trust this device. We can just about expect that the TV-News outlets will pick this up when summer doesn’t provide enough saucy material.

    Used games and DRM discussions may be a topic of discussion for gamers, but the casual and family-heavy market will have a hard time getting past that soul-less little eye staring at them. The fact that the PS4 also comes with a camera, but one that has been very much in the background of the conversation, should tell you just how much of a divisive topic this is.
    I am sure the developer of the PS4’s Eye or whatever the camera is called feel a bit downtrodden at the moment, but I am sure Sony wants to downplay every possible aspect of privacy intrusion and tracking information.

    And finally, with the console being $100 cheaper (which seems like Sony is taking a financial hit per console, but the company can possibly make some money back with the new PSN+ policy), and the consoles looking so similar, a lot of non-gamers will likely go for the cheaper one.

    It definitely looks like Microsoft painted itself into the same corner Sony had with the PS3. Kinect, XBL, all the staples of the XBox that Microsoft once touted as the great advances in console gaming have come back to haunt them. And how.
     
    PS: I am done defending you, Disqus. You suck.

    • GaryX says:

      The PRISM stuff couldn’t have come at a worse time for Microsoft. I mean, THE DAY it came out and said “look, you can turn it off, it won’t spy on you,” the news broke that not only was there a government program Microsoft was a part of, it was the first company to get on board, and it’s based off of a data-collection program Microsoft wrote. On of the other big new Xbox features that got mentioned a lot in the PRISM stuff? Skype! Yay Xbox One.

      Someone at Redmond must’ve had a fucking heart attack.

    • Chalkdust says:

      The PS4 doesn’t actually come with the camera, though it’s often shown alongside the other console components.  It sells separately at $60 (so even if you do get the console and its Illuminati Uplink Device, it’s still cheaper then the Boner).

      • Effigy_Power says:

        Ah, that explains that. It appeared to be a device that ships with the console. At least that should make it very clear that the camera is very much optional, rather than demanding your physical presence at all times.

      • George_Liquor says:

        I was wondering about that. The hardware specs of the two consoles are so damn close that I couldn’t figure out the reason for Xbone’s $100 price premium. Microsoft should swallow a little pride, admit that most people don’t give two shits about Kinect, and offer a cheaper bundle without the sensor. It’d be in their own best interest.

  6. The_Juggernaut_Bitch says:

    So, this seems as good a place for this, because the Juggernaut is about to go find some fools on twitter, pull their arms off, beat them ’bout the head and neck for, like, a half-hour, and then feed them feet-first into a woodchipper.

    Ya’ll seen this shit?  http://femfreq.tumblr.com/post/52673540142/twitter-vs-female-protagonists-in-video-games

    The Juggernaut is about to go break some fools.

    • PaganPoet says:

      Well, this ruined my day.

    • GaryX says:

      I hate anything relating to politics + tumblr.

      That said, those are some dumb replies.

    • Girard says:

      This stuff makes my soul die.

      On the ‘plus’ side, most of those assholes have their real names on their Twitters. I wonder if there’s any way to generate some blowback, posting those screen caps to their Facebook pages where their families and non-Twitter friends might see, or somehow making that post the top Google response for their name so any future employers, SOs, or whatever that Google them in the forseeable future get the heads-up that they are misogynist fuck-heads.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I think the facial expression of my avatar says it all.
      It would however be hypocritical of me to say that I’d expect any different reaction from the twitter-verse.

    • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

       Wow, nerds are just awful sometimes. Stuff like this makes me think that maybe some of them do deserve to be ostracized from society.

      It’s also funny just how uncreative all of these dudes are. Every tweet is just some variation on the same 3 meanspirited comments you see every time this happens, but I bet each one of these dudes thought they were being witty and shocking.

    • duwease says:

      “You can already play bejewelled on your Obamaphone”…  wha?

      I like to think Facebook keeps me hip to all the right-wing talking point lingo, but I’ve never heard of an Obamaphone.  What is it?

      1. A Verizon/NSA reference?  Phones that use Verizon are Obamaphones?
      2. Something something poor people get free phones?
      3. Is there some phone Obama supporters supposedly use more of?

      • HobbesMkii says:

        The Obamaphone is a reference to a federally-sponsored program to give people living under the poverty level access to cellphones by subsidizing the phone companies to provide cellphones.

        It actually started under Reagan (although, it didn’t really address cellphones at the time). But they became known as “Obamaphones” and “Obamaburners” among its users because his name is catchy and people associate Democrats with social welfare.

        Since his presidency, the right-wing has exploded the concept so that the guvermint is taking your hard-earned tax dollars and spending it on iPhones for welfare queens. Which isn’t at all how it is. I worked in a homeless shelter: Obamaburners gave you something like 75 minutes a month on a prepaid phone. It was enough to maybe schedule an interview and gave people a permanent number for their social workers to reach them at.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          “A federally funded program that gives homeless people some minor form of human dignity? OUTRAGE! SOCIALISM! CHUPACABRA!”
          (You always need three things.)

      • Fluka says:

        Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring ring…

        Obama Phone!

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      *fumes* BOREANAZ SMASH!

      Fuck those people!  Holy shit, that’s depressing.

    • Fluka says:

      *Quickly glances at post.*

      I’ve decided that instead of wasting precious neurotransmitters on letting these utter assholes upset me, I’m going to look out the window at the wonderful green summer trees.  OMG!  There’s a red-tailed hawk sitting on a trash can out there!  Cool!

      I’m also going to look forward as much as I fucking can to Transistor, Mirror’s Edge, and a new Dragon Age.

      And later I will light a cigar, lean back, and laugh uproariously at how horribly Xbone’s sausage-party, rapey press conference bombed.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        We should do lunch. My people will call yours.

        • Fluka says:

          Cool, as long as I can invite the hawk too.  (This hawk is totally awesome!)

        • Marijn Lems says:

          @Fluka Considering your avatar, we all know your real intentions vis-a-vis that poor little birdie. Don’t be an enabler, Effigy_Power!

    • Pgoodso says:

       See, while many of you see a bunch of trolls representing the darkness of truly everyday normal men who feel assaulted by the words of a female academic and respond with worse than kind, I see…

      …well I see that too, and it’s dispiriting, but I choose to see it as the “power” of evil and stupidity echoing in anonymity, relevant only as a point of data on site run by a really brave and intelligent academic getting more and more notice because of her ability to eloquently articulate the truth of these matters. Basically, all those idiots ultimately do nothing but prove Anita Sarkessian right, and she can use THOSE bozos to get grants and Kickstarter support, like she did with the last round of idiots that flamed her. So, keep being morons, morons, you’re just fuel for the fire.

      Also, it was a chance for me to see that part 2 of Tropes vs Women came out, and ya’ll should all watch it, AND part one if you haven’t already. Can’t wait for 3.
      http://www.feministfrequency.com/2013/05/damsel-in-distress-part-2-tropes-vs-women/

    • George_Liquor says:

      Jeez.

      Stay classy, Internet.

  7. ShrikeTheAvatar says:

    I can’t be the only one who is just exhausted by all of this.

    This is the only gaming website I really visit, and it’s definitely the only one where I really venture into the comments, but I’m a little disappointed to see some of the silly, rabid reactions here that I catch glimpses of on reddit.

    This isn’t even based on any brand loyalty on my part, but it just always seems absurd to me when people put so much effort into being against one billion dollar company and then in favor of another.  

    Maybe this is just a reaction to having my ear talked off by a rabidly pro-Microsoft coworker, but I am just so tired of the hysteria that this obsessive media coverage fosters.  

    Am I insane?  Has it always been this way?  I feel like it hasn’t.  We’ve got entire articles and thousands of comments being written based on one sentence from a press conference.  Honestly, it’s the same feeling I get during presidential elections and the lead-up to a new iPhone release.  

    *deep breath*

    That being said, as a current Xbox 360 owner who was always pretty happy with XBL as a service, Microsoft’s making some poor choices.  The DRM thing was always a non-issue to me, but the once-a-day connection seems almost like a joke.

    Sony has done a great job of not over-thinking things, and taking what’s being given to them.  I don’t really have a problem with paying for multiplayer (obviously), though I hope it’s true that you won’t need PSN+ for other apps like Netflix.  Dropping $50 for a year subscription isn’t bad at all, though.

    • Citric says:

      It has always been this way, we just didn’t have the internet to confirm it.

      I remember kids who got in fights on the schoolyard because of what truck their dads drove. The kids didn’t even drive! In some schools there were vicious battles over the superiority of the Genesis or SNES, though I mostly went to a SNES school so I didn’t see too much of that. 

      • GaryX says:

        Yeah, honestly, the Genesis/SNES shit as a kid was waaaaay worse. If the internet was so widespread then it’d be awful.

      • Chalkdust says:

        Yeah, before consoles and computers, it was cars, and before that, it was probably over competing brands of liniment or something.

        • Citric says:

          People who don’t use Abraham’s Liniment Oil are into skullduggery and carnal relations with livestock!

        • GaryX says:

          “it was probably over competing brands of liniment or something.”

          Or religion, possibly. Or forms of government.

          Oh my god, all of history is Xbox vs Playstation.

        • Chalkdust says:

           @Citric:disqus Abraham’s!?  Sir, your have perfunctorily established yourself as the compatriot of souses and trollops!  It’s Melville Sinclair’s Famous Original Formula, or else you may as well be massaging your tender abrasions with night soil!

        • Citric says:

          Melville Sinclair is a thief and a charlatan, and it would be more accurate to call it an infamous and fraudulent formula! I have even heard tell of him gallivanting with the men of the docks, if you catch my meaning! 

        • petehammer says:

          (Monocle falls out)

        • Enkidum says:

          @petehammer:disqus of what?

      • George_Liquor says:

        I’m probably looking back through some seriously thick rose-tinted glasses, but I seem to recall that my friends and I emerged from the ashes of the Great 16-Bit War with at least a grudging respect for each others’ console of choice. After all, we were all forced to interact on a daily basis at school, church or whatever, and thus we had to figure out a way to find some common ground. (Typically, it involved hating on the rich kids who owned a SNES and a Genesis.) Back then, we couldn’t cloister ourselves inside message boards, rambling on at length about the virtues of our game system and the faults of theirs to a worldwide army of equally-rabid fanatics. 

        • Simon Jones says:

           Son, I remember the Spectrum vs C64 wars.

          I remember blood on the streets and soft, rubbery squish of ZX keyboards.

          I remember looking over the corpse fields to the soft jangle of Ocean Loading music.

          I remember the 128, who strode onto the field as a champion only to stagger back broken and lost.

          I remember the fear and the pain and the terror and the screams of Zapp and Crash.

          Do not speak to me of the pale shadow that is the console wars until you have known true horror.

      • ItsTheShadsy says:

        This is a late reply, but I’m kinda saddened that we can still accurately compare our reactions now to the fights we had in elementary school. :(

    • Army_Of_Fun says:

      I think part of the reaction you’re seeing is a collective sigh of relief. The message that MS has been delivering over the last month is that traditional console gaming is going to die. It’s getting too expensive to make machines that focus primarily on gaming. The game publishers are in such dire condition we’re going to need to lock the consoles down. The traditional game market is dying.

      We started to think that maybe there was some truth to what MS was saying. Maybe things were as bad as they said. Maybe the traditional console experience was on the way out. Maybe MS is right and Sony sees the horrible truth too.

      So when Sony said they were going to continue to focus on and support the traditional console market, I was relieved. I’m going to have an option that lets me continue to participate in one of my hobbies the way I like to.

      FWIW, I don’t own a PS3, I own a 360. I have hundreds of games for it. I’ve been an XBL Gold subscriber for years. You’d think being so deeply invested in the 360, I’d continue to spend my gaming dollars with MS. I have no reason to though. The lack of backwards compatibility means that the choice between WiiU, PS4, X1 and a gaming PC is all about what they will offer now and in the future, not what I’ve spent my money on in the past.

      • Enkidum says:

        Yup. A couple of people have pointed this out in the comments on various articles, but Microsoft is obviously recognizing the inevitable. They’re just being douchebags about it. I mean, used games stores are obviously going to go the way of used CD stores, which is to say that they’ll possibly stick around a little longer than new game stores. Physical media are over. It’ll take a few years, but the trend is obvious.

        Which is fine.

        And so obviously microsoft is aiming towards the future here, and just doesn’t give a shit about the physical market and is trying to push us away from it. Fine, same is true of Sony. But you don’t have to be a total dickbag about it, and Microsoft has managed to do that spectacularly.

        • zerocrates says:

          Some person on one of these other articles smartly commented that Sony and Microsoft likely see the same future and have the same annoyances about “lost” revenue from game sharing, renting, selling, and so on.

          The difference is that Sony’s just banking on the continuing trend toward digital downloads (and maybe streaming, but who knows if that’ll ever really pan out) to just handle the problem for them on its own, while Microsoft is basically trying to immediately make the disc-based market work more like the download-based one.

    • ItsTheShadsy says:

      Thank you. Thank you thank you. This is the first time that this really hit me too. I used to watch E3 rabidly every year, and this time I stopped after the Microsoft conference. I generally enjoyed what I saw, but the Internet was frothing at the mouth and talking about it in these insane, cataclysmic terms. I live in DC, and the politics is the only thing I’ve seen even that’s even remotely comparable in the level of crazy vitriol. I even feel that on this site, where people tend to be reasonable and not go on massive rants about how [insert product here] is a scam perpetuated by corporations.

      Am I just… am I missing something? It’s just a video game console. It’s not worth turning into mudslinging. And it’s really not going to matter in the long-term; remember how everyone ripped into the Saturn back in the day and now it’s a beloved classic? I think all the different consoles this time made their case pretty well for being a different type of device, and I think they can co-exist. (Even the Wii U.) Have I grown up, and does that mean that everyone else is just in a state of perpetual adolescence? It makes me really uncomfortable and confused.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        Whether it’s worth of it or not, increasingly global and increasingly rabid reactions to things are inevitable and many will be overblown.
        However, gaming is a part of our culture. The way we talk about gaming now will be looked upon by our descendents centuries from now the same way we talk about those paintings commissioned by wealthy Renaissance merchants, because time always adds an air of gravitas.
        It’d be interesting to know what the public opinion was back then and whether there was a lot of mudslinging between the people who wanted more weirdly-smiling chicks by Leonardo or naked chicks in clam shells by Boticelli.
        I think that cultural disagreements have been and always will seem silly and frivolous at the time, but carry a lot of weight decades or centuries later. So yes, some of the polemic is a bit overly dramatic. But then “overly dramatic” is pretty much the tone in our Western society anyways. People need stuff to complain and argue about even if they’re not scrounging for clean drinking water or have to evade landmines at the BestBuy parking lot.

        • ItsTheShadsy says:

          I understand that people will always have passionate reactions to these things, but it’s the right vs. wrong structure of the debate that’s really troubling. Last summer, you could’ve liked The Avengers without being AGAINST The Dark Knight Rises.

          Disagreement about culture is normal, good, and productive, but it’s possible to be critical without reducing an entire medium to a battle where you have to take one side and attack the other because it doesn’t fit your preference. It’s an extremely childish reaction, and its pervasiveness in video game culture particularly is disconcerting.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           I would reply and agree with you, so instead I will just agree. It seems to be very hard to just be “meh” about stuff in the screaming gallery that is the internet, just like it appears to be impossible to be excited by both competing things at any time. The fact that I have read the word “traitor” repeatedly when talking about console-loyalty is a tad disconcerting.

        • The_Juggernaut_Bitch says:

           @ItsTheShadsy:disqus

          No, no you can’t.  See, ever since Skynet, or maybe it was AOL, or Wintermute, took over, The Machine established that there is no middle ground.  Things are either the greatest thing ever, or they are worse than 100 Hitlers.

          Never before in our history have we existed in a state where one can look out upon a great mass of humanity and know, indubitably, that their opinion is wrong.

      • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

         THAT SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING AN APPLE FANBOY WOULD SAY

    • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

       Video game nerds are just like everyone else: weirdly loyal to franchises. Only in their case its games and not sports, beer, or trucks.

      Also I’m not excited to see Sony succeed as much as I am to see Microsoft fail.

      • NakedSnake says:

        Beer, trucks, and consoles I’ll grant you. Those are irrational. But sports teams are a different issue. That’s loyalty to hometown, which kind of cuts to the core of what loyalty is about.

        Unless you were talking about “football is better than baseball, etc.” In that case, comment redacted.

        • The_Juggernaut_Bitch says:

          Is it really hometown loyalty when not one swinging dick on the home team is from that town?

  8. GaryX says:

    Apparently the PS4 is also region free. It probably doesn’t apply to DVD/BluRay, but if it did, I would honestly think about preordering one right now.

  9. Phillip Collector says:

    This is the last console cycle? Really? I think we’ve still got a little more time to go. Last I checked companies are still making DVD’s and DVD players…and people are still buying them! Point being it sometimes takes longer than we think for a format to truly die out.

    There’s a scene in the Last Picture Show, (a movie made in the 70’s that took place in the 50’s) where the woman running the theater says that because everybody owns a TV nobody goes to the movies anymore. I’m sure it felt like that in both the 50’s AND the 70’s and yet here we are in 2013 going in troves to theaters to see Iron Man 3 opening night.

    Plus there’s the bandwidth situation in the U.S. Until at least 90% of the country has FIOS or Google Fiber we’re still going to buying disc based games for consoles.

    • mizerock says:

      Yeah, that was a shocking thing to read, but it actually sounds plausible when I stop and think about it.

      The film industry is dead, but photography isn’t. Network television is dying, but there have never been more great TV shows on. And so consoles may go away, but people will still be gaming; big titles on the PC, smaller ones on phones. Including me. And I’ll plan on also having my PS2 + PS3 + Wii [GameCube] [+SNES? +PS1?] up and running until I’m ready for the nursing home.

    • Simon Jones says:

       I think there’s a certain part of the games media who really, honestly want to push a ‘Death of Consoles’ narrative that doesn’t really hold up when you look at it.  It’s like the rise of PC gaming narrative, which is true is some respects (People are playing games on PC again) and less true in others (But there are far, far, far less of them then there are console users.)

      It’s also reinforced by a certain amount of ‘Well, everyone I know thinks consoles of dying and so they must be dying’ and ignoring things like we are at the end of probably the longest console cycle ever.

  10. Citric says:

    One thing that disappointed me. Sony put Dark Cloud in a prominent place on a banner. Did they announce new Dark Cloud? No. Did they promise a PSN release of Dark Cloud? No. I WANT DARK CLOUD SONY!

  11. JokersNuts says:

    X-Box is doomed. 

  12. CNightwing says:

    Did you know that the best thing about a parallelapiped is that you can calculate its volume by simply finding the determinant of a 3×3 matrix where the rows are the 3-dimensional vectors that describe the parallelapiped’s 3 edges that meet at the same corner?

    Well, now you do!

    • mizerock says:

      I’m pretty sure I never know that, because surely I would never forget something so elegant.

      MATH!

  13. caspiancomic says:

    You know, I would bet a considerable amount that Sony was at least considering venturing into DRM territory early in the brainstorming phase of the PS4, and only definitively killed the idea when they saw the reaction Microsoft was getting. The conversation most people seem to be having is that Sony “listened to gamers” while Microsoft put their corporate greed first, but Sony is every inch the corporation Microsoft is. The decisions we saw Sony making with regards to DRM, mandatory connectivity, and pricing were corporate driven business decisions. It just so happens that in this case, these business decisions are going to be beneficial to consumers.

    That’s not to rag on Sony, or anything though, I still think they handled this year’s E3. Although in the morning after some of their hardest hits have softened up a little (admitting that third party developers will keep control over the viability of used game sales, quietly announcing that online play is exclusive to paying customers, FFXV and KHIII are not PS4 exclusive, etc.), I still think Sony takes the title this time around.

  14. Sudden_Valley says:

    One of the things that’s really bothered me as the XBONE – PS4 pissing contest has come full swing with E3 is the total disconnect most game developers seem to have with their audiences, as evidenced by Gameological’s recaps of both the Sony and MSFT keynotes.

    The general message coming from the industry seems to be a constant move towards “FASTER PRETTIER MOAR PIXELS,” but I’m left wondering how much Gamer A and Gamer B really care about how many teraflops the newest game consoles can compute. Does 12-year old Halo/CoD/Battlefield fanboy X really care how much prettier his explosions/guns look? I’m pretty convinced that EA/343 could keep releasing their product on the current generation of  consoles, and they’d still rake in TONS of cash. 

    I’m guessing this is a belief shared by many Gameological readers, but the best games of the last few years have been those that make you go “aha!” Just to name a few, I’d throw Fez, Bastion, Journey, and, lest I find myself prejudiced against AAA titles, Dishonored, into that mix. Don’t get me wrong–photo-realistic graphics are fun and all, but gameplay/intelligent game design seems to have taken a backseat to technological progress over the last few years. With the advent of the “next generation”, it seems ESPECIALLY apparent at this year’s E3, and that just doesn’t seem right.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      I like the idea that new engines can increase immersion and limit what breaks you out of games- loading screens, a ton of buildings that are just empty facades, an obvious limit to what can be done at once on-screen. Those are all great things. But they’re a hard sell at $500, and when the devices are also being presented as portals to advertising assaults that also throw out your old purchases, it just doesn’t scream, “Buy me!”

      One thing to note is that while I agree with many of you (and other like-minded folk where I post) about the endless and sedating wave of brown and gray shooters and racing games, you have to remember that we once loved such games, and the next generation of young dudes is probably going to love them too before they eventually age out.