Grading Sony’s PlayStation 2014 gamescom conference
The dust has settled, and now it’s time to react to all of the wonderful announcements from Sony’s PlayStation 2014 Gamescom briefing. There were a bunch of indie titles, including some we've never seen before. Bloodborne looked amazing, and some other Sony AAA titles made an appearance. Horror games were, once again, present for Sony, but there were noticeable no-shows from Uncharted and Vita games. Let's react to what we've seen...
The Big Three
Sony kicked off its conference with three trailers for some of the PS4’s biggest titles: The Order: 1886, LittleBigPlanet 3, and Bloodborne. Sure, only one of those three are actually releasing in 2014 (LBP 3), but Sony definitely set the right tone from the start.
Sony isn’t shying away from revealing its sales. And when you’re on top, why would you? To date, Sony has sold over 10 million PS4 consoles globally since the system’s launch in November 2013. With numbers like that, is anyone really surprised that the Vita has taken a backseat?
Games, Games, Games!
Now that PlayStation supporters had a solid number to pound their chests over, it was time for Sony to give them reason for owning a PS4. That is, games. The rest of the conference, save for the upcoming PS4 system update and a few Europe-exclusive details regarding PS Now and PlayStation TV, was all about the games -- specifically PS4 games.
Volume, Rime, Driveclub, Hollowpoint, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, The Tomorrow Children, Destiny, Until Dawn, Tearaway Unfolded were just some of the games announced today for PS4. Everyone says games will ultimately determine which console wins this generation. Well, it’s hard to complain about Sony’s offerings. It’s quite a nice mix of indie and AAA titles.
I love games as much as the next guy, but there’s no looking past the fact that Sony has been extremely slow at rolling out system updates, especially compared to Microsoft and the Xbox One. So I was actually glad when they took some time to address the upcoming PS4 system update v2.00. Though we’ll have to wait until fall to see these features, PS4 owners can look forward to a number of new things including YouTube uploading and an intuitive friend finder with real name search functionality.
But perhaps no feature is more anticipated than Share Play, a features Sony describes as a “virtual couch.” Though exact details are vague at this point, the overall concept involves you inviting a friend to join your game -- even if they don’t own a copy of it. However, Sony’s messaging about Share Play is a bit unclear thanks to Far Cry 4’s Keys to Kyrat.
As explained during the conference, Far Cry 4 will grant you 10 keys to Kyrat which you can give to any of your PSN friends. Your friends can then play the co-op with you for two hours. That’s right, there will be a two-hour limit on the co-op allowed for friends without the game.
This leads me to question, will all of the Share Play titles function this way? Will it be as great as it sounds, or is it really just a glorified timed trial? I’m typically a glass half-empty kinda guy, and maybe I’m being skeptical, but Share Play sounds too good to be true.
Where were the Vita games?
I personally don’t understand the fuss about this. The PS4 is Sony’s breadwinner, so why would they talk about anything that takes away from that? Nevertheless, it’s hard to overlook the fact that there’s a group of gamers upset that Sony flat out ignored its handheld. And the fact that Sony left it out completely has led many to speculate that the Vita may be a dying console.
No Uncharted 4
Honestly, I’m not really surprised that we didn’t see or hear anything about Uncharted 4. After all, it has only been a few weeks since the E3 trailer dropped. Were you really expecting gameplay? Mention of the game would’ve been nice, but I think the time was better utilized on sharing new information about upcoming games and revealing new ones as well.
The overall conference felt a little unorganized, but there’s no denying that the content was top-notch. Gamers want games, and that’s exactly what Sony gave them -- just not Vita games. Gamescom didn’t get me excited to be a PS4 owner now, but it did give me hope for the future. The PS4 is still lacking that must-have, big-hitter for the holiday season, but 2015 will certainly fix that with the release of The Order: 1886 and Bloodborne. Let’s also not act like the indie games releasing between now and 2015 are duds. I mean, a lot of the games revealed today look awesome. I just need dates to go along with them.