Time is ticking down for both Sony and Microsoft to win over consumers. With both systems confirmed to release in November, there's just a few months left to make their case. Gamescom presented the perfect opportunity to win over the European market, so how did they do? Did Sony or Microsoft have the better Gamescom showing?
Lance Liebl Follow on Twitter
The announcements were so lackluster that I can’t decide which was worse, because neither said anything that meant a lot to me. Can I cop out of this question and say EA had the best announcements? No? Okay, well I’ll give this a go then…
Microsoft was iffy for me. For starters, I’m not big on Kinect-enabled anything, so Ubisoft’s Fighter Within just has me scratching my head. The thought of poor motion control with the possibility of online lag sounds like a nightmare. Fable Legends? I think I’m flat out done with anything Fable. The Independent Developers @ Xbox Program sounds cool, but I don’t know enough about it. I can’t get over the fact that they still didn’t announce a release date for the Xbox One, and I’m jealous Europe gets a free game in every Xbox One package, while North America gets diddly-squat.
Sony, meanwhile, announced a slew of indie games and PC games that will be consoles exclusives on Sony platforms. There were some interesting, intriguing, unexpected titles announced. Murasaki Baby for the Vita looks brilliant, and I’m so happy to see the Vita getting some love. Minecraft will be coming to the PS4 and Vita, but I’m so worn out on that game right now. The biggest deal was that we have a firm date of release for the PlayStation 4. But all of these announcements and indie games have a little less luster to me for two reasons: 1) there’s a lack of huge, AAA titles that are exclusive to the PS4, and 2) that awful camerawork is inexcusable. As someone that had to watch Gamescom online, I got to see very little of the games; instead, I got a nice view of a darkened audience’s backs.
So I guess the better announcement was by Sony, and only because they gave a release date. That said, Microsoft is neck and neck with them, at least for me.
Verdict: Sony, but only for the PS4's release date.
Matt Liebl Follow on Twitter
As one of the last remaining opportunities to win over consumers, I really expected Sony and Microsoft to come out in full-force. Up until Gamescom, Sony had been quiet as to not stir any controversy following its impressive E3 showing. Microsoft, meanwhile, had been busy reversing policies to attempt to win back its former supporters. This represented one of the last few chances to really wow us — and both failed.
Yes, there were some nice announcements on both sides, but neither one really pulled ahead of the other; once again, we're stuck in the same tiresome debate as to which system is the "better" choice.
Let's start with Sony, who opted to livestream their press conference. Atrocious camera work aside, my biggest criticism of Sony to date has been spreading itself too thin between the Vita, PS3, and PS4 in its press conferences. At Gamescom, it was no different. Sony opened the show with a live look at the PS4's user interface — a bold move that really paid off. It not only gave us a look at how the PS4 will operate, but was a true display of the confidence Sony has for its system. But after the initial PS4 bit, it took another 40 minutes to get back to the system. Sony addressed its PS3 games and announced a much-needed price cut. Granted, those were welcomed, but this should've been about the PS4.
On the plus side, Sony finally announced some exclusive games, but the PS4 is still lacking that must-have AAA blockbuster. Having said that, the list of indie titles are pretty freaking impressive. All together, we learned that the PS4 will be supported by 33 titles during the launch window. And to top it all off, we finally have a release date: November 15 in the U.S.
Speaking of release date, Microsoft failed to announce its own for the Xbox One. To be honest, Microsoft's announcements weren't too bad, but they also weren't game-changing. The company confirmed some more exclusive content for some Xbox One third-party titles, revealed that everyone in Europe who buys a console at launch gets a free copy of FIFA 14 (doesn't apply to me), and showed off a bit more of its already revealed games. They also briefly outlined their id@xbox indie program, but didn't offer enough details to win me over.
Verdict: "While others have shifted their message and changed their story, we were consistent in maintaining a message that is fair and in tune with consumer desires" – Andrew House
Mike Splechta Follow on Twitter
Microsoft and Sony had rather drastically different conferences. Microsoft opted to not livestream theirs, which was a bit suspicious, but they also didn't seem to announce a whole lot of new games that we weren't already aware of. Okay, so we got the new, co-op focused Fable Legends.
Sony however went full steam ahead, opting for a full-on, livestreamed press conference to the masses. Sony unveiled some amazing looking, unannounced indie games like Rime, coming to the PS4, while finally giving the Vita a chance to shine.
From the oddly strange, yet somewhat intriguing Murasaki Baby, to Gearbox's flagship FPS/RPG hybrid, Borderlands 2, and even cross-platform games like Helldivers, which will allow Vita players to join up in some co-op fun with both PS3 and PS4 players, it's obvious that Sony wasn't ready to admit defeat with their somewhat ill-received handheld. It also helps that the pricepoint was finally cut by $50, making that purchase just a little more bearable.
Don't get me wrong, Microsoft is finally hitting all the right notes, despite popular opinion. They're shaping the Xbox One by listening to consumers, and as those consumers, we should be celebrating the fact that they're willing to change and adapt the Xbox One to our needs. However, despite Microsoft's massive amount of backtracking, Sony's still hitting all the right buttons with consumers, which is why I think that Sony has not only won Gamescom, but is winning the overall next-gen race to each and every living room.
Verdict: Sony. I'm going to the Rapture!
Tatiana Morris Follow on Twitter
Picking whether or not PS4 or Xbox One had better announcements really comes down to which console is more appealing (see: opinion). That being said, in my book Sony's announcements were stronger.
Sony gave us a concrete release date for the PlayStation 4, which is huge and what really sets the bar for what conference was better. The rest of the announcements were like icing on the cake. The PS3 is getting a LittleBigPlanet hub, dedicated bandwidth for gaming in the UK, and so many indie games. If there was one thing Sony wanted to drive home was that they loved indie games and their developers. Another announcement to note would be the price drop for the PlayStation Vita (and its memory cards) and the GTA 5 Super Slim PS3 bundle for everyone that doesn't want a PS4 right off the bat.
The Xbox One did have some major announcements (like a free copy of FIFA 14 and Call of Duty: Ghosts being the best on the Xbox One), but those announcements just don't compare to what Sony announced.
Who do you think had the better announcements at Gamescom: Sony or Microsoft? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter: @GameZoneOnline.