Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sony's Conference: Stuck in the middle with Move

Oh, Sony. You know so well that 3D is interesting to all of us. You also know that 1:1 motion control is interesting to all of us. Unfortunately, you mis-define "all of us". Overall, I think Sony clearly found the middle-ground here. They had a decent press conference, and fell right in the middle between Microsoft's disaster and Nintendo's near-perfect.

What did Sony do right?

- Killzone 3 in 3D will undoubtedly be mind-blowing. Of course, Killzone is a total run-of-the-mill generic-ass shooter about marines and aliens or whatever, but in 3D, it will be interesting again for a 6-hour playthrough. Online multiplayer, if given an XP system like Call of Duty, could also be a lot of fun with the bonus of it being in 3D. 

- WipEout is going to be incredible in 3D, and I don't think that will "get old" like FPS games in 3D will. I think a futuristic racing game (and one of the best series of all time to boot) is just the stuff! You listening, Nintendo? How about announcing an F-Zero for 3DS? :)

- The comedy bit with the cocky guy from the commercials was quite funny. I especially liked the stab at Microsoft about a controller "needing buttons". A waste of time, and completely uncalled for, but funny. My favorite part about it, though, was the part where Sony thought that they needed to use this well-liked-by-the-hardcore-gamers comedian guy to take a "pre-emptive strike" at the audience's lack of tolerance for expanded audience games (or as Sony calls them, "casual games") while they prepare to roll up Move for the holidays. Now THAT was funny.

- Sony showed some VERY interesting content for Move. Not much, but what they did show was interesting. Obviously everyone's seen Tiger Woods with Motion Plus, so that was lame, but aside from that: Killzone 3 announcing Move compatibility was a nice surprise, but most importantly, Sorcery looked like it could be a genuinely great motion-controlled game. Of course, it'll need to actually release to the market before we'll know: Nintendo knows all-too-well that game companies tend to just make shitty ass games when they try to focus on motion controls, so who knows?

- I never liked Twisted Metal, but I know a LOT of people did. Great timing with the revival, although the clown on-stage and shit was pretty dumb.

- They did NOT announce a new PSP thank god. Maybe they're learning? Maybe the shareholders won't let them blow the few-hundred-million it would take for R&D on a PSP2? I dunno what it is, but it was a good call nonetheless. 

Well... There's something I haven't done for quite some time. I actually had a number of good things to say about Sony. Their press conference wasn't Microsoft bad (that's an industry term xD), but it wasn't without its flaws.

What did Sony do wrong?

- WE GET IT. You're going 3D. 3D, 3D, 3D, 3D, 3D. We heard you. Why don't you tell us how you're going to make cheaper 3D TV sets, instead of just ignoring the cost-of-entry for consumers to 3D entertainment completely? It is the elephant in the room. (No, not the Microsoft animatronic one)

- Sony keeps making the same games every single year and NOTHING ELSE. You see, Sony, Nintendo may be rehashing some old shit at this E3, but most of what they're rehashing is at least 3 years old (Zelda Wii, Mario Kart DS, Wii Party). DKC is like 10+ years in the making, a console-bound Kirby is like... I dunno 8 years in the making? (I think there as a GameCube one), and a new Kid Icarus game is like 20 years in the making. Anyways, I'm rambling: God of War, LittleBigPlanet, KillZone, etc etc etc... All stuff that comes out EVERY YEAR.

- WHERE THE FUCK WAS TEAM ICO? This was your chance to blow everyone's socks off at the end of the conference, and you blew it. Dumb.

- 3D TVs are too god damned expensive. The PS3 is too good damned expensive. Blu-Ray movies are too god damned expensive. Move + EyeToy + Move's Nunchuk controller thing are TOO GOD DAMNED EXPENSIVE. If you EVER think that mom and dad and grandma are going to play "Sony Sports" or whatever it was called, you are out of your freaking minds until you make the PRICE accessible.

- You are too little too late with the great motion-control content. If you would've just spent all that time you were yapping your mouth about how the Wii was a gimmick and shit on just making Sony Move years ago and getting some market penetration with it, you'd have been in much better shape: Especially with content like "Sorcery" to show off for (presumably) its launch. Instead, you've got 35 million PS3s on the market, you've got a tough job to make a million-seller out of ANY game as it is-- Now you want to try and sell them a Move bundle without a nunchuk for $99? Do you really expect developers to support Move with games designed for motion controls "from the ground up" (as you kept parroting during your conference) if they can't even make a million seller without a splintered market?

- Another point on that, actually: You spent the last 3 years (Along with Microsoft) trying to convince your hardcore gamers that motion controls were bad for gaming. "Gimmicky", "Waggle", "Casual"... and now you're paying a comedian to literally preach on -stage about how "gaming should be for everyone" and that "motion controls can co-exist"? This is ridiculous behavior. Your hardcore already hates motion controls. I know a number of them personally. 

- Your "gaining momentum" and "best year for PS3 ever" and "industry leader" talk just sounds tired and desperate at this point. You've said that exact same crap for the past 3 E3s in a row, and it's never been true. Quit focusing on spin for your investors and focus on games for your customers.

- Why did you spend 20 minutes talking about "developers still supporting the PS2"? Compell people to buy a PS3 for christ's sake-- and come to think of it, who still supports the PS2 in the development community anyways? a Guitar Hero and a Madden at Christmas? Like, really-- Who is making new PS2 games, and more importantly, who is buying them?

- A subscription Playstation Network service? I... I'm just speechless on that one.

- Where the fuck was Team Ico? Yeah, I said it twice. Also: Why in the world is Gran Turismo 5 still not coming out yet? How long does it take? Microsoft is poised to make 3 Forza games in the time it took you to make one Gran Turismo. It cannot be that much better.

- A Move update for Heavy Rain? Lulz.

- Oh, and your controller is still ugly as hell, although it is interesting to note that the color on each controller can change dynamically. I thought the color of the bulb indicated different players.

Sigh... I tried to be as fair as I possibly could with this article. (Writing this one fairly was a LOT easier than the Microsoft and Nintendo articles. Nintendo had very few fuckups, and Microsoft had literally nothing good to show off...) How did I do? Do you really disagree with what I've written here?

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