Why did Sony win E3 2016? I was asked this question consistently by many of my peers, after I proclaimed the same on my FB wall. The Bethesda conference wasn’t bad. EA and Ubisoft had decent games to show off. The PC Gaming Show was stellar, and how could I overlook the smart announcements of Microsoft regarding Scorpio and cross play. I mean what’s cooler than a new console?
I will tell you what’s cooler. It’s the vision that Sony has created and pursued ever since the PS4 came out. Its cooler how they have committed to creating a brand, instead of keyword hype. Its cooler to see the PlayStation name stand tall when everyone around them is looking for an identity.
In 2015, MS had the Hololens. In 2016 no Hololens, but we have Scorpio now.
Let’s look at Microsoft, it’s biggest competitor. In 2013, their press conference was all about Xbox One. In 2014, MS were busy in convincing everyone who would listen that they are gamer-friendly with Phil Spencer becoming the face of Xbox. In 2015, their ‘trust issues’ were more or less silenced, but MS decided to expand the Xbox brand beyond the console, and focused on cross-play between PC and Xbox One and a 15 minute demo of Hololens. This year, MS came out with a different hardware altogether, and as they tried to sell you on the slim version of Xbox One, they announce there is another powerful one coming soon, all the while trying to re-assure you that your current console won’t be ignored. And oh yes also their biggest exclusives are coming to PC as well; and no Hololens. All they have done is disappoint their fan-base by first diluting their exclusive library and then coming up with a newer console which could undermine their current one.
At this point Nintendo fans would take a Zelda game which is last gen, over constant disappointment, and even pretend to enjoy it.
Then there is Nintendo. Who have basically decided to sit this one out. A sub par console, and more handheld version than the DC multiverse, Nintendo have tested the patience of their fans. Right about now, the Nintendo fan base would have taken a Zelda game where Link talking was the biggest leap in gameplay. Oh wait! I would be more critical of Nintendo, but I haven’t played a Nintendo game in a while, and they seem to churn out excellent games when they finally decide to do so.
Each year the biggest news coming out of Sony has been a game.
On the other hand, let’s talk about the biggest stories coming out of Sony E3 conferences over the past few years. In 2013, it was the PS4, inFamous Second Son and Killzone Shadowfall. The next year in 2014, it was The Order 1886, Bloodborne and No Man’s Sky. The one after that it was Uncharted 4, Shinmue 3 and The Last Guardian. This year it was God Of War, Spiderman PS4, Death Stranding, and Detroit: Become Human and the PS VR. They were not necessarily the biggest stories of E3, but they were the biggest stories from the Sony conference.
Maybe Sony does have a new console coming out. But it wasn’t on display at E3 this year, because its the not the brand they are behind right now. It would have only confused and disillusioned the millions of gamers who already own a PS4. Every PS VR game on display ran on the PS4. All the demos ran on the PS4. Everything that came out of that conference had PS4 written all over it.
Sony and incidentally PlayStation have focused on games. And it’s not a one time thing like the MS conference in 2014. They have built trust and confidence with their player base over time. They have given them what they wanted at every conference. Every year the biggest news coming out of a Sony conference is a game. And this vision has not been limited to just E3. Sony have created a new hierarchy separating the PlayStation (gaming) and the Electronic legs of Sony, freeing PlayStation from the dead weight (relative) of their electronic division. They have always been a platform which has been known for supporting indies since the PS3 days. They even went ahead and bought Kojima on board and let him setup a new studio (that’s some good-guy stuff right there). And they helped kick-start Shenmue 3.
At least you don’t begrudge Sony when you pay for their games. Unlike Ubisoft, EA and Activision.
I read somewhere in a comment that Sony has milked money with remasters, while I do think re-masters have a place in today’s time (especially for people who missed out on last gen exclusives when they jumped ships). I would like to point out something. Of course like any other corporation, Sony wants your money. But alteast, when you buy a game produced and distributed by SEO, you don’t do it begrudgingly like when you are buying the next FIFA, the next COD, or the next Assassin’s Creed. Instead they gave you the game which has been in development hell for eons, kickstarted a game which you though would never happen and re-invented atleast 3 franchises on their new console. And for that reason I think Sony won E3 2016.