Last night, two of the big three console manufacturers had their E3 press conferences. Microsoft was first, followed by Sony. I ended up watching both, and had to admit that Sony had the more impressive showing.
It should be noted that while I had owned a Sony Playstation 2 during the generation-before-last, it wasn’t because I really liked Sony more than the others. My original console of choice for that generation was the Nintendo GameCube; I had purchased a Playstation 2 because Mortal Kombat: Deception was originally not going to be on the GameCube. The Playstation 2 seemed to have more games than I wanted than the Xbox, so I went that route.
The usual deciding factor for me in regards to getting a console is a “must have” game. For the Playstation/Nintendo 64 generation, no game caught my interest so I stayed pretty much PC-only. For the Playstation 2/Xbox/GameCube generation, the game that sold me on a console was Metroid Prime for GameCube. For the Playstation 3/Xbox 360/Wii generation, the game that sold me on a choice was Gears of War for 360.
Up until now, there hadn’t been a game that really SOLD me on a console. Microsoft’s press conference yesterday didn’t sell me on any games, either; while Halo 5: Guardians looked interesting, for example, I only had a raised eyebrow for Sunset Overdrive. Sony, on the other hand, got my attention with one game: No Man’s Sky. There was little in the way of introduction; the gameplay video was shown to us without context.
Wow. Just… wow. I honestly didn’t know what to make of it when the character was exploring the presumably alien world. I raised an eyebrow when the character jumped into his fighter, and started flying away. I was sold when the ship left the atmosphere into space, and a fleet of capital ships jumped in nearby. I knew I wanted the game when the fighter flew into the atmosphere of another, different planet. The transitions were seamless and the graphics wonderful.
Later on, Sony discussed a piece of hardware that only solidified my decision: the Playstation TV. The Playstation TV is a small device that fits in the palm of your hand. With it, you can actually play games from your Playstation 4 on a second TV via Remote Play (similar to Steam’s In-Home Streaming). This might solve a problem Jennifer and I are currently having, in that Jennifer LOVES the LEGO games, but her console is a Nintendo Wii. WB Games has not released any LEGO games for Wii since LEGO The Lord of the Rings, and she’s been a bit bummed about not being able to play LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. While we could get them for my 360, I would feel bad about making her have to isolate herself in my office to play, especially when she’s used to playing on our home theater. (My 32″ LCD HDTV is fine for me.) This way, Jennifer could play her LEGO games via the home theater. :-)
I admit to surprise, really, because this past generation actually made me rather antipathic towards Sony. I actually had three major problems with Sony during the Playstation 3 era. The first was that the console was too expensive. The second was the absolutely horrid security model for Playstation Network that allowed it to be so thoroughly compromised that it was shut down for several months in 2011 for repair. The third was the forced removal of OtherOS, which allowed Playstation 3 owners to run Linux on their consoles. This removal was forced via firmware updates, even while the official website still touted OtherOS support. I simply felt Sony didn’t care about their customers.
That appears to have changed, however. Not only is the Playstation 4 in a reasonable price point, they’re doing a fairly decent job of making game functionality available to players. I’d been hearing from friends that they’d been better this generation, and it seems to me like this is the case. I’m not sure when I would pick up a Playstation 4 (and a Playstation TV), but it’d be closer to the end of the year. As it stands, the two games I could see getting for it (other than No Man’s Sky) are Mortal Kombat X and Batman: Arkham Knight, both of which will come out in 2015.
Until then, I’m fine with my Xbox 360 and PC. While an Xbox One isn’t definitely out, Microsoft’s going to have to show a hell of a lot more than they have to convince me to get one over a Playstation 4. :-)