Sony: The People’s Champion?
After years of people raging at the corporate suits–or ‘the man’, if you will–it seems everyone is now happy. How did this happiness happen? Simple: a company looked at the mistakes of their rivals while embracing the consumer. In doing so, Sony left a huge crater of happiness in the midst of E3 2013–as well as social media and the hearts and minds of the masses.
Those with keen eyes would have noticed Sony’s creeping improvement year after year: PSN Plus has become a stellar service; Sony have embraced the indie crowd; and the triple-A games have continued to flow. The results of their progression were clearly seen at E3 2013. Sony were prepared to stun, prepared to shock…but were they prepared for the reaction? Only they know.
The next generation of systems has been shrouded in mystery, prompting questions from the consumers. These questions were often drenched in worry–a genuine worry for the future of video games. Fortunately, Sony took the bull by the horns and answered all of the big questions, as well as taking a pop at their competitors. Answering questions in a no nonsense fashion is endearing to the consumer; it’s a simple fact. Sony became more than just a company selling their products–they became a company wanting you to buy their products for the right reasons.
After Microsoft’s solid conference, there was an air of doubt that Sony would struggle to make a impact greater than their rivals, and while Sony’s E3 showing wasn’t perfect, it did do a decent job of displaying a number of games (albeit a few we’ve already seen), as well as showcasing footage from Destiny, aka the next ‘big thing’. It was a well-rounded presentation that did not focus too long on one topic/game. Also, pound-for-pound the triple-A games shown by both Sony and Microsoft shaped up well against each other. It seems that those seeking the big budget experience will find plenty on both systems.
The most significant difference between the two conferences was Sony’s warmth towards the indie developers. Sony boasted a decent line-up of Indie developers, all providing games different from each other. With most big name developers repeating ideas and concepts, it’s left to the indie developers to create new IPs and ideas, and the open-armed welcome to indie games allows the Playstation 4–and presumably the Vita and PS3–to expand in terms of content and niche appeal. It’s a clever move on Sony’s part to bring the indie developers under their wing because not only does it benefit them, but it also benefits the industry on the whole.
The only section of Sony’s conference that caught some flak was the requirement of PSN Plus to play games online. When put into perspective, however, this is not a terrible thing. PSN Plus boasts insanely good value in it’s current state: downloads of free games; discounts; betas; themes; cloud storage; and even more games for those with a PSP/Vita. While some may not like the idea of paying monthly to play online, it’s hard to argue against PSN plus and the value it offers, and it’s a tiny sacrifice worth making in that regard.
All the elements previously mentioned have resulted in Sony becoming something akin to the people’s champion. While this may be slightly naive on the consumer’s part, it is hard not to get caught up in the buzz surrounding the Playstation 4, and I have my fingers crossed that Sony stay true to their word and press forward with this no nonsense approach to the industry and its consumers.