25 years from now, on the brink of the next-next-gen, people will be asking one another in hushed tones "I wonder if so-and-so will pull a Sony like they did with the PS4..." History was made yesterday, and it's for a very simple reason: gamers won. For the first time in years, a multi-billion dollar company paid attention to the heart's desire of gamers everywhere. Plenty of fantastic games were shown, but that didn't matter.
It didn't matter because, due to the Microsoft PR whirlwind that began earlier this year and spun out of control three weeks ago at the Xbox One reveal, gamers were afraid of E3 for the first time in a long time. Many of the gamers who tuned in to the conferences weren't waiting to hear "new Halo" or "new Uncharted" or "new Battlefield". Their ears were perked for other phrases like "online required" and "camera required" and "no used games" and "599 dollars". Though Microsoft haphazardly tried to assure us over the last few weeks that E3 was going to be "all about the games", sadly, E3 was not all about the games. Looming, unanswered questions prevented gamers from getting excited for any announcements before they knew the real deal regarding the next-gen of DRM.
Nintendo had their own failing, of sorts. Their console, the Wii-U, has received its own bad batch of press over the last few weeks, although nothing as bad as what Microsoft dealt with. Whether it was snarky comments about development on the Wii-U from EA employees or the utter lack of videogame releases, Nintendo also had something to answer this E3: where are the games? And instead of answering our fears, Nintendo simply said "here are some Nintendo games you all knew were coming anyway". Now, I don't want to downplay the announcements Nintendo made. Personally, I am on the Hype Bullet-Train for games like Mario 4p Meow Meow, Donkey Kong: Part 2, Xeno-Robots, F-Zero: Mushroom Kingdom, and - FINALLY! - a new Smash Bros game. However, similar to Microsoft, Nintendo sort of did their own thing without addressing the concerns of Nintendo fans. Where are the games? In an interview, Reggie Fils-Aime kept (awkwardly) trying to convince us that first-party games would be enough to please potential buyers. Maybe, or maybe not. But instead of addressing the glaring lack of third-party software, Nintendo tried to shuffle us away from the man behind the curtain. They didn't even take a stand and say "look, our games outsell third party games by a landslide. If third parties want to join the Wii-U ecosystem, they are welcome to do so, but until then, they're the ones who are abandoning profit". Boom! That would've been awesome.
That's why Sony won. Sony spoke to gamers. It wasn't just the $399 announcement. It wasn't just the no-used-game-restriction announcement. It was the fact that someone in the game industry finally listened to the gamers and put their foot down on an issue that has been spiraling out of control ever since the first Horse Armor showed up as downloadable content. Did Sony have the best showing of games? Eh, it was okay. People who said they "didn't show off anything new" clearly didn't watch the show, but I don't think Sony won simply for showing off an overwhelming number of exclusives, because they didn't do that. Sony knew that - because of all the negative PR surrounding the Xbox One - to leave questions unanswered would only raise more doubts and make gamers more nervous.
There were people like me who were willing to swear off the next-gen entirely due to these DRM restrictions and online and camera requirements. If you think I'm flip-flopping, I'll link you to my own comments made prior to E3: http://n4g.com/news/1274646... , http://n4g.com/news/1274613... , and http://n4g.com/news/1273815... .
Sony didn't win because they showed off way more exclusives or way better graphics. They didn't win simply because they announced a better price-point. They won because they proved they've been listening, not just over the last few months, but during the entire 7th generation. They've been learning from their mistakes, and that's the sort of game company we need right now. We need a company that will set aside its pride, admit its mistakes, and really put in the effort to earn our money.
People like me were cheering "Sony! Sony!" along with the crowd because I was glad I would now be able to participate in the next-gen of consoles. I refused to tolerate online-required and used-game restrictions, and so I thought Sony and Microsoft would be pushing me out of the market by making bad decisions. Instead, Sony made it so that I can build up a sizable next-gen library and enjoy it forever, just like I can with every other console I currently own.
Every E3, I hear the same phrase "gamers won!" It's a phrase meant to diffuse the console war arguments that inevitably spring up during E3. If gamers won this time around, it's because someone stood up for them. It wouldn't have mattered if it was Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, or PopCap Games. SOMEone needed to finally speak up, and Sony was the smart one to do it.