The Sony press conference for this year is done and dusted, and we'll have a detailed Game Buzz for you after some sleep, dealing with all of the reveals from today, but here are some immediate reactions from the team and the community on Sony's presser...
Let's quickly recap: no new draconian policies dictating what you can or can't do with the games that you've bought; no regulation on used games; no online requirement for the PS4; no licensing palaver or need to register online every day; indies can self-publish on PS4; Playstation Plus will be required to play online on PS4, but the service is being expanded, and you'll get DriveClub for free.
And it costs £349/$399.
This was a press conference that, admittedly after some box-ticking waffle, got down to continuing the message Sony had delivered back in February. This wasn't a press conference of antagonism, we weren't presented with a product and forced to #dealwithit, Sony couched the PS4 specific terms, as if to say "Hey, we're listening," before Andrew House almost started issuing battle cries towards the end.
The epic swathe of indie games did it for me, along with the phrase "self-publish" which shows that Sony have faith in creatives as much as consumers. Final Fantasy XV sent shivers down my spine and did, for the first time ever, the extended look at Destiny. No, they're not necessarily exclusives, but Sony made them sparkle. Same goes for the intriguing appearance from The Elder Scrolls Online.
The one bum note was perhaps the mandatory PS Plus subscription for PS4 owners looking to play online but given the expanded opportunities and massively increased server-side considerations that this next generationwill surely usher in, that's perhaps to be expected. Quite frankly, if you're a PS3/Vita owner and not on PS Plus already, the joke's on you.
There's one other thing too: with Naughty Dog and Quantic Dream focused on giving the PS3 a good send-off, its the B-team that have the job of making the PS4's launch look attractive by providing exclusives, and Killzone and DriveClub don't quite appear to match up to the likes of Titanfall and Forza. There'll be more announcements to come before release, though, and Gamescom will be oh so very interesting indeed.
In the end, it wasn't the games that necessarily swung this one: but a series of Powerpoint slides and a triple-digit figure. And I'm absolutely fine with that.
Sony killed it today. Absolutely, totally crushed it.
Things started slow, mind. Tretton's preamble lasted an age once the dubstep montage came to an end, while the console itself turned out to be... shock horror... a black box. A black box at an ugly jaunty angle, mind, but a black box regardless. We also saw some more of the games we already knew about, with Killzone: Shadow Fall and inFamous: Second Son looking as shiny yet generic as ever. All seemed lost, until Sony announced a steampunk London demon hunting experience as the press conference went from bland to utterly emphatic.
If The Order: 1886 looked promising, the indie rampage that followed was utterly glorious. As my most anticipated game of 2014 so far, Transistor made me dry-mouthed with lust, and the news that Sony have dibs on console exclusivity reduced me to a gibbering nonsensical wreck. Then we got Oddworld. Galaxy. Don't Starve. Epic indie game after epic indie game poured onto us in a gorgeous torrent of gaming goodness. Sony won the day then and there, but didn't stop.
Final Fantasy Versus XIII may not be an exclusive, but Kingdom Hearts III made me forget all about it immediately. Timed exclusives from all manner of developers - even a beta for The Elder Scrolls Online - made an appearance, while many multiplatform titles (such as Destiny and Watch Dogs) decided to throw their weight behind gameplay debut reveals. I already knew that the likes of Warframe and Planetside 2 were bound for the console, which are two of my favourite current addictions.
And then Tretton delivered the one-two sucker punch of no used game regulation, and no online requirement. He might have tried to use anti-Microsoft sentiment to sneak past mandatory PlayStation Plus subscriptions for online play - something we'll discuss in depth over the coming months - but the bonuses will arguably make it worthwhile. Not exactly classy, but good news overall.
Then £349.99 happened.
Sony revealed a console that costs less, provides more and caters for gamers. I can't argue with that. Even though I don't currently own a PS3, I can feel where this generation is leading me.
Your move, Nintendo.
Well, that was somewhat unexpected.
A slow start quickly gained momentum thanks to a look at what we still have yet to come on the PS3 and Vita, but then the sucker punches came one after another. Final Fantasy XV, Kingdom Hearts 3, The Elder Scrolls Online, The Order, All Access back catalogue for PS3, PS4 AND the Vita all announced, along with some intense support from the Indie development scene - including Supergiant Games. Admittedly, a lot of the games that were shown won’t be exclusive, but the ones that were touted to be PS4-only were looking very good indeed, including the charming Knack.
And then came the Used Games announcement, and Jack Tretton basically kicked Microsoft to the ground. It was wonderful and brutal to watch at the same time, but as consumers it was exactly what we needed to hear from them. PlayStation Plus becoming a necessity for online multiplayer was a step back I feel, but with the inclusion of more games, the announcement that DriveClub being one of the first games on offer, as well as the service covering PS3, Vita and PS4, there was a silver lining to the news. Besides, with PS+ being such good value in its current state, it’s not really going to change much for me anyhow.
With the price being at a rather sweet £349, unless they do something catastrophically idiotic between now and November, Sony could be on to one of their biggest success stories to date.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to go lie down….
We canvassed some of our loyal Twitter followers who'd stayed up to watch the Sony presentation, and here are a few of their thoughts...
@Dealspwn bit sly how they proper glossed over the fact you have to pay for multiplayer now, but I've been paying for xbox live so whatevs
— Bradley Fuller (@Bread_is_good) June 11, 2013
@Dealspwn looks like everyone will be making the jump to ps4 rather than xbox one. Just need to price it accordingly now
— Lee Godfrey (@LeeMgodfrey) June 11, 2013
@Dealspwn that presentation just sold me on PS4 and off the Xbox ONE. They nailed it ...
— Aaron Seddon (@aseddon130) June 11, 2013
@Dealspwn KINGDOM HEARTS 3
— Beth Johnson (@Rorru) June 11, 2013
@Dealspwn microsoft confrence for me. They just had the better exclusives.
— Ryan Whitelaw (@honest_ry) June 11, 2013
@Dealspwn I actually liked Xbox's exclusives (Halo, Dead Rising and Titanfall), but overall Sony stomped them so bad.
— Bradley Fuller (@Bread_is_good) June 11, 2013