Sony took a strong stance against Microsoft regarding consumer rights. PS4 will not put limitations on game ownership, and will freely support game sharing and used games. (You can read more about the convoluted restrictions on games and usage of the Xbox One here.) Microsoft has controversially stated that Xbox One will require hourly online check-ins to function, which has many gamers concerned about privacy and ownership. Sony has officially stated that PS4 will fully function offline without mandatory check-ins.Bungie finally demoed their expansive new shooter, Destiny.Bungie, formerly an exclusive developer for Xbox, finally demoed their expansive new shooter, Destiny. The graphics were stunning and the gameplay looked like a markedly deeper experience than the Halo series, which Bungie created and honed. Though the title is also coming to Xbox One, it was something of a gaming paradox to see a Bungie game running on Playstation hardware.
Final Fantasy XV was shown in trailer form and looked positively ravishing. This title is truly next generation, featuring incredible animation and a heretofore-unseen level of fidelity and detail. Developer Square Enix also teased gamers with the insanely anticipated Kingdom Hearts III, which will once again bring the magical worlds of Final Fantasy and Disney into a massive RPG epic.
Also on display were several interesting new titles from Sony’s first party developers. The Order, a steampunk horror shooter, looked highly atmospheric and showed off impressive in-engine graphics for PS4. The French studio behind the incredible, cinematic PS3 thriller Heavy Rain showed a trailer for their upcoming PS3 game, Beyond: Two Souls. The studio also displayed the capabilities of the PS4 with an impressive tech demo, which featured a surprisingly emotive sorcerer in a cave incanting magic, replete with realistic lighting and particles.Things didn’t go entirely smoothly for Sony, technically speaking.Things didn’t go entirely smoothly for Sony, technically speaking. Like Microsoft’s missing audio and stumbling presentations, Sony too had a painful moment during a live demo of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, as the title stuttered and jittered as it was played by a Ubisoft developer.
Ubisoft redeemed their slight mishap by demoing their upcoming title Watchdogs, which looks to put a near-futuristic slant on the open-world genre. By integrating hacking and sabotage into a fictionalized, seamlessly connected Chicago, the demo wowed audiences with truly dynamic gameplay. Stealth, firefights, car chases, and dialogue all looked top-notch, and player-driven, to boot. Though Watchdogs is also a multiplatform title, it looked awesome running on PS4 hardware in real time.Sony let slip that PS4 will charge additional money to access multiplayerOf note, in a shady, indirect way (a tiny bullet point on a slide) Sony let slip that PS4 will charge additional money to access multiplayer, and will be limited to Playstation Plus subscribers. Like Xbox Live, this existing service costs an optional monthly fee for PS3 users, but since multiplayer is always free on PS3, the Playstation Plus service simply nets subscribers free games and discounts. It is disappointing—though not at all surprising—to see Sony charging for multiplayer on PS4, though services like Netflix will still remain free for all users.
Last, but not least, Sony had a deluge of indie games to display that ranged from survival-horror title Outlast, to a return to the Oddworld universe—a staple series for the original Playstation (and demoed onstage by series creator Lorne Lanning, no less!). Supergiant Games also showed their stylish RPG, Transistor. Certainly, Sony is appealing to a wide audience of gamers with the PS4. E3 has turned into quite the battlezone, and it will be interesting to see Nintendo’s hand in their upcoming conference.