Sony’s E3 2013 Keynote: True Consumer Ownership


I welled up a little. I’ve never done that in 10 years of covering E3 press conferences. It’s probably not professional to be that happy or biased when discussing video games, but for once, it happened.

“True consumer ownership.”

Sony obliterated Microsoft. We like to talk superficially about winners and losers, we sheepishly grade these shows as if they were a contest, and for once, they were. Sony emphatically won. Sony won to a point that Jack Tretton and the rest of the Sony crew will likely be carried out in cuffs for murder of the Xbox One vision. There are no pointless online checks. You can trade games freely. You can sell games, keep games, or smash your games. It doesn’t matter. Sony will let you take your physical copies and carry a sense of ownership.

Then, this:

The only thing that would have made Sony’s show better would be to plant that video on their humungous screen for all press, and the world, to see.

Sony is not perfect. They slyly announced that PS Plus will be a requirement to play online via PlayStation 4, with the same cost and benefits the service already carries with it. That eases the pain of paying for online a bit. An extended run of UbiSoft’s Watch Dogs may have created the first video game to burn itself out from overexposure. The Vita… still exists, although it’s form is changing. The PSP may be more active hardware than Vita right now. Chatter about TV services and cheaply marketed drivel about TV & movies “made for gamers” was rather embarrassing too.

But, “True consumer ownership.”

That could be the marketing tagline. This generation will be about ownership, maybe more so than games. We will see digital investments, physical disc supporters, and retail battles. Sony’s touting of consumer-friendly hardware and Microsoft’s shying away like a scared child is the first shot fired.

Sony felt humbled. Jack Tretton opened the show by thanking us. Microsoft doused us in games without realizing “us” mattered. Microsoft was selling direct to investors. Sony was selling to us.

The PlayStation 3 still exists, with games like Beyond, Rain, and Gran Turismo 6. It’s nice to know that investment keeps giving. The PlayStation 4 can take over the reigns while the PlayStation 3 is still on a high, not those last legs that barely qualify as living. Sony convinced of us that. Then, into the next generation, the glow of Infamous Second Son, an enjoyably gloomy The Order 1866, and total immersion within the indie game scene will potentially place Sony on a pedestal.

PS4 is oddly shaped, like a pink eraser. It resembles the legacy of PlayStation 2, even going vertical. That PS2 legacy, by the way, I can still play. I don’t think I’ll be saying the same for Xbox One. It won’t have a legacy, because “true consumer ownership” is a foreign concept to the clouded minds at Microsoft.