• Sony at E3 2011 - A Conference Summary

    A light-hearted look at Sony's E3 conference...

    After a short delay while Sony recovered their presentation from hackers, the conference began at shortly before half past one. Jack Tretton was first on stage and spoke about an elephant in the room; there’s a joke to be made there about certain game developers but I’m not going to make it and you’re a terrible person for thinking it. He began with an apology about the recent PSN outages without mentioning the word “hacking” and it was very tastefully done. There was a small joke at the media’s expense but mostly it was treated with the utmost seriousness, which was good to see.



    Unfortunately, slightly less tasteful was his shirt and tie combo. A peach shirt with a blue tie? Good grief.

    In a long speech he kept talking about Kinecting your Kinected devices and how you could Kinect with your friends. He later mentioned that he liked his job but it doesn’t appear that he knows which company he works for.

    Then, of course, Sony started with Uncharted 3. In it, we watched Drake take part in some badly handed gunplay while traversing through a heavily-scripted platform section. More of the same, it looked incredible, of course, with some of the best lighting ever seen in a videogame – I’d say it’s difficult to hide a bad game behind good graphics but look how successful Uncharted 2 was. We saw Drake trying to escape a boat that was flooding. Yes, like that game you played in 1990. And 1991. And 1992. And 1993. And there’s no originality left in gaming.

    In an odd move, you’ll be able to get a playable demo when you buy a sandwich from Subway. I can’t wait to get a demo of Resistance 3 when I buy a stamp at the Post Office. Getting some beer from the off licence? Here, have a go of Ico.

    Resistance 3 was the next game but as soon as the footage started I zoned out. It was late. I’m still fairly confident that I can describe it with great accuracy, though, so here goes. Loads of explosions, probably a few aliens including a really big one, loads of grey and brown, and probably some team-mates shouting manly things like “MOVE! MOVE!” There’s no originality left in gaming.

    The highlight of the night was reserved for a PlayStation branded TV, which is to make 3D gaming more accessible by putting a $500 price tag on it, which is about what a 3D TV costs anyway. There’s some real genius at work here, though, because it uses the tech to display two full screen images at the same time to two players wearing 3D glasses. It’s split-screen gaming without the split-screen and is the future.

    NBA2k12 or NBA2k13 or something was next, and they had Kobe Bryant on stage to demo it. LOCK UP YOUR [removed by lawyers]. He began by making some basketball jokes which I understand to be hilarious from the audience’s whooping, but, well, it was a joke about basketball. There was then a short argument which ended with Kobe saying “give me the remote.” What he should have said, of course, was “give me the Move controller and the Move Navigation controller.” I hope he managed to get the rest of his script right where he talked about how realistic the game was and something called triangle attack. To be fair, it did look like real footage of a basketball match. The new move mode of the game is just the way you’ve been playing Pro Evo (a proper sport) on Wii for years. There’s no originality left in gaming.

    We were well in to the Wii stuff, sorry, Move stuff now. Wii Sports Medieval, sorry, Medieval Moves has “Move” in the title, and therefore it was a bunch of minigames with a medieval theme. Because when I read about medieval history I always like the bits about how archers shoot at targets to open doors the best. If stealing the Wii’s games wasn’t bad enough, in true Kinect fashion the game was on-rails. There’s no originality left in gaming. Nice job, Jeremy.

    inFAMOUS 2 was next. inFAMOUS 2 is out already, so they moved onto Starhawk. Angry black protagonist and space and guns and stuff. There’s no originality left in gaming.

    The highlight of the evening as games go was a trailer for a new Sly Cooper game. Of course, it’s easy to make a trailer but if they can get the game looking half as stylish, no, entirely as stylish as the trailer did, it will look incredible.

    There was then the reveal of the 114th game this year to be titled “Dust.” There’s no originality left in gaming.

    There then followed a quite amazing trailer. It started off with a woman with a quite amazing rack. Then there was an action-packed steampunk-styled really colourful sequence that looked amazing. What is this? WHAT IS IT! Turned out that it was BioDust Infinite. BioShock. BioShock Infinite. There were enough uses of "amazing" there.

    A Star Trek game was then shown to the people in the audience above the age of 35, and then there was about ten minutes of Tretton naming every game under the sun and talking about what exclusive modes were coming to the PlayStation versions. “BUY OUR STUFF. I BEG YOU.” He announced Kaz Hirai, and we were moving on.

    Hirai announced PlayStation Suite, which has been out for months already. He then, in a move that shocked literally the entire world, revealed that the name of the PS Vita was to be PS Vita. He announced that it would be available exclusively through AT&T in the US to a chorus of groans. Good move. Then it was games time.

    Uncharted was Uncharted with touch screen controls. It was demoed by two larger fellows with more heavy breathing than a Tomb Raider demo. Modnation Racers was Modnation Racers with touch screen controls. LittleBigPlanet was LittleBigPlanet with touch screen controls. There’s no originality left in gaming.

    There was more heavy breathing with the reveal of Ruin, a loot-whore game which as its primary feature, allows you to save the game on the PS Vita and continue playing on the PC. No! PlayStation 3! He meant PlayStation 3! You have to buy two copies of the game, of course, so you’d have to be insane to take advantage of this.

    We went back to the PS Vita guy (Robot Hands) who applauded while addressing the audience with “we’re very proud to show you the crap.”

    The final reveal of the night came in the form of Street Fighter Cross Tekken, or SFxTK as it’s known. It has the bloke from inFAMOUS in it, and therefore really needs to be known as SFxTKxIN which looks like something a swear filter would come up with. There’s no originality left in fighting games. “We’ve got no new ideas! Let’s just combine some old ones! The idiots will lap it up!”

    PS Vita’s price closed the conference; it will be available for $249, €249 or £799.
    Comments 40 Comments
    1. charlesr's Avatar
      charlesr -
      "There’s some real genius at work here, though, because it uses the tech to display two full screen images at the same time to two players wearing 3D glasses. It’s split-screen gaming without the split-screen and is the future." - for real? That's amazing. Although it means you can't peek at where your mate is hiding.
    1. Matt's Avatar
      Matt -
      I know I'll get in trouble and upset some, but that article was atrocious. The word "Article" seems too good for it.

      Expect more guys. The quality of writing has been slipping recently, but it's hit new lows. Probably not the best to write a balanced article given the mammoth trollathon session in the Sony show thread, but still, writers should at least aspire to be coherent.

      If you're going to write it from a comedy perspective, you need to cover all the shows less you sound like a demented Sony hater. Which oddly enough is how you came across in the Sony show thread.

      Sorry man, expected better from you
    1. kernow's Avatar
      kernow -
      The writing aspect of this site has always been the worst part!
    1. Matt's Avatar
      Matt -
      Nah I thought there was a concerted effort a while back to raise their game. They get far more hits on articles than on the forum apparently. The trouble is, it's getting more Bloggy and seemingly anyone can get a Writer credential

      Anyone stumbling onto this site, into those articles, would take one look, "Why am I wasting my time?" and leave.

      They come across as trite; not just from someone with no passion for games, but someone who looks down on them. Condescending articles, I would have thought, aren't the intention of the site. But maybe I'm wrong.
    1. kernow's Avatar
      kernow -
      I can, I'd just explain how average everything is in 50 words or less.

      In fact make me orange, I can do this. *sees thousands of article readers turned away in days*


      So here we have Call of Duty 8, does anyone care anymore? No, thanks for reading.


      They come across as trite; not just from someone with no passion for games, but someone who looks down on them. Condescending articles, I would have thought, aren't the intention of the site. But maybe I'm wrong.
      To me they read with an air of snobbishness, as in somehow because I'm a writer my opinion is worth more than yours , look at me all edge!
    1. capcom_suicide's Avatar
      capcom_suicide -
      Thanks for these excellent summaries. Really appreciated.
    1. Darwock's Avatar
      Darwock -
      I think people have recently been mistaking E3 for something akin to the Eurovision song contest. It's not, so why does everyone apparently feel the need to be all Terry Wogan when commenting on it?

      Fair enough, if a conference is a horrible embarassing disaster (like last year's Konami effort) then of course it would be rude not to take the mickey out of it.. but if it's just a regular conference then can we have it reported as such?

      I would like to believe we are all actually interested in gaming news, and we're not just stereotypical Brits cynically looking for something we can make fun of. If you try to make a mockery of something that was actually just a pretty standard presentation, you just come across as a pratt who has no interest in what is happening in the games industry. A bit of objectivity wouldn't go amiss.

      Case in point, the Dust thing - does this really deserve to be dismissed without further consideration purely because you think the title is boring? Or were you just trying to be clever and wanting to repeat your stock phrase about originality in gaming? I can't think of any precedents for a MMO FPS, but this reporter couldn't see beyond the title.
    1. nakamura's Avatar
      nakamura -
      I'm not sure what is snobbish here. The people complaining that the articles are not super tech heavy and informative or in keeping with the NTSC moniker. Or perhaps the articles themselves, snobbish for taking a lighthearted approach to the countless rubbish shown at the event.

      I say the former. It was a poor poor show, the worst I can remember. I enjoyed reading the articles, they were amusing and made some snooze worthy conferences interesting.
    1. prinnysquad's Avatar
      prinnysquad -
      Quite. If I wanted to read what was shown and what was said, I'd find a relevant article. If I wanted to read one person's take on what transpired, then they do the job. I really don't get the backlash. They aren't meant to be 'objective'. The writing style and content will always divide readers but to criticise them for a lack of objectivity is pointless.
    1. Matt's Avatar
      Matt -
      As I said, maybe I don't get where the site wants to position itself. On one hand, you get sub-Edge warble in some reviews where someone has used Auto-Thesaurus, but at least they're aspiring to something. On the other hand, you get poorly written "blog quality" articles. Seem to contradict themselves, stylistically.

      Of course, if I'd of found the article amusing, I'd of applauded. With a bit of time, I'm sure a comical piece could of be composed, so maybe it's simply there was a rush to get something on the site.

      This Backlash to the Backlash is amusing

      I know the author can write better articles. Comedy is incredibly subjective, so it's good for him some people really did enjoy it
    1. Superman Falls's Avatar
      Superman Falls -
      I think what some of it might be is that back when NTSC switched over Charles spoke of a desire to widen the sites appeal and attract more visitors and for some these articles might seem at odds to that. As TTK explained to me in the conference thread, they're light hearted but to those familiar it's obvious where TTK's actual opinion is being shown which might be why bits seem blog like. Had they been posted in the forum instead there'd probably be less reaction but to many the front page represents the site rather than the writers and so it's judged seperately.
    1. prinnysquad's Avatar
      prinnysquad -
      Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
      As I said, maybe I don't get where the site wants to position itself. On one hand, you get sub-Edge warble in some reviews where someone has used Auto-Thesaurus, but at least they're aspiring to something. On the other hand, you get poorly written "blog quality" articles. Seem to contradict themselves, stylistically.
      Maybe. But it also shows that the site has developed a richer tapestry of content, with serious Edge-U-Like reviews sat alongside Brooker-lite sneer-fest/ lighter-hearted pieces. There's been some humour articles on here recently that haven't grabbed me whatsoever, but I do feel they have a place, and don't act to the detriment of the overall 'style' of the site. Much in the same way that Private Eye has some very serious, potent journalism, it also contains snide digs, unsubtle witchhunts and blatant parody.
    1. Matt's Avatar
      Matt -
      Fair enough Prinny, but Private Eye is at the very least well written

      You know, I shouldn't care about this ****, but I tend to be opinionated, lol. I think if the "article" was filed under some kind of "Blog" category, it would have been better. "Article" implies site editorial and a more group orientated stance.

      Not my site. I have never volunteered to write for them, and I am glad people do have the opportunity to do so
    1. Colin's Avatar
      Colin -
      Talking of bad writing, misusing the word "of" in sentences is pretty awful at times.
    1. Matt's Avatar
      Matt -
      Do you see me with a Writer tag?
    1. Darwock's Avatar
      Darwock -
      The thing about this being a comedy take on it is the subject itself wasn't funny, and anybody wanting to find out about the conferences wouldn't expect the article to be funny. (and it wasn't really).

      Someone said you would find a relevant article elsewhere if you want a straight breakdown of what happened - well NTSC-UK is pretty much my only port of call for gaming news, and I didn't have to go into the 'humour' section to find the report, I just clicked the link on the right side of the screen which made no mention of it being a joke article in the first place.

      It was only when I saw the 'category: humour' note at the bottom that I realised. At which point it came off more as a disclaimer for the biased opinions on display.
    1. kernow's Avatar
      kernow -
      Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
      As I said, maybe I don't get where the site wants to position itself. On one hand, you get sub-Edge warble in some reviews where someone has used Auto-Thesaurus, but at least they're aspiring to something. On the other hand, you get poorly written "blog quality" articles. Seem to contradict themselves, stylistically.

      Of course, if I'd of found the article amusing, I'd of applauded. With a bit of time, I'm sure a comical piece could of be composed, so maybe it's simply there was a rush to get something on the site.

      This Backlash to the Backlash is amusing

      I know the author can write better articles. Comedy is incredibly subjective, so it's good for him some people really did enjoy it
      Hey, you're basically saying the same as I am, but I bet you didn't get threatened with a ban for it. Obviously I'm always the one in the wrong.
    1. prinnysquad's Avatar
      prinnysquad -
      Quote Originally Posted by Darwock View Post
      The thing about this being a comedy take on it is the subject itself wasn't funny, and anybody wanting to find out about the conferences wouldn't expect the article to be funny. (and it wasn't really).

      Someone said you would find a relevant article elsewhere if you want a straight breakdown of what happened - well NTSC-UK is pretty much my only port of call for gaming news, and I didn't have to go into the 'humour' section to find the report, I just clicked the link on the right side of the screen which made no mention of it being a joke article in the first place.

      It was only when I saw the 'category: humour' note at the bottom that I realised. At which point it came off more as a disclaimer for the biased opinions on display.
      The start of each article says something like:
      "A light-hearted look at xxxx's E3 conference..."

      Now, I can't remember if that was there to begin with. But it is now, so maybe you've been heard. On a related note, the threads in the E3 section on the conferences (the first posts) were updated a very short time after the speeches by abigsmurf, so the basics of what was said was accessible in the relevant area. Admittedly, this doesn't address the issue for the majority visiting the articles rather than the forum, but it was there.
    1. ETC's Avatar
      ETC -
      There is no originality left in trolling or writing reviews of E3 anymore
    1. Matt's Avatar
      Matt -
      Quote Originally Posted by kernow View Post
      Hey, you're basically saying the same as I am, but I bet you didn't get threatened with a ban for it. Obviously I'm always the one in the wrong.

      You must cause Blue Steel envy
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