A few heads were turned this year when Microsoft finally revealed the long-anticipated Scorpio, which has officially been dubbed the Xbox One X. Sony did not have new hardware to announce this year, and showcased fewer titles overall. However, what they lacked in quantity they more than made up for in quality, and perhaps Sony played it smart this year, which could lead to them easily taking 2017 and even 2018.
For one thing, Microsoft’s new hardware reveal wasn’t unexpected, and while it will indeed sport the most powerful hardware for a console this gen, it is also a full $100 more expensive than the PS4 Pro’s current price, bearing in mind that with the X launching near the end of the year, Sony has plenty of opportunity to announce a price cut on their system to further distance it from its competitor. In retrospect, Sony was smart to go with slightly weaker mid-gen upgrade but release it a year ahead of Microsoft and at a lower price point.
While we’re on the subject, Microsoft announced a lot of games, but most of the “exclusives” they announced were under the rhetoric of “launch exclusives”, meaning they’re actually multiplats that will be just as well played on my PS4. Of course, both Sony and Microsoft show multiplats at their press conferences every year, and Sony’s press conference this year was no exception. However, what’s important is the ratio of exclusives to multiplats, and most of what was shown for the PS4 is exclusive, and some of it looks downright impressive (like that cool Arkham-style Spider-Man game).
But, Shu Yoshida apparently admitted that Sony held back at this year’s E3. Why they would hold back at what is arguably the biggest annual videogame event in the world is unknown, but I have a theory. It may be the biggest, but it’s not the only big event there is. E3 is one of multiple battlefields for the crown of stealing the year, and while taking E3 is highly recommended, it’s also best to save something for other events.
If Microsoft and Nintendo have fired off most of their ammunition by now, Sony is at an advantage. There’s the Paris Game Show and Gamescom in Europe, and the various PAX events. Paris Game Show is the most press-conference heavy as Gamescom and PAX are more like cons, but all of the above are battlefields in their own right and announcements can be made at any time in any of those places.
There’s also Tokyo Game Show, in Sony’s home turf where Microsoft doesn’t have much of a foothold. Nintendo can still put up a fight there as that’s also their home turf, but Sony will have one fewer contender to deal with. Lastly, there’s the PlayStation Experience (PSX). It’s an entire event hosted exclusively by Sony, where they are unopposed and can just fire off announcements as much as it pleases.
If Sony plays its cards right, then it won’t even need PSX to deliver the knockout blow, but it’s there as extra insurance. If Sony hasn’t emerged victorious by then it can finish the job with ease. That’s probably around the time when a price drop for the Pro would make sense as the company then can enjoy more profit from the system in the meantime, while severely undercutting Microsoft’s new console closer to when it finally launches.
If Sony is indeed playing it smart, they will certainly have the upper hand going into subsequent gameshows, cons and expos, and with their own annual event ahead of them we can expect them to bring even more to the table.
What are your thoughts on Sony’s E3 presentation and do you think they are playing it smart this year? As always, feel free to leave your comments below.