xbox one ps411 -

There was a lot of talking, but not a lot was actually said. Sony and Microsoft's press conferences were perfunctionary more than explosive (the latter being kept only for those in attendance) even with the announcements of PS4's release date and Microsoft's commitment to making sure that FIFA is played by every human being, ever.

Between them, both sets of executives probably said the word 'indie' more times than the phonetic equivalent in those moderately successful movies Harrison Ford starred in. Talking up the merits of smaller developers - and of their respective platform environments for them to create games in - is the latest pissing contest writ large, and in fairness the Redmond giant's desire to make sure your console is your dev kit is admirable. No certification fees is also a big change, and a positive one, and Sony's commitment to loaner dev kits - while not quite matching Microsoft's offer - is also welcome.

And then there was FIFA. A huge win for both MS and EA, it means - along with Ultimate Team Legends and other initiatives - that one of the most important games in the European market is now 'best on Xbox'. It's a win-win for both parties, too. Microsoft now has a major selling point for an audience who lives and breathes football, and EA has found a, potential, path to crank its sales figures even closer to that of Call of Duty. That's the level Electronic Arts has wanted to get FIFA to for years, completely forgetting about other games that could be seen as more 'direct' lines of competition. It's top of the pile or nothing.

Microsoft's was also the leaner of the two presentations, by some considerable margin. The US firm had two main messages, stuck to them, and got on with it. Its rival spent so much time blathering on that it felt like the PS4 should already be a year old by the end of it.

Problematic too for Sony is that its speakers aren't very interesting: killer if there's a long conference to sit through, and not great when you're trying to convey a message that your new games console is the raddest thing on the planet since plutonium-laced wrap-around sunglasses. Michael Denny looks and talks like your dad, Andrew House's voice sounds like he's got a slowly-leaking helium tank in there, and Jim Ryan looks and acts like the CEO of a successful accountancy firm who accidentally walked on stage and, too embarrassed to leave, decided to stay.

The only interesting one among them is Mark Cerny, but only because when he turns to read the autocue - looking down the lens as he does so - there's always the danger he'll snatch you into it like The Goblin King of games, and you'll have to escape by playing f**king Knack or something.

Still, the Vita stuff was cool, and an announcement of the release date is always good. In what is arguably a stark contrast to E3, though, Microsoft looked confident today.

And so they should.

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User Comments

FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister@ pblive

I hear the narrator from A.I. :)
Posted 09:15 on 21 August 2013

pblive@ FantasyMeister

I called it in the live chat, but now every time I see Mark Cerny I just hear Garth from Wayne's World.

Seperated at birth?
Posted 09:10 on 21 August 2013

pblive@ Karlius

I think you're right on most counts, though we've got no direct comparison via live feeds to work with. Certainly the content was far more on track from MS this time.

I still don't think that Sony altered the in-pack camera at the last minute. Having shown the box, package and price this would mean a huge change to their physical presentation or that they actually had 2 SKUs lined up, one with the PS Eye 2 in the box and just dropped the second.

The main issue with changing tactics, though, was that MS firmly set their plans in place in front of a crowd before altering them. My own opinion is that I don't see this as a bad thing considering they are just listening to the public and giving them what they want at the end of the day.

These conferences haven't made me feel any different about either console, though. I'm still really looking forward to both of them and now glad I can play both Driveclub and Fifa 14 without spending any extra money.
Posted 09:08 on 21 August 2013
FantasyMeister's Avatar


I don't think I've ever seen Mark Cerny speak at a conference before, he should do more of them, I thought he was a brilliant orator.
Posted 08:12 on 21 August 2013
KuRupT1's Avatar

KuRupT1@ Karlius

Didn't watch the Microsoft conference, but did they talk about their xbox360. That's a reason the Sony conference was so long, they had to talk about ps3 and vita also.
Posted 06:34 on 21 August 2013
Brulath's Avatar


Oddly I think Andrew House's voice is a positive - he's memorable for it and it's different enough to jolt your attention when changing from a more generic speaker to him, though it would be tiresome in excess.
Posted 06:15 on 21 August 2013
Lemondish's Avatar

Lemondish@ Karlius

Where can I watch the Microsoft conference? You seem to have an awful lot of good things to say about it. I only got a chance to watch the Sony one and I'm pretty impressed, but I don't see the Microsoft one posted anywhere. Did they even stream it, or are we just supposed to take your word for it?

Less is never more. Don't ever let anybody convince you of that. More games with more information is always way better when it comes to a media briefing.
Posted 00:42 on 21 August 2013
GloryBoyTom's Avatar


I didn't see the xbox conference but if its anything like E3 then maybe we should take it with a pinch of salt.
Posted 00:25 on 21 August 2013
Karlius's Avatar


My view as always is controversial and will probably cause reaction from people who didn't actually follow either Gamescom conference. So here goes.

Today Sony's next gen console was brutally knocked off it's ivory diamond encrusted pedestal. It was found out on far too many levels for comfort and was found wanting.

The conference lasted for around an Hour and a Half and I got more out of the several tweets from Larry Hryb over the twenty minute Microsoft press event than the whole Sony conference. The stand out feature of the Sony Conference was certainly the PS4 streaming to PS Vita. That looks very interesting.

So far the PS4 hasn't had to do anything to sell consoles. MS fluffed their original reveal by talking sports and TV. This angered gamers.

Come E3 the digital rights saga, Kinect gate and a seemingly hefty price tag meant all Sony had to do was turn up. They got the luxury of going second at E3 and watch MS's plans bomb. This resulted in what was quite clearly a reverse in policy. This was proven once again today with the inclusion of Playroom on the console. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that the price point was altered last minute by excluding the camera. Thus effectively making the new controllers light feature redundant. This software is now no more than bloatware for most users who will never buy the camera. I'm also sure they backtracked on DRM following flakey responses after E3.

Why is that an issue? Well today Sony took a pop at MS for backtracking stating that they have been changing their console along the way and that makes it less of a commodity. However at least the changes MS made were done over a period of time after gauging consumer reaction. I disagree with all of the changes none the less. Sony's alterations were done on a wing and a prayer to the detriment of their whole ethos. They were even able to sneak in the cost of playing online with no more than a blink of an eye. The amount of times I have heard PS Fan boys rant on about never paying for online is unreal yet all that faded away in an instant. Fickle and but both definitely guilty of change.

The fact is however MS has done this to themselves. They should of gained consumer opinion way before this point. Either that or communicated the new model in a better way. They failed and Sony lapped it up.

Today however MS struck back, the inclusion of FIFA softens the financial excess and even makes the console possibly seam like better value for money for some. Even those who don't want FIFA can sell the code on once the run of included codes has ceased, Microsoft also reiterated the XB1 certainly has the better launch line up and Sony did nothing to change that opinion today.

MS showed off two new IP's today one of which is a AAA title. The lack of quality games was more evident at the Sony conference and while I'm all for Indies the emphasis on this sector was far too strong. A montage of the games would of sufficed however they droned on for what seemed like an age. The whole show seemed to be a slow paced and monotonous. MS also showcased their new process and support for Indies that's all I or anybody else needed to know about it.

So in summary MS struck back with less is more strategy bold statements and bold tactics. Maybe however too little too late because the damage has already been done and they can't blame anyone but themselves or "Blame Don".

Sony 2 - 1 Microsoft
Posted 22:43 on 20 August 2013

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