I'm not sure if Sony knew or didn't know how unprepared they were for their conference. If they did know then it wouldn't surprise me. I had already assumed (with the help of many of the bright game analysts of the day) that their sole motivation was to strike first by spreading word about the PS4 as soon as possible, even if it came at the cost of putting together a shabby first impression. However if they didn't know, and in fact they were 100% ready, then whoever organized the event probably belongs doing some other line of work.
The first thing I noticed was the lack of enthusiasm. Beyond videos being full of color and sound, I saw little life in that room. The audience barely appluaded. Which is something completely puzzling because this was the announcement of the PS4 for Gods sake. How hard could it be to spark some jazz? Just show off the console and your jobs done.Oh wait, right...It wasnt there.
The Presenters (Please forgive me on not including the presenters names)
When the first presenter said the words PS4 for the first time ever, officially beginning the dawn of a new generation, there was no pause nor was there an applause. Now, Im not here to suggest that confetti should have fallen from the ceiling and strippers run up on stage passing out free bubble gum to the crowd (while that may have been nice), a simple pause for some cheers and a few in-house fist pumps could have done the moment justice.
I feel if most of the presenters had shown a little more of themselves on stage, and less of that professional muppet pitching a product that they came off as, we would have seen some more enthusiastic and genuine presentations that the audience could have got behind. But instead we got monotone voices and drabness. I mean seriously, I dare you to go back and watch the Fantastic Bungie 4 again.
Then there was the part when the creator of Braid got up on stage and threw a jab at the previous presentations. He said something along the line of, Hard to follow all those explosions. This remark sort of mocked the general brainless action genre that dominates so much of the gaming market and in turn brings Sony the cash money money. I know Sony is trying to send a message that its all Indie now (Ya...right) but wedging the guy behind Braid between Killzone: Bloodfest 4 and Final Fantasy 27 felt a bit out of place.
No, Im not talking about the CPU. Im talking about the glue that holds all the magic pieces of a presentation together. In previous years the main core was rock solid because it was so bloody obvious: Games and a side helping of Hardware. That was the only way to win fans over. This time around, as Sony laid out, the gaming industry is changing. Technology is changing. So likewise they are looking to set the standard for this changing industry by incorporating features never before seen in a gaming console. Features like better socialibilty, easier graphical interfaces, developer friendly software, cloud gaming, innterconectivy with mobile devices, and whatever else I'm omitting. Maybe 8 years later the PS5 will, on top of all that, also cook your dinner, drive you to school, pay your taxes, mow the lawn and marry you if you find yourself still single later in life.
And guess what? Whether Sony wants to believe it or not, this generation's (and every generation of Sony console that follows) central core is still the games. Yet Sony certainly didnt send that message when the meeting began with a display of hundreds of faces beamed around the room. The social network. At points that initial message was so heavy that I felt Sony was treating game demos like they were the elephant in the room or something. This is what I like to call, getting off on the wrong foot. This is what I like to call, not knowing your fanbase. This is what I like to call, stupid.
As the meeting dragged on it became blatantly obvious that Sony was just pulling mediocore tricks out of a brown paper bag in no particular order. Tricks that would impress your grandma but would make your buddies yawn. There was no trick to give Sony a strong lead in or a strong exit. Nor was there any rabbit or woman getting sawed in half in that bag. There was no climax or rock bottom. Everything was just randomly average, without any sense of excitement being built.
Im willing to suggest that if Sony had actually brought the PS4 and showed it running and what the OS looks like, I probably wouldnt even be writing this blog. There is so much latent excitement in gamers ready to splooge all over the place just at the sight of a new piece of hardware. No matter how boring the presentations might have been that followed, at least we could just stare at the mighty fine and shiny piece of craftsmanship sitting on the stage.
Where the hell was Japan?
I wanted to see more Japanese software and hardware developers there. From them we got nothing. Just some CGI and the message, There will be a new Final Fantasy. Wow. Seriously? If theres one major advantage the Sony has over Microsoft, its having a monopoly on the brightest minds in Japans gaming industry.