Sony has been on a generational victory lap since June 2013 but this year they literally played Microsoft off the stage with a combination of bombastic presentations, killer software and an orchestra conducted by Bear McCreary. Despite rumours it was keen to accelerate this generation with the planned Neo hardware upgrade, Sony rightly decided that E3 2016 was a time to celebrate its victory, not start preparing for the next race.
The Neo is coming but right now is still about the PlayStation 4 and on that front owners will finally be rewarded with a rush of killer exclusives for the platform. Sony can’t seem to put a foot wrong at this stage; when you can draw emotional paternal bonding from a character who previously expressed depth only by how disembowelled his victims were, you know have the golden touch, lifting God of War fatigue with a single knife into a deers neck.
Even more surprising will be if David Cage can actually deliver on the branching storyline promises with Detroit, or if we see even gameplay footage from Death Stranding before 2018, but few will care. Horizon: Zero Dawn continues to look incredible, The Last Guardian is coming, Insomniac is making a PlayStation exclusive Spiderman game and even Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare looked refreshingly innovative.
Sony wasn’t completely silent on the hardware front: PlayStation VR got a release date and a rush of game announcements, Resident Evil 7 being the major one. I doubt many sceptics were convinced but VR very much requires a “hands on” sell and much like the Oculus Rift and Vive I think early adopters will be treated to more tech demos than true games in the early stages of PlayStation VR’s life. Getting developers such as Rocksteady on board is one thing, getting more from them than software that has to be described as an “experience” instead of a game is another.
Sony has placed themselves in a great position this generation. It has the clearly superior hardware and now the superior games lineup, its competition has had to show their hand on hardware updates and with PlayStation VR the focus for this year Sony has the chance to adapt and adjust to what Microsoft has planned with Scorpio. Microsoft did preface its announcement of the most powerful console ever made with “we believe”, Sony has the luxury of turning that into disbelief should it choose. Microsoft is trying to change the game but ultimately it will be Sony who decides when that change takes place. Enjoy your well deserved victory lap Sony, I know I will be, especially once Horizon: Zero Dawn arrives.