Written by Paul Sahbaz and Photographs by Sean Chin
Sony’s E3 Press Conference was the company’s opportunity to sell people on their newly released PlayStation Vita. The PSP’s successor has had the worst launch of any Sony gaming platform and it’s struggling to compete against its chief rival the Nintendo 3DS, let alone making headway against the growing mobile phone market. Now, I’m not one of those who automatically think just because people are playing Angry Birds on their iOS device, that the Age of Gaming Handhelds is over. I do think there will still be a market for such devices but if Sony and Nintendo don’t play their cards right that market will be too small to be worth the investment. In order for Sony’s E3 performance to mean much they absolutely had to convince people that Vita is a viable platform and that gaming handhelds were not only alive but thriving. Not only did Sony not do this they pretty much stepped on the Vita’s neck while it was down. The announcement of further PlayStation Certified phones, this time from HTC, a competitor to Sony in the mobile space, is nothing short of waving the white flag. Sometimes I wonder what companies like Sony think when they make decisions like this. This is equivalent to Sega making or endorsing games for Gameboy while Gamer Gear is still on store shelves. It’s clear Sony has been listening to its shareholders again, something they should do sparingly because shareholders have their ass on backwards and know nothing about the game industry. You wont see Nintendo releasing games on iOS even though their shareholders have been asking them very loudly for years now. Why? Because in the long run it would be corporate suicide.
Outside of the fact that Vita was left to die in a ditch with a bullet lodged in its brain, Sony had a decent showing. The announcement that PlayStation Plus subscribers would have access to a growing collection of free games is pretty awesome. As an Xbox Live subscriber who pays for the mere “privilege” of playing online and streaming Netflix on my 360, I must say I am envious. There were interesting looking exclusive games for PlayStation 3 including Beyond, The Last of Us and God of War Ascension. Beyond and The Last of Us were especially welcomed after the cavalcade of FPS and Sports sequels jammed down my throat via plunger at the Microsoft conference. New franchises are always good to see at E3 and for a few years now Sony’s been the company to look out for if you want something new and fresh. On the more experimental side, the Wonderbook was shown. Wonderbook is essentially the EyePet or 3DS AR card functionality applied to books. I was waiting for them to say that J.K. Rowling would be working on something related to this and Sony did not disappoint. I was hoping for something substantial, such as a Wonderbook release of the seven Harry Potter novels so you could play chapter specific mini-games and go through the school year with Harry like what Pottermore promised to be and failed miserably at doing. Instead we’re getting an interactive spell book with cool short stories by Rowling herself. It’s nifty but it could be so much more and I really hope Sony develops and supports this idea so it can live up to its potential. Heaven knows they don’t seem to be doing that for Vita.
Overall, Sony did well enough. Vita should have been a priority, but seeing the PS3 supported so strongly in its twilight years is encouraging. Speaking of Twilight, how about a Wonderbook release that lets you be beat the crap out of Edward Cullen?
TEAM JACOB 4 L1FE!!!