Microsoft has received a lot of criticism for showing non-gaming related content at previous E3 events. They were notorious for demonstrating TV and entertainment based capabilities, whether through Kinect or through Apps the Xbox platform offers.
Although Microsoft always delivered on the games, they made room for entertainment-related announcements as well. Sony on the other hand, mostly concentrated on games, and has usually left out non-gaming related content at their E3 press conferences. In doing this, Sony gained a lot of respect amongst core gamers.
This E3 event showed us something interesting, as this event was much different than the previous ones. It seems that the Microsoft and Sony have reversed roles, with Microsoft concentrating on nothing but games, while Sony’s pulled a Microsoft and put heavy emphasis on entertainment services and hardware. To Sony’s credit they had lots of great games to show as well.
Perhaps the most interesting part is that PlayStation fans are loving this side of Sony. These are the same Sony fans who talked down entertainment services when Microsoft was showing them, stating that if Sony took the same route, they would abandon the platform. They also stated that they would never want their beloved system turning into anything that detracts them from gaming.
Sony took to the stage with many entertainment-related service announcements. They talked about a TV show, a YouTube App, introduced a Ratchet & Clank movie, a $99 PlayStation TV box and had a Sony representative on stage (Shawn Layden) talking in a scripted fashion crunching numbers, explaining how many billions of hours were spent gaming on PSN, and so on. He talked typical PR nonsense for 15-20 min, pretty much putting people to sleep. Crazy thing is – Sony fans loved it! And they claim that Sony completely crushed Microsoft’s performance due to heavy focus on extra entertainment related announcements. Isn’t this is the very same thing that Microsoft was ridiculed for last year? So what does this mean?
This proves that Sony fans wanted these types of services all along. It certainly appears that way, and this is a perfect example of a double standard situation. When Microsoft heads down the entertainment route, they’re considered to be abandoning the gamer. However, when Sony does it, they’re adding to the PlayStations capabilities and increasing the platform’s value? This sounds quite hypocritical of Sony fans. What would have happened if Sony was the company who had the Kinect Sensor? It leads me to believe that they would treat it as the second coming of Christ.
This whole situation proves that Sony fans longed for the types of offerings Microsoft provided Xbox users with. They always wanted their console to have a vast entertainment ecosystem of apps, services and exclusive TV content. They want the PlayStation 4 to be an all around entertainment machine. They want an Xbox in their PlayStation. As they’re finally getting a taste of entertainment services, they now say that it’s glorious thing.
Back when the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were released, the one advantage Sony had in the hardware department was the addition of the Blu-Ray drive in the PS3. This addition made the system $100 more expensive than the Xbox 360. Sony fans praised the PS3 as a better all-around entertainment system, due to the inclusion of the Blu-Ray drive. They actually justified the extra $100 expense due to being able to do more than just gaming.
Microsoft on the other hand, added a Kinect Sensor which provides much more capabilities than Blu-Ray did for the PS3 at the time, and Kinect is actually something that has a future, a very bright one at that. However, these so called gamers (PlayStation fanboys) made sure to have their opinions heard, being very vocal about how Kinect is a negative thing as it creates an entertainment system rather than a gaming machine, and will not buy an Xbox One for that reason. This is a pure double standard and hypocritical situation. The fact is, they were never going to buy it in the first place.
It seems that the truth has come out, and the gaming community can now rest and agree on one thing, and that’s the fact that entertainment-related services are a valuable asset. They are vital to the future of these consoles. Entertainment-related services are what will levitate the mainstream consumer towards these boxes as the price drops.
Sony always knew that, and Sony fans always knew it. This is why Sony is releasing a $99 set top box to grab the mainstream consumer. It’s just too bad that Microsoft delayed their version (codenamed: Project Yuma) possibly due to vocal gamers not wanting to hear Xbox and entertainment in the same sentence. However, Microsoft will most likely release something similar sooner rather than later.