Contrary to the expectations of many, Sony’s Gamescom show revealed very few surprises. In fact, even without presenting a live conference of the show, it appears that Microsoft may have had the better showing at Gamescom.
Sony decided to start the show off with Gran Turismo 6, a PS3 title, which looks incredible considering it is running on current gen technology. However, with a December release date, one has to question whether or not it will be eclipsed by the myriad of next-gen titles and racers on competing hardware.
Sony reiterated their partnership deals with the likes of Ubisoft for games such as Assassin’s Creed and Watchdogs but Microsoft appear to have trumped them with the frankly astounding announcement that they will be giving away free copies of FIFA 2014 with Xbox One pre-orders. Furthermore, Microsoft also have partnership deals with Ubisoft, having secured exclusive content for The Division.
We anticipated at least one game announcement for a new AAA title at the show, even maybe a glimpse from the legendary Naughty Dog or Quantic Dreams, but alas, we were left disappointed. Contrast this to Microsoft and its announcement of Fable: Legends and it appears that Microsoft had the upper hand in this regard. However, no actual gameplay footage was shown and after the lackluster nature of both Fable 3 and The Journey, Lionhead have a lot to prove with Legends. Furthermore both Microsoft and Sony have yet to show gameplay for ambitious looking titles such as Quantum Break and The Order respectively.
There were rumours abound that Sony might one-up Microsoft with an October release date, however these rumours were unfounded as Sony announced a release date of 29th November for Europe and 15th November for the United States. Microsoft have yet to announce a release date but have already stated that the XBox One will be released some time in November. We suspect that Microsoft may use the late November launch of the PS4 to their advantage and release the Xbox One a few days or even weeks earlier and to leverage the appeal of the XBox One, especially in Europe with the free FIFA pre-order bundle.
Sony did however show strong support for the PlayStation VITA, something which was desperately needed considering the handheld’s mixed successes so far. The VITA’s remote-play capabilities are astonishing and Ubisoft showcased the near seamless transition of the game from the TV to the handheld which left us very impressed and in our opinion, steals a lot of the ‘thunder’ from Nintendo and the Wii U’s similar capabilities. The VITA looks like it is only just getting into its strides now, especially with the welcome announcement of a price drop to $199.99/ €199.99, and shows incredible promise for the future.
Unlike Microsoft, who were too busy reconciling the situation as a result of their u-turn regarding indie developers, Sony dedicated a considerable chunk of time at their conference for indie developers, with Shahid Ahmed addressing the works of individual indie developers, reinforcing a strong sense of commitment to them by Sony.
Sony clearly played most of their cards at their reveal in February and at E3
However, it appears that, at this early stage, Microsoft have made more of an impact with regard to the grandiose nature of their announcements, which were more surprising than Sony’s, who appear to be playing it safe. Contrary to popular belief, it was Sony, not Microsoft, who clearly played most of their cards at their reveal in February and at E3. Naysayers of the XBox One will have little ammunition against the console as Microsoft work hard to bolster the image and appeal for the next-gen machine. The battle between the two console giants is becoming increasingly fierce and it is important to remember that this is just day one of Gamescom. Whilst both companies may have unleashed their more major announcements today, there will be more announcements to come that might determine a clearer victor.