From:Shea John Driscoll,  Digital Sub-Editor, ST, posted on 10 June at 12:03 PM
10 June at 12:03 PM

E3 2014: 5 things you must know from Sony's PlayStation conference

Sony was the second of the three console manufacturers to have a go at E3. We bring the five key takeaways from its PlayStation conference:

Sony still knows best what gamers want, so why the Powers misstep?

Aiming the PlayStation 4 squarely at gamers has worked well for Sony so far, and it demonstrated at E3 that it knows what gamers want. The conference was a fine blend of announcements like Bloodborne, a new game from Demon’s and Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki, and crowd-pleasing looks at popular games like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Uncharted 4 and Batman: Arkham Knight.

It was slightly bizarre, then, to see precious minutes spent on the unveiling of PlayStation-exclusive TV series Powers, based on a comic book series. Co-creator Brian Michael Bendis was hauled up on stage to talk about it, when all there was to show was some concept art. Fine as the series may turn out to be, I hope its incongruous unveiling at a games conference doesn’t turn out to be a symptom of a deeper malaise on Sony’s part.

Sony knows the value of diversity

It struck me, watching the two big conferences, how much of the video game industry relies on blood and gore. Dismemberment seems to be in vogue, with the Mortal Kombat X taking violence to absolutely ridiculous levels, full of literally bone shattering hits (I saw an exposed spine being snapped in half at one point).

So it was refreshing that some of Sony’s conference was dedicated to more innocent charms. Entwined is a game about two souls in love who can’t be together, a simple premise that is shockingly rare in video games. LittleBigPlanet 3 is one of Sony’s big hitters, but it was still nice to see a solid chunk of time devoted to the handcrafted adventures of a little sackboy and his friends.

I enjoy a good shooter as much as anyone, but too much of the same thing can be sickening. The diversity on display was very much welcome.

Console exclusive indie releases could be the tiebreaker

It is a fitting tribute to Sony’s efforts to woo indie developers that No Man’s Sky, created by a team of four at Hello Games, was easily the most impressive thing at the conference. A short demo showed the player exploring gorgeous alien landscapes, before returning to a spaceship and seamlessly taking off into the depths of space.

The footage capped the announcement of several other indie games which will be console exclusives for the PS4; none as spectacular as No Man’s Sky, but which add welcome diversity to the console’s line-up nonetheless. With the big guns bringing pretty much the same things to the table for either system, Sony getting in early with indie developers and securing console exclusives could be the tiebreaker as the battle between the PS4 and the Xbox One heats up.

Vita is firmly in the shadows

Where was the PlayStation Vita? Fans of the handheld console have been waiting for a killer E3 showing for years now, but the thing was barely mentioned during Sony’s conference. More than 100 Vita titles are being developed, said SCEA CEO Shawn Layden, so why choose to show none of them? The publisher seems to be content with the Vita being an accompanying device for the PlayStation 4, with its remote play capabilities, and nothing more. It will still get indie titles and cross-platform releases like the upcoming Grim Fandango re-release, but if there are still big-budget exclusives tailored for the platform coming, Sony should have trumpeted them at its conference.

The stage is set for Nintendo to steal the show

Both Microsoft and Sony delivered safe and unspectacular conferences, displaying games we already knew about or that were rumoured to be announced. While fans of each platform should be happy, I can’t imagine someone on the fence watching either conference running out to get a PS4 or Xbox One.

The stage is set, then, for Nintendo’s digital event tonight. The ailing giant’s Wii U may be struggling, but the immensely well-received Mario Kart 8 has sparked an increase in sales and shoved the system back into relevance. With a strong showing - a new Legend Of Zelda for the Wii U, some surprise announcements and a solid 3DS slate - Nintendo could yet steal the show and turn the Wii U’s fortunes around.

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