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e3 2015

The Highs And Lows Of Sony's E3 2015 Press Conference

by Mike Futter on Jun 15, 2015 at 04:42 PM

E3 is off to a great start, as we close out Day Zero (a.k.a. press conference day). Microsoft stepped up with backward compatibility and a number of exclusives for 2015 and beyond. Sony, who has self-described its first-party lineup as "sparse" for this year, is ready to make a mark in 2016.

The Last Guardian leads solid upcoming exclusive lineup

After a wait that seems far longer than the six years it actually was, The Last Guardian has re-emerged with a release planned for 2016. The game looks great, and has clearly been retooled to take advantage of the PlayStation 4.

Immediately following this, we saw Horizon from Guerrilla Games. Taking place in a world that is both primitive and futuristic, we'll be hunting robot dinosaurs. This is a different take on post-humanity stories.

No Man's Sky continues to impress with its scope, but giving us a look at a bit more at how the game plays (and the destructible terrain) was a smart idea. There's still so much we don't know about the game, though. The scale is hard to wrap our heads around.

Media Molecule's Dreams looks interesting, but it's hard to digest as a stage presentation. It's clearly the evolution of what the studio showed at the PlayStation 4 reveal in February 2013, but I suspect that hands-on time will help clear that up.

Sony revealed a double dose of nostalgia with the rumored and begged-for Final Fantasy VII remake. It will be out first on PS4 next year. Additionally, Sony gave Yu Suzuki the stage to kick off the Kickstarter campaign for Shenmue III.

Surprisingly absent were two big exclusives for this fall: Persona 5 and Until Dawn. Also, we were a bit surprised that Gran Turismo 7 and a new God of War weren't included, even as teases.

Sony made moves in the exclusive content department

Sony announced that its partnership with Activision for timed exclusive Destiny content remains in place for Destiny. In addition, Sony snapped up "first on" rights for Call of Duty map packs, something long been tied to Microsoft. Extra missions for both Batman: Arkham Knight and Assassin's Creed Syndicate firmed up PlayStation's position.

PlayStation owners will also be the first to play World of Final Fantasy, Camp Santo's Firewatch, and the Final Fantasy VII remake. Timed exclusives like these are compelling secondary notes to the permanently exclusive games.

The Vita wasn't entirely absent, but it might as well have been

The Vita was shown for a split second during a montage. The PlayStation TV wasn't mentioned, and the Move is a distant memory. The Vita is getting some more cross-platform games, and it was mentioned by name.

Morpheus got bigger billing, with the announcement of familiar and new exclusive experiences. Rigs, a multiplayer mech deathmatch title for the headmounted display looks interesting. We'll report on hands-on later this week.

PlayStation Vue: Present, PlayStation Now: Absent

Sony spent a few minutes talking about its cord-cutting television service. If DLNA support (a big item) can get cut, then so should Vue. PlayStation Now though, should have gotten a bit more attention so gamers know where the service is going.

Hardware stands pat
Sony made no moves to reduce the price of hardware or note major updates to the user experience. The biggest news tonight was the pre-conference announcement of DLNA support.

Sony's first-party offerings for this year might be thin, but with third-party exclusives in 2015 and upcoming major games in 2016, the company is clearly just experiencing a slight dip in the pipeline.