Daily Reaction: How Did Sony’s gamescom Stack Up?

Daily Reaction is a new feature where Sebastian Moss & Dan Oravasaari discuss today’s most hard-hitting topics every single weekday.

Today’s big topic is, obviously, Sony’s gamescom conference, which saw a whole host of new reveals and even a few surprises. But were Sony’s reveals big enough to push the Vita to success? Were we given something to forward to on our PS3s? See what we think, right here on Daily Reaction.

Seb: This gamescom was what their E3 should have been, it was full of new games, stuff that wasn’t leaked and an almost healthy balance between the PS3 and Vita. I was definitely pleasantly surprised with what I saw on the PS3 – this late on in a gen, any games are a blessing, but PSN titles Rain and Puppeteer look unique and exciting, Until Dawn might be a good Move game, and, hell, even Diggs Nightcrawler piqued my interest. But Vita? I’m not so sure – they definitely did better than I expected and they showed it a decent level of focus, but they only actually revealed one new game for the platform. For some reason a lot of people and publications seem to think Killzone Mercenary is new reveal, but it was announced back when the Vita was the NGP. The name is new though, and the trailer is – which does look pretty great. So that means the only actual game reveal was Tearaway from Media Molecule, which is a shame because I was hoping for a few more titles, especially 3rd parties. But don’t get me wrong, if Tearaway is anywhere near as unique as LittleBigPlanet, it could really be the Vita’s biggest title. Previously, I moaned about how “B-team” Sony developers worked on Vita, while the Naughty Dogs and Quantic Dreams worked on PS3. But now? One of the most ambitious studios on Sony’s roster is making a Vita exclusive. Color me excited.

Dan: I completely agree, this is exactly what Sony should have done during E3 2012. Yet, I wonder if it the reason for the limited Vita showcasing during E3 was just the minimal amount of titles available in the near future. Even still, they did a good job showing the added functionality the Vita can bring to the PS3. With a number of well regarded developers creating for the Vita, this really could be the start of the push we have been waiting for. I would only hope that Sony stops dipping their toes in added functionality and just made some things standard. I love the ability to do Cross-Play with LittleBigPlanet 2, yet I can’t help but be reminded of Sackboy’s Prehistoric Moves – the PS Move DLC for LBP 2. Which show just what the Move was capable of, yet has become nothing more than a random functionality for a handful of titles. If Sony really was to back Cross-Play and make it standard, they would not only be fully backing their handheld, they would be cutting the Wii U’s primary selling point. Ultimately, preventing them from entering a new market late; which has sadly become a standard practice for Sony.

Seb: Nah, making Cross-Play standard would end up with 3rd parties just delaying PS3 games, and one of Naughty Dog’s favorite things about Sony was that they didn’t force them to fill their games with “special features”. But what Sony should do is ‘incentivize’ publishers, offer lower rates or marketing support if Cross-Play is added. Before the Vita has a massive library, its primary audience is PS3 owners and the more games with Cross-Play, the more reason PS3 owners have to buy the handheld. That’s why their Cross-Buy initiative is genius (buy a PS3 game, get the Vita version free) and is a strong move in the right direction, but for it to be truly successful it needs to be brought to more games – 3rd party ones in particular.

Speaking of 3rd party, why did Nihilistic have to be developing COD? I’m so disappointed by that. I don’t like brushing off a game before I’ve played it, but it clearly looked PSP-ish, just like their average Resistance: Burning Skies game. Compared to Killzone, it looked like a generation behind. At least the bundle should sell well.

But while I’ve said a few negative things here, that doesn’t mean their showing was bad – new games, new deals, new trailers all make this a show to remember. And hell, they’re even fixing the fact that most Vita apps couldn’t be controlled with buttons, something I’ve complained about before. This was a solid-to-strong gamescom showing, good job Sony, pat yourself on the back, now let’s talk about your marketing…

Dan: Well my point that Cross-Play needs to be standard is mainly the problem that Sony really started to fracture their audience. Some games have Move support, others now are going to now have Vita compatibility, and knowing which games do what – is going to be a headache that no consumer (especially parents) are going to deal with. So by making it standard, even to the point that it can just replace a DS3, it would allow for it to just become baseline. No one needs to worry about if this game works with this or that – that is just bad business. I do agree that Cross-Buy is a GREAT option to give consumers, and if they can get 3rd party support for it, then they should be able to push the Vita past the PSP in no time. As gamers eventually build a library of titles off of PS+ and Cross-Buy, the chance they will want to go pick up a Vita should absolutely increase; a bold and intelligent move from Sony.

I couldn’t agree more about wondering why they had Nihilistic develop Black Ops: Declassified. That title alone could really have pushed the Vita this winter, and now from the looks of it will just make COD fans think Sony’s new handheld is over hyped, as it pales in comparison to the console releases.

Overall Sony did a better job showing what they have planned for the near future, in regards to both their console and handheld. As some of the newly shown titles like Rain just looked captivating, I really have no idea what its about, but where do I throw money to get more gloomy piano footage? Puppeteer looked interesting, but we weren’t shown enough to really be able to tell how good it is. Wonderbook has yet to sell the concept for my age bracket, although, it could sell extremely well if marketed outside industry shows to a younger audience.

How did you think Sony fared? Did they breathe new life into the Vita? Let us know in the comments, and follow both Seb and Dan on Twitter to hear more.