E3 2010: Our reactions to the Sony press conference

As the last of the Big Three to hold its E3 press conference, Sony had the unenviable task of showing up what Microsoft and Nintendo had already gotten onstage and done. Were a comedy bit by Kevin Butler and a shock appearance by Gabe Newell enough to put Sony's rivals to shame? We saw it all go down live - here's what three of our editors thought:

Mikel Reparaz, GamesRadar US

The thing you have to know, going into a Sony press conference, is that the company has a bad habit of front-loading its presentations with a lot of information that nobody but Sony, its investors and the most die-hard fanboys actually care about. They’ll get to the cool stuff soon enough, but first they’re going to ask you to sit through a few speeches about strengthening their position in the market, delivering on the promise of a 10-year system, and on and on. It’s expected, but that doesn’t make it any less deflating, particularly after Nintendo’s no-nonsense, cut-to-the-chase-and-give-you-everything-you-want presser earlier this morning.

The conference started off Sony Computer Entertainment President and CEO Jack Tretton making a few subtle (and, frankly, welcome) digs at Microsoft’s poncho-themed Cirque du Soleil event from the other night, but quickly descending into the usual corporate-speak-laden opening preamble. In particular, a lot of lip service was paid to the PS3’s 3D capabilities and the upcoming arrival of Move, both of which we’d see a lot of over the course of the press conference. Incidentally, that was also the main problem with the conference: rather than wow us with a cavalcade of cool new stuff, Sony chose to fixate on faddish technology and spend a lot of time extolling its virtues.

That’s not even taking into account the time wasted telling us about a Move marketing partnership with Coca-Cola. Or the company’s outrageously ballsy approach to revitalizing the PSP brand: rather than release a new iteration of the six-year-old handheld or address any of its problems, Sony’s hired a sassy child actor to play “Marcus” and yell at us about how awesome it is.

Now that this thing's turned overwhelmingly negative, I should probably talk about the things I really liked. While the relentless focus on 3D was just a little tiresome – how many people are going to be able to buy a new Bravia in the future to take advantage of it, really? – the big-screen 3D presentations were actually pretty awe-inspiring, even if one of them (Killzone 3) was something we’d already seen. The other one was a montage of other games that’ll take advantage of the new technology, including the upcoming Sly Collection and Heroes on the Move, which – as a platformer starring Ratchet, Jak and Sly Cooper – was one of the most immediately interesting announcements of the show.

Above: YES

Other highlights: InFamous 2 looks awfully interesting, the new trailers for Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Dead Space 2 were great, and the arrival of Valve’s Gabe Newell – previously a vocal critic of the PS3 – nearly brought the house down, as did the fresh Portal 2 trailer he brought with him. But the brightest spot in the conference (at least for me) was the heavily rumored reveal of a new Twisted Metal, which is simultaneously brighter, more cheerful and more ridiculously violent than previous games in the series.

Probably the strangest thing about the conference was that Sony spent a lot of time showing us things we already knew about, but held back some things – like Last Guardian and Agent, for example – that we were desperately hoping to see. Call me naive, but I had hoped the cavalcade of high-profile pre-E3 leaks meant the actual reveals would be comparatively huge. What happened? 

George Walter, GamesRadar UK

Sony tried to have a sense of humour for this year's press event; Jack Tretton joked about accidentally spitting on the audience in past conferences, Kevin Butler did a five minute stand-up set where he ripped into Microsoft and PSP was rebooted with a sassy kid with a big opinion of himself - it was perhaps the saving grace of a fairly low-key showing

How was it low-key? Well aside from the obvious showstoppers - a live demo of Killzone in 3D (amazing), Portal 2 for PS3 and Gabe Newell pretending to eat humble pie and kiss Sony butt (unexpected), it lacked the free consoles of the Xbox conference and the killer games of Nintendo's. It felt like it needed a big new IP announcement to get everyone talking; not a single significant first-party game was announced that we hadn't already heard of.

And who really thought it was a good idea to choose to announce a marketing deal with Coca-Cola at an ostensibly consumer-focused press event? That was never going to get applause. What about The Last Guardian? The Agent? PSP2? Starhawk? Resistance 3? Well, you know the answer.

Tim Clark, Official PlayStation Magazine UK

The first highlight for me was the Killzone 3 live demo. I'd managed to convince myself previously that 3D was going to be a bit iPaddish: Cool, but not for me yet. Seeing how much of a shift playing a shooter was, with bullets zinging towards you, changed that. New 3D Bravia? Looks like I'm eBaying that kidney after all. Also: best raging sea effects evah. The other standout was the GT5 footage. It's been in development for so long I was starting to worry the cars would've quietly evolved into planes. But it really does look as billed: Polyphony's masterpiece. Can't wait to go hands-on later.

What also struck was that, whereas once the hardware manufacturers would announce major third-party exclusives, these are now almost nonexistent. Instead, it's now a landgrab for exlcusive DLC and modes. Ultimately, that's probably better for gamers, because you don't need to miss out on experiences, but it robs the conferences of megaton pizzazz. I'd have loved to have seen first footage of Rockstar North's Agent or something new from Team Ico's The Last Guardian - but nada. Leaving Twisted Metal until last also seemed a bit odd. Maybe it's because the series wasn't such a big deal in Europe, but when the screen cut to gameplay footage it felt like the air had been sucked out of the room.

Overall though, a solid show with all bases covered. It's not about hardware cycles now, it's about platforms which expand and grow. Add on those terms, with 3D, Move, and Blu-ray built in, PlayStation 3's position looks ever more strong. But then, I would say that, right?

Jun 15, 2010


E3 E3 2010

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000
  • GoodGuyWithACrappyJob - June 18, 2010 3:51 a.m.

    I'm going to rip off a little quote here from one Thomas A. Dorgan and subsitute a few words: This conference was like eating an artichoke; you had to go through so much to get so little. Very appropriate Mr. Dorgan.
  • Stabby_Joe - June 16, 2010 7:08 p.m.

    "Twisted Metal not big in Europe"? True but what else do you expect when you don't release games and cut content for no good reason.
  • sklorbit - June 16, 2010 3:03 p.m.

    i agree with george walter the most. i was so bored and disappointed by the show, it was like a giant highlight real talking about all the games that have already released. btw twisted metal announcement was lame and overdone, i didnt think anyone actually cared about that game anymore. its going to suk mark my words. only good thing was infamous 2 footage and killzone 3, but we have already seen kz3 so it felt kinda old
  • EnragedTortoise1 - June 16, 2010 1:36 p.m.

    Portal 2 on PS3, Sly Collection, Heroes on the Move, and Twisted Metal. That's all, Sony? Oh well, more time to play Nintendo stuff now... I guess.. sigh..
  • gaxkeng11 - June 16, 2010 12:53 p.m.

    meh, sony was nothing special, not even close
  • Bloodstorm - June 16, 2010 12:24 p.m.

    @Zeb364 Sony owns the IP to Twisted Metal. I always loved Twisted Metal. I have all the PS1 version, but that gameplay demo to me seemed like it has lost its heart. That or it is just showing its age. @taterboob I'm right there with you. I liked Portal but I did not understand the fangasim everyone was having over it. I had friends that played it through several times in the month it came out and I didn't get the point. You beat it and it has nothing left to offer. You've solved the puzzles. I've lost a lot of faith in Valve with L4D2, and while I'm looking forward to Portal 2, I'm mostly waiting for Episode 3 to come around and every game they announce and every year that goes by and they don't do anything it kills the complete faith I used to have in them.
  • AgentHonor - June 16, 2010 11 a.m.

    Compared to MS, Sony did better imo. Although some of the stuff could have been cut a little shorter. Nintendo for the most part is using nostalgia to win us over. Problem is that it only works for people who know those games. As much as everyone loved Kid Icarus and Donkey Kong, i and the rest of the new Wii audience could care less of it (Maybe because I was a Genesis guy). What bugs me is if Steam is going to PSN, will that mean that PC steam users can use their PS3s to play their Steam games or is just the community side of it?
  • FreekinIdiot - June 16, 2010 10:01 a.m.

    Being an xbox owner and one that was slightly disappointed in their conference, I'm surprised Sony didn't destroy them by revealing more info about Agent, The Last Guardian and any of their other massive exclusives?
  • philipshaw - June 16, 2010 9:51 a.m.

    Sony had a solid show but they had nothing amazing to blow me away like the 3DS did in the Nintendo press conference. Sony's showing was still miles ahead of Microsoft who are their main competitor,so all in all it was a success. But would it have killed them to show The Last Guardian
  • extracurricular - June 16, 2010 8:55 a.m.

    @crumbdunky you obviously have no clue about gaming. stop posting ill informed opinionated rants on game sites and go educate yourself with the classics!
  • crumbdunky - June 16, 2010 8:28 a.m.

    WTF? Yeah, it was a crappy E3 all round but to somehow come away thinking Nintendo had the best showing is laughable. We knew all about 3DS and still don't know if a tiny 3D display is ever going to be any use at all til we all mess about with one-it was always gonna be that way once they'd stupidly announced it at XL launch! What else was any good? Zelda? No. No release this year after a million dev years to get it to us? Crap. And what of what we DID see of Skyward Sword(worst game name EVER BTW)just made it look like they've run out of ideas COMPLETELY this time. From the artstyle to the samey looking gameplay SS just underwhelmed me and all of my Zelda loving mates and can only be saved now by the things we won't know til we get our mitts on the game like story and whether they actually make some use of M+ rather than miss the point a little as they did with TP and motion controls. That aside, though, what was that interesting? A few remakes for 3DS? Wow, if that's what it takes to be top dog at E3 it's time to shoot the messenger and put E3 out of it's bloated "if I don't get a free console your show stinks", over entitled games journo whinging misery. MS show was just way too casual and Kinect had NO games I would even consider buying it to play and that kind of investment just to mess about on menus I already navigate more quickly with, y'know, buttons, seems a bit daft. That said I still don't understand why anyone was up in arms over the white ponchos at the earlier Kinect event. They looked NOTHING like KKK robes so, people, grow up-even if they made you look stupid and MS never explained why they had to be worn they certainly weren't a racist comment. Sony also had a dull presentation but had, at least, some decent stuff on show that we didn't know for sure we'd see(TM)and hinted that they might just understand motion controls a bit better than the others. The 3D drew gasps from the gathered crowd that I didn't hear at the other shows and, like MS, all the big first party games did look cool. However, the low point was Gabe lying for EA cash-even iof he was the funniest man onstage all weeekend. does ANYONE after playing the totally anaemic wastes of cash that are ALL their console ports so far even believe Portal2 won't suck compared to the PC version anyway? L4D did, L4D2 does, TOB did(on every console) and so on. No, EA told him to fix it or they'd stop his doughnut shop account and he came onstage and, in fairness, was charm itself but never anything like sincere. And that summed up, to me, what E3 is-a big procession of things dressed up to be better than they are when we all know they won't be anywhere near as great when it comes to our go! And GR, FFS, don't actually print that you think giving consoles away is a good way to curry favour with your kind! I don't think I've ever read anything quite so dim in my entire life. Seriously, didn't you think how that might look? you can be effectively bought with a $300 console? Really? And you're proud enough of the fact to want to tell us all how easily prostituted your opinions are? Jesus. Anyway, I'd have picked Sony as the best of a very, very bad bunch but there were NO winners this year(like there ever can be with something so obviously subjective)but the losers were, as ever, the gamers who(and I'm guilty as hell too)expected something good and shocking but got what we always knew was coming anyway. time to kill this junket off, imho, as it;s been proven to be a poor way for these companies to get their message across. FFS Sony chose to announce all their big games EARLY and avoid doing so at E3 because it meant they, at least, had some time free in the spotlight. doesn't that tell us something? Kill off the hgames conference. A conference is too old and unweildy for today and there;s neither enough time nor enough focus for the companies to show anything great. Far better to just do single game/hardware release pieces throughout the year when things are ready than drag half the industry all the way to LA just to talk at journos who, seemingly, are only there for effin freebies in any case!
  • reaperman22 - June 16, 2010 8:22 a.m.

    i am glad that nintendo had a good one but sony has still been my favorite, the mere mention of portal 2 made it excellent plus twisted metal was cool and a ps3 game with jak and daxter as well as sly and ratchet = win for me. I still cant work out what microsoft was thinking
  • Conman93 - June 16, 2010 8:19 a.m.

    Kevin Butler was brilliant. More games should have been shown though. I was even suprised there was an infamous 2 trailer at the rate the conference was going. LBP2 looks amazing though :)
  • taterboob - June 16, 2010 8:11 a.m.

    Am I the only person who isn't goo goo over Portal? I played the first one all the way through, and I thought it was "pretty good", not "OMG it's like licking God's taint!" Valve disappointed me last year by ignoring HL2: Ep3 in favor of L4D2, and they did it again this year with Portal 2. Get on the ball, Valve!
  • Zeb364 - June 16, 2010 7:56 a.m.

    I don't like PS3 but I'm starting to warm to it a bit with the price drop and the improvement in recent exclusives but there's not too much about this that grabs my eye. Valve says that PS3 Portal 2 will be "the best console version" so it would be nice to have that version but I won't die if I get it for 360. I've missed Twisted Metal so that got my attention. After some thought so I can't help but wonder if it will be interesting at all anymore now that there are all these different arcade racers on the market, some of which I have more fun with than I did with Twisted Metal back in the day. 3D holds no appeal for me. It's like Chris always says on Talkradar "it comes back every 20 years and always dies". It's a fad. I just have one question though...when Twisted Metal was around for the Playstation Microsoft wasn't in the console gaming industry so why, 2 generations later, is it exclusive to PS3? Couldn't it just come out for both the PS3 and the 360?
  • kcypher2000 - June 16, 2010 7:41 a.m.

    Personally I would say Nintendo impressed me the most from a gamer stand point. Sure some parts were lame but over all they brought what I wanted to see the most. Games. I did like what I saw from MS in the form of AAA titles such as Halo Reach but Kinect seemed to dominate their presentation. While I was impressed that it seemed to work better than i imagined what got to me more was how much it excited my kids and wife. "OMG that would be so much easier to hook up when we have parties than the wii!" I think Sony did okay but nothing really wowed me. I liked Twisted metal blacks story but the gameplay has been subpar in that series since the original and exclusive content is nice but not E3 worthy. A beta to AC brotherhood is noteworthy on any other week but not for E3.
  • Tronto13 - June 16, 2010 7:29 a.m.

    i think this was the worst conferenve yet. When they talked about changing the psps we all must have been hoping for the psp2, what did we get? a brand new sneak peak at... a new advertising campaign. Lame. Not a great deal was new and notable, twisted metal's gameplay looked a little dull, most of the conference was blabbering on about 3D which, in my mind, is just a passing fad. As for move nothing is really very new about it and most games look a little boring. As for shooters on it i guess they would be fun for a while but the novelty would soon wear off. Also, what was with the appearence of Jerry Lambert??? He came on and did a big speach that got your hopes up for something big... again nothing happened. I was also verydissapointed to see sony cheapend itself with multiple diggs as its competitors at nintendo and microsoft. In my eyes these are unnessesary and just goes to show that nothing in the Sony show was anything to write home about.
  • Bloodstorm - June 16, 2010 7:26 a.m.

    That is the one thing I always hated more than anything when watching Sony's conference. They always went at it like they were talking to stock holders. I don't care, I don't care, I don't care. I just want to see what you are putting up against Microsoft and Nintendo. I don't need to know about you business partners. I don't care. They came out with more fight this year then that last 2, so I give them that. Nintendo showed more. Microsoft was the most relevant to me because I only have a 360 but I'm probably not going to own Kinect for a while, if ever at all. The biggest announcement there was the new Xbox 360.
  • Tazz57 - June 16, 2010 7:19 a.m.

    cmon wtf u went all easy on microsofts conference .... and you didn't even say how ugly kenict games looked ... they didn't even announce anything big that we didn't already know b4 e3 2 ...... what xbox no 3d even the ds is getting 3d this article made me sooo made ...... just cause micro gave you a new Xbox (just made it more like the ps3) u don't gotta kiss butt ........... whatever im still going 2 read your articles you guys are my freaking homepage but if your g2 be asses be asses 2 everyone.
  • Spybreak8 - June 16, 2010 6:47 a.m.

    I love how they're showing off these awesome 3D things, the 3DS and Killzone 3D, and we just have to nod and say yeah I bet it looks awesome. That said Nintendo stole the show but I enjoyed Sony's conference more than the Microsoft one. Lol I might be switching sides, I doubt it with having so many 360 games now though. Oh that Kevin Butler thing was funny and I thought yeah no CEO, marketing man should host (just look at the Ubisoft conference lol).