Why did Sony and Playstation 4 win E3 2013?

E3 2013, has come and gone, and in its wake comes a heavy barrage of event coverage, from interviews, videos, and sneak previews to flashy hour long press conferences. However, in many ways E3 is always about the one top story, the big story that answers the one question: who won E3?

This year, it's unanimous: the big winner of E3 was Sony. Surprisingly enough, they did not get there because of games, traditionally known as their forte. Sony revealed many games for their current consoles, the Vita and the Playstation 3. They also put the spotlight on many upcoming Playstation 4 games, most notably The Order: 1886. However, Microsoft stole the rug from under them when they revealed Metal Gear Solid V first, and many argue they boast a more solid first party game lineup. Nintendo can even brag that the Wii U has the most exclusive games for their console coming out of the big three.

Furthermore, Sony had many other features to brag about their new console. At long last, Sony will finally converge their businesses and release Sony Entertainment media digitally on the Playstation 4. They talked big about harnessing the power of cloud gaming, using acquisition Gaikai to make it possible to start playing games even as you are still downloading them. They also sold the new controller, and made a big show of revealing the design of the console itself. However, none of these came out as the big talking point after E3.

So if none of these sold consumers on the Playstation 4, what was it?

Near the end of their presentation, SCEA (Sony Computer Entertainment America) CEO Jack Tretton came out with a simple message heard loud and clear: NO USED GAMES DRM on the Playstation 4. Playstation 4 owners would be allowed to sell their old games, trade it in, lend it to friends without restrictions. This was the big news that had fans rejoicing and thanking Sony over the weekend.

Why was this such a big deal in the first place, though? Isn't this no different than how they're treating used games and online gaming now?

The answer to that comes when you look at the entirety of E3, and really, the state of next gen gaming. The state of used games became a talking point the years leading up to this event, as video game developers complained that the sale of used games was eating away at their profits. Furthermore, people were starting to look at Valve's online game distribution service Steam, and how it effectively killed off the practice of trading and selling used games.

As Sony and Microsoft were silently developing their upcoming game consoles, pressure was coming from their third party developers to do something about used game sales. The two companies reacted to this situation in polar opposite ways. Whereas Sony kept generally mum on the matter and gave the rote answer that they were undecided, Microsoft hit gamers with the revelation that they were entering used games DRM into the console.

Microsoft's implementation of used games DRM was not going to be all bad, but it was all for nothing in many gamer's eyes. Fans and journalists alike called Microsoft out for attempting to infringe upon consumer rights with their new policies, prompting the creation of a fan campaign to boycott their upcoming console, the Xbox One. In parallel, a similar campaign arose to communicate with the people at Sony that they did not want the Playstation 4 to have the same policies. All of a sudden, gamers were unsure if they were still going to own their games, or if they were going to license them from developers moving forward.

And it was under these circumstances that Sony came out as the hero, confirming that they did listen to the fans, and that they were not going to make any changes to how their users were going to own their games from before. Furthermore, they announced the Playstation 4's launch price at $ 399, $ 100 less than the Xbox One. This immediately tipped the scales to Sony's advantage, as they now had everyone's attention. Preorder sales for Playstation 4 literally beat old records, and retailers like Gamestop, that literally relied on used games to fund their business, were suddenly no longer taking preorders for the Xbox One.

Exactly a month after they announced these features, Microsoft came out in their official blog to reveal that they too had listened. They decided to take back all their new used games policies, including onerous details like 24 hour online check ins, and that they were going back to the way games were before. While gaming fans were happy that both companies eventually listened, the advantage has now swung completely towards Sony, fresh off the momentum of their E3 victory.

Written by: Ryan P., Philippines

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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

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