Trying to pick winners in ventures where art and commerce are colliding is tricky business. It’s all too easy to just go with one’s knee-jerk reaction sometimes, choose the organization that seems to have left the most bombastic impression. On the other hand, you have to keep an open mind to lasting value or overall quality in general as well. This brings us to the point at hand – GamesCom 2014 and who “won” the tradeshow, as it were. Yes, trying to pick a clear winner in these types of settings is itself somewhat murky, but hey, we’re all thinking it, right? It’s natural to try to single out the star of the show, as they say.
Having said that; many will probably be apt to see Microsoft as having “stole the show” during this year’s GamesCom, however it also could be said that they still didn’t outpace Sony’s momentum. Let’s face it, the PlayStation 4 busted out of the starting gates upon release like a juggernaut and they’re STILL selling consoles like hotcakes. Moreover, as this year’s event clearly demonstrates, Sony has an amazing assortment of titles planned for release too. We’re talking about year after year, end over end, top-flight games popping up from month to month, probably until the effective life of the console has elapsed.
This year’s standout winner, as far as games go, was Take-Two Interactive’s “Evolve”, what looks to be a most promising multiplayer experience in more ways than one. What’s odd is that most people are singularly attributing the game to Microsoft’s Xbox One, as if it were almost an exclusive or something. Naturally, Evolve will also be hitting the PlayStation 4 (as well as PC), no doubt boosting sales even further if it turns out to be as great as everything seems to think. The fact is, it just feels like this year Sony’s game lineup was incredibly strong, varied and solidly creative. You couldn’t ask for a more dynamic set of upcoming games, really. Sure, you always want one or two mega-blockbusters to flaunt (like Destiny, CoD: Advanced Warfare and others), and certainly there could have been two or more of those lurking around in this year’s assemblage.
Then of course you have to look at the Indie side of the equation; Sony has been heavily banking on the idea of increased tribute to independent developers. To date, their strategy has definitely paid off, with some of their offerings taking off and achieving a life of their own (in terms of sales). This was echoed during GamesCom 2014 quite clearly, with all sorts of interesting titles like “The Tomorrow Children” and “Volume”. It should be noted that for an increasingly growing audience of gamers on major consoles, it is the Indie library that really piques their long-term interest. For instance, just think how much of an impact Minecraft: PS4 Edition is going to make, especially with worlds that are up to 30 times+ larger than what’s found on the PS3…
Sony even won an award in the family category, taking home best game for “LittleBigPlanet 3”. That, added to the other accolades, really seems to add up to something. First off, being able to appeal to the family contingent can be a particularly profitable position to be in. One can easily see how selling millions of additional units (including software and hardware) ultimately translates into more potential research and development, and with things like Project Morpheus in the works, that might just be exactly what the doctor ordered. Speaking of Project Morpheus and the race to bring VR to mainstream gaming, it was mentioned and demoed alongside the Oculus Rift. While it actually placed a bit lower in category for best new hardware, what’s important to remember is that it definitely made a big impression upon people. Rest assured that when perfected, the technology that Sony rolls out in the virtual reality department will definitely turn some heads and perhaps even jump start a revolution in gaming altogether.
Just consider how much Sony got “right” at this year’s GamesCom. Where competing organizations like Microsoft were really just attempting to not make any mistakes, the folks behind the PS4 were actively out there kicking major ass and bringing home the bacon. If you’re easily swayed with the “feel good” story of M$ as the big “comeback kid” then that’s fine, but let’s not allow the obvious to escape us – Sony is excelling with the PS4 and seems to be able to do no wrong at this point. Additionally, as their new flagship console ages it’s going to become all the more obvious that they really know what they’re doing. All the titles revealed at this year’s GamesCom should be clear evidence of that. Sony wins by default simply because they have multiple items available in each category, each example exhibiting top shelf characteristics.