PSX 2015 Keynote Gripes

Last weekend Sony hosted their 2nd annual Playstation Experience (PSX) event in San Francisco to thousands of attendees. I was lucky enough to be able to make the trip over to San Francisco to attend. What would Sony unveil during their keynote on Saturday? Would they discuss backwards compatibly with the PS2? Would Sony’s flagship series God of War finally get an announcement for it’s fourth installment? After queuing in line for nearly two hours along with countless others, I sat down to listen to just what Sony had in store for us.

There’s no mistaking where Sony’s focus was at this event. The Playstation VR received a lot of attention during the keynote, featuring a lackluster live demo as well as several games to be released later next year. Most notably was the announcement of Rez Infinite, Sega’s on-rails techno shooter originally released for the Sega Dreamcast. Ubisoft’s Eagle Flight also looked promising, though there was only a short video shown. The live Playstation VR demo itself was a disaster to say the least. Ironically, the developer admitted to the difficulties of demonstrating a virtual reality game. There may be some great experiences to come from Playstation VR, but this demo only served to illustrate it’s limitations and reinforce the idea that virtual reality just isn’t ready for prime time yet.

Sony quietly announced this feature before the show, but I expected a massive announcement detailing available games and the option to use you’re already purchased PS2 discs to download those games from PSN. What I got was a whole lot of nothing in that respect, in fact there was no time at all during the keynote dedicated to this feature. Wandering around on the show floor, I found a section of PS4 systems with a number of PS2 games running on them. It turns out that Sony has released a limited number of games via the PSN store priced somewhere between $9.99 – $14.99. At this time there is no option to insert an already purchased copy of one of these games and download it to your system, you’ll have to pay for these games again as digital purchases.

As expected, the opening part of the keynote focused on Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End but other than that there wasn’t much in the way of AAA announcements. Sony’s strategy of backing key multi-platform AAA games is obviously paying off, with the Call of Duty series making it’s new home on PS4, and Star Wars: Battlefront on PS4 accounting for more players than on both PC and Xbox One combined. Still though, I’m a little concerned there isn’t more in the way of AAA exclusives being released outside of Uncharted 4 and the new Ratchet and Clank next year so far. The slightest tease of Kratos would have gone far to silence those concerns.

This year’s keynote was light on huge announcements compared to last year’s exciting reveals. Uncharted 4 and the new Final Fantasy VII remake definitely stole the spotlight outside of the Playstation VR headset. While there was some great support for the PS Vita, it was light on any exclusives that might push the hardware in new directions. Sadly, the PS Vita has for the most part been relegated to a cross-over platform and not a home for new titles to grow on. Hopefully in the coming weeks we’ll get more information on Sony’s long term PS2 backwards compatibility support and just maybe something related to God of War 4 by the time E3 comes around.

*Let me know in the comments what you thought of Sony’s Playstation Experience keynote! Look for more posts in the coming week related to Playstation Experience!

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