Amid a number of criticised E3 press conferences this year, it's generally accepted Sony's showcase had accumulated the most praise of the three platform holders. The real question is whether it would have emerged on top if the likes of Microsoft and Nintendo had not failed so alarmingly.
To examine Sony's strategy a little deeper, CVG spoke with Sony's European CEO Jim Ryan.
David Cage's Beyond was my highlight of the show, and I was a big fan of Heavy Rain - do you think it will dodge the criticism of being too much like a film and not enough like a game?
RYAN: I think, based on what we saw yesterday, that it will answer a lot of those criticisms. While it will keep a lot of the unique qualities that Heavy Rain had, I think you're going to see a little more action than what was in the previous game.
It was a strong line-up overall but, looking at both the Microsoft and Sony conferences, I got the sense of very mature machines and very confident developers - but also that it's the sunset for these games and that we're effectively in a holding pattern for what comes next. Would you say that's fair?
RYAN: No. I don't think that's the case. What struck me listening to the conference was the sheer amount of innovation - at our conference at least. I think that's really indicative of a platform that's got a long way to go yet. I wouldn't agree with your assertion at all really.
There was talk floating around that Sony had a couple of versions of the press conference ready to deploy depending on what Microsoft showed. Is that how it works?
RYAN: No, we had our plan and a clear idea of what we wanted to show and we stuck to it. Judging from the reactions of the people that were there, and I was right at the back, it was pretty well received I think.
Can you give us some sort of insight as to how you decide what's going to be shown, and what's going to be kept back. How do you select the running order? It's almost like building a playlist for a girlfriend or something...
RYAN: It's like how a band chooses the sequence of songs that they play at a gig. Pace is one thing, variety is another - you want to finish it off with a big bang at the end, but equally you want to start it off with something that catches people's attention and captivates. I think we've done both things. There's obviously meat in the middle, where there are matters of deeper platform-strategy substance - and we did that too. I think they managed it very well.
It's good to see some strong third party exclusives in the form of Assassin's Creed Liberation and Black Ops Declassified, but I was expecting more of a push of first party titles. Can you tell me where you are in terms of first party and Vita?
RYAN: We obviously launched Vita with a very strong launch line-up, easily the strongest of any other platform that I've been involved with - and that's all of them. As you say though, there's still a lot of content to come. We have Little Big Planet to come, and then on the third party side FIFA, BioShock, Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed. So, in my mind it's a line-up of real quality - and a good balance across various genres.
Going back to the play-list analogy, what was the thinking behind not showing, say, the Black Ops game on Vita at the conference?
RYAN: That's obviously an Activision game, and it's very much a complicated discussion between Sony and Activision - over what's ready to be shown, and what can be shown. I wasn't actually involved in those discussions but from what I hear the game is looking great. It's fantastic that it's coming at Christmas time, and I think that it's going to provide a huge stimulus for the platform.