That Time Sony Ruined E3 Presentations Forever
We're right in the middle of E3 2021, so there's no better time to remember the greatest presentation in the history of the event:
… and why the pure joy running through those people during a presentation will never be felt again.
Truth is, there's nothing truly unique about Half-Life 2's panel from '03. It's just a guy talking over the first live gameplay look at the most mind-blowing gameplay anyone had ever seen to that point. Except that nowadays, you mostly get this:
Sure, we naturally enjoy watching the occasional murder of an innocent creature, but that's just a pre-rendered trailer. We want gameplay. We want to know we could be the ones swallowing that poor fairy. Nobody wants a sterile video that, for most of its run time, just threatens you with the likelihood of a new Shrek movie.
And before you say "Stupid Microsoft!" you should know that it's Sony that you should be blaming for all of this. Back in '05, Sony had to get people hyped for the upcoming PS3, which didn't mix well with the fact that they had nothing to show for it. Unable to skip the event or to ask for more time, they pulled a "miracle" and showed shit beyond anyone's dreams.
That still looks impressive nowadays, and it's not even in 720p. It seemed hard to believe, sure, but how could anyone call it fake when no one knew the real capabilities of this new mysterious hardware?
But yeah, most of it was fake as hell. Some of the trailers, like the one for the cinematic action game Eight Days, didn't even bother making it look like gameplay and just plastered random HUD and a crosshair over the most obviously pre-rendered footage.
And if that pissed-off players, imagine how the developers must have felt seeing Sony showing off their games before they even existed.
And it was a pretty good con. So good, in fact, that it was the first step to Sony's victory in Console War 3 and a move that a lot of publishers turned into a trend. Too bad it also completely ruined everyone's enjoyment of video game presentations by instilling an unshakable distrust towards any presentation that looked anything over "Okay, not bad."
And in all honesty, Microsoft doesn't deserve all the shade we gave it here. We threw them under the bus there just to create a neat twist. In reality, they deserve our respect for daring to show actual live gameplay of an embarrassing product instead of just taking everyone on a cartoon-esque lie.
Top Image: Sony Computer Entertainment