E3: Should Sony fire Kevin Butler?

So with E3 coming next week, I thought I’d start making some pre-E3 blog posts — one per console manufacturer, per day, and one on devoted to third parties. I’m starting with Sony, possibly the console manufacturer with the most to prove this year.

We’ve seen a lot of speculation on how Sony will react to the PlayStation Network fiasco. The company is just now finally getting the PS Store online sometime this week, just under the wire before the press conference. Obviously, they have to address the problem somehow.

So what route are they going to take? A somber tone? A new apology? Jack Tretton’s trademark self-effacing humor? I have to say that I really like Tretton as a presenter. I think he’s the strongest front-man of the Big Three. He can market products without making it seem like marketing, and his tone always sounds sincere instead of like a pitch-man — which is the exact problem for Microsoft and Nintendo, but I’ll get to that later.

But I’m not sure that even Tretton can diffuse that particular tension in the room. One of the odder suggestions I’ve heard is that Sony make a big display of firing Kevin Butler. Not actor Jerry Lambert, mind you, but the character of Kevin Butler, but it’s effectively the same thing. He’s been conspicuously absent since the network went down, because a character based on being comically arrogant was the last thing they needed. Even before that, he was running out of steam. I could see Sony doing this, but I think they can’t leave it there. If they do “fire” Kevin Butler, it should be after the sincere apology and a short mention of the improvements they’ve made. Making a gag of what will probably be the biggest game story of the year isn’t a great idea.

In other areas of the Sony front, I’m not sure what to expect. They’ll trot out Uncharted 3 and Resistance 3. We might finally see Sly 4. I’m sure we’ll get a few surprise bits of software, and Sony has been cozying up to third parties with exclusive content lately. Other than that, the focus will be NGP (or probably the “Vita”). So far everything we’ve seen indicates that it’s following the PSP script, verbatim, so they’ll have a long way to go to convince us that this won’t just repeat its mistakes.

That will be my major point of interest. If Sony is going to stake this year on their next handheld, convince us that it won’t be like their last handheld.

  • So Skarlet is made of blood, I guess? I still wish I knew for sure if this was being included in the Klassic costume DLC, and NetherRealm hasn’t been getting back to be about that. Who am I kidding, though? I’ll probably get both.
  • Nice to see Square directly addressing some of the 3DS’ unique features with this Heroes of Ruin RPG. A social element in a rogue-like seems like a proper evolution for that genre.
  • Why is Nintendo releasing repackaged copies of years-old games without a price drop? What the heck?
  • So not only are a giant blue hedgehog and a pudgy plumber competing in the 2012 Olympics, Sega is making a for-serious gametoo. It is so for-serious, in fact, that the full title is… London 2012: The  Official Video Game of the Olympic Games.

I didn’t write this story, but this LA Noire pass sounds pretty cool. I think I’m going to pick up some PSN points this week to prepare for MK DLC, so I’ll pick this up too. I may not keep my credit card off PSN forever, but for at least a little while. I need to pick up some Nintendo points for the 3DS eShop launch too. If they offer Link’s Awakening, I’m almost certainly going to bite. 

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