E3 is just around the corner and it promises to be the best in recent years. With Sony working from a position of strength, Microsoft looking to win gamers over, Nintendo ready to unleash their cast of stars and the third parties looking to build for a new generation we’re in for an exciting time. Don’t forget the vibrant and interesting PC scene either – we haven’t! Join us then as we look at all the parties involved, starting with Sony who we expect to put the PS4 front and center…
Sony came out swinging in February with a conference that made all the right noises. They were incredibly smart to concentrate on the hardcore gaming demographic; it was exactly what gamers wanted to hear. In hindsight, now that we have seen Microsoft’s entertainment-heavy reveal of the Xbox One it seems like an even smarter move. However, it does leave Sony in a slightly awkward position – while the big M will be all about the games at E3, Sony are going to have to show us what their own black box is capable of. For starters; we need to see the actual machine. We can tell from the vague teaser trailer released that the machine will unsurprisingly be black like the Xbox One – it’s also safe to say from the close up shots of machine parts it will probably be bloody ugly. Sega and Nintendo long-held the accolade of beautiful machine designs; Sony and Microsoft have never got it right the first time. Expect George Foreman Grill II: This Time Its Personal.
Microsoft showed off the speed at which the Xbox One can switch between different tasks; Sony need to show off the Playstation 4 in a similar way. We need to see more of what the PS4’s own Kinect-like camera can do in conjunction with the controller; we need hard information on its entertainment capabilities and we need to know how big its hard drive will be. Xbox One’s 500GB seems a little stingy by today’s standards, could we see PS4 stretching to a terabyte? The problem with keeping this information withheld in February means that important stage time that could have been dedicated to games will instead have to be dedicated to the arguably tedious ins and outs that aren’t nearly as exciting. The tech heads among us won’t mind, but its doubtful your average gamer will be happy.
Another important aspect that Sony will have to tackle in the wake of Microsoft’s clusterfuck of press misinformation and confusion – is the PS4 always online? Does it have DRM to block used games, and will Sony be charging a used game fee as the Xbox One is purported to do? Sony may feel that they have dodged a bullet by leaving Microsoft to take all the initial flak on these subjects; but make no mistake – questions will be asked; and concrete answers must be provided. It would also be nice to get official confirmation that the PS4 will be available in all territories by the end of the year. Sure, we’ve had the leaked adverts that show its coming to Europe; but a black and white announcement would be very welcome for less media-savvy types who might not have heard yet.
Show Us The Games!
So – the games. Sony have already given us some hefty franchises to sink our teeth into at their reveal event. Expect more from Killzone: Shadow Fall, Infamous: Second Son, Knack and Drive Club. Most, if not all of these should be playable in some form. Bungie have confirmed hands-on gameplay time with Destiny, and you can bet they will be slanted more towards the Sony camp as they were at the reveal. We will undoubtedly be seeing more of Watch_Dogs; but whether or not this will be at Sony’s event or Ubisoft’s own keynote remains to be seen – we’re betting on the latter. We have not yet had word on any of Sony’s other big IPs – we are hoping to see at least one next-gen reveal at E3. Whether it be Uncharted 4, LittleBigPlanet 3, or at a stretch a new God of War (unlikely so close to the release of Ascension) we don’t know, but we wouldn’t bet against at least one big unveiling.
In the wake of Microsoft’s announcement of fifteen exclusive games including eight new IPs; Sony are going to have to show us some pretty damn special exclusives to entice gamers that are as-yet undecided. With the two machines being near identical this generation; it is arguably more important than ever to secure massive, “Triple A” exclusives to win the fight for consumers’ wallets. Sony are well-known for being the company that buys up studios and releases the most exclusive franchises (Nintendo excluded); so it will be interesting to see if they can match Microsoft in terms of sheer numbers.
Don’t Forget The PS3
Amongst all the excitement for the Playstation 4; we mustn’t forget the humble PS3. The Last of Us will be mere days from release come E3, but will probably still have a presence at the show. More pertinently; we should get to see some more of the last two PS3 exclusives – Gran Turismo 6 and Beyond: Two Souls. The latter in particular has us frothing at the mouth, but GT6 is by far the bigger proposition. It may have had its thunder stolen by Forza in the last few years but it still shifts silly numbers with each release.
Much like Microsoft, Sony have a hell of a lot to show this year. Its shaping up to be their strongest E3 yet; and we can’t wait to see what surprises they have in store for us.
– Matt Reynolds. Give him a follow on Twitter @thelostmoment