It appears that Sony aims to dip their chocolate hardware reveal into my peanut butter preview preview. The February 20th meeting will introduce the next Playstation to the world with little time to spare. Like Nintendo, Sony has endured a series of hard knocks. The Vita market continues to reel in the face of smartphones and tablets while third-party games flourish on other consoles thanks to Sony’s Cell Processor. But with a new console comes a new outlook on life (Vita) for Sony. And with any luck, a streamlined, home entertainment experience will pull together more good ideas than bad.
The Future of Sony…
Sony has already allowed the February 20th announcement to blow up into a mini E3, which isn’t close to what we’ll get to see. We can expect a physical PS4 on display along with the controller and, if Sony is taking this whole gaming thing seriously, a couple of game trailers. Past experience would suggest nameless tech demos with rubber duckies or non-playable trailers. We’ll also get our first look of the game streaming service that will include most of the PS1, PS2, and PSP catalogue. The 800-hundred-pound-chicken-dog in the room that still needs to be addressed is The Last Guardian. After months of silence, Team Ico designer, Fumito Ueda, made a suspicious online comment recently letting everyone know that the game still exists and that he is still overseeing the game’s completion. Other potential games include the new project that Guerilla Games has been working on since 2011 (NOT a Killzone) as well as Sucker Punch’s next project, the rule of three dictating a third entry in the inFamous series.
Fast forward to E3, after Sony dances around performance figures and dizzying game montages, the real announcements begin. PS4 will get two launch SKUs (a 500GB model and a 1TB model) priced at $399.99 and $499.99 respectively. A release date of November 19th would follow suit with previous fall launches for Sony consoles and will lead handsomely into Black Friday.
Playstation Plus will be reworked into a vital source of revenue. By not charging a fee for online play, Sony left a ton of money on the table this past generation. They’ve done an excellent job of building value with the Playstation Plus subscription, and they will push to add more features, like their alleged streaming service and “true” cross-play with Vita, with an increase in priceto $60.00 or $70.00 per year.
The Vita will also become ingrained in the Playstation ecosystem. A price drop seems inevitable at this point considering its poor reception and lack of software support. A $200.00 Wi-Fi package with a download code for Killzone: Mercenaries and three months of Playstation Plus is a good start. The device could also find a permanent home as a tablet controller for the PS4. The Nintendo model is nothing new to Sony’s R&D division after releasing their plagiarized Wiimotes—picture asynchronous gameplay with one player using the Vita screen while everyone else uses the TV.
Keep in mind that the larger third-party developers will have shows of their own during E3, so they may opt to present just one game apiece. Activision will show Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4. EA will trot out Madden 14, and Ubisoft will go in-depth with Watch Dogs. Square Enix may reveal the rumored Legacy of Kain: War for Nosgoth; it is the only major franchise they acquired from Eidos that hasn’t received a proper reboot. Konami will reveal the worst kept secret in games with Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes and Phantom Pains actually being Metal Gear Solid V—“Ground Zeroes” referring to the character of Agent Zero and the simultaneous launch of both games on PS3 and PS4.
And the rest…
Uncharted 4: The Adventures of Young Sully-Fall 2014
Patapon 4-Fall of 2013
Tear Away-Fall 2013
Whatever Ruin Turns Into-Spring 2014
Vince Zampella and Jason West’s secret project-Fall 2013
COMING UP NEXT TIME!: Microsoft’s New Console Watches You Sleep!