This year’s E3 was lackluster to say the least. Sony “trimmed the fat” with the Vita. Microsoft had Usher. Nintendo basically reran the tape from their 2011 conference. Ubisoft stole the show thanks to actually showing off the Wii U better than Nintendo and Watch_Dogs. Needless to say, it wasn’t a good E3.
With the next gen around the corner the hype for this year’s E3 is monumental. The focus is definitely on Sony and Microsoft but Nintendo has a lot to gain, as well. All three companies have a lot riding on E3 2013.
- Sony needs to come through the door running with their PS4 announcement. Get everything shown, give a timetable for release, and for Pete’s sake just announce the price already so the speculation and bullcrap never starts. Sony, the company itself, is in trouble. It is likely that the PS4 will be a major turning point for them and we can expect a high-end device with the lovely design the consumer giant is known for all at a competitive price. No more $599 USD memes. Also, and I can’t stress this enough, VITA VITA VITA VITA VITA VITA.
- Microsoft hasn’t has a good conference in… well, a damn long time. They like to start strong, begin to fizzle out, and then ruin everything. Drop the circus act and reveal your hand, Microsoft. The next Xbox is going to be huge on multimedia. In fact, after the reveal you might even wonder if it actually is a gaming system or not. Still, the footage they will show will be enough to spark the console war early. Microsoft isn’t in dire shape like Sony is so I’m expecting a more lax presentation to their new console.
- Nintendo‘s Wii U might be selling but the content is not there. There just isn’t enough to “sell” the console to actual owners. Why do I own this thing? That’s a question I have right now when I look at my Wii U. That is a question Nintendo will have to answer all while ensuring the 3DS continues its sales dominance with more hit games. This is going to be a challenging conference for Nintendo. While the other two are unveiling the Wii U’s new rivals, Nintendo has to reinforce their current line-up to make people want to spend more on the Wii U and not save up for a PS4 or Xbox Whatever.
So that all being said, this year’s E3 is going to be huge. It will be the longest show ever with the most titles to preview and we may even see longer conferences. In the worlds of Sony and Nintendo, they need longer conferences or at least hold private press shows that aren’t a part of E3. Sony has the new console, PS3, and Vita to support. Nintendo has the 3DS and the Wii U. Microsoft has enough time to do what they need to.
With this year’s E3 set to be the most hyped show in the history of gaming, there has to be some predictions, right? Everyone has them. We start talking about it the day after the show ends. “What are we going to see next year?!”
I have predictions for all three companies that I feel will engrave this year’s E3 as not only the best one ever but also support my tagline as it being the most important gaming conference to date.
Let’s start with Sony.
Next Gen Announcement
Let’s just get this out of the way now. We all know it’s coming. I won’t make you wait until the end of the article to read about it. Both Sony and Microsoft should be unveiling their new toys in preparation for either Holiday 2013 or Q2 or Q3 2014. So what are the announcements going to be like? One will be extravagant and the other will be alright. Sony has a lot more riding on the PS4 than Microsoft has on the next Xbox. Let’s look more into this.
Sony and the PS4
Sony’s conference is obviously going to be split up into three parts: a nice sized chunk of it will be for the PS4, a sliver will be the Ps3, and a massive chunk will be for the Vita. Sony learned their lesson with this year’s E3: the Vita needs its time in the conference.
Sony isn’t going to spend more than 5 minutes with the PS3 this year. That section will come after the PS4 just so they can say, “don’t worry, the PS3 isn’t going anywhere. We’ll continue to support it and we even have some announcements for games coming to it this year.” Cue the quick cuts of games for the PS3 this year.
The actual PS4 announcement is going to be a huge thing. Sony is going to go all out on showing off the system, some prototype games, and the thing’s features. I expect it to be able to handle 4K format, come with a gigabyte hard drive, only have one version to sell to retail, and have an emulator ready for the Cell so PS3 backwards compatibility will work. When I say “one version to sell to retail” I mean there will be one box that says PlayStation 4 and will contain every feature, the one sized hard drive, and the cables you need to use the damn thing. Sony will also have a “bundle” box that will come with a game, 3 months of the brand new PSN (see below), and a download voucher for some PSN title that will be highlighted for the PS4 launch. It will cost $50 more and that will be the extent of the retail boxes and versions for Sony this gen. THANK. GOD.
Introducing: PSN Version 2.0
Sony’s conference is going to have a lot on its plate so I’m actually thinking this will be unveiled during an online conference much like Nintendo has been doing. The PS4 announcement is going to have a lot to it but to complete the package we’ll need a bigger and better PSN. There is when Sony finally switches over to the SEN (Sony Entertainment Network) labeling, as well. The SEN will unify all of your music, movies, games, images, and videos using Gaikai’s tried-and-tested cloud systems.
You’ll either create or merge your PSN account with your new SEN account and you’ll get 10 gigs free of cloud storage with rated plans for more. You can use your PS4, Vita, or the PC/Mac to upload and download files from the SEN Cloud. Game saves will be on there, too. The coolest feature will be the ability to stream games that you buy off the SEN Store to save room on your PS4′s hard drive and not waste time downloading them. You can still download them but the ability to stream off of the improved Gaikai network will be available.
To round out the features, Sony will announce a partnership with YouTube creating a SEN version where you can record gameplay from any PS4/SEN game and either live stream your gameplay or just record them upload. Every SEN account holder will have a “SENTube” account will be accessible on the PS4, Vita, and any device that can run YouTube. There will also be a feature will spectators can go into a lobby and watch you play and record your sessions as long as you okay it. This will invigorate the console e-sports and allow Sony to become a major player in that. If Sony could then reinforce the ability to use a keyboard and mouse on the PS4 you might even see a lot more strategy and other e-sports titles make the jump over to the console space.
We’ll even see Pulse get bigger. Pulse will transform into a one-stop news hub for all things gaming. If you turn on your PS4 you can check out all the biggest headlines on Pulse before jumping into a game or watch some e-sports. I’m not talking about just Sony news, either. Pulse will basically pool together gaming stories from thousands of sources.
As you can see, I think the next iteration of PSN will be huge. It will be the center hub for the PS4 and it will actually make you want to use it. It will be useful and it will feature packed. The one thing it won’t be, however, is free. You’ll have a SEN Free account if you don’t want to pay. You won’t have access to that “SENTube”, the new Pulse, and you won’t get the Instant Game Collection and discounts that come with SEN+. Just think of SEN+ as an all features inclusive service with the free games and discounts you’ve come to love from PS+. It will be the same price as PS+ is now.
The Vita Blowout
I’ve already talked a lot about what Sony is going to do but that is just the tip of the iceberg. I really think the Vita is going to shine at next year’s E3. It was pushed away this year but the effects of that were felt. Now that the Vita is red hot with big releases coming out right after another, 2013 is extremely important for the Vita. However, it also can’t wait until June.
I expect we’ll hear from Sony sometime in February when the Vita hits one year old in North America. We’ll get a lot of announcements just to tide us over until E3 hits in the middle of the year. Come June, though, the Vita will be set for the rest of 2013 and then some.
Sony is going to spend at least an entire hour showing off the Vita, new features, updates, games, and basically reinforcing the idea that the Vita is capable of a lot more and we’re finally going to see it come to fruition.
Look for at least 20 titles to be announced with another 10 or so flashing titles to show some titles in preliminary stages of development. I think we’re going to see some Persona news (given how huge the reaction to P4G has been), Monster Hunter Freedom, inFamous, Final Fantasy (hopefully Type-0), and a lot more.
Overall, you’re going to come out of E3 2013 wanting a Vita with plenty of reasons.
Aftermath of E3
Coming out of E3, Sony will show the strongest hand and gamers will cement the company as the most ready for next gen and the Vita as a surging system worthy of a purchase. The new SEN platform will be praised and Sony’s use of Gaikai’s infrastructure will be applauded.
Why so positive? Sony needs to be. This E3 is way too important for that company to not come out of it looking like a champion. Their next gen needs to be PS2-like and that is very possible. With the way I think Microsoft is going to treat this upcoming E3 and with Nintendo already showing its full hand, Sony has the opportunity to overtake the gaming world once again.
The only complaints gamers will have after this E3 will be “I wish this game was shown/revealed.” I think that’s acceptable.
Next Prediction: Microsoft’s Conference (12/28/12)
Followed By: Nintendo’s Conference (12/29/12)