Even though the idea of any particular company “winning” E3 is dumb – especially since the actual E3 awards come down to individual games more often than not – Sony was largely considered to have won E3 2013. It wasn’t simply its game announcements or indie policies but the ultimate reveal of the PlayStation 4’s design and price, along with it sticking to a conventional used game policy that propelled Sony into the lead. Now that the next-gen console release hype has died down somewhat, what will Sony be offering PlayStation 4 users this year (and beyond) in terms of games and services?
Expected Game Announcements
Make no mistake, it seems that the next Uncharted will finally be unveiled at E3 2014. There isn’t much we know about it other than analyst Thuway classifying it as simply unbelievable to behold, but when it comes to Naughty Dog and Uncharted, the team rarely disappoints. From Software’s Project Beast will also be unveiled and will serve as an exclusive to the PS4. The Dark Souls developer first started out on its action RPG nightmare romp with Demon’s Souls on the PS3 – will it be able to replicate the same magic and simultaneously forge a new path forwards?
Other developers that are expected to reveal various new AAA titles include Sony Bend, Guerilla Games, Media Molecule and Quantic Dream. Media Molecule is especially intriguing because we haven’t seen much from the LittleBigPlanet studio since their weird puppet show with Move controllers in February 2013. Maybe LBP will make a triumphant return and honestly, we wouldn’t mind one bit. Quantic Dream is rumoured to be revealing Singularity, its next adventure title based on the “Kara” tech demo and using the same engine showcased at E3 2013 during The Dark Sorcerer trailer. The studio’s last project Beyond: Two Souls wasn’t quite the step up many of us expected, especially after the middling Heavy Rain but we’ll wait and see Singularity before casting judgement.
Other games expected to make appearances include several previously announced titles like The Order: 1886, The Last of Us: Remastered and DriveClub. Expect some cameos from PS4-bound indie titles like Hotline Miami 2 and Everybody Goes to the Rapture, along with some new footage of Jonathan Blow’s The Witness on top of that.
But the one game that’s still up in the air is The Last Guardian. It’s been rumoured to make an appearance at E3 for several years but we’ve seen neither hide nor hair of the same. Recent rumours indicate that it might appear at E3 2014 but who can really tell? Again, take it with a grain of salt, sit back and initiate a polite golf clap if it indeed is unveiled.
PS4 VR Headset
This should be interesting, especially because we’re unsure what Oculus Rift’s E3 presence will be like (since when has Facebook been to E3 anyway?). There are several titles expected to be showcased with Sony’s VR headset, including Couch Knight and The Deep.
We expect Sony will showcase the device further and maybe announce a prospective release window – perhaps late 2015 – but we’d be surprised if a price point was given. Stranger things have happened admittedly – the question is, what price will Sony eventually settle on?
It will be interesting if Sony showcased how the headset will work with the PS Vita since it reportedly supports the handheld. PS4 and Move usage will probably be showcased and games like Thief are likely to be on the show floor for players to try so we’ll see find out how the performance, lag and frame rate has been improved from the initial reveal.
PlayStation Now is arguably one of Sony’s biggest risks yet. It will allow for game streaming through the Cloud (via Gaikai) and allow consumers to play PS3 games on the PS4. You’ll also be able to stream games to your Vita, thus not only enabling backwards compatibility on the PS4 but allowing you to take your games on the go. This will eventually pave the way for streaming PlayStation games to various smart devices like tablets, smartphones, smart TVs and more. Will PS4 games also be on the cards? That remains to be seen.
PS Now will ultimately be a premium service that must be paid for to access. Will you be able to individually buy the PS3 games or subscribe to a package deal for several different choices? Will you receive discounts for games you already own? What kind of prices will be on offer? E3 2014 is a great place to explain all this and reveal the supposed “hundreds of games” that the service will offer at launch.
This will all take an inordinate amount of investment on Sony’s part and the company is already losing a ton of money despite strong console and software sales. The success of game streaming services like OnLive also makes us wonder whether PlayStation Now will really pan out in the long run. Remember when Sony wanted to make 3D gaming a thing? Here’s hoping that PS Now (and to a larger extent, the VR Headset) doesn’t end up in the same way.
All the Rest Starring PS Vita, Move, the Indies and More
Sony made a tremendous push for indie developers when the PS4 was being hyped up and while we have no doubt that indie titles will be showcased at the media briefing, it feels like they’ve only been filling the spaces between the AAA announcements. E3 2014 will be all about the big names and hopefully, the indies won’t be overshadowed.
What won’t be overshadowed is the PS Vita. What is it at this point? A vehicle for indie games? Sony’s handheld console? A device for Remote Playing PS4 games? An outlet to access titles from PS Now via the Cloud? Original titles for the Vita have become less and less of a big deal over the years outside of Japan. Expect this trend to continue, for better or worse.
PlayStation Move used to be a big deal. Even as Kinect is decoupled from the Xbox One, it’s still a significantly bigger motion controller compared to Move. Like the Vita, it’s seemingly just floating about in the industry.
Finally, expect some announcement regarding PlayStation Originals, Sony’s TV programming content. Powers is intriguing obviously but it will be great if a few details are provided regarding further programming along with its expected arrival. We can only hope it doesn’t become a big center-piece at Sony’s E3 media briefing.
Sony’s E3 2014 conference will be taking place on June 9th at 6 PM PST. What are you looking forward to seeing? Let us know in the comments.