Sony has had its ups and downs for, oh, the past decade or so. In fact, exactly ten years ago, it announced the PlayStation 3’s pricing at E3 with perhaps one of the most embarrassing pressers of all time (we’ll always remember you, Giant Enemy Crab). That the company has transitioned from a laughing stock to the most dominant console manufacturer worldwide is no small matter.
Last year the PlayStation 4 felt like it was laying low with a few major exclusives like Bloodborne, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and Until Dawn. There were still plenty of titles (some available on PC) that weren’t available for any other console but the PS4. Games like Rocket League, Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, The Talos Principle, Journey, Helldivers and many more found their audiences and became fairly successful.
This year, Sony is striking back in a big way. Not only have Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, The Witness and Ratchet & Clank lived up to the hype but there are plenty more exclusives to come. That’s not even including PlayStation VR or that other big hardware announcement rumoured to be happening at E3.
We might as well get this out of the way.
The PS4 NEO is the codename for a rumoured, upgraded PS4 that features an improved CPU, more memory bandwidth and twice the GPU power. This allows it to upscale games to 4K and will likely improve the performance of current games. Thus far, it doesn’t seem to be a replacement for the base PS4 console as much as a better experience. Think of the introduction of 4K TVs when HDTVs were still dominant. It’s just something that will make your current (and upcoming) games look better, except without the price disparity between the mentioned TV types.
Rumours indicate that the PS4 NEO will cost $399 to $499 and apparently boost the capabilities of VR titles as well. Again, there’s been next to no confirmation that any of this is being confirmed at E3 2016 but the sheer volume of rumours and teases leading up to it doesn’t dismiss its existence.
The Exclusives and The Future
Sony has had a bad habit of showing us games that don’t release any time soon. The Last Guardian, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Media Molecule’s Dreams are some examples. That being said, the benefit of taking its sweet time with releases means they’ll pretty much dominate a single release period.
The Last Guardian is scheduled to release this year with new information promised at E3. Despite rumours of Horizon: Zero Dawn being delayed, it’s still on track for 2016 as well. We haven’t heard nearly enough about when Dreams or Final Fantasy 7 Remake will be out but it’s safe to assume that the latter will at least arrive by December if it doesn’t move into early 2017.
Gran Turismo Sport will arrive in November, thus providing some competition to Microsoft’s next Forza. There are also games like Ni no Kuni 2 which we’ve yet to hear more information about but that will likely be a GDC or Tokyo Game Show title rather than an E3 showpiece. Also, whatever happened to Detroit: Become Human? It’s looking like a 2017 title at this point but expect gameplay footage this year at E3. Is it also too much to ask for gameplay from Uncharted 4’s first and only single player DLC? Probably.
That’s also not taking into account the exclusivity agreements that Sony have in place for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Destiny which will influence hardcore fans enough in the beginning to have an impact on the long term. Or the new games that Sony could potentially announce. On paper, 2016 is looking like a solid year for Sony and barring any of the above exclusives disappointing us astronomically, there’s more than enough reason to favour the PS4 heading into E3.
If that weren’t enough, Sony will also have PlayStation VR launching in October. E3 is expected to be the day it finally provides a release day for the $399 headset, which will be the cheapest in terms of VR options in the market.
Despite Sony beating us to death with VR titles at the PlayStation Experience last year, it has a fairly strong line-up of exclusives heading to the PlayStation VR. This includes Ace Combat 7, DriveClub, Gran Turismo Sport, Golem, Rez Infinite, Star Wars Battlefront VR, Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, Robinson: The Journey and so on. Not all of these will necessarily be launch titles but expect plenty of them to have an appearance at E3.
The running concern is that Sony doesn’t attempt to over-bloat its presser with too many announcements across such a wide spectrum. Then again, with PlayStation VR being so important at this stage, it’s all the more likely that a significant amount of time is occupied by its games on stage. Let’s just hope we get the very best of the best and not The Modern Zombie Taxi Co. again.
All in all, it’s looking like one of Sony’s better E3 showings, though we’re sure it will still be full of the usual prolonged speeches. Expect indie game showcases, something to remind you that the PlayStation Vita is still a thing and plenty of reminders about who’s the dominant console player in the market. At least this year we can look forward to games that will actually be out within the next six months.