Our E3 Press Conference predictions continue! Today, we're looking at what might happen at the Sony Press Conference.
It’s put up or shut up time for Sony, and I think as a result, they will work the hardest to own the show at E3 this year. Beating Microsoft won't be easy, but I think they'll come out swinging with game announcements.
The biggest win I think that Sony could have is to lower the price of the PS3. It's not a "lock" though. Some early evidence is showing up in Best Buy computer inventories that indicate Sony will not lower the price of the PlayStation 3. However, based on these inventory items, it’s looking like they’ll add free games to the package, rather than move on price. In my opinion, that’ll be a shame, but at a minimum, I expect the price to be lowered by the end of the year. I expect Microsoft to follow suit with any price drops, although it’s my assumption that Microsoft is waiting for Sony to lower their price first.
The other big rumor is that a new disc-less PlayStation Portable is in the works. I think this new PSP will be shown, and hopefully be quite small, with controls that slide out. It'd be nice if it featured dual analog sticks, but I wouldn't even place even money on that.
If a new PSP is announced, and it doesn’t have a UMD drive, Sony will have to show consumers that they’re allowing the entire PSP library to be played on the device. This would require conversion systems – from UMD to internal memory. Will there be in-store kiosks that support this?
Regardless of whether or not a new PSP is being announced, we will see many new PSP games which have only seen brief mentions thus far. I expect that we’ll hear about PSP games like the PSP Soul Calibur, Little Big Planet, Gran Tourismo, MotorStorm: Arctic Edge and many more.
The PlayStation 3 will see many game announcements this year. I can't even begin to guess at what secret items may be announced, but I do know we'll see something about the following games:
Heavy Rain will be shown. I hope that Heavy Rain will be playable on the show floor, but the nature of the game may be better served by only allowing scripted demos. If Heavy Rain is playable, you can bet that journalists will be waiting in long lines to see this hotly anticipated title. Rumors as of today seem to indicate that the game is coming out this year.
Lately, 2K Games and RockStar have been a little non-commital when asked for comment on the PS3 and Grand Theft Auto. Can we therefore expect some manner of exclusive, or a release of the existing Xbox 360 downloadable episodes? I think it's a possibility.
We haven't heard much about the new Gran Tourismo – will this FINALLY be shown? God of War III will likely be playable on the show floor this year. I'm willing to bet that Sony will put major resources toward completing GoW III by this Holiday season. Uncharted 2 has been shown privately a few times now, and it has also shown up in a few trailers. Sony will announce a playable version of Uncharted 2 will be on the show floor.
Final Fantasy XIII should be shown during the Sony press conference, but I'm not certain on this, given the odd association the game now has with the Xbox 360.
The real news on the RPG front will be the MMORPG (MMO - action?) The Agency. We have heard virtually nothing about this game since its announcement, I get the feeling that we'll be seeing a LOT more about this game in the near future, perhaps even with a trailer during the press conference.
Could Sony announce a Warhawk sequel? It seems possible, given the success of the original, and that it's been over a year with no word on continuing the series. Perhaps we'll also hear something about a new SOCOM game, or further details on MAG (Massive Action Game)
Something branded Metal Gear Solid will be shown. There have been a number of teasers for something Big Boss related on the Kojima Productions web site, and I think that Sony will play up this new (probably expansion) game for the PS3. Now, I may have this backwards; perhaps the big suprise this year is that the Xbox 360 is getting some Metal Gear Solid action this year, but I think it's unlikely. Because the engine is already developed for the PlayStation, it'd be easier to expand the product line than to make a new game on the Xbox.
One of the "big three" mascot powered action/adventure games will be shown. Sly Cooper, Ratchet and Clank, Jak and Daxter all lit up sales charts during the PS2 era, and I can't imagine that we won't see something on that front. Narrowing that down a bit, we've already seen two Ratchet and Clank games on the PlayStation 3, so I think that we won't hear about that game.
Home will have a muted presence at the show. One or two small announcements to show that they still “care” about the service. I expect that we'll see more on cross-game voice chat, cross-game invites, etc in the XMB to match the services present on Xbox Live.
Some rumors indicate a smaller PS3 and lower price. While I've commented on the price change (a good idea, hope it happens), I'm not sold on the "Slim PS3" rumor. Guess we'll see at the show!
Potential For Surprise
Exclusives, Exclusives, Exclusives. Just a week or two ago, we learned that Sony has locked away a timed exclusive on Ghostbusters. Now, this very behaviour was something that Sony decried Microsoft for doing last year (and the year before). I think by this time, Sony has probably wisened up, and will hype up some exlcusive titles coming out for the PS3. I think there will be at least a few suprise announcements, and although I expect Microsoft to have one, I'm really expecting Sony to bring the pain on this one - you'll want to own a PS3 by the time their press conference is done.
The Sony equivalent of Xbox Live Anywhere was briefly introduced at the last E3, I wonder if we'll see anything else about this at this year's E3.
I also think that this would be a good time for Sony to introduce some manner of streaming services to the PlayStation 3, like BlockBuster on Demand, or something similar. Perhaps streaming radio, like they have on PSP.
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