Sony’s E3 press conference kicks off at 12:30am GMT on Tuesday, June 11th, and it’s fair to say that it’s one of the most anticipated events in the platform holder’s history. We know for certain that the final PlayStation 4 design will be shown during the conference, and many fans will be hoping that we also learn how much the console will cost and when exactly in 2013 it will be released. My prediction is that it will be released in North America, Europe and Japan sometime between October 25th and November 25th, but I think stock will be limited at first due to production shotages so pre-ordering a system will be essential if you want to walk away with a shiny PS4 on day one.
If Sony’s conference is around one and a half hours long as many people expect, then I’m expecting about 45 minutes of the event to be dedicated to general announcements and trailers for unannounced games, and the other half to consist of developers giving live gameplay demonstrations for some of the launch PS4 titles and perhaps even major PS3 games coming out this year such as Beyond: Two Souls or Gran Turismo 6.
Many PlayStation fans are looking forward to hearing what the future of the PlayStation Plus subscription service holds and I’m definitely one of them! Sony will almost certainly announce some new additions to PS Plus’ Instant Game Collection which will be available to download when the PS Store updates next week. These games will replace the first wave of IGC titles which were announced during E3 2012 such as inFAMOUS 2 and LittleBigPlanet 2. The big question on everyone’s lips is how will PS Plus change (if at all) in relation to PS4 – will we get free PS4 games just by having an existing subscription (as is the case with PS Vita) or will we need to pay extra? Will full PS4 games be included in the deal? Will there be different tiers of PlayStation Plus in the future and will subscribers be able to select a certain number of games from a list instead of Sony choosing all the IGC titles for us? Hopefully all these questions will be addressed during Tuesday’s press conference.
Another area Sony may touch on during its press conference is the future of PlayStation Home. There are many companies who currently make money off this social hub on PS3 so it would be a smart move by Sony to launch a new version of PS Home on PS4. Given the new console’s graphical horsepower, just imagine the realistic and/or compelling worlds you could create for players. For example, users could take a tour around a virtual showroom and see a car manufacturer’s latest models, or visit a virtual recreation of a videogame expo like E3 and play the hottest PS4 demos available at the event from the comfort of their living rooms. A virtual version of Sony’s E3 booth will be available to explore in PlayStation Home on PS3 next week, but I think a PS4 version of PS Home with faster frame rates, better graphics and vastly improved streaming would make a lot of PlayStation fans very happy indeed.
Sony would also do well to announce price cuts for PS3 and PS Vita to bring the focus back to these systems after we’ve all been wowed by the PS4′s (hopefully) good looks and release details. There are still plenty of new games in the pipeline for PS3 so what better way to attract newcomers to the console than by lowering its price. I’m sure there are thousands of console owners who haven’t picked up a PS3 yet who’d love to play the likes of The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls in the coming months so now is the perfect time to cut the price of the PS3 and shepherd these individuals into the PlayStation Nation. Meanwhile, the PS Vita doesn’t have many AAA exclusives that we know about headed its way in 2013 so a price cut is sorely needed to keep the handheld relevant and stimulate demand for a system that so far hasn’t been able to match the sales pace of its predecessor, the PSP.
Let us know your predictions for Sony’s E3 press conference, and feel free to read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this feature series where we take a look at the PS Vita, PS3 and PS4 games which Sony is likely to show during next week’s expo.