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E3 Anticipation: PlayStation 3

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Posted by: Louis Bedigian

By Louis Bedigian GameZone.com

Since PlayStation 3 is the only home console to support 3D gaming, Sony will hold a (temporary?) monopoly on the market. This could open a world of interesting marketing strategies for the console manufacturer, including the way it approaches third-party deals. Ex: If the PS3 version of Final Fantasy XIII had featured 3D support when it was released, which version do you think the eye-candy-seeking gamers would have preferred? Like or loathe 3D, this is a technology that will be too good for some gamers to resist, giving Sony an edge it has struggled to achieve this generation.

At E3, expect a few third-party developers to announce that while Game X and Game Z are still multi-platform, the PS3 versions will be the only versions in 3D.

On that note, a game just popped into my head – Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. Is that a really good guess or just wishful thinking? We’ll know soon enough. If I’m right, I’ll say I was psychic for a day, and if I’m wrong I will blame it on a mysterious fortune cookie that appeared on my desk.

E3 Predictions: PS3 Announcements

Exclusive PS Move Games: Sony has been fairly forthcoming with information on which games (old and new) will support the PS Move at launch. But aside from a few demos at GDC, we haven’t seen too many games that are being designed exclusively for the motion controller. That’ll change at E3. In addition to the handful of first-party games that Sony has already confirmed, I expect the publisher to announce five or six more – three of which will be out this year.

Are Third-Party Developers Ready to “Move” on?: This year, I don’t know how many PS Move-specific games we’ll see from third-party developers. More than likely, the majority of them will be regular PS3 games (designed for the SIXAXIS and Dual-Shock 3) that support the PS Move as an option, but sadly were not designed specifically for it.

Premium PSN Service: All signs indicate that Sony will finally announce a premium (paid) version of PSN at this year’s E3. If so, I agree with the rumor that suggests Sony may offer a few free downloads (for games or DLC) with an annual subscription, which would basically offset the cost of the service.

However, gamers will only care about the freebies if the service is worth having in the first place. Looking back on Sony’s strategy for launching PlayStation 3, we all remember that Blu-ray was a major factor. Sony pushed the console’s Blu-ray player as hard as it pushed new games. Since the existing (free) PSN service already has online gaming covered, I’m betting that the premium service will go further in the direction of non-gaming content: high-res on-demand videos, streaming music, and other offerings that could be used to compete against the multitude of paid services offered with Xbox Live. Skype (or a similar service) seems plausible as well.

On the gaming front, what could the premium service offer that’s just as exciting as online gaming? Frankly, I can’t think of much, but I would love to be surprised. I can tell you one thing: no one’s going to pay a monthly fee to gain access to new customization features, as one rumor claimed. Gimmicks (like an exclusive level for Game X only available on the premium PSN service) won’t work either. But would Sony really go in that direction? I doubt it. Sony’s plans have got to be more creative than that.

Triple Vision: Don’t be surprised if, starting next year, every single new PS3 game offers support for 3D televisions. Expect to hear hints (if not a full confirmation) of this at E3.

New PS3 Bundles: With all this talk of PS Move and 3D support, something tells me a few new bundles will be heading to stores this fall, including one specifically for 3D gaming (which would include the PS3 console, a game, and a pair or two of glasses designed for 3D-compatible TVs). I also expect Sony to have a PS Move-based bundle, and an ultimate package that includes the console, at least one game, both PS Move controllers, and two pairs of 3D glasses.

Star Wars, Finally?: Wouldn’t it be interesting if, after all these years, the long-rumored motion-based Star Wars lightsaber game – once thought to be in the works for Nintendo Wii – wound up on PlayStation 3? Sony has a great history of acquiring games that were expected to be Nintendo exclusives, the most notable being Final Fantasy VII. Considering how long we’ve waited, and how much more powerful PS3 is than Wii, it seems appropriate that a motion-based Star Wars game would come to Sony’s console instead.

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