E3 2013: What we want to see from Sony's press conference
While the Xbox One has been a firestorm of controversy in the last few weeks, the PS4 has quietly accepted the praises of the many who are unhappy with Microsoft’s new, always-on direction. What many forget is that the initial PS4 reveal was pretty light on details, feeling more like vision and intention than a promise. In a lot of ways, Sony’s press conference could be even more exciting than Microsoft’s simply by virtue of the mystery still surrounding the PS4.
There are many questions and many hopes for this new console, and we’ll know most of the details very soon. In the meantime, it’s always fun to speculate and hope. Here are my top five hopes for Sony’s E3 press conference. Feel free to share your own in the comments section below.
The console itself (and maybe the price?)
I don’t think Sony is going to beat around the bush here. The first thing they’ll reveal at their E3 press conference will be the console itself. It would be ridiculous to start anywhere else. Sure, the bottom line is that it’s going to be a box that plays games, but the design of the console does mean something. That, and it’s nice to see what kinds of features the box itself may have. Microsoft wasted no time showing off their sexy piece of 1990's home stereo equipment. It will be interesting to see if Sony can match Microsoft on the design front.
While we’re there, a price would be nice. Speculation suggests we won’t see prices at E3, but I’d really like to know how much money I have to save up sooner rather than later.
A PSN that matches or exceeds Xbox Live for gaming
Sony showed off concepts for sharing gameplay footage with friends and having them jump into your game and give you a hand. They’ve established a real name system that’s a nice step up from PSN IDs and Gamertags. What they have yet to prove is whether the PS4 is going to truly bring online gaming on PlayStation up to speed with Xbox Live. For all the great strides Sony made with PS3, its online features simply never matched those of the Xbox 360.
Xbox Live Parties, which allow up to 8 players to group up into a chat channel no matter what games or apps they’re using, is something I personally take advantage of all the time. The fact that it’s still impossible on PS3 is ridiculous -- it’s a barrier to a way of hanging out online that’s completely normal on Xbox Live. Of course, the Vita has a party system, so the assumption is that PS4 will have it too, but that just means they’ll be catching up to Microsoft. The PS4 needs to show off new online gaming hooks that show Sony is more forward-thinking than they’ve been in the past.
Better exclusive games
Killzone: Shadow Fall is a really pretty game. All the Killzone demos at press conferences are pretty. When it comes to the final product, though, they’ve never really set the world on fire. Worse yet, that Shadow Fall demo was depressingly filled with FPS clichés. If the future of gaming is another linear, scripted shooter with pretty graphics, count me out.
So far, while the exclusive games are limited on both sides, I have to give this one to Microsoft. Forza is a phenomenal car series, and Remedy makes really interesting games; my first glance suggests the Xbox One will have more exclusive games I’m personally interested in.
We know there will also be a ton of great games you can get on either console. Battlefield 4, Watch Dogs, and Destiny are all very exciting prospects. But Sony needs to carve out their own gaming identity with the PS4, and I hope E3 reveals far more than that Killzone demo displayed.
A clearer plan for Gaikai, the cloud, and backward compatibility
As someone who has a fondness for both my Xbox and PlayStation back catalog, backward compatibility is very important to me. The news that both next-gen consoles would skip that feature has been a hard pill to swallow. The one saving grace was a partnership with Gaikai on Sony’s side, and a plan to roll out a cloud streaming solution for backwards compatibility.
The last time this idea was mentioned, it almost sounded like wishful thinking on the part of Sony and Gaikai. Is it something they can actually offer? Can they do it without the experience suffering? How will gamers pay for access to these older games? These are all questions that Sony should address at E3.
A Vita price drop/bundle
Sony established a commitment to the Vita with the PS4, painting the devices as two great tastes that will go great together. The Vita needs this kind of commitment. It also needs a price drop, because the idea that people will buy both a Vita and a PS4 is a little bit insane.
The Vita is an amazing device in need of some serious price tweaks. A more attractive price and impressive memory card would be a good start. Some kind of bundle for newcomers would be even better. If Sony can turn the Vita into the pack-in device to counter Xbox One’s Kinect, then the better package will be clear. Getting Vitas into more players hands should be a priority for Sony. E3 will be their chance to show this portable device is more than just an expensive paperweight.
There are surely many other aspects of the PS4 GameZone readers will want to see. If you’ve got a wish, share it in the comments below. E3 is almost here!
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