Sony had a strong E3 press conference last year, introducing the PS4 at $100 less than the Xbox One and taking direct aim at Microsoft's since-reversed policies on used games and online connectivity. And that PS4 momentum seems to have carried over to the current year; it's been the top-selling console in the US every month since its launch and garnered over 7 million sales worldwide.
But as we saw with the rapid, sudden success of the Nintendo Wii, a scrappy underdog can shake things up at any time. In this feature, GameSpot's editors discuss what Sony needs to talk about during their upcoming E3 press conference to ensure they stay in the number one spot for another year.
Don't Get Cocky, Kid - Thomas Mc Shea
Do. Not. Get. Cocky. Everyone loves Sony now. They've been doing all the right things, saying all the right things, and we've grown to put our trust in them. And that's a terrible position to be in. Sony is not our friend, and as we've seen in the past, it can make terrible decisions when they feel as though they're comfortably in first place. Sony has overcome the failings the PlayStation 3 went through in its first few years through hard work, and though it took a long time, all of that effort paid off. Sony has to continue down that path. And that doesn't just mean debuting more independent and AAA games.
Now would be a perfect time for Sony to cut the price of the PlayStation 4. We know they're already making a profit on the system, and there's no reason to let the Xbox One gain momentum when it reaches price parity in June. So, get the jump on Microsoft early, make the console more palatable for those sitting on the fence, and show that you're willing to cut into your own profits to keep people happy. Pair that with a new bundle that packs the PlayStation 4 and Vita together, and Sony is poised to continue the good feelings they've engendered of late.
Greatness Can't Wait, We Need to See It Now - Edward Makuch
Sony comes into E3 2014 as the top dog. The PS4 is performing above expectations with 7 million units sold, well ahead of the Xbox One and Wii U. But this isn't to say Sony can breeze through E3 and hope to stay on top. They can't. The PS4's $100 price advantage over the Xbox One is gone, and Sony needs to demonstrate at E3 why the PS4 is a better value offer than the Xbox One. They can do this by focusing on software and services.
First, Sony needs to finally give us pricing and title availability details for PlayStation Now, their upcoming streaming service expected to roll out this summer in the US. The PS4's lack of backwards compatibility was a major pain point for me when considering upgrading from PS3 to PS4. Letting users stream older games on their new box--if the price is right and the library is deep enough--could help drive further adoption of the PS4.
Also during Sony's E3 press conference, they need to give us an update on Naughty Dog's Uncharted game for the PlayStation 4. Though Sony assures us that everything at Naughty Dog is fine, the recent spate of high-level staff departures (Justin Richmond, Amy Hennig, and others) cast a shadow of doubt over the studio. That was offset by the return of Druckmann and Straley, but the negativity will be entirely erased if we get a look at Uncharted 4 gameplay and it leaves us with our jaws on the floor.
Show, Don't Tell - Dan Hindes
Alright, Sony--you're winning. Well done. Now show us what early adopters get for their loyalty. I don't want to see any Wonderbook-like nonsense or PlayStation Move-exclusive hand-waving. To use your own marketing on you--show us something for the players. Look at how you ended your 2012 press conference: the lights dimmed, someone from Naughty Dog walked on stage and played through a few minutes of The Last of Us, then walked off--and not a word was spoken. The game, in motion, was more than enough. Show us that confidence once again.
And show us what your intense courting of indie developers has produced. I don't want to see ports of PC games, or titles that will be available day-and-date on Steam. Show us why PlayStation--both the PS4 and Vita--is THE place for indies. And I want to see new games that could only exist on the Vita; games that are built FOR the hardware's unique input, not games that pay it lip service. Finally, if you don't show us that The Last Guardian still exists, then I may have to stage an editorial walk-out.
Keep It Simple - Justin Haywald
Price-wise, I think the PlayStation 4 is fine for the next year or so. What I want to see is a system for downloading digital PSN content I already own. The idea of PlayStation Now, and being able to rent PS2 games on PS4, is nice but I don't want to pay to access them again.
But if I were shooting for something pie-in-the-sky that could make the PS4 my de facto console of choice, it would be a PlayStation Now service that integrates with PlayStation Plus and allows unlimited access to Sony's previous-gen digital content. That would be a bombshell that would ensure everyone is talking about the PS4 well after E3 (and I really want a reason to finally unplug my PS3).
Where's the Killer App? - Mark Walton
Thanks to some stellar sales numbers for the PlayStation 4, Sony doesn't have anywhere near as much work to do as its competitors at this year's E3. That said, if it wants to hang onto its prime position as the best-selling next-gen console, it needs to get some games out there, particularly from its many first-party studios. Sony's lineup of indie titles across both the PS4 and Vita is great, but there's hardly been a killer app that makes the PS4 seem like an essential purchase for those still waiting to make the jump. The likes of Naughty Dog and Quantic Dream all have the design chops to produce something seriously impressive. This E3, Sony needs to show the world what the PS4 can really do.
You've read our thoughts, but what do you think Sony needs to talk about at this year's press conference? Let us know in the comments below!
And for even more E3 discussion, check out our full pre-E3 series:
- What We'd Like To See at E3 From Sony
- What We'd Like to See at E3 From Microsoft
- What We'd Like to See at E3 from Nintendo
- What We'd Like to See at E3 on PC
- E3 Press Conferences, What Does Microsoft Need to Do?
- E3 Press Conferences, What Does Nintendo Need to Do?