Unless you’ve been hiding in some kind of nuclear bunker for the last few weeks, you’re probably aware that Sony are holding a little conference on Wednesday to discuss ‘the future of PlayStation’. We’ve been talking about, as has all the gaming press, it’s been all over Twitter and Facebook, heck, even the mainstream outlets are covering it. With the reveal for the PlayStation 4 now two days away, the excitement is reaching peak levels with wishlists and ‘must-haves’ being feverishly discussed. So, I’ve come up with a few of my own.
Money, Money, Money
Sony’s biggest mistake with the PlayStation 3 was its pricing. Launching at such a high price put it out of the reach of many, and they’d be foolish to make the same mistake again. I’m willing to go on record and say that I believe the cost is going to be mentioned during the conference. Whether they outright put a price tag on their new system or perhaps instead discuss pricing options (for example paying a monthly fee for your console), I’d imagine such matters are going to be discussed.
Whilst we’re on pricing, the excellent PlayStation Plus service will surely be integral in the new system as well and could be included via a contract-styled monthly fee (rather than the quarterly or yearly current options) but perhaps in a long-rumoured higher-tiered option. Since Sony’s acquisition of Gaikai rumours have been rife about how the PlayStation 4 will be able to stream games (some the Wall Street Journal are claiming also), and I wouldn’t be surprised if this service was implemented into PS+ membership. The main drawback with the monthly subscription based programme at the moment is the lengthy download times required to install triple-A blockbuster onto your system, so streaming would appear to be an obvious solution.
It’s All About The Games
The really exciting stuff in regards to Sony’s conference will no doubt come from game announcements, presuming of course there are any. Whilst the Japanese entertainment giant will no doubt want to hold back a lot of content for this summer’s E3, I would expect we will find out what some of Sony’s own studios have been working on. Sucker Punch have been quiet about what they’ve been working on since they released inFamous 2 in 2011, and so I would expect to see them either announce either a new IP or a continuation of the inFamous franchise.
The very biggest Sony-owned studio, Naughty Dog, could also potentially announce their latest project. Yes, they do have a game coming out this summer in The Last Of Us, but the studio split in to two teams when they finished 2009’s widely acclaimed action game Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and so the team that worked on the third iteration of the Uncharted franchise must have been working on something throughout 2012. I feel Naughty Dog would enjoy the creative freedom of a new IP, but it’s entirely possible Sony would want them to continue Nathan Drake’s story as he could potentially be a mascot for the new console. With that said, another Jak game isn’t out of the question either.
Guerilla Games are another big studio and they’ve confirmed that they’re working on another Killzone title, so a fourth major iteration of the Killzone franchise feels like a safe bet – plus it would also be a great title to show of the vastly superior power present. There’s also Media Molecule to consider, who are bound to be hard at work on another project for the PlayStation 4.
Sony will also no doubt be keen to have a racing title to help launch the new PlayStation, and this could come from one of two studios. Polyphony have already spoken about work on Gran Turismo 6, the follow-up to the PlayStation 3’s best-selling game, but I would expect Evolution to deliver the goods at launch. MotorStorm was probably the PlayStation 3’s most successful launch title and the studio haven’t had a major project singe MotorStorm: Apocalypse, so I would anticipate an announcement on their new game. Whether that’ll be a new MotorStorm, WipEout or new IP, I’m confident it’ll definitely be of the racing genre. Gran Turismo 6 would be a big reveal since it’s such a huge deal to the PlayStation brand and would be perfect to show off the new console’s technical capabilities, but I wouldn’t expect a release for quite some time.
Sony have enough first-party studios to fill an entire conference, but third-party game announcements, especially cross-generation titles, should also probably be expected even if they are only given a passing mention. Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs would be a natural choice as its been announced for a while and the French publisher claiming it’ll be “truly a next-gen adventure” in some leaked promotional work . As would Destiny, the new title from Halo developers Bungie that has just been formally revealed. Star Wars 1313 and perhaps even Grand Theft Auto V, which was recently delayed until September, are also not out of the question.
There are also certain studios not owned by Sony but are loyal to the PlayStation brand, such as Insomniac and Quantic Dream, who could reveal new titles as well. Ultimately with so many options it would be criminal for there to be no announcements coming with the PlayStation 4, but Sony will also want to make a huge impact at E3 so I would only expect a few of the above projects to be announced.
Under the Hood
As for the hardware itself, one thing that will probably be discussed is the PlayStation Vita, and how (if at all) it will be integrated with the PlayStation 4. Whilst Sony’s struggling handheld won’t have the processing power to run next-gen games, it’s possible it could take advantage of Gaikai’s streaming service so that you can play console titles on the go.
More likely than this, however, is the possibility of it being used as an alternative controller similar to the way the Wii U uses the GamePad tablet. Sony has already begun implementing this to the PlayStation 3 in a number of ways, and this seems like an obvious potential use for the Vita. This also links with the leaked controller images we had last week, which show a standard DualShock with a fitted touch-pad. If these images are legitimate, that would confirm Sony are going down the touch-control route and this links with potential Vita implementations.
Whilst we’re on the subject of next-gen rumours, there have been news stories left, right and centre containing inside information from ‘trusted sources’. Many are probably complete bogus, but naturally some are far more likely than others. I’m not sure the PlayStation Move was enough of a success to justify an update for the PlayStation 4, but some rumours state that motion control will be built in to the new system and perhaps even be included on the standard controller (as seen in the leaked photo). Whether that will come in the form of a new Move wand, something more in the vein of Sixaxis or even a built-in Kinect-esque camera, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some kind of motion control on offer.
Other reports indicate that the PlayStation 4 will support 4K resolution, which is essentially ultra high-definition that uses untold numbers of pixels. Whilst not particularly relevant in today’s market, Sony took a chance on Blu-Ray with the PlayStation 3 and so I wouldn’t be surprised if they support new technology once again with their new console. This could potentially future-proof the console in case 4K takes off in a big way – something Sony are pushing strongly as well.
It’s entirely possible I’ve overcooked these predictions slightly and February 20 will just bring a brief announcement and not much else, but the prospect of all of the previously mentioned potential reveals is well worth discussing. One things for sure though – Wednesday simply cannot come fast enough and all of us here at One Hit Pixel are excited to see what Sony have to offer.