We preview what to expect from Sony’s press conference at E3 2015 this week.
The Press Conference
Monday, June 15 at 6 PM PT/9 PM ET – Follow SmashPad on Twitter to follow the show as it happens!
Sony comes into this E3 with a couple of major points to focus on. The first is Project Morpheus, their VR headset that was announced at GDC 2014 and is scheduled for release in early 2016. We’ve already had some smaller games announced for Morpheus and other VR headsets to this point, so this will be the coming out party for Sony’s own Morpheus games. Their second major point is their lineup for this fall and 2016 with their known titles and brand new announcements. We know about such games as Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Rime, Alienation, Wild, The Tomorrow Children, No Man’s Sky, and some others that have been shown at previous events, but there are still plenty of teams in Sony’s system that are known to be working on some games that we will find out about this week.
This seems like it’ll be a big show for Sony’s first party studios with a number of them that have yet to announce their current projects that could be shown at this week’s show. The strongest rumor is that Guerrilla Games’ long-rumored second team is ready to reveal an RPG that is codenamed Horizon with some new domains and Twitters leading the past few days making this a big possibility. The Last Guardian makes its annual return to the top of the rumor mill with The Guardian claiming to have good sources saying it’ll be reappearing after a six year absence for a new reveal at E3. Bend Studio, makers of Syphon Filter and the Uncharted game on Vita, are reportedly working on a game for release in 2016 that sounds like it’s a lock for an E3 announcement. Other rumors have Sony Santa Monica working on a new God of War head up by God of War 2 director Cory Barlog, Gran Turismo 7 from Polyphony Digital may be announced for a 2017 release date, and maybe whatever Media Molecule or Quantic Dreams has been working on since their tech demos were shown off with the PS4’s reveal just over two years ago.
With the Morpheus, there is a lot more of a question mark to what we will get at the show for this new platform. The device itself seems like it’ll offer both the Move and DualShock 4 controllers as the main control options, though that means Sony will have to offer camera + Morpheus + Move bundles to give everybody the needed tools for the best experience, though obviously there are some that have two-thirds of that trio and only need the device itself. I’d wager that a Morpheus headset will be between $200 and $300, similar to what I’d expect of the Rift and Vive, with camera/Move bundles that are about $50 to $100 more and an all-encompassing console bundle that is around $600 to $700. It’s not going to be a cheap avenue, but that’s at least cheaper than what the Rift and Vive have to contend with for PCs that meet the specs plus their headsets. That may be a key factor for the Morpheus to succeed with a fixed platform to help keep the costs down initially.
As for Morpheus games, that’s the biggest question mark of all as we see some developers like Insomniac Games and Ready at Dawn announcing their own VR games that are exclusive to the Rift. The overall VR landscape is about open source development tools and multiplatform games to maximize the potential for success, but it’s obvious that each platform holder will be paying for exclusives to try to make their own VR headsets more attractive than the rest. That leads to Sony and Valve having more of an advantage as veteran developers. We know Sony has set up North West Studio to exclusively make VR games and they’ll have smaller studios under their umbrella working on games. Third-party support is likely to be huge in this space as publishers and indie developers try to take advantage of the early rush to see if they can make it big with innovative ideas in a space where nobody has mastered the perfect VR game just yet.
Back to the PS4, this seems like a good time for some hardware reconfiguration to help them drop the price of the 500 GB PS4 to $350 and release a new 1TB PS4 at $400. We know the 1TB PS4 is on the way, but the prices are just my prediction. Despite selling really well, Sony can probably handle a price drop to cancel out the Xbox One’s price advantage while still keeping their current price tag with a new SKU.
With third party games being a big part of Sony’s plans for this holiday season their own release list is a bit thin with two remasters, a Vita remake, and two original titles for this fall. We know they have games like Dragon Quest Heroes, Persona 5, SOMA, Abzu, Amplitude, and The Witness as some smaller third party titles to feature. We know they have a deal with EA for Star Wars Battlefront marketing that may net it a major demo on stage as Star Wars Episode 7 fever continues to grow up to its December release. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see games like Just Cause 3, Battleborn, Dead Island 2, and a ton of indies keep the indie train running smoothly all over E3.
The Vita will probably gets some love with lots of indie games announced for it along with Japanese third-party games that will be localized for western release. I’m sure that Sony’s Third Party Productions team will have some games coming from their camp, though we’re still waiting on Resident Evil Revelations 2. The PS3 likely has an even smaller role at this show as just a notch on the belt of certain games that are also coming to PS4 and Vita.
PlayStation Network is likely to also get some news with PlayStation Vue potentially expanding from its initial three-city launch to covering more cities and markets throughout the US. We may get more from PlayStation Now potentially adding PS1 and PS2 Classics to their library and hopefully some sort of price drop on the subscription as they push for more subscriptions with a bigger library. I’d expect some news on new PS4 features with some guesses being external hard drive support, media server support (DLNA), folders, PS1 and PS2 Classic support, and a much needed upgrade of cloud save storage to 5GB or more with how easily it is to fill up the 1GB storage space compared to PS3 and Vita.
We certainly have a lot to look forward to with this year’s press conference as Sony has plenty of bases to cover that should keep them away from unnecessary segments about TV shows or movies that would be better served elsewhere. Despite having the best-selling console of this generation, Sony has not really done much to deserve it as far as they have just managed to sidestep any potential major missteps, so we are hoping to see them take the next step to push their platforms further and earn the great numbers they seem to keep getting every month in most countries around the world.
Stay tuned as we continue our pre-E3 coverage with a look at what to expect from Nintendo at E3 2015.