UPDATE: Sony has announced as of 5/28/2011 that they are in fact developing the PS4, though they are divulging little else. One thing they have stated is that they will not be investing as much money in the PS4 as they did the PS3, presumably as the result of the money lost due to the PSN outage, among other things.
E3 2011 is just around the corner as of this writing and the big news as far as announcements goes is that Nintendo will announce its next gen console, now known only as Project Cafe. Some call it the Wii2. Whatever it's called, it's going to make an impact. What can or will Sony do to compensate?
The War Continues...
Let's face it, you can't go into E3 empty handed. And with the PSN outage in recent memory, Sony is going to be coming to E3 with hat in hand if they don't do something big to let us all know that they're still in the game. Their Welcome Back program is nice and all, but hardly something worthy of an E3 announcement - especially because we all already know about it.
No, Sony has to make a statement. If they follow their normal development cycle, we should expect the Playstation 4 at the end of 2012, possibly sometime in 2013. That's all well and good and I don't anybody expects anything to hit the shelves sooner than that, but we need to know where they are in their development cycle.
All we need is an announcement. We know it's going to happen, so why not go ahead and put something together for us to see at E3 this year? Let's quell all the circumspection and get the facts out there. We want to see what this thing is going to look like and what it can do!
E3 is all about impact and a certain amount of pageantry and in my mind Sony has to hit the ground running this year. A PS4 announcement at E3 will go a long way towards Sony getting back into the good graces of many gamers that saw their loyalty tested by the PSN outage.
But What About the Game Developers?
Of course, no new console cannot be released without some flagship games to go along with it. No one wants to buy a new console and take it home and play old games on it (assuming it's backwards compatible). So if Sony moves up its development schedule for the PS4 to compensate for all the bad press, they will have had to involve the game developers.
So what will we be looking at?
The PS3 has some pretty strong titles already that we can expect to continue in the form of sequels. KillZone, Uncharted, Infamous, LittleBigPlanet - expect to see some iteration of all of them along with perennial favorites like the Call of Duty franchise. Hopefully we'll see some new franchises as well.
But what game will be the flagship launch title? I have no idea. They're all great to me and I'd welcome any little morsel I could get.
With the possible specs of Project Cafe already floating around in the ether (interactivity with 3DS, controllers with touch screens and synthesized textures (!), etc.) Sony is going to have to make the PS4 be vastly better than the PS3. Arguably, the thing that the Playstation franchise has always done better than other consoles is graphics and power. The technology is out there to make the PS4 something to behold and I expect Sony to fast track it if at all possible.
Graphics-wise, look at a game like L.A. Noire. We all knew before it ever came out that the motion-capture technology used for the actor's faces was going to be something to behold. If you've played it, you really know how far above it is over other games that boast great graphics as a cornerstone.
After playing L.A. Noire, I feel like it's only a matter of time before we are playing games in which we control what appear to be real people on the screen. It sounds like science fiction, but we're almost there.
I feel like the PS4 HAS to take a HUGE step in that direction. It won't be enough for the company to say, "Yeah, here's our new console and it does this." They have to have a display; something that tells everyone what the PS4 is all about. Something that makes an impact on even the most layman of us.
Admittedly, I'm not the biggest tech geek out there. I operate on a much more visceral level when it comes to game consoles. You can throw out all the numbers and specs you want, but that doesn't mean much to me until I see some real performance from the machine. Like it or not, most people that play video games are the same way - and if Sony is going to reach out to those people they need a spectacle.
Too Much Too Soon?
The naysayers will say that Sony shouldn't rush things, and I get that. My feeling, however, is that as soon as the PSN outage occurred (if not sooner, since they knew it was coming), Sony had a team working on getting the PS4 into our hands sooner rather than later. It's the nature of the beast. So it's with a certain amount of trust peppered with skepticism that I say Sony needs to get something out on the table this year at E3.
Post your comments below and let Sony know what you think.
Article by - Brett Huffman