Unless you've been living under a rather large rock, it's been almost impossible to ignore that Sony are having some serious problems right now. Their image as a global entity has been hit hard and from a financial perspective, this couldn't be happening at a worse time. Shares in the company were finally starting to rise again following the Japanese disaster at the start of March and of course, the infamous hacking of the PlayStation 3 by GeoHot. But the recent attack from Anonymous, the subsequent hacking/data breach of the PlayStation Network and then that of Sony Online Entertainment has just compounded the issue. Even the untouchable Kevin Butler made a huge faux pas when he tweeted the PS3 root key by accident.
It's not to say that Sony will just collapse and cease to exist, but they've got some serious work to do in order to build up the trust again with consumers. It's even worse from their perspective, because up until this calamitous chain of events, the PlayStation 3 had finally turned the corner after a rather tremulous launch.
That's why this year's E3 is so pivotal for them. It might not help them alter the minds of the non-gaming public, but it's the perfect place for them to show gamers why they should continue to have faith in their company and their products.
It's going to be tough though. We, as gamers, already know most of what Sony will be releasing this year as it's unlikely they will announce something else that's going to ship this year. It means that Uncharted 3, Resistance 3 and Twisted Metal are still likely to feature heavily in the conference. From the perspective of the future, we have also have an idea about what's coming up too, with The Last Guardian being followed up with the rumoured Starhawk and God of War 4. It's exciting, but nothing that's going to blow anyone way.
From the hardware perspective, there is of course the NGP, but what more can they show that they didn't show at the initial press conference specifically dedicated to the new handheld? Plus, you've also got the fact that there already seems to be more interest about Nintendo's new console, Project Cafe, than there is about the NGP.
But that's what Sony desperately need this year. They need some "wow" moments. Moments like when Yoichi Wada announced Final Fantasy XIII was jumping ship to the Xbox 360, or Shigeru Miyamoto making Nintendo fanboys around the world cream themselves with joy as he donned Link's Master Sword and Shield. They need to do something big and they need to announce something big. Whether that's a significant price cut on the PS3, or whether that's a PS3 exclusive Metal Gear Solid 5 remains to be seen. But they need to do something to take the focus away from the negativity that's surrounding them at the moment and they need to do something to make sure Nintendo and Microsoft don't blunt anything they have to say.
In short, Sony need to use this E3 to put the spotlight on them, but this time, for the right reasons.