Gaming's largest annual gathering of industry tastemakers, intelligentsia and... well, booth babes promoting obscure energy drinks, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is almost here! The big show always comes with the promise of surprise announcements and shock reveals from 'The Big Three' console makers and largest third-party publishers, and this year is shaping up to be no exception. We'll be taking a look at what to expect from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to kick-off our pre-E3 coverage. We've already covered Microsoft, so next up it's Sony and their PlayStation brand!
Over the past few years, Sony has consistently gone against the conventional pre-E3 approach - staying fiercely silent and keeping all your cards close to your chest - by revealing a string of new games from their vast network of internal studios. This year we have already seen a number of surprise reveals, including God of War: Ascension, PlayStation All-Stars, new footage from The Last of Us, and so on. Don't be shocked to see more from each of these offerings, alongside likely appearances from CCP's Dust 514, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, LittleBigPlanet Karting, and much more.
If all of that wasn't enough, Sony has surely been keeping a handful of key announcements under wraps - the luxuries of having among the deepest network of studios in the industry. One has to wonder what studios such as Evolution (MotorStorm), Guerrilla (Killzone) and Sucker Punch (Infamous) have been churning away on. If I were to guess, I'd say we're in for new instalments from at least two of the above, alongside David Cage's next game and... possibly, Rockstar's long-awaited, PS3-exclusive Agent. Having said all of that, any evidence whatsoever that The Last Guardian is alive and well would make the show for me. Bottom line: the potential PS3 software lineup for E3 2012 is absolutely stacked.
However, if this generation has proven anything, it's that an army of top-tier exclusives will not turn the tide of the "console war" on its own. In addition to their software offering, Sony should aggressively cut the PS3's price to at least $199 USD to combat Microsoft's creative subscription approach with Xbox 360. Such a move may be a bit too ambitious for a company currently reporting record losses as a whole, but here's hoping former PlayStation boss Kaz "Ridge Racer" Kirai feels compelled to make a big splash during his first year as Sony CEO.
Of course, Sony must address their other platform, the PlayStation Vita. Already written-off by many in the press and largely ignored by the public at large, Vita needs to have a prominent presence during the company's E3 press conference, backed by proven blockbuster franchises to change the perception dedicated gaming handhelds are rapidly having their lunch eaten by Apple. Everyone seems to believe simply securing Monster Hunter will bring the system off life support in Japan, eventually translating into some semblance of success in the West. That seems too reductive a solution for a device facing tough challenges on all fronts, in my opinion. And while key franchises are important, they need to be good games too.
As usual, Sony's certainly got a lot of material to cover at this year's conference. The company's treading in uncharted waters at the moment, without having to worry about its seemingly forgotten Move motion peripheral, or more importantly, intense speculation over the successor to the PlayStation 3. Stay tuned to Gaming Union's continuing coverage of all things Sony and PlayStation, among other things, leading up to E3 2012.