As we write this, Sony will be demonstrating a few key E3 2009 titles to US journalists at a special invite-only event. We’d take the bus to London to see these, but the ol’ US of A is a ride too far for just a few demos, so sadly we’ll just have to wait until E3 itself to get our hands on the good stuff. However, now we know that the likes of Heavy Rain, White Knight Chronicles and Uncharted 2 are at least in some kind of playable form, we thought it would be a good idea to get together and discuss what else might be shown at E3. Big exclusives? PAL release dates for oft-delayed services? Team Ico…?
David: I’m reasonably optimistic for this years E3.
Alex: We have to be, don’t we? They’ve not even started the “oooh, E3 hype” yet, too, apart from some empty promises.
Nick: Well, as is the case every year they’ve been lording up the announcements a fair bit. There’s been a few confirmed reveals for Metal Gear Solid 5 and God Of War 3 but I think we should expect them to focus on the big AAA titles coming out this year, particularly MAG.
Greg: Definitely more details on MAG. I have no doubt we will see a new / refreshed PSP this year. But, especially if they’re dropping the UMD, I don’t think we’ll have an official announcement until later in the year. I think the mid-August Gamescom/GDC Europe in Cologne will be the time and place for that. With the device itself launching worldwide in September, while the announcement is still fresh in everyone’s mind and on magazine covers.
David: I’m not sure about the PSP. I have an inkling that it will be at E3 but if not then definitely later this year.
Greg: Yeah, I think that at E3 they will continue to push the 3000, as they’ve only recently launched some new colours here (last month) and are extending the colours available in the US. They’ll also use the next few months to continue to test, validate and assess reactions to different methods of PSP software distribution, a la Patapon 2’s code-in-a-box experiment.
Nick: I do think that if the rumors about the PSP 2/4000, which are quite numerous, are correct about a winter release they’re going to need to build up enough hype in time for chrimbo. This is ‘the year of the PSP’ so it would seem more likely that the bombshell this year is PSP based.
Greg: If LBP, Motorstorm, Assassin’s Creed, western release of Dissidia:FF, EA Sports titles (Madden, Tiger Woods) Rockband and the highly anticipated Hannah Montana are less than half of the big announcements, according to John Koller, I’m struggling to come up with possibilities for another half dozen. Hopefully there’ll be some really good surprises. I’d like to see an LBP: Object Creator, in the vein of Spore’s Creature Creator, where you could construct objects on your PSP and then upload them to your level on PS3 (assuming the already announced LBP doesn’t do that). This recession has pretty much come out of the blue and may affect their decision of when the right moment to reveal the new PSP is. Regardless, it looks like they’ll be holding true to their new found support for the PSP which is much needed.
Nick: I’m really hoping to see more of Heavy Rain and at least another cryptic Team Ico screen shot if only to let us know that they are still working on something. Uncharted and Ratchet should see demos and, if we’re lucky we’ll see that ever so infamous ‘BBC’ game.
Alex: There’s definitely demos of Uncharted, let’s hope for more on Ratchet too, yeah. How about financial stuff?
Greg: There’ll be an admission that the global recession has hit hardware sales, but that the PS3 is still in a strong position, despite its high price. It has not been hit as hard as the Wii, which is a ‘casual’ impulse purchase and is approaching market saturation, whereas PS3 is still selling to game fans. They’re bound to repeat that they were right not to have dropped the price. PS2 sales up following price drop, play down hardware sales expectations, going to continue to be a tough year for hardware. The PAL video store will likely be at Koln, this year’s equivalent of Leipzig.
David: Yeah, I don’t think we’ll hear anything about the PAL video store as I think this will come later, too.
Nick: Good predictions there Greg. I’d almost forgotten about the video store. I’d agree that we should expect another ‘it’s ready, like, now.’ They will definitely stick by their guns with the price cuts and lack there-of. I’m not sure how much they’ll bring the economy into it but not acknowledging it at all would be a mistake. I have high expectations for this year’s E3 despite having heard the pre-E3 hype a million times before. Sony are now well up to speed and are no longer fighting off the competition when it comes to who’s got a better release schedule.
Alex: Exclusives, then?
Nick: Yeah. With all their first party studios in full swing they’ve got some great exclusives to reel off that instantly makes the Xbox’s line up look all too weak. This is the point at which Sony, not giving in to buying its way to the front of the pack, shows how solid its relationship with both its studios and its new IP will be and how that strategy is much more effective in the long run.
Peter: I suspect they’ll announce titles and dates for casual stuff like that pet thingy and also play-demo Uncharted 2 and GoW III. They’ll talk up sales percentages and probably announce some convoluted way that they’re beating MS on sales.
Greg: Software sales will continue to be strong for everyone, with Sony pushing the exclusives. “Xbox? Who cares about that? Name one highly anticipated 360 game? Okay, apart from Halo:ODST.”
Alex: So no PSP 2, but what are we going with in terms of PS3 games?
David: MAG, Heavy Rain, GOW III, Ratchet, Team Ico and GT5, and I’m going to go with another 3 unannounced exclusive PS3 games.
Alex: Sounds good to me.
What are you hoping for this E3?