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Talking Point: Why 2012 is PS3's Most Mainstream Year Yet

Posted by Sammy Barker

Moving in a new direction

Subtract the upcoming God of War: Ascension and The Last of Us from the equation, and 2012 is looking like PS3’s most mainstream year yet. Sure, the likes of Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale have crossover appeal (they are evidently designed with nostalgia in mind) but they also covet a younger audience. Factor in the announcement of LittleBigPlanet Karting and next week’s magical motion controlled adventure Sorcery, and Sony’s intentions become clear: it is now targeting a slightly younger demographic.

The change in direction comes at a key point in the PS3’s lifespan. Challenged by pricing difficulties for much of the generation, the system is now potentially one cut away from reaching a mainstream audience. The race to $199 is something that’s been exaggerated by console manufacturers over the years, but there’s no doubt that the magic price point opens up the platform to a brand new audience. Indeed, Sony knows that it did a chunk of the PS2’s business after it fell below the psychological benchmark.

Sony probably won’t announce a price-drop at next month’s E3 – likely opting for the more favourable timing of GamesCom – but it’s clear from looking at the company’s portfolio that change is coming. As rumours regarding the next wave of PlayStation hardware surface, it's now looking towards a different market with PS3.

It’s going to be interesting to see how PlayStation Move factors into that new direction. While Kinect has successfully managed to widen the appeal of the traditionally hardcore Xbox 360, Sony’s motion offering hasn’t been quite as successful. There have been good games, of that there’s no doubt, but Sony has always pushed the peripheral as a supplement to the PS3 experience, rather than a key component.

But with Sorcery marking the first major Move release in over a year, Sony has the opportunity to re-market the device this Christmas. With PS3 packing a more casual friendly software line-up and, as we’ve speculated, a much more attractive price-point, Move finally has the opportunity to reach its full potential.

Of course, a lot of that is going to depend on software. The biggest problem Move has faced is the lacklustre support it’s received – not just from third-party developers, but also first-party studios too. Sony has the chance to rectify that this Fall, with well developed and prominently marketed software. The line-up doesn’t have to be large, but the quality needs to be good. A new Sports Champions, for example, would complement the soon to be released Sorcery well, and if Sony could find a way to bundle the games and hardware together, it’s easy to see the peripheral taking off at last.

As such, this year’s E3 is going to provide an indication of how Sony feels about Move two years after release. There’ll undoubtedly be a nod to the peripheral during the company’s press conference, but the size of that acknowledgement will emphasise its intentions going forward.

Regardless of what the company does with its motion wand, however, it’s clear that this year is going to be all about pushing the PlayStation 3 into a new market. With the likes of Assassin’s Creed III and Call of Duty: Black Ops II on the horizon traditional gamers certainly won’t be forgotten, but beyond titles such as God of War: Ascension and The Last of Us, Sony’s core game efforts have clearly switched focus towards the PS4.

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User Comments (17)

Squiggle55

#1

Squiggle55 said:

I still haven't picked up a move pack and I'm not sure if I ever will. Is there any good argument for me doing so? All I can see me using it on is Littlebigplanet.

Also I really hope move titles and these "younger audience" PS3 games aren't a big focus at E3 at all, because selfishly all I want to hear about is the Vita.

get2sammybAdmin

#2

get2sammyb said:

@Squiggle55 I personally think the table-tennis mode in Sports Champions is the best example of motion controls on the market. I would love an online enabled version of that.

get2sammybAdmin

#4

get2sammyb said:

@JavierYHL You guys and your Vita! I'm expecting a big handheld presence at this year's show too, but I still hope there's lots of room for The Last of Us, Battle Royale, God of War: Ascension and more. There's plenty of time for PS3 and Vita during the press conference.

Chrono_Cross

#5

Chrono_Cross said:

I think it's obvious that Sony is moving forward from the PlayStation 3 for the most part this year. There really isn't much for me this year anyway, so I think I'm going to hold back on PS3 retail releases and work on buying games for other consoles.

Slapshot

#6

Slapshot said:

Yep, I'm Vita all the way for E3 too! :D

I think you're indeed correct Sammy. I think Sony is creating a setup that will pull in a lot of casual/younger gamers to the PS3 with a lower price-point. It's a brilliant thing to do, as it will boost system and software sales and earn the company some much needed capital. Of course, Vita :D will help keep us core gamers happy.

Stuffgamer1

#7

Stuffgamer1 said:

The thing that is to Sony's credit is their ability to "target a younger audience" without losing TOO much of their older crowd. Which is to say that unlike all the random crap releasing on Kinect lately, Sony's coming up with family-friendly games that still appeal to young adults such as myself. This article did not mention even ONE PS3 game I'm not at least somewhat interested in, and that's impressive. Sure, they may be moving focus to their next console (as well as putting more effort into the Vita than they had recently been with the PSP), but the PS3 is still at LEAST a year or two from hitting the real game drought the PS2 suffered at the end of its life span.

Splat

#10

Splat said:

I'll go ahead and say it even if I'm alone lol, I don't care about Vita and hope E3 is more about PS3. That said I'm not holding my breath.

I don't have anything against handheld gaming it has just never done much for me. I will always prefer playing on a console.

NathanUC

#11

NathanUC said:

@Splat It's odd because I almost feel the opposite lately. Every time I'm playing a PS3 game, I can't help but wish it was on Vita instead. A lot of games coming out don't really seem to have any technical reasons for being only PS3 and not Vita as well which makes me wish I could just HAVE it on Vita. Except for games with Move or racing games, I just can't see myself buying a PS3 version over a Vita version if all things else are 'equal'.

shingi_70

#13

shingi_70 said:

I'm hoping Sony can get the pricing down on the ps3-vita combo packs. Also hoping to see more software I cant get anywhere else on ot.

And Sony better get that marketing machine ready. They may have the most crossover appeal this year but Sony has a decent line up almost every year they just have a problem with marketing stuff.

Supereor

#14

Supereor said:

I'm sorry, but I can't imagine just how LBPK is going to work. Is it like Microsoft's Kodu Game Lab, where you take ground brushes in your choice of shape, size and prominence, lay some ground down, raise hills, lower ditches, or create oceans, and decorate it with players and actors? I need an explanation!

bauckster

#15

bauckster said:

@Splat I agree. I really don't care about mobile gaming. If I'm out and about, I have other things to occupy my time, like the outdoors. I infinitely prefer the console experience. Vita does seem like solid hardware, however, I will give it that.

KALofKRYPTON

#17

KALofKRYPTON said:

@get2sammyb

I also agree, I like my Move, played quite happily through most of Killzone 3 with the Sharpshooter. But Sports Champoins table Tennis is still, without doubt- the best the Move showcase around. it just works so well. Its biggest failing is 'light gun' style shooters, wandering crosshair issues plague every single one of them I've played, which it, all of them except the House Of The Dead 3 & 4 PSN games.

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