Throughout the uncharacteristically barren first-party release schedule of 2012, it always felt like Sony’s attention was elsewhere. Twisted Metal, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, and Starhawk were all strong releases, but they felt like disposable distractions designed to fill the time ahead of the looming onslaught of 2013. That barrage is now upon us, but, as the past few days have evidenced, it’s not all that we have to anticipate over the next eleven months. With a growing handheld catalogue and the glimmer of the next generation on the horizon, could we be on the cusp of PlayStation’s greatest ever year?

Certainly, at the start of February, it’s looking like a very real possibility. The PlayStation 3 line-up alone is mouth-watering, with God of War: Ascension, The Last of Us, and Beyond: Two Souls all headline acts. As this week’s media blowout has proven, the former appears to be equipped with the credentials to advance the already exceptional pedigree paved before it. Promising a more personal tale and a peppering of exciting set-pieces, it’s little wonder that the platform holder is throwing all of its weight behind the Sony Santa Monica developed exclusive.

Admittedly, The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls are, at this stage, slightly less sure-fire successes – but who would bet against the award-winning pedigree of Naughty Dog and Quantic Dream? Both outfits have proven on multiple occasions that they’re not only capable of delivering compelling games, but also pushing the industry forward in terms of narrative and character development. And while the aforementioned trio are undoubtedly the heavy hitters in Sony’s exclusive stable, they’ll be complemented by the likes of Puppeteer, BioShock Infinite, and a little game that goes by the name of Grand Theft Auto V. It’s going to be a staggering year for PS3 content.

The same appears true for the PlayStation Vita, too. While the platform holder is clearly still keeping its cards close to its chest, the recent re-reveals of Tearaway and Killzone: Mercenary illustrate that there’s plenty to look forward to. The latter in particular looks like the real star of the show, promising a first-person experience that’s both augmented with the clout of a console blockbuster and the accessibility of a mobile release. And, judging by the quality of the recent demo, Soul Sacrifice could be a real sleeper hit, too.

But while great games are one thing, it’s the imminent announcement of new hardware that will really liven up the coming weeks. We’ll learn more on 20th February, but if sources are to be believed, we’ll be playing Sony’s next generation console before it’s time to dust off the Christmas decorations again. The mere prospect of the new system alone is tantalising, but when you pair it with potential launch titles from Guerrilla Games, Sucker Punch, and Evolution, it takes on a whole new level of appeal.

The year will actually need to deliver on its promises if it is to go down in history, though. The past may never be as exciting as the future, but for 2013 to truly conquer it will need to topple the birth of the brand in 1995, the launch of Metal Gear Solid in 1998, and the introduction of the PlayStation 2 in 2000. The staggering thing is that, if everything goes according to plan, it's more than attainable. And while we’ll live out the next eleven months waiting for everything to unravel, there’s a very real chance that it might not. This really could be PlayStation’s greatest ever year.

Are your expectations similarly high for 2013? What are the potential pitfalls that you feel could detract from this year’s promise? Let us know in the comments section below.