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Feature: PS4, PS3, and Vita Announcements You Should Expect at GamesCom 2013

Posted by Sammy Barker

Reading the tea leaves

GamesCom has always been good to PlayStation. While the likes of Microsoft and Nintendo tend to show up when they feel like it, Sony has always enjoyed an extremely strong presence at the German convention, dating all the way back to the PlayStation 3’s all-important hardware revision reveal way back in 2009. Erase that awkward Diversity appearance from your memory, and the platform holder’s historically done a good job at the show, too, eschewing the razzle and dazzle of E3 for something a little more conservative but no less content rich.

With the console wars already in full force, though, this year’s showing threatens to be the most important since the Japanese giant dropped the price of its flagship format four years ago. Not only does the company need to put the spotlight back on the PlayStation 4 after several weeks worth of Microsoft policy changes, but it also needs to fix the PlayStation Vita’s increasingly desperate commercial woes, and ensure that its current generation console remains the cheaper option of choice. It’s a lot to achieve in little over an hour, but here’s how we expect to SCEE boss Jim Ryan to do it.

The system that suffers from insomnia

While it may feel like this year is all about the PS4 and Vita, the PS3 is still massively important to Sony. The current generation console is in its most profitable phase, and is actually enjoying one of the most impressive years in its seven year lifespan. As such, we expect the platform holder to dedicate the opening moments of its GamesCom press conference to the aging console, promoting upcoming first-party titles such as Puppeteer, Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, and Gran Turismo 6. Given the setting, the latter is likely to get a lot of attention, with new track announcements and manufacturer collaborations likely. We also suspect that The Last of Us’ first DLC pack will be announced during the show, while there’s a good chance that LittleBigPlanet 3 – which is thought to be in production at Sheffield studio Sumo Digital – will finally rear its knitted noggin.

Elsewhere, we suspect that the Japanese giant will dedicate a moment to its big third-party partners. The company appears to have teamed up with Warner Bros to promote Batman: Arkham Origins, so there’s a good chance that the firm will debut a new trailer for the superhero excursion during its presentation. We wouldn’t rule out the possibility of some kind of exclusive Grand Theft Auto V content either. The firm hinted that it was collaborating with Rockstar Games at E3, and the developer has been pushing the PS3 version of its upcoming open world game hard. We’re not expecting anything on the scale of Microsoft’s multi-million dollar Episodes from Liberty City deal, but don’t be surprised if Grand Theft Auto Online gets some exclusive costumes, vehicles, or weapons on Sony’s system.

Plummeting prices

If there’s ever been an ideal time to drop the price of the PS3, we reckon that it’s now. The console is still riding high on the success of The Last of Us, and has several big titles in its immediate lineup, including the aforementioned Gran Theft Auto V. Not everyone is going to be able to afford a next generation console this year, so it makes sense to offer a cheaper alternative. We know that Sony is planning to introduce the 12GB model of the existing system in North America any day now, so that could be the biggest sign that the company’s planning to slash the console’s costs. The system still hasn’t reached $199.99 in the United States yet, so it’s imperative that it achieves it this holiday in order to maintain momentum.

Meanwhile, a Vita price drop will depend on what content the PlayStation maker has in the pipeline. History has proven that systems need software as well as sticker snips to regain impetus, and Killzone: Mercenary, Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, and Tearaway are not going to do much on their own. If the manufacturer can show a solid string of titles set to release on the system over the next six to twelve months, though, a small pricing readjustment may make sense. Child-friendly releases such as PlayStation Vita Pets and Invizimals: The Alliance certainly indicate that it has a younger demographic in mind, so a reduction may be imperative for those titles to succeed.

The whole world in your hands

It’s been a bit of a mixed year for the Vita. While the console has continued to struggle at retail, it’s actually enjoyed a healthy offering of smaller downloadable hits. Titles such as Hotline Miami, Guacamelee, and Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark may not have been what you had in mind when you splashed out on the expensive hardware, but they have augmented the system with a lot of content during the long breaks between retail releases. The problem is that, while thoroughly enjoyable, these games are not moving hardware, and the platform holder needs to show a commitment to big blockbuster releases.

With both Tearaway and Killzone: Mercenary now just weeks away from release, it’s the right time for Sony to outline more long-term software plans for the portable platform. We suspect that Freedom Wars – Studio Japan’s upcoming Monster Hunter-esque adventure – will be confirmed for the West, while the manufacturer will no doubt show off footage of Dead Nation and the God of War Collection running on the handheld. As for new original content, though, we wouldn’t be surprised if Sony Bend announced its latest Vita title. We know that it’s working on a game for the handheld, but it’s not clear whether it’s an Uncharted: Golden Abyss sequel, a Syphon Filter reboot, or something else entirely. Personally, we’d like to see the studio do something fresh.

Totally independent

While we’ve got our fingers crossed for some big new blockbuster games, we also fully expect the platform holder to bolster its offerings across all of its systems with some new indie deals. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number leaked this week, and Laughing Jackal has also been teasing a GamesCom announcement on its Twitter account. With Microsoft expected to clarify its stance on self-publishing during the show, Sony will want to stress its commitment to smaller studios, and prove that it’s still the best platform holder to work with.

The so-called indie eight that took to the Japanese giant's stage at E3 mostly comprised of North American developers, so we wouldn’t be surprised if SCEE had something similar in mind for its European partners. We know that the likes of Beatshapers, Bloober Team, and more are all working on PS4 projects, and with Ronimo Games revealing Awesomenauts for the next generation console recently, we’re sure that there’s lots, lots more to come. It would be especially interesting if the manufacturer had a response to Microsoft’s claims that all Xbox Ones will double as development kits, as this is the only potential weakness in Sony’s indie strategy at the moment.


Click through the page for our PS4 software and release date predictions, in addition to more of our thoughts regarding next week's big show in Cologne.

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User Comments (27)

Sanquine

#1

Sanquine said:

Wow... If that is all for vita... Dont get it. Maybe i need to stop buying vita games. Sony does not care.

Till this date; 2 vita's
and i think 30 or more games

get2sammybAdmin

#2

get2sammyb said:

@Sanquine It's all just speculation on my part. Having said that, I'm very happy with the Vita this year to be honest - there have been more games than I have time to play. I too would love the system to get a spate of massive blockbusters to propel its sales, too, but I'm not really sure what people want from the system anymore.

The fact that you own 30 games for the system suggests that Sony's probably doing something right with regards to software support... Maybe?

Sanquine

#3

Sanquine said:

@get2sammyb. Im just hungry for games like persona, uncharted or tear away. More jrpg's. Freedom wars is a good start. Also more gravity rush

bjmartynhak

#6

bjmartynhak said:

@get2sammyb
Exactly, I can barely have time to play my backlog.

I guess some people are really playing the Vita in hardcore mode at home. Then it's expected to run out of AAA games in a short time. But if you play on the go, these games last a lot. And specially the small titles have an excellent replay-ability value.

kaisersalsek

#9

kaisersalsek said:

Persona 5 please! And a western one piece 2 release! Then I might stop picking up my 3ds and leaving my vita to collect dust and forget the time. Freedom wars is too far away.

Snorky

#10

Snorky said:

There are definitely some spectacular titles out for the vita currently but it would be nice to know that there is more to come! Yeah you can rummage around and find info, but it would be excellent if they use this chance to make everyone know about them.
I think Disgaea D2 should receive an eventual port from the upcoming ps3 title. Demon Gaze, DanganRonpa coming soon too.

I think if they really want to tear the roof down... Announce they have acquired Atlus, then announce Persona 5 officially :D

BornOfEvil

#14

BornOfEvil said:

Most of this article looks like what I posted earlier, I like it.

I have faith that Sony has some big Vita announcements, hopefully a price drop accompanies the announcement. I really want to see more of Freedom Wars, PlayStation Vita Pets, Invizimals and I also hope Bend is working on something new.

sajoey

#15

sajoey said:

@get2sammyb No but seriously, I loved Gravity Rush, it was the first game I bought for my Vita, and is the first and only game I've Platinum'd, so that would be kind of a big deal for me.

Squiggle55

#16

Squiggle55 said:

I voted for non-gaming features. I really want to know more about the viacom deal especially. Other than that I suppose I'm most interested in hearing about Killzone multiplayer and of course the release date.

Visiblemode

#17

Visiblemode said:

Vita needs a PR overhaul. The sales aren't huge, but the fanbase is solid and average software purchases per system are amazing. Remarkably high actually.

So if the average person who buys the Vita, in fact, buys more games than on most systems, how can the available games be seen as a problem?

It isn't. This is a perception issue. People, on average, (not nuts like us) get sold on potential, but generally never put their money down on most of the games they bought the system for.

For a system to average a purported 10 games or so per user, one has to assume the catalogue is actually very healthy. What's missing is the dreamy talk of future games. This machine needs, announcements, a price drop and a gear shift, which includes stronger advertising and a tone that says: Vita has emerged from it's cocoon and has arrived in earnest.

-CraZed-

#21

-CraZed- said:

While I fully expect a lot of PS3 and Vita stuff they NEED to drop some games we have yet to hear about for PS4. With the PS4s release date being announced I expect some of the UI and other features to be further explained as well.

JaxonH

#22

JaxonH said:

I don't think there's enough must-have games personally. As Sanquine stated, Sony doesn't seem to care. It appears they've silently backed away from the system, placing it's final hopes in marketing the Vita as a PS4 companion device. And 32gb memory cards are still $100- even on sale the lowest you'll find them for is $80, which is outrageous. I've been waiting since launch to buy one, but they've gotta get serious about being competitive with their prices.

I've owned my Vita twice as long as my Wii U, yet I only have 9 Vita games and 2 pre ordered as opposed to the 18 I have on Wii U with another 18 pre ordered. Heck, I've got 1/3 as many PS4 games pre ordered as I own for Vita, and that console's not even out yet. And half of the 9 Vita games I have, I only bought because the prices dropped like crazy. For example, I picked up Sonic Racing Transformed, Gravity Rush and Rayman Origins for $40 TOTAL, all brand new. I suspect that's why the attach rate is above average- the entire library is selling for pennies on the dollar right now. You can get a whole shelf full of Vita games for a little over $100. Not that I'm complaining or anything, I'm just pointing that out.

I mean, I love my Vita- it's absolutely terrific. I love it just as much as all my other consoles. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed with Sony's response to Vita's poor sales, which has resulted in a pretty sparse upcoming lineup. They need to grab the bull by the horns, double down, and put all their AAA developers on Vita projects, and really give it all they've got.

As we can clearly see with Nintendo's Wii U, you can't force 3rd parties to make games for your system. But you CAN sway their minds and ease their worries by fully backing your own hardware. I mean, if Sony won't even back the Vita with their top developers, and is now shying away from development, why should 3rd parties support the system? Kind of a "if you don't believe in it, why should we?" scenario...

In any case, complaining doesn't change anything. So I'll buy my Killzone Mercenaries and my Final Fantasy X port this year, and just cross my fingers that fall 2014 will give us a considerably fuller lineup than this year is. And doubly cross my fingers for a Final Fantasy XII port to Vita- now THAT would be awesome (not really a fan of ports, but if ports are all publishers want to bring to the Vita, might as well make em the good ones)

Gamer83

#23

Gamer83 said:

Sony's not going to go all-in on Vita. Not with PS3 finally profitting and PS4 just mere months away, we all have to stop living in dreamland as far as the Vita is concerned. It's a good system with plenty of good, though niche, titles. It's never going to be a huge hit and the only possible way to attempt to make it one at this point would be to sacrifice some PS4 support and that is just not going to happen.

AVahne

#26

AVahne said:

Vita price drop, Vita price drop, Vita price drop, Vita price drop, Vita price drop, Vita price drop, Vita price drop...please?

MANTAGTJ001

#27

MANTAGTJ001 said:

If they made it full connection to PS4 (not unlike the wii U (spit!)), I would buy one today, I dont have time for handheld gaming (but respect people that do), everyone to their own, but a PS4/Vita Bundle = A super special Joypad that goes beyond anything the XBONE or WIIU could ever possibly achieve in the next year at least. ;D

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