E3 2017 is upon us, and following a year in which Sony was lauded for its strong E3 showing, there are a wide range of possibilities for what it could have in store this time around. Last year presented us with reveals of Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding, a new God of War, and Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man, demonstrating a strong lineup of PS4 exclusives still to come.
Despite the solid momentum that Sony has generated after two successful conferences, there’s still plenty of room for improvement in how it can remain on top of its E3 game. With its main competitor in Microsoft ready to show off new hardware with Scorpio’s unveiling, the PlayStation brand will need some significant groundswell in order to stay ahead of the pack. Just prior to E3 2017, our editors discussed what Sony needs to show off this year in order to keep its momentum going in the face of some stiff competition.
Do you have your own thoughts and opinions about Sony’s chances at winning E3 2017? Be sure to comment below and have a look at our articles on how Microsoft and Nintendo can come out on top. Check out our hub to follow all of our E3 coverage, which will include everything Sony reveals during its press conference on Monday night.
Continue With The Unexpected Reveals | Tamoor Hussain, UK Editor
Two of the most memorable E3 moments in recent history were the announcement of Shenmue 3 and the Final Fantasy VII remake. For better or worse, this is the bar Sony has set for itself and what everyone will be expecting it to meet. Fans will want to see a long sought-after sequel given the green light or a dormant franchise make a triumphant return, but equally important is showing that these projects aren’t just flights of fancy. Since their announcements, we’ve seen barely anything from both Shenmue 3 and the Final Fantasy VII remake, and while it has been confirmed that the former won’t be at E3, showing off something substantial from the latter would win Sony some major points. For anything new and exciting, there needs to be something other than a logo on a giant screen, because that doesn’t fly anymore.
Make A Next-Gen PlayStation Announcement | Eddie Makuch, Associate Editor
Sony could bring the house down at E3 this year by officially announcing the next-generation PlayStation that is rumored to launch in 2018. Microsoft has time and again positioned Scorpio as the most powerful console ever made, so it would be particularly dramatic and impactful if Sony could trump Microsoft’s move with a console even more powerful. Interestingly, Sony has said it expects PS4 sales to fall this year for the first time in the console’s life, so that might suggest an announcement about what’s coming next is on tap.
Don’t Leave PSVR Behind | Tony Wilson, Video Producer
Four letters: PSVR. Games like Resident Evil 7 have proven that virtual reality is a viable way to play full-length major releases, not just short cinematic experiences. There hasn’t necessarily been a shortage of exclusive PSVR titles since launch — Until Dawn: Rush of Blood and Farpoint come to mind — but the headset hasn’t been in the spotlight since its initial reveal. Microsoft and Nintendo have no first-party equivalent to PSVR, so if Sony doubles down on games you truly cannot play anywhere else, it will go a long way to justify (and convince others to get on board with) the $400 purchase.
Introduce Backwards Compatibility | Chris Pereira, News Editor
With Xbox One trailing behind PS4 since the start of this generation, it’s been Microsoft that has rolled out some fan-favorite features. Alongside the recently launched Xbox Game Pass, backwards compatibility has been a major hit. Meanwhile, Sony has relied on its PlayStation Now streaming service and PS2-on-PS4 Classics line as a means for offering the ability to play older games on PS4. While the latter introduces Trophies to games that did not previously have them, the accompanying cost–compared with Xbox One’s backwards compatibility being free if you already own a supported game–makes it less than ideal. There’s clearly room for improvement on this front for Sony.
While Microsoft will heavily tout having the most powerful system at E3, Sony has an opportunity to close the gap on the backwards compatibility front, which may matter to more people. PS1 Classic support on PS4 would be a great start–it lets Sony continue to sell classic games (including to a new group of PS4 owners who may not have owned a PS3, Vita, or PSP) and gives dedicated fans who have already bought these titles the freedom to play them on their current-gen system. Combine this with a way to play PS3 games you already own — and without needing to stream them — and Sony would make a strong demonstration that it’s listening to fans.
Keep The Exclusives Coming | Justin Haywald, Managing Editor
Sony has done an amazing job of delivering great exclusives; just this year, we’ve already had Horizon Zero Dawn, Gravity Rush 2, Yakuza 0 and Persona 5. Even more have already been revealed, but in the same way that Sony has set a precedent for E3 as the place for unexpected reveals, it also has to keep bringing out new exclusives to one-up the previous year’s show. We’ll definitely see more of the games we already know are on the way: God of War, The Last of Us 2, and Days Gone. But could this also be the show where we see a new Bloodborne, the next project from Guerrilla Games, or some other new, surprising IP? Probably.
Better Support For PS4 Pro Users | Michael Higham, Associate Editor
Sony boasts the PS4 Pro as a 4K gaming machine with significantly more processing power than the standard PS4. It’s nice that we have the option for a faster console if we’re willing to spend a little bit for it, but the implementation of enhancements in games has been spotty since the Pro’s release. While the onus is on developers to take advantage of the stronger hardware, we’ve had inconsistent experiences. For example, Horizon Zero Dawn looks and runs amazingly with HDR and checkerboard 4K, and we also have the option for 1080p with higher frame rates. But Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Watch Dogs 2 performed worse than they do on the standard PS4 in exchange for a higher resolution, which is disappointing for a premium console.
Sony could lay out a more focused plan of what Pro users will get from games in the future to help manage expectations, and possibly get more people on board with the Pro. This would mean holding developers to a certain standard for Pro enhancements. There could also be a push for more (if not all) games to come with detailed notes on what exactly Pro enhancements offer.
Focus On The Games | Miguel Concepcion, Editor
Sony’s goal–particularly during the press conferences–should be to not mess with a good thing, namely by prioritizing games, which is how it won the last two E3s. The conference planners have displayed an understanding of how to pace a presser. That includes starting and ending strong and mixing the reveals with big-name properties, franchises with cult followings, and left-field curiosities. Recalling the wholly positive reception of God of War last year, many of the reveals from big-budget productions (e.g. The Last of Us 2, Spider-Man) should benefit from letting the gameplay speak for itself with minimal setup from the presenters.