Ever since Sony announced the PlayStation 4 console in February 2013, it has been smooth sailing for the company. The system has been a tour de force these past two years, easily outselling its competition, and putting Sony on top once again after what was a complete meltdown, and a tumultuous couple of years with PlayStation 3. However, what is most staggering with the company’s latest console is that it’s been flying off the shelves without really offering a “killer app”: A first-party exclusive that showcases exactly why people need to own the system and, say, skip Microsoft’s Xbox One entirely. But this simply won’t last, and this drought that Sony’s first-party ecosystem has been experiencing might just finally cause PS4’s downfall if things don’t change.
The company admitted recently that there is a severe lack of compelling exclusives this year, which should actually leave people a bit optimistic for Sony’s E3 presser. These types of comments, weeks before the games industry’s most important event of the year, shows that Sony is well aware that it simply needs to treat its presser with the utmost fastidious care: It just has to come out swinging. This will arguably be the most vital showing for the company and its console mainly because it has a hungrier, and smarter competitor in Microsoft and the Xbox One. Two years ago the North American giant completely botched its Xbox One reveal, and its E3 presser a month later.
But it has since quickly learned from its mistakes, removing Kinect 2.0 out of one of its Xbox One bundles, and thus reducing its price down to $399.99. There has been a torrent of teases, rumors, and announcements regarding what type of exclusives Xbox fans should expect, like the controversial Rise of the Tomb Raider exclusivity deal that Microsoft has going on with Square Enix. Crystal Dynamics’ reboot of one of the longest-running, and most well-known adventure franchises in Tomb Raider was met exceptionally well both critically, and commercially. This is a huge deal for Microsoft, and with the recent announcement of Uncharted 4 being delayed to spring of next year, Tomb Raider has the entire fall to itself. It will move units. Microsoft just has nothing to lose, and a lot to gain, and it’ll be obsessed with regaining the lead it had with Xbox 360.
Plenty of fans are worried that this might finally be the year Sony messes up. The most worrying thing to expect from the company is that it will spend too much time on its Virtual Reality headset, Project Morpheus. It will release next year, and Sony has opened a new studio that will focus entirely on producing titles for the hardware. But VR just doesn’t show well on stage, as people have to experience it themselves. Those that think Sony would never be stupid enough to spend thirty minutes on it should remember this is the same company that spent the same amount of time on the disastrous Wonder Book. Just last year as well, to use another example, it confusingly spent roughly twenty minutes on its mediocre TV show Powers.
Sony needs to just talk about games, games, and more games. This is what turned the company’s fortunes around - its self-proclaimed focus on the hardcore audience. Uncharted 4 needs to have a lengthy, and highly impressive live demo that expertly displays Naughty Dog’s immense abilities as a developer. Sony Bend, Quantum Dreams, and a few other dormant studios to finally announce their titles. The long-rumored God of War reboot needs to come out swinging, convincing people that this isn’t yet another mundane revenge story starring everyone’s favorite grumpy protagonist, Kratos. Sony’s third-party partnership needs to continue to have a presence as well, as Destiny is palpable of proof of just how beneficial allying yourself with publishers is.
Finally, Sony needs to end its conference with The Last Guardian, and announce a release date that’ll only be months away. Only then will the company truly “win E3,” and make sure it reinforces its dominance come this holiday season, which is looking more packed every week for every other publisher. It’s always vital for companies to remember that you’re only at the top for so long until you become lazy, egotistical, and inevitably have a dramatic meltdown.