A couple of days ago Microsoft announced that it was dropping the Kinect from Xbox One in a future SKU due for release on June 9th, the day of E3. Why this was announced now and not at E3 is anyone’s guess. We figure that the NPD numbers for April are not too impressive for Microsoft and they’re making this announcement now in order to lessen the blow of the release of the NPD figures. If that’s not it, we’ll be surprised, but it’s definitely a possibility. However, now that the new SKU is coming and Microsoft has dropped 80% of its paywall, it’s time for Sony to respond and respond hard. Today, we’re going to lay out what we think Sony will do at E3 to counter Microsoft’s conference and what they need to do in order to make this new SKU irrelevant to gamers still trying to make a choice.
Travis Tucker: The only way they can: A lot of great games. Sony needs to come out swinging with console exclusives like Uncharted 4. The Order: 1886, possibly a new God of War, and The Last Guardian (Don’t laugh, it’s possible). Announcing a few exclusive DLC deals would also go a long way to differentiating the PlayStation 4 from the Xbox One. If rumors prove true and EA is indeed bringing Titanfall to the PS4, that takes away one of the few major exclusives Microsoft’s system had.
Other than bringing the noise with game footage and announcements, Sony needs to remind that the PS4 is stronger than the Xbox One. It may seem petty, but reminding consumers how the PS4 runs games at 1080p compared to the Xbox One’s 900p gives them something to think about when they go to the store to buy a new gaming system.
It all comes down to strength: Strength in software lineup and strength in performance. With all things equal, Sony needs to reiterate that the PS4 is the all around stronger system.
Joe Garcia: Games, games, games. There’s no question that the changes that Microsoft announced — from a cheaper Xbox One without Kinect to Gold subscriptions no longer being required for streaming apps — brings the Xbox One to a much more level playing field with PlayStation 4, but what ultimately matters is software.
As it stands right now, upcoming releases on Xbox One are far more interesting than what Sony has on tap for PS4. A wave of positive previews for Sunset Overdrive just flooded the internet, Quantum Break looks to meld the TV and gaming mediums, D4 is another crazy-ass game from Swery65, and Halo 5 and a new Gears of War will be huge draws; at least a couple of them are likely hitting this year. Sony has Driveclub and maybe The Order: 1886 coming this year, but that’s it. If not for the weekly release of solid downloadable games, we’d all be complaining about how there’s nothing to play on PS4.
Microsoft announced its changes before E3, which tells me that they’re looking to throw haymakers at the big show. Sony would be wise to do the same, or their early lead will be erased faster than they think.
David Wales: I’d like to see Sony come out and take a small jab at Microsoft bu lowering the price of the PlayStation 4 to $389.99 just for laughs. It’s likely it won’t happen, but it would still be a funny thing to witness. Outside of that, Sony needs to take the lid off of unannounced titles that people are going to be excited for. The company doesn’t need to dedicate 30 minutes to Project Morpheus which is a long time away, it needs to keep focus on things gamers want like they have since February 2013. Also, when it comes to the games, focus on games that will get your PlayStation 4 owners excited — don’t put too much emphasis on games that are meant to be family-friendly and low sellers.
The PlayStation 4 is growing at a rapid rate and they need to capitalize on this. Announce small things that have big impact on consumers of your console. Even small things like HBO Go would be a big addition to the PlayStation 4’s feature set. They need to make sure that they’re staying side-by-side with what Microsoft’s feature set is providing while also taking the lead in its own unique feature set as well. It’s a hard battle to fight, but they need to do it, make it sound exciting, but also spend minimal time on it. I’d also like to see Sony spend less time on the financials and figures that we’ve already read about a million times throughout the year and instead focus on the meat and potatoes that gamers care about. We’re not your shareholders, we’re your consumers. Wow us or get off the stage.
With all of that said, I believe Sony is going to do just that. They’re going to hit the ground running at E3 and not let off the pedal at all until the end. I also believe they’ll tease something ridiculously unexpected at the end of the show that is going to further its sales gap with Microsoft.