I’ll be at E3 2012 in a week covering all the madness. But before I pack my bags and kiss northeast Ohio goodbye, here’s one bold prediction. Sony or Microsoft (or both) will tease something next-gen. Okay, alright, I know what you’re thinking, but before you roll your eyes in disgust, read this first.
Earlier this year everyone thought Sony and Microsoft would be showing off new consoles come E3 2012. But in a strange twist, both companies came out and denied the rumors. So the discussion ended there, but should we really trust the words of a couple of PR mouthpieces?
Well, they probably weren’t technically lying when they said the PS4 and Next Xbox will miss E3 2012. But there are ways to announce something without actually announcing anything. Here’s all they have to say, let’s use Sony as an example:
“Here at Sony we’re always thinking about the future, and today we’d like to share a video with you. This is what you can expect from the PlayStation brand in the coming years”
After that they can show a “concept video” of one of their major IPs, in Sony’s case this would be Uncharted. The crowd would erupt in applause because the graphics would obviously look way better than anything currently available on the PS3 (and the video could show Drake in an open world). And then once the host steps back on stage they’d say: “This is only a concept video — we aren’t announcing anything today, we just wanted to give everyone an idea of the direction we’re headed in”.
This would get gamers talking and take some of the helium out of Nintendo’s balloon. And they’d never mention anything about a new console; all we’d have is a “concept video”. Furthermore, when pressed about a new console they can just say: “We have no announcements at this time, but we hope you enjoyed the video.” It’s perfect from a PR standpoint, they love non-answers and this is the ultimate one. Yet, at the same time the video acknowledges a new console is coming soon.
Something like this would send shockwaves through E3 2012 because everyone thinks Sony and Microsoft will only focus on current consoles. So the timing is perfect, E3 needs at least one truly shocking reveal, and let’s face it — the sixth installment of an established IP, and a few “leftover games” are far from shocking.
I know, “The PS3 and Xbox 360 are selling like fireworks in July, this would kill sales!” We’ve all heard that line before when talk of next-generation consoles starts to heat up. Here’s the thing, the people who are buying PS3s and Xbox 360s for the first time in 2012 wouldn’t buy a new console at launch. They aren’t early adopters; they’re the type of gamers that wait for price drops and huge game libraries. Or they’re extremely casual and are unaware of the trends in gaming. So sales wouldn’t take a major hit, who knows, they may go up if a price drop is also announced.
Sony and Microsoft know gamers are starting to become restless, and I’m confident that one of them will give in and throw us a bone. If only one company does this they’ll have an advantage over the one that decided to play it safe. It could essentially force the other party’s hand. Now the question is — who will pull the trigger at E3 2012, Sony or Microsoft?