As the PlayStation 3 turns 6-years-old and the newborn PlayStation Vita struggles to find its feet, Sony seems to be the console maker with the most to prove at this year’s E3. The PlayStation division is in deep trouble based on the company’s earnings in the past year. It contributed to $2.8 billion of Sony’s total $5.7 billion loss.
Sony’s got new games on the horizon like God of War: Ascension and The Last of Us. The company is also banking hard on releasing titles like Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale on both the PS3 and Vita, but these are not the games and services that will pull the company up by it armpits into the realm of profitability and creative experimentation. Sony needs something daring.
Cloud gaming may be the answer.
VG247 reported on Thursday that, according to its sources, Sony has a number of surprises up its sleeve. Amongst those surprises are two unannounced games and a number of new Vita titles. No shocks there, of course. The big noise however is that Sony is partnering with a “leading cloud gaming service.”
We reached out to Sony for a comment on the rumor. One representative of Sony’s public relations team responded saying, “Nothing to report from our end, but [ask] our PSN team just in case.” Members of the PSN team did respond to inquiries as of this writing.
When major announcements are in the works, it’s not unusual for different branches of a company to be in the dark on upcoming plans. This helps prevent major leaks ahead of events like E3. Sony however is a notoriously leaky ship. Details of the maligned PSPGo portable leaked in the weeks leading up to E3 2009 as did specifications for the PlayStation Move controller (even before it was named Move.)
That’s Sony’s internal projects though. Its partnerships with digital services have remained secret until they were announced in the past. Gabe Newell’s announcement that Valve would partner with Sony to provide Portal 2 players with cross-platform play and Steam access was a closely held secret until it was announced at E3 2010.
A partnership with OnLive, who is really the only cloud gaming service open that could be called an industry leader, could be a major coup for Sony and the PlayStation Vita. The service is already on portables like the iPad, so precedent is there. Such a partnership might trouble publishers looking to sell retail and downloadable games for Vita though.
GameStop is also busy preparing its own streaming service though, and a partnership with Sony would protect both companies’ interests, preserving Vita as a retail presence while also building a base of digital revenue for both.