The last year has been quite good for Sony’s console business, as the electronics titan shipped 17.7 million PlayStation 4 units. The company has been the dominant force in this generation of consoles, and E3 2016 offers an opportunity for the company to keep the momentum going. At last year’s E3, Sony blitzed the gaming world with trailers for the long-gestating The Last Guardian and the long-rumored Final Fantasy VII remake. Will Sony display the same verve again this year? Below is a quick breakdown on how to watch Sony’s E3 press conference, and a rundown of what to look out for.
How to watch
Sony’s press conference is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. PT on Monday, June 13, and you have a few options for watching the conference live. Sony’s main page is live.playstation.com, and will allow viewers who have PlayStation Network accounts to log in and unlock digital rewards while watching. Sony will also stream the conference on PlayStation’s official YouTube and Twitch channels. PlayStation 3 and PS4 owners can even watch on their consoles using the Live Events Viewer app.
What to watch for
Two of the biggest virtual reality headsets — the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive — have already hit the market, but given their disastrous launches, the market is still wide open for competitors. Sony’s Playstation VR headset seems to be targeted at a more casual audience, and as such, plugs directly into PS4 consoles and retails for a mere $400. While the device has been shown off a few times, software remains a mystery. E3 would be a great chance for Sony to unveil one or two big exclusives for their VR system.
Information about an upgraded PS4, a device which runs the same games but can do so with improved graphics and performance, has been trickling out for a few months now. Details about specs have been leaked, but Sony has yet to formally display the new and improved PS4 — codenamed NEO, according to documents provided to the folks at Giant Bomb. In the wake of these rumors, Sony has finally confirmed the existence of the more-powerful PS4, but that the new console would not be at this year’s E3. Andrew House, CEO of Sony Interactive, told the Financial Times that the new PS4 would support 4K resolution, would cost more than the standard $350 model currently available, and is designed to “sit alongside and complement” the current PS4. Furthermore, House stated that all software will be available on both systems. Even though the console itself may not be revealed this year, we wouldn’t be surprised if Sony made some mention of it during their press conference.
First revealed at E3 2009, The Last Guardian is a project from Fumito Ueda, one which functions as a spiritual successor to his beloved games Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. For years, information about the game had stopped flowing, leading some to believe the game had silently been cancelled. Sony quelled all such fears last year, showing off new footage of the game and announcing it would be released in 2016. The game puts players in control of a young boy, who is accompanied by a giant monster that players can command in various ways. Players must use the monster’s abilities to solve various environmental puzzles and explore the bizarre world in which the game is set. Look for Sony to show off more footage or — fingers crossed — announce a definitive release date.
Final Fantasy VII was a landmark game, both for the JRPG genre and the original Playstation console. While the game’s graphics and cinematic cutscenes were remarkable in the ’90s, they have not aged well, and fans have been clamoring for a remake for years. Square-Enix finally gave the people what they want at Sony’s press conference last year, releasing a trailer for a remake of the game. Various details about the project have come out during the course of the last year, but Square-Enix could always show some more gameplay footage.
Sony’s E3 2015 press conference featured an announcement that was remarkable for a few reasons. First, noted designer Yu Suzuki announced that he wanted to make a new entry in the cult-favorite Shenmue series. This by itself would be notable, as Shenmue 3 looks to be the messianic sequel that the video game community has been pining for. There was a twist, however; Sony wasn’t announcing the development of Shenmue 3, but rather, a Kickstarter to raise funding for the game. The company’s decision to ask fans to fund the game was predictably controversial, but in the end, the Kickstarter was one of the successful in the crowdfunding platform’s history. E3 would be a great opportunity to show Shenmue fans some of what they paid for.
Amid the many announcements regarding remakes and sequels last year, Sony dropped a trailer for an intriguing new title. Horizon: Zero Dawn is a new game from Guerilla Games, the creators of Killzone, and despite its silly name, it looks like one of the most promising titles of this console generation. Set 1,000 years in the future, the world of Horizon finds the last remnants of humanity living as hunter-gatherers in a world dominated by robotic wildlife. Players assume the role of Aloy, a young hunter who uses various weapons and tools to hunt the spectacular creatures and harvest their parts. Horizon is slated for release in February 2017, so new footage at E3 could keep PS4 owners salivating over the course of the six months.