E3 09: What Sony MUST announce at its press conference

Microsoft had a strong press conference on the opening day of E3. With the two surviving Beatles in attendance, innovative 1:1 motion-sensing technology with Project Natal, a strong line-up of games and new multimedia features, Sony's got to up its game to keep up with Bill and his boys. Below, we team up with our colleagues at OPM UK to tell you about the features PS3 needs to announce to stay on a level playing field with the Xbox 360.

Above: The Beatles: Rock Band fronted by its two remaining performers capped a fine conference for Microsoft

OPM UK’s Deputy Editor, Ben Wilson, is in favour of PS3 implementing music applications like Spotify. But, ultimately, feels Sony should concentrate on games at their E3 09 press conference.

He said: ‘I’m hoping for the focus to be on gaming rather than gimmicks. PS3 is already a superb multimedia machine. Where it can pull ahead of its rivals is in the quality of titles like Project Trico, God of War III, Heavy Rain, and MAG. The conference is going to be fascinating.’

Read on to find out all the things we and OPM UK want to see Sony announce at their E3 09 press conference.

Metal Gear Solid 5. The mystery of Raiden’s game, now known as Metal Gear Solid: Rising, has been solved, but that doesn’t explain the render of Big Boss we saw on Konami’s teaser site last week. Our friends at OPM UK also confirm series creator, Hideo Kojima, will be at Sony’s press conference. So we’re hopeful this means the announcement of a proper sequel to MGS4 is imminent. Sony could also appease us by revealing any of the following…

• Killzone 3
• A new PS3 Jak and Daxter
• Sony exclusive GTA IV DLC
• LittleBigPlanet 2
• New Flower-esque innovative IPs for the Store
• Resistance 3

Above: Kojima makes a suprise appearance at Microsoft's show, but he'll also be at Sony's conference

But screw announcements. What the company really needs to do is make its big hitters playable on its show floor, meaning demos of God of War III, Uncharted 2 and Gran Turismo 5 (with damage modelling in place). With these games, PS3 owners won’t care about moody lighting in Alan Wake, perfect hairpin turns in Forza 3 or shoving men’s heads into sinks in Splinter Cell: Conviction.

Microsoft has Last.fm providing the 360 with DLC music and radio. But Sony will counter this within the week when its PS3 VidZone is released. The ad-supported service allows us to stream unlimited on demand music for free, with 1.5 million tracks and 25, 000 music videos available from launch, including Sony EGM and EMI records. But, to go that extra mile, assimilating Spotify into the PS3 Borg would be aces.

Above: Combine Spotify with the VidZone and all PS3 music lovers' needs should be covered

While Last.fm might be free for Xbox Live gold subscribers, there’ll be plenty of pissed-off silver members out there pining for a free music service for their console. And having the free to use Spotify for your listening needs could be a big boost for PS3.

Sony needs to put a deal in place with LoveFilm or a similar movie DLC service to bolster the number of movies and shows on the PS Store to compete with the 360 and Netflix. It also needs to get its act together and finally make the Store film service available in Europe. Instant streaming of films seems like a must now, too. And this is where Sony has to stress its tech advantage over Microsoft. Every single PS3 supports 1080p, but only the Elite version of the 360 supports the resolution.

Above: Zune providing instant 1080p streaming is a major coup for the 360

The PS3 must hammer home the fact it’s the only console supplying true HD movies to all its customers. Sony also has to try and combat Microsoft’s Sky TV deal that lets you watch Premier League football matches. Sorting something out with Setanta Sports, to bring live football to Play TV, would be a start.

Sony need a modified and more sophisticated version of the EyeToy to go up against the 360’s Project Natal. The technology has been in place for years, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to adapt it slightly to fully support all the kickball and virtual paint-style games that Microsoft have shown off. Bring these changes in through firmware updates, rather than us having to pony up for new hardware, and that would be even better.

Above: Don't expect to be interacting with any downtrodden digital kids on EyeToy anytime soon

June 02, 2009