Sony is holding a press event called PlayStation Meeting next week, to, if rumors hold true, discuss the “Neo” and pretty much everything else PlayStation.
So, first things first, I want to talk about the last time we had a “PlayStation Meeting”. The last one was held on February 20th, 2013, and went over PlayStation 4, its games, and the people that made it happen.
All right, now that you’re basically caught up on what a PlayStation Meeting is, it’s time to talk about something I know all too well: hype. It’s a word I like to use a lot when talking about games I’m indubitably excited for, like Destiny: Rise of Iron, BioShock: The Collection, or even *gasp* ReCore. To say I’m indubitably excited for this PlayStation Meeting is an absolute understatement. I just can’t seem to shut up about it, much to the chagrin of the Internet.
This Meeting has a lot of potential for me as somebody who had a PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, and almost a PlayStation TV. You see, while I know more about the Xbox brand, I still really enjoy it when I see a game running on PlayStation 4 that genuinely blows me away, like Abzu. So, if Sony wants to hook me up with a PS4 and a copy of that, it’d be greatly appreciated. Just kidding, Sony would never do that, at least not for someone like us.
Either way, you should expect that Sony is going to have a lot to say at this PlayStation Meeting in New York City next week. Even writing this, I can already picture the outline of the presentation in my mind. So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and the reason why you’re here: to hear/watch/read my thoughts on the announcements of this PlayStation Meeting. Well, going over some things I remember from the 2013 Meeting and watching the archived stream on YouTube, as well as the various articles written afterwards, I’ve finally come to a clear consensus.
The PlayStation Meeting is not going to only about the “Neo”. Sorry to disappoint you all right out of the gate, but due to the PS4 Slim leaks last week, if Sony wasn’t planning on talking about it, now they are forced to by default, at least in my relatively sane mind. No, you should actually expect a lot more from this PlayStation Meeting than the one held in 2013. This is truly going to live up to its mysterious name, and for good reason. Sony is now at a forked road, and they’ve got to tell us, the Uber driver, which road they want to take us on over the next few years.
After a paragraph like that, I’m sure you’re wondering to yourself, “Well, how’s he going to follow that up?”. Here’s the simple answer: It’s pretty self-explanatory and the writing’s been on the wall since E3 2015 that Sony needs to make a change, a big one at that. Xbox is winning back, person by person, the market share they lost when they held their own version of the 2013 PlayStation Meeting, entitled “A New Generation Revealed” exactly three months later than Sony, which the Internet had a field day with. Yes, Sony needs to make a change, or like last generation, they’ll end up on the wrong side of the fence. Now, the changes needed aren’t exactly as drastic as you may hope, it’s honestly just a series of nips and tucks that’ll have Sony feeling ship-shape in no time.
First up, is the most important thing Sony needs to tell its customers, prospective or current: We’re going to be better, and here’s why. It’s no secret that Chris and I have had enormous problems with the PlayStation Plus lineup and how Sony treats their customers like garbage. I mean, Tricky Towers? C’mon, man, what were you thinking would happen? Anyways, since Sony is going to jack up the prices of PlayStation Plus soon, that’d be where I’d start. Here’s the bottom line when it comes to PS Plus: Sony needs to get rid of the PS3 and maybe even the PS Vita when it comes to free games. The selection on hand every month hasn’t even remotely appealed to me for a very long time now, and it seems I’m not the only one.
A couple of months ago, I started looking at the PlayStation Blog comments, which can be a good or bad idea, depending on the article. 9 times out of 10 any time PlayStation Plus was mentioned, people had complaints ranging from “PS Plus sucks” and “It needs to be better”. Getting back to the games, though, why, on Friday, when I was talking to one of my coworkers about the recent price hike, specifically in regards to games selection and overall value, I told him something along the lines of “Sony needs to focus all their efforts on offering a better service for their consumers. What I’d really like to see offered on PS Plus would be something like The Order: 1886, inFamous: Second Son, or hell, even Knack, if Sony was feeling risky.” Now, I beautified the discussion down, but that’s the overall gist of what I said during the 10-or-so minute conversation I had with one of my coworkers. Sony needs to tell its fans they’re listening to their feedback on the free games selection, and truly deliver on that promise, not just say that it’ll be fine.
Furthermore, the entire PlayStation Network needs an update or something of that nature to really deliver on the initial promise detailed at the 2013 PlayStation Meeting of being a place for fellow gamers to have an inactive role in, where PlayStation Store was gathering information on the games you like and automatically purchasing ones PS Store thinks you’ll like, suggesting friends to play a few rounds of Call of Duty, or just looking at the games you’ve bought and slowly realizing how few of those titles you’ll get to finish. A #BetterPSN, you might say.
Some of the top complaints boil down to the network infrastructure for the most part, and then get into some nitty gritty stuff that’d require a knowledge that I don’t quite have, but I’ll try to explain it anyways, because why not? So, more specifically, the key complaints within the #BetterPSN campaign are: not being able to see every single downloadable thing you own, heavily bottlenecked download speeds (I have 300 Mbps, and I only got a good 50 Mbps hardwired into the modem, so yeah, it’s a problem), not being able to correctly authorize payments made with a credit card, telling you when one of your friends is online, getting a PS Store wishlist, the option to buy the game for someone else and give it to them, and an increase in cloud storage to better allow room for cloud saves.
Next up, Shawn Layden gets up on the stage. Yes, the “boss of PlayStation” will have a few things to say about the division of Sony he effectively runs. Shocking, I know. More specifically, though, this man is on stage to talk about how PlayStation is a great value for just about anyone, but don’t expect him to be talking about it for too long. We’re about 10 minutes in at this point, and we’ve got some bombs to drop. Mr. Layden, your script basically writes itself. After that lovely speech, expect Mr. Layden to drop a huge announcement. They always like to give him these, like the Crash Bandicoot remasters, so you should expect no less than big things. Now, it could be something relatively minor like the PS4 Slim unboxing, co-hosted by Shuhei Yoshida of Sony Worldwide Studios, or something like the lead-in to the Neo, but if I was a betting man, I’d have to say that it’s too early to drop the bombs just yet. I actually think the last “PlayStation in general” announcement is going to be the date for PlayStation Experience 2016 and where it’s going to be held, oh and tickets are on sale now. That’s a relatively minor bomb, but hey, it’s a PlayStation meeting, so why not just spill the beans? We’ve only got about 3 more months until the month PlayStation Experience is usually held, so indeed, why not?
Then, after all that, comes the stuff we know about already, due to numerous leaks and rumors: the PS4 Slim. Now, knowing PlayStation, they’re a snarky bunch, so like I said earlier, expect a pre-recorded video of Shehui Yoshida unboxing, or talking about the Slim in some other way that may just be price and release date, which ideally, would be $250 suggested retail price, 500GB, and releases the very moment the press conference is over, or closely following it.
Since we’re already in the PlayStation Systems branch, why don’t we talk about the main attraction, huh? The PlayStation Neo. Much like the 2013 PlayStation Meeting, expect Sony to go into the nitty gritty of the new console’s specs, and I’d expect those to be what was leaked earlier in the year. They’ll also talk about the things I really care about and want to hear discussed: marketing strategy, price and release date.
Some of you might not care about marketing strategy, but I think this will be very important to talk about, as this reveal will be one of the most tedious to navigate through, as you’re basically telling “original” PlayStation 4 owners that their console isn’t good enough to run the games of tomorrow. Personally, I’d like to see PlayStation take the less traveled road here, and sell this “Neo” as a VR machine. Then, you won’t have to say things like “Better on Neo” or “Running on Neo” or anything too technical like that. It’s quite simple, honestly. Tell consumers that their PS4 is all well and good, but this new console will aid in PlayStation VR being able to run games without their console sounding like a jet engine every time they “jack in”, for lack of a better term.
Also, the marketing strategy behind Neo will also help people swallow the bitter pill that is the price. Running games at 4K is no easy task, and it’s going to cost you dearly. My current price I have in mind is…you know what? Are you sitting down right now? You might want to before I reveal what I think the suggested retail price is. OK, so I’ve crunched the numbers and they’re not looking too good for your wallets. This console is probably going to be ~$700 US dollars, and for good reason. Even considering the drastically reduced costs of production partnerships, buying in bulk and everything else that comes down to costs of production, I don’t think you can come in much lower than that and keep the iron grip on consumers’ wallets. If it’s anything less, consumers will start to worry and say that it’s a budget upgrade and not what it truly is, a new generation, but by another name. I’ve discussed this with many people, who suggested the Neo be $400, and that’s the point I win people over with every single time. If you tell consumers that this going to cost $150 more than the Slim model, chances are they’re going with the Slim, and for good reason. On the flip side, if you tell consumers that the Neo will cost $350 more than the Slim, you start to see people warming up to the idea, because they no longer feel like they’re getting the short end of the stick, so to speak.
Now, for what’s sure to be the selling point of the PS Neo, PS VR and the PS4 line in general: the games we’ll get to play in the next few months and years. Sony doesn’t have to do a lot here, so I’ll keep it short. I want status updates on Dreams, Wattam, What Remains of Edith Finch, Ace Combat 7, Deep Down and the other dozen or so titles that have been in development since the PlayStation 4 was announced and released in 2013.
To wrap up, I know I have lofty expectations, but shouldn’t I? After all, this is the same company who sold us on the promise of these awesome new experiences, and so far, hasn’t delivered much outside of cool independently-developed video games and little experiments here and there. So, be crazy, Sony. We really need you to be.