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E3 is upon us: the annual industry banquet that we video game enthusiasts salivate over. A plethora of juicy new announcements and seductive looks at some of the rest of the year's biggest titles is but mere hours away. Sony will, of course, close the opening day of this year's show with what will certainly be an interesting press conference. They have experienced an extremely shaky start to the year and will need to come out swinging in order to reinstate much of the confidence that has been lost in them via recent events. The hacking of PSN will undoubtedly be the 800 pound gorilla in the corner that shadows over at least the initial portion of their conference. Yet it is not expected that Sony will apologize directly for the loss of millions of users personal information at E3, and they really have no reason to. They have made an attempt, albeit quite a weak one, already, with various free games now up for download on PSN, and the whole affair is best left to fade into distant memory.
Those memories will need a little help on their way, though, so I expect to see Uncharted 3 or Resistance 3 relatively early. Nothing says "I'm sorry" like the outstanding visuals and undoubtedly solid gameplay that the stage demos of either of these PS3 exclusive heavy hitters are sure to showcase. There is always room for an announcement of a new game or two, but for the most part, expect Sony to play it safe on the PS3 side of things this year. As such, PSN will most likely receive little in the way of attention during the conference but the Move will certainly feature heavily. Microsoft is sure to unveil a suite of new titles for its own motion device, Kinect, at its own event earlier in the day, and Sony will have to show it is committed to keeping up appearances with the Move. Sony won't commit to motion based gaming as heavily as Microsoft has, however, as they still have their eyes on the hand held market.
The recently named Playstation Vita is a sure bet to take up the bulk to Sony’s time. By all accounts, it appears to be as slick a device as the PSP first seemed, but it is here that most people's worries will be found. While initially an attractive hand held, the PSP devolved into a platform for poor PS2 ports with ineffective controls. Granted, it had a few gems, but it quickly fell behind the DS as the public’s hand held of choice. The Vita could potentially follow a similar path. For all its power and sleek media features, Sony will have to back up the Vita as a viable mass market hand held with interesting titles, and most importantly a competitive price. Price estimations have ranged from 400 to 600 dollars, and it has to be expected that the Vita won't meet a mass market price initially, but Sony must keep it in a region where inevitable price cuts can take it into a more universally accepted price. The 3DS is by no means flying off shelves the way the DS did, so this is a prime time for Sony to really take a bite into the portable market and secure a foothold to build upon.
The press conference begins tomorrow at 5.00pm PDT and is sure to be the most interesting of the day. It can be streamed live at http://us.playstation.com/e3-2011/.