Usually the Apple iPhone has the technology headlines all to itself, but the calling of a Sony press conference for September 7 means that the Japanese corporation will garner its fair share of attention. With Sony looking to advance its video gaming portfolio quite significantly in the coming months, this will be one of the most important events in the entire history of the console niche.
Updates on three major new devices are expected at the PlayStation event, and the first of these is the PlayStation 4 Slim. In many ways, this is perhaps the least exciting of the three, with the Slim console merely being an updated, and more compact, version of the existing PlayStation 4 console. This has been common in previous console generations, though, and is always a popular addition to the roster of Sony consoles.
There is no particular reason to suspect that this console will improve on the performance of the PlayStation 4, but it will at least fit more snugly into the average living room.
However, things get considerably more interesting and exciting with the release of the PlayStation Neo. The next generation console is rumoured to be a significantly upgraded version of the existing PlayStation 4, hopefully capable of delivering 4K resolution gaming. Of course, the jury remains out on this particular prospect until Sony confirms one way or another whether the PlayStation Neo will be 4K compatible.
But superior virtual reality experiences are anticipated from the new processor and graphics chip included in the PlayStation Neo, and there is no doubt that the unveiling of this mid-generation machine will be one of the most hotly anticipated moments in the gaming world for several years.
How to watch
Sony’s PlayStation event takes place in New York, at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square. It commences at 3pm ET, which is noon PT. It is intriguing that Sony has stacked this event up against the unveiling of the iPhone 7, considering that the Apple smartphone is usually the highlight of any technology year. However, Sony hasn’t been so dumb as to have the PlayStation Neo unveiling clash with the iPhone 7 debut, with the event in New York beginning two hours after the Apple conference in San Francisco.
Sony is broadcasting the PlayStation Neo event live on twitch, and with the video broadcasting platform built into the existing PS4 operating system architecture, this means that many gamers will be able to tune in conveniently. But for those wanting to watch via desktop machines, the Twitch channel can be accessed here.
The general consensus of opinion is that there will be no new information at the Sony unveiling event regarding the PlayStation VR headset. This first console step into the world of virtual reality has already been set aside for a release date of October 13, with the price set in the United States at $399. (£349 or AU$550). So it is extremely unlikely that Sony will enlarge on this device any further in New York.
However, some industry observers have suggested that Sony may announce some games for the system at the PlayStation Neo event, and this ties in nicely with one morsel of recent news regarding the PlayStation VR system. It has been announced in the last 24 hours that the PlayStation VR headset will be bundled with a physical demo disc containing eight sample games. The extent of the content included in these eight games is not yet known, but there are some interesting titles without doubt:
- Driveclub VR
- PlayStation VR Worlds
- RIGS Mechanized Combat League
- Tumble VR
- EVE: Valkyrie
- Wayward Sky
Driveclub has been a moderately successful racer for Sony, while PlayStation VR Worlds is essentially a minigame showcase of the platform’s capabilities. And EVE: Valkyrie was one of the Oculus Rift’s biggest launch games, so it will be interesting to see how this turns out on the Sony machine.
It is perhaps slightly surprising that Sony has chosen to bundle these games on a demo disc, which does seem somewhat dated. Nonetheless, it is highly likely that PlayStation VR owners will be able to download virtual versions of the software once the device goes online.
Fill in the Gaps
What we can say with some confidence regarding the PlayStation Neo unveiling is that Sony will leave something to the imagination. Video games companies, and for that matter technology firms in general, love to tease the public regarding final products, so it is extremely unlikely that all the gaps will be filled regarding this forthcoming console.
Instead, Sony is likely to sell the sizzle rather than the steak with this unveiling, with a great deal of unanswered questions likely to remain once the presentation has been completed. But the onus on the Japanese corporation is nonetheless to deliver on some of the key issues that Sony fans and consumers are currently considering.
Why buy a PlayStation Neo?
Top of the list for Sony to demonstrate at the PlayStation Neo unveiling is why consumers would choose to purchase this particular console. How does it build upon the existing PlayStation 4, and are the improvements really big enough to justify upgrading, considering the expense incurred?
At the same time, Sony also needs to show explicit commitment to the existing PlayStation 4, which remains a massively important device for the company. Many analysts have suggested that the reason the PlayStation Neo is being released is that the PlayStation 4 struggles to cope with virtual reality satisfactorily. Considering Sony has stated that the PS4 will not be left behind, it will be interesting to see what the corporation has to say about the future of its mainstream machine.
This all adds up to a fascinating event in the video gaming calendar, and there is no doubt that the Twitch channel of Sony will be massively inundated with viewers.