After a distinctly unremarkable showing from Microsoft just a few hours ago, Sony has a tremendous opportunity to make E3 2012 its own. Nintendo will likely have a strong presentation with a re-showing of the Wii U, but it's really Sony's to lose right now. You'd be wise were you a Sony fanboy, of course, to forgo counting your chickens to early – if E3's of recent years have told us anything, it's to not fear disappointment. But if it can come up trumps on a variety of notable games and announcements we'd otherwise expect to see, the major gaming headlines from the past 24 hours are entirely up for grabs.
You can watch the entire Sony press conference right here on New Rising Media as earlier with the Microsoft keynote. The presentation kicks off at 2:00 GMT.
Sony really are a mixed bag at E3. Anyone familiar with the company's entire 2006 conference – you know, the one with the giant enemy crab - will be aware that it hasn't exactly been shy of presenting some truly wince-inducing moments. But scattered amongst the cringe worthiness and immaturity of years gone by have also been some memorable and genuinely exciting announcements, demonstrations and coverage.
What is appealing to us about Sony's conference is the originality of IP's that will no doubt be shown. Co-founder of Naughty Dog Evan Wells has already teased his team's presentation of the intriguing, post-apocalyptic PS3-exclusive The Last Of Us which should be fantastic, while rumours of Quantic Dream (Heavy Rain) showing off its new project have been circulating for a good time now. We got a brief glimpse of the engine the game will be running on with the superb 'Kara' demo earlier this year, though it is unlikely the footage gives any indication of the type of theme the studio is heading for with the game now rumoured to be called 'Beyond'. At the time, the developer resolutely insisted it was nothing more than a tech demo.
And then of course is Team Ico's long-gestating The Last Guardian. The prospect of the team behind Ico and Shadow of the Colossus crafting a well told, beautiful and thematically-similar successor to its former titles on the PS3 has been a tantalising one since it was first unveiled three years ago. Since, we've seen barely any footage from the title, observed rumours of a cancellation, and even witnessed project lead Fumito Ueda leave Sony. We fear a no-show at this year's E3 could spell the end for the project as we know it.
Though Sony is sure to pay close attention to its new properties, that doesn't mean the more established franchises don't get a look in. God of War: Ascension is sure to devour a big piece of the conference's allotted time slot, while a look at Metal Gear Solid: Revengeance – now under the direction of Platinum Games lest we forget – ought to be on the cards too. There's also strong suggestions of the company revealing a PS3 port of Diablo III which would be huge given the genre's scarcity on consoles. Finally, Sony's E3 stage would be an appropriate venue for Rockstar to reveal much more about Grand Theft Auto V; what to expect, release dates, story details. We can dream, after all.
As with no news of the next generation Xbox within this year's first press conference, seeing Sony reveal the PlayStation 4 would come as a massive shock. Both companies have shown an intelligence with the current generation consoles in order to best preserve the respective life spans of their consoles (Microsoft with Kinect, Sony with big investment in triple-A titles and the more powerful hardware) and they will both want to stretch that as long as possible.
For now, Sony needs to be seen to prove something to its most devoted fan base. And by that we mean that E3 2012 must spark new life into the Vita. A price drop, a few surprise game announcements, new software, promised developer support... Whichever option Sony has chosen (or not!), it needs to give the Vita proper coverage this year, probably more so than last year. Confidence in the portable is fading quickly amongst consumers and developers and it'll be up to the manufacturer behind it to reaffirm people's love for the most powerful portable console at market. In comparison, the 3DS is now dirt cheap and something needs to happen quick for the Vita to remain viable.
Cloud gaming will no doubt become a permanent fixture on next generation consoles. Where digital ownership of games is becoming the accepted norm for more and more gamers all the time, cloud gaming is the logical next step for us console gamers, allowing us to stream high-def, triple-A games at the touch of a button and start enjoying the experience in seconds. And it's for that precise reason why Sony has earlier this week been reported as being on the verge of signing a deal with a cloud gaming provider. Whether it's David Perry's Gaikai or OnLive, we're really unsure whether this will mean cloud services will come to the PS3, possibly with some form of game rental service, or hold back for the launch of the PS4. It'll make a good-looking bullet point on the back of the box that's for sure. As for exactly who the deal is with, we'd put our money on Gaikai, which has been picking up partnerships with a range of companies in the past couple of years; including YouTube, EA, Intel and Ubisoft.
So keep your eyes peeled on the above stream, we have a feeling it'll be a good one.