Sony Is Playing Catchup....
Playstation is not playing catchup - but Sony is. Over the last few years we have seen Sony lose it's dominance in the marketplace for music, phones, and TVs. Companies are starting to steal a lot of their mind share. We see Samsung TVs and phones, and iPods instead of Walkmen. Sony's lack of a social mega hit has left them playing catchup. The Playstation, however, has remained strong overseas - and carries strong brand presence in America. Let's get the obvious out of the way - the PS4 will be announced in the coming presentation. But if we take a closer look at the sudden surprise presentation, it may tell us more about the PS4 than any Reddit controller mock up and comment threads can ever imagine.
Apple pulled away from MacWorld, and have been doing their own events for years - relying on no one but themselves. Recently, Microsoft pulled away from CES and now holds surprise Surface style announcements. Samsung has even started building their own buzz and brand recognition for the last few years, and have done so quite successfully. Google on multiple occasions has held special events to announce their products. Even Facebook is getting in on the action with their latest open graph search announcement. That leaves us Sony, a company that has watched these companies come from the bottom - and surge to strong market share and minute long commericials during the most popular superbowl of all time.
Sony is taking the Playstation brand building hype around their event. We know the console generation is evolving. We thought Sony would be passive when they said "they would let MSFT go first". Instead they decided to take a chance become the console on which future consoles are judged. Sony has the offerings of PS+, Vita, TVs, (hopefully good) phones, and a partnership with HTC that has the chance to be a game changer. But they have not capitalized properly on the "buzz" that Apple and now Samsung have captured. Sony is now taking control of their destiny - and they are doing so this February.
Since they are using their own event - it will be big. We will not see a small announcement of a boomerang controller that will completely change by the actual release. This will be the final product. Sony will show us power, innovation, and games. Sony may talk about processor and ram - but focus on the benefits, instead of the features. The new processor "will revolutionize" gaming. It will "have breathtaking" detail that will bring us closer to the games we know and future games we will love. The innovation may be a stretch, and will obviously be in the eye of the beholder - but the console itself will be shown in all it's glory. The design will function as a "sleek companion" in the living room. The efficiency will make other TV peripherals obsolete. Then the games will come. I would love to see Crash Bandicoot have 20 minute trailer of a new gritty game by Naughty Dog - but that I cannot predict. But instead I will predict that Sony will speak about the games being a forefront for the PS4. They will mention their developers and make them look as good as possible, and as friendly as possible to help alleviate some of the SuperBot Entertainment news recently.
I am easily swayed by presentations when done right. I am fascinated by the way Steve Jobs made me want an iPhone and an iPad. I see other companies playing catchup with that style. Apple is not producing a game box (yet) - but Sony is still competing with them. Microsoft started following Apple's lead when they held the Surface announcement and backed out of CES. Every other company has started doing the same, and if CNBC picks it up - then it has reached a bigger audience than the TechCrunch and Polygons of the Internet. Something that Sony has not had in a while.
Will we see price? Microsoft has not done that at their conferences, and Sony might base price off the Xbox 720 - but we will see the capability of the system. We will see a brand recognized game that gets the comments on Reddit going. The power of the PS4 may make a Steam box seem like the obvious choice, but the benefits of the Vita companionship may outshine other competitors (and Sony will focus on that). Apple after their presentations have people use their new products. I don't think Sony will change their ways all in one event, so expect hands on demos at E3 and more game announcements there.
But what will happen - when the 720 gets announced, we will compare it to the PS4 - and that is what Sony wants.