Daily Reaction: PS4, Sony Exclusives, Gaikai and More in 2013

Look outside – do things look different? Of course they do! It’s 2013! Last year sucked, but things will certainly be different for gamers and PlayStation this time, right? Daily Reaction’s Seb and Dan rub their balls to see the future, and offer their mystic, absolutely correct, predictions about the next 12 months.

Seb: After the fail that was 2012, I’m hoping for a better gaming year this time around, and luckily that’s exactly what seems to be on the cards. We pretty much know what’s happening at the beginning of the year (here’s all the games that are coming out), and towards the middle of the year we’ll have games like GTA V and probably Beyond on PS3. TLOU, Beyond, GTA, BioShock and more mean that it’ll be an incredible time for us gamers, but what’ll really shake up the industry is the coming of the next gen.

There are two possibilities – a PS4 release this Christmas, or a PS4 release in early 2014 – that’s about it. When you look at the lineup of PS3 and multiplatform games that have only been announced for the first half of the year, how Guerrilla Games is teasing a big 2013, 2nd party developer Zindagi Games has mentioned a next gen console for 2013 and more, it’s really starting to look like Sony wants the PS4 to come out this year. No console launch has been perfect, however, and when you consider all the myriad of different components that are vital to a console’s creation, it’s very easy for something to go wrong and the whole project to be delayed.

But even if the PS4 (or Orbis/whatever) does get pushed back, we’ll 100% see an official reveal of the machine this year. The latest we’ll hear about it is at E3 in June, although a special press event like the Vita received is just as likely. However, it would make sense for the reveal to come out after Sony’s big PS3 games like TLOU to not steal their thunder. Count on a few leaks beforehand, though.

Dan: Well I cannot say 2012 was a complete failure, it was just a year that really showed how bad our current economic climate really is, and the effect of a long lifecycle. As previous years were filled with amazing titles, and 2011 ended with incredible titles apparently on the horizon, we had really expected 2012 to be the biggest year yet. Sadly, some of those hopeful titles like The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy XIII: Versus and Agent have become mythical creatures in the gaming industry, while other games were delayed until 2013. Furthermore, the closing of countless studios has really forced numerous companies to tighten up and lay off hundreds of employees. All of this has been the depressing landmarks that made 2012 the year it has been, a year with a handful of incredible titles, but also one with the most uncertainty.

As we come into 2013, the potential now for the industry as a whole is more promising than ever. The most influential factor being, of course, the move into next-gen, as I do believe it is Sony’s full intention to bring out the PS4 at the end of this year. Obviously, the most telling piece of the puzzle is the release date for The Last of Us – a game that is being touted as Sony’s flagship for 2013. It is set for a May release, a date that is closer than most of us would have expected as most AAA titles from premier developers are set for a winter holiday release, unless there is something bigger on the horizon.

Even still, ignoring the PS4, this year is filled with so much potential from: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, Rainbow Six: Patriots, Beyond: Two Souls and more – we are going to have a great year on top of the already scheduled games. Although, I do think that we will see Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, Final Fantasy XIII: Versus (if not cancelled), and Elder Scrolls Online all pushed into the 2014 range. If we do see the PS4 come out this winter, the ability for them to launch with Guerrilla Games’ new IP would be a good way to cap the year. As well as leading into 2014 with more games from Sucker Punch and Santa Monica, Sony really will have made up for the industry chilling 2012.

Seb: That’s the great thing – so many of Sony’s first party studios are working on a next gen game, and most of them have been doing so for quite a while. Guerrilla Games have been developing their new IP for at least 2 years. Sony Santa Monica began work on a new IP after GOW III shipped in 2010 (with Stig Asmussen involved, vehicular combat, shooting and magic). The Uncharted 3 team presumably began development on Uncharted 4 since their game shipped in 2011. Sucker Punch have an action game that’s been in development since at least 2011. Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo 6 has been in the works since 2010. Zindagi has their Move/PS SuperEye game for 2013. Giant Sparrow still has 2 more PS exclusives promised. Evolution Studios has a large scale racer in development, presumably Motorstorm, and possibly WipEout as well. And then there’s all the smaller developers, the new 2nd party deals, Sony’s Japanese studios, London Studio and Media Molecule’s prototypes while they finish Tearaway.

There are a ton of huge exclusive games to look forward to that should release within the first year of the PS4. People complained about the PS3’s weak lineup early on, causing it to be tarnished with a ‘no games’ slur years after it stopped being even remotely true. Don’t expect the same thing with the PS4 – Sony’s bringing their big guns fully to bear.

But the PS4 isn’t the only major industry release from SCE this year, infact there’s something potentially far bigger coming soon – Gaikai. Cloud won’t change the world overnight, but just like how Steam was launched when digital downloading wasn’t popular and now has over 50 million users, it’ll grow. Slowly, but surely, more and more people will sign up to cloud gaming services, and, with 100mbps+ internet expected to be the norm in Europe and the US by 2020, it’ll eventually take over. How Sony rolls out Gaikai this year will be crucial to their long term success. Not only will every subscribing/paying user be someone who is potentially locked into their ecosystem for life, but how Gaikai is perceived by gamers will affect it for years to come. If Gaikai repeatedly goes down or is hacked while Microsoft Cloud Gaming stays up, it’ll severely hamper their chances.

The end of 2013 and beginning of 2014 could very well be the most important time for PlayStation since Kutaragi released the first one.

Dan: Given the number of quality titles set to release, the potential for the PS4 to help Sony pull itself out of their hole, and the power of Gaikai’s Cloud, it’s good Sony doesn’t have anything else to manage. Oh wait, they have the PS Vita, I almost forgot – and it seems Sony has too. When the Vita was set to launch in early 2012, the hype surrounding the handheld was surprisingly strong considering the reception of the PSP. Although, as time went by and Vita owners blew through their launch title goodies, they were left to wonder, what’s next? Well, as we are months from the one year anniversary of its launch, we are still sitting here wondering why the handheld has done little more than ride the PS+ train to visit old titles.

With titles still announced, but having not really seen the light of day since word was given, the Vita does seem to have been forgotten in 2013. There are a few titles set to come out like Soul Sacrifice, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, Killzone: Mercenary and Tearaway, but none of them are a driving force for the handheld that the system needs. We are seeing a great push for PS3 as it ends its primary cycle, and a future for the PS4, but unless the Vita sees some interesting functionality and games we could see another cycle come to a close prematurely.

We have been fairly candid about our concern for the future of the Vita, and the untapped potential of the system, so it’s pretty clear why we think 2013 will really be the deciding factor that could put it on par with Sega’s 32X.

Ultimately, unless you only own a Vita, 2013 will be an amazing year even though we will probably still see a number of studios and publishers close or file for bankruptcy like THQ recently had to.

What do you expect from PlayStation in 2013? Are you ready to hear about the PS4? Do you give a damn about cloud? Will the Vita get better? Are you fed up with all these questions? Let us know in our buggy comments system below, or by wishing us a crappy new year on Twitter at Seb ‘n’ Dan.

Be sure to email DR ideas, podcast comments and PS4 pics to DailyReaction@PlayStationLifeStyle.net.