Showing off the long rumored PS4 and Xbox One hardware iterations is going to be a challenge. How do you simultaneously make something consumers want to buy, while not punishing them for being early adopters? When investing in a console, there’s a safety in knowing it isn’t a PC: you never have to upgrade it.
Yet, we have been hearing constant rumors of stronger iterations on our current generation of platforms. Right before E3, this sounded like a disaster waiting to happen.
Imagine a new God of War game being shown. It’s everything PlayStation fans want and it looks spectacular. At the end of the announcement, Sony reveals the game is running on a PlayStation Neo, rather than the normal PlayStation 4. To alleviate concerns about the “normal version,” Sony would likely show them side by side.
One of two things can happen: first, the upgrade is not significant enough to warrant desire from consumers. The PlayStation Neo would seem like a grab at the iterative hardware market, trying to get more money out of the most hardcore of gamers. Or, the difference between versions would be so significant, gamers would be overcome with anxiety about buying another system and feel bad about the console they already own.
An E3 showing for iterative hardware within the same generation is a bad idea.
It is now confirmed the Neo will not be making an appearance at E3 this year.
I am worried for Microsoft’s E3. They have a recent history of being embarrassed by Sony during press conferences. If a situation like the one I described above pans out for them, they run the risk of garnering an anti-consumer reputation.
Controlling the message on this new hardware is going to be a mess. I hope Microsoft can prove me wrong, but with the recent rumors of their new console coming this year, it looks like we’re going to have a muddled E3.