2013 preview: PlayStation and Xbox
29th Dec 2012 | 14:00
Christmas 2013 is the full stop for this generation's very long story. In the year to come,
January will bring all those games that didn't make the Christmas rush. That's Platinum's
And they'd better make their release dates because reliable sources suggest Microsoft will announce their next-generation Xbox at their annual showcase in February. They'll make their play for the next generation alongside Epic, Forza developers Turn 10, Alan Wake developers Remedy and Lionhead's Fable team.
March is everyone's last chance to bump up their figures and impress the AGM. Square Enix will release
April brings uncertainty. Ubisoft will probably want to get
May will almost certainly bring
Then the circus really starts with E3 on 11 June. But before the conference proper, Microsoft and Sony show their hands at their platform-holder conferences. On 9 June, Rare will almost certainly present
Then the day after, Sony will respond. They'll offer the first glimpse of PlayStation 4 - or more likely PlayStation Orbis - and their first round of next-generation games. Expect Killzone 4 to steal the show on a stage shared with Gran Turismo 6 and Media Molecule's next big game. MM will also show Tearaway for Vita, a platform in need of a saviour.
Gaikai game-streaming support might be Vita's last, best hope and you can expect it to be teased for every Sony platform - Vita, PS3, PS4, smartphones and Bravia TVs.
AUTUMN AND WINTER
July and August will be as dead as they've ever been, but this year we're in for an uncommonly quiet autumn too, with one big exception. The Tokyo Game Show in September will pick up where GamesCom leaves off, and the home debut of PS4 will be the very definition of spectacle. Meanwhile Microsoft make their third attempt to crack the Japanese market. Nobody in Japan will care.
At some point around October Sony will release The Last Of Us and it'll be as good as you'd expect from Naughty Dog.
We know Microsoft's new console is on shelves in November. Enough sources have named it as the date to convince us, and November is always Microsoft's release date for console hardware. All those big Christmas games will get a port of their high definition PC version, and Bill Gates will pause momentarily between doling out fistfuls of money to charity to smile at the new console's success.
Sony's plans, meanwhile, aren't quite so clear. Some sources suggest November while others point to April 2014. Sony hit shelves last in the current generation and it hurt them, and a Microsoft lead gives them dozens of de facto exclusives. Sony have gone for staggered releases in the past, so maybe the next PlayStation will arrive in Japan in November, then make it west in early 2014.
That was the pattern for Vita, PS3, PSP and PS2, but the world has changed and Vita is struggling. Can Sony afford to gamble everything on a global launch in November, or will they play it safe and stick to Japan where their only threat is the last-gen Wii U? We're calling it now: you'll likely have two next-gen machines by winter 2013.