Sony's GamesCom press conference is only hours away, but before the fireworks fly, we wanted to give you our predictions. What are we basing these on? The information and evidence that's currently floating around the Internet and perhaps a dash of something extra… Anyway, here are the announcements we think will happen; announcements that will get you excited in less than 24 hours.
The PS3 Slim becomes the default machine for Sony
We believe the PS3 Slim is real, and it will replace the 80GB PS3 as the standard console on store shelves. For specs, we think it will have a bigger hard drive (120GB) although it may be missing a feature or two from the current model; this will allow it to be $100 cheaper. If we're lucky, it'll be exactly like the 80GB PS3 that merely costs $299 instead of $399 but we get the feeling that Sony is gonna take out something… Anyway, this means the 80GB model will soon disappear – when the current retail stock is exhausted, it's gone forever – and they will keep the 160GB model, which will also get a price drop down to $399.
Backwards compatibility comes with a later firmware update
This is something people have been talking about a lot lately, and while it won't come with the new PS3, we will say a future firmware update (possibly in mid-September) will mark the return of backwards compatibility for PS2 software. It'll be back to software emulation so it may only pertain to about 75-80% of the PS2's library, but it'll certainly emulate the major titles we'd all want to play again. Some believe we're far enough along in this generation where this is unnecessary, but with the insane longevity of the PS2 and the fact that so many people have one (and comparatively, so few people have the PS3), Sony decided to bring it back.
Gran Turismo 5 will launch in early December
The hints keep coming and we're now convinced that GT5 will see the light of day in 2009. We think it'll be the most anticipated release in December, and Sony will give consumers at least three weeks to nab it as the highly sought-after holiday present it will be. Series creator Kazunori Yamauchi has said Polyphony could release the game "whenever they wanted," and it was just a matter of timing…well, the timing can't get much better than a release date of December 1 (or something like that). Besides, several big titles have already been pushed out of this year and we don't really see much in the way of heavy competition in December, so that month would be all about GT5 and give the freshly discounted PS3 the final push towards a definite sales victory.
So there you have it. We'll see if any of these predictions come true. Also, Sony will definitely turn some heads with the games they have on tap for the show, so expect to see a ton of headlines pertaining to the PlayStation brand tomorrow.