Most of what Sony is pushing looks to be more of the same. We're hearing little in terms of new key differentiators in terms of must-have multimedia content or PlayStation Network features. It's dubious whether a dedicated single-function device such as the Vita can compete in the era of multifunction devices such as smartphones, which offer endless selection, massive value and on-demand convenience from a gadget that already commands a premium place in your pocket.
Where do Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft each stand heading into E3?
While Nintendo enjoys a clear lead in the number of systems installed across homes throughout the world, its sales have been declining, while Microsoft and Sony's are on the rise.
Nintendo should be the first out of the game with a new system, while rivals are rumored to be holding back new launches until 2014. But with its rivals gaining traction at the Wii's expense and having the advantage of not being first to market, Nintendo may have the most to lose if it doesn't bring its A-game.
As for Microsoft and Sony, the onus is on both to prove there's sustainable life in the Kinect and PlayStation Move outside of casual and party game experiences. Their systems also must continue to deliver the biggest blockbusters, the best selection of hardware accessories and services – not to mention the most enjoyable and broadest range of everyday home entertainment and online multiplayer and shopping services possible.
Much of this battle will come down to exclusive software titles, strategic partnerships with consumer brands and the speed at which all can roll out new products and services, helping justify why – in what's become a war of content, not technical performance – you'd choose one system over the other.
Touching on something you mentioned earlier, what does Sony need to do to build buzz around its Vita portable?
Portable consoles are in an unenviable position. They're being squeezed on both ends by the thousands of smartphone apps (available from your pocket anytime, anywhere) and shifting play patterns, as fair-weather fans shift away from high-priced, full-scale gaming experiences while hardcore enthusiasts become ever choosier about how they spend their gaming dollars.
To truly wow with the Vita portable, Sony needs to trot out a top-tier range of platform-exclusive titles and attention-grabbing services that make the case for why customers should purchase and pack another gadget in their pocket, no matter how shiny its bells and whistles.
How big an impact will Kinect and Move have overall at E3? While PlayStation Move and Kinect are expected to enjoy a sizable presence, their role is expected to remain marginal, as compared with blockbuster new retail releases of all stripes and a growing emphasis on digitally downloadable titles. That's not to say you won't hear about each system – just that, while they'll continue to mature and expand their respective software libraries, they're not likely to steal the thunder from titles like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or RAGE just yet.