An additional week’s delay – for very, very good reason – has only served to further whet appetites for Sony’s The Future of Gaming stream tonight at 9pm. But it’s been Sony’s broader drip-feed strategy and unpredictability that’s also feeding into the hype.
In any other console launch year, the idea that we’d get all the way to E3, and even past it potentially, without actually seeing this year’s next-gen console would be unthinkable.
But whether because of a maverick masterplan, or due to its plans being somewhat derailed by the pandemic, it looks likely that tonight will not be the grand reveal of the ‘big three’ that we’d usually expect at this point in the launch cycle.
Console. Price. Date.
Those things are pretty indivisible when it comes to the final big push to sell a console – which is when you start taking pre-orders. You can’t put a price on something no one has seen yet, and pulling out an actual box this late in the year without naming a price or a date would mean you’ve played a huge card, but there’s nowhere on Amazon for the excited to click and get onboard.
“This is part of our series of PS5 updates and, rest assured, after next week’s showcase, we will still have much to share with you.”
Jim Ryan’s most recent blog post about the event clearly states: “This is part of our series of PS5 updates and, rest assured, after next week’s showcase, we will still have much to share with you.”
Had to know whether the industry at large, barring those lucky enough to be in the know at the biggest publishers, will be ‘resting assured’ though, if this ‘non-E3’ sails past without the world’s biggest console platform holder showing its hand, then many will want to know: ‘if not now then when?’.
Sony is right in putting games front and centre of its pitch for the next generation. Arguably we’ve never less needed a next-generation of consoles, with the current mid-gen upgrades having sustained the hardware market and numerous live service titles still pulling in huge amounts, the industry is happy to have new hardware, but there’s not the usual sniff of desperation in the air.
It will be interesting to see Sony’s approach in comparison to the recent, somewhat lackluster, Xbox games showcase. Which felt lacking in occasion, due to its somewhat hokey bedroom production values, and over promised in terms of content, gameplay really meant shiny trailers. Sony has already admitted some defeat in the production department, with the stream going out at 1080p and 30fps, well short of what the PS5 is capable of.
And speaking of technical capabilities, will Sony break away from Xbox tonight and promise any exclusive PS5 titles at launch (ie. with no PS4 versions of the same game). It would be a major oint of difference if it did.
Sony’s cards-close-to-chest approach certainly can’t be accused of over promising. We’re excited for the developers who will gain a huge ‘stage’ for their titles tonight, but what we really want is a date when Sony will return to discuss ‘the big three’.