Sony’s PS5 event tonight was an eye-opener, from the very beginning, to well beyond when it was scheduled to end. In fact it finished over an hour ago and only now can I take my eyes off Twitter as the stories kept unfolding well after the stream stopped.
It was a great event though. Lots of great-looking games, some big reveals, and of course the date and price for the PS5 and its digital sibling. Which at £450 and £360 respectively were certainly the least surprising parts of the evening.
Lots to discuss.
MESSAGING AND ‘EXCLUSIVES’
The stream was over, the prices were out, the games had been shown… but information kept coming in. Geoff Keighley kicked it off with a tweet to say that Demon’s Souls (still not sure on that apostrophe) would be coming to PS5 on launch day. Why what seemed like key information came out on Twitter after the event is baffling, as much of the core audience would have missed it.
Further to that, the game’s promotional image called it an ‘Exclusive’ in large letters, though text underneath clarified that this was only a timed exclusive (fair enough) and that it would also be coming to PC (a bit more cheeky). [This was then clarified later as a ‘human error’ their will not be a PC version (or not yet anyway) and the game is exclusive to PS5].
Then we were told, via a blog post and press release, that both Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Horizon: Forbidden West would be coming to PS4 as well as PS5. Keeping that messaging out of the stream also seems a piece of deliberate misdirection on Sony’s part.
But more surprising is that it’s something of a U-turn for Sony, which was pushing the line that it believed in ‘console generations’ in direct opposition to Xbox’s continuity stance, so to discover that both games will also be headed to PS4 is a major about face in the company line, even if it was planned all along.
Another gripe has to be the week long gap that will occur between the US and European launches of the console. Now this has happened before, but it still feels somewhat archaic, especially in a Twitch-driven marketing world, were EU consumers will be sat watching their favourite streamers play PS5 games for a solid wek before they can get in on the action.
With Sony having globalised its marketing team in the US, we can’t help but feel that it should have been a globalised launch, are the logistics hard, maybe, but Apple, Xbox and many others manage it consistently and the (english language) marketing spend would be far better deployed towards a single date.
Another localised gripe, we’re still waiting to find out from Sony what time pre-orders are opening tomorrow and what retailers in the UK will be taking them. Having stayed up to midnight, I can say that GAME are now
Prices are going up. Sony announced a whole raft of game prices, with premium titles, such Demon’s Souls and Destruction AllStars demanding £69.99 RRP. It was to be expected that prices would rise with the next-gen, but £70 is still a lot of money, and the decision might make some look at the more expensive PS5, so as to mitigate costs with physical copies and retailer discounts.
Coming back to the actual console prices, these were exactly in line with our predictions, bar an extra £10 for the digital version. The PS5 will go head-to-head with the XSX more powerful GPU, though the difference is unlikely to bother most consumers.
More intriguingly the equally powerful PS5 Digital Edition will cost ‘only’ £110 more than the XSS. Although when looking at that market segment, £110 is a lot more money, and Microsoft’s well-marketed Xbox All Access deals make it even wider than the raw figures.
Our prediction is that the PS5 DE will make up a small percentage of sales for the initial launch period as early adopters will flock to the full-fat version. That said, both will sell out undoubtedly until well past Christmas, so it’ll be a while before we get any visibility on that.
NEXT-GEN IS NEARLY HERE…
The PS5 is looking good for launch. The price is right and the old magic is still there in terms of presenting compelling games. Demon’s Souls looked incredible, the new Final Fantasy has a nice Game of Thrones-like styling to it, MIles Morales looked like incredible fun. And a smattering of developers added a human touch to the proceedings. It would have proudly sat as the bulk of an E3 keynote.
It was unsettling to see the messaging come across in such a fragmented way, though, and to see some imaginative maneuvering when it came to the exclusivity of certain titles both to PlayStation and console generations. However, based on this console and this showing Sony will get off to a strong start in the next-gen.