It’s no secret that the next-generation is causing both Microsoft and Sony to tightly hold their cards, ensuring that whichever event they choose to reveal their next consoles at are flooded with megaton announcements and games.
Due to their current position of being labeled “last place” in the console wars, Microsoft transformed themselves into a gaming service provider instead of a gaming console manufacturer. Consequently, many current Xbox console owners feel disenfranchised as their primary source of gaming lost a significant amount of value with the subtraction of exclusive titles and the looming shadow of PC integration. While that business philosophy does the Xbox platform wonders from a financial standpoint, it ultimately removes the importance of the console, which rightfully disheartens many gamers yearning to stick to traditions.
Sony, on the other hand, acts as a safe haven for console lovers thanks in large part to the historic success of the PlayStation 4. The success has been so strong for the conglomerate that Sony realizes their role in gaming should be a top priority, above all their other businesses. One of the primary selling points for the PS4 has been its exclusive library of games. Sony’s own titles often receive acclaim from fans and critics alike and thus their reputation skyrocketed. Despite their performance this generation and being lauded by the gaming community, Sony has taken an unexpected route this year and canceled most of their major conferences. Instead, they have opted for trickling out announcements and updates digitally. Their bombasity of yesteryear disappeared and may stay that way until 2020, the year the PlayStation 5 will release.
A Fascinating Lineup of Games
In addition to their lower profile, their exclusive lineup appears somewhat less exciting in 2019 than previous years. Sure, Death Stranding (assuming it’s an exclusive) and Days Gone populate the AAA-offerings, which satisfies fans. Smaller titles like Dreams, Concrete Genie, MediEvil, and their VR games also appease more niche pockets of their fanbase. However, 2019 might not reward the publisher with a banquet of awards and nominations. On the other hand, the remainder of the PS4 exclusive lineup excites the gaming community. The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima should deliver a remarkable conclusion to this generation. Now, we knew about these games for the past three or so years (almost two with Ghost of Tsushima). Gamers want something new and they know the next wave is coming.
Question is, how big is that wave? With Sony Santa Monica, Guerrilla Games, Insomniac Games, Japan Studio, Sony San Diego, and other unknown developers toiling away at their next projects for PS5, people justifiably believe that wave is nothing short of a tsunami. There’s also the likelihood of new faces under the Worldwide Studios brand. Sony definitely isn’t afraid of making giant strides in first-party expansion, so who will be acquired and what game do they have cooking in the oven? Who will partner up with Sony for an epic exclusive title for the PS5? Out of all these questions, we still have to consider one thing: when the hell can we see these games?
The Next Showstopper
E3 2016 was the peak of Sony conferences this generation in terms of game announcements. Not only were the new games shown relatively unexpected, but the kind of games really blew our socks off. God of War 2018 is a story-driven action-adventure game that erases the traditional DMC gameplay. Marvel’s Spider-Man is an open-world superhero game by Insomniac freakin’ Games and ended up being the best of its class. Death Stranding is a new IP from legendary creator Hideo Kojima after his infamous fallout with Konami. Days Gone is a massive open-world survival-horror game from the long-dormant Bend Studio. These were games we didn’t know we wanted and expect to be incredible (with Days Gone as an exception, though it was an impressive game nonetheless).
It has been years since Sony unveiled such a massive lineup before and the community’s hunger for such a performance from the publisher has never been at this level before. The fact their small State of Play episodes garner exorbitant amounts of attention from fans is evidence enough. I doubt this type of behavior goes unnoticed, too. I will go out on a whim and claim there will also be no PSX this year just to trigger an exasperated response from the community. Instead, a relatively large State of Play would replace the event to save money for a giant press briefing on the next PlayStation console early next year. Testing the patience of gamers is always a great risk. The longer they wait, the greater their expectations come.
Fear not for the lack of information in 2019. Just recently, Sony made the juggernaut acquisition of Insomniac Games to bolster their first-party output for next-gen, with undoubtedly more purchases to come. During the holiday season, the anticipation (both from consumers and investors) for a PS5 reveal or tease skyrockets, and Sony is fully aware of that. Under no circumstance would Sony dare to fumble the reveal of the PS5. With that in mind, concerns of a disappointing return to the public eye should dissipate. The hiatus from a staged format does not necessarily indicate that their next appearance would come short of expectations. Imagine if a famous band were to take a break from live performances for a year and returned in a major way with a brand-new album of songs to perform. That’s basically the scenario Sony’s in right now.
Therefore, the titles that will be showcased in addition to the PS5 should be remarkable, to say the least. It is also reasonable to predict that these titles will be a combination of returning and new IP. If I were a betting man, I would place money behind a new Uncharted game with Nathan Drake as the lead, prior to his retirement in Uncharted 4, developed by San Diego Studio. I also expect Naughty Dog to establish a secondary team located in San Diego and tease their new project, which is also a new IP, whilst the Santa Monica team finishes up The Last of Us Part II and the possible expansion like Lost Legacy. Guerrilla Games may showcase Horizon 2 as a launch title for the PS5, using an upgraded version of their Decima engine to accommodate for the superior hardware.
The Sleeping Giant
Flooding rumors, speculations, and alleged leaks consume the discourse surrounding Sony’s plans. Microsoft has made their future crystal clear with their ample studio acquisitions and platform evolution. However, Sony has remained quiet and intentionally so. This isn’t about winning anymore as Xbox Scarlett would merely be an extension for a digital universe of Microsoft’s platform. Nintendo has drifted into their own territory as well with the portability of the Switch, so Sony essentially has the living room all to themselves.
Given the details disclosed by Mark Cerny in his unprecedented Wired magazine interview, Sony’s core philosophy for the future has taken shape. They want to conquer the living room with the greatest system they can create. They want to release a system that has the best features, best technology, and, most importantly for gamers, the best library of games. The CEO of Sony claimed the PS5 is designed specifically for the hardcore gamer. The kind of gamers thirsting for the latest and greatest out of gaming. The type of gamers that tirelessly scavenge the furthest reaches of the Internet in hopes of finding new information regarding the industry they so admire. Unlike their rivals who want everyone with an income and internet connection to get on their platform, Sony plans to serve solely to the demographic that invests the most into gaming.
An Impatient Crowd
While those can argue that the market that Sony intends on catering to would rather invest in PC gaming to get the most premium gaming experiences, a thick cloud of curiosity obscures the entire conversation. What does Sony mean by “hardcore”? Would such a system come at a costly price tag? Well, on the contrary, Mark Cerny said the price would be “appealing” to gamers considering the high-end feature set. The statements espoused by Sony executives can easily be written off as marketing fluff just to appease investors. However, you can’t help but muse on what this console has to offer. It boasts full PS4 backward compatibility and supports the current PSVR hardware and camera. It houses a customized solid-state drive using the latest architecture designed for speed, thereby minimizing load screens at least for PS4 titles.
Regardless of how powerful the system ends up being, the PS5 certainly aspires to deliver a truly significant upgrade from its predecessors. Of course, Sony established their own streaming service before all the other big players followed suit. However, they perceive cloud gaming as an appetizer for the greater entree that is console gaming. Those who have followed Sony for the past decade understand this company is notorious for giving it their all when launching new hardware (for better or worse). The PS5 remains enigmatic yet the imagination of the gaming community runs wild. Forums dedicated to the PS5 are flooded with the wildest theories and hypotheses that have yet to be confirmed. The desire for the truth cannot be higher in this era of gaming discourse.
This intense volume of energy must be quenched with a satisfying resolve from Sony at an undetermined time, at an undetermined place, in an undetermined fashion. It’s no wonder that gamers scour tirelessly for the latest hint of a leak from the bastions of Internet discourse. The faint presence of Sony at a public event is enough to drive many gamers into a frenzy and such a reaction is a pleasure to spectate. We won’t get a massive leak anytime soon, so all we can do is wait and compose our own theories on what the future possesses.
News and feature writer for Sick Critic since 2017. Undergraduate studying English. Writes stories on: PlayStation news and analysis, general video game industry affairs, the film industry affairs, and the streaming wars.