An Essay On How Sony Must Up Their Game To Stay On Top
Coasting on your past victories is all well and good, but does anyone else think that it is a little bit odd how one of the biggest gaming companies on the planet have managed to release one of the most successful consoles ever, (to the point that it is still near-impossible to get your hands on one at the time of writing, almost a full year after the launch of the PS5,) without putting out any major exclusive titles?
Surely it can’t just be me, can it?
Before we dive into the astonishing lack of exclusive experiences on the PS5, let me first take you back to a simpler time. It is summer 2013 and the world is watching as two titans of the industry take the stage at their respective E3 conferences to announce the details of their next platform.
It is important to remember that at this point in time, Sony and Microsoft were pretty much on a level playing field. The Xbox 360 is far more fondly remembered that the PlayStation 3, however in the end, the PS3 clawed its way back to end up selling more units than the 360 by a small margin.
Unfortunately, Microsoft are scheduled to go first and the fact that they went first, only makes their conference even more embarrassing in hindsight. They totally drop the ball, their conference seems to be more targeted at the general consumer rather than the hardcore gamers who are watching the conference and a few lackluster-sounding exclusives are peppered in in a half-hearted attempt to remind people that this thing is a gaming console. Compulsory, overpriced, arbitrary peripherals and a patronizingly limiting share-play system causes a fiasco across the internet. Microsoft have slipped up in front of the world.
The following day Sony take to the stage. They have a multitude of talented people from development studios appear and speak passionately about the games that they are working on. Bold, interesting exclusive games are shown as a major incentive to buy this machine. They undercut the price of Microsoft’s console significantly and they even go as far as parodying how games will be shared on PS4.
It was a glorious time to be a PlayStation fan and a tragic time to be an Xbox gamer. Not only that, but guess what else? You could actually get your hands on this console upon its launch without having to pay a scumbag scalper double the RRP! I know, younger gamers can only imagine…
Fast forward to this time last year. The new consoles are set to launch in the midst of a global pandemic and the only significant games that are truly exclusive to the new console are a gimmicky mascot game called Astro’s PlayRoom, a repetitive bullet hell rogue-like called Returnal and a remake of a dungeon-crawler that is over a decade old in Demon Souls Remake.
Come on Sony, is that really the best incentive that you can provide your potential customers with? And nothing has really changed since then, they still seem to be coasting on past victories. We are approaching the first anniversary of the console’s launch and there still hasn’t been anything of real significance announced exclusively for the machine.
By this time in the PS4’s life cycle, we already had huge AAA exclusive experiences to sink our teeth into like Killzone: Shadow Fall and Infamous: Second Son. Where are those this time around? And how has the PlayStation 5 still managed to do so well commercially despite this?
The answer is that most people are buying the PS5 because they owned the PS4. Far be it from be to take anything away from the revelatory triumph that was the PlayStation 4. That console earned its win over its competitors, and we as an audience reaped the benefits. That said, because Sony hasn’t had any real competition, (in terms of premium console experiences,) since launching the PS4, it is almost as if they feel that they don’t have to try at this point.
However, even as somewhat of a self-admitted Sony Pony, I am beginning to feel like their days of coasting on their past victories are numbered. This is why I feel that Sony had better have something of great significance up its sleeve at their Showcase event later this week. If they rest on their laurels and just show more Death Loop and their big reveal is a gameplay trailer for God Of War: Ragnarok, I think many folks will be left disappointed, myself included.
PlayStation need to drop a bombshell at this Showcase, something really worth talking about. They need to give people a reason to hunt down their stupidly hard-to-find console, because at the moment most gamers are happy with their PlayStation 4 and their PC. Please give me a reason Sony, restore the faith and vindicate the goodwill that the audience has in you.
If you enjoyed reading Dan’s piece on Sony coasting on their past victories, check out his piece on the dangers of prematurely endorsing a game right here.
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