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Report: Sony’s PS5 Marketing Plans Upset by COVID-19, DualSense Controller Reveal Was ‘Forced’

As part of the report earlier today that PS5 inventory would be constrained at launch, Bloomberg also indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic has created issues for Sony’s PS5 marketing plans, including forcing out the DualSense controller reveal in a more hurried manner with much less fanfare than was initially hoped for (which doesn’t seem to have stymied the hype). The report says that Sony was planning to do a public press conference to unveil the PS5 console, price, and release date, but now may have to rethink those plans as the pandemic limits the ability to gather a large number of people together.

There are apparently a small number of people inside Sony who actually know what the final PlayStation 5 console design will look like, but the DualSense controller has started to be shared with third parties outside of Sony. The company opted for a PlayStation Blog reveal of its look and features to prevent leaks from occurring.

With employees at Sony also working from home now, it’s created difficulties in meeting and approving business plans for the fiscal year, which could also be impacting the marketing roadmap leading to the PS5 release date. At this point, it’s unknown how Sony plans to handle the remainder of 2020 and promotion of the PlayStation 5 before its holiday 2020 launch. On the other side of the coin, rival Microsoft has already confirmed that it will not be holding any physical events for the remainder of the year (and possibly into 2021 as well). Both companies still plan to release their next-gen consoles this holiday season, which many expect to mean either November or December launch dates.

Per Bloomberg:

The virus has already upended Sony’s promotional plans. The company may forgo hosting a public press conference for its PS5 release date and price unveiling due to infection fears. Recently, it was forced to reveal its DualSense PS5 controller in a hurried fashion, according to people informed on the matter.

While only a small circle within Sony are privy to the appearance of the PS5 console, the controller has been shared with outside developers and the company feared it couldn’t control leaks, they said.

While it’s purely speculative at this time, the ongoing pandemic could mean that we’ll see next-gen consoles launch without any significant hands-on time or impressions with them at events during the year, and it could very likely rule out big physical reveal or launch events when the consoles do hit the market. Events as far out as August have been canceled, which leaves just three months before the expected launches, and even those three months are huge question marks when it comes to where the state of the world will be. Though the hope is that Sony may offer a little transparency on the rest of 2020 soon, the company recently delayed two of its biggest exclusive releases of the year “indefinitely,” so it seems a lot of things are up in the air right now. Either way, it seems that Sony has had to change up many of the PS5 marketing plans it had for this year, which at one time included “hundreds of consumer events” that now cannot happen.

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